The start of the Obama’s second term also means a shake-up within his Cabinet. On Friday, Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when she steps down early next year. Kerry’s nomination is expected to easily clear the Senate, where he has served for the last six years as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
It may not be smooth sailing when it comes to nominating a new military chief. Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., considered to be Obama’s leading candidate to replace Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, is facing intense criticism on a number of fronts, including his views on Israel and Iran, and comments he made in 1998 about an openly gay nominee for an ambassadorship.