Barack Obama's second-term Cabinet begins to take shape

Barack obama

ENERGY - COULD SOON BE VACANT

Speculation is rampant that Steven Chu will soon resign after a tumultuous time at the helm of the Energy Department. Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, took the fall for the administration over a failed loan to solar-panel maker Solyndra, which Republicans trumpeted as a symbol of government waste and mismanagement.

Possible replacements:

- Christine Gregoire - a former Washington state governor, Gregoire has been mentioned as a potential candidate for three energy-related positions in Obama's Cabinet: the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior and Energy.

- Byron Dorgan - former North Dakota senator who was a member of the Senate Energy Committee and focuses on energy issues at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

- Bill Ritter - former Colorado governor who helped reform regulations on oil and gas in his state, and now advocates for responsible oil and gas drilling from a post at Colorado State University.

WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF - VACANT

When Lew departs for the Treasury Department, Obama will need to name a new chief of staff. Possible replacements:

- Denis McDonough - Obama's deputy national security adviser, is thought to be the leading candidate.

- Ron Klain - former chief of staff to both Vice President Joe Biden and the previous Democratic vice president, Al Gore. He left the administration in 2011 to work for former AOL chairman Steve Case.

- Valerie Jarrett - a longtime Obama confidante, is a senior adviser to the president. She has known Obama since she hired his then-fiancee, Michelle Robinson, for an opening in the office of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley in 1991.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY - VACANT

Lisa Jackson, a chemical engineer and the first black administrator of the agency, announced last month she planned to leave. Jackson battled Republican lawmakers and industry groups who accused the agency of overreaching as it cracked down on carbon emissions and mercury pollution.

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