John Kerry’s Confirmation Hearing Is One Big Group Hug

No wonder. He faces questions from the committee he chairs.

Standing in stark contrast to the grilling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced in the Senate yesterday, John Kerry is having a rather pleasant time at his confirmation hearing to replace her. We shouldn't be too surprised; several Senators have already stated that he'll face quick confirmation, and then there's the fact that he's the chair of the committee questioning him,  the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His opening statement, in which he declares, “I don't want this to affect your opening questions, but let me say, I've never seen a better looking and more distinguished group of public officials in my life,” was greeted with hearty laughter. That should give you a good sense of the tone down in Washington today.


And if it doesn't, maybe Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the committee, opening up by saying, “Your confirmation will go through very quickly” should appease any sense of drama you were feeling.

Speaking of drama, a protester did begin shouting about the conflict in the Middle East and the danger her friends there faced,  but Kerry, who once appeared before this committee as a Vietnam protester himself, responded cordially. “When I first came to Washington and testified, I obviously was testifying as part of a group of people who came here to have their voices heard. and that is above all what this place is about.” The protester's critiques weren't aimed at Kerry particularly, and as The Atlantic Wire's Dashiell Bennett notes, “When the only person yelling out is actually helping your cause, you know it's going to be an easy day.”