Congressman Leonard Boswell says he made it clear during a face-to-face meeting with a potential challenger that he intends to seek reelection in 2012.

Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack, a fellow Democrat, is exploring the idea of running for congress in 2012 and both live in Des Moines.  Boswell says the two had a one-on-one conversation on January 10.

“It was just a nice, cordial visit which we’ve always had. She told me that she is just exploring. She’s made no commitments at all and she’s looking at all possibilities. She told me she wasn’t raising money; she was just exploring what people think.  I defend her right to do that,” Boswell said this afternoon during an interview with Radio Iowa. “I told her, clearly, looking her straight in the face, that I am committed to run next time.”

Boswell made it clear last August, when he was seeking an eighth term in congress. that he would not voluntarily retire after serving 16 years in the U.S. House.

“It’s clear to her — it should be — that I intend to be there,” Boswell said this afternoon.

Boswell faced a primary challenge in 2008 from fellow Democrat Ed Fallon and key party leaders endorsed the incumbent Boswell over Fallon in that race. While it’s not clear yet that Boswell will face a Democratic Primary in 2012, he intends to ask the same party leaders to endorse him over Mrs. Vilsack.

“What have I not done that should have been done?” And I think that’s a fair question,” Boswell told Radio Iowa. “I feel that I’ve done respectably well in representing these people, our people, and I think that’s important.” 

Boswell’s birthday is January 10 — which means he and Vilsack met to discuss their political futures on his 77th birthday.

In late December, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack — the former Iowa governor — said his wife, Christie Vilsack, was well-qualified to run for office.