Sen. Durbin: “Totally untrue” looking at Obama cabinet spot

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WASHINGTON–Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the number two leader in the Senate, told me Tuesday a suggestion he was looking for a spot in President Barack Obama’s cabinet was “totally untrue.”

I asked Durbin if he was interested in a cabinet position and he told me, he has “never been approached and I’ve never approached them.”

As for his interest in a cabinet job, Durbin told me, “Let me tell you there are very few spots in the cabinet that are worth a Senate seat from Illinois.”

One logical spot would be Transportation, with Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Illinois lawmaker, expected to step down in the coming months or sooner. While an offer to run the Transportation Department would be a “tough call,” Durbin said “I like being a senator from Illinois.”

Durbin is very close to Obama, being one of the first people to suggest he run for the White House when they were both Illinois senators. Durbin is also in a powerful position in the Senate. He is particularly close with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.) “If you ask Harry who his closest friends are in the Senate, I think I would be in the top five,” Durbin told me.

Durbin is up for re-election in 2014. During a coffee with Illinois residents visiting Washington on Tuesday, Durbin was asked if he was running for another term. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, in the audience, shouted out Durbin had her endorsement.

Said Durbin, “I will make that decision soon.”

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