(NEWS.YAHOO) — Besieged by criticism from right and left, and considerable skepticism from his former Senate colleagues, Chuck Hagel appears to be following the path of Susan Rice as a trial-balloon nominee who finds himself quickly losing altitude in Washington. And as happened with Rice, the White House is now signaling that it may soon puncture Hagel’s hopes.
Just as occurred with Rice, the U.N. ambassador whose prospective nomination as secretary of State—leaked to the media—flamed out in the face of widespread criticism of her, President Obama appears to be rethinking his choice for Defense secretary.
A senior administration official told National Journal on Sunday that it was “fair” to say Obama is considering candidates other than Hagel for Defense secretary, in particular Michele Flournoy, who was under secretary of Defense for policy in Obama’s first term, and Ashton Carter, the current deputy Defense secretary. Only a week ago, Bloomberg News reported that Hagel was Obama’s top choice.