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Kerry on first day at State: 'I have big heels to fill'

The department has come under withering criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill following the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, whom Kerry honored by name.

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“I pledge to you this: I will not let their patriotism and their bravery be obscured by politics,” Kerry said to sustained applause.

“And I guarantee you that beginning this morning when I report to duty upstairs, everything I do will be focused on the security and safety of our people. We have tough decisions to make, but I guarantee you that I will do everything I can to live up to the high standards that Secretary Clinton and her team put in place.”

He went on to reassure his new employees that he was one of them. Kerry said he had the diplomatic service “in his genes” and recalled that he got his first diplomatic passport when he was 11 years old, as the son of a Foreign Service officer.

For more on Kerry's remarks, click here.