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Conrad: OMB top job 'not going to happen'

FARGO - Despite speculation to the contrary, North Dakota Democratic Sen.

FARGO - Despite speculation to the contrary, North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad told The Forum's Editorial Board on Tuesday he won't be the next director for the Office of Management and Budget.

Current OMB director Jack Lew is taking over as President Obama's White House chief of staff, leaving the post open.

Conrad seemed an obvious candidate for the Cabinet-level position because of his extensive background in fiscal issues and his retirement from the Senate at the end of this year.

Speculation that Conrad was under consideration to be the next OMB chief was fueled when he declined to talk about it with The Bismarck Tribune last week.

He put those rumors to rest Tuesday morning in a candid discussion with The Forum's editorial board.

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Conrad said he couldn't reveal any specifics about what his future might hold, including whether that future lies in the public or private sector.

"I have no clue," he said, but added: "There've been rumors that I'd be head of OMB. Well, that's not going to happen."

Conrad will have served 26 years in the U.S. Senate when he retires at the end of 2012.

Fewer than 5 percent of all U.S. senators have served such a tenure in the chamber, he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541

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