- South Africans hold day of prayer for Nelson Mandela
- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
- Former Reagan aide James Baker: President regretted apartheid veto
- Some donations to gay waitress who allegedly forged hate note refunded
- German President Joachim Gauck boycotting Sochi Olympics
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
Obama slow in restocking Cabinet for 2nd term
Pace trails that of Bush, Clinton administrations
Even though the White House Cabinet turnstile seems to be spinning out of control in recent weeks with first-term secretaries bolting for the private sector and fresh faces coming in rapidly, President Obama is still weeks behind in putting together his second-term team compared with the pace set by the previous two presidents.
On Wednesday, Mr. Obama nominated Sally Jewell, the CEO of outdoor recreation gear company REI, as the next interior secretary after tapping Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough to be his chief of staff last week to replace Jacob Lew, who is moving over to Treasury. He also has named former New York U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Earlier this month, he chose successors for the critical top spots in his national security team: former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska for defense secretary, former Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts to be secretary of state, and his top counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan to fill the post of CIA director left vacant when Gen. David H. Petraeus resigned late last year amid a sex scandal.
His choice for defense secretary, Mr. Hagel, is facing serious opposition, and Mr. Obama is still trying to respond to criticism from the left and the right that his second-term lacks diversity after choosing four white men for the most important portfolios.
“The president has addressed this, and his views are quite clear. He believes that diversity is important because it improves the quality of debate and, therefore, the quality of decision-making,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “He certainly believes he has found an excellent candidate in Sally Jewell.”
In comparison, Mr. Bush had nominated seven new Cabinet members by Dec. 10, 2004, and all but Alberto Gonzales for attorney general had been confirmed by the end of January. Mr. Gonzales was confirmed by Feb. 3, 2005.
Mr. Clinton also got an early jump on reshuffling his Cabinet, nominating Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen by Dec. 5. Mrs. Albright, the first woman to become secretary of state, and Mr. Cohen, a Republican, were unanimously confirmed by the Senate by the end of January.
While Mr. Obama doesn’t have to worry about selecting another attorney general — his first-term choice of Eric H. Holder Jr. is staying on — two of Mr. Obama’s choices for top positions in his national security team — Mr. Hagel and Mr. Brennan — are far from shoo-ins.
Democrats on the committee delayed votes on Mr. Hagel’s nomination Wednesday after Republicans said they aren’t getting the information they need to make a judgment. Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat and panel chairman, said he had hoped to hold a vote on the panel on Thursday, but said the “committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete.”
But Democrats may have had little choice. Republicans were prepared to throw a wrench in the works by taking their grievances to the Senate floor if Democrats tried to power the nomination through committee without Mr. Hagel turning over more information.
On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, who sits on the intelligence panel, made a thinly veiled threat to filibuster Mr. Brennan’s nomination if he doesn’t get more access to the administration’s legal analysis for targeted killings of U.S. citizens suspected of being terrorists.
The president also has yet to name his choices for such important vacancies in the top posts at the Environmental Protection Agency and at the Labor, Energy, Transportation and Commerce departments. He must also choose a new U.S. trade representative.
• Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Sen. Rand Paul: Supreme Court needs to re-examine Fourth Amendment
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Sen. Richard Durbin: No line in the sand on unemployment benefits
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!