November 7th, 2008
01:35 PM ET
14 years ago

List emerges for Cabinet posts

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Current Defense Secretary Robert Gates is likely to stay at the post, a source tells CNN."](CNN) - Barack Obama is considering a mix of Washington insiders and high-profile business executives to head various cabinet positions, one source involved in the cabinet gathering process told CNN.

For Secretary of State, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is high on the list. Also on the list is Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a former presidential candidate who endorsed Barack Obama early in the Democratic primary season. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke are also interested in the job.

For Secretary of Defense, there are indications current Defense Secretary Robert Gates will stay at the post "for a certain period." Gates, the former CIA Director under the first President Bush, has been praised by members of both parties for his leadership at the Pentagon over the last two years. Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, a former United States Army Captain and a member of the Armed Services Committee, is acting as the go-between with Gates.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, who also served as that state's attorney general, is said to be a "very real possibility" for U.S. attorney general. Napolitano, who also endorsed Obama early in the primary process, was named earlier this week to the Obama transition team.  She's also served as a U.S. attorney from Arizona.

For Secretary of Commerce, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Time Warner Chairman Dick Parsons, prominent Chicago Businesswoman Penny Pritzker, and University of California economist Laura Tyson are all under consideration.

One problem: the Obama administration wants a diverse cabinet, and that means everything is still up for grabs.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (396 Responses)
  1. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Can we build a new and better structure using the same old "tools"?
    Yes we can!!!!

    Can we sail a new course with the same crew?
    Yes we can!!!

    I am impressed by the brilliance of our new Commander-in-Chief "elect"
    and we should trust him to set the course.

    November 7, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Tim


    If you'd like to try, you are welcome to come over and make me sit down and shut up.

    November 7, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. June Castelli

    John Kerry does not seem strong enough for the Secretary of State choice. Is there any possibility of getting Colin Powell at this important time in our Nation's future?

    November 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Tim

    John Kerry for Secretary of State. He can wind surf in and save the day!

    November 7, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Colin Powell Sec of State!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Truth Hurts

    Obama will ensure that he has a bunch of low end Democratic has Been Puppies in his cabinet because he is so insecure. He cant afford to have anyone challenge his ego and status.

    At least Bush surrounded himself with people who were NOT like him, not Old White Men, to run the country.

    Obama is the exact opposite, he is going to surround himself with Old White Democratic Party Hacks as payback for them Allowing him to be President.

    Wow talk about Role Reversal.

    Truth Hurts

    November 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. richardc

    "I hope the economy worsens and all you Obama supporters get what you deserved. He and his buddies in congress will push there liberal agendas and when the Mid Term Elections come, the Republicans will take back the House.

    Palin 2012"

    Brian, you're certainly a bright candle in the chandelier. Did you shoot yourself in the foot with your gun?

    November 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. ez

    He needs to have Chuck Hagel as Sec. of State and Colin Powell as Defense Sec. and get rid of gates.

    November 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. FreeNLovIt

    For Secretary of State, I would love to see younger guys with potentials for growth, instead of these old-gray haired folks...

    How about that young INDIANA Governor and that young VA Governor that Obama wanted to pick as his VPs?

    November 7, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Glenn

    From what I heard so far Obama’s list is impressive. Cnn has talked extensively with
    people which are held in high regard. And most agree that Obama has used thoughtfulness and intellect when preparing his list for cabinet positions.
    The underlying rationale for selecting anyone of these politicians in to work with the best
    People available.

    November 7, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. america wins

    who ever president obama chooses will be good, it's his choice.

    November 7, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Haters

    Just remember they spinned and spinned about how he should pick Hillary for his VP and how they ran ramped with who he is vetting. The outcome, he chose who he thought would compliment him and his views. He didn't let the media and the pundets pressure him into anything; likewise he will do the same with his cabinet. President-Elect Obama is no push over and he dosen't give into pressure and what others think he should do. He is a logical thinker and he process things over and seek out valued prospects to put with his own conclusions and decision making process. Then and only then will America know his decisions; so don't give into all this flutter from the pundets. They don't know and want know until he announces it to all America. So just be patient and wait; we all know that his man has good judgement and remember is looking out for us all as a whole.

    November 7, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. FreeNLovIt

    Romney mentioned that a Prez should just be 4 years? This is my take. If you have the potential to be a great leader, we should hire you for 4 more years. If YOU bring a lot of problems and trouble, like W, we should KICK U out before something else happens.

    In 4 years, you're just getting good.... for a great politician...

    November 7, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Louie

    This is not a popularity contest. President-elect Obama is looking at who can actually perform these jobs, regardless of age, ethnicity, current position, party, etc. Of course he will want people who see the problems more as he does, not as Bush or McCain would have. The change is in the leadership (Obama) and the tone he sets for whoever he selects to do these jobs. Bush tied the hands of people like Colin Powell and others, Obama will have a more open and receptive administration to hear others ideas and especially the facts on the ground. That is the change, not that we must have newborn babes in every position who have never held a responsible position in government.

    November 7, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Glen,

    Someone said that the press wouldn't choose Obama's cabinet, how silly, they chose him as your President before you even knew he existed. No President-elect has had such a sweet ride to the White House by a fawning press.

    November 7, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. jeff in MA

    Hey Frank G,
    People can blog, vent ideas, and still have a life too, its called multi-tasking, like complaining about bloggers while blogging and being a hypocrite.

    November 7, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Mark

    William of S. Florida, Your selections are OK, if not a little provacative. However, Wesley Clark is not qualified to be the Secretary of Defense. I personally remember him when he was a one-star general. He couldn't lead a horse to water, much less our military. He's always been a politician, not a leader. Now, Russell Honore would shake 'em up.

    November 7, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Mark from Connecticut

    Folks, the reason people are so mad is not because Lieberman decided to support McCain. It's because Lieberman decided to speak at the Republican convention, traveled around the country chanting "Maverick! Maverick!", and going into the gutter to bring Jeremiah Wright into the conversation over the final week of the campaign. Joe Lieberman has no place in the Democratic party and his career is OVER in Connecticut!

    November 7, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Maurice-canadian thought.

    Many shallow comments which indicates the bitterness of a losing bunch. The president-elect and hiv VP are holding a news conference shortly; listen and learn. These name tossed-up are speculators wishes.

    he is man enough to decide whom he sees as suitable in these times, to tackle the present state of the economy and the other glaring pieces of rubble, that George and his losing bunch have left.

    All who are praying for failure; how much failure can you ask for, that you do not have with the Republicans.

    November 7, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    To RichardC

    It took 8 years for the ELEPHANTS to spend 8 trillion dollars and you're only giving the DONKEYS 4 years to pay it all off? I dont think it's fair.

    Starting now and with a futuristic leader, it will take 10 years for us to WARP into an economic power house.

    With the wrong man (McCain), we will NEVER recover. These problems need someone young, dynamic and with abilities to learn and grasp complex ideas, Obama is DA man!!

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Mickie

    Richard – sounds like a true republican who doesn't care how much everyone, including himself, suffers as long as he gets his way. Those are the lambs the republicans hold on to forever.

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |

    cnn your pet won so why are you still blocking ; We'll get there not in the first year not in the first term perhaps not in Obama's lifetime
    "yes we can" good slogan I promise we'll get there...yes we can
    once more America you have been duped..yes he did..

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Angel

    Since new people aren't going to suddenly fall out of the sky, I respect Obama's current choice for Chief of Staff and the other potentials he has in line for other positions. He's smart and the people he selects will be the best. Change will come because it has to. The greedy republicans messed things up so badly it can not stay the same, but you need the best possible people to do it and that is what he's lining up. Those who support his vision and agenda. I am behind him 100%.

    Of course, those who supported McCain are going to criticize his every step. Obama is a black man in the position that they were convinced was divinely given for only them and their prosterity. The memo they missed is the same one Sarah Palin has received. If you're not super rich we don't want you either...except to use your ignorance and pathetic ability to believe the most ridiculous things to further our agenda. However, lucky for them, they will also reap the benefits of Obama's successes along with the rest of us.

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. Tim

    FreeInLovIt "If you have the potential to be a great leader, we should hire you for 4 more years."

    Thank you, I couldn't agree more. Too bad Bush couldn't run for another 4 years.

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Michael Joseph

    Obama is doing a good job so far on his cabinet.

    The one thing that I would encourage people to remember is that he is not black or African american, he is half white and half black. That is called a mulatto.

    I take offense to this because I myself am a mixed american, and calling him black or african american is basically stating that we dont exist.

    At any rate, Im glad that Obama is taking this approach in forming his cabinet. Obama's presidency is not only the result of racial progress, but also of many white people who chose not to embrace the rhetoric of hate, but chose to put their trust in Obama, despite his color.

    Once again, we have affirmed that America is singularly the greatest country on the face of this planet, and let us all do our part to keep it that way.

    November 7, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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