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Bush Eyes Barrales for FCC

Senior White House official Ruben Barrales is the latest Oval Office favorite on the short list for one of the two open FCC seats.

Barrales, director of intergovernmental affairs, is President Bush’s liaison to state governments and other local officials.

Barrales is Bush’s likely alternate choice if former Texas utility regulator Rebecca Klein turns down a commission seat, say industry sources following the FCC commissioner hunt.

Klein, who is Hispanic, has long been viewed as Bush’s pick for the FCC, but she may instead choose to become the nation’s power czar as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

If Klein chooses FERC, Barrales would allow the president to still appoint a Hispanic to the TV industry’s main regulatory agency. Barrales is the son of Mexican immigrants.

Before joining the White House in 2001, he was CEO of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, an organization promoting the high-tech region’s businesses.

The other open FCC slot appears guaranteed to Christine Kurth, telecom aide to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens.