John Kerry

John Kerry Likely Secretary of State Nominee

Some Senate Republicans pointed to him as an example of a better choice than Susan Rice, who dropped out of the running yesterday

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When he ran for president, many in the GOP slammed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., pilloried for his late opposition to the Vietnam War and his famed flip on the conflict in Iraq. But, as criticism mounted against U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as the apparent frontrunner to become the next secretary of State, Kerry was publicly embraced by Republican colleagues in the Senate as a comparatively slam-dunk candidate to replace Hillary Clinton.

Now that Rice has withdrawn her nomination to the post, as NBC News reported exclusively on Thursday, all eyes turn to the onetime Democratic nominee. An official close to the process told NBC's Andrea Mitchell late Thursday that Kerry is now almost certain to get the job. "There were two people on the list," the person said. "Two minus one is one."