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Old 02-12-2009, 05:00 PM
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LUVMBDiesels LUVMBDiesels is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Sen. Gregg withdraws from Commerce Sec hunt.

Sen. Gregg has taken himself out of the running for Commerce Sec.

Gregg Withdraws as Commerce Nominee

By Chris Cillizza and Michael Shear
New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg has withdrawn his name from consideration as President Obama's commerce secretary, a major blow to an administration seeking to put a series of Cabinet problems behind it.
"It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the census there are irresolvable conflicts for me," Gregg said in a statement to be released by his office. "Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns."
Gregg abstained from the Senate vote on the stimulus package, which passed the chamber 61 to 37. He had not previously offered any public comment on the White House's plan to have the Census director report to White House officials. Many Republicans, however, had voiced serious concerns about the potential politicization of the department given that move.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) praised Gregg's decision as "principled" and added: "It's great to have him back."
Just days ago, Gregg stood side-by-side with the president to accept the nomination as commerce secretary and declared that partisanship should not get in the way of repairing the country's
"This is not a time for partisanship. This is not a time when we should stand in our ideological corners and shout at each other," Gregg said on Feb. 3. "This is a time to govern and govern well. And therefore, when the President asked me to join his administration and participate in trying to address the issues of this time, I believed it was my obligation to say yes, and I look forward to it with enthusiasm."
At that event, Obama noted that "Clearly, Judd and I don't agree on every issue -- most notably who should have won the election. But we agree on the urgent need to get American businesses and families back on their feet."
But even as Gregg and Obama were shaking hands, Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill were blasting the stimulus package then making its way through the House of Representatives. In a statement, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said that day that "let no one be mistaken that this bill is the result of bipartisan negotiations. While Republicans were courteously consulted at the member and staff level, we were never at the negotiating table."
Gregg is the second of Obama's nominees as commerce secretary to withdraw. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.) stepped aside earlier this year after allegations of a pay to play scandal involving him came to light.
The decision has any number of wide-reaching political consequences.
First, it creates another opening in Obama's Cabinet, which saw former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle (S.D.) step aside last week after questions were raised about his failure to pay taxes on a car and driver service.
Second, it slows the momentum that the Obama administration was hoping to build for its economic stimulus plan, which is expected to clear Congress tomorrow. Obama and his team had worked diligently to put the "vetting problems" stories regarding his Cabinet picks to bed but now will watch them dredged back up for the next 24 hours -- at a minimum -- and perhaps far longer.
Third, Gregg's return to the Senate means that Republicans have one less open seat to defend next fall. Bonnie Newman was set to replace Gregg but only as a caretaker who would not run for reelection in 2010. Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes had already declared for the seat and Republicans acknowledged that their bench in the state was thin.
Now, assuming Gregg will run again next November (and that is a big assumption) Republicans will have a fighting chance to hold the Granite State seat -- although the state has moved away from them in recent elections.
This is a cataclysmic shock on what had been the quietest day so far in Washington since Obama took office, and highlights the perils of Obama's efforts to put Republicans -- including a relatively conservative one like Gregg -- into high positions in his administration."
"I have no convictions ... I blow with the wind, and the prevailing wind happens to be from Vichy"

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