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Kerry Tapped to lead State Department: President Obama on Friday announced he's nominating Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be State Secretary during Obama's second term. Kerry would replace Hillary Clinton, who plans to step down in January after four years in the post. "In a sense, John's entire life has prepared him for this role," said Obama in remarks in the White House's Roosevelt Room with Kerry at his side. Obama said he's "confident" the Senate would confirm Kerry quickly. The President noted that Kerry is "the son of a foreign service officer," "served with valor in Vietnam," and has had "an extraordinarily distinguished Senate career," including serving as Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, a position Kerry's held in the 112th Congress. "John has played a central role in every major foreign policy debate for nearly 30 years," said Obama. "He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," he added. Kerry is an "excellent choice," said Clinton in a statement. "He will bring decades of service to our country and deep experience in international affairs," she said. Kerry has been in the Senate since 1985. He ran for President in 2004, but lost to George Bush. (Kerry's official biography)