Barney Frank wants to fill upcoming Kerry vacancy

Former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who ended his 32-year career in Congress yesterday, isn't quite ready to leave Washington. The Democrat said this morning that he wants to temporarily fill Sen. John Kerry's Senate seat after Kerry is confirmed as President Obama's next secretary of state.

Frank said on MSNBC that he's primarily interested in the job because of the fiscal debate that Congress will have to have within the next couple of months as a result of the "fiscal cliff" deal.

"A few weeks ago, in fact, I said I wasn't interested, which is kind of like you're about to graduate, and they said, 'You've got to go to summer school,'" Frank said. "That deal now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial [history]."

President Obama announced that he'll nominate Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, to fill the vacancy left in his cabinet when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steps down, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks. Once Kerry is confirmed, he'll resign from the Senate, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will appoint a placeholder to fill the seat until a special election is held 145-160 days later.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., has already announced he intends to run in the special election and has received a number of key endorsements, including Kerry's.

Frank said that he's already talked to Patrick about serving as the placeholder.

"I'm not going to be coy -- it's not anything I've ever been good at," he said. "I've told the governor that I would now like, frankly, to do that because I would like to be a part of that. It's only a three-month period; I wouldn't want to do anything more. I don't want to run again."

The 72-year-old Frank, who is known for being outspoken, said that he will otherwise spend his retirement teaching, writing books and giving lectures -- "basically run my mouth for money." He added, "One other very important thing: I am not marching in any more parades, ever."

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