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Obama agenda: Cabinet shuffle coming soon

A slew of appointments coming? Next week could see appointments for State (Kerry), Defense (Hagel), and the CIA (Donilon), as well as Energy, which could come later (Ashton Carter).

Of Rice, the Boston Globe writes: “Now she can still be a player and possibly get another top post in his second term -- such as national security adviser, which does not require Senate confirmation. ‘It was good way to get out of this box that was getting tighter and tighter,’ said an administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly. Several officials also said the announcement signals that the president will make a decision in the coming days. Two government officials who have spoken with the White House but were not authorized to speak publicly said the announcement could come in the next few days and include several nominations.”

Obama will meet with Rice today. He will also sign a Russian trade bill.

John Kerry’s the obvious choice to be Secretary of State, as NBC’s Carrie Dann reports. If he’s nominated it would set off a special election in Massachusetts. How would it work? Gov. Deval Patrick (D) would pick someone to fill the seat and a date for a special election. The special general election is required by state law to take place 145 to 160 days after a vacancy occurs. So if Kerry steps down Wednesday of next week, a special would have to take place between Monday, May 13 and Tuesday, May 28. The primary is required to be six weeks before the general. That would put it be between Monday, April 1 and Tuesday, April 16.

If, however, Kerry steps down, Monday, Jan. 21st, the date President Obama would be sworn in for a second term, the special election primary would have to take place between Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 18. The special general would then have to take place between Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 29.

The AP: “During the 2010 special election - prompted by the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy from brain cancer - Gov. Deval Patrick said he would only appoint someone as interim senator if they agreed not to run in the special election, and he appointed former Democratic Party chairman Paul Kirk. Under current law, if Kerry resigns Patrick would appoint an interim senator to serve until a special election could be held. Asked recently if he would seek the same promise if Kerry stepped down, Patrick said it was too soon say. Patrick has said he would prefer a system where he could appoint someone to serve until the next statewide election in 2014, but said there's no appetite on Beacon Hill to change the law. Even if there is a special Senate election in 2013, the state still faces another regularly scheduled Senate election in 2014, which would be the end of Kerry's current term. That would be the fourth Senate election in Massachusetts in five years.”

Back in November, Patrick said he’s sign a bill that would eliminate the need for a special election. “But,” he added, “I don’t think it’s going to come to me. I don’t think anybody is interested in that.”

Obama’s blaming Congress in local TV interviews, Politico notes.