The real reason why Dingell, D-Mich., is likely to retain the chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee: "Several top Democrats backing Dingell argue that the contest, dividing House Democrats this week even as they celebrate their expanded majority, represents an assault on a long-sacred tradition in the Caucus: the seniority system," Roll Call's Tory Newmyer reports. "Jitters about upending that tradition appear to be benefiting Dingell down the stretch with some of the most prominent members of the Caucus: his fellow chairmen, who are so far breaking for the Michigan lawmaker 6-2."
"Long-serving House Democrats, particularly black lawmakers, fear that the gavel fight between Reps. John Dingell and Henry Waxman will 'open a can of worms' and wreck the seniority system that keeps power in their hands," The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports. "A successful coup against Dingell (D-Mich.), head of the Energy and Commerce panel, could encourage Young Turks to attack the seniority system, which rewards years of service, and send a signal that all top jobs are now fair game."
Did Michael Steele grab a big endorsement in the race for RNC chairman? "Newt's decided not to run for the job, and he's, in fact, supporting me in my efforts," Steele told NPR Tuesday.
Except: "Newt is not endorsing anybody . . . and is not planning to endorse anyone," Gingrich spokesman Joe DeSantis tells ABC News.
Steele makes the case: "Republican National Committee Chairman candidate Michael S. Steele castigated Republican Party leadership Tuesday for having a 'country club' mentality and being out of touch, and said if he is chosen to represent the party, he will help transform it into an inspiring choice for young and minority voters," Ralph Z. Hallow writes in the Washington Times.
Ummm . . . is this legal? "Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have been indicted on state charges involving federal prisons in a South Texas county that has been a source of bizarre legal and political battles under the outgoing prosecutor," per the AP's Christopher Sherman.
"John, wait up." -- John Kerry, to John McCain, coming off a Senate subway -- and welcoming him to the least exclusive club inside the most exclusive club.
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