Citing a congressional source speaking on the condition of anonymity, the paper said White House political adviser Karl Rove called Nelson, a centrist, last Friday to inquire whether he had any interest in becoming the second Democrat in Bush's Cabinet. After considering the offer, Nelson decided to remain in the senate.
Nebraska's other senator, Republican Chuck Hagel, said Thursday he doubted Nelson ever was under serious consideration. A second congressional source said no formal job offer had been extended to the Democrat.
"The White House has told this congressional staffer that reports that Nelson was offered the job of secretary of agriculture are inaccurate," the second source said.
Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced her resignation Monday.