The guess list: Who Bush and Gore might appoint to top jobs

With the election a little more than a week away, several names are already in the air as potential Cabinet secretaries and agency chiefs in a Bush or Gore administration, National Journal reports.

The Bush Bunch

Given the unanimous support Bush received from Republican governors in the primaries and their apparent affection for him, it's a good bet that a few governors would wind up with important posts. But there are also plenty of policy reasons for recruiting governors to come to Washington, as Bush hopes to devolve more federal power to the states.

And a Bush administration would likely have plenty of Texans. Most would probably be newcomers to Washington, not elected officials or lawyer-lobbyists who are already ensconced in the capital.

Here's a look at some of the people being mentioned most often as possibilities for high-ranking posts in a Bush Administration.

Secretary of State. By all accounts, the job is retired Army Gen. Colin Powell's for the asking. Bush has long admired Powell, who prosecuted the Persian Gulf War for his father. Bush publicly urged 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole to tap Powell for the post if he won the presidency.

Defense Secretary. The leading candidate may be another one of Daddy's boys, Paul D. Wolfowitz. He's one of Bush's national security campaign advisers and the dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Wolfowitz served as Defense undersecretary in charge of national security strategy and policy when Dick Cheney ran the Pentagon. The two got along well, and Cheney will probably have some say in who ends up on the E-ring. Also in the mix is Bush adviser Richard L. Armitage, who currently serves on the National Defense Panel, a congressional board that reviews Pentagon strategy, and is a veteran of the Reagan and Bush Administrations. Steve Hadley, former assistant secretary of Defense for international security policy under Cheney, also gets mentions. He is now a partner at the law firm Shea and Gardner. Retiring Florida GOP Rep. Tillie K. Fowler, a standout on the House Armed Services Committee, is a long-shot contender.

Treasury Secretary. If Bush were looking to charm Wall Street, he could pick retired Chase Manhattan Corp. chairman Walter Shipley or PaineWebber chairman Donald Marron. Another contender is Bush's top campaign economic adviser, former Federal Reserve governor Lawrence B. Lindsey. Lindsey served in the Bush White House as special assistant to the President for policy development, and is currently a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Some Bush advisers speculate that if the Treasury assignment went to a financier, then it's more likely Bush would preserve the White House National Economic Council created by Bill Clinton, and tap Lindsey to run that.

Attorney General. If Bush turned to one of his statehouse buddies for the top job at Justice, Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating would be a natural choice. The former FBI agent and assistant district attorney was an associate attorney general during 1988-89. Another governor mentioned for the post is Virginia's James S. Gilmore III, a key Bush supporter among the GOP governors. But if Bush didn't go this route, he could bring in his personal attorney, Harriet Miers, co-managing partner of Locke Liddell & Sapp, a major Dallas law firm. Bush once appreciatively referred to Miers, the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association, as "a pit bull in size-6 shoes." Until she chose to step down last May, she was chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission, appointed by Bush.

Interior Secretary. The post often goes to a Westerner, and Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, who is limited to two terms, will be looking for a new job in January. Racicot is well-regarded in conservative circles, but he also has a moderate style and has been an effective surrogate for Bush on environmental issues. Another possibility is Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., if he loses his re-election bid.

Health and Human Services Secretary. Plenty of names abound for a job that could be in the thick of two Bush priorities, Medicare and Social Security reform. If Bush is looking for a governor savvy in politics and policy, Wisconsin's Tommy G. Thompson might be his man. Thompson is also mentioned as a possible ambassador to Germany, Ireland, or Japan, or a new head of Amtrak. Leading the list of Bush health care advisers with past HHS experience is William L. Roper, the dean of the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). Roper ran the Health Care Financing Administration during Ronald Reagan's second term and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Bush's father. Another former HCFA head, Gail Wilensky, the chairwoman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, also gets mentions. She helped craft Bush's Medicare prescription drug plan.

Commerce Secretary. Bush's father put an energy executive who was a key political adviser in this post, and George W. could easily do the same by asking his campaign chairman and longtime pal Don Evans to take the job. If Evans ended up elsewhere in the Administration, Bush might want to pick a high-tech figure, to highlight his attention to the new economy. Floyd Kvamme, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Silicon Valley powerhouse venture capital firm, has been advising him on technology issues.

Agriculture Secretary. Bush may not need to look far to fill this job. Susan Combs, the Texas Secretary of Agriculture and head of Farmers for Bush, is often mentioned as a possibility. Former California Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman, and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and father of the 1996 Freedom to Farm bill, are also possibilities, although Roberts may be reluctant to leave a safe Senate seat.

Labor Secretary. Rep. Jennifer R. Dunn, R-Wash., is said to be interested in a Cabinet job, and her name is bandied about as a possibility for Labor, Commerce, or Transportation. Dunn was an early Bush supporter, and she raised more than $100,000 for his nominating campaign. The Bush camp tapped her to be one of the Republican National Convention's deputy permanent co-chairs.

Education Secretary. Given his interest in education reform, Bush could easily turn to one of his fellow governors who've been innovative in this area. Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, who's supported Milwaukee's voucher program and was co-chairman of the National Education Summit this year, is often mentioned. Another Republican governor who makes the grade is Pennsylvania's Tom Ridge. Arizona Education Superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan is mentioned as someone Bush might recruit. She oversees one of the most expansive state charter-schools programs in the country and has been a surrogate campaigner for Bush. And from the front lines in Texas, Roderick R. Paige, the superintendent of the Houston Independent School District since 1995, is a contender. He's a Bush education adviser and is a former dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary. Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, Bush's chief domestic policy adviser, is often talked about for this post. If he loses his New York Senate bid, Republican Rep. Rick Lazio is mentioned as a possibility. So is Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, who debated whether to run for another term this year. From the policy world, Urban Land Institute President Richard M. Rosen and Bob Woodson, founder of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, are seen as possible candidates for the job.

Transportation Secretary. The name turning up most often is that of David M. Laney, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission and president of Dallas' biggest law firm, Jenkens & Gilchrist. He was an early Team 100 member for Bush, raising more than $100,000 for Bush's primary campaign. Laney is not related to the Texas House speaker, Pete Laney, but both Democrats and Republicans in Texas have boosted him for the transportation job.

Energy Secretary. This would be one of Bush's more intriguing choices. Could a President from Texas get away with appointing an energy company executive to that job? If Bush were so inclined, he might turn to his campaign chairman Don Evans, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Tom Brown Inc., an oil and gas company. Another candidate from the private sector is James C. Langdon Jr., an energy lawyer and partner in the Washington office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, the Texas-based firm. Langdon is close to Bush and raised significant funds for his campaign. Tony Garza, a member of the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees the oil and gas industry in the state, is considered a leading contender for the job. Garza, a Mexican-American, was Bush's first political appointee (he was Texas secretary of state), and he co-chairs the Bush-Cheney 2000 National Latino Coalition. Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., is also mentioned as a possibility.

Veterans Affairs Secretary. Bush may recruit from his brother Jeb's administration to fill this job and appoint Robin Higgins, who is the director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs and is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel. Also mentioned is Anthony J. Principi, who was a deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs in the elder Bush's Administration and who recently headed up the bipartisan Congressional Commission on Service Members and Veterans Transition Assistance, a group that studied veterans' benefits.

Office of Management and Budget Director. The jobholder needs a deep knowledge of government programs and must be able to negotiate with Congress. If Bush looked to the Republican ranks on Capitol Hill, he could pick retiring House Budget Committee Chairman John R. Kasich of Ohio, or another Buckeye, Rep. Rob Portman. Portman is a rising star in Congress and highly thought of by the Bush campaign. He played Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman in debate practice sessions for Dick Cheney. Another potential Office of Management and Budget chief is Christopher C. DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. DeMuth advises the Bush team on environmental issues and ran OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs during the Reagan Administration. Another key Bush economic adviser, Stanford economist John F. Cogan, based at the Hoover Institution for War, Revolution and Peace, also gets mentions, but if he returns to Washington, some Republicans think he could be Bush's entitlement reform czar. Cogan served as deputy OMB director for President Reagan. Another person to watch is Albert Hawkins, an African-American and former deputy director of the Legislative Budget Board of Texas, whom Bush recruited to be his state budget director.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Bush might seek a little help from brother Jeb, the governor of Florida, and try to woo David Struhs, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, to Washington. Moderate in style, Struhs does not raise hackles of environmentalists, and given the Gore campaign's heavy assault on air quality in Texas, Bush may want to look outside his own state in filling this job. Also mentioned is American Enterprise Institute chief Christopher C. DeMuth, who got his start in Washington working as staff assistant to President Richard M. Nixon on environmental issues. DeMuth was also the executive director of the President's Task Force on Regulatory Relief during the Reagan years.

The Gore Gang

Those interviewed by National Journal about Gore's possible choices seem to agree he would place a premium on smarts, loyalty, professional heft, and the Democratic Party's insistence on diversity. (Note: The following "guess list" is too heavily dominated by white men and Washington insiders to survive a Gore transition team's scrutiny.) And, of course, campaign paybacks always figure in the appointments.

What is not so clear is whether Gore would insist on sweeping out Clinton-era officials so that he could assure the public he plans to be, as he promised during the Democratic National Convention, "my own man."

One line of thinking is that Gore would eagerly turn to new faces and his own loyalists, but that raises the question of whether, after eight years, the current administration has chewed through the available star roster.

The other thought is that Gore might keep or reclaim a few familiar faces from the Clinton-Gore years and put them in new positions, knowing that experienced lieutenants can help avoid pitfalls and false starts. "I just think that six months into a Gore Administration, everyone will look around and say, 'It looks a lot like the Clinton administration,' " said one White House official.

Secretary of State. The conventional wisdom is that brash, sometimes abrasive Richard C. Holbrooke might at long last get the prize he has so coveted through his years as foreign service officer, State Department assistant, assistant secretary of State, managing director of Lehman Brothers, U.S. ambassador to Germany, Clinton's chief negotiator for the Dayton Peace Accords, vice chair of Credit Suisse First Boston, and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. If, however, Gore believes Holbrooke is not the right fit for his foreign policy team, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who in 1998 brokered the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland as Clinton's envoy, has many boosters. Sources suggest that Mitchell, who is currently a Washington lobbyist and consultant, might be open to such an overture. Also receptive to wooing, sources suggest, is former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia, who chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee and served in the Senate from 1972-96. He now serves on a handful of corporate boards, is chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and is also a senior partner in the Atlanta law firm of King & Spalding.

Defense Secretary. More often than not, the top Pentagon post goes to a civilian, although there is always the possibility that Gore might not follow in that tradition. There is also some question about whether Gore would follow Clinton's lead and tap a moderate Republican. But many suggest that Gore would not feel the need to turn to the opposing party, since he does not have Clinton's credibility problem with the military brass. Names being offered up: Rep. Norman Dicks, D-Wash., a Gore ally, but someone who would not likely be released from the House if the Democrats regain a majority there. Norman R. Augustine, retired chairman of Lockheed Martin and a visiting professor at Princeton University, was undersecretary of the Army in the Carter Administration before spending 18 years at Martin Marietta, and he has a new book coming out about government transition. Widely respected, Augustine has privately suggested to colleagues that he might welcome a new challenge. Secretary of the Navy Richard J. Danzig, a Rhodes Scholar, Yale Law School graduate, and former business consultant who is an assertive proponent of women in the military, is another possible name. Informed sources suggest that Danzig's leading booster may be Danzig. Those who hold Clinton National Security Adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger in high regard wonder if Gore might try to persuade Berger--an attorney who is more likely to want to trade the hothouse for a vacation house--to remain in government at the Defense Department. Berger has worked collaboratively over the years with Leon S. Fuerth, the man Gore would like to name as Berger's successor. Other ideas: Philip A. Odeen, the executive vice president and general manager of TRW's Systems and Information Technology group, chaired the independent National Defense Panel that reviewed the findings of the 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review. He is also chairman of the Defense Science Board, and one of the wise men of the defense community. Also, Walter B. Slocombe, undersecretary of Defense for policy, a Rhodes Scholar, and a Harvard Law School graduate who clerked for Justice Abe Fortas and has extensive defense and foreign policy credentials.

Treasury Secretary. To avoid roiling financial markets and relations with the Federal Reserve, and to maintain a steady fiscal course, the betting is that Gore would keep Secretary Lawrence H. Summers right where he is, along with his ample brainpower. Summers, a former Harvard professor and a deputy secretary under Robert E. Rubin, has signaled he would be very, very happy to stay on. He's been advising the Gore campaign on economic policy in his spare time. If, however, Gore wants to make a change, James A. Johnson, who was a managing director of corporate finance at Lehman Brothers before joining Fannie Mae, has also been mentioned as a candidate.

Attorney General. Janet Reno's deputy, Eric H. Holder, is often mentioned as a leading candidate for Attorney General. His predecessor, Jamie S. Gorelick, now the vice chair at Fannie Mae, also wins kudos from those who witnessed her assertive hand under Reno, but she may feel she has run her distance around the Justice track. Also floated: Walter E. Dellinger, a former acting solicitor general in 1996-97, a Duke University law professor, and a former law clerk to Justice Hugo Black.

Interior Secretary. Lovely work if you can get it. All those national parks to visit. All those Western lands issues to battle. For that reason, those in the know would expect Gore to name a candidate who hails from the West in order to get that person through the Senate confirmation process. Some names out there: former Nevada Gov. Robert J. Miller; Sen. Richard H. Bryan of Nevada, who is retiring at the end of this year; and Oregon Gov. John A. Kitzhaber (who may have killed his chances by endorsing Bill Bradley in the primaries).

Health and Human Services Secretary. Gore's key campaign health policy advisers are not considered candidates to handle the sprawling HHS bureaucracy. It is not a requirement that the nominee have hands-on experience with health care. But someone who has juggled the issues for the Clinton Administration-first at the Office of Management and Budge for five years, then as head of the Health Care Financing Administration (which handles the Medicare and Medicaid programs) within HHS--is Nancy-Ann Min DeParle, who recently left Washington for a temporary respite at Harvard. DeParle is an attorney who from 1987-89 was human services commissioner in Tennessee, where she knew both Gore and his father. She graduated from Harvard Law School, earned degrees from Oxford University, and was a Rhodes Scholar. Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, considered a leader on health care issues, has captured some attention. Other prospects include White House Domestic Policy Adviser Bruce N. Reed; former Rep. Tom Downey; OMB Director Jacob Lew; and Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, a former president of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Commerce Secretary. Former California Rep. Norman Mineta loves his new job as Commerce Secretary, and Gore might decide to nominate him to stay on. However, before Gore stole William M. Daley away from Commerce to head his campaign, and before Clinton put Mineta in charge of Commerce, Gore had been thinking about Mineta as a good selection to guide the Transportation Department, if he won the election. If Gore wants to play musical chairs and put Mineta at DOT, other ideas (among many) for Commerce Secretary include former Rep. Tom Downey; Clinton national economic adviser Gene B. Sperling, who could be a candidate for a Cabinet promotion and would like to contribute to another Democratic administration (Sperling has provided economic counsel to the Gore campaign on his own time); and former United Airlines Chairman Gerald Greenwald, previously a vice chairman of Chrysler.

Agriculture Secretary. Democrats want a new farm bill in 2001, so the new Secretary may have plenty of work right out of the gate. If he loses his bid for re-election, Rep. Calvin Dooley of California could be a Gore pick for USDA, unless Democratic farm leaders squeal that he's too gung-ho for trade and not focused enough on domestic farm policy. Rep. Charles W. Stenholm of Texas, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, would be a first-class choice, but he'd have to want to leave the House, and the Democratic leadership would have to want to let him go. Some have talked about National Cotton Council Executive Vice President and Secretary Phillip C. Burnett as a candidate. A long shot at USDA might be Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services August Schumacher, who is a former World Bank official and a former Massachusetts agriculture commissioner. Schumacher is said to be lacking support from the major farming regions.

Labor Secretary. "Anyone John Sweeney wants," is the conventional wisdom, if Gore curtsies to the AFL-CIO president. A possibility from the labor federation is Linda Chavez-Thompson, the group's executive secretary. Also, Gene Sperling, whose White House experience has included plenty of work on labor issues, has a shot. Should Rep. Ron Klink, D-Pa., lose his uphill race against Sen. Rick Santorum, he could get the nod. Current Secretary Alexis Herman has campaigned intensively for Gore and could probably stay put, but most soothsayers don't see her remaining at Labor.

Education Secretary. If you've heard Gore on the campaign stump or during the debates tout the education reform achievements of North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., you have a good idea who the Vice President's Cabinet pick might be. Hunt's term is up in 2001, and he's considered a good, safe choice to champion Gore's modest education agenda. Hunt was a co-vice chair of the 1999 National Education Summit (started, by the way, in 1989 by President Bush), which is sponsored by governors and business interests. Other names being floated: Delaware Gov. Thomas R. Carper, who is running for the Senate against William V. Roth Jr., R-Del.; and Bruce N. Reed, who has worked for either Clinton or Gore in some capacity for about a dozen years. Reed, a centrist New Democrat, spent four years as an aide to Gore, including a stint as his chief speechwriter during Gore's unsuccessful 1988 bid for the White House. Reed would be happy to remain in a Democratic Administration, and his name pops up as a candidate for a host of jobs.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary. Andrew Cuomo, a big Gore backer, would rather go home to New York and prepare to run for governor in 2002 than hang around Washington, sources say. Odds are that the HUD Secretary in a Gore Administration would be a mayor. Possibilities include former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, now executive vice president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle; former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke; Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer, a Democratic National Committee co-chair; Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White; and former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. If Gore decided against choosing a mayor as the next HUD Secretary, he could select HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing William C. Apgar; housing developer Richard Baron, president of McCormack Baron & Associates, who has been at the forefront of public-private housing redevelopment; or Bart Harvey, the chairman and CEO of the Enterprise Foundation, which helps rebuild communities by sending money received through grants and loans to its partners, who erect affordable housing around the country.

Transportation Secretary. Although Secretary Rodney E. Slater has energetically campaigned for Gore, the betting is that he returns to Arkansas after the Clinton administration to revisit his own political ambitions. If Gore does not tap Norman Mineta, who had years of experience with the relevant issues in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a potential candidate would be Jane Garvey, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Garvey is smart and enjoys good relations with the Hill. But she has felt the sting of recent criticisms that say the FAA's computer system is unprepared to handle mounting air traffic congestion. Floated by friends: Caltrans Director Jeff Morales, who once worked for Gore in the Vice President's office and now heads California's transportation department.

Energy Secretary. Despite his energetic support for Gore (and dashed hopes of being a VP pick), Bill Richardson is not a likely carry-over into a Gore administration. Sources suggest he will want to return home to New Mexico and, perhaps, run for governor. His salutation this month to the next Energy Secretary: "This is a good job. It's an exciting job. But you can have it." Likely candidates for Energy seem scarce at this point.

Office of Management and Budget Director. The person everyone mentions is Robert D. Reischauer, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and relentless truth-teller about Washington's ways with the public's money. Smart, quotable, influential, and respected by lawmakers of both parties, Reischauer recently became president of the Urban Institute. But other sources say he would not be interested in OMB at this point. Someone who is said to be interested in the office's mission and who would garner enthusiastic support is Rep. John M. Spratt Jr., D-S.C., the ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee. He'd be a smart choice, but only if the Democrats don't need everybody they can keep in the House next year. And if Spratt has a shot at the chairman's seat, his friends believe he would remain in the House. Other names: Elaine C. Kamarck, Gore's campaign adviser for domestic policy, is said to be interested in the job. She has Gore's trust and knows his priorities cold, although she has equal shares of admirers and detractors. If OMB is not in the cards for her, there will be another top slot waiting (heading the Domestic Policy Council?). Her claim to fame in the first term of the Clinton Administration was Gore's reinventing government initiative, and most recently she's been perched at Harvard. Robert Greenstein, the head of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities who briefly agreed to serve as deputy OMB director during Clinton's first term but changed his mind at the last minute, is another possibility; and, as a real long shot, Harvard professor and Clinton race initiative adviser Christopher Edley.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Administrator Carol Browner was Gore's pick, and he'll want a kindred spirit in this post. Browner last year was rumored to be thinking about a political future at home in Florida; regardless, she is not expected to stay in Washington. Sources say the EPA job is former Gore aide Katie McGinty's for the asking, but there is some question about whether she would want to get back into the rat race after her years battling the GOP majority in Congress as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. If she's not game, others mentioned are environmentalist Bobby Kennedy Jr.; William Holman, head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in North Carolina; and the Secretary of the California Resources Agency, Mary Nichols, who was an assistant secretary at EPA during the Clinton Administration.