The outgoing U.S. Senate majority leader, Republican Bill Frist, has decided not to run for the presidency in 2008.
Frist released a statement Wednesday, saying he wants to take a break from public life. He quoted his father, saying "there is so much good to do in the world and so many ways to do it."
Frist also said he is doing what he always planned to do: serve two terms in the Senate and then return to his home state of Tennessee to resume his medical practice. He said in the near future he hopes to resume taking mission trips around the world to give health care to victims of war and poverty.
Frist did not run for re-election in November, which fed speculation he might run for president. His term ends when the new Democratic-controlled Congress takes over in January.
Frist is a medical doctor from the southeastern state of Tennessee. He has spent the past 12 years in the Senate but did not run for re-election in November. His term ends when the new Democratic-controlled Congress takes over in January.
On Tuesday, the incoming leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, passed over Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings for head of the House Intelligence Committee. Hastings is the second-ranking Democrat on the congressional panel that helps protect America's security. But in 1989, he was impeached on corruption charges and removed from the federal judiciary.
The intelligence committee's top Democrat, Jane Harman of California, has expressed interest in chairing the committee. Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes is also thought to be a contender.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.