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Welp, even though we can't agree on a timetable for withdraw in Iraq it seems that Democrats and Republicans may be able to agree on another type of timetable: when to replace the Secretary of Defense.
Though an incoming president typically appoints a new team of advisors as he assembles his government, it is not unheard of to leave certain Cabinet Secretaries in place in order to maintain a level of consistency in areas that need it most. With the current war in Iraq hanging in the balance, any level of political sea-change enacted by the Obama administration may benefit from a consistent presence at the helm of Defense in order to provide some leadership stability.
From MSNBC's First Read:
*** Will he stay or will he go? This has become one of more talked-about questions in Washington: Will Bob Gates remain as Defense secretary in an Obama Administration? NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports that, per sources familiar with the transition game plan, the Obama folks would like for Gates to stick around for around nine months before a Democratic deputy secretary takes over. But a Defense official tells Mik that Gates would not want to be seen as simply a "transitional" or "holdover" Defense secretary. The official says if the Obama Administration imposed a specific timetable for a departure, Gates could immediately be labeled a "lame duck" secretary -- whose authority could be easily dismissed or even undermined by the new team of Democratic appointees.
But to make sure, Gates would likely ask that the timetable for any extended term in the be loosely defined as "under four years," giving both Obama and Gates the necessary wiggle room for a gradual but smooth and orderly transition.