As John Kerry's confirmation hearings begin, it's hard not to think of the young Kerry -- an angry, ambitious antiwar veteran -- who sat in that same spot 42 years ago. In 1971, 27-year-old Kerry made his first appearance before the Foreign Relations Committee, catapulting himself into the national spotlight and landing himself on 60 Minutes. In the above video player, watch Morley Safer's profile of the young Kerry, which includes excerpts of Kerry's controversial testimony on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and aired on May 25, 1971.
"This Administration has done us the ultimate dishonor," Kerry told the committee while wearing his military uniform. "They have attempted to disown us and the sacrifices we made for this country. We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this Administration has wiped their memories of us."
If you watch the young Kerry in action, you'll hear an accent -- and a lust for political office -- reminiscent of the Kennedys, and as Kerry admits to Morley Safer, it was JFK who had inspired him to pursue politics when Kerry was just 17. (He had a chance encounter with JFK while on a trip to the dentist near Boston's North Station.)
Kerry would join the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1985, and he has served as chairman of the committee since 2009. His confirmation hearings to become Secretary of State begin today.