February 13, 2009
Sen Judd Gregg decides he can’t work with barry anymore as Commerce Secretary because he has “irresolvable conflicts” over the stimulus package.
barry’s initial glowing words:
…And we know the only way to solve the great challenges of our time is to put aside stale ideology and petty partisanship and embrace what works.
As one of the Republican Party’s most respected voices and skillful negotiators, Judd is a master of reaching across the aisle to get things done. He’ll be an outstanding addition to the depth and experience of my economic team, a trusted voice in my Cabinet, and an able and persuasive ambassador for industry who makes it known to the world that America is open for business.
His team was caught off guard with Gregg’s decision. From Politico:
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.”
Gregg was pulling a fast one and they finally figured it out.
GIBBS: Once it became clear after his nomination that Sen. Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Sen. Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways.
EMANUEL: There is not hard feelings. It is better that it happened now than after the fact. if I said it wasn’t a disappointment, that would lack any credibility.
I’ve been my own person, and I began to wonder if I could be an effective team player. The president deserves someone who can block for his policies. As a practical matter, I can contribute to his agenda better — where we agree — as a senator, and I hope to do that. The fault lies with me. I may have embarrassed myself, but hopefully not him.
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.
Consolation prize: his 2010 senate seat?
barry’s judgment on display:
Smoothest transition ever?
Cabinet defector #1: Gov Bill Richardson
Geithner: TurboTax made me do it
barry re: tax cheat #1: Tim Geithner
Daschle apology letter
Cabinet defector #2: Tom Daschle
barry re: tax cheat #2: Tom Daschle
barry cabinet defector #3: Nancy Killefer
barry’s tax cheats go free – Phelps’ friends go to jail
barry cabinet defector #4: Sen Judd Gregg
barry tax cheat #4: Ron Kirk
Dr Sanjay Gupta won’t be Surgeon General
barry cabinet defector #5: Charles Freeman