- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2009

SENATE

Schumer urges seating of Franken

MINNEAPOLIS | New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Al Franken should be seated in the Senate when it convenes Tuesday.

Mr. Schumer said in a statement Sunday that it’s clear Mr. Franken has won the election for Minnesota’s Senate seat. He said Republican Norm Coleman can’t get enough votes to win, even if claims of double-counted ballots are resolved.

Mr. Franken had a 225-vote lead over Mr. Coleman when election officials completed their recount Saturday.

The state Canvassing Board is expected to certify the results of the recount Monday, then there will be a seven-day waiting period before an election certificate is completed. If any lawsuits are filed during that waiting period, certification is conditional until the issue is settled in court.

INTERVIEW

Elder Bush touts Jeb for presidency

Former President George H.W. Bush, father of the outgoing president, on Sunday touted another son, Jeb, for a future presidential bid.

“I’d like to see him run. I’d like to see him be president some day,” the elder Mr. Bush, 84, told “Fox News Sunday.”

“I think he’s as qualified and able as anyone I know,” he said, adding, however, that “now is not the time” for another White House run by a member of his family.

“There have been enough Bushes in there,” he said.

He said son Jeb, a former governor of Florida, would also would make an “outstanding” senator representing the state.

The former president also had words of praise for his older son.

“The fact that everything that’s a problem in this country should be put on his shoulders, that’s not fair,” Mr. Bush said.

“He ran a clean operation, having kept this country strong and free after unprecedented in history attack, 9/11, and he’ll have a lot to be proud of.”

TENNESSEE

Frist rules out run for governor

KNOXVILLE | Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tells the Associated Press he won’t run for Tennessee governor in 2010.

Mr. Frist emphasized that he’s not sitting out the governor’s race with an eye toward a potential run for president.

The Nashville Republican said he will focus instead on his global health initiatives, teaching at Vanderbilt University and his private investment work. Mr. Frist said he will also start an initiative to improve K-12 education.

Mr. Frist’s decision opens the door to what is already shaping up to be a crowded field seeking the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nomination.

Incumbent Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, can’t run again because of term limits.

INTERVIEW

Cheney points to Iraq success

Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that the United States was close to achieving its aims in Iraq.

Interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Mr. Cheney offered a spirited defense of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, of which he was a key proponent.

“We are close to achieving most of our objectives. We have a significant reduction in the overall level of violence,” Mr. Cheney said.

He also cited the removal of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the new Iraqi constitution, the Iraqi elections and a recent framework agreement providing for a U.S. military withdrawal by 2011 as successes.

“All of these things by anybody’s standards would be evidence of significant success,” Mr. Cheney said.

TEXAS

Craddick dropping speaker bid

AUSTIN | House Speaker Tom Craddick, the first Republican speaker in modern times, is dropping his bid for a fourth term, four Republican House members said Sunday.

Mr. Craddick became speaker in 2003 and quickly pushed through a conservative agenda of congressional redistricting, lawsuit limitations and a new business tax. His tenure has been marked by complaints from Republicans and Democrats that he rules the chamber like a dictator and forces lawmakers to bend to his will.

“I’ve talked to some of his staff and it’s over for Tom,” said Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, who has remained a Craddick ally amid the swirl of opposition and an surging opponent who claimed to have clinched the race.

Republican Rep. Joe Straus, a longtime political activist from San Antonio, released a list of 85 pledges of support Sunday evening, more than enough to win the election Jan. 13.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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