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And Now a Message from the Real World

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Sorry to write about something other than the Speakers race, but … Reuters is reporting tonight that intelligence czar John Negroponte is leaving his job to take the number-two job in the State Department. This is the position that former Texas A&M president Robert Gates turned down in 2005 because, he told me in an interview for the profile of him that I wrote for the November 2006 issue, it was a job with little authority: Negroponte had control of the budgets of the various intelligence agencies, but he couldn’t hire or fire anybody. Now that the position is vacant, I wonder if President Bush might turn to Gates again to take it. It was one thing for Gates to turn down the job when he was at A&M; it would be harder for him to say no when he is already a member of the administration as Secretary of Defense. Nothing has changed to make the job more attractive to Gates, and it would be a waste of talent for him to leave the Pentagon, where he is needed, for a position in which he can do little.

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