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Let the Cabinet shuffle begin

Nov. 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Now that President Obama has won a second term in office, preparations have started to fill the expected vacancies in his Cabinet.

His two most glaring vacancies: secretaries of State and Treasury. Hillary Clinton has said she would leave soon after the 2012 election as has Treasury chief Timothy Geithner.

Also hanging is the Commerce leadership role, currently filled by Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.

To replace Clinton, Democratic insiders have suggested U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is the front-runner, despite Republican criticism of her erroneous comments the Sunday after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four people died, ABC News reported.

Also considered a viable candidate is Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

To replace Geithner, White House chief of staff Jack Lew is thought to be favored, ABC News said. Other possible nominations include Neal Wolin, current deputy secretary of the Treasury, and Lael Brainard, now Treasury undersecretary for international affairs.

Other sources told ABC News consideration could be given to a business leader, such as investor Roger Altman, former Time/Warner chair Richard Parsons, and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg.

Any of the business leaders being discussed as successors to Geithner also could serve as Commerce secretary, for which Jeff Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, also is reported under consideration.

Security and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro announced Monday she would step down Dec. 14.

Kerry also could be considered to be tapped for Defense secretary if Leon Panetta departs as he has indicated. Another option, Michelle Flournoy, an ex-undersecretary of defense for policy, would be the first female to lead the Pentagon if she is nominated and approved by the U.S. Senate, ABC News said.

If Lew leaves the White House for Treasury, possible replacements include Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough or Vice President Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain, ABC News said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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