Inside Politics: Ben Affleck won’t run for Kerry Senate seat

BOSTON — Ben Affleck is taking his name off the list of possible candidates for Sen. John F. Kerry’s seat, which would be open if the Democratic senator from Massachusetts is confirmed as secretary of state.

Mr. Affleck said in a Monday posting on his Facebook page that while he loves the political process, he will not be running for public office.

Speculation about the Cambridge, Mass., native rose slightly when he did not completely rule out a Senate bid during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

IDAHO

Newspaper urges voters to forgive senator’s arrest

The Idaho Statesman urged its readers in a Christmas Day editorial to forgive Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho Republican, after the lawmaker’s drunken driving arrest in Virginia over the weekend.

An excerpt from the Boise newspaper’s commentary: “One mistake does not erase an otherwise honorable career. It’s a good guess that the embarrassment anybody might feel for him is nothing compared with the embarrassment he feels for himself.”

Mr. Crapo was pulled over Sunday night by Alexandria police after running a red light.

HAWAII

Report: Governor to announce Inouye successor Wednesday

CBS News reported Tuesday that Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, will announce Wednesday whom he is appointing to the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s vacant seat.

The governor’s action comes after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, urged the governor to move quickly to appoint a successor because Democrats want to be at full strength during “fiscal cliff” votes expected as soon as Friday.

If a Democrat is named, as expected, to the seat, Democrats would hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate through the end of the year.

Mr. Inouye died last week.

MEDIA

Piers Morgan deportation petition goes viral

An online petition to deport British journalist Piers Morgan has gone viral, collecting 60,000 signatures — and counting — as of Tuesday afternoon after the CNN host blasted a gun rights advocate on his show last week as “stupid.”

The petition, created Friday on the White House website, has already hit the 25,000-signature threshold that the White House requires before it will comment.

MASSACHUSETTS

Romney’s oldest son says dad never wanted the job

The Boston Globe, in an in-depth post-mortem on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign published over the long holiday weekend, reports Tagg Romney saying his dad never really wanted to be president.

“He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life. He had no desire to run,” said Mr. Romney, the presidential candidate’s oldest son. “If he could have found someone else to take his place he would have been ecstatic to step aside. He is a very private person who loves his family deeply and wants to be with them, but he has deep faith in God and he loves his country, but he doesn’t love the attention.”

TEXAS

Ron Paul rejects NRA’s armed-guards proposal

Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, isn’t backing the National Rifle Association’s call to place armed guards in schools.

“Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?” Mr. Paul wrote in a statement Monday.

“We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided ‘security,’ a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.”

The Texas congressman, who made a bid for the Republican presidential nomination this year, is retiring from public office at the end of the month.

TEXAS

George H.W. Bush spends Christmas Day in hospital

HOUSTON — Former President George H.W. Bush spent Christmas in a Houston hospital with his wife, Barbara, and other relatives who planned to treat him to a special holiday meal.

Mr. Bush’s son, Neil, and his wife also visited Tuesday, and one of Mr. Bush’s grandsons was planning to stop by as well, said spokesman Jim McGrath.

The 88-year-old has been in the hospital since Nov. 23 with a lingering, bronchitislike cough. A hospital spokesman had said Mr. Bush was likely to be released to spend Christmas at home, but then Mr. McGrath said the former president developed a fever.

Doctors remain “cautiously optimistic” Mr. Bush will recover, but they want to keep him in the hospital while they help him build his strength and balance his medications, Mr. McGrath said.

On Christmas, the Bush family normally eats at Gigi’s Asian Bistro in Houston’s Galleria neighborhood, Mr. McGrath said. There were plans to pick up food at the upscale restaurant and bring the meal to the hospital.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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