Here is the statement the White House just put out on kicking Judd Gregg to the curb, in full:
“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”.
Translation: Gregg asked us for the gig and lied to us, so eff him, this is his fault.
As one longtime White House correspondent just told me, “I have never seen a White House statement that kicks someone in the balls that hard before.”
This marks the second strike on a Commerce appointment. Pending further comments from both sides, one assumes that control of the 2010 census, which in turn affects redistricting, was a major sticking point.
It also serves as a reminder that Republicans can serve in Obama’s cabinet, but Obama sets the policy.
After this harsh statement, Gregg’s in a tough spot. That he apparently asked for the job indicates he wasn’t relishing a battle in 2010 for his seat. Publicly feuding with Obama in a state that Obama carried by 9 points is probably not good for Gregg’s re-election prospects, unless Obama’s popularity tanks in New Hampshire in the next two years, something that could happen if the economy fails to turn around. [UPDATE: Gregg says he would “probably not” run for re-election in 2010.]
Of course, Obama may lose a potential “moderate” Republican on future key votes.
This one’s not over.
By the way, this marks the second time a woman will not get to replace an Obama Commerce nominee. The first time, New Mexico Lt. Governor Diane Denish would have replaced Bill Richardson as Governor. Bonnie Newman will now not become a United States Senator.