BOSTON (CBS) – There’s been lots of talk about Senator John Kerry being the next Secretary of State.

But, a report in the Washington Post Tuesday says Kerry is instead on the short list to be President Obama’s next Secretary of Defense, assuming that Secretary Leon Panetta leaves the Pentagon, as expected.

It would be just one piece in a broad re-casting of the president’s national security team that could include moving U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to Secretary of State to replace Hillary Clinton.

If Kerry were to leave the U.S. Senate a special election would need to be held to fill his seat.

Gov. Deval Patrick would have to set a date for that election within 160 days of Kerry’s resignation, with party primaries coming before that.

Who might run?

Anyone with significant name recognition, money, political organization and ambition.

For the Republicans, Scott Brown would be the obvious choice.

The Democratic field might include the woman Brown beat in the last Senate special election in 2010, Attorney General Martha Coakley, along with Congressmen Ed Markey, Stephen Lynch, Mike Capuano and Bill Keating.

That’s just a partial list.

But what does Kerry himself have to say about all this speculation?

“Senator Kerry’s only focus right now is his job as senior senator from Massachusetts and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee,” Jodi Seth, Kerry’s spokesperson, told WBZ-TV Tuesday.

Kerry’s current six-year term ends in 2014.

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