Richardson for Energy Secretary?

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What does Bill Richardson want? Speculation that Washington’s U.N. ambassador may be promoted to the vacant secretary position at the Department of Energy has mounted in the last two weeks, according to TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. Dowell reports that Richardson has suffered at the U.N. from the perception that his diplomatic skills do not match up to his political abilities, and that he was at times left out of the loop by the White House during the Iraq crisis. “Now there is speculation that he may promoted to a position more suited to the skills of a politician,” says Dowell.

A move to Energy might suit Richardson’s domestic political ambitions, adds TIME correspondent Douglas Waller, but “the counter-argument among his aides is that the Energy job requires a lot of unpopular decisions on issues such as nuclear waste.” All that Mike McCurry would offer on the matter yesterday was, “I haven’t heard the President finalize any recommendations for that cabinet vacancy.” The big tease.