Sen. Gregg Withdraws Commerce Secretary Nomination

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire withdrew his nomination as the Secretary of Commerce this afternoon. The senator made the following comments in a press release.

“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.”

In his closing comments, Gregg stated that his decision to decline his nomination was not a result of recent vetting.

“As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision. I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”

Just a week after the withdrawal of HHS nominee former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota due to his income tax problems, the Gregg nomination is another significant embarrassment for the White House.

Gregg’s comment about the census — White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s hijacking of the census from the Commerce Department to keep it under political control in the White House — shows how much of a political firestorm is building on that issue.

This is the first time in a long time that anyone has resigned or declined a cabinet post on principle. Gregg should be congratulated.