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. IowaMom

    I have come to the conclusion that for some, if Pres-Elect Obama solved all the world's problems on day one, they would still hate him and say horrible things about him and his supporters because there are just some people in this world who love being miserable!

    November 7, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. David

    Bill Richardson would make an excellent Secretary of State. No one else matches the quality of his experience, and no one is a better match for the temperament and philosophy of Barack Obama.

    Bill Richardson, hands down.

    November 7, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. James in Fla

    You need Colin Powell. Get him!

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Bernard Murphy

    Would be great if Colin Powell could play a role

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. HawkGuy

    I'd LOVE to see Bill Richardson as Sec of State. Chris Dodd would be okay but I'm not so sure about John Kerry in such a key diplomatic position.

    I like the idea of Colin Powell somewhere in this Admin - I've heard Education Sec rumored and that's intriguing.

    I also absolutely LOVE the idea of RFK jr as head of EPA or, at worst, Interior Sec.

    That said, I'm a little concerned about the number of names being floated for cabinet position being lifted from Congress. I'd rather not dilute the majority there and I'd like to see new blood and ideas from outside the Beltway come into the Admnistration rather than recycling the old. Some experienced Washington insiders in the Cabinet would be good but to evoke true change, new ideas and new blood are needed rather than changing titles for the existing congressional pool.

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. bnoonan


    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. T.O. for Obama

    Barack Obama carries himself with such extraordinary dignity .......this will make him a powerful role model for vunerable young people........ Just who he is and what he has achieved provides hope for the future.

    November 7, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    Well, that's a list...hopefully not the "final" list. I believe the most qualified people need to be in these positions. I also believe that all flavors need to be represented. I am a Democrat, but an American first. I have seen my country torn asunder by the demons of partisan politics. If you "need" to have a Dem as Sec of State, then Bill Richardson, please! Personally, I would love to see Powell get some vindication for his first term as Sec of State. I am fine with Gates, would love to see someone like Hagel step in afterwards.

    Let's just have true bipartisanship. Let's have change. Yes we can.

    November 7, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Susan, Macedon New York

    John Kerry for Sec State? What does Obama want to do – bore the world to death? The reason Kerry lost to Bush in 2004 was his lack of personality, plus he would never stand up to the attacks from people like the Swiftboaters. How How can Obama be sure he'll stand up to the Palestinians, the Russians or Iranians?

    Obama's got so much charisma and he's got the attention of the world right now. He needs a Secretary of State that can maximize that.
    Kerry simply won't do.

    November 7, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Ann

    Go Barack! Shake 'em up! We love you!

    November 7, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. God sent him

    Michael In La., I concur with you. I voted for change, therefore i need to see some new face building up Mr. Obama cabinet. We need a good Secretary of States, someone who can negotiate with people like Iran leader and Chavez.. Keeping Bob Gates as defense is a good idea. I support that. I hpoe he pick the best people for the job.

    November 7, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Beth

    Once again people...nothing...NOTHING...has been confirmed. This is all speculation. Why not wait until President Obama makes the choice and then complain. Or better yet...don't complain and see how things pan out.

    I swear...these blogs get worse by the minute.

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Milhouse van Houten

    If Gates doesn't stay on,my first choice for Defense Secretary would have to be Nelson Muntz.

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. AJ

    I think Obama needs to stop trying to reward people for endorsing him and worry more about picking the most effective person for the job. These lists look pretty sad.

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Crue

    John Kerry?? LOOOOOOL This is the change the majority voted for??

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Blas

    OB will get the best people in place. Trust him. His leadership will trump any foolishness.

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Never missed voting

    57 million people voted for BO.

    Most of that 57 million are those who have never voted before.

    So, in essence, they voted for a person with whom they can relate: no experience.

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Bruce

    Not kerry for Sec of State... not dodd either....

    Colin Powell shouold be an advisor to Obama,

    November 7, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. JV

    You can't bring in people completely foreign to Washington and expect to get things done.....see Jimmy Carter.

    Did you really expect him to bring in a staff of entirely new faces and say these are the top minds, the best political leaders? He would completely blasted straight from the get go.

    Who says people that aren't exactly new faces can't bring about change. it's definitely a change from Bush.

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. W. Greene

    John Kerry bad pick for Sec of State.

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Bill

    Kerry is a good man who had the presidency stolen from him. About time he got recognized. Get him on the Cabinet. Yeah!

    November 7, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Adam

    First, for those wondering why the Secretary of State would be a Democrat look at one detail. If he keeps Gates at Defense, he would need to appoint a Democrat to State to keep a bipartisan approach to foreign affairs. I personally would like to see Gov. Richardson (State) and Gates (Defense) in those positions. Plus, you cannot have a cabinet full of outsiders people. YOu just can't do it. You need people that can take Obama's vision and actually apply it to the real world. They man is going to have a top notch staff, so sit back and chill.

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Ed Nap

    Colin Powell Sec of State.
    John McCain Sec. of Defense.
    Warren Buffett Treasury Sec.

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Canadian for Change

    America's future

    I believe whomever President Elect Obama selects for cabinet will be the best choices, he ran a very smooth campaign, he did not fight
    DIRTY like the others, he is a very respectable and capable man to do what is necessary for the People of America. Canadians are behind you Obama.

    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. GARY


    November 7, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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