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    Bush Taps Bodman as New Energy Secretary

    Major challenges include selling Congress on President's energy priorities.

    WASHINGTON -- President Bush picked Samuel W. Bodman to be the new energy secretary Friday. Dubbed "a problem solver" by Bush, Bodman must deal with high oil prices, nuclear waste and a Congress unwilling to pass the president's long-term energy plan, reported the Associated Press.

    The announcement filled one of the last two vacancies in Bush's second-term Cabinet, leaving only the secretary of health and human services. Bush is replacing nine of his 15 Cabinet members.

    The selection of Bodman, a 1961 Cornell University graduate, came as a surprise to most in the energy field and to many in Congress, but it was widely applauded.

    Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that will consider Bodman's nomination, predicted a "swift and smooth" confirmation.
    Over the past four years, Bodman, 66, has been the No. 2 official at the Commerce Department and, more recently, the Treasury Department. He replaces Spencer Abraham, the former Michigan senator.

    Bodman is a former president of Fidelity Investments and the former chairman and CEO of Cabot Corp., a chemicals and specialty materials company. In 2001, he joined the Bush administration as the deputy secretary at Commerce, and a year ago he moved over to the Treasury with the same title.

    Bush praised Bodman's management skills and noted his scientific background. "In academics, in business and in government Sam Bodman has shown himself to be a problem solver who knows how to set goals and he knows how to reach them," Bush said.

    One of Bodman's major challenges will be to sell Congress on Bush's energy priorities, including one of the president's longtime goals of opening an Arctic wildlife refuge in Alaska to oil drilling.

    After unveiling an outline of a broad energy strategy three years ago, Bush has yet to see Congress agree on comprehensive energy legislation despite soaring oil prices, a massive 2003 power blackout and concern about natural gas prices and possible future shortages.
    Bush pledged Friday to renew his push for energy legislation when the new Congress convenes next month and to "pursue more energy close to home in our own country ... so that we're less dependent on energy from unstable parts of the world."

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