What Does It Mean That LaHood Isn’t On the Second-Term List? Nothing.

Right there on his lapel is one major reason transportation reformers hope Ray LaHood stays on a while longer as transportation secretary. Photo: CBS

A White House official yesterday named three Cabinet members who are staying on for Obama’s second term and set off a firestorm of speculation about those he didn’t name — among them, Ray LaHood.

The fact is no one knows yet whether the transportation secretary will stay on for the second term or not, or for a part of it, as he has indicated. More than a year ago, LaHood told an LA Times reporter he wouldn’t stay past 2012, but rumor has it he hadn’t meant to make any definitive statements and has since backpedaled.

And now, even as the media spin headlines out of the fact that LaHood was left off one, admittedly unofficial and not comprehensive list of returning Cabinet members, sources inside U.S. DOT say there’s no news. The last we heard — last month — LaHood was still waiting for the end of the fiscal cliff negotiations to sit down with President Obama and figure out whether he’d be staying on.

It’s a sign that transportation officials — and the media — are so anxious to know LaHood’s fate that many jumped to conclusions when the White House official didn’t include him in the list of remaining Cabinet members. But there’s still no news.