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Edgar might be on short list for U.S. Transportation Secretary

Former Gov. Jim Edgar (file photo)


Washington, DC – Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar says he's "surprised" to hear he's being mulled as a possible candidate to be U.S. Transportation Secretary, to replace Norman Mineta.

Edgar says he hasn't been contacted by the White House, though he has expressed interest in the job in the past.

Others said to be under consideration include Federal Aviation Administration chief Marion Blakey and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. A White House spokeswoman says Mineta only left the Cabinet a few weeks ago (July 7), and a decision on a nominee will be made soon.

"I can't figure out where my name came from," Edgar told the Chicago Tribune for Tuesday night. "I have not thought about it, to be very truthful."

Clay Johnson, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, has also been talked about as a possible candidate. He's been Bush's friend since prep school and served in his administration as governor of Texas.

Carol Hallett, former president of the Air Transport Association, lost out to Andrew Card for Transportation secretary in the administration of Bush's father. She said Tuesday that it was only a wild rumor that she's under consideration now.

Whomever President Bush selects, it's unlikely the new Transportation secretary will be appointed before fall. Congress's monthlong August recess begins soon, and the Senate is often slow to confirm presidential nominees.

Mineta, a lifelong Democrat, says he wants Maria Cino, former deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee, to succeed him. "She's proven herself in terms of her handling the issues and handling the people," Mineta said in a telephone interview from his office at the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, where he is now vice chairman.

Cino rose primarily through Republican political organizations to become deputy Transportation secretary in May 2005. She had little transportation experience, but her resume includes national director for the Bush for President campaign in 2000.


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