Gregg Withdraws Commerce Nomination

Obama loses yet another nominee as Sen. Judd Gregg bows out

By David Hogarty
|  Thursday, Feb 12, 2009  |  Updated 10:55 PM CDT
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Sen. Judd Gregg withdrew his name from consideration for an Obama Cabinet post as Commerce Secretary.

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Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican nominee to become the Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration, withdrew his name for consideration, citing differences over the president's stimulus plan.

Unlike tax problems, which have torpedoed or complicated prior administration nominations, Gregg's appointment fell victim to ideological differences.

"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 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."

The president reacted to the withdrawal during an interview with the State Journal Register in Springfield, Ill.

"It comes as a bit of a surprise because Mr. Gregg approached us with interest and seemed enthusiastic," Obama said. "But ultimately we're just goin gto keep makin gefforts to build the kind of bipartisan consensus around important issues that I think the American people are looking for."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the Obama administration regretted the senator's change of heart and put the onus on Gregg for flip-flopping.

"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. 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."

Gregg is a Republican Senator from New Hampshire. He was re-elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2004.

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