President Barack Obama is much of the way through completing his second-term Cabinet and top White House staff. For many of those chosen so far, it’s been a game of musical chairs. Same faces, new places.
He nominated Jack Lew — his chief of staff and earlier his budget director — to be Treasury secretary. To fill the chief-of-staff opening, the president chose his deputy national security adviser, Denis McDonough.
Obama is expected to name Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a veteran of the Clinton administration and a close associate of Lew, as his next budget director.
He moved White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer to the job of senior adviser and replaced him with his deputy, Jennifer Palmieri.
And Obama nominated White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
Meanwhile, Obama’s nomination of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state breezed through the Senate on Tuesday, 94 to 3.
More problematic is his choice of Republican former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to replace retiring Leon Panetta as defense secretary. Hagel is expected to be closely grilled at his confirmation hearing Thursday about earlier remarks on gays, Israel and Iran.
Yet despite Republican angst over the nomination, Hagel seems likely to squeak by.
Some soon-to-be empty seats have no new occupants yet named.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, currently the only Republican in the president’s Cabinet, announced this week he was leaving his post. So are the secretaries of Labor and Interior and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Remaining, as of now, are Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is expected to make a decision soon.
Cabinet-level nominations require Senate confirmation. White House staff appointments don’t.
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Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
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O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
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Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
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