Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The New Guessing Game in Town Officially On

President Barack Obama confers with U.S.Secret...Image via Wikipedia

Just barely a year into Secretary Clinton’s term as the 67th Secretary of State, a new guessing game is already on for the 68th Secretary of State.  This came after her interview with PBS's Tavis Smiley where she was asked whether she could "imagine yourself doing all four years and, if asked, doing it for another four years." In which she replied "No, I really can't."  The Secretary clarified that she was referring to serving in a second term, saying "the whole eight, I mean, that that would be very challenging.  But I, you know, I don't wanna make any predictions sitting here."  She also said, I’m honored to serve...but it’s a 24/7 job, and I think at some point, I will be very happy to pass it on to someone else.

You know what’s going to happen, of course.  Josh Rogin of The Cable asks Who will be the next secretary of state?  Some new names and not so new names below but no career diplomat has made it so far in the guessing game.  

Early frontrunner: John Kerry

Gray eminence: Richard Lugar

Waiting in the wings: Jim Steinberg

Already in the cabinet: Susan Rice

A bridge too far:  Richard Holbrooke/George Mitchell

Always the bridesmaid: Chuck Hagel

Dark horse: Gen. David Petraeus

One of the names on the list above has been recently called America's bungling UN ambassadorby the New York Post, which may not be your fair and balance newspaper but has a daily circulation of 500,000 and ranks 8th in number of unique visitors to online newspapers:
The job was plainly a consolation prize for the woman who tutored candidate Barack Obama on foreign policy in the '08 campaign. And, because the president has given her Cabinet rank, Rice spends at most four days a week in New York -- the rest of her time goes to maintaining her Washington status.

Rice must make sure that her whispers remain as close as possible to the president's ear -- especially if she wants to succeed Hillary Clinton at State one day.
[S]he told reporters, the fact that she spends three days a week in DC is a good thing for America. "There's an understanding among my [UN] colleagues that I am speaking authoritatively as one of the president's senior advisers -- and I think that, frankly, very much enhances our ability to get things done," she said, adding, "And I think the record speaks for itself."
Somebody will dig up the record that speaks for itself for sure.

Oh, Damascus! Laura Rozen of Politico reports about the rumored new ambassador to Damascus: “Two well-informed Levant analysts say the as yet unannounced Obama administration nominee for U.S. ambassador to Syria will likely be Robert S. Ford, most recently the deputy U.S. ambassador to Iraq.”

Ambassador Ford who is the #2 at the US Embassy in Baghdad was previously the US Ambassador to Algeria from 2006–2008 and PolCouns at Embassy Baghdad from 2004 until 2006.  He reportedly speaks German, Turkish, French, and Arabic.

So far, no official announcement from the WH as of this writing.

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