News & Politics

Who Might Be on a Hillary Cabinet?

Hillary Rodham Clinton hasn’t dropped many hints about who might be in her potential Cabinet, but she’s surrounded herself with veterans of her husband’s days in the White House, suggesting that a second Clinton administration would include familiar faces.

Madeleine Albright, Robert Rubin, and Sandy Berger are all active in Clinton’s campaign—although Berger’s legal troubles may keep him out of any official position—but she would likely want to put her own stamp on many of the top Cabinet spots rather than simply depend on her husband’s former staff. She would also continue her Senate and campaign trend of surrounding herself with strong women.

Former top State Department official and peace negotiator Richard Holbrooke is seen as her likely choice for secretary of State, although she’s floated the name of Colin Powell, saying she’d ask the former general and George Bush secretary of State to serve again as a diplomat.


Retired general Wesley Clark, a close Clinton friend, would likely end up with a top Pentagon post or perhaps national-security adviser or Homeland Security chief. New York police commissioner Ray Kelly would be another top candidate for Homeland Security.

At either Justice or the Pentagon, Jamie Gorelick would be a top candidate; the WilmerHale partner served on the 9/11 Commission and as deputy attorney general and the Pentagon’s general counsel under Bill Clinton. Seth Waxman, another WilmerHale lawyer and former solicitor general, and Beth Nolan, who served as White House counsel and head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, are both possible candidates for attorney general.

Clinton’s senior economic adviser is Gene Sperling, who served for four years as Bill Clinton’s director of the National Economic Council and would be a shoo-in to reprise that role under Hillary if not appointed to a more senior position.

Roger Altman, who served as deputy Treasury secretary under President Clinton and adheres to the Rubin model of international trade and industry-led oversight, would be a candidate for the top Treasury position. A more outside-the-box selection would be another Clinton Treasury veteran, Beth Brooke, currently global vice chair at Ernst & Young in Washington.

Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, might leave Congress behind if Clinton wins the presidency and he gets offered the right post at Treasury, the Fed, or Commerce.

Another top Hillary adviser is Steven Rattner, a former Morgan Stanley executive, who might be headed to a post like OMB director.

Clinton insiders have begun to float the possibility that Terry McAuliffe, a strong Clinton supporter and top fundraiser with a business background, could be considered for the main spot at Commerce.

Neera Tanden, policy director of Clinton’s presidential campaign, would probably rise to the top post at the Domestic Policy Council, where she served as deputy under Bill Clinton.

If Hillary Clinton doesn’t go with former senator Max Cleland as secretary of Veterans Affairs, one possible candidate would be retired lieutenant general Claudia J. Kennedy, who is active in Veterans for Hillary.

The tight-knit group of women around Clinton—known as “Hillaryland”—has suffered some casualties; after nearly 15 years at Hillary’s side, Patti Solis Doyle was fired amid a campaign shake-up earlier this year. It’s not a huge leap to see campaign director Maggie Williams becoming White House chief of staff. Communications guru Howard Wolfson would almost certainly take a top role inside the White House.

Then there’s the biggest question: What to do with Bill? He said in December he’d sit in on Cabinet meetings if asked, although he told Barbara Walters, “I think it’s better for me to give her my advice privately most of the time.”

What Obama's Cabinet might look like.

A possible McCain Cabinet. 

This article is from the May 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from the issue, click here

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