Opinion: Obama quits Senate after 46 months--21 of them seeking another job


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Well, Barack Obama’s Senate career didn’t last long -- about 46 months.

But long enough to mount a 21-month campaign to move on to bigger digs. The Democratic president-elect announced today he’ll resign his Illinois seat in the U.S. Senate on Sunday, just before the Senate is set to resume sessions. Something about a presidential transition period.

That means that the Illinois Democratic governor with the unpronounceable name will soon be appointing Obama’s replacement, a Democrat. Speculation has centered on Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who’s made himself available in interviews and pointed out how few votes he’s missed in the House (not that he’s pointing a finger at Obama).


Vice president-elect Joe Biden is expected to resign soon too, giving his Delaware Democratic governor a chance to appoint someone.

The resignations before January will give both their successors slightly longer seniority over those taking office in January, which is a really big deal in that world because it involves which office and committee assignments and ranking you’ll have. Kind of like merit badges without your mom having to sew anything.

We have a video report below. And the complete text of the president-elect’s resignation statement is available by clicking on the ‘Read more’ line below.

--Andrew Malcolm

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Statement by President-elect Barack Obama about quitting the U.S. Senate

“It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate. In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who’ve taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children’s future.

‘It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President.” November 13, 2008. ###