Eric Holder will stay on as attorney general for "about a year" into President Obama's second term, even though he's reportedly wanted to quit since 2010, and even as the rest of the cabinet remains up in the air. Holder's sticking around into Obama's second term to avoid a "mass exodus" among cabinet officials, Fox News reports. Holder's tenure has not been easy, given the controversy over the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed case and being held in contempt of Congress over Fast and Furious. He was the focus of so many antagonistic congressional hearings that in June, even Fox News' Geraldo Rivera said House Republicans were making a political calculation aimed at "the destruction of the first African American Attorney General in a presidential election year."
But Holder was sick of the job long before that. According to Kill or Capture, by Newsweek reporter Daniel Klaidman, an emotionally drained Holder wanted to leave in the fall of 2010. "The loss of hismother, the continuing criticism over KSM, the lashings in the press, and Holder's sense of isolation within the administration had turned his job into a grind," Klaidman writes. "He woke up on many mornings with a knot in hisstomach, not sure if he's be able to make it through the day. He told [his wife] Sharon he didn't know if he had the emotional strength to go on as attorney general."
Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett asked him to stay on, telling Holder, "You're my friend and I care about you.... This will not be good for you and it will not be good for your friend, the president." Holder will reportedly continue being a good friend through 2013, with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and even Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano on the short list to replace him, according to Fox.
Other cabinet officials expected to leave soon after Obama's second inauguration include, via the Associated Press and Washington Post:
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Possible Replacements: Sen. John Kerry, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, former Utah governor on Huntsman; Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
- Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner
Possible Replacements: White House chief of staff Jack Lew
- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
Possible Replacements: Ashton Carter, Panetta's deputy, Michele Flournoy, former Defense Department policy chief, Kerry.