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(NECN) - "First of all, I'm not going to comment at this point about various nominations that I'll put forward to fill out my cabinet for the second term."
That's the official line from President Barack Obama on Wednesday, but word out of Washington is that he's seriously considering Sen. John Kerry for Secretary of Defense, despite a long time assumption that Kerry was a top choice for Secretary of State to replace departing Hillary Clinton.
While John Kerry does have a military background - having served in Vietnam as a decorated Navy Officer - he also protested the war when he returned to the United States, accusing the military of war crimes and publicly throwing away his medals - actions that would no doubt become issues in confirmation and hearings.
"I think the better fit is State. Kerry, in Vietnam, learned that was an unwinnable war - that we're not good at that sort of guerrilla warfare, jungle or urban and that episodes like Iraq and Afghanistan are problematic - that diplomacy is the better answer. I think Kerry gets that," says George Bachrach, a Democratic political analyst.
If Kerry is interested in Secretary of State, he had to be disappointed to hear reports that Obama's choice may be U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who recently made news for giving conflicting information about the Benghazi attack.
Because of that, Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain have already said they would block a Rice nomination.
"For them to go after the U.N. Ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous," Obama said.
"I think that would make for painful confirmation. I don't know why the President would want to start his second term with that," Bachrach said.
"If I think she would be the best person to serve America, in the capacity, the state department, then I will nominate her. That's not a determination that I've made yet," the president said.