Obama’s nomination of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack as USDA chief is turning into a strange saga.

First a crew of Big Organic execs join forces with a few activists to launch an enigmatic website to "support Vilsack" — even though he’s a shoo-in for confirmation.

Now comes this, from the Daily News "Mouth of the Potomac” blog:

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A well-placed source says one option under consideration in filling the now vacant commerce secretary’s slot is to tap ex-Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for the job. Vilsack already has been named to serve as Barack Obama’s agriculture secretary, and easily could move into the commerce position. The source tells The Mouth that Vilsack would be “a perfect choice” for Obama.

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Huh? I don’t understand how it would be "easy" to move a nominee from one agency to another; seems like it would be politically messy. "He’s the ideal USDA pick … no, I mean, he’s the ideal commerce pick!" But the transition team has already vetted Vilsack; maybe that’s what the reporter meant by "easy."

If the switch did happen, we’d be back to square one viz., the USDA: with the Obama team circulating a rather dismal short list, while activists push a more progressive choice.

Update [2009-1-7 13:25:46 by Tom Philpott]:According to “sources close to” Vilsack, the ex-governor of Iowa won’t be moved from USDA to commerce, Des Moines television station KCCI reported Wednesday. Vilsack is in Washington, D.C., “interviewing candidates for future [USDA] staff positions.”

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