The Washington Times - January 7, 2014, 04:14PM

It was no secret that Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, was the White House’s pick to serve as the next American ambassador to China, but President Obama now has made that choice official.

The president on Tuesday formally nominated Mr. Baucus, who has served in the Senate since 1978 and was planning to retire when his current term ends in 2015.

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The White House also put forth nine other nominees to serve in key posts.

Perhaps most notably, Mr. Obama officially named Leon Rodriguez to serve as the next director of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.

But like Mr. Baucus’ selection, that announcement also came with no suspense. The White House announced in December its intent to nominate Mr. Rodriguez.

Mr. Obama on Tuesday also nominated: Paige Eve Alexander to be assistant administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development; Sharon Y. Bowen to be a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; John Charles Cruden to be an assistant U.S. attorney general; Janet Garvin McCabe to be an assistant administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency J. Mark McWatters to be a member of the National Credit Union Administration Board; Eric Rosenbach and David B. Shear to be assistant secretaries of defense; and Darci L. Better to be chief agricultural negotiator in the the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.