Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Barney Frank says his decision to retire from Congress after more than 30 years in office shouldn't be taken as a sign that he doubts Democrats as a whole are in trouble next November.
"This does not mean that we're not going to take back the House," he said on NBC's Today show on Tuesday when asked what people should think about his decision not to run for re-election. "In fact, I think we're likely to win this [Massachusetts] seat. Did you think I would serve until I was 106?"
The 71-year-old Frank said Monday that his decision to step aside was in large part because his own re-election campaign would have been more difficult because of a redrawn congressional district that would encompass hundreds of thousands of voters who he has never represented before, meaning he would have had to spend more time on the campaign trail and less at work on public policy.
"I am making a personal decision here," Frank said, adding that he believes he would have still been able to win a 2012 campaign if he ran one.
The liberal lawmaker grew defensive during the segment when asked repeatedly by host Savannah Guthrie about whether he felt responsible for Washington's increasingly negative tone. He said that journalists like Guthrie were themselves largely responsible for that change. "I wish we could talk substance sometimes in the media," he said. "I know that’s against, kind of apparently, the rules."
Here's the full interview here.
Monday, Nov. 28: Rep. Barney Frank announced Monday that he won't run for re-election in 2012.
The Massachusetts Democrat said he will retire when his current term ends in large part because of a redrawn congressional map at home that would have made it difficult to win re-election, and the ongoing partisan gridlock in Washington that has made it increasingly difficult to achieve his legislative goals.
"It would have been a tough campaign," the 16-term lawmaker told reporters at a news conference in Newton, Mass. "In some ways, if you’re an incumbent representing people you haven’t represented you get the worst of both worlds."
Frank has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for more than three decades and currently is the ranking member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.
Taking a jab at the latest GOP frontrunner of the moment Newt Gingrich, Frank said that after he retires he will "neither be a lobbyist nor a historian," and that he most likely will do "some combination of writing, teaching, and lectures."