White House Makes Baucus Nomination Official

News broke of the rumored announcement earlier this week.

Baucus: No deal on tax cuts until after Thanksgiving.
National Journal
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Jordain Carney
Dec. 20, 2013, 6:11 a.m.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cially an­nounced Fri­day that re­tir­ing Montana Demo­crat Max Baucus will be nom­in­ated to be the next am­bas­sad­or to China, mak­ing of­fi­cial one of the worst kept secrets in Wash­ing­ton.

Re­pub­lic­ans sug­ges­ted after the news broke on Wed­nes­day that Baucus would have a clear path to con­firm­a­tion.

Des­pite the leak, the White House re­mained firm in not of­fi­cially con­firm­ing the al­leg­a­tion. White House Press Sec­ret­ary Jay Car­ney said Thursday that he had no per­son­nel an­nounce­ments.

But when asked, Car­ney touted Baucus’s ex­per­i­ence, in­clud­ing a strong en­gage­ment in the U.S.-China re­la­tion­ship. He qual­i­fied those state­ments though, adding that it “just hap­pens to oc­cur to me” —re­ceiv­ing a mix­ture of laughter and com­ments of dis­be­lief from mem­bers of the White House press corps.

Pres­id­ent Obama noted Baucus’ ex­per­i­ence in the an­nounce­ment, say­ing that if the Montana Demo­crat is con­firmed he will be “per­fectly suited to build” on eco­nom­ic agree­ments he helped forge between the two coun­tries as a mem­ber of the Sen­ate.

Baucus’s nom­in­a­tion comes as the United States shifts its for­eign policy fo­cus from the Middle East to Asia. The two coun­tries have seen an in­crease in ten­sions re­cently be­cause of China’s new air de­fense zone, in­clud­ing a near col­li­sion between two ships earli­er this month. Sec­ret­ary of State Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that China’s ac­tions in the in­cid­ent were “un­help­ful.”

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