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Schweitzer nixes rumor of N.H. poll, presidential bid

Schweitzer nixes rumor of N.H. poll, presidential bid

HELENA — Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Tuesday denied political rumors that he is gearing up to run for president in 2012 and is polling already in New Hampshire in preparation for a race.

Rumors about a Schweitzer poll and potential candidacy have been circulating in some Democratic circles in recent weeks. Schweitzer, a Democrat, insisted they are false.

The Montana governor said he's not planning to run for president in 2012 and is doing nothing to promote a run for the office by commissioning a poll.

"Nothing, zero, squat, no," Schweitzer said in a phone interview. "It's kind of silly, really. I'm just learning how to be governor of Montana."

He added, "To start with, (President Barack) Obama is going to be the nominee in '12. That's pretty clear. I'm done being governor in '12. I'm going to do my level best job at this till I'm done, and then I'll get a job."

He said he doesn't know what he'll do when he leaves office.

"I'll figure it out," he said. "I've always found a job."

Schweitzer, 55, is barred by term limits from seeking a third term in 2012.

"I don't know why I would want to be president," he said. "Obama's only been president for two years, and all his hair has turned gray."

Asked if he ever would like to be president, Schweitzer said, "That's a long time. I'm so far away from anything like that I can't imagine it. I barely watch this stuff on TV, much less think about it."

Schweitzer was a hit speaker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver when he fired up the crowd for Obama. He occasionally is a guest on national political talk shows and interview programs on television.

He is the past chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and has been keynote speaker at major state Democratic Party events in a number of states, including West Virginia, Missouri and New Mexico.

If someone is polling in New Hampshire using his name, Schweitzer said he wasn't informed about it.

Asked if he were paying for a poll there, Schweitzer said, "Of course not. A, I'm not. B, it's silly. C, I don't have any resources to do such a thing. I don't even know what the area code is there."

He added, "I'll bet not 1/100th of 1 percent of the people of New Hampshire have ever heard of the governor of Montana, so I don't know why someone would want to do it."

He also dismissed as false a rumor that he had hired a woman as a political consultant to help him run for president.

"The only women in my life are my wife, (his dog) Jag's mother, my daughter who is in school in the Czech Republic and my mother," he said.

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Digital Director

Digital director at the Billings Gazette.

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