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Collin Peterson telling folks he doesn’t want to be Agriculture secretary, paper says

Rep.

Rep. Collin Peterson is telling people, apparently including the Obama transition team, that he’s not interested in the Ag Secretary job in the new president’s administration, says Don Davis in the Bemidji Pioneer.

The paper says that whenever the 7th District Democratic congressman speaks to a group, he tells them: “I guarantee you it is not going to be me.”

It’s a little confusing, though, because he’s quoted as saying he has talked to the Obama staff: ” ‘I made it very clear I did not want an offer,’ he said Monday of his comments to Obama’s staff.”

But he’s also quoted as saying they’re not hounding him: “They have not contacted me. They have not sent me anything. They have not asked me anything.”

In fact, all the speculation about him for the job might be a smoke-screen, Peterson told the paper. “They can use me to keep the focus off whoever they want to get in there.”

Either way, he seems satisfied with his job as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.