Obama looks to Baucus to serve as China ambassador

By By DONNA CASSATA

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is looking to the Senate again to fill a diplomatic post. Democratic officials say he intends to nominate six-term Sen. Max Baucus of Montana as the next U.S. ambassador to China.

Baucus announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. As Senate Finance Committee chairman, he is knowledgeable on trade matters, but he's better known for his work on that panel for steering Obama's health care overhaul into law three years ago.

If confirmed by the Senate, Baucus would replace Ambassador Gary Locke, who plans to step down next year. The White House could make a formal announcement about Baucus as early as Thursday.

Baucus is likely to secure approval easily from his colleagues.

Obama nominated then-Sen. John Kerry to serve as secretary of state.

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