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Friday, February 13, 2009

Video- Gregg Withdraws Name for U.S. Commerce Secretary

Republican Senator, Judd Gregg, withdrew his name from nomination for U.S. Commerce Secretary after Barack Obama nominated him, stressing differences in policy stances.

8 minute video shown below and found at YouTube.

Drudge has Gregg's statement:

“I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce. This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time. I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“However, 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. 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.

“Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives.

“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.

“As we move forward, I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the President’s proposals. This will certainly be a goal of mine.

“Kathy and I also want to specifically thank Governor Lynch and Bonnie Newman for their friendship and assistance during this period. In addition we wish to thank all the people, especially in New Hampshire, who have been so kind and generous in their supportive comments.

“As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision. I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”

The Politico reports that Obama and his team were taken by surprise at the news, although that was played down publicly.

The White House — where some aides were caught off guard by the withdrawal — initially responded harshly to Gregg’s announcement, portraying the New Hampshire Republican as someone who sought the job and then had a “change of heart.”

In a statement, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Gregg had “reached out to the president and offered his name for secretary of commerce” — and that he’d promised that, “despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace and move forward with the president’s agenda.”

Obama himself told an Illinois newspaper that Gregg’s withdrawal was “something of a surprise” because the senator had “approached us with interest and seemed enthusiastic.”

Although one White House aide said he was “blindsided” by the news, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said Gregg signaled to the administration earlier in week that he was having second thoughts and Obama met with him Wednesday at the White House to urge him to stay.

In an on-plane briefing as the president flew on Air Force One to Springfield on Thursday evening, Gibbs said that Gregg told the president of his decision to withdraw in a telephone call on Wednesday.

But Obama later told the pool reporter on the flight that he hadn't known until today, and called Gregg "a good man" who had a "change of heart."

Still, there was no joint statement — as there was when former Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew as Obama’s Health and Human Services nominee — and the tension between the White House and Gregg was clear.

Read both pages of the Politico article for the full story.

Hot Air
has some interesting little details about this as well.