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Portman to Be Named Trade Representative

President Bush will name Ohio Rep. Rob Portman (R) as the next U.S. trade representative this morning, according to two knowledgeable Republican sources.

If confirmed by the Senate, Portman’s move would cut short a promising House career and also remove the Bush administration’s closest ally in the chamber.

Portman, the chairman of the GOP’s elected leadership, had long been rumored for a more senior leadership position, though his sights appeared set on an eventual statewide run in Ohio rather than a Speakership campaign.

Portman’s name had also been floated for other Bush administration posts, specifically White House chief of staff.

Portman would succeed Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, who is now deputy secretary of State.

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