Inside Politics

Romney’s step

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney this week will submit paperwork to form a presidential exploratory committee, but not until funeral services for former President Gerald R. Ford have concluded, according to a top aide familiar with his plans.

Mr. Romney will file by tomorrow with the Federal Election Commission, the aide said, a registration that will allow the outgoing Massachusetts governor to raise and spend money in pursuit of the 2008 Republican nomination.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, have already taken the same step. Mr. Romney, like Mr. Ford, is from Michigan.

Mr. Romney yesterday ended a 10-day vacation at his home in Utah, and he had intended to file his paperwork today, the first business day of the new year, the Associated Press reports. But Mr. Ford’s death on Dec. 26 triggered a mourning period that will close federal offices and the U.S. Postal Service today, and the former president will be buried tomorrow in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“We want to be very, very respectful of that,” said the Romney aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity pending the creation of the presidential committee.

Spitzer era begins

Democrat Eliot Spitzer, vowing to “replace delay and diversion with energy and purpose,” was sworn in as New York’s 54th governor during a private ceremony early yesterday at the governor’s mansion.

“Day one has begun,” Mr. Spitzer said to a resounding cheer after being sworn in shortly after midnight Sunday. “It is a joy to be here. It will be exciting. I will do my best as the public has asked me to do.”

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet administered the oath of office to Mr. Spitzer, who was once a law clerk for Judge Sweet, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Spitzer, New York’s two-term state attorney general who gained an international status by taking on major Wall Street institutions, won the governorship on Nov. 7 with a landslide victory over former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso, a Republican.

Blogging the Senate

Senate Republicans have hired blogger Jon Henke for the position of “new-media director.” Mr. Henke says he believes he is the first congressional employee hired specifically to deal with the blogosphere.

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