There are several key differences between President Obama's cabinet picks in 2009 and in 2013. This term there are more longtime Obama allies. This term he's showing more "confidence in his choices," picking fights with Republicans. And this term he's picking a lot of white males.
Admittedly, the person who appeared to be Obama's first pick to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was a black woman, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. But since Rice withdrew her name from consideration after a prolonged controversy over what she said on Sunday shows about the attacks in Benghazi, Obama's cabinet picks have been mostly white guys. So far we have:
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- John Kerry as Secretary of State.
- Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. (Michèle Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy, had reportedly been in the running for the job.)
- Jack Lew as the reported choice to head the Treasury Department. Lew is the current White House chief of staff.
While Obama has some non-white and female people in his cabinet, Obama's national security and economic teams in particular are pretty white and male. Obama named John Brennan as head of the CIA Monday. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon will stick around for a while, as with James Clapper as the Director of National Intelligence, National Journal reports. Potential nominees to be director of the White House Office of Management and Budget include OMB acting director Jeffrey Zeints, Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf, and National Economic Council director Gene Sperling. Council of Economic Advisers chair Alan Kruger is expected to stay a while, National Journal says. Bloomberg's Hans Nichols suggests there are two men who are in the running to replace Lew as Obama's chief of staff: deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough and Joe Biden's former chief of staff Ron Klain.
When asked where the ladies were in Obama's cabinet nominations, White House press secretary Jay Carney responded that Obama "in that process [of finding nominees], insists on diversity on the lists that he considers for the job because he believes that in casting a broader net, you increase the excellence of the pool of potential nominees for these positions. But in the end, he’ll make the choice that he believes is best for the United States." So far, that process has resulted in floating a few female names and then selecting a dude.