- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2013

President Obama is going to nominate Montana Sen. Max Baucus to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to China to fill the shoes of former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, sources said.

Senate aides confirmed the nomination, thought the White House declined to comment, The Los Angeles Times reported. The nomination is seen as a means of strengthening the Democratic Party’s ability to keep Mr. Baucus‘ seat in 2014, political insiders say.

The ambassador role is a key post, especially since the White House has shifted its focus on foreign policy and diplomacy in many respects to Asia, trying to develop a smoother relationship with China’s new president, Xi Jinping, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Mr. Baucus, 72, chairs the Senate Finance Committee and has maintained a steady influence on some of Mr. Obama’s key policy reforms — including Obamacare, in 2010.

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