The selection of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to give a foreign policy speech prime-time Thursday night at the Democratic convention has intensified talk that he may be named Secretary of State if President Barack Obama wins re-election.
Current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she will step down when Obama’s first term ends, and politicos say Kerry has long wanted the job, The Hill
Kerry might particularly covet the post if Republicans regain control of the Senate in November, as that would boot him from his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“Giving him a slot says a lot,” a Democratic strategist close to the senator told The Hill. “It sends a clear signal that he’s an important player.”
Kerry will defend Obama’s foreign policy in his speech. But the address does carry some risk if it’s not well received. Obama has an “amazing advantage” over Republican nominee Mitt Romney on national security issues, said Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee. But the party has “a lot more work to do to” to help southern voters “understand his role as commander in chief.”
Cooper has doubts about the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee. “Just speaking from a Southern perspective, he is not the most effective advocate,” he said. Kerry floundered in the south in his race against President George W. Bush.
“Massachusetts is great and wonderful,” Cooper said. “But if you want to do the south, you’ve got to have somebody who speaks with a southern accent.”
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