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The deal closed fast. John Kerry is known as a man of compromise. Even the Republicans would give him that, as the majority of them showed when they voted in support of his candidacy to be the United States’ top diplomat.
At 69, it’s a job he’s had his eyes on for some time, and President Obama rewarded his patience and his support.
Kerry has said: “An exceptional nation demands exceptional leadership, demands the leadership of an exceptional president, and, my fellow Americans, that president is Barack Obama.”
Kerry had wanted to be president. He won the Democratic nomination in 2004. But he failed to oust George W. Bush from the White House. He didn’t stand for the running again.
He met the young Senator for Illinois when he was hardly known, and had the spotlight shone on him. Obama said this speech launched him.
So, in 2008 Obama was the Democratic candidate, with Kerry’s firm support. Kerry dreamt of becoming Secretary of State, but Obama gave that to Hillary Clinton, his rival for the presidential candidacy nomination.
Kerry worked with Obama’s administration as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was born into a wealthy family, and went to elite schools in New England and in Europe. He signed up for navy duty in Vietnam when he was 24, and was wounded in action. He came home with medals and joined the anti-war movement.
After Obama’s ascendancy in 2008, Kerry found himself with time to travel the globe, bolstering his foreign policy and diplomatic expertise.
Israel, Gaza, Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan… were among the hotspots he visited. Invariably favouring peaceful solutions, he hopes to make a mark in his new post by advancing the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, where Obama and Clinton have not.
With his second wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, John Kerry’s career seems far from over.