This time last year, political pundits were eagerly speculating on the possible White House bid of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). It didn't work out—in part because Oregon law prevented Merkley from running for president while seeking a third term as a U.S. senator.

But the national press can't let go of the fantasy of Merkley in the West Wing.

This month, Politico speculated on what the cabinet of a President Bernie Sanders would look like. Among the notions: Secretary of State Jeff Merkley.

"Jeff Cohen, a founder of the pro-Sanders online activist group, listed a more traditional choice for secretary of State, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, on a list of 'random ideas for Bernie's cabinet' that he sent to me on Thanksgiving Day," writes Politico reporter David Siders. "Merkley was the first senator to endorse Sanders in 2016 and sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations."

So WW queried the senator's office: Would Merkley accept such a role if asked?

"As you probably guessed," replied Merkley spokeswoman Sara Hottman, "that's too far into an unknown future to speculate."