John Kerry on Wednesday ripped his former colleagues in Congress for contributing to public opposition to foreign aid during his first major address as secretary of State.

Kerry said many Americans believe that the United States spends 25 percent of its budget on foreign affairs, instead of the real figure of just over 1 percent. He said politicians looking for an applause line have contributed to that misperception.

“Where do you think this idea comes from?” Kerry asked. “Well I’ll tell you, it’s pretty simple. As a recovering politician, I can tell you that nothing gets a crowd clapping faster in a lot of places than saying: ‘I’m going to Washington to get them to stop spending all that money over there.’ ”

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