There will be a lot of changing faces in President Obama’s presidential Cabinet when he officially begins his second term in 2013, as a half a dozen Cabinet members will more than likely step down from their positions.
This includes the four most important members of the presidential Cabinet: the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General.
It has been confirmed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasure Secretary Tim Geithner and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will make no longer be working under the Obama Administration come January. Attorney General Eric Holder has also showed signs of leaving.
There’s been a lot of speculation about who Obama will appoint as new Cabinet members in order to fill the vacancies in the senior-level government positions who generally act as heads of the federal executive departments.
Here’s a rundown of the perspective candidates up for the four top-tier Cabinet positions.
Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton has done an amazing job as the Secretary of State, the chief position within the cabinet, and has pulled in high approval rating among the American people and the international community. The State Secretary is responsible for heading the Dep. of State and handling foreign affairs. Anyone who fills this position is fourth in line from succeeding as president if something was to happen to the commander-in-chief, VP, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Whoever fills Clinton’s role has big shoes to fill, as she has become a highly famed and respected politician. There are currently three people who will possibly step into Clinton’s role.
Massachusetts Senator and former Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry is a strong contender for this role. He is also the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. However, if he was to be appointed, his Senate seat would be up for grabs in a special election, which could give GOP Scott Brown another opportunity to run for the Senate.
Another name mentioned is U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, who Obama reportedly favors for the position, despite the fact that she claimed that the US attacks in Benghazi were spurred from a spontaneous demonstration, which later proved to be false.
According to the Daily Beast:
A Democrat with ties to the White House says: “Obama is feeling feisty. He wants her. She’ll get knocked around (in the Senate-confirmation process), but he thinks she can handle it.”
Tom Donilon, the National Security Adviser, could also be appointed to this position. However, his low key profile might work against him since Obama reportedly wants to fill this position with someone who’s in the spotlight.
Secretary of Treasury:
The Treasury Secretary will have a lot of work to do being that the economy is still in need of a lot of work.
It’s likely that Obama will move Jacob Lew, his Chief of Staff, to the Treasury, however he will then have to recruit someone new if the Chief of Staff position becomes vacant.
It was previously rumored that former Clinton Administration official and NC Senate candidate Erskine Bowles could be chosen for this role due to his work on the debt commission.
Secretary of Defense
Michele Flournoy could possibly become the first female to take the Defense seat, taking over for Leon Panetta, a former CIA Director, who will step down from his role as Secretary of Defense. Flournoy already broke the glass ceiling as one of the leading officials in the Pentagon during her time as the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. At the Pentagon, she deployed special US forces to help train the Ugandan military to fight rebel groups, lead efforts in response to the crisis in Yemen and Syria, implemented large defense budget cuts and help led efforts to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.
If she doesn’t make it as to the head of the Defense Department, then Flournoy is likely to become the national security adviser should Donilon move on.
Another contender is former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, a moderate GOP member and a Vietnam Veteran. By appointing the vet, Obama would fulfill to work across the party aisle and appoint Republicans.
Attorney General Eric Holder seems noncommittal in continuing his head role in the Department of Justice. If he does step down, there is speculation that the Department of Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano could move over into this position. Her eagerness and resume make her the perfect candidate since she served as a two term governor in Arizona and as the AZ state attorney general.
Of course, putting Napolitano at Justice would create another opening at DHS for the president to fill.
Other names mentioned include Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who aides deny their boss wants the job but that, of course, is standard operating procedure in the Cabinet shuffle.
Sheldon Whitehouse, who was just re-elected as a Senator in Rhode Island, also denies that he is aiming for a seat in the Cabinet.