January 31st, 2009
02:04 PM ET
6 months ago

Official: Gregg top candidate for Commerce

 Gregg confirmed Friday he was under consideration to be the next Commerce Secretary.
Gregg confirmed Friday he was under consideration to be the next Commerce Secretary.

WASHINGTON (CNN) –Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire is the leading candidate to become commerce secretary and a decision could come as soon as Monday, an Obama administration official told CNN Saturday.

Gregg said in a statement Friday that he was among those being considered for the post, but White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday that "a final decision had not been made."

"I know that's something that he [President Obama] hopes to make a decision on and announce shortly. But until the President tells me to make a personnel announcement from this podium, I'll refrain from getting into individual names on that," Gibbs said at Friday's press briefing.

The administration official Saturday spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss administration deliberations.

The nomination of Gregg to be commerce secretary could result in a victory for Democrats in the Senate. If New Hampshire's governor, a Democrat, were to appoint a Democrat to replace Gregg in the Senate, that could give Senate Democrats the 60-seat majority needed to overcome Republican attempts to use filibusters to block legislation.

However, two New Hampshire Republican Party sources have suggested to CNN that Gov. John Lynch is careful to appeal to Republicans and might be open to appointing a Republican to "follow the will of the people," according to one of the sources.

President Barack Obama first nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be commerce secretary. But earlier this month Richardson withdrew, citing the distraction of a federal investigation into ties to a company that has done business with his state.

Richardson told reporters he underestimated how long the investigation would take, calling it an "untenable delay" likely to hinder the confirmation process.

Gregg, a third-term senator known for being fiscally conservative, is up for re-election in 2010.

(Updated Saturday afternoon with additional information)


Filed under: Judd Gregg • Obama administration • Popular Posts
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Guy in the Midwest

    I think that Judd Gregg is a good pick for Commerce.
    though, its 50 50 as to who the Gov of NH picks to be his replacement, a Republican or a Democrat.

    January 31, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. tiff of Lithia Springs

    good for bipartianship.

    January 31, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Bruce

    This is the same thing Bush did in 2000. He tried to sure Democratic senators from Republican-leaning areas into his cabinet in order to change the balance in the Senate. The press, of course, was on it immediately, and the Democratic senators turned it down with apologies.

    Now Mr. Obama is seeing areas where there is a Republican and where his appointed or elected replacement would most likely be a Democrat. I understand his reasoning, and find nothing evil or clandestine in it. However, I hope that the Republican senators will be as aware of this as Democratic ones were eight years ago.

    The Democrats want a filibuster-proof senate. Some Republicans reaching for the gold ring may give it to them.

    January 31, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. joe

    Hope he's up-to-date with his taxes

    January 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Rob

    Wow, Obama really DID read 'Team of Rivals' , Sen. Gregg is Obama's Salmon P. Chase.

    January 31, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Sanity has returned

    The NH Gov should put a Dem in the Senate seat should it be vacated. The Governor has that discretion.

    January 31, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. hungry

    can't trust any republicans.

    January 31, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. aware

    With the number 60 as the motivation! :(

    January 31, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. BRUTIS

    Why a Republican from the GOOFY OLD OARTY????

    January 31, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Greg Hodges

    During the election debates last year, all I heard was Barack Obama never reached out to Republicans. He has already done more in 2 weeks to be bipartisan than George B

    January 31, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Peter

    I still think Richardson should've been Secretary of State...

    January 31, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Greg Hodges

    During the election debates last year, all I heard was Barack Obama never reached out to Republicans. He has already done more in 2 weeks to be bipartisan than George Bush did in 8 years. I simply hope that everyone can stop screaming at each other long enough to actually listen and get some real work done in Washington. The new President is trying to lead by example; maybe the G.O.P. can put aside it`s mindless rhetoric for once and do the same.

    January 31, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Herk McGraw

    I understand the idea of opening a Senate seat for the Democrats but I just saw Sen. Gregg on CNN where he said he is opposed to the current Stimulus Package because it had too much "pork." He refused to acknowlege that whatever he considered "pork" also created jobs and he did not suggest any ideas for creating jobs. He just blew smoke as all aginners do.
    A person to be Commerce Secretary should, at least, have some positive comment as to what he supports.

    January 31, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Dawn

    Now what will Congress fine on him? Every vetting sometimes don't over turn every rock. Every President has had Cabinet members that do not make it. it is the rules of the jungle.

    January 31, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    That's one way to "get to 60". How about another Repellican in a blue state for HHS?

    January 31, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. alfred huessein neuman

    Obama wants change alright, change to the extreme left view. This just n...

    "Although the SEIU's campaign efforts focused on Democrats, the union's performance reviews will be strictly nonpartisan, Stern said.

    Stern believes that his members are owed something in return for their efforts... He wants to make it easier for unions to form.

    President Obama echoed some of those sentiments on Friday, issuing pro-labor executive orders..."

    Obama is delivering on his "back room promises". But there's no change from the Chicago style politics BHO grew up in.

    January 31, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Carl Justus

    I think it is a great idea to have Gregg as the new commerce secretary.
    Obama has already bent over backwards for the stubborn republicans and all he gets backs is nonsense and stupidity.

    January 31, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Fred

    Oh Yes!

    January 31, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Mike Dallas

    Not only is Obama smart but he is also shrewd.

    If Gregg refuses, OB can say hey we tried to include repubs in the Cabinet. If he accepts, Dems stand a chance of a Democrat appointed as the 60th senator in the U.S.Senate.

    It is a win/win for Obama.

    I like having a smart man for President once again!

    January 31, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. elsie

    "The administration official Saturday spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss administration deliberations."

    Who ever this "official" is should be fired and so should CNN person for reporting it. I am so sick of hearing this type of stuff.

    January 31, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Stu-Florida

    AND THE BEAT GOES ON!!!

    January 31, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. mike88

    Well, look at it this way, Obama will be able to roll his agenda forward like the red carpet. But, if that agenda fails, there is only one party to blame=Democrats!

    January 31, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. David

    Obama is a smart politician. The Democrats couldn't get to 60 in the senate in November but now they can with the commerce secretary pick and if the Minnesota recount stay where it's at. mission accomplish.

    January 31, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. dorothy smith

    I think he sounds just like what we need. With the kind of money we are talking about, we need someone with a conservative hand on the till. It would also be very nice, not to have to listen to any more of the Republican filibusters. If he doesn't pan out, he can be replaced in 2010.

    Dot

    January 31, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. james

    I guarantee you he's nothing but a pawn in the socailist agenda of the democrats. He will have no power. Obama is playing the bean game.

    January 31, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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