Feingold 'is not running for president in 2012'

Sen. Russ Feingold wants to see President Obama reelected in 2012, his chief of staff said Thursday night.

Feingold's top staffer categorically dismissed chatter that the Wisconsin Democrat, who lost his reelection battle this fall, would challenge Obama in a 2012 primary.

“Senator Feingold is not running for president in 2012. Any suggestion he is thinking of running, planning to run, or interested in running is untrue," said Mary Irvine, Feingold's chief of staff. "Senator Feingold is a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and wants to see him reelected in 2012.”

It's thought that if Obama were to get a primary challenger, it would be from his left, where progressives have expressed frustration toward the president's willingness to compromise on some issues. One group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, has run ads targeting Obama in Iowa, home to the country's first presidential nominating contest.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested Thursday that Feingold might fit the profile of such a candidate.

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