Citing anonymous sources, the wire service Reuters reported Thursday afternoon that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in discussions with the White House about stepping down to become president of the World Bank next year.
Soon after the report emerged, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines said, "it's completely untrue and Reuters was told that."
Reines said in a subsequent email that "Secretary Clinton has not had any conversations with the President, the White House or anyone about moving to the World Bank."
"She has expressed absolutely no interest in the job," he said, adding that "[s]he would not take it if offered."
"With all due respect to my friends at Reuters, the story is bogus," Reines stressed.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney added, "This story is incorrect, wrong, untrue."
Reuters quotes one source saying "Hillary Clinton wants the job," and another saying President Obama has expressed support for the move.
The Reuters story also points to a possible motive for Reines to deny the report if it is true: "Revelations of these discussions could hurt Clinton's efforts as America's top diplomat if she is seen as a lame duck in the job at a time of great foreign policy challenges for the Obama administration."
The term of current World Bank president Robert Zoellick ends in the middle of next year. Clinton would be the first woman to head the World Bank, which provides financial assistance to poor countries seeking to develop or rebuild.