Indiana News

Lugar Quickly Squelches Cabinet Rumors

Departing senator in talks with think tank, universities

11/15/2012


Richard Lugar (file photo)

Indiana Senator Richard Lugar wasted little time throwing cold water on suggestions he'd join President Obama's Cabinet, but it's still unclear what he'll do instead.

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Lugar's long tenure on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including two stints as chairman, has prompted speculation he might be named Secretary of State for each of the last three presidents. Each time, he's made clear he's not interested.

Capitol Hill correspondent John Shaw authored a book this spring assessing Lugar's foreign policy record. He says Lugar's always preferred the independent platform offered by the Senate, rather than having to be a conduit for presidential policy. Even with Lugar's Senate service drawing to a close, Shaw says Lugar would have no interest in being part of a bureaucratic structure after 36 years.

With Hillary Clinton planning to step down, political websites had floated Lugar's name again for that position, or for CIA director following the abrupt resignation of David Petraeus. Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher is blunt in dismissing those reports as having been made "without any forethought or knowledge."

Fisher declares the senator's next job will be outside the government, and says he's had talks with the German Marshall Fund think tank and some universities. Shaw says other think tanks may pursue Lugar as well -- he says Brookings Institution president Strobe Talbott is a longtime Lugar admirer. He says the only thing that may hold Lugar back from consideration for some posts is his age, 80 -- though he says the senator remains energetic.

Democrat Joe Donnelly will replace Lugar in the Senate January 3, following Lugar's loss to Richard Mourdock in the Republican primary in May.

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