John Kerry, selected by President Barrack Obama to replace Hillary Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State, will face questioning on Capitol Hill at his confirmation hearing, a day after Clinton delivered a staunch defense of the way the aftermath was handled in the wake of the Libya attack in Benghazi.
Senator Kerry of Massachusetts will likely encounter an audience that is friendly on Capitol Hill, as he is appearing before the same committee he chairs. Of all the many nominees that Obama has chosen for his last term in office, Kerry is probably the least controversial.
However, Kerry is up for one of Washington’s toughest jobs, with a portfolio of problems worldwide that are becoming more and more complex. On Wednesday, Clinton cautioned that the diplomatic work of the country is vital to its national security, particularly with the spread of Islamic extremism in North Africa.
On Capitol Hill, the mood remains tense, following the sparring match Clinton had for nearly eight hours with Republicans from Congress over the terror attack in Libya. John McCain the Arizona Senator, had tough comments for Secretary Clinton Wednesday, but joked about the hearing for Kerry and the tough questions that will not be employed.
McCain is good friends with Kerry and the two have worked very closely on issues of national security. Both are also decorated veterans of the Vietnam War as well as ex-presidential candidates who know how difficult it is to lose.
McCain said, to a great deal of laughter, that the committee would bring waterboarding back for Kerry’s interrogation. Today’s hearing for Kerry is the first of three that nominees for national security will face.
Senator Chuck Hagel will face tough questioning next Thursday, as the nominee for defense secretary, about previous statements made over Israel. John Brennan, the nominee for Director of the CIA will also be quizzed over unmanned drone attacks and security leaks next month at his hearing.