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Election over, talk in Mass. turns to next one

Associated Press Published: November 11, 2012

Publicly, Kerry has said he's focused on his day job, but the speculation around his possible appointment as secretary of state has surged.

Kerry gave an impassioned defense of Obama during the Democratic National Convention. Current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has already said she doesn't want to serve another four years.

Despite his loss, Brown has several factors in his favor as a potential candidate: He remains popular, his name recognition is high and he has a statewide political organization.

Whether he wants to endure a third Senate race is an open question, although Brown, deliberately or not, helped stoke expectations during his concession speech when he said, "There are no obstacles you can't overcome and defeat is only temporary."

Asked this week about the possibility of a Kerry departure — which would suddenly make her the state's senior senator — Sen.-elect Warren praised Kerry while tamping down expectations.

"Sen. Kerry is an enormously talented man and a dedicated public servant. I have no doubt he would make an extraordinary secretary of state, but right now he's making tremendous contributions to our country through his work in the United States Senate," Warren said.

Political watchers have also been abuzz about Patrick's future. That buzzing only grew louder at the end of the week when Patrick and wife Diane were invited to a "social dinner" with Obama at the White House.

Patrick, a friend of Obama with whom he shares Chicago roots, played a prominent role in the president's re-election campaign. He delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention and served as a frequent surrogate for Obama in television appearances.

Patrick has tried to squash talk of any role in an Obama second term, pledging to serve out his final two years as governor.

If Kerry becomes secretary of state, however, Patrick must name an interim senator to fill the vacancy until a special election is held.

Patrick, who said Kerry would be a "terrific secretary of state," said he hasn't thought that far ahead.

"I don't have a secret list," Patrick said. "This is all wild speculation."