Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama on Friday will nominate Sen. John Kerry, the former presidential candidate who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to be the next secretary of state, a senior administration official told CNN.
The senior senator from Massachusetts is noted for the experience, gravitas and relationship-building skills that could help him succeed Hillary Clinton, the outgoing top U.S. diplomat.
Kerry has traveled the globe on behalf of the Obama administration to mend frayed relationships. Most notably, he traveled to Pakistan after a series of incidents, including the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, that had set relations back.
He has support from Republicans as well as Democrats. The nomination will be sent to the Senate for confirmation.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement, that she plans to resign her post at the end of the year, has led to speculation that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is the front runner to replace her at the State Department.
Rice, who has drawn a lot of fire because of her involvement in advancing the Obama administration’s talking points on the Benghazi attack, is unquestionably the favorite to receive the nomination from President Obama. And Republican Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have made it clear that they intend to fight vigorously to prevent the confirmation of Rice should she be nominated for the position.
However, after initially saying that Rice was “not qualified” and “not very bright,” McCain has now issued a sought of olive branch to Rice. On CBS’ Face the Nation, McCain said, “if Rice came back on Face the Nation and acknowledged she was wrong it would help her case.” Meanwhile, Graham who recently said, “Rice is so disconnected to reality I don’t trust her,” told ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, “when she comes over, if she does, there will be a lot of questions asked of her about this event and others.” Clearly Graham is still smarting from Obama’s remarks chastising him, McCain, and Senator Kelly Ayote (R-N.H.) for attacking Rice. Graham responded to Obama’s admonition to not “besmirch [Rice’s] reputation” and “go after me” by saying, “we’re not going to let up on this.”
One of the few issues to be laid to rest this campaign season is voter fraud. Fears, mostly on the right, that noncitizens might be voting, manifested in voter identification bills here and across the nation.
Bearing the voter-fraud torch was Secretary of State Dianna Duran, who proceeded to botch the effort from beginning to end. She announced early last year that New Mexico had a “culture of corruption,” a charge repeated in national media. (Just what we need.) Later she referred 64,000 possibly fraudulent voter records to the State Police. That number plummeted a year ago to 104 voters who were illegally registered to vote and 19 who actually voted illegally.
In her report, Duran stuck her jaw out and accused her critics of being partisan while insisting that her office was “simply not in that game,” and that even though 19 didn’t sound like much, any instance of vote fraud was significant. Democrats returned fire.
More telling was the response of the nonpartisan Common Cause New Mexico. The group applauded Duran’s effort to clean up the state’s voter records but charged that Duran was “deliberately undermining public trust in New Mexico elections purely to promote policies, such as voter photo ID, which are designed to prevent qualified New Mexicans from casting a ballot.”
This editorial is getting big play all over New Mexico. (I left the typo in the headline as a tribute to small-town New Mexico newspapers.)