Senator Judd Gregg withdrew as nominee of the Commerce Department earlier today. The withdrawal came abruptly as Gregg cited “irresolvable conflicts” between the himself and the Obama administration.
“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,” Mr. Gregg said in a statement. “Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, siftly moved to contain any damage from news, saying in a statement that Gregg had “reached out to the president and offered his name for secretary of commerce.”
“He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President’s agenda,” Mr. Gibbs said. “Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways.”
The Caucus reports that Gregg “released a statement through his Senate office” announcing his withdrawal and “it was not announced by the White House, though aides said the president had been informed of Mr. Gregg’s decision.”
“Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives,” Mr. Gregg said in a statement. “I greatly admire President Obama and know our country will benefit from his leadership, but at this time I must withdraw my name from consideration for this position.”
This is a bit of another blow to the Obama administration’s bid to fill the Cabinet seats. I wasn’t thrilled with Gregg as head of Commerce myself and wondered what the Obama team was thinking. Gregg reached out for the seat and then had second thoughts. Gregg claims to have ‘alerted Mr. Obama to his decision ‘several days ago,'” although the news did certainly seem to have caught team Obama off guard.
While traveling in Illinois, President Obama “told reporters that he had spoken to Mr. Gregg on Wednesday but that he did not know he planned to withdraw until Thursday.”
He said that the senator had had a “change of heart” and that he intended to keep his pledge to have a bipartisan cabinet.
“I am going to keep working at this,” said Mr. Obama, adding that the American people are “desperate” for Democrats and Republicans to work together.
Mr. President, I am sorry but I beg to differ. From where I sit, the American people want good solid leadership and they don’t care if it comes from a bi-partisan team or a partisan team. The let’s all be bi-partisan schtick just really isn’t working right now, so find a good solid Democrat who can lead the Commerce Department and let’s get down to business.