GOP Says No to Rice but Loves ... Kerry? Perhaps Republicans respect long-time senator ... or just want his seat By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Nov 30, 2012 8:42 AM CST 30 comments Comments Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) (Newser) – The GOP may still be fiercely opposed to Susan Rice as the next secretary of state, but there's another Democrat that many Republicans seem to be solidly behind—John Kerry. The brutal criticisms Kerry faced as the Democratic nominee for president in 2004 have been replaced with talk of him as respected elder statesman, reports the New York Times. "I think he would do a great job," praised GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski. "Anyone who has worked with Senator Kerry knows his good, hard work ethic and his expertise on foreign relations." Similarly, Sen. Rob Portman called Kerry a "good choice," and Sen. John Barrasso confirmed, "I would support him." Ironically, Kerry seems to be much less popular a choice with Democrats, as many members of his party are determined to get Rice the job, especially in the face of perceived unfair treatment by the GOP. (And the Times notes that the situation is "awkward" for Kerry, too, as he must support Rice rather than air his own well-known interest in the position.) Of course, Republicans aren't likely just pushing Kerry out of love and respect: If he were to become secretary of state, that would open up a Senate seat in Massachusetts, opening the door for Scott Brown to rejoin their ranks. Brown, for his part, would only say, "I don't deal in hypotheticals."