Shuffling the secretary seats


As he begins his second term, President Barack Obama is likely weighing changes to his senior staff and Cabinet. While it's unclear who will stay or go, rumors abound.

With the recent resignation of General David Petraeus from the Central Intelligence Agency, President Obama is rumored to pick John Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser and a career CIA officer, as his replacement.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is 74 years old, has refused to speculate on whether or not he'll return for the next administration. Should he leave, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and Michele Flourney, the former undersecretary of policy at the Pentagon, are all said to be in the running for his job.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also rumored to be leaving the administration come January. Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is the heavy favorite to fill the role, though there may be some congressional backlash since her role in providing information around the Benghazi attack has been characterized as political. Sen. Kerry could also be considered for Clinton's position.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will reportedly be looking for the exit following the president's inauguration, and White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is said to be the favored replacement. Concerns, however, have been raised over Lew's former work with Citibank and a potential lack of expertise in financial regulation. Erskine Bowles, who served as President Clinton's chief of staff and was co-chairman of a bipartisan panel formed by Obama that drafted a plan to cut the deficit, is also in the running.

Ray LaHood is rumored to be stepping down from the post at Transportation, but the job may go to Eugene Skoropowski, who made a name for himself by managing California's Capitol Corridor railways.

Given his support throughout the re-election campaign, some say former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland might be in the running for the Secretary of Transportation or Housing and Urban Development slots.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is also expected to step down, possibly leaving a space for former Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers, head of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger, or even Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellin.

The Commerce Department, which is currently led by Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank because Secretary John Bryson resigned in June for health reasons, could also see a new head. Steve Case, co-founder of America Online, chairman of investment company Revolution and a member of the president's jobs council, is one of the few names mentioned for the shortlist.

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