People who could fill Robert Gibbs's shoes

Friday, January 7, 2011; 10:12 PM

Jay Carney: Vice President Biden's spokesman

A former Time magazine Washington bureau chief who made the leap to government, Carney can empathize with the briefing room malcontents but has shown himself to be a combative official in speaking for Biden.

Bill Burton: Deputy press secretary

An Obama campaign veteran who is generally well-liked by the news media and considered a favorite of the president, Burton sits on the sideline of nearly every briefing taking notes. He is the continuity pick, but would also be a pioneer as the first black press secretary.

Karen Finney: Democratic consultant and former Democratic National Committee communications director

Finney worked at the DNC with Howard Dean, not a favorite of the Obama administration, but she also has spoken for Hillary Rodham Clinton and Elizabeth Edwards. For an administration often criticized for being short on women, having Finney as the face of the White House would do wonders. She, too, would be the first African American press secretary, if selected.

Major Garrett: Former Fox News White House correspondent, now a congressional correspondent for National Journal

Despite working for the enemy empire in Fox News, Garrett won the respect and admiration of the administration for taking the "we report, you decide" slogan to heart. His peers like him and think he's a straight shooter, on the air and off.

Jake Siewert,Bill Clinton's last press secretary and now a counselor to the Treasury secretary

After leaving the Clinton administration, he became an executive at Alcoa, eventually working in mergers and acquisitions. During the two pre-election years that will focus on the economy, having an economics expert and briefing-room veteran at the podium couldn't hurt.

Richard Wolffe: Reporter turned consultant turned reporter-pundit

A chronicler of Obama, with a knack for access, he already knows his way around the White House. Wolffe, who would be the first press secretary with a foreign accent (a British one), would keep Obama's cosmopolitan image intact, although that might not be the tone the president is looking to communicate to down-on-their-luck Americans in the heartland.

- Jason Horowitz

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