Jesse Jackson isn't ruling out a campaign for mayor of Washington, D.C., but says he's not looking for something to do and has no current plans to run.

Facing persistent questions about reports he is weighing a race for mayor of the nation's capital, Jackson repeated his pledge not to challenge embattled incumbent Marion S. Barry Jr. But he declined to say what he would do if Barry steps aside."I need not deal in the hypothetical," Jackson said. "I take this process of public service seriously, and I take it one day at a time."

The two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination responded to questions about the mayoral race at a news conference following an appearance before a Senate committee where he called for a federal law making voter registration easier and more accessible.

Entering the hearing, Jackson got a taste of the speculation about his future that has filled political circles.

"Should we be saying, `Welcome, Mr. Mayor?' " Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., asked jokingly as Jackson took his seat.

"I think it's out of order," Jackson responded.

Jackson lives in Chicago and would have to move to Washington by this November, a year ahead of the mayoral election, if he is to become a candidate. He owns a vacant home in the city and is renovating it. Jackson said the renovations are "for practical reasons" because he is in Washington several days a week and intends to use it instead of staying in hotels.