New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg has withdrawn his name as Commerce Secretary citing "irrevocable conflicts" with the Obama Admnistration. Gregg did not resign from the Senate after Obama offered the nomination, so he will remain in Washington although a source tells me Gregg will NOT run for re-election in 2010.
This is a blow for the Obama Administration who sought to rely on Gregg's credibility as a fiscal hawk to sell their stimulus plan, which becomes less and less popular as each day goes by.
It is also the second person Obama has nominated for the slot, who has withdrawn his name. Bill Richardson abruptly withdrew his name from consideration because of an investigation federal authorities were conducting about his relationship with a corrupt consulting firm.
Gregg says could not meet an agreement with the White House over their decision to take control of the census, which can be used for political purposes, and the stimulus package Obama was pushing.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel said in a statement, "Sen. Gregg made a principled decision to return and we’re glad to have him. He is among the smartest, most effective legislators to serve in the Senate—Democrat or Republican—and a key advisor to me and to the Republican Conference. It’s great to have him back.”
(Even if it may only be for 2 years, apparently.)
The GOP has been loudly complaining about the Obama Administration's unprecedented decision to play a direct role in managing the 2010 census. The administration planned to this by requiring the census director report to the White House instead of the Commerce Department.
The purpose of the census is to count all Americans in order to determine how those persons will be represented in Washington.
Republicans and Democrats have quarreled in previous years about the way minorities, who typically vote Democratic, have been counted in the census. Liberals have made a push to use computer models to determine minority populations, which Republicans argue is an unreliable method Democrats support as a means of increasing their political power.