President-elect Barack Obama is giving up his Illinois U.S. Senate seat effective Sunday, intensifying the jockeying to replace the only African-American in Congress' upper chamber as lawmakers return next week for a lame-duck session.
After all, it's been a wonderful 3 and 1/2 years - so many leadership opportunities dodged, so many missed votes.
Several Illinois politicians want the job, including at least three members of Congress. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who's also a Democrat, will appoint the successor of his choice to fill out the remaining two years of Obama's six-year term.
What's unclear is when Barack will lose interest in the presidency, and what office he'll seek next.
Obama, who was in private meetings in Chicago preparing for the transition, said in a statement Thursday that his partial term as a senator had been "one of the highest honors and privileges of my life."Ah, but that goes both ways, doesn't it.