Was this all part of a master plan by John Kerry? Now that Susan Rice has dropped out of the race to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is presumed to be the leading contender. Although there could be other candidates Obama is considering, observers have noted that Kerry and Obama have a strong bond. Kerry selected Obama to speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which launched Obama into the national spotlight. Kerry also endorsed Obama at a crucial moment in the 2008 campaign: just after he lost the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton.