John Kerry begins first day as secretary of state (VIDEO)


US Secretary of State John Kerry holds up his first diplomatic passport he received as an 11-year-old boy while making remarks to employees on his first day at the State Department on Feb. 4, 2013, in Washington, DC.


Chip Somodevilla

John Kerry took the reins of the State Department from Hillary Clinton on Monday, beginning his first full day as the new secretary of state.

In a brief address to employees, Kerry joked he had "big heels to fill" and jokingly asked "Can a man actually run the State Department?"

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The former Massachusetts senator succeeds not only Clinton, but also Condoleeza Rice, as sectretary of state.

Kerry was sworn in on Friday and was already busy this past weekend calling foreign leaders, The Associated Press reported

He spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, one day after speaking with Israeli President Shimon Peres, and pledged to visit the region as part of the peace process, according to AP.

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Kerry also talked with leaders from Canada, Mexico, Turkey, South Korea and Japan, BBC News reported.

He had lunch Saturday with former Secretary of State George Shultz, who served under President Ronald Reagan, and has now spoken with every living secretary of state, according to CNN.

The son of a foreign service officer who served in Vietnam, Kerry spent close to 30 years on Capitol Hill and served most prominently on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to Politico.