NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama seems to have NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on the short list of candidates to replace U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, but if Kelly is interested, he is keeping mum.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Obama has said Kelly has done an extraordinary job in New York and is well-qualified for the post.
“I think Ray Kelly is one of the best there is, so he’s been an outstanding leader in New York,” Obama said in an interview last week with New York’s Univision affiliate.
But Kelly had little to say about it all this week.
“I’m flattered by what the president said, but I’m not going to comment further on it,” he said.
The commissioner was also asked if he planned to serve out the rest of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term, which ends at the end of the year.
“I’m going to take each day as it comes,” he responded.
Kelly has been rumored for several weeks as a possible replacement for outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who is leaving to take over the University of California’s 10-campus system.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has said he wants Obama to nominate Kelly.
“Ray Kelly is the man for the job – New York’s loss would be [the] nation’s gain,” said Schumer in a statement.
“There is no doubt Ray Kelly would be a great DHS Secretary, and I have urged the White House to very seriously consider his candidacy. While it would be New York’s loss, Commissioner Kelly’s appointment as the head of DHS would be a great boon for the entire country. Janet Napolitano has done an outstanding job, and if I had to give her a grade on her tenure, it would be ‘A+’. We need someone just as good who can fill her shoes,” Schumer added.
Long Island Congressman Peter King echoed those sentiments.
“The NYPD has more than 50,000 officers and civilians, he has the largest counter terrorism force in the country, he previously worked in Washington as the head of customs which is an integral part of Homeland Security,” King said.
Kelly is not the first NYPD commissioner to be considered for Homeland Security secretary.
In 2004, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik was nominated by President George W. Bush to replace Tom Ridge – the first Homeland Security secretary. But Kerik was forced to withdraw his name amid allegations including conspiracy and fraud – charges that landed him a prison sentence.
Michael Chertoff ended up getting the job, and he was followed by Napolitano.
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