Obama's Cabinet nominees at a glance
Several of President Obama's picks for upcoming Cabinet vacancies are drawing fire for everything from being soft on Iran to comprising a white-guy's club. Here's a quick rundown on the picks so far:
John Brennan, Central Intelligence Agency director: Brennan, 55, is assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. Before assuming that role in 2009, Brennan was president and chief executive officer of The Analysis Corp., interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center, director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center and deputy executive director of the CIA, according to a AP biography. He is a 25-year veteran of the CIA.
Brennan's oversight of Obama's drone-strike program against Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan is drawing criticism, along with his alleged support for advanced interrogation techniques. Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), on Jan. 8 called for a delay in Brennan's confirmation until questions about the Sept. 11 assault of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, are answered.
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, Defense secretary: The Nebraska Republican chaired Sen. John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign, but endorsed Obama in 2008. Hagel, 66, was a U.S. senator from 1997-2009. An enlisted soldier who was wounded in Vietnam, Hagel's government roles included working for a Nebraska congressman and as deputy administrator of the U.S. Veterans Administration, according to an AP biography. Hel worked in the cellular and telecommunications field before running an investment banking firm in Omaha, Neb.
Hagel's critics challenge his opposition of unilateral sanctions against Iran, 2006 comments that the "Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people" in Congress, criticism of U.S. boycotts of talks with Hamas and other pro-Palestinian groups, and talk of a "bloated" Pentagon budget, according to a Los Angeles Times report. He also is criticized for comments perceived to be anti-gay, and for being too independent. In comments Sunday on CBS News' Face the Nation, McCain questioned whether Hagel "really believes that the surge (in Iraq) was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War. … Why would he oppose calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization?"
Sen. John Kerry, secretary of State: Like Hagel, the Massachusetts Democrat and 2004 presidential nominee is a Vietnam veteran. Kerry, 69, earned his law degree in 1976 and started out in a Massachusetts district attorney's office. He was elected to the Senate in 1984 after serving two years as lieutenant governor, according to a bio in biography.com. His vice presidential running mate in 2004 was the now-disgraced Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.
Kerry's nomination has drawn little to no opposition.
Jack Lew, Treasury secretary: The current White House chief of staff and former budget director, Lew, 57, is a New York City native who work as an aide to a Massachusetts congressman and then-House Speaker Tip O'Neill in the 1970s and '80s. He was deputy director and then director of the Office of Management and Budget under Bill Clinton, according to a Huffington Post article, then became executive vice president of New York University and later an executive at Citigroup. Before joining the White House staff, Lew was deputy secretary for management and resources under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Lew's nomination has drawn little criticism, other than for his loopy-looking signature. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., praised him for how he handled the 2010 debt-ceiling fight, according to a profile in Politico.
-watch a video of Obama's announcement of the Hagel and Brennan nominations