Kerry to give foreign policy-address on same night as Obama's speech

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a would-be candidate for secretary of State in a second Obama administration, has been tapped to deliver the main foreign-policy address on the same night President Obama will accept the Democratic nomination.

Kerry's role was largely expected since the campaign announced last week that he would be speaking at the convention in Charlotte, N.C. The timing of his speech on Thursday, however, confirms that the campaign sees national security — a weak point for Democrats historically — as a winner for Obama, with 54 percent of voters approving of his handling of foreign policy in a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

"The American people understand that President Obama has been a strong commander in chief, and we’re looking forward to highlighting these important issues at the convention,” a campaign official told The Hill. “Sen. Kerry will speak to how the president has restored America’s leadership in the world, has taken the fight to our enemies, and has a plan to bring our troops home from Afghanistan just like he did from Iraq. He will contrast the president's strong leadership in this area with Mitt Romney, who has embraced the go-it-alone, reckless policies of the past that weakened America’s place in the world and made us less secure here at home.”

It's a role Kerry has already embraced, notably with his appearance at the annual conference of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition last month, during which he extolled the “smart politics” of favoring development aid over military action.

“We have folks who want to slash our foreign aid and development investments and who are somehow pursuing a formula for isolation and for shrinking influence, at a time when that is exactly the opposite of what is in the interest of our nation,” Kerry said then.

He said the United States was facing a time of “great uncertainty” and “great promise” as democratic revolutions shake up the Arab world and new nations arise, “and how we respond today – what president we have, what party embracing what vision as we go forward from now – could not be more critical to our nation's fundamental economic and national security interests.”