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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Obama selects Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary, Ken Salazar for Secretary of the Interior

Obama selects Tom Vilsack for Agriculture Secretary

by brownsox

Tue Dec 16, 2008 at 05:50:02 PM PST

CNN is reporting that the pick is in, and it is former Governor of Iowa (and former presidential candidate) Tom Vilsack.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — President-elect Barack Obama will name former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as his secretary of agriculture at a news conference scheduled for Wednesday, according to an Obama transition aide and a separate Democratic source.

Vilsack was a high-profile supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton during the presidential primaries after he briefly sought the Democratic presidential nomination.

At the same news conference, Obama will name U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar from Colorado as his choice for secretary of the interior, sources said.

Vilsack adds even more "star power" to a cabinet already loaded with it - Clinton, Salazar and Janet Napolitano being the most prominent.

His appointment almost certainly determines that Vilsack will not seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by five-term Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley, who is up for reelection in 2010. It's rumored that even if Grassley doesn't retire, national Democrats will kick the tires on the Iowa race. Even if Vilsack hadn't taken the Cabinet position, there's certainly no guarantee he would have challenged Grassley.

If Grassley does retire, the race will become one of the biggest in the country - First District Rep. Bruce Braley will doubtless be the top choice for Democrats, Fourth District Rep. Tom Latham for the Republicans.

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