Vilsack says he's not being considered for Obama's cabinet

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack told Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register on Sunday that

he had never been contacted by aides to President-elect Barack Obama about [the Secretary of Agriculture] position or any other.

“I would have to speculate that I was in fact in the running and further speculate as to why I was no longer. I do not think it prudent or appropriate to speculate about either,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack had been linked repeatedly to the Agriculture Department position in news reports. The Washington Post at one point called him a “near shoo-in” for the job. Obama’s staff had never confirmed that he was being considered.

Obama “has many interests he has to consider, and we have an abundance of talent in both parties from which to satisfy those interests,” Vilsack said today.

I am surprised to hear Vilsack say no one from Obama’s team had contacted him. In that case I wonder why there was so much speculation about Vilsack being considered to head the US Department of Agriculture. I still think Vilsack would be an outstanding secretary of education.

At MyDD Natasha Chart has a good piece up on why agriculture policy is so important for the environment and the economy.

  • Michael Pollan seems to have the right idea...

    … in terms of what radical changes need to take place with America’s farm policy.  He had a good New York Times op-ed piece back in October that addressed to the new “Farmer in Chief”.  It’s worth a look.  Some are saying Pollan would make a good secretary of ag, but I’d like to see Obama consider Ed Fallon.

    (I’m brand new here, so my apologies if some of this has been brought up before.)

    • Pollan is fantastic

      I think he is WAY too much of an outsider to handle that level of policy work, though.

      I’m hoping for Tom Buis of National Farmers Union- probably the best qualified and the most pro-family farm candidate being mentioned now….

    • I read at La Vida Locavore

      that Pollan confirmed he is not seeking any kind of government post.

      Not that anyone with his background would have a prayer of being appointed to head the USDA anyway!

      At least we know Obama has read some of Pollan’s work (he referred to an op-ed by Pollan in an interview with Newsweek). I hope there will be some changes for the better on agriculture.

      Bush has left the country in such a mess that agriculture is probably not first, second, third or even tenth on Obama’s priority list.

  • It's pretty apparent...

    that Vilsack sent up that balloon himself, in the hope that a media buzz would get him a meeting.  

    I swear, this guy is just delusional- that whole ridiculous early prez campaign fiasco, and his continual clawing to get a position of power through the party machine- it’s just…. sad.

    • I don't think it all came from Vilsack

      Everyone seemed to think he was being seriously considered. Maybe the coverage about Obama appointing so many Clintonistas scared them away from Vilsack?

  • Vilsack Ran Poor Campaign

    Vilsack had plenty of money to run a good campaign in Iowa but he tried to compete with Hillary and Co. right away out of the gate and that’s why he dropped out so fast.

    If he would have just run a grassroots campaign – he would have been able to generate excitement and the money would have come pouring in. He had 100 percent name recognition already amongst Iowa Democrats.  He blew it when he didn’t endorse Obama like Treasurer and Attorney General did.  They were smart.

    What will Vilsack do now?  I hear he is a corporate attorney in Des Moines and works for Drake as a lecturer?

  • Now is free.

    Now Vilsak is free to run against Grassley.  Personally Christy is a better campaigner.  But I would love to see Tom go against Grassley.

  • Grassley vulnerable?

    Will you be able to give Grassley’s opponent $2300?

    Maybe William Meyers should run for the US Senate?

    Grassley was for the bailout and I don’t think that was a smart move on his behalf.  While it would take a lot to beat Grassley, he did himself no favors.

    • Grassley is probably not vulnerable

      But if a top-tier challenger declares the intention to run against him, and he gets increasingly fed up with life in the minority in the Senate, he may decide to retire.

      I’m in favor of leaving no Republican unchallenged anywhere. No one thought Saxby Chambliss was vulnerable six months ago.  

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