Judges have heard them all, but one citizen called to serve in Dorchester District Court's jury pool yesterday had a new excuse, and it was pretty good: He had to be back in Washington to try to keep the nation from plummeting off the fiscal cliff.
"I have a vote at 5 o'clock today," U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry explained later outside the court.
The state's senior senator, who turns 69 tomorrow, was excused before lunch.
Kerry, who headed back to D.C. to tackle the looming tax-and-spending mess, said he believes Congress should work through the holidays to fix it.
"We have to do whatever's necessary to get the job done," Kerry said. "That's one of the reasons why I'm going back there. We have a lot of meetings, and we're working very hard to get it done. And we need to get it done."
Kerry insisted he is giving no thought to the other hot topic on Capitol Hill these days: whether he will be tapped to serve as secretary of state or lose out to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
"I'm trying to do my job, and I'm not speculating about anything," Kerry said. "I'm not comfortable with any of the speculation and I'm not going to get involved in it."
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