The Washington Times - December 27, 2012, 12:44AM

President Obama invited Hawaii’s new Sen.-designate Brian Schatz to ride back with him to Washington, D.C., on Air Force One Wednesday night.

Hawaii’s Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday tapped Mr. Schatz, the lieutenant governor, to succeed Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who represented Hawaii in Congress for half a century.

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Mr. Abercrombie chose Mr. Schatz even though the late senator wrote a letter to the governor asking that he pick Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat from Hawaii, to replace him. Mr. Schatz served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, when he launched an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. Congress.

Mr. Obama cut his Christmas holiday in Hawaii short to return to Washington, where he will join the Senate when it returns Thursday to return to debates on the intelligence bill, an emergency spending bill for Hurricane Sandy relief — and to be ready to vote on a long-term debt reduction bill, if leaders can strike one by Dec. 31.