WASHINGTON - The top contenders for the "big three" jobs in President Barack Obama's second-term Cabinet are all white men, rekindling concerns about diversity in his inner circle.
Now that Susan Rice has withdrawn from consideration as the next secretary of state, the front-runner is Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is the top candidate to run the Pentagon, and White House chief of staff Jack Lew is likely to be Obama's next treasury secretary if he wants the job.
Rice dropped out of consideration for the State Department job after months of withering criticism over her initial comments about the attacks on Americans in Libya. Several female House Democrats said the criticism smacked of sexism.