With Susan Rice out of the running, a senior administration official announced earlier today that Senator John Kerry has been tapped to take the reins from Secretary of State Clinton at Foggy Bottom.

An elder of the Democratic foreign-policy establishment, Mr. Kerry, 69, has long coveted the job of secretary of state. He built close ties to Mr. Obama, giving him the keynote speech assignment that helped begin his national political career at the Democratic convention in 2004 and becoming an early Senate supporter of Mr. Obama’s presidential run.

Mr. Kerry has carried out several diplomatic missions for the Obama administration, helping to persuade President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to agree to a runoff election in 2009. Early in the administration, he also tried to engage President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has waged a brutal crackdown on his own people as he fights to cling to power.

No announcements have been made about nominations for Secretary of Defense or the CIA, which will give everyone another couple of days to be really civil about the speculation.

Kerry Is Pick for Secretary of State