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The transition: Hillary and Holder

The New York Times writes, "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has reservations about accepting an appointment as secretary of state in the Obama administration, an adviser to Mrs. Clinton who is familiar with her thinking said on Tuesday. The adviser described Mrs. Clinton as flattered by President-elect Barack Obama's interest but said she was agonizing over the decision. Mrs. Clinton likes being her own boss and is reluctant to give up the independence that comes with that, said the adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process was at a delicate stage."

"'If you are secretary of state you work for the president,' the adviser said in an e-mail response to questions from The New York Times. 'If you are a senator, you work for yourself and the people that elected you.' It was unclear if Mrs. Clinton's stated hesitation was part of a bargaining tactic as the Obama team weighs whether to appoint her secretary of state, a genuine moment of indecision or, perhaps, a signal that she was preparing to withdraw from consideration."

Politico adds, "Press reports that portray Clinton as willing to accept the job -- once the Obama transition team vets Bill Clinton's philanthropic and business ventures -- are inaccurate, one Clinton insider told Politico. 'A lot of the speculation and reporting is out ahead of the facts here,' said the person, who requested anonymity. 'She is still weighing this, independent of President Clinton's work.'" 

The Wall Street Journal: "Former President Bill Clinton has offered to submit future charitable and business activities to strict ethics reviews if his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, were nominated as secretary of state, according to Democrats familiar with the deliberations. He has also agreed for the first time to disclose many of the previous donors to his efforts."

David Broder is against Clinton becoming secretary of state. "What Obama needs in the person running the State Department is a diplomat who will carry out his foreign policy. He does not need someone who will tell him how to approach the world or be his mentor in international relations. One of the principal reasons he was elected was that, relying on his instincts, he came to the correct conclusion that war with Iraq was not in America's interest. He was more right about that than most of us in Washington, including Hillary Clinton."

Some fun trivia via the New York Observer: "The office of secretary of the state was once the preeminent steppingstone to the presidency, but that was back in the early days of the republic. Starting with Thomas Jefferson in 1789, five future presidents -- James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren were the others -- ran the State Department (actually, the Foreign Affairs Department, as it was then known) in its first 40 years of existence. But in the 180 years or so since then, just one person -- the forgettable James Buchanan -- parlayed the position into the nation's top job."

And the last former secretary of state to even RUN for president: Al Haig in 1988.

"If Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes Barack Obama's secretary of state, she could wipe away her lingering $7.6 million presidential campaign debt," Politico's Vogel reports. "As the nation's top diplomat, she would be barred by tradition and ethics rules from partisan political activity, including raising cash to pay off debt from her unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. And that could give her a powerful case to make to the Federal Election Commission about why it should forgive her campaign debt through a settlement process not unlike filing for bankruptcy." (The irony of Clinton going to State is that it would prevent Mark Penn from getting paid…)

"Eric H. Holder Jr., a former Justice Department official who was President-elect Barack Obama's campaign co-chairman, is the leading candidate to serve as the next U.S. attorney general, according to Democratic sources familiar with the choice," the Washington Post writes. "Holder, 57, was offered the job late last week and tentatively accepted it, sources said. The Obama team intends to make the nomination official if he receives at least moderate support from Republican lawmakers and completes the vetting process, the sources said. Intermediaries began to reach out to Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, and the vetting pace accelerated yesterday."

"Sources close to the process said Holder was a 'near-certainty' to become the first African American nominated to head the Justice Department, which plays a leading role in enforcing civil rights laws. Officials in the Obama transition office said no final decision has been reached." 

The New York Times: "As a top adviser to Mr. Obama, he has long been considered the front-runner for the job of attorney general because of his extensive record as a prosecutor and a judge and a well-honed reputation inside Washington. Mr. Obama's advisers appear to have overcome concerns that Mr. Holder's involvement in a presidential pardon scandal as President Bill Clinton left office in 2001 might cloud his nomination for the job."

The Chicago Tribune adds, "Holder is another former Clinton Administration official so he's sure to draw complaints from those who say that Obama's choices of members of the last Democratic administration don't exactly look like 'change we can believe in.'" 

Politico has what it calls "the story of how Rahm got rich." "Emanuel's career as an investment banker was short but, oh, so sweet. Emanuel left the Clinton White House in 1998 as a senior adviser on a government salary. By the time he won election to the House in 2002, he had earned an astonishing $16 million."

If Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel is in talks with Obama about a possible Administration appointment, his lips are sealed. 
 
OUR OBAMA CABINET SPECULATION LIST:
Chief of staff: Emanuel NAMED
Deputy chiefs of staff: Jim Messina NAMED, Mona Sutphen NAMED
Senior advisers: Valerie Jarrett NAMED, Peter Rouse NAMED
Assistant to the president for legislative affairs: Phil Schiliro NAMED
White House counsel: Greg Craig
Press Secretary: Robert Gibbs
Biden chief of staff: Ron Klain NAMED
 
POTENTIAL CABINET MEMBERS:
Agriculture: Tom Vilsack, Tom Buis (Natl Farmers Union), Charlie Stenholm, Jim Leach, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Commerce: Penny Pritzker, Kathleen Sebelius, John Thompson (Symantec), Ron Kirk (former Dallas mayor), Scott Harris (Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis fndr)
Defense: Robert Gates, Richard Danzig, Chuck Hagel, Sam Nunn, Jack Reed, Colin Powell, John Hamre, Tim Roemer, Thomas Pickering, Anthony Zinni, Max Cleland, Michele Flounoy
Education: Joel Klein (NYC), Linda Darling-Hammond, Kathleen Sebelius, Colin Powell, Jim Hunt, Arne Duncan, Inez Tenenbaum, Michael Bennett, George Miller, Gaston Caperton (fmr WV gov), Bambi Cardenas (pres, U TX-Pan Am, Susan Castillo (OR supt), Michael Cohen (pres, Achieve), Christopher Edley (dean, UC-Berkeley), Michael Johnston (dir, Mapleton Expeditionary Schl of the Arts), VA Gov. Tim Kaine, Michelle Rhee (DC), Sharon Robinson (pres, Assn of Colls for Tchr Ed), Andrew Rotherman/Jonahtan Schnur (fmr Clinton advisers), Diane Shust (dir, NEA govt rels), Paul Vallas (supt, New Orleans Recovery Schl Dist), Bob Wise (fmr WV gov)
Energy: Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, Kathleen Sebelius, Philip Sharp, Ed Rendell, Arnold Schwarzenegger (has said no), Al Gore, Jeff Bingaman, Jennifer Granholm, Steve Westly, Frederico Pena, Dan Reicher, Jason Grumet
HHS: Tom Daschle, Howard Dean (reportedly ruled out), Eric Whitaker, John Kitzhaber, Kathleen Sebelius
Homeland Security (priority): Ray Kelly (NY), William Bratton (L.A.), Tim Roemer, James Lee Witt, Tom Kean Sr, Jane Harman, Janet Napolitano, Artur Davis, Richard Clarke, Manny Diaz, Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lee Hamilton (though he said he's too old), Jamie Gorelick
HUD: Jim Clyburn, Shirley Franklin (Atlanta mayor), Manny Diaz (Miami mayor), Saul Ramirez
Interior: Bill Richardson, Jay Inslee, John Kitzhaber, Tony Knowles, Ken Salazar, Jamie Rappoport Clark, Brian Schweitzer
Justice (AG): Eric Holder CONFIRMED BY NBC NEWS, Janet Napolitano, Charles Ogletree, Deval Patrick, James Comey, Patrick Fitzgerald, Artur Davis, Tim Kaine, Jamie Gorelick (but was vice chair of Fannie), Ken Feinberg, Cass Sunstein, Kathleen Sullivan (Stanford Law prof, possible Solicitor General. Also possible SGs: Beth Brinkmann – DC Atty; Preeta Bansal – Skadden, Arps; Elena Kagan –Harvard law dean; Pamela Karlan—Stanford; Teresa Wynn Roseborough -- MetLife litigation counsel)
Labor: Andy Stern (SEIU) (said not interested), Richard Gephardt, George Miller, David Bonior, Xavier Becerra, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Antonio Villaraigosa
State: John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Richard Holbrooke, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton, Thomas Pickering, Al Gore
Transportation: Ed Rendell, Jane Garvey, Mortimer Downey, Earl Blumenauer, Steve Heminger, James Oberstar, Peter DeFazio, Federico Pena, Jeanette Sadik-Khan
Treasury (priority): Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Jon Corzine, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Laura Tyson, Jamie Dimon (JP MorganChase), Jacob "Jack" Lew, Sheila Bair, Indira Nooyi, John Thain (Merrill Lynch)
Veterans Affairs: Max Cleland, Tammy Duckworth, Chet Edwards, Arnold Fisher (fmr Fisher House Fndtn chair), James Peake
 
OTHER POSITIONS:
CIA: Tony Lake, John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, Michael Hayden, Jami Miscik (fmr CIA dep dir for Intel)
DNI: Tony Lake, John Brennan, Tim Roemer, Rand Beers, Jane Harman, John Abizaid, Evan Bayh
FEMA: James Lee Witt
EPA: Howard Learner (Pres, Exec. Dir, Environmental Law and Policy Center), Ian Bowles (MA), RFK Jr, Kathleen Sebelius, Kathleen McGinty (former secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Env Protection), Mary Nichols (chair of California's Air Resources Board), Robert Sussman, Dan Esty, Lisa Jackson (NJ environ commission)
FBI: Robert Mueller (term expires 2011)
Fed Chair: Ben Bernanke (at least for first year)
FDA: Steven Nissen (Cleveland Clinic), Joshua Sharfstein (Baltimore health commissioner), Janet Woodcock (Big Pharma's choice), Susan Wood (GWU occupational and environmental health professor), Diana Zuckerman (president, National Research Center for Women & Families) Joint Chiefs: Michael Mullen (term ends in late 2009, can expect to be appointed for second term, per tradition)
Natl Economic Council: Dan Tarullo, Jacob "Jack" Lew, Jason Furman, Austan Goolsbee, Laura Tyson
Natl Sec Adviser: Jim Steinberg, Rand Beers, Susan Rice, Greg Craig
NSC: Dennis Ross, Greg Craig, Susan Rice, Tony Lake
OMB: Peter Orszag CONFIRMED BY NBC NEWS, John Spratt Jr, Gene Sperling, Jason Furman
Peace Corps: Chris Shays
UN Ambassador: Caroline Kennedy, Susan Rice
USTR: Cal Dooley (American Chemistry Council president), Daniel K. Tarullo (Georgetown University law professor), Lael Brainard (Brookings Institution vice president)
Urban Czar: Manny Diaz
Climate: Terry Tamminen (climate change, adviser to Schwarzenegger), Al Gore, Carol Browner (Audobon Society), Jonathan Lash (World Resources Inst), Kathleen McGinty, Janet Napolitano, Mary Nichols, Kathleen Sebelius
Auto Czar: Jennifer Granholm
 
Other mentions for various White House staff posts: Patti Solis Doyle, David Wilhelm, John Rogers, Bill Daley, Cass Sunstein, Bob Bauer, Michael Froman, Federico Pena, Lawrence J. Korb, Carol Browner (Clinton's EPA head), Thomas Perrelli, David Ogden