Ag Job Unlikely

Discussions of Nebraska Democratic Senator Ben Nelson as the Bush administration's possible new U-S secretary of agriculture may have been premature.

That is the word from fellow Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel.

A C-N-N report earlier this week indicated a White House strategist had talked with Nelson about replacing Ann Veneman -- who resigned as ag director.

Nelson would say only that he was happy doing what he is doing as a U-S senator.

However, Hagel said yesterday (Thursday) his talks with the White House indicate Nelson has NOT been offered the job.

Hagel says it is his understanding that right now they are not in any serious discussions.

But Hagel has told the White House he would support Nelson's nomination to the post.

Nelson spokesman David DiMartino says Nelson will not presume to be able to gauge the level of interest or the intent of the White House.

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