For Governor Deval Patrick, it's become as routine as signing legislation or greeting school kids. The rumors pop up about him eyeing national political service, and Patrick shoots them back to earth.
This time, it was speculation, stoked by the Chicago Sun-Times, that Patrick might replace embattled US Attorney General Eric Holder if he were to depart the Obama administration.
Patrick, a former senior Justice Department official and close friend of President Obama, would be a natural choice. His term expires at the end of 2014, he has made no public plans for life post-Beacon Hill, and he is considered to be in the large prospective field for 2016 presidential contenders.
But he has said repeatedly that he plans to serve out his full term.
"Once again, there is no truth to these rumors," Patrick communications director Jesse Mermell said in an email today. "As he said again and again, Governor Patrick is going to serve his full second term and keep pushing an agenda of growth and opportunity in Massachusetts."
Patrick has been in Ireland this week, meeting with government and business leaders.
Obama on Thursday voiced support for Holder, with whom he is also close personally.
"I have complete confidence in Eric Holder as attorney general," Obama said at a Rose Garden press conference. "He does his job with integrity and I expect he will continue to do so."