THE AUDITION – AT 9:35 A.M. ET: Almost lost in the attention paid last night to President Obama and Vice President Biden, in their acceptance speeches, was the speech given by John Kerry.
Kerry, the former Democratic candidate for president, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a post he will lose if the Republicans gain control of the Senate. He has long coveted the position of secretary of state, a job that will be open after the election. Romney, of course, would not appoint him, but Obama might, as Hillary Clinton is leaving. Last night's speech was a kind of audition for the job for Kerry. From The Hill:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) sought to boost President Obama's national security credentials in a rapid-fire speech Thursday night that depicted the president as an unflappable commander in chief ultimately responsible for the tough call to go after America's most wanted terrorist.
“Ask Osama bin Laden if he's better off now than he was four years ago,” Kerry told the Democratic National Convention to wild applause accompanied by high-fives and fist-bumps in the crowd.
That's a good line, and Kerry gave an effective speech.
“That's what I'm talking about!” one young delegate exhorted, while 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis watched on the edge of his seat in the Massachusetts delegation section.
The killing of bin Laden was the theme of that segment of the convention. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer also mentioned bin Laden shortly before Kerry spoke — “tonight … Osama bin Laden is at the bottom of the ocean” — followed by a short clip showing photos of Obama at the time of the decision.
The heavy focus on Obama's role in bin Laden's death risks re-igniting accusations that Democrats are spiking the football and ignoring U.S. troops. But Kerry sought to deny GOP nominee Mitt Romney's standing with the military by slamming his failure to mention Afghanistan, the longest war in the nation's history, during his acceptance speech in Tampa, Fla.
“No nominee for president should ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in his acceptance speech,” he said.
COMMENT: Kerry passed his audition, proving himself, at least on the surface, to be a loyal Obama soldier. If Obama is re-elected, he will have to decide whether he wants Kerry at State. It would not mean giving up a Democratic seat in the Senate, as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick would appoint a temporary successor. If Elizabeth Warren loses to Scott Brown, as we hope, Patrick could logically appoint Warren, who is immensely popular among Democrats.
September 7, 2012