POLITICAL WIRES HEADLINES – 1/6

Bush Will Not Run for Senate

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said he won’t run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 to replace the retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), the AP reports.

Bush said “now is not the right time to return to elected office.”

Reid Calls on Coleman to Concede

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that while Democrats will not seek to seat Al Franken (D) today, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) should concede the election,The Hill reports.

Said Reid: “This is a difficult time for former Sen. Coleman and his family, and he is entitled to the opportunity to concede this election graciously. But we cannot let this drag on forever.”

Coleman has scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. EST in St. Paul.

Gupta Offered Job of Surgeon General

President-elect Obama has offered the job of surgeon general to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the neurosurgeon and correspondent for CNN and CBS, according to Howard Kurtz.

“Gupta has told administration officials that he wants the job, and the final vetting process is under way. He has asked for a few days to figure out the financial and logistical details of moving his family from Atlanta to Washington but is expected to accept the offer.”

Sebelius Still Not Coming to Washington

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) “put to rest any talk that she’s interested in the Secretary of Commerce job now that Bill Richardson’s out,” the Kansas City Starreports.

When asked, Sebelius said, “No, no.”

Last month, she announced she was staying in Kansas to deal with the state’s budget problems.

PPP Poll: Cuomo Stronger Than Kennedy

The latest Public Policy Polling survey finds that both Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy would both lead possible U.S. Senate faceoffs in 2010 against Rep. Peter King (R-NY), although there’s a wide disparity in the margins.

Cuomo would beat King, 48% to 29%, while Kennedy would barely edge him, 46% to 44%.

Of course, this assumes King would be the Republican nominee and not a stronger candidate such as Rudy Giuliani.

Where Will They Sit?

ABC News speculates about the seating arrangements for the new U.S. Senators sworn in today.

However, most interesting is a Senate seating chart from the last Congress. If you click on a desk, “you see that since the beginning of the 20th Century it has been tradition for senators to sign the inside drawer of the desk. Click on desk 24 and you see the signature of Senator Barack Obama and also Senator Bill Bradley. Click on desk 83 and you see that Senator Ted Kennedy sits at the desk used by his brother Senator John F. Kennedy.”

Schumer’s Strategy

Joshua Green has a fascinating profile of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who “helped drive the Democrats’ recent rise to power with what he says is a critical insight about the American middle class — that it is more affluent, and wants different things from an activist government, than most policy makers think.”

Schumer believes that if the Obama administration and new Congress “can strengthen the bond between government and the middle class as he defines it… this new Democratic era could last for a generation or longer.”

Before and After

Pew Research: “A mere 13% of Americans are now satisfied with the way things are going in the country, compared with 55% eight years ago. And while 61% applauded at Clinton’s curtain call, only 24% approve of Bush’s performance as he leaves the national stage.”

First Lady Gets Small Book Advance

According to the New York Post, First Lady Laura Bush received an advance of just $1.6 million for her book deal announced yesterday — far less than the $8 million Hillary Clinton received for her memoir, Living History.

The New Yorker notes that most publishers that met with Mrs. Bush were unimpressed with her proposal.

Becerra Back in the Mix for Commerce

An Obama transition team source told the San Antonio Express-News that Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) has emerged as the leading candidate to become secretary of Commerce now that Gov. Bill Richardson backed out.

Said the source: “Even though he turned down the trade representative slot, Becerra is not only Hispanic, but he has the skill, talent and experience to do the Commerce job.”

Update: A Becerra spokesman tells Jonathan Martin that the congressman is not interested.

Bennet Begins Campaign

Michael Bennet — the surprise choice by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) to replace Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) in the U.S. Senate — has already set up a campaign web site, indicating he fully intends to stand for election in 2010.

According to the AP, Bennet “will file official candidacy papers within a few days.”

Bush Wavers on Florida Senate Bid

“Republican excitement over the prospect of Jeb Bush running for U.S. Senate has given way to increasing speculation that the former governor will stay out of the race,” the St. Petersburg Times reports.

Bush declined to comment “but was expected to make an announcement perhaps as early as this week.”

Franken Waits

Though Al Franken (D) was declared the winner of Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race yesterday, the election lawsuit brought by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) “stops Franken from receiving the certificate of election that normally serves as a candidate’s credential to join the Senate,” according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Since Franken lacks that, it is unclear when he will go to Washington to join the new class of senators. The rest of the class is being sworn in today.”

Senate Showdown

Roland Burris told the Chicago Tribune that “he intends to try to walk onto the Senate floor to be sworn in with incoming senators when the Senate convenes Tuesday despite declarations from party leaders that they will prevent the 71-year-old, longtime politician from entering the legislative body’s ornate chamber.”

“The imagery of authorities stopping a graying African-American man at the threshold of political power promises to be a moment of high drama in a controversy that has joined the complicated politics of race with the sensational corruption scandal swirling around Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The governor, undeterred by criminal charges that he sought to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, picked Burris last week.”

Burris to CBS News: “They’re causing the drama, my appointment is legal. Are you saying there is something wrong with me? I’m qualified.”

Update: The AP reports Burris was refused a seat in the U.S. Senate because his credentials “were not in order.”

Political Generation Gap

USA Today: “Barack Obama, one of the youngest presidents ever to take the oath of office when he’s inaugurated Jan. 20, will be working with the nation’s oldest Congress. The average age will be 57 in the House and 63 in the Senate, according to the chambers’ historical offices. In each case, it’s the highest on record.”

Gregoire Trip Fuels Speculation

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) canceled a Tuesday lunch appearance and two sources confirmed to The Hill she is in Washington, D.C. The governor’s actions “have triggered a wave of speculation” that Gregoire could soon replace Gov. Bill Richardson (D) as President-elect Obama’s Commerce Secretary-designate.

“Her office refused to confirm Gregoire’s whereabouts all day Monday.”

Update: The Seattle Times reports Gregoire is visiting troops in Iraq.

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