Washington-- President Obama is nominating Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, CBS News has learned. An official announcement is forthcoming later today.
Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, has widely been seen as the frontrunner for the position since U.N. ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration. Rice came under heavy fire from Republican senators for putting forth a flawed explanation of the events in the Sept. 11 consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya in the days after the attack.
Kerry is expected to be confirmed with relative ease in the Senate. The 69-year-old senator is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is widely respected in Democratic foreign policy circles. Clinton plans to leave her post in January.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will now appoint someone to serve in Kerry's seat until a special election is held between 145 and 160 days of Kerry leaving the Senate. Soon-to-be-former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who lost his seat in November, could run on the Republican side. Democrats being discussed include Ted Kennedy Jr., Reps. Ed Markey, Michael Capuano, Steve Lynch, and even actor Ben Affleck.