Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

But it seems President Obama had other ideas. Obama called Carter after nominating former senator Chuck Hagel earlier this month to be Secretary of Defense and asked Carter to stay on in his Pentagon job.

‘‘I agreed to do that, and I’m enthusiastic about doing that,’’ Carter told a small group of reporters, the Associated Press reported Friday afternoon, saying that he thought Hagel would do well running the Pentagon.

Others who have been mentioned for the Energy job include former North Dakota senator Byron Dorgan, who co-chairs a government relations operation at a D.C. law firm, former Colorado governor Bill Ritter; and, more recently, former Washington State governor Christine Gregoire who’s also been mentioned as a candidate for other cabinet slots, including the Interior Department.