U.S. Senator John Kerry received enough Senate votes on Tuesday to be confirmed as President Barack Obama's new secretary of state, succeeding Hillary Clinton.
The five-term senator and 2004 unsuccessful presidential candidate had broad support from fellow Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. As voting continued, he had received well over 60 votes in favor of his confirmation, and just two against it.
The newly-confirmed Secretary of State is reportedly set to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in February, to see if the peace process can be restarted.
Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, has forged a close working relationship with Obama and gave him the keynote speech assignment at the 2004 Democratic convention that boosted a then little-known Illinois state legislator onto the national stage, opening the way for his meteoric rise.
After losing narrowly to Republican George W. Bush in the 2004 residential election, Kerry forged a new identity as a congressional leader on foreign policy. He often served as a low-profile emissary and diplomatic troubleshooter for the Obama White House in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.
Kerry played the role of Mitt Romney in Obama's debate practice during the 2012 campaign, and afterwards Kerry joked that he would need an "exorcism" to get the Republican out of his system. "Nothing brings two people closer together than weeks of debate prep," Obama quipped to reporters on Friday.