Republican insiders close to John McCain are spending much more time in the campaign’s final days trying to pull off an upset victory on Tuesday than focusing on who might be in a McCain Cabinet. But sources close to Barack Obama have quite specific ideas about his most likely choices for a wide array of top jobs.
The list is heavy on campaign heavyweights and Washington insiders, many of them from the administration of President Bill Clinton. So while surprises can be expected to crop up — especially on any Republican members of the Cabinet — many of the selections would likely be proven hands who would provoke little controversy. Obama has not communicated his final choice on any of these posts but plans to move very quickly if he is elected, according to the sources. They point to the political price that Clinton paid for dilly-dallying on his appointments and nomination.
Obama could name his White House chief of staff within a week of his election, advisers say. Obama would also likely make a rapid announcement on an economic team in an effort to show command of the most pressing issue that would face him on moving into the Oval Office on Jan. 20.
Larry Summers, who was Clinton’s last Treasury secretary before becoming president of Harvard, is considered a favorite for Treasury secretary for Obama.
Obama transition planners have been working to line up a national security team, which would also likely be named sooner rather than later.
Here is the list of names being widely discussed in Democratic circles, compiled with the help of ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Politico’s Ben Smith. Some of the names are more likely than others, but all are being seriously considered by Obama advisers. Some of the sources would be involved in decision making, and some were making educated deductions.
In any case, ask a well-positioned Democrat, and this is what you’ll hear.
White House chief of staff: Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.); Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.); or dark horse candidate Bill Daley, commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton and now an executive with JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Deputy chief of staff: Pete Rouse, chief of staff in Obama's Senate office; Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore; longtime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett; Jim Messina, campaign chief of staff
Senior adviser: David Plouffe, David Axelrod, Steve Hildebrand
Outside adviser: Abner Mikva
Ambassador at large on climate change: former Vice President Al Gore
National security adviser: Jim Steinberg, the deputy under Clinton; Gregory Craig, special counsel to Clinton; Susan Rice; retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni; Samantha Power of Harvard’s Kennedy School
White House counsel: Bob Bauer, campaign counsel; Chris Lu, Obama legislative director and member of transition staff; Heather Higginbottom, campaign senior policy strategist and longtime aide to Sen. John F. Kerry; Mike Strautmanis, congressional affairs for campaign and former chief counsel in Senate office
Chief of staff to the vice president: Tony Blinken, chief of staff, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Biden is chairman) and senior campaign adviser for Biden; Stephanie Cutter; former Biden aides Mark Gittenstein, Alan Hoffman and Ted Kaufman
Chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama: Alyssa Mastromonaco, campaign director of scheduling and advance; Melissa Winter; Linda Douglass, senior spokeswoman for campaign
Counselor: Robert Gibbs, Anita Dunn, Valerie Jarrett, Jon Favreau
Communications director: Robert Gibbs; Dan Pfeiffer, who has that post in the campaign
Deputy communications director: Josh Earnest
Press secretary: Robert Gibbs, Linda Douglass, Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter
Director of media affairs (regional and specialty media): Blake Zeff
Speechwriting director: Jon Favreau, Jeff Nussbaum
Deputy press secretary: Karen Dunn, currently Axelrod’s deputy
Press staff morale chief: Tommy Vietor
Assistant press secretary: Isaac Baker, Reid Cherlin, Ben LaBolt, Moira Mack, Hari Sevugan, Nick Shapiro
Press secretary to the first lady: Katie McCormick Lelyveld
White House economic adviser: Austan Goolsbee, senior policy adviser to campaign and University of Chicago economics professor; Jason Furman, director of economic policy for the campaign; Michael Froman, former Treasury chief of staff, Citigroup executive and Harvard Law classmate of Obama
Domestic policy adviser: Heather Higginbottom, Jason Furman, Neera Tanden
Director of scheduling: Marvin Nicholson
Personal aide: Reggie Love
Cabinet secretary: Christine Varney, who held that post under Clinton
White House staff secretary: Cassandra Butts
Director of legislative affairs: Chris Lu, Mike Strautmanis
Political director: Erik Smith
Defense secretary : Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.); Richard Danzig, Navy secretary under Clinton; John Hamre, president and CEO of CSIS and former deputy secretary of defense; President Bush’s incumbent, Robert Gates — would be for at least a year so he wasn’t a lame duck
Attorney general: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine; Eric Holder, who was deputy AG under Clinton and is now with Covington & Burling and led Obama’s vice presidential search; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano
Supreme Court nominee: Washington superlawyer Robert Barnett; legal scholar Cass Sunstein; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York; Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School. Consensus is it would most likely be a woman.
Secretary of State: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.); Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)
Deputy secretary of State: Gregory Craig
Director of State Department policy planning (internal think tank): Samantha Power
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: Susan Rice, senior campaign national security adviser and State Department and National Security Council official under Clinton; Caroline Kennedy
Treasury secretary: Former Clinton treasury secretaries Larry Summers and Robert Rubin; FDIC Chairwoman Sheila C. Blair; New York Fed President Timothy Geithner, former Treasury under secretary and assistant secretary; former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker
Deputy Treasury secretary: Jake Siewert
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom Daschle; Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, a physician; John Kitzhaber, doctor and former Oregon governor
Health care czar in White House: Tom Daschle
Education secretary: David Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma and former U.S. senator and former Sooner State governor; Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean (R), who was chairman of the 9/11 Commission; Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)
Environmental Protection Agency administrator: Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.); Kathleen McGinty, former head of the Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Agency
Commerce secretary: Penny Pritzker, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)
Homeland Security secretary: Former Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.); William Bratton, Los Angeles police chief and former New York police commissioner; former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.), a member of the 9/11 Commission; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.); Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
CIA director: Former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.), Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
Director of national intelligence: Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Longtime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.)
Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.); Tammy Duckworth, the director of Illinois Veterans’ Affairs, Iraq veteran and former Democratic House candidate; Bush’s incumbent, James Peake
Secretary of the Interior: Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Secretary of Energy: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)
Secretary of Transportation: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.)
Secretary of Labor: Former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.); Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union; Kay Hagan of North Carolina (if she loses her challenge to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole); Jeanne Shaheen, former New Hampshire governor (if she loses her challenge to U.S. Sen. John Sununu)
Secretary of Agriculture: Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.)
Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy: William Bratton
Director, Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (Obama's renamed faith-based office): Josh DuBois, campaign's director of religious affairs