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Secretary Perry? Former foe may be part of Trump's Cabinet

'Inside Politics' forecast: Sen. John Kennedy
'Inside Politics' forecast: Sen. John Kennedy


    'Inside Politics' forecast: Sen. John Kennedy


'Inside Politics' forecast: Sen. John Kennedy 03:38

Story highlights

  • A glimpse inside Trump's inner circle reveals a big donor is now a big player
  • There's a new John Kennedy in Washington after the Senate runoff in Louisiana

Washington (CNN)A new Kennedy in the Senate, fresh rumblings about Cabinet appointments and a look at Donald Trump's inner circle: It's all part of this week's "Inside Politics" forecast, where you get a taste of tomorrow's news today.

1) From foe to colleague?

    Donald Trump was one of 17 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.
    CNN's John King
    So far, just one of the other 16 is in line for a Trump Cabinet job: Ben Carson, who is the President-elect's choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    Will that be it?
    Maybe, but there are a few jobs still open -- the Energy Department among them -- and a well-sourced Republican suggests to CNN that former Texas Gov. Rick Perry might still emerge as a Cabinet choice.
    During the primaries, Perry called Trump a "cancer on conservatism." But he later became a Trump surrogate.

    2) The heiress aiding Trump's transition

    If you want a plum job in the new Trump administration, it helps to have the Black Widow as an ally.
    Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs
    As in Rebekah Mercer, who chose the superhero spy as her costume at her family's annual "Heroes and Villains" party.
    Mercer, 43, is the daughter of a billionaire hedge fund manager and was a predominant Trump supporter. Now, Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg Politics reports she has become a gatekeeper, helping decide who gets considered for major administration posts.
    "Her talent is for bringing in talent. She has her fingerprints on everything from the search for Secretary of State to the Press Secretary to the new GOP chairman," Jacobs says. "What's interesting about her (is that) her family has pushed for years this agenda, this anti-establishment populist agenda, and now she is one of the main influencers for the Trump cabinet."

    3) Democrats' calculations

    Democrats have many differences with President-elect Trump, from taxes to health care to climate change.
    But there are some issues where there might be agreement, such as infrastructure spending and trade policy. And Democrats are looking at how to use those debates to their policy and political advantage.
    CNN's Manu Raju explains the party's calculations:
    "It raises some concerns among Democrats who believe that the rush to normalize Donald Trump, in their words, will make it harder for them to paint him as an extreme president, " Raju says. "But right now watch for them to look to start to talk about those economic issues, particularly for those senators in difficult races in 2018."

    4) A different kind of Kennedy

    Saturday night brought yet another defeat for the Democrats in 2016, and the irony is rich: GOP candidate John Kennedy won the Senate runoff in Louisiana on Saturday.
    Mary Katharine Ham of The Federalist
    That's right -- a Republican Kennedy in the Senate. This one gives the GOP a 52-48 edge and, as Mary Katharine Ham of The Federalist puts it, a bit of an exclamation point on a roller-coaster election year.
    "I think it's emblematic how far we've come from the conventional wisdom, which was that Democrats had this big coalition of the ascendant. Even in the Southern states, they were going to make these great inroads," Ham says.

    5) John Kerry's next act

    John Kerry is pondering his next act after a long career in politics.
    He was lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, then a United States senator. In 2004 he was the Democratic presidential nominee, and is now wrapping up four busy years as Secretary of State.
    So what next? Matt Viser of The Boston Globe shared his reporting on Kerry's thinking, beginning with what could be an awkward transition at the State Department.
    "Kerry will work from the outside still on climate change," Viser reports. "It's a big passion of his, but for the first time since 1983 outside of public office."