I don't think Senator John Kerry's expert diplomacy skills were ever in question, but if anyone did have any doubts, they were certainly laid to rest after his response to a protester during his confirmation hearing earlier Thursday.
As the former Democratic presidential candidate was finishing his prepared statements, a young woman began to scream. “You’re killing thousands of people in the Middle East who are not a threat to us! When is it going to be enough? I’m tired of my friends in the Middle East dying!” She was immediately escorted out of the room by security.
Kerry responded by recalling how he came to D.C. as a Vietnam War veteran and anti-war activist to testify before Congress in 1971.
“Well, you know, I’ll tell you, Mr. Chairman,” he said. “When I first came to Washington and testified, I obviously was testifying as part of the group of people who came here to have their voices heard. And that is above all what this place is about.”
Kerry continued: “So I respect, I think, the woman who was voicing her concerns about that part of the world, and maybe one of you have traveled there. Some of you were there recently. Senator McCain, you were just there, you were in a refugee camp, and I know you heard this kind of thing. People measure what we do. And in a way that’s a good exclamation point to my testimony.”
Kerry, President Obama’s nominee for secretary of state spoke in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he has chaired for the past four years, to praise by both Republicans and Democrats. He urged Congress to focus on the country’s fiscal state. “Foreign policy is economic policy,” he said. Kerry is expected to be voted in by the committee as soon as Monday or Tuesday. “I look at you, in being nominated for this, as someone who has almost led their entire life, if you will, for this moment, being able to serve in this capacity,” said the panel's top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.