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Bayh casts bipartisan blame in exit announcement

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Sen. Evan Bayh is retiring.

The Indiana Democrat has made the unexpected decision not to seek a third term. He'll make the announcement at 2 p.m. in Indianapolis.

Bayh would have faced a tough challenge from former Republican Sen. Dan Coats, but his staff says the Bayh was far ahead of Coats in internal polling and that his decision was not based his opponent.

Bahy is a moderate who has bucked the leadership on many occassions and has recently been vocal in opposing the idea of passing health care reform with just 51 votes, instead of the standard 60 votes.

In prepared remarks released to the media, Bayh, 54, expresses disenchantment with the Senate and the partisanship that has dominated the chamber the last several years and in particular this Congress.

“After all these years, my passion for service to my fellow citizens is undiminished, but my desire to do so in Congress has waned," Bayh said.

Bayh cited frustration with the GOP defeat two weeks ago of a bill he co-sponsored that would have created a bipartisan commission to deal with the nation's growing debt.

"The measure would have passed," Bayh said. "But seven members who had endorsed the idea instead voted no for short-term political reasons."

He also complained about the bipartisan jobs bill the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., scuttled last week in favor of a much smaller package he wrote himself.

Reid is up for re-election this year and is lagging behind hypothetical challengers in state polls.

"All of this and much more has led me to believe that there are better ways to serve my fellow citizens, my beloved state and our nation than continuing to service in Congress," Bayh says in the statement.