Obama picks Kerry to replace Clinton as secretary of state

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama today will nominate Sen. John Kerry, 69, as his next secretary of state, a senior administration official said, making the first move in an overhaul of his national security team heading into a second term.

If confirmed, Kerry would take the helm at the State Department from outgoing Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has long stated her intention to leave early next year. Kerry, a longtime Massachusetts senator, is expected to be easily approved for the Cabinet post by his Capitol Hill colleagues.

That would open up the Senate seat Kerry has held for nearly three decades. Recently defeated Republican Sen. Scott Brown might contest it.

Obama was to announce Kerry’s nomination from the White House this afternoon, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the president’s decision before the announcement. Clinton was not expected to attend. The secretary fell and suffered a concussion last week, State Department officials said, and hasn’t made public appearances since.

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