CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Senator John F. Kerry today hinted he will endorse Elizabeth Warren as early as next week and also begin the process of trying to boost her Senate campaign in Massachusetts by challenging the record of his junior colleague, Senator Scott Brown.
Closing out a speech to the state’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention, Kerry said Warren was right to focus the night before on their party’s effort to promote the middle class, over what he labeled as the Republicans’ concern for the needs of the top 1 percent of income earners.
“We have an opportunity to elect an outstanding US senator who can be part of the team,” Kerry said as his audience of fellow Democrats cheered him. “I want to stay as chairman of the (Senate Foreign Relations) committee, not back to ranking member. I want Harry Reid there, ready to fight as majority leader. We need Elizabeth Warren. Get the job done.”
Brown spokeswoman Alleigh Marre shot back: “This election isn’t about if Senator Kerry and Senator Reid get to keep their jobs. It’s about if the people of Massachusetts get to keep theirs.”
Later, speaking the reporters, Kerry avoided a question about whether Brown’s political record – which has led the Republican to be ranked by one publication as the second-most bipartisan member of their chamber – offered just the kind of political compromise the senator says is needed in American politics.
“What I want to do is first explain why I’m supporting Elizabeth, and I will do that somewhere in the next few days, and then we will go into the differentials and other pieces of it. But there’s plenty of time for that,” said Kerry.
As for his own political future, the senator gave a long pause when asked about the prospect of serving as secretary of state should President Obama win a second term.
Kerry is delivering the convention’s major address on national security issues tonight, the same evening that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will accept their respective nominations and draw the convention to a close.
Such a prominent role has only fueled speculation ignited by Kerry’s committee work and as an unofficial administration envoy to world hotspots.
“I have no plans other than what I’ve said 100 times, which is to run for reelection,” said Kerry, who is slated to be on the ballot in 2014. “It is what it is. I’m not speculating.”
The senator also explained why he was caught on camera yawning as Warren delivered her own speech to the convention on Wednesday night.
“I actually twisted my knee and was on four Advils. That’s where it was coming from,” he said with a laugh.Glen Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.