Wis. Gov. Jim Doyle contacted by Obama transition team
Madison, Wis. — (AP) - Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, an early supporter of Barack Obama, has been contacted by the president-elect's transition team, Doyle's spokesman said Friday.
Doyle's spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner said the contact was recent, but he didn't have any details about it. Stephanie Cutter, spokeswoman for Obama's transition team, said the team is not confirming or denying any contacts that have been made.
Doyle was out of the state Friday on a trip that was not related to state business, Sensenbrenner said. The trip was scheduled before the election, Sensenbrenner said, but he could not say whether it was a personal vacation. He said he did not think the trip was to meet with Obama.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Joe Wineke said he had no knowledge of Doyle being contacted by Obama, but it made sense.
"I would be surprised if the Obama administration did not contact the governor," Wineke said. "It should happen. The governor is well-prepared."
Doyle, 62, is in the middle of his second term as governor. Before his election in 2002, he served three terms as state attorney general. He has never lost an election and is widely expected to seek a third term as governor in 2010.
Doyle and his wife, Jessica, taught in Tunisia as part of the Peace Corps from 1967 to 1969. He later worked as a county prosecutor.
Obama campaigned for Doyle in Wisconsin during the governor's successful re-election campaign in 2006, and Doyle hosted a fundraiser for Obama last fall.
After Obama won the Iowa caucus in January, Doyle publicly endorsed him and campaigned for him extensively across Wisconsin and in other states.
Doyle said he spoke with Obama on the phone in the week leading up to the election and promised to deliver Wisconsin for him. Obama won the state by 14 points.
The governor has downplayed speculation he would be offered a cabinet position, but at the same time, he hasn't said he would refuse one.
"I don't expect I'm going to have any such call," Doyle said on election night. "I know this, I'm not trying to get a position, I'm not angling for it, I don't want it."
While Doyle has experience as prosecutor, his name has not been widely mentioned for the plumb attorney general appointment. Top contenders for that spot seem to be former deputy attorney general Eric Holder, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama.
Wineke said he doesn't think Obama is just going through the motions by contacting Doyle.
"I think these guys have a warm relationship, and I think Obama is trying to put what he thinks is the best and the brightest in the country into action," Wineke said. "I don't think any of this is perfunctory. I think it's real."
There is precedent for a Wisconsin governor departing to serve in the White House. In 2001, then-Gov. Tommy Thompson left to serve as President George W. Bush's secretary of Health and Human Services.
Obama has been working out of Chicago on the transition to becoming president on Jan. 20. Numerous possible appointments have been rumored, but the Obama team is trying to keep most of its meetings secret.
Obama has met in Chicago with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is under consideration for secretary of state, according to a Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Obama is scheduled to meet with Republican Sen. John McCain on Monday, their first meeting since Obama defeated McCain on Nov. 4.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)