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FixCam Week in Preview: The Cabinet Parlor Game

VIDEO | FixCam Week in Preview: The Cabinet Parlor Game

The election may be over but the silly season has begun again as speculation runs rampant about who President-elect Barack Obama will choose for his Cabinet.

List after list has already been produced detailing the likely picks despite the fact that Obama's closest aides insist -- publicly and privately -- that the process is less advanced than these lists assume.

On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett had this to say about the timing of filling the Cabinet:

"I think everything is a possibility right now. I think, you know, you're, you're asking me these questions just a few days into the transition. I think that, in a sense, putting together the Cabinet is like a jigsaw puzzle, and he wants to make sure that it represents the diversity of our country, diversity in perspectives, diversity in race, diversity in geography."

The Fix LOVES puzzles -- crossword more than jigsaw -- and we'll be following all of the twists and turns of the Cabinet over the next weeks (and maybe even months).

It's clear from conversations with those close to Obama that the conversations about Treasury Secretary are more advanced than about any other major post in the Administration with the possible exception of the national security posts.

The most serious contenders appear to be former Clinton Administration Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, the head of the New York Federal Reserve.

That pick won't likely come this week (no major appointments are expected) but it will be among the first major decisions of the president-elect, according to Obama insiders, as Obama looks to reassure skittish markets about his approach to the fiscal crisis currently gripping the country.

Other major Cabinet postings -- Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Attorney General -- appear to be in a less advanced stage so any announcement on those jobs in the very near future would be considered a surprise by insiders.

Crave even more information on the Obama transition? Make sure to check out the new Federal Page that includes Al Kamen's new "Loop" blog.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 10, 2008; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama's First Press Conference: Mission Accomplished?
Next: Jindal: Never Vetted for VP


Attorney General - John Edwards

Sec of Defense - Dennis Kucinich

Posted by: leapin | November 10, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Secretary of Energy should be Al Gore.

Posted by: svreader | November 10, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

rep to the UN kennedy
EPA Kennedy (Robert might be sec of energy too)

Posted by: klondike2 | November 10, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

since I have a pretty good track record...(I picked Biden and Emanuel) these are my guesses

Clinton as Secretary of State if she'll do it.

bottom line is if Obama is the guy I think he is...he wants the most effective person in the role...

there is absolutely no question that Kerry, Richardson or hagel brings the effect of Having Hillary walk in to the meetings and negotiations...none of the others bring the heft that Hillary would to that position (and anyone who has read a comment by me knows I was not a Hillary fan during the primaries)

there is absolutely no cogent argument against that.

so if Obama is the guy i thought he was whe I said he would pick Biden and Emanuel...he will at the least ask Hillary... whether she realizes that is her most effective way to get to the white house if she wants it next time or a whole other issue.

Treasury Sommers done deal

Sec of defense Gates

National Security Hagel Richardson maybe or Kerry

Secretary of Homeland Security - Hagel or Powell.

Secretary of Energy - Schwarzenegger or Granholm

Sec of Health and Human services - Dean, Daschle or a republican

Secretary of the Interior - granholm or daschle

Secretary of Ed - Powell...or a CEO like Bill Gates

Posted by: klondike2 | November 10, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The trick is for Obama to appoint the far left extremists who follow his idealogy while maintaining the illusion of centrist government. This is a tough balance to maintain.

His chief of staff pick says it all when it comes to how Obama actually feels about bipartisanship and "change."

Posted by: Cryos | November 10, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Scrivener, it does contain advertising.

Right in your member profile, it states that you are available for freelance assignments in various media. That's self-promotion.

And having people link to your member page or your "articles" obviously increases your score on that site, which increases your visibility. If you were just interested in disseminating information, you would link to articles OTHER THAN YOUR OWN.

I don't have a problem with your approach. If your articles were more than conspiracy-theory rants then it might be effective. But my real goal here was just to let others, like Blarg, know why there is no point in arguing with you here.

You aren't interested in the truth, only in mouse-clicks.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | November 10, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse


I have a better one..."Secretary of the Dog House"

below...found this guy on petfinder...tell me he is not perfect...

Name's Brady
a puppy
from IOWA (recommended from a guy from NH)
half black lab
half poodle (they believe)

has Barack's ears.

is a rescue.

and no one can tell me that this does not look like America's first dog.

I am not a poodle guy and this dog...looks the All American mutt we all want to be greeted by...

check it out and pass him along...

(and being from New England...Brady is a pretty good name...haha)

Posted by: klondike2 | November 10, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

To: mikeinmidland:

That, and two bits, will buy you a pay phone call.

My web site carries no advertising. There is no financial incentive here.

My motivation is to tell a story that the mainstream media (from which I come) has not told.

Perhaps before you ascribe motive, you should bother to read my work. Here's that link again:

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Scrivener!

You are now ranked 35th on the NowPublic website. I just checked out the site, despite having no interest in the stories you repeatedly link to, just to figure out your motivation.

Blarg, here is your answer. Anyone who repeatedly posts the same post, with a link, is trying to drive traffic to that link. Period.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | November 10, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse


Can the expression of opinion ever be labeled as "false information"?

... only by those who think they have a monopoly on the truth.

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Ronnie Earle for AG?

In my mind he was the guy that started the republican rout.

May not get confirmed though.

Posted by: essexsam | November 10, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Scrivener, you claim that I'm a disinformation agent who's trying to discredit you. But you don't need to be discredited. You keep posting theories (stated as facts), which are always wrong. You discredit yourself. And if I'm a paid disinformation agent, why are you the one who's always posting false information? Who's paying you to lie?

I remember your theories because you've posted each of them dozens of times. When people point out the huge logical flaws in your arguments, we're ignored, as you continue pasting the same ridiculous posts over and over. If you're impressed by my ability to remember something I've read repeatedly on the Internet, that says more about your own intelligence than it does about my own capabilities.

Posted by: Blarg | November 10, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Diversity is great, but competence is more important--especially after the last eight years.

I think Republicans like Rep. Shays (SEC?), Sen. Chafee and Sen. Hagel could be fine choices to show bipartisanship--even Sen. Gordon Smith (HHS?), but they need more than just a familiarity with the department to become difference-makers that we need.

Much as I used to like him, Colin Powell erased much of his credibility with his pro-war UN speech.

One of the most important positions that need filling is at DoJ. While I like Patrick Fitzgerald's independence, I don't know if he's an administrator and leader. Iglesias brings the same reservations.

And I'm not excited about retaining Sec. Gates, or for that matter Bernanke. Not because they may be partisan, but because I think we can do better in those roles.

Posted by: bulldog6 | November 10, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

To mark_in_austin:

I think it's obvious from my post, below, "Obama's Most Pressing Task," why, in my opinion, Mukasey should be asked to stay on.

But here's one specific: Mukasey has followed up on Gonzales' dismissal of the U.S. attorneys, issuing a report that criticized the administration's handling of the matter, and was in fact sponsored for his position by several powerful Congressional Democrats with a history of defending civil liberties, including Sen. Chuck Schumer.

WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER? Not as long as government-supported "extrajudicial targeting" squads are "community stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I want webb for sec defense

Then Kaine can promote Brian Moran for senator, creigh Deeds can get Govenor,

and Brian Morans house seat can go to a neighbor of mines!

Posted by: pvogel88 | November 10, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Scrivener, repeated references to one's own blog and to the opinions therein is annoying to most of us. I find StreetCorner more annoying than I do you by an order of maginitude, and I found "svreader", in the Spring, to be be so annoying that I copied and saved his posts, to throw back at him whenever he appeared and posted off topic.

You are much brighter than StreetCorner and you have never posted hate mail as both Street Corner and "svreader" did. But every word Blarg wrote about your posts is true, and you do yourself no favor by attacking him for recalling facts.

On point, I was struck by your high opinion of Mukasey. I think he has done good cleanup work after Gonzo, but I do not think he would even be the best R for the job in a BHO Admin. So I want to know the specifics of that support your high opinion of MM. Thank you in advance for engaging, on topic.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 10, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

One final comment:

I know that the Obama camp is notoriosly tight-lipped, but what about the creation of a new arm of goverment:


headed by the Secretary of Sustainability.


****** Who else will be in a position (other than Obama himself) to connect the dots between starvation, ecological catastrophies, terrorism, failed nation states, climate change and investments in greentech???

again, I think the main stream media has done a crap job at reporting on these types big picture stories, I reccommend reading putting your eyes on the influx points -- sites like , engadget and WIRED mag

put you at the intersetion of public policy/veture capital and 21st century innovation.

Posted by: watersandwind | November 10, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

scrivener50 there is a black helicopter coming to get you, to give you your meds. Please wait outside for it an leave this place for serious adult discussions please.

Posted by: dopper0189 | November 10, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse


In response to your recitation of Scrivener's "greatest misses":

1. "Obama is unelectable." Like Mark Penn, I underestimated the ability of the American electorate to vote their pocketbooks and not their prejudices. I'm glad I was wrong.

2. I still think that if Hillary had mounted an all-out fight, she could have wrested the nomination from Obama. Again, I'm glad I was wrong.

3. When Biden said in the fall that Hillary would make a stronger VP candidate, I thought he was sending a message that he'd be stepping aside. Again, I'm glad that was just some loose talk, because Biden has proven himself to be a real ace in the hole. In hindsight, Hillary as VP would have alienated many of the independents that Obama won over to his side.

4. On Palin, I underestimated the good sense the GOP and the McCain campaign. Had Palin been replaced by Mitty Romney, we may have had a much different outcome. In this case, I was guilty of overestimating their judgment.

5. On electronic voting machines, I don't recall making any such "breathless declaration" that the election would be stolen. I did say that the lack of a noter-verified paper trail leaves the electoral system vulnerable to that outcome. And, given the closeness of some of the vote tallies, along with the claim that fewer people voted in this election than in the last cycle, I wonder whether some electronic voting peculiarities did in fact leave some votes unrecorded, or "flipped" from one candidate to another.

But you would call such speculation another conspiracy theory, wouldn't you?

I do find it remarkable that you were able to instantly recall this particular poster's comments with such precision. If I asked whether that's an indication that you are among the disinformation agents who troll these sites to discredit those who express "contrary views," I suppose that would be yet another conspiracy theory to you.

Thanks (I think) for paying attention... One of the beauties of freedom of speech is the right state one's opinions, be proven wrong, and still retain the right to speak.

You, of course, don't have to listen.

If I'm so "incredible," why have you kept listening to the point of being able to instantly regurgitate my opinions?

Are you "keeping book," Blarg? For whom?

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Agreed Richardson would be better than Kerry.

Hagel allow Obama to look bi-partisan.

But, politics is politics. If it wasn't for John Kerry there wouldn't be Barack Obama. I don't see how Obama can say no.

Posted by: watersandwind | November 10, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Chris, those lists that you linked both stink -- the politico one was from before the election and the huffingtonpost suggested James Woosley for Energy Czar. c'mon? I can put together a crap list too if you want.

Yes, yes Defense is important, Sec of State is politically fascinating (spoiler alert-- it will be John Kerry) but THE MOST IMPORTANT POST THIS TIME AROUND IS THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY.

Rendell's not going to want it, although he'd be great.

AL GORE IS THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB. Except he's now a VC with Kleiner Perkins, and probably he doesn't even want to divest at this point. He's teed up to be a billionaire --if Obama drops $150 billion as pledged in greentech's lap -- and can blow his horn in the post/nytimes OP-ED all he wants.

Arnold is a joke. He's a great politician, and he sees where the winds are blowing, but I don't trust him (people don't talk enough about his quiet ties to Enron, and the California energy crisis that Enron/Bush promoted/allowed which set the stage for his opportunism).

One good article that talks about the choices is:

But I think it's time we got your take on this very important post.

Posted by: watersandwind | November 10, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Also, I really hope the Kerry rumor isn't true. I want Bill Richardson for State!

Posted by: ASinMoCo | November 10, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama has taken the wheel of the American Redneck Mini Van. The children are CEO's, Union Bosses, Army Generals, immigrants, Catholics, and baptists. .Are we there yet? ............

Posted by: glclark4750 | November 10, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin: I've been saying since the Iowa caucuses that David Iglesias would make a great Attorney General for Obama. The guy is a rock star by all accounts, is (or at least was) a Republican, and the symbolism is undeniable-appointing an AG fired by the Bush administration for respecting the Constitution.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | November 10, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Scrivener, when you first started posting here, you said that superdelegates would realize that Obama was unelectable and pick Hillary or Al Gore as nominee. Then you insisted that Hillary would execute a coup at the convention to take the nomination. You declared that Biden was going to drop out of the race in October to let Hillary be VP. You proclaimed that Palin was also going to be dropped from the VP ticket. You breathlessly announced that the election would be stolen through faulty voting machines.

None of these things happened. But you're still here, posting conspiracy theories as fast as you can, heedlessly disregarding all facts and logic. Don't you ever get tired of being wrong?

Posted by: Blarg | November 10, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse


• Retain Gates and Mukasey along with Mueller

• Lay plans to put "homeland" agencies under the wing of Defense, Justice and Treasury

Contrary to mainstream media convention wisdom, Barack Obama's most pressing task at hand is not dealing with the economic crisis.

He must first move to consolidate his power and disarm potential rogue elements within the bowels of the apparachik that may be tempted to subvert his leadership.

Major elements of the security complex no longer fall under the purview of the Department of Defense or the Justice Department. Their independence, and lack of meaningful oversight, make these entities a potential breeding ground for resistance to his ascension to the presidency.

The situation is compounded by the fact that some of these entities are privy to virtually all channels of communications and surveillance.

President-elect Obama would be wise to co-opt any potential resistance by retaining the services of Defense Secretary Gates, and, at least for the short term, Attorney General Mukasey. FBI Director Mueller's term isn't up until 2010; the retention of Gates and Mukasay, along with the continued service of Mueller, would act as a powerful deterrent to potential rogue actors who do not fall under the command of those three key security officials.

The President-elect should immediately announce the retention of these Bush administration appointees. Then he should lay plans for a Congressionally-mandated reorganization that would once again bring the agencies of the Department of Homeland Security under the direct purview and authority of existing cabinet departments -- notably, Defense, Justice and Treasury.

Such a reorganization would establish greater accountability on the part of the Homeland Security agencies, and would better facilitate meaningful Congressional oversight.

This reorganization would retire the title "Homeland Security," which is linguistically reminiscent of the rhetoric of Nazi Germany.

Gates and Mukasey, it could be argued, already have demonstrated their capability for independent decision-making that puts the good of the nation above partisan politics. By giving them a vote of confidence now, President-elect Obama would demonstrate bi-partisanship while deterring potential rogue resistance to his leadership.


Not as long as government-supported extrajudicial targeting squads are "community stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:




Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

For help with the parlor game, another list -

Current Cabinet
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Attorney General
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Secretary of Homeland Security

Cabinet-level administration offices
Vice President of the United States
White House Chief of Staff
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Director of the National Drug Control Policy
United States Trade Representative

Level I of the Executive Schedule
Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
Director of National Intelligence
National Security Advisor
Ambassador to the UN
Counter-terror Advisor
Supreme Ct.
And no one believes the John Kerry rumor, right?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 10, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Parlor Game:

Connect the names to the jobs - hint, S.Ct. possibles have been noted to reduce confusion.

Sen Hagel
Sen Lugar
Sen Clinton
Sen Specter
Gov Rendell
Gov Sebelius
Gov Granholm
Prof Goolsbee
Tim Geithner
Eric Holder
Patrick Fitzgerald
Valerie Jarrett
Gov. Napolitano
Gov. Richardson
Sen. Snowe
Sen. McCaskill
Sen. Reed
Sen. Bingaman
Former Sen. Chafee
Former Majority Leader Gephardt
Former Navy Sec. Danzig
Samantha Power
Susan Rice
Tammy Duckworth (for VA)
Bill Daley
Amb. Holbrooke
Gen. Clark
Tim Kaine
Gen. Powell
Richard Clarke
Mike Bloomberg
Jim Steinberg
Sen. Spector

S.Ct.: Cass Sunstein, Lawrence Tribe,Elana Kagan, Diane Wood, Harold Koh

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 10, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

There are good people among the Republicans and Democrats for these posts. Obviously, Treasury, State, Defense and Attorney General are the most prominent and will require appointments that show Obama is serious in changing direction from the previous 8 years... He should try to pick people that mirror the diversity of the country, but what they bring to the Obama table should take priority

Posted by: RickJ | November 10, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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