Cabinet Candidates

The latest news on possible changes in the Clinton Cabinet:

LABOR: U.S. NEWS' "Washington Whispers" reports the "heavy Hispanic turnout that helped propel" Pres. Clinton to victory in FL, CA and AZ may help boost Maria Echaveste's chances of succeeding Robert Reich. Not only is the admin. "keen to repay the Hispanic community for its electoral support, it would like to keep at least one Hispanic in the cabinet" now that Henry Cisneros and Federico Pena are leaving.

As head of the dept's wage and hour division, Echaveste, a former bankruptcy lawyer who was nat'l Latino coordinator for Clinton-Gore in '92, "currently oversees programs ranging from enforcing fair-pay standards in garment sweatshops to ensuring compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act."

Also high on the Labor list: ex-PA Sen. Harris Wofford, "who impressed the White House with his strong support for health care reform during Clinton's first term" (12/2 issue).

DEFENSE: According to a "senior White House official," Clinton was "poised" to announce outgoing Sen. Bill Cohen (R-ME) as Defense Sec. prior to his trip to Asia. But VP Gore advised Clinton to wait and not rush it if the pres. was unsure, as a background check was incomplete and Clinton "had last-minute questions about how Mr. Cohen would fit in" with the nat'l sec. team (Sciolino, N.Y. TIMES, 11/24).

TRANSPORTATION: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES' Neal reports Bill Daley has "the inside track." Daley "has been told unofficially" by Gore "that the job is his, according to knowledgeable sources." Clinton is "expected to nominate him within the month." Daley had been promised the same job four years ago "but was bumped when Clinton sought more ethnic diversity." Sources say Daley is "making plans to join the Clinton administration and an FBI background check has begun" (11/23). This should come as news to Bob Novak, who reports that Daley "has not heard a word" from the WH (W. POST, 11/25).

Bridgewater COURIER-NEWS' Sylvester writes "people are talking" about ex-NJ Gov. Jim Florio as Trans. Sec. The reason, however, is "not because he's exhibited cabinet level brilliance. Most of his party-mates are just desperate to get him out of town before the governor's race" (11/20).

ATTORNEY GENERAL: ABC's Julie Johnson, on replacing AG Janet Reno: "The problem for the president is they don't have a clear vision as to whom they want to replace her and who would also take the job. ... It seems ... that Janet Reno will stay on for perhaps another year. ... I think she feels she can stay, and part of the strength she's brought to the job is her independence from the White House" ("Wash. Week in Review," PBS, 11/22).

CIA: Asked on "Meet the Press," about rumors he would be the next CIA Dir., NSA Tony Lake said he would not speculate: "There are a lot of rumors around in Washington. I've been talking to the president about the future. All of us serve at the pleasure of the president, and it's a pleasure to serve him" (NBC, 11/23).

HUD: W. POST's Kamen reports HUD Asst. Sec. Andrew Cuomo said he plans to move back to NY in the coming months. Cuomo "said he did not expect" to get the top housing post (11/25). NEWSWEEK's "CW Watch" gives Henry Cisneros an up arrow: "Extra helping for outgoing HUD sec. who quietly overhauled housing policy" (12/2). PHILA. INQUIRER editorial: "The charismatic former mayor of San Antonio can point to a solid record of achievements during his tenure at HUD" (11/23). W. POST editorial: "The fundamental problems are not solved, but against the odds, Mr. Cisneros created for his successor a better platform from which to work than he himself inherited. That's not a bad accomplishment" (11/25).

COMMERCE: BOSTON GLOBE lists Mack McLarty and Rep. Bill Richardson (D-NM) (11/25). ROLL CALL's Henry reports Richardson, who is "rumored to be in line for as many as four different Cabinet posts," is "gleefully" greeted by his colleagues when he walks into a room as "Mr. Secretary!" But "the reason they're smiling at Richardson" is because House Dems are "itching to divide the spoils if and when Richardson leaves Congress." One Dem described a "virtual frenzy" building over Richardson's seat on the Commerce cmte. If Richardson leaves, he will also vacate one of four chief deputy whip slots (11/25).

EDUCATION: BOSTON GLOBE lists CO Gov. Roy Romer, GA Gov. Zell Miller, IN Gov. Evan Bayh and Ambassador Madeleine Kunin as possible picks for Education (11/25).

ENERGY: BOSTON GLOBE lists EPA's Carol Browner and retiring LA Sen. Bennett Johnston (11/25).

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