Come January, the Obama administration will begin again, and a number of people whose names and faces have grown familiar the past four years will leave the public realm for other livelihoods.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and press secretary Jay Carney are preparing for departure. Many also expect Attorney General Eric Holder to be considering an exit.
Clinton's position is perhaps most visible. Her management of the department and leadership of America's global diplomacy have won praise from Republicans and Democrats, and the former New York senator and first lady is thought by many to be the most popular member of Obama's Cabinet.
Foreign policy experts see her departure as leaving a gap, because significant problems remain: Iran's suspected ambitions to develop nuclear weapons; violent civil war in Syria; continued fallout from the "Arab spring"; and continuing conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan among them. New challenges include China's slowing economy, coupled with its increasing aggressive response to territorial disputes.
Everybody cross your fingers that John Kerry is NOT her replacement.......