Schweitzer Dismisses Obama Cabinet Position Speculation

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer says he has no interest in a cabinet position should Democrat Barack Obama win this year’s presidential election.

Schweitzer, whose national profile has risen following his widely praised speech at the Democratic National Convention, said cabinet secretaries have little autonomy and haven’t for several decades.

Schweitzer said he isn’t interested in taking someone else’s orders and has more to accomplish as governor of Montana.

“I ran a business before I ran the business of the state of Montana,” Schweitzer said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. “And I like running a business, not getting calls from somebody telling me I’m off to some place to do something else.”

Some, including a Washington Post columnist, have recently speculated that Schweitzer would be a good pick to run the Department of Energy. Schweitzer has also been an enthusiastic supporter of Obama as the Democrat seeks to defeat Republican Sen. John McCain in November.

Schweitzer said no president would give a cabinet secretary the blanket authority to run a department.

“They are going to say, ‘Thanks for playing, we’ve got a lot of other people we can call,'” Schweitzer said. “When you are the chief executive, you have your priorities. You want to take the change in the place that you want to take it to, and you surround yourself with people who will help you get that job done.”

Schweitzer said he prefers being governor, is focused on winning his re-election race and finishing the projects he started.

The governor also said he enjoys living in Montana, splitting time between the official residence in Helena and a new house he built on Georgetown Lake. Schweitzer said he has spent a life living in small towns, and prefers it.

“The other problem is, if you become a cabinet secretary, you are living in Washington D.C., and I don’t think that would be very pleasant,” Schweitzer said.