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November 28, 2012

Kerry stays quiet as Cabinet speculation swirls

(Continued)

At that point, the administration had known for days that it was a distinct militant attack.

Kerry has defended Rice, saying in September that she was “a remarkable public servant” and “an enormously capable person who has represented us at the United Nations with strength and character.”

Kerry would likely have to make that same case to his Senate counterparts if Rice is nominated. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it’s Kerry who would have to oversee her confirmation hearings and urge wary Republicans against blocking her.

Of course, nominating Kerry could also create headaches for the White House.

His departure from the Senate could put a Democratic seat at risk, perhaps giving Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown a chance to return to Congress after losing to Democrat Elizabeth Warren earlier this month.

Kerry is serving his fifth term in the Senate, having been first elected to represent Massachusetts in 1984. He was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, losing a close election to incumbent George W. Bush.

Before getting into politics, Kerry served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War, winning a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. But he became an outspoken critic of the war after returning home and testified before Congress about his opposition to U.S. policy.

Kerry’s service was called into question during his presidential run by a Republican-leaning outside group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which accused Kerry of lying about his war record. Some Democrats blame Kerry’s slow response to the criticism for sinking his candidacy.

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