Bobby Ray Inman's bizarre withdrawal as President Clinton's nominee for Defense Secretary has sent an embarrassed Administration looking to play it safe in its next choice. The list includes top government officials, business executives, and a former Republican senator.
Among the top candidates are Deputy Defense Secretary William Perry, who is an ex-vice-president of Hambrecht & Quist, a San Francisco investment banking firm, and CIA Director James Woolsey. Both men are popular with the Pentagon--a big plus for a President trying to rebuild his ties there. The Administration also is mulling former Senator Warren Rudman, who now heads a lobbying group, and Senator John W. Warner (R-Va.).
Such politicos aside, the White House search team, headed by Chief of Staff Thomas McLarty III, is looking to corporate CEOs. Under consideration are Norman Augustine of Martin Marietta Aerospace; Paul O'Neill of Aluminum Co. of America; and John Young, formerly of Hewlett-Packard. As for Inman, a near sure choice for approval, top Clintonites are mystified by his withdrawal.