Kerry Stresses Coordination With Clinton on Afghan Mission

Posted October 21, 2009 at 1:29pm

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Wednesday met with President Barack Obama at the White House to report on his trip to Afghanistan, where the Senator scored a diplomatic coup for the administration by persuading President Hamid Karzai to stand for a runoff election.Kerry, whose unusual role has garnered accolades — but also some questions about what he was doing subbing for the Obama team — was eager to dispel any notion that he was seeking to undermine Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.“I thought it was important not to take some steps in a freelancing way,— Kerry told reporters at the White House following his session with Obama. “I was in touch with the secretary of State constantly,— he said. “I appreciate the way she embraced my role,— he added, saying he and Clinton made a “great team.—Kerry said his presence in Kabul, during which he spent hours in one-on-one meetings with Karzai and additional sessions with others, was serendipitous. “I planned a fact-finding mission,— he noted, and happened to be on hand when the election crisis emerged.It was just “fortuitous that I was there,— Kerry said.