Obama 2.0: Who’s leaving, staying, moving


With UN ambassador Susan Rice set to meet Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte on Tuesday, pieces seem to be falling in place for her nomination to become Secretary of State to proceed.

Administration officials offered The Back Chanel more tips on moves afoot in the Obama administration foreign policy team.

In the certain to go camp:

Assistant Secretary of State for Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell is leaving, official told the Back Channel, to chair the board of the Center for New American Security (CNAS), the think tank he co-founded with Michele Flournoy, and do Asia consulting. (His spouse Lael Brainard, Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, may leave the administration too, an official said. White House chief of staff Jack Lew is expected to succeed Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary.)

NSC Middle East senior advisor Steve Simon is due to leave shortly to become head of a think tank, officials told the Back Channel.

AfPak envoy Marc Grossman will leave, officials said. It is unclear who will succeed him.

In the likely to move camp:

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns may be nominated to succeed Rice as US ambassador to the UN, officials said.

Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides is being mulled for a White House job, possibly White House chief of staff, which can put his knowledge of budgets to work, as well as his relationship with Congress and Wall Street.

NSC economics senior advisor Michael Froman is likely to move, possibly to become US Trade Rep.

Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman is also likely to move, possibly for a White House/NSC job, or US Trade Rep.

Vice President Biden’s national security advisor Antony Blinken is likely to get a promotion, perhaps to deputy secretary of state.

In the may stay in place:

White House WMD czar Gary Samore—playing a key role on Iran—may stay on for now. While State Department arms control envoy Robert Einhorn is likely to leave, for a chair he has waiting for him at a Washington think tank, officials said.

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon may stay in place in that role, for now.

Sources thought that Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy would be top contenders to succeed Leon Panetta as Defense Secretary when he decides to leave, which is not expected to be immediately.

(Photo: Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, speaks to the media following the passing of a United Nations Security Council resolution regarding ongoing hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan at UN headquarters in New York, May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson.)

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