The advent of Obama’s second term means it’s time to change partners in the White House square dance. Depending on how many spots open up, there could be a lot of new blood in the White House. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have already announced their imminent departures; among others who may follow suit are Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric Holder. This offers President Obama a chance to do some reshaping of his cabinet.
So who’s on the president’s short list? Speculation has circled around Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and former Romney rival Jon Huntsman to fill the Secretary of State post. Names being bandied about for Geithner’s position include Chief of Staff Jack Lew and former Clinton chief Erskine Bowles (of Bowles-Simpson fame), or even former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, a Republican. Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, Defense, Undersecretary Ashton Carter and former Defense Undersecretary Michele Flournoy have shown up as possibilities for Defense Secretary. Some Californian names have come up as well: Howard Berman, newly ousted from his congressional seat, was suggested by one pundit for Energy Secretary if Steven Chu decides to step down, and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has done his best to keep his profile high in Washington, was said to be briefly in play for Transportation Secretary.
Who would you like to see in place during the next administration? Who should step down? With the fiscal cliff looming, threats to the economy here at home and abroad, and peaceful solutions still out of reach in the Middle East, what are the most crucial seats to be filled?
Edward-Isaac Dovere, deputy White House editor, Politico