December 21, 2012 - 20:06 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, a senior administration official has said, according to Sky News.
Sen. Kerry's nomination marks Obama's first move in a sweeping overhaul of his national security team heading into his second term as president. The Democratic senator is expected to be easily approved for the cabinet post by his longtime congressional colleagues.
Kerry leapt to the front of Obama's list for the State Department job after UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week. She faced harsh criticism from congressional Republicans for her initial accounting of the deadly September attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Obama vigorously defended Ms Rice, a close friend and longtime adviser, but Republican senators dug in, threatening to hold up her nomination if the president tapped her for the post.
The official who disclosed Kerry's nomination requested anonymity because the president has not announced it yet.
Kerry came to prominence during his failed presidential campaign in 2004 against George W Bush. He now serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The 69-year-old has long sought the nation's top diplomatic post. Obama considered him for the job after the 2008 election, before later picking Hillary Clinton in a surprise move.
Since then, Obama has dispatched Sen. Kerry around the world to tamp down diplomatic disputes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was also part of the president's debate preparations team during the 2012 election, playing the role of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in mock debates.