President Obama said he wanted to model his Cabinet after President Lincoln's famous "team of rivals." Back in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama told Time Magazine that if elected, "I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone."
While he included strong personalities like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Bob Gates in his first-term Cabinet, Washington insiders say the members of his second-term Cabinet aren't likely to challenge the president in the way he claimed to want.
What's the role of a Cabinet member in the Obama administration? Is Cabinet secretary really "the worst job in Barack Obama's Washington," as Glenn Thrush proclaims in Politico Magazine?
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE OBAMA CABINET:
• Team of Mascots
His inspiration was Doris Kearns Goodwin's best-selling book about Abraham Lincoln, who appointed three men who had been his chief competitors for the presidency in 1860--and who held him, at that point, in varying degrees of contempt--to help him keep the Union together during the Civil War. To say that things haven't worked out that way for Obama is the mildest understatement. "No! God, no!" one former senior Obama adviser told me when I asked if the president had lived up to this goal. (Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair)
• Out: Team of rivals. In: Obama's guys.
The real driver, obviously, will be Obama, and he has assembled a team with some common understandings. They share his commitment to ending the war in Afghanistan and avoiding new foreign military interventions, as well as his corresponding belief in diplomatic engagement. None has much experience managing large bureaucracies. They have independent views, to be sure, but they owe an abiding loyalty to Obama. (David Ignatius, Washington Post)