A clear front-runner for Clinton's job appears to be U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. "Let me say specifically about Susan Rice, she has done exemplary work," Obama said recently. The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is not without controversy. Republican senators have vowed a fight because of her erroneous remarks about the attack on the Benghazi compound. "In fact, what this began as, was a spontaneous, not a premeditated, response to what had transpired in Cairo," she said. That turned out to be bad information, but the president is standing behind Rice.
To replace Geithner at treasury, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is thought to have the edge, but there is talk that Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg could get the nod. In the Clinton administration, she served as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and she also sits on President Obama's Jobs Council. She also sits on the board of the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC and ABC7 News.
Sandberg would be the first woman to hold the post, but she is not the only local woman being mentioned as a possible candidate. U.C. Berkeley economist Christina Romer's name has also surfaced. She was chair of the president's Council of Economic Advisors. And, Politico writes that another local name, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, could also be tapped for the job.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is also planning to leave the cabinet. He has long expressed a desire to return to his family estate in Carmel Valley. Former Pentagon official Michele Flournoy would be the first woman secretary of defense, but Senator John Kerry may have the inside track.
One factor that could keep Sheryl Sandberg from taking the treasury post, if it's offered, is that she's got more than $1 billion in stock options from Facebook that will be completely vested over the next 10 years, assuming she remains with the company during that time.