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Gregg Withdraws - Back to the Senate

February 12, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg has withdrawn his name from consideration for Secretary of Commerce in the Obama administration and will return to his seat in the Senate.

CNN has his full statement here.

This is yet another negative mark on President Obama’s record in selecting cabinet members. Talking Points Memo quotes a Dem staffer speculating that Gregg’s announcement, with Obama on stage in Peoria, IL to promote his increasingly-popular stimulus package, was “timed to cause the most damage possible to the Obama administration.”

Gregg had recused himself from voting on the stimulus package and amendments, but on the first seven nontrivial votes of the 111th Congress (Ledbetter Fair Pay, Omnibus Lands Bill, TARP II), Gregg voted with the Obama administration more often than all Republicans except Olympia Snowe (R-ME).

UPDATE: And here is the White House statement:

>"Senator Gregg 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. 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. We regret that he has had a change of heart."

Also, the NH UnionLeader reports that Gregg will not run again in 2010. Gregg would have faced a difficult re-election in an increasingly blue state. His decision not to run again will probably mean that he’ll vote as more of a party-line Republican this session than his early-111th voting record indicates.

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