The Associated Press reports:

Sen. John Kerry is angling to be the nation's top diplomat by being, well, diplomatic.

The longtime Massachusetts lawmaker has largely stayed quiet while President Barack Obama considers him for his next secretary of state. Kerry has asked his supporters to avoid lobbying the White House on his behalf. And he's defended his chief rival for the State Department post, Susan Rice, amid Republican criticism of her explanation of the deadly attack on Americans in Libya.

Kerry's strategy reflects what people close to the senator say is his disdain for some aspects of Washington's personnel politics. But it also underscores his awkward role in the process. If Obama taps Rice for the job Kerry covets, the senator will have to shepherd her nomination through the foreign relations committee he runs.

Moderate Republican senator Susan Collins endorsed Kerry for spot earlier today, according to the Wall Street Journal: "After a meeting with Ambassador Susan Rice Wednesday, GOP Sen. Susan Collins made one point clear: She’d prefer to see Sen. John Kerry as the next Secretary of State. Ms. Rice, seen as a front-runner for the Secretary of State position, attempted a charm offensive on Capitol Hill this week–with rocky results–as she tries to mend relations with Senate Republicans."

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