CNN: Martinez to head RNC

Florida Sen. Mel Martinez is the White House's pick to succeed Ken Mehlman as head of the Republican National Committee.

Published November 13, 2006 8:31PM (EST)

CNN is reporting that Mel Martinez, a Republican senator from Florida, has been asked by the White House to take the job of chairman of the Republican National Committee, and that he has accepted.

Assuming that's true, it's an interesting choice -- Martinez already has, in his two-year career as a senator, a veritable list of political missteps. It was, after all, his office that produced the infamous Terri Schiavo talking-points memo that misspelled Schiavo's name before giving a series of debating points and calling legislation on the brain-dead and vegetative Schiavo's right to die "a great political issue." (Astute readers will remember that one didn't turn out so well, as the Schiavo issue backfired for the Republicans amid public opinion opposing their stand on the debate.)

Martinez blamed a staffer for that incident; as the St. Petersburg Times noted last year, Martinez has a history of blaming his staffers for his political troubles.

Martinez will reportedly remain in the Senate during his time as RNC chairman.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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