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Mike Pompeo gets slapped down

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been trying to have his cake and eat it too for quite a while now. And The Kansas City Star is sick of it.

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Analysis by Chris Cillizza
, CNN Editor-at-large
CNN — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been trying to have his cake and eat it too for quite a while now. And The Kansas City Star is sick of it.

See, Pompeo is the nation's top diplomat, yes. But he's also Republicans' top recruit for the open seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Roberts (R) next November. And Pompeo likes it that way -- so he's keeping the Senate race on the burner, even while insisting that anyone who asks whether he is planning to run is ridiculous and misguided.

Witness Pompeo's trip to Wichita this week with Ivanka Trump -- and his sit-down with The Wichita Eagle. Asked about the Senate race, he responded this way:

"No change. I think I've answered this question. I think this is number 103 or 104 times. My mission set every day when I wake up is incredibly clear. Our task at the State Department is to use all our all our skill to keep the American people saying, to execute American diplomacy, to make sure that American markets are open for Kansas products all around the world. That's what I'm focused on. And it's what I continue, intend to continue to be focused on."

You'll notice that isn't a "no" or an "I'm not running." It's just outrage that the question is asked -- followed by a non-answer that makes it entirely clear why the question needs to be asked.

That how-dare-you-ask-a-totally-relevant-question reaction led the Star's editorial board to write a scathing op-ed headlined "Mike Pompeo, either quit and run for U.S. Senate in Kansas or focus on your day job." Here's the key bit:

"If Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, then he should quit his rather important day job and do that.

"Or if, as he told The Star and The Wichita Eagle in a testy, credulity-straining interview on Thursday, he isn't even thinking about it, then he should by all means focus on U.S. diplomacy — remember diplomacy? — and stop hanging out here every chance he gets."

Woof. But also not wrong.

The Point: Mike Pompeo is a politician. Politicians run for things. And until Pompeo decides whether he's running for the Senate, reporters need to keep asking him about it. The Wichita Eagle nailed it.


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