Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) - President Barack Obama is officially shortening his visit to the Indonesian capital because of fears that volcanic ash spewing from Mount Merapi could ground Air Force One, according to administration officials.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs earlier told reporters aboard Air Force One that officials were closely monitoring the ash cloud and that forecasts show air traffic might again be disrupted. Experts say volcanic ash can wreak havoc on jet engines.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is President Obama’s “likely pick” to be Commerce Secretary, according to senior administration officials and other Democratic officials familiar with the matter.
The officials said the announcement, which will be the President’s third unveiling of a Commerce nominee, could happen as early as Wednesday.
Obama has had trouble filling the post, which is expected to be a key part of his economic team. Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) dropped out of contention earlier this month after saying he had second thoughts about his ability to work in a Democratic administration. The first choice for the job, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, stepped aside after acknowledging a grand jury investigation in his home state had become a distraction.
Locke was the first Asian-American ever elected to serve as a governor in the United States in 1996. If confirmed, he will be the third Asian-American in the Obama Cabinet, joining Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
(Updated 5:45 p.m.)