October 10th, 2009
09:55 PM ET
5 years ago

'I have no plans to leave,' top Obama lawyer says

White House counsel Greg Craig, shown here with the president on Inauguration Day, says he has 'no plans to leave whatsoever.'
White House counsel Greg Craig, shown here with the president on Inauguration Day, says he has 'no plans to leave whatsoever.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House Counsel Greg Craig is trying to put to rest rumors that his time as the president’s top in-house lawyer is coming to an untimely end, according to a report by the National Law Journal.

"'I have no plans to leave whatsoever,'" Craig reportedly told the legal publication. "'The rumors that I'm about to leave are false. The reports that I'm about to leave are wrong. I have no plans to leave.'"

As the Obama administration has begun to send signals that it may not meet its own one-year deadline for closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a deadline that that the new administration set for itself with much fanfare on President Obama’s first full day in office, Craig has found himself increasingly subject to rumors that he is headed out of the White House.

In the interview with the National Law Journal, Craig denied a September 25 report by the Washington Post that he had played a leading role in developing the administration’s initial plan to close the controversial facility by late January 2010.

To address the setbacks it encountered in closing the facility, “the administration has shifted its leadership team on the issue,” the Post’s September 25 report said. “White House Counsel Gregory B. Craig, who initially guided the effort to close the prison and who was an advocate of setting the deadline, is no longer in charge of the project,” the Post reported, citing two senior Obama administration officials.

But Craig says the Post’s report is inaccurate.

I was "'certainly not the point man on Guantanamo,'" Craig reportedly told the National Law Journal. "'The notion that I have been replaced, for a job that I was never assigned, that was just not true,'" Craig also reportedly said.

Quite the contrary, Craig described his relationship with Obama as “'excellent,'” according to the National Law Journal.

Craig told the publication that he has direct access to the president. Obama “'makes that absolutely clear: that whenever I need to talk to him, I can just walk in [to the Oval Office] and talk to him on-one-one,'" Craig reportedly said.

Asked about Craig’s involvement in the administration’s handling of the Guantanamo facility, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on September 28 that Craig was one of a number of people in the administration working on the project and that Craig had not been stripped of any of his responsibilities in that regard. Asked about Craig again on October 6, Gibbs said “Craig is in the President's office every day as part of a small group of senior advisers that meet with him daily.” Asked specifically about Obama’s confidence in Craig, Gibbs said last Tuesday that he had already discussed the issue with reporters on September 28 and Gibbs added “I think we're making progress on ensuring that once and for all Guantanamo Bay is closed.”

Craig is a longtime Washington fixture in Democratic circles having worked for a number of prominent Democrats included former President Bill Clinton and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Never, Never, Again

    I would like to give almighty glory to the Republicans because without you President Obama wouldn't be as successful as he is today , it seems like everytime Republicans put him down GOD has a better plan in store for him.
    1. you said he wasn't white enough – whites still believed in him
    2. you said he wasn't black enough – blacks still believed in him
    3. you said he didn't have experience – he beat John Mccain
    4. you laughed when he was denied the Olympics- he won the Nobel Peace Prize
    5. you said he haven't accomplished anything and you hope he fail God said hold on to your thoughts.
    America is a country built on love, hope and forgiveness you can trash Obama policies which is fine but when you get off the subject and start bashing him because Fix News says so then you need to get your priorities straight, our prayers for Obama and this country is much stronger than yours it seems as if God isn't answering your prayers and who in their right mind would pray for Obama to fail.

    October 10, 2009 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. Deception

    Accolades in stead of shoes? Clinton disgusts me.

    October 10, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. What goes around comes around

    It is absolutely funny that Democrats get so upset by the little digs Republicans take at their boy in the White House.

    For 8 years, the Democrats constantly derided the Republican White House, constantly interferrred with him with him fulfilling the responsibilities of the office to which he was elected, constantly questioned everything he did or said or attempted to achieve....

    And now the tables have turned.

    But the best thing is that we can remain silent and this idiot will cause his own failure.

    October 10, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  4. charlie in Maine

    CNN seems to dig for negative news as if they were digging for gold.

    WHY???????????

    Jean 2 poses an interesting question. I fell the answer to your question is in the profit motive. Liberals think the press is too conservative and conservatives think it is too liberal. The truth is it is all about the money. If they can sell newspapers and TV ads by building up a candidate they will build that candidate up, if they can make money by tearing him or her down they will do that. The truth is they look for the negative on Obama even thoutgh he is doing a great job because it would be new and different for him to mess up.

    October 10, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  5. No Hillary = No Obama

    Oh now it's the lawyer's fault that Obama has a chronic problem with his eyes being bigger than his stomach.

    October 10, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  6. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    maybe Obama you should support our service personnel like you support the gays and your private agenda.

    Obama LIES about JOBS

    October 10, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  7. Dan, TX

    Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution: - How is Nobel Laureate a title of Nobility?

    Let's stop hating each other (Democrats hate republicans and Republicans hate democrats while CNN pops popcorn). We need to work together. We need to enforce the laws that protect capitalists from big business bullies who kill their competitors and dump their bodies where CNN has been paid not to look.

    October 10, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. Obozo - 4 and the Door

    Why not leave and take Obozo with you?

    October 10, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. liberalshavenoballs

    Lighten up Francis, the only thing being destroyed is the constitution with all of Blobama's czars making decisions that should be voted on by Congress. This is a checks and balances government, that should include the Congress and the Senate to keep a handle on your community organizer lol.

    October 10, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  10. nochangecomin

    Bus meet Mr.Craig.
    It's not my fault it's everyone else's fault I'm just the guy n charge.

    October 10, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  11. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their foolishness.

    Closing that base is the most stupid thing I have personally ever heard of anyone wanting to do. No one wants those terriosts in their country. Obama is a fool for saying what he was going to do. He has to realize he is one man who works for us. We are still his boss.

    October 10, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  12. nochangecomin

    Could anyone and I mean anyone please explain the word KNOWABLE to me. How about you Mabel any clue?

    October 10, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  13. Katy

    Mr. Obama is the president. Our job is to blindly trust him and follow whatever he decides is good for us. Just like we did for Mr. Bush when he was president. Blindly following our president has worked well in the past, hasn't it?

    October 10, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  14. Tex

    Re: Art. I, Sec. 9 – Mr. Obama has appointed nearly 50 Czars. Czars were dictatorial rulers in Russia who were vicious murderers. To appoint Czars seems to go against everything our soldiers have died to prevent from ever happening in this country. Sadly, Obamafans are too willing to drink the kool-aid as Obama follows the failed Bush policies of oppressing American rights and freedoms. Mr. Obama has promised much and delivered nothing.

    October 10, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  15. zoomer

    Obama's top lawyer will be leaving, he will be the fall guy for not getting the cuba base closed, although Obama figured out quick campaigning is much easier than governing, something he still has not started to do. The base on cuba will remain open for at least two more years, and as for it being a Bush left over, read your history that base has been around a lot longer than Bush.

    While on the topic of Bush and his policies, that everyone here seems to slam, Obama is still using rendition, still using the cuba base, still using all of the patriot act, still in Iraq, still in afghanistan, hmmm seems to following Bush policy rather closely don't you think?

    Of course he did sign the $787 billion stimulas that we HAD to have RIGHT NOW, and yet they have only spent 17% to date... why? what was the rush? ohh yeah that's right they had to pay off european banks and labor union bosses. Then he bought the auto industry and gave most of it to the union, how does that work/ the union owns more of GM than the share holders do... pay off? Then he bought the insurance companies for another $200 billion... why? to big to fail? if they are too big then break them up like Ma Bell. Everything HAS TO BE DONE NOW, or what? Now its health care that has to be done now or the economy will not recover, really? it has to be done right now? hmmm then why doesn't take affect until 2013? however, the tax hikes start immediately as does the draining of medicare. Is it really so hard to see what is happening, its not about healthcare its about control, if it were about health care they would allow you to buy insurance from any state, but, they don't.... let's recap that, the same government that says there needs to be competition in health insurance is the same government thats regulations make it illegal to buy insurance from another state. What a load. If health insurance were included in inter-state commerce as auto insurance is then the price would drop and customer service would go up, just like auto insurance did in the early 80's. How about Tort reform? if you put a cap on legal rewards then doctors don't have to go broke paying well over $100,000 per year for insurance and they would not have to ask for every test under the sun to avoid being sued, result? lower health care costs, lower health insurance. Easy fix for 90% of the problem. The remaining topics; uninsurable, that could be a pool from all insurance companies sharing the burden.

    If it was really about helping people it would be fixed, not completely rebuilt while destroying what works and NOT in government control.

    October 10, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    Well Mr. Lawyer can you get your boss to resign then?

    October 10, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  17. Arch

    I was elated for a second or two. I thought Obama was the one that was resigning! What a shame. It would have been nice and really very good for our country.

    October 11, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  18. Dan, TX

    Barack Obama has no religion. Perhaps he may be Muslim or atheist. He wants to support gay people. His friend Ahmedinejad said that there are no gays in Iran. He doe snot know what he is talking about. He wants to please everybody. Peace Prize winner. It is a hoax.

    October 11, 2009 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  19. Sea.gem

    Why does CNN not allow comments on the articles or moments that are blatantly crazy?...Peace prize?...this is a "weakening of America" prize...look at the results...the people who gave him the prize are the same ones who laid down and allowe themselves to be slaughtered by Nazis...wow...same strategy and the same reult.

    October 11, 2009 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  20. cgillette369

    did he call Janet Reno first?

    October 11, 2009 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  21. r tofani, kennesaw ga

    it seems that in politics and big business that as soon as the rumor is denied, it will become true.

    October 11, 2009 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  22. Mike From Texas

    The President earned NPP when he step into the White House. For those racist low life bums and or republicans who seem to attack the President even for killing a fly give the President some respect, if not for him then for the Office he holds. I'm so sick and tried hearing all this negative garbage about the President for God Sake give the Man a break, and if you are a real American then Support him if not your Nation. I can wait until 2012 why I can vote for him again. long live the Presidency of our beloved Nation and long live President Obama for all his sincere efforts to correct what is wrong in America and throughout the World.

    October 11, 2009 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  23. Monica Vacas

    Please, please!!! I do not think right now is the moment for the Guantanamo issue. We are at the verge of a major war in Afghanistan and jeopordizing our children's life in combat and Guantanamo, the Guy Ruights and immigration reform will just have to wait. If Bush would of had the courage to enter Afghanistan instead of going, for some unkown reason to Iraq, because there were no weapons of mass distruction, unless I missed that Newsline. This, UNFORTUNATELY, UNFORTUNATELY!! is the war we must faces, and only if Democrats and Repusblican and all other political party, unite as a Nation, we will fail and this war will be disastrous to our country. Osama Ben Ladin is a menace to the world, not only to USA, he needs to turn himself in or be captured and kept under servailance, he is extremely smart, and dangerous. The world needs to unite for this one, but if USA does set an example and stops fighting Democrats with Republicans the way we are seeing today, we will fail. "United we Stand Divided we Fall" do not, do not forget this such significant statement today.

    October 11, 2009 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
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