Anti-War Protester Interrupts Hearing, Kerry Says Outburst ‘Good Exclamation Point for My Testimony’

January 24, 2013 - 2:31 PM

Obama-Kerry

President Obama announces his nomination of Sen. John Kerry as the next secretary of state, at the White House on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) – A heckler interrupted Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) opening remarks at his confirmation hearing on Thursday to become the next Secretary of State, an outburst that Kerry defended as indicative of American democracy and which reminded him of his own political action against the Vietnam war some 42 years ago.

The young woman, dressed in a pink hat, called for an end to U.S. involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the heckler was removed from the room by Capitol Police, Kerry said the woman reminded him of his time as an anti-Vietnam war activist who, along with other protestors, “wanted to have our voices heard.”

During his testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kerry implied that freedom of speech is part of American democracy and said the protestor’s shouts were “a good explanation point to my testimony.”

In his opening prepared statement, Kerry referred to his military service during the Vietnam War but did not mention his testimony in 1971 before the same committee about some U.S. troops committing atrocities, such as raping civilians and beheading victims.

“And as we talk about war and peace and foreign policy, I want us all to keep in our minds the extraordinary men and women in uniform who are on the front lines, the troops at war who help protect America,” Kerry said. “As a veteran, I will always carry the consequences of our decisions in my mind and be grateful that we have such extraordinary people to back us up.”

Kerry is expected to be easily confirmed and will replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she steps down in March.