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Second-term team will have some new faces


 President Barack Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit Cambodia as well as the nation of Myanmar.
Chris Carlson/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 11/9/2012

BY JULIE PACE

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

--Big changes are coming to President Barack Obama's administration--just not right away.

The White House is making the nation's high-stakes fiscal crisis its top priority coming out of the election, underscoring the vital importance of averting severe year-end tax increases and spending cuts, not just for the economy but in setting the tone for Obama's second term.

Still, Obama is weighing replacements for high-profile officials expected to leave his Cabinet and the White House soon. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton both want to step down but have indicated a willingness to push their departures into next year, or at least until successors are confirmed. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also wants to retire next year.

"The first thing is to try to find a way out of the box we're in with regards to the fiscal cliff," said Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader who is close to Obama. "When the new Congress convenes they'll begin the nominating process for what I expect will be a good number of vacancies."

Obama privately delved into both issues Thursday, his first full day back in Washington following his re-election on Tuesday. The president and his team were also assessing how congressional Republicans were positioning themselves following the election before saying much publicly about his second term.

The president will make his first postelection comments on the economy and the fiscal cliff Friday at the White House.

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Obama offered a call for reconciliation after a divisive campaign. But he made clear he had an agenda in mind, citing a need for changes in the tax code, as well as immigration reform and climate change.