President Obama will nominate Senator John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State today, the Associated Press and The New York Times are reporting. The appointment had been expected since Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week amid Republican criticism, and reports that Kerry would be the pick surfaced. According to The New York Times's Mark Landler,the announcement will be made sometime this afternoon.
Kerry, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004, is expected to face a relatively easy confirmation process, as newfound GOP support for the longtime Massachusetts senator has swelled in Washington since the Rice dust-up. As for who will replace Kerry back home, retiring Rep. Barney Frank neither confirmed nor denied his interest Thursday in stepping in as a temporary replacement, which Gov. Deval Patrick will appoint. A special election will then be held in the spring, and candidates have already begun to emerge, including outgoing Sen. Scott Brown.