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Bob Rae's supporters say he would like to run for a seat in the House of Commons.

He has talked about becoming a federal politician even if he was not the winner of the Liberal leadership race.

And yesterday he told reporters: "It's still the plan."

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But his problem, says one adviser, is that he lives in Toronto -- specifically the riding of Parkdale-High Park, which is also the home of Gerard Kennedy, the No. 4 finisher in the contest that ended Saturday.

Having played kingmaker to Stéphane Dion, Mr. Kennedy is likely to be able to run anywhere he pleases. It's also a riding that's currently held by the New Democrats -- and the NDP will likely fight hard to hang onto it.

So, for Mr. Rae to take a shot at going to Ottawa, another Liberal would have to give up his or her seat. Right now, his supporters don't see that happening.

The former Ontario premier is also going to have to pay back the debt he incurred during the nine months he was running for Liberal leader.

By late October, Elections Canada disclosure documents said he had borrowed $845,000, most of it from his brother John Rae. And more than $100,000 has been taken out in loans since that time. But his supporters say he has already paid back much of this debt -- many promised donations have yet to be received and more money trickles in every week.

Mr. Rae was visibly shaken by his loss on the penultimate ballot. Asked by reporters to talk about what went wrong, he said, "I don't want to do that," and walked away.

"We all know that what Canada likes is a good loser," he said last week during one of the many social functions he attended in Montreal.

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The defeat came after several days of indications that momentum was with him. After all, he arrived in Ottawa on Monday to find out that he had the coveted support of Ralph Goodale, the Liberal House Leader and respected former finance minister.

Thursday, he met with Mr. Kennedy but nothing came of it.

Meanwhile, the Rae camp knew their candidate was on the short list of candidates to whom Joe Volpe would turn when he left the race.

Mr. Rae met with Mr. Volpe at 4:15 p.m. Friday, the night of the speeches. There was no direct understanding that Mr. Volpe would offer his endorsement, but it was made clear that it was a possibility.

Mr. Rae delivered his speech without notes, strolling the stage with microphone in hand. He had written a speech but knew he would not read it. In the end, the address he wrote bore little resemblance to the one he actually delivered. But he received widespread praise.

That was followed the next day with a string of good fortune.

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Scott Brison and Ken Dryden endorsed him out of the blue -- Mr. Rae's team thought Mr. Dryden would be going to Mr. Dion.

So there was much jubilation in the Rae camp throughout Saturday morning.

But the good news was ultimately not enough to propel Mr. Rae into the leader's office.

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