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Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sits before the committee he has served on for 28 years and led for the past four as he seeks confirmation as U.S. secretary of state, Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kerry, who is likely to face friendly questioning on a smooth path to approval, is President Barack Obama's choice to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton who is stepping down after four years as America's top diplomat. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)