Wednesday December 12, 2012 | 11:12 AM

WASHINGTON – Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe talked this week about her decision to turn down a Cabinet post within the Obama administration in late-2008 or early-2009.

In an interview Tuesday with WGME less than a month before her retirement, Snowe laughed when asked about the rumors that she was offered a Cabinet position soon after President Obama’s first election. The video can be seen here.

“I probably won’t get into it right now, but, yeah, I was offered,” Snowe said in the interview with WGME’s Gregg Lagerquist. “I turned it down because I was, you know, I was in the Senate and I love the Senate. And this is who I am.”

Snowe, a moderate Republican, was one of many names frequently mentioned for potential Cabinet positions in the early Obama administration. Although Snowe’s comments this week may have been the first time she spoke publicly about the issue, a spokesman for the senator had confirmed back in 2009 that she was approached by the administration about a top job.

"She had a conversation with the administration and really appreciated being considered, but really just enjoys her job in the Senate, working for the people of Maine," John Gentzel, who was Snowe’s spokesman at the time, told the Lewiston Sun Journal in January 2009. "That's something she's said all along, as the rumors were circulating earlier."

Snowe did not specify which position she was offered. At the time, she was widely believed to be a contender to either head the Department of Commerce or the Small Business Administration, which Snowe herself helped convince Obama to elevate to a Cabinet-level position.


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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