David Petraeus Resigns: 4 Cabinet Officials Obama May Have to Replace


We finally know who will be president for the next four years, so it is time to turn our curiosity to who will serve in President Obama’s cabinet. While his cabinet has stayed remarkably stable his first four years we are likely to see some pretty big resignations and appointments in the coming months, as is typical before any president embarks on a second term. Here is a look at some people likely to leave the cabinet and the people that could replace them.

David Petraeus

Technically the Director of the CIA is not a cabinet position, but it is one of the more prominent appoinments made by the president. On Friday, Petraeus resigned amid revelations that he had engaged in an extramarital affair:

In a Friday bombshell, General David Petraeus has resigned as CIA director Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement.

The resignation was submitted in a letter dated Friday and was accepted by the White House.

In the letter, Petraeus noted that he had been married for 37 years and had exercised "extremely poor judgment" in conducting an extramarital affair.

Petraeus has been replaced by Michael Morrell, who will serve as Acting Director. Whether Obama will be content to have Morrell serve indefinitely remains to be seen. 

Hillary Clinton

Clinton has said she will step down for Obama's second term as Secretary of State, so the question remains who will replace her. Susan Rice, the U.N. Ambassador, has been mentioned as a top pick but her involvement in the Benghazi fiasco would follow her into office. Senator John Kerry has also been mentioned, but that would leave an opening in Massachusetts for Republican Scott Brown, who was just unseated by Elizabeth Warren there. 

Leon Panetta 

Panetta is Defense secretary, 74 years old, and has eyes on retirement. Ashton Carter is the current Deputy Secretary of Defense, and could very well replace him, as could Michele Flournoy who was a defense undersecretary. Flournoy is close with the president and would be the first women to serve as Secretary of Defense.

Timothy Geithner

The Secretary of Treasury has no enviable job navigating through the financial crisis and dealing with a hostile press and Congress. Geithner has indicated he would like to leave. Erskine Bowles (of Bowles-Simpson commission fame) is a leading candidate as is Larry Fink. Fink is CEO of BlackRock, and would bring outside business credibility to the office. Jack Lew, Obama's Chief of Staff, would also be in the running.

Eric Holder

The Attorney General probably cannot wait to leave. He has had his fair share of controversy with things like Operation Fast and Furious. Current Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will likely be at the top of the list. Patrick is a former Department of Justice official, and a friend of the president.