White smoke rose from the Vatican today after the cardinals selected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina to be the next pope.
He will be known as Pope Francis I. CORRECTION: He will be known as Pope Francis. According to John Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter, Bergoglio was the “runner-up” to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the last papal conclave in 2005. More excerpts from Allen’s profile of the new pope are after the jump. Bergoglio was not considered a leading contender; one Irish betting site had the odds on his becoming pope at 25/1. On the other hand, he was one of the leading Latino contenders. Pope Francis I will be the first non-European pontiff. Last month Senator Tom Harkin said it would be a “great move in the right direction” for the cardinals to select a Latino pope. UPDATE: Added comments from Iowa bishops and Democratic State Representative Bruce Bearinger’s speech about the new pope on the Iowa House floor today.
SECOND UPDATE: Added Representative Bruce Braley’s comments on the new pope.
President Barack Obama has not announced any new cabinet appointments in the last few days, but Thomas Perez, currently head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is rumored to be the next secretary of labor. He would face strong opposition from Senate Republicans, including Iowa’s Chuck Grassley.
Susan Rice, who withdrew her nomination for secretary of state late last year, may become the president’s next national security adviser.
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge wrote to the president this week, expressing concern that none of Obama’s new cabinet appointees are African American.
Attorney General Eric Holder, appointed in Obama’s first term, remains the Obama administration’s only black Cabinet-level appointee. According to a Politics365 analysis released last week, that’s the fewest by any president over the last 38 years.
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