What It Takes to Get Fired From the Obama Administration


Joe Biden

When Vice President Joe Biden opens his mouth, he can definitely make waves. Like the time he got caught on a hot mic telling President Obama the passage of his signature healthcare law was a "big f***ing deal"? Or the episode in 2012 when Biden forced the president's hand on the issue of gay marriage? "I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties," Biden said in a May 2012 interview on "Meet the Press." Just a few days later, Obama came out in support of gay marriage in an interview with ABC News. Despite landing in some rhetorical hot water from time to time, Biden seems to be in no danger of losing his job.

Kathleen Sebelius

After enduring countless calls for her resignation over the botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is staying put -- for now. Dozens of Republican lawmakers have publicly called for her ouster, but neither the White House nor Sebelius is budging. "The majority of people calling for me to resign, I would say, are people who I don't work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place," Sebelius said this week. "I have had frequent conversations with the president and I have committed to him that my role is to get the program up and running and we will do just that."

Susan Rice

After leading the Obama administration's disastrous public relations effort in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name for consideration to be Hillary Clinton's successor as secretary of state. Instead, the president named her to be his National Security adviser -- a position she currently holds. "She is at once passionate and pragmatic," President Obama said in a speech in the White House Rose Garden in June.

Eric Holder

During his years as attorney general, Eric Holder has faced a chorus of calls for his resignation, first over the so-called "Fast and Furious" scandal and, more recently, after revelations that the Justice Department seized the telephone records of reporters in conjunction with a leak investigation. "I have no intention of" stepping down, Holder said in a June 2013 interview with NBC News. "There's some things that I want to do, some things I want to get done. I've discussed that with the president," Holder said. "Once I have finished that, I'll sit down with him and we'll determine when it's time to make a transition to a new attorney general."

James Clapper

The current director of National Intelligence has withstood several high-profile calls for his firing, including from GOP Sen. Rand Paul, after giving what he was eventually forced to admit was a "clearly erroneous" answer to a question about whether the government collects data on millions of Americans during a Congressional hearing. Clapper was accused of lying in response to a question by Sen. Ron Wyden about whether the National Security Agency collects "any type of data at all" on millions of Americans. In his March testimony, Clapper answered "no," later adding, "not wittingly." It was later revealed that the NSA does collect "metadata" from telephone and Internet companies on Americans. "My response was clearly erroneous, for which I apologize," Clapper wrote in a follow-up letter to Congress.

Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor

Pictures of White House chief speechwriter Jon Favreau and press aide Tommy Vietor playing shirtless beer pong were enough to garner headlines like "White House Gone Wild!" but not enough to get either of the two ejected from the West Wing. Nor was another photo of Favreau that surfaced in December 2008 of the speechwriter groping a life-size, cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton. Both aides, however, left the administration early in President Obama's second term -- several years after both incidents.

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