Obama’s Second Term Cabinet is without the Familiar Names, Faces

By @ibtimesau on

U.S President Barack Obama is headhunting following clear indications that prominent members of his cabinet would opt out for a second run at the White House in the wake of their boss' rousing victory last week.

A reshape of Mr Obama's foremost policy teams is in the offing, analysts said, as stories continue to swirl that key cabinet officials will not return come the second Obama term that will start on January 2013.

First to confirms her imminent departure is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who a spokeswoman said last week was 'pretty set' to leave, her exit likely to be delayed only by the appointment of a successor.

Ms Clinton, the U.S. State Department said, wants to ensure that a smooth transition would be in full motion prior to vacating her high-profile position.

On Sunday, The Associated Press reported that Mr Obama would be forced to recruit new talents who would replace Treasury Chief Timothy Geithner and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

The two officials, along with Ms Clinton, are likely to formalise their retirement in early 2013 purportedly to give the American president more time to assemble the new team that would tackle the most pressing issues concerning the United States - economy, foreign relations and security.

One part of the latter concern, however, Mr Obama needs to deal with immediately following the surprise resignation Friday last week of CIA Director David Petraeus, who cited monumental slip of judgment in his decision to move out after over a year of stint as America's top spy.

Considered as one of the most popular generals to come out of America's multiple war fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq, was reportedly enmeshed in an extramarital affair with his biographer, based on media reports.

In his stead, the White House appointed in interim capacity Michael Morell, described by The Telegraph as a three-decade intelligence career officer who carries with him sterling credential, which include serving as deputy to previous CIA bosses, that should convince Mr Obama to work with him permanently.

However, Mr Morell will likely be sidelined anew by a political appointee early next year, The Telegraph said, with known Democrat contenders John Brennan and Jane Harman reportedly being considered by the president.

Replacements for Ms Clinton and Mr Geithner have also emerged while no definite names have yet to come out to take place of Mr Panetta. It is also likely that two more cabinet secretaries will beg off from joining the second Obama term, most notable of whom is Attorney-General Eric Holden.

The persons to fill up these vacancies remain a question mark, though in the case of Ms Clinton, the strongest candidate appears to be John Kerry, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts with a thick resume on dealings with foreign relations.

Likewise, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is reportedly shortlisted for the top State post, but her alleged poor handling of the Libya attack in October, which killed a U.S ambassador and three other Americans, had effectively reduced Ms Rice to a dark horse, analysts said.

As for Mr Geithner, the names Jack Lew and Erskine Bowles have been floated, both of whom according to AP, are Washington veterans and equally capable to dispense financial advises that should help Mr Obama to address what analysts have been describing as America's alarming fiscal cliff.

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