Obama nominates Kerry for secretary of state

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday nominated Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state, elevating the

longtime lawmaker and foreign policy expert to the top diplomatic job he had coveted.

"He is not going not need a lot of

on-the-job training," Obama said, standing alongside Kerry at the White

House. "Few individuals

know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our policies

as firmly as John Kerry."

If confirmed by the Senate, Kerry would

replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who plans to leave

Obama's second-term

Cabinet early next year. Clinton, who is recovering from a

concussion sustained in a fall, did not attend the Roosevelt Room

announcement.

The 69-year-old Democrat is expected to be

easily confirmed by his Senate colleagues. He would be the first of what

are expected

to be several new faces on Obama's national security team,

including a new defense secretary and director of the Central

Intelligence

Agency.

The son of a diplomat, Kerry has served as

chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is a decorated

Vietnam veteran

who was critical of the war effort when he returned home to the

United States. He has represented Massachusetts in the Senate

since 1985.

"John's entire life has prepared him for this role" said Obama, who praised Kerry for his belief that the country must harness

"all elements of Americans power."

The president picked Kerry for the post even

though his nomination could create a political problem in

Massachusetts. Republicans

are eying the Senate seat Kerry will vacate after five terms, and

recently defeated GOP Sen. Scott Brown would be a favorite

in his party for the job.