Another Republican gets Obama nod
President Obama has announced that he's tapping former congressman Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican, to head the National Endowment for the Humanities.Leachmanual
"I am confident that with Jim as its head, the National Endowment for the Humanities will continue on its vital mission of supporting the humanities and giving the American public access to the rich resources of our culture," the president said in a statement.
Leach, 66, represented an eastern Iowa district for 30 years in the House before losing his seat in 2006 to Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa. He endorsed Obama in last year's presidential campaign and spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
He began his career in 1965 as an aide to then-congressman Donald Rumsfeld, but by the time Rumsfeld became former president George W. Bush's Defense secretary, he and the maverick Leach were at odds on foreign policy. In 2002, Leach voted against the resolution authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq, one of only six House Republicans to do so.
Since leaving Congress, Leach has held teaching positions at his alma mater, Princeton University, and at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School.
Leach is the latest in a series of prominent Republicans to win high-profile administration jobs. The president already nominated Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y. to be secretary of the Army, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be U.S. ambassador to China. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was a Republican congressman from Illinois and his Defense secretary, Robert Gates, held the same post in George W. Bush's administration.