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Watch: Protester thrown out of Kerry hearing

Kerry then proceeded to defended the protester.

During a mid-morning confirmation hearing on the nomination of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for Secretary of State, a female protester started shouting from the back of the room.

Wearing a pink knit hat, she screamed, “what are American interests? We need peace with Iran!”

As security forced her out of the room, she continued shouting about friends who were dying in the Middle East.

As the hearing room settled back into stunned silence, Kerry did something even more shocking than the disruption: he defended the protester.

“I respect the woman who was voicing her concerns about that part of the world,” he said, adding that he too had come to Washington out of a desire to have a voice.

Kerry’s surprising comment is a reference to his own controversial past as an anti-war protester following a deployment as a young Navy officer to Vietnam. In one act of defiance, he threw combat medals and ribbons over a fence on the Capitol grounds.

There were no questions about Kerry’s antiwar past Thursday morning in confirmation hearings, but his history as a protester and conflicting reports about his service in Vietnam may have contributed to the failure of his presidential bid in 2004.

Written By

Hope Hodge first covered military issues for the Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., where her beat included the sprawling Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune. During her two years at the paper, she received investigative reporting awards for exposing a former Marine who was using faked military awards to embezzle disability pay from the government and for breaking news about the popularity of the designer drug Spice in the ranks. Her work has also appeared in The American Spectator, New York Sun, WORLD Magazine, and The Washington Post. Hodge was born near Boston, Mass., where she grew up as a lover of Revolutionary War history and fall foliage. She also discovered a love of politics and policy as a grassroots volunteer and activist on Beacon Hill. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King's College in New York City, where she served as editor-in-chief of her school newspaper and worked as a teaching assistant when not freelancing or using student discounts to see Broadway shows. Hope‚??s email is