John Kerry's Senate scene from 'The Godfather: Part II'

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

John Kerry's Senate hearing on Thursday was a much friendlier affair than the fictional appearance of mob leader Michael Corleone before a Senate panel that was depicted in the movie The Godfather: Part II. But that didn't stop Kerry, President Obama's nominee for secretary of State, from drawing inspiration from the film.

In the hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, senators heaped praise on Kerry for his almost 30 years of service in the Senate and his dedication to foreign policy. The only contentious moment arose when the nominee was asked about Chuck Hagel, Obama's pick for secretary of Defense.

Kerry, in his introduction, thanked Sens. John McCain and Elizabeth Warren and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for their laudatory comments about him. But he acknowledged a role reversal -- he has chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for years and now is on the receiving end of the committee's questions. He told the senators he had never “seen a more distinguished and better-looking group of public officials in my life,” and he joked that the hearing might turn into a scene from the second Godfather movie.

“I want you to know that a couple nights ago, I was watching Godfather II,” Kerry said. “So be forewarned: If someone suddenly shows up with my long-lost brother back in the audience, all bets are off, folks.”

The senators laughed, as they did at several of Kerry’s quips throughout his testimony. But, alas, no long-lost brother showed up. In The Godfather: Part II, former mobster Frank Pantangeli appeared before a Senate committee to testify on the Corleone family’s mob behavior. In the movie, Pantangeli, before he began his testimony, noticed his brother from Sicily in the back of the room. Not wanting to shame the family, he denied his previous affidavit to the dismay and shock of the senators, and mob boss Corleone walked free.

The panelists for Kerry’s hearing were a kinder to him. Fittingly, Sen. Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, who served as the temporary head of the committee, mistakenly called him, “Secretary Kerry.”

“I have a sense of clairvoyance,” he said.

Democrats weren't the only ones to praise Kerry. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the panel, commended Kerry on his service and predicted a speedy confirmation.

“There’s no one in the United States Senate that's spent more time than you have on issues important to our country,” Corker said in his opening remarks, later adding, “My sense is your confirmation will go through very, very quickly.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.