Kerry prepping for secretary of state confirmation

REFILE CORRECTING DATE U.S. President Barack Obama (L) announces the nomination of Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State to succeed Hillary Clinton. at the White House in Washington December 21, 2012. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

WASHINGTON: The U.S. State Department President Barack Obama's choice to be the next secretary of state has started meeting with diplomatic staff to prepare for his confirmation hearings.

Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Sen. John Kerry was at its headquarters Wednesday. She says he received, quote, "a huge pile of briefing materials." He will report to the State Department regularly starting Friday.

Kerry is expected to easily win confirmation in the Senate, where he chairs the Foreign Relations Committee. Nuland says the department is working with the committee to pick a hearing date.

Obama nominated Kerry in December to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who intends to step down at the start of Obama's second term.





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