by Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
Could Sen. John Kerry end up serving as the nation's next defense secretary?
Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been in the mix to replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has said that she would like to leave her post early in President Obama's second term.
But a report in this morning's Washington Post suggests that Kerry is under consideration to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who has made clear that he'd like to get back to his home state of California at some point.
There are still many moving pieces to consider as President Obama puts together his second term team, but Kerry - a Vietnam war veteran and respected for his national security chops - would make an interesting choice for the Pentagon.
The one knock against Obama picking Kerry is it would set off a special election in Massachusetts and potentially offers Sen. Scott Brown, a popular Republican who lost his seat last week to Elizabeth Warren, another chance to win back a Senate seat, Schwartz said. But concerns about keeping the seat may be diminished since Democrats picked up seats in the election.
Here's what the Post reports:
Although Kerry is thought to covet the job of secretary of State, senior administration officials familiar with the transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
John O. Brennan, Obama's chief counterterrorism adviser, is a leading contender for the CIA job if he wants it, officials said. If Brennan goes ahead with his plan to leave government, Michael J. Morell, the agency's acting director, is the prohibitive favorite to take over permanently. Officials cautioned that the White House discussions are still in the early stages and that no decisions have been made.
Petraeus' resignation last week after revelations of an extramarital affair has complicated what was already an intricate puzzle to reassemble the administration's national security and diplomatic pieces for Obama's second term.
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