LaHood, though highly regarded by President Obama, indicated in 2011 that he was leaving at the end of the first term, but then he seemed to hedge, most recently saying he and Obama needed to chat. (Which still sounds as if he’s edging out.)
There are a fair number of names being heard as possible LaHood successors, including Los Angeles Mayor
, who is seen as quite knowledgeable on transit matters.
One tiny problem appears to have surfaced, however, in the form of a Los Angeles Times story Wednesday and a picture that actor Charlie Sheen, former star of “Two and a Half Men,” tweeted showing him with his arm around Villaraigosa last month at the opening of Sheen’s bar in Baja California, Mexico. The mayor “knows how to party,” Sheen said.
Villaraigosa said he had been there only a few minutes, but Sheen countered this week that it was more like a couple of hours in his hotel suite, surrounded by a number of beautiful women.
Sheen apologized, noting that many other people were there and saying he was trying to make a joke.
This sounds like much ado about very little — Sheen’s relationship to matters of space and time seems to be a bit distant these days — but it’s not the kind of news the White House wants to read.
Another name mentioned for the Transportation Department job is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, a major name in Democratic politics for years. His closeness to Obama, however, has been in doubt.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman
also appears to be decidedly in the mix. Hersman, a former Senate aide, is in her second five-year term at the NTSB. She was appointed to the board by President George W. Bush and then reappointed by Obama, who named her chairman.
Secretary of State
, chatting briefly with reporters Wednesday at a department function, said she was “thrilled to be back” after her recent illness and hospitalization.
“It’s obviously somewhat bittersweet,” she added, “because I’ve had the most extraordinary experience. . . . But I’m very much looking forward to doing everything we can these last few weeks to resolve and finish up wherever possible and then to have a very smooth, seamless transition to Senator Kerry.”
“And then retirement?” a reporter asked.
“I don’t know that that’s the word I would use,” she said, “but certainly stepping off the very fast track for a little while.”
Clinton fans know her usual response is to deflect questions about her future plans or to say something like what she told New York Times columnist Gail Collins in November: “I am so looking forward to next year,” Clinton said. “I just want to sleep and exercise and travel for fun. And relax. It sounds so ordinary, but I haven’t done it for 20 years.”