President Obama did not let Rep. Jim Oberstar’s 35-years in Congress pass without comment – or without prompting rampant speculation about his future.
An aide to the Iron Range DFLer, known as "Mr. Transportation" in Washington, said the president called at breakfast Wednesday morning as Oberstar was digesting the news of his first loss in 19 elections. It appeared to be part of a long round of calls to defeated Democratic lawmakers.
Staffers who were gathered with Oberstar at the Duluth Holiday Inn heard Oberstar tell Obama, “Mr. President, I want you to know that while my service in Congress has ended, my commitment to public service has not, and I’m ready to assist your administration in any way.”
To which, the president reportedly replied, “Let’s let the dust settle and talk again.”
From “Mr. Transportation” to Mr. Secretary of Transportation? Current Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is a former Republican congressman from Illinois. No word on what his current plans are.
There could be stranger fates for Oberstar, the outgoing chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, especially as the administration looks to negotiate a federal surface transportation bill that's been stalled for the past 18 months.
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