WATCH: Kerry has "big heels to fill" at State Dept.
6:58AM Monday February 4, 2013
By BRADLEY KLAPPER
WASHINGTON (AP) - Newly installed Secretary of State John Kerry says he has "big heels to fill."
Starting work Monday, the former senator and 2004 presidential candidate was greeted by loud cheers from America's foreign service workers. One held up a "Welcome JFK" sign.
Succeeding women secretaries of state Hillary Rodham Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, Kerry asked in jest: "Can a man actually run the State Department?"
Praising Clinton, he also said, "I have big heels to fill."
Kerry is the son of a diplomat and was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for four years. Greeting State Department staff, he spoke of his childhood time in Germany and learning the virtues of freedom.
Kerry said he and President Barack Obama needed help to make America safer and the world more prosperous and peaceful.
WASHINGTON (AP) - New Secretary of State John Kerry will be introducing himself to his agency's employees Monday after spending much of the weekend making connections with leaders around the world.
Kerry reached out to Israeli and Palestinian leaders in phone calls Sunday, assuring them the Obama administration will continue to pursue a Mideast peace agreement while recognizing the individual concerns on both sides.
On a busy first weekend as America's top diplomat, Kerry also spoke with his counterparts in Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Canada and Mexico. He also had lunch with George Shultz, secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan.
Kerry was sworn in Friday, succeeding Hillary Rodham Clinton in Obama's Cabinet.