WASHINGTON — Sen. Orrin Hatch didn't rule out a possible promotion in the wake of an ongoing investigation into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, but he doubted the job change would happen.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press" television show, host Tim Russert asked Hatch, Utah's senior senator, if Attorney General Gonzales had to resign, would he be willing to take his place.

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"It'd be really tough for me to get confirmed, I'm sure," Hatch said, according to a transcript. "But the fact is, of course, anybody would serve this country. I would serve this country any way I could. But they're not going to pick me. But the point is, you know, it's up to the president."

Russert then asked Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., if Hatch would make a good attorney general.

"The rumor on the Hill this week was he was actively running for it," Leahy said.

"Oh, come on, Pat," Hatch interrupted.

Hatch said Monday, "I don't pay any attention to that rumor, and there is absolutely no merit to it. It is exactly that: just a rumor."


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