Judd Gregg withdraws as commerce secretary nominee

By Carol Eisenberg

February 12, 2009 at 5:23pm

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary Thursday, citing “irresolvable conflicts” with President Barack Obama over his stimulus plan and handling of the 2010 census.

“We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy,” Gregg said in a statement released by his Senate office.

Gregg’s withdrawal set the White House back in its efforts to fill remaining Cabinet posts quickly and without drama. He was Obama’s second choice to fill the commerce post and had been the third Republican named to the cabinet. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew as commerce secretary nominee several weeks ago amid reports of a grand jury investigation into alleged wrongdoing involving state contracts.

Gregg, 61, a former New Hampshire governor, had signaled his disagreement with the president’s agenda when he abstained from the Senate vote on the stimulus package, which passed the chamber 61 to 37. He had not 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.

A member of the Senate since 1993, Gregg is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, and has been an outspoken critic of big spending.

In his statement, Gregg thanked Obama for the nomination, saying, “I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.”

But he suggested that he had not fully grasped the scope of his differences, saying, “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.”

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  • #1.   TACOM 02.18.2009

    Grdgg cites “irresolvable conflicts” which somehow, “just now”, revealed themselves to this hypocrite who actively canvassed for the job of Secretary of Commerce. Republicans are so accustomed to lying that it is second nature to them. Gregg is either insulting the intelligence of the American people (hard thing to do) by claiming this lame excuse or he’s simply showing absolute contempt for whatever the people might think. Either way, he’s demonstrating excellent credentials for the Senate.

  • #2.   NANCY L 02.27.2009

    I wonder , if Sen Gregg is the top member of the republican budget committe and he claims to be a conservative, and the Republicans have been charge for the last 8 years why is the country in such a mess.bush vetoed anything the Democrats put in for. Apparently Greggs budget is based only for the top 2%

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