KERRY NOMINATED: On Dec. 21 President Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the son of a diplomat, to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was widely anticipated to receive the nomination. Obama was also expected to name former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as Defense Secretary. That did not happen, as opposition in the Senate and in wider Washington continued over Hagel’s past impolitic comments.

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