Best we can tell, Kerry, though a Vietnam War veteran, has hardly expressed any interest in the Pentagon job and, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the past four years and a senator for 28 years, really, really wants State.
But, as we’ve noted, Obama really, really wants to put Rice at the State Department. And names are already being floated for a replacement for Rice at the United Nations.
And it would be very hard to turn down the Pentagon job.
So, let’s see. Kerry leaves the Hill and outgoing Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) most likely will be happy at the possibility — or likelihood — of being incoming Sen. Scott Brown after an election within a couple of months or so. He’d run for Kerry’s seat. (Unless he runs for governor.)
Meanwhile, incoming Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would be the senior senator from Massachusetts “on Day One.”
If Kerry does decide to go for the Pentagon post, the confirmation hearing could be interesting. Would he be asked, for instance, about his well-known tossing of his Vietnam medals?
And Sen. Lindsey Graham
(R-S.C.) indicated Sunday that he would oppose a Rice nomination to be secretary of state. Graham, interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said he was “not going to promote somebody who I think has misled the country” over the Benghazi killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens “or is either incompetent. That’s my view of Susan Rice. There are other people out there.”
Graham said he thought “Susan Rice would have an incredibly difficult time getting through the Senate. I would not vote for her unless there’s a tremendous opening up of information explaining herself in a way she has not yet done.”
But Graham stopped short of saying he would put a hold on or filibuster the nomination.
Speculators are beginning to muse about who would replace Rice at the United Nations, our colleague Colum Lynch
reported last week.
The White House has begun considering at least two new candidates for the top U.N. job, including
, who oversees U.N. policy at the White House, and
, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to a source close to the Obama administration.
Background Check: Gil Kerlikowske
As America’s top drug cop, Gil Kerlikowske has a tough-guy image to maintain. He’s been chief of police in Seattle and police commissioner in Buffalo, and he now oversees the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is tasked with stamping out illegal drug use and trafficking.
But it sounds as though Kerlikowske, a Florida native named drug czar in 2009, has a secret softer side. He chats with the Loop about his love of musical theater (including a time he actually took to the stage himself) and his affection for “Barney Miller.”