President Clinton met with several members of his Cabinet yesterday, and Transportation Secretary Federico Pena submitted his resignation. Also at the meeting were Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary and Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who are leaving, and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, who is staying.
According to The Washington Post, Clinton aides said it now appears "more doubtful" that Clinton will nominate a new Secretary of State before leaving for a Hawaiian vacation on Friday.
Associates said White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, who is leaving the White House after the inauguration, "feels as if he has been fired only days after he helped engineer Mr. Clinton's greatest political triumph," according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. White House staffers, even those "opposed to Ickes' elevation ... say they were shocked and upset" about how Ickes was treated. The Washington Post reports that the "favorite" to replace Ickes is John Podesta, formerly White House staff secretary and an aide to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
The Journal also reports that Education Secretary Richard Riley "is said to be interested in another Cabinet post." And Clinton "is said to be leaning toward naming his old friend Strobe Talbott" to head the National Security Council, and to move current NSC director Anthony Lake "possibly to the helm" of the CIA. Lake "appeared to be resisting the idea."
Two GOP businessmen, ex-Hewlett-Packard head John Young and Silicon Graphics CEO Edward McCracken "are being talked about" for Commerce Secretary, the Post reports.
Sen. John Breaux, D-La., asked on CNN's "Inside Politics" yesterday who Clinton will choose to speak to traditional Democratic strength, said, "[Clinton's] not going to run away from the principles that he believes in and the Democrats stand for. But he also recognizes that in order to be a majority party he's going to have to expand that base. ... I think liberal and traditional Democrats do not have to worry that this president is going to walk away from them, but at the same time he's definitely going to expand the base and hopefully make it a majority."
On PBS's "Newshour with Jim Lehrer," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was asked about President Clinton's request that the Senate expedite his nominations. "I assured him that it would be our intent to do that," said Lott. "Some of the nominations might not go as fast, but where they're clearly good nominations we'll try to act quickly."