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Analysis: Race For Secretary Of State Heats Up -- Dec. 2, 1996

Cabinetmaking Slows At White House -- Nov. 14, 1996


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Sources: Albright Likely Pick For State Dept.

By Wolf Blitzer/CNN


WASHINGTON (Dec. 4) -- Well-placed administration officials tell CNN that U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright has emerged as the front-runner to succeed Warren Christopher as secretary of state.

The Reuters news service reports that Albright spent more than three hours at the White House Tuesday evening and is in Washington today. Albright would be the first woman to hold the secretary of state job.

But officials caution that President Bill Clinton is not expected to make any announcements today. They say word of the president's national security team could come as early as Thursday. But they warn that Clinton is still finishing up his thinking and that until he makes a final announcement, it's not a done deal.

Still, the officials say National Security Adviser Tony Lake has emerged as the likely new CIA director, succeeding John Deutch.

They say Lake's Deputy, Sandy Berger, is expected to become the president's new national security adviser.

Deutch, who has been on the short list to become secretary of defense, is now said to have emerged as a leading candidate to replace Hazel O'Leary as energy secretary.

The short list to replace William Perry at the Pentagon include Deutch and retiring Sens. William Cohen (R-Maine) and Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.).

But replacing Perry is proving to be more difficult than earlier thought and there's some speculation that the president might ask the defense secretary to remain on the job longer.

If Albright becomes secretary of state, the two top candidates to replace her at the U.N. are former Bosnia special envoy Richard Holbrooke and New Mexico Rep. Bill Richardson. Richardson is also on the short list to become commerce secretary.

Other front-runners, according to well-placed sources:

  • White House public liaison director Alexis Herman to become labor secretary, replacing Robert Reich;
  • Seattle Mayor Norm Rice to become housing secretary, replacing Henry Cisneros;
  • Bill Daley to become transportation secretary, replacing Federico Pena.

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