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. Debby

    I would like to see Evan Byah and Jim Webb in there.

    November 7, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Melissa Los Angles, CA

    There was a man who said that those who voted for McCain pay the majority of the taxes. Well i got news for you, My Husband makes a mid 6 figure income, and yes we voted for Obama. We didn't vote for him based on our taxes going up or fear of "spreading the wealth" we voted for him because he is not just for us rich people but for everyone. We have serveral friends who are phds and law types, but you know what? they choose to work the inner city jobs and do pro-bono work which doesn't reward financially enough to live in CA. So although their incomes maynot be 6 figures or even in the high 5 figure incomes, i admire what they do and greatly want them to have a tax cut. Their hearts are in the right place which i can't say for greedy, selfish people.

    November 7, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Praetorian

    Great choice...
    He's doing a great job–at a critical post...why make waves.
    As long as he is willing to continue the high level of excellence in job performance for a new President of a different party.

    November 7, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Mark L.

    The one thing I do want to say is at least President / VP-Elect Obama / Biden are displaying signs of true bipartisanship, which is a heckuva lot more than can be said for the GOP, in that he is willing to retain the current Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, and Chuck Hagel.

    WOO-HOOH !! 74.5 days left for Ol' Georgie Boy & 'Trickie' Dickie Cheney to be booted Out of Office !! Now that definitely calls for some serious celebration !!

    November 7, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. james

    Michael in LA:

    nearly 50% of the people in the US voted for Kerry in 04. This wasn't a rejection of him at all. It's good to have a person that is a believer in negotiations first , as the secretary of state. I see that many folks are still going to continue their crying about "liberals" even if they far out-perform the Bush Administration......keep up the voice though, as it's your right to free speech, one of those ammendments that the left is a strong believer of(and not just the 2nd ammendment).

    November 7, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Credit Card Republicans

    DAVE,we want ALL your money, you greedy thief.We didnt have a say for 8 years under your pick.

    November 7, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Jeff from Atlanta

    I did not vote for Obama but these are his choices and he will be judged by them. I plan on giving him the benefit of the doubt, it is all all best interest that he succeeds.

    I just hope with his inexperience that he's not in over his head.

    November 7, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. collette

    We would be overjoyed if John Kerry is chosen for Secretary of State. To have an eloquent, thoughtful man representing our country would be an excellent choice benefitting not only our country's citizens, but also the world's citizens. And, John Kerry's wife, Theresa, would add to the perfection of that picture... Great Choice! I hope it's true!

    November 7, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. M J

    Obama chose people who will work well together in getting a job complete, just like the way he ran his campaign. Obama is a winner. People act like he suppose to pick someone from a far distant planet. Change is coming and America is going to be a winner again.

    November 7, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Yakeroo

    Why not Colin Powell for Sec. of State? He's sharp and is already very familiar with the international landscape. Please do not choose Richardson or Kerry – we need strong, intelligent leadership in every Cabinet post and IMHO they just don't cut it.

    November 7, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. Andre

    It would indeed be wonderful to see a truely diversed qualified cabinet reflecting the make up of the American people.
    To date Trinidad & Tobago has been the only parliment in the Western Hemisphere or even the world to accomplish this.

    President Obama promised a different type of politics if elected. I would be saddened if more than half of his cabinet are made up of the same ole croonies.

    P.S Am hoping Hilliary Clinton is in President Obama's cabinet ... dealing with Health Care issues perhaps.

    November 7, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Greg M.

    Come on President Obama lets get busy, we have to start somewhere to fix up what the republicans have messed up , we know you have a hard job before you, the america people feel and know you are smart enough and able to handle the job thats why you are the PRESIDENT and not John McCain or any (Republicans). We all understand we can't clear this mess up over night, but thanks for going to work before day one of the job. you've started ahead of time. Take your time and lets get the world moving toward positive change. We can and yes we will. continue to communicate with us often by radio, tv please keep us informed. Thanks

    Obama 08'........................................................................................

    November 7, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  13. Mike in Charlotte

    please noooooo....I can't handle Kerry as Secretary of State.

    November 7, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Vic

    John Kerry, who lost to Bush in 2004 by 3 points, is ideal for Secretary of State. He is articulate, knowledgeable with the right demeanor, and certainly knows what the job is all about. For added good measure, his ethnicity (including Jewish and French) is right for the job. Holbrooke is good, I think, for the same reasons as Kerry, but Bill Richardson, who has held many positions in government, is okay, but not for this job. We wish PE Obama nothing but the best of luck in his choices.

    November 7, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Steve, Madison WI

    Hey Dave fro Central IL,

    It is funny how now that the shoe is on the other foot the Repubs want Obama to govern from the middle, let them have a say, etc.

    Wasn't this what your boy, W, promised (uniter, not divider) but then shunned any Dem input. Also the "up or down" vote party sure likes to use the filibuster.

    Also, it is irrelevant how many dollars of txes you pay – what % of your total income (before deductions, loopholes) did you pay. It is called your effective tax rate and the wealthy and corps have not been paying their share and you know it.

    What a hypocrit you and the rest of the Repubs are. After years of corporate and wealthy handouts, cronyism, and scandals (how many Repubs are in jail?) you really can't be serious. I voted for Reagan but the current Repubs do not deserve any consideration. Sit back and see how cooperative government really works.

    You are such a hypocrit.

    November 7, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. Vegas

    turn az blue

    wow... another educated voter!

    The Sec of State is Republican Jan Brewer who would take the position under State Constitution... But don't let facts get in your way.

    November 7, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. HouseDiva

    that what i want to see...some diversity in the administration.

    i'm sure that Obama will choose wisely.

    November 7, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Wqashington Observer


    Kerry, Dodd, Richardson, Jack Reed – These are names of the past.


    November 7, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. Chuck

    It is apparent that most of the bloggers here have no political prowess at all. All of the mentions that are being considered for appointment are very well versed in what would be their appointed position. Whether republican, democrat, men, woman, cats or dogs. I just want the best.

    November 7, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. JMB

    Paul Vallas for Secretary of Education. Please?

    November 7, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Lindsay

    How about we wait and see who he ACTUALLY picks before we all freak out?

    Just a thought...

    I mean, it seems like a lot of people are getting really worked up over something that hasn't even been officially announced. At this point it seems like speculation to me. Not something to stress about just yet.

    November 7, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. GA Independent

    Hillary should be in the list...

    I like Kerry, but not for Secretary of State. Too much baggage.

    I love the level of scrutiny and the excitement that continues. Let's hope that this Presidency will be as open after Inauguration Day – what a breath of fresh air that real live biz people are talking with the President Elect on matters that affect all of us instead of only the pols involved in the discussions.

    November 7, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. collette

    Please not Bill Richardson... He seems like a nice guy, a great friend, yet doesn't seem to have the level understanding/adding/questioning/contributing nuance to deep issues that our country needs in a Secretary of State.

    November 7, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. Ana Vamadeva

    What about John King? He sure does deserve a post for all his hardwork during the campaign. I mean it sincerely, with the magic electoral map creation, I think John should be offered a position in the Obama whitehouse as a HighTech Representative.

    Ana Vamadeva

    Mason, OH

    November 7, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. ATLian

    Obama ran a brilliant campaign and I am confident he will hire a brilliant cabinet.

    November 7, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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