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Next: Kerry's key Cabinet choices

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Furthermore, as a career Washington politician, Kerry would find a long line of friends, colleagues, and former and current employees at his door the morning after a victory party. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware might want to parlay his experience on the Foreign Relations Committee into a foreign-policy job, for instance. And where would that leave Nancy Stetson, Kerry's Senate international affairs adviser?

"Public figures function as clusters of persons whose fate is aligned with their principal," writes Charles Jones, University of Wisconsin political science professor emeritus, in a Brookings Institution policy brief. "The clusters grow in size in a campaign."

The man needs help here, clearly. He's got too much winnowing to do on his own; at last count his campaign's justice policy task force alone had 195 members.

When it comes to likely appointees, Professor Jones concludes, "informed speculation should be encouraged, based on a review of those with experience and either a close association with the candidate or obvious support for his views."

Here it is, Kerry cabinet speculation as informed as any you're likely to read today:

The sentimental choice: Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri is widely liked in the party, and many influential Democrats would like to see him get a top job. His union ties would make him a good fit for secretary of Labor.

Odds-on favorite (foreign policy division): Party insiders generally see former Clinton UN ambassador Richard Holbrooke as their secretary of state in waiting. A tough diplomat who helped bring peace to Bosnia, Holbrooke is experienced at the sort of nation-building the US is attempting in Iraq. If anything, Holbrooke might be too tough - his style won him bureaucratic adversaries as well as devotees.

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