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NJ DEP Picked for Obama EPA Transition / Corzine on Treas fence

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Corzine downplays Treasury chances, Lisa Jackson tapped for EPA transition


Gov. Jon Corzine said this morning he has not spoken with anyone in the Obama transition team about becoming the next Treasury secretary, but did not reject the idea .


Corzine is not the only ranking New Jersey politician in contention for a senior position in the Obama administration. Corzine's incoming Chief of Staff, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson, has been tapped to co-chair Obama's transition group overseeing the federal Environmental Protection Agency, according to three New Jersey Democrats familiar with internal discussions.icon24.gifshakehead.gif


On the Treasury post, Corzine was responding to a Star-Ledger report that he is being vetted for the cabinet post in the administration of president-elect Barack Obama. The Democratic governor was a key economic advisor and surrogate during Obama's campaign.


Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said on CNBC (VIDEO) that "there's no question he's on their short list."


"I know Jon wants to stay, but if asked, I as an American hope he'd consider it," Rendell said.


"I'm never going to say never to anything," the governor and former Goldman Sachs CEO said on CNBC. "I have not had any conversations with anybody about this job. The reality is there are a lot of good people."


Corzine said he is "not aware of any vetting."


"It may be going on someplace but it's not showing up on my radar screen," he said on Bloomberg TV. "When a president of the United States asks you to do something, I think it's a difficult challenge. I don't think it's going to happen."


But Corzine said he is "looking forward to giving him (Obama) advice."

Corzine said he had not seen the Star-Ledger report but did not deny it outright -- though he downplayed it, saying he reads stories "that you wouldn't bet your life on."


"I love the job I have," said Corzine, who is up for reelection in 2009. But even as he spoke of the "tangible" rewards of being governor, he smiled at Rendell's comments.


The announcement that Jackson is helping to coordinate that transition could come as early as today and was decided even before Obama's victory speech last night, said the sources, who declined to be identified because the Obama team is insisting that all official announcements come out of campaign headquarters in Chicago.


That puts Jackson immediately on the short list to become EPA administrator, the sources said. Jackson has long wanted that job, and even before she was tapped to be Corzine's next chief of staff -- her start date is Dec. 1 -- there were internal discussions about the fact she could be leaving New Jersey to join the new Democratic administration in Washington.

Jackson and Corzine aides declined to comment on the move.




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