A spokeswoman for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) dismissed questions surrounding his possible appointment to President Obama's cabinet, calling them a "ginormous waste of time."
"The speculation season is a ginormous waste of time. Senator Kerry's only focus is his job as senior senator from Massachusetts and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and that's not changing," Kerry spokeswoman Jodi Seth wrote in an email to The Hill.
Kerry has declined to comment on whether he'd be interested in taking either post, but he has been known to want the State Department job. Lawmakers and Democrats familiar with his thinking have expressed surprise at reports that he's being considered for Defense secretary. That speculation began after talk that Obama may want U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Clinton.
One Massachusetts Democratic strategist and former Kerry campaign adviser said it was unexpected.
"Everyone got thrown for a loop with the Kerry, Defense thing here," the strategist said.
And Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told The Boston Globe she "certainly was surprised about hearing it."
If Kerry is appointed to either post, and if he chooses to accept the nomination, his seat would be filled by a special election. Such a situation would provide recently-defeated Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) the opportunity to rejoin the Senate, after he steps down from his seat for Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren (D) this January.