“He’ll most likely appoint a placeholder. A lot of people speculating that’s Mike Dukakis,” said Jim Spencer, president of the Campaign Network, a Boston-based political consulting group. “That’s the most obvious choice. Everybody thinks it’s Dukakis.” [The Hill]

THE PLACEHOLDER for Senator John Kerry’s seat is being floated as Michael Dukakis, as the second news report, after the Chicago Sun-Times, offers that President Obama is “set to tap” Kerry for Clinton’s successor as Secretary of State.

If Kerry is chosen, a special election would be held in early to late spring 2013.

The New York Times’s David Sanger has also reported that John Kerry is expected to be the news Secretary of State.

For Mr. Obama, a national security team led by Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel, and their longtime colleague in the Senate, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., would be deeply experienced but also, in many ways, deeply conventional. All three were in the Senate during the cold war, long before Mr. Obama came on the political scene. All describe themselves as pragmatists rather than ideologues, and all became skeptics, then critics, of the American experiment in Iraq from the early days of the war.

Still, administration officials said, for now there are no serious candidates for the State Department job other than Mr. Kerry. He would be the first white man to serve in the post since Warren Christopher left the job in early 1997. His successors have been Madeleine K. Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Mrs. Clinton.

UPDATE: Michael Dukakis says “no” flatly to news report.