FACTBOX - Obama's cabinet begins to take shape


  • World
  • Saturday, 22 Nov 2008

MYT 7:47:27 AM

REUTERS - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet is beginning to take shape.

He is expected to name New York Federal Reserve Bank president Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary, NBC News reported.

US Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) attend a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, in this file image from October 20, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Young/Files)

Here are people Obama has reportedly chosen or is considering for Cabinet posts. Many remain subject to vetting and all must be confirmed by the Senate before taking office.

TREASURY SECRETARY

Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, was reported by NBC News to be Obama's choice for the most closely watched appointment in the new administration, and Obama's point person in dealing with the economic crisis.

Geithner has helped to lead efforts to stabilize financial markets and argued that banks crucial to the global financial system should operate under a unified regulatory framework.

SECRETARY OF STATE

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's former rival for the White House, is said to have accepted the post of secretary of state, the New York Times reported. A senior Clinton adviser said the report was premature, but added that discussions with the Obama White House were "on track."

Clinton has a global profile both as a political leader in her own right and as the wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Policy analysts say her selection could mean a more hawkish U.S. stance, noting that she was more reluctant than Obama to commit to a firm timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

COMMERCE SECRETARY

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to tap New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as U.S. secretary of commerce, NBC News reported.

Richardson, a former United Nations ambassador and energy secretary during President Bill Clinton's administration, had been an early supporter of Obama after dropping his own presidential ambitions.

APPOINTMENTS

SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

* Tom Daschle, a key early supporter and savvy former U.S. Senate leader, was selected by Obama as secretary of health and human services, according to Democratic sources. In that role, he will be the top official spearheading Obama's effort to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system. The high-profile pick signals that the push to extend health coverage to the 46 million uninsured Americans be a high priority for Obama.

LEADING CONTENDERS

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER

* Retired Marine Gen. James Jones, the former top operational commander of NATO, is a leading contender for White House national security adviser.

Jones is widely respected by both Democrats and Republicans but has avoided aligning himself with either party.

He is known to have been a strong critic of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war and is quoted as describing the war as a "debacle," in Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward's 2006 book "State of Denial."

* James Steinberg, who was deputy national security adviser in Bill Clinton's administration, was also said to be under consideration.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

* Eric Holder, a former Justice Department official under the Clinton Administration, has accepted a conditional offer to become head of the Justice Department, Democratic officials said.

Holder, who served as deputy attorney general under Clinton, has been a senior legal advisor to Obama's campaign and helped vet Obama's vice presidential candidates. Before the offer becomes official, Obama's team is seeking to determine if Holder can win Senate confirmation with broad bipartisan support.

HOMELAND SECURITY

* Janet Napolitano, the Democratic governor of Arizona, is under consideration to head the U.S. Homeland Security Department, a sprawling agency formed to bolster civil defense following the Sept. 11 attacks.

"She's in the mix. She may be the front-runner," a Democratic official told Reuters.

Napolitano, 50, is a former U.S. attorney for Arizona and state attorney general, giving her law enforcement experience and is as governor of a state bordering Mexico, she also is closely involved in immigration issues which also come under the Homeland Security Department's purview.

OPEN RACES

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

* Current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, named by President George W. Bush in late 2006, is considered a moderate voice on the Republican's national security team and could embody an important signal of continuity.

* Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican senator from Nebraska, has been a foreign policy adviser to Obama and a strong critic of the Iraq war.

* Richard Danzig, an adviser to Obama on national security and Clinton-era Navy secretary, has been mentioned by many in the media as a possible defense secretary or deputy defense secretary.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY

* Tom Vilsack, former governor of Iowa, is an attorney who specializes in energy conservation, renewable energy and agribusiness development.

* Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, re-elected to a second term in 2006, is a strong Obama supporter and had been considered a potential running mate for Obama.

* Charles Stenholm, a former Democratic congressman from Texas, might also be considered. He was a cotton producer before running for Congress. He followed agricultural issues closely until he lost his seat in the 2004 election.

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