February 12th, 2009
05:30 PM ET
14 years ago

White House decisions 'almost humiliated' Gregg, says source

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A source close to the process says that the idea of removing the census from Commerce and having it “run” out of the White House was taken as a slap in the face by Judd Gregg. “It was like saying they don’t trust you” with such a political issue, says the source.

This source says those who wanted Gregg - including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel - believed that in choosing him, the Obama team would be "taking the opposition’s quarterback off the field.”

“They have to take some of the blame for this," says a Democratic source close to the White House. "They almost humiliated him by taking the census away from him.”

However, adds this source, Gregg’s decision to recuse himself on stimulus was not taken well at the White House either — it was seen as an insult to them.

One GOP Senate aide confirms the census was the straw that broke the camel’s back - a sign, as this person put it, that the White House is not committed to bipartisanship. The aide characterized it as “a major blunder by the administration.”

“Can you imagine what would happen if the Bush administration would’ve given (Karl) Rove control of the census? People would have set their hair on fire,” said the Republican source, suggesting that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel - former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - would have tried to control the census for political advantage.

Filed under: Judd Gregg
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Ginny X

    The action by Gregg,Richardson, and Daschle are irresponsible. I feel like the only reason Gregg and Daschle with-drew there names is because they look at President Obama as a ex slave. Because it never was in the scheme of things for black people to be nothing but slaves in the United States. It was not President Lincoln or or any supreme court decisions that so called free black people. It was only the grace of God who change the hearts of past presidents and racist white men is why black people are not on some white man's plantations.

    February 12, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Andrew in L.A.

    To The Lady: What is he supposed to do? Pretend he has no beliefs and blindly do what the President says? I would rather have Cabinet secretaries acting on their principles than simply following orders. Following orders got us into a lot of problems the last eight years. Let's not pretend it's OK now that someone else is in charge. The President's advisors, the Cabinet, should be encouraged to think.

    February 12, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. Gordon Shumway

    Having to work with a real sleaze ball like Raoul Emmanuel would be enough for most anybody with integrity to look elsewhere.

    February 12, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. Leslie

    I seem to recall this situation differently. When Gregg was given this position people were saying he shouldn't take it because he had an issue with the census. Obama at that point said he would take the census from the commerce department and put it through the White House, therefore freeing Gregg to take the post. Does anyone else remember this?

    February 12, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Minnesotan

    Republicans already have eight years worth of issues to be 'humiliated' about. Why is this one any worse than, say, destroying our economy? More whining from the right, it seems...

    February 12, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. Carter

    Many interesting inconsistencies in the comments

    - No one is up in arms over the White House trying to control too much?

    - People are upset that the opposition party is opposing. That's what they are supose to do. Democratics did it. Read George Washingtons farewell address. He talks about 2 party systems.

    - The President wants a yes man?

    February 12, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Apples for sale

    Maybe he was a toetapper and the republicans were going to out him in revenge.

    February 12, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. briggsky

    Where do these people come from. The GOP has controlled the House for 12 of the last 14 years. The White House for the last eight. I know what Obama wanted is his plan. The GOP just doesn't get it any more. I know what they are against, but not what they stand for. The last two Republicans Presidentshave run up 10 of the 12 trillion dollar debt. That's what doesn't make sense. What they are saying now is that if we are for something, it's OK to spend five trillion dollars more than we take in. But you can't pay to get americans back to work. There are some 12 million people out there who are unemployed or underemployed and tax cuts won't help them. They just want a job. Is that so hard to understand??

    February 12, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. Catherine

    For all of those saying that Obama just wanted a "yes" man, you seem to be forgetting that it was Gregg who pulled himself out; he wasn't dropped by Obama. If Obama only wanted a "yes" man, he wouldn't have picked Gregg to begin with.

    From my standpoint it looks like Gregg is having a childish tantrum. No real surprise there, considering his party.

    February 12, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. lady in the know

    Hillary who? It looks like to me that the Democrats aren't so sure they will keep their majority in 2010 so they have to try and steal it by changing the rules now. Talk about power hunger egotists. They are like kids in a candy store. Everything they didn't get through before this adminstration took over, is going through now in this "stimulus bull". Just ask Pelosi about her favorite project getting through. It does nothing for the rest of the country. Let's face it, both parties have done things they should be ashamed of over the years, but the way things are being run now, we are in trouble as only one side is running the country and that is very, very dangerous. There can be no bipartisanship when one party and their leader-Obama-keeps up the threats and gloating that they will be in power even two years from now.

    February 12, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. California Gold

    Surely Gregg was humiliated. He was way out of his league. He was a Republican who looked around, saw a governance of the people, by the people and for the people, and he ran for his life. So humiliated he won't run for office.

    February 12, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. Julie

    I don't believe half of what I read anymore. The news media wont print the facts but they will run articles like this when the man held a press conference and said the reason he was leaving. It wasn't anything to do with the White House humiliating him or him humiliating them.

    Everyone is bent on choosing a party. This man decided not to stand on party lines. He was leaving his senate seat and embracing the new administration.

    His sudden departure – well, I believe what he said was the reason, "it wasn't a good fit for me personally, afterall, but I have a lot of respect for our president and know he will do a good job."

    Nothing more than that folks. No espionage by the repubs, no firing from the dems…just a man who didn't size up the differences in his beliefs and the direction the administration was going. That's all.

    Move on. Stop the childish chatter about attacking him politically just because he tried to leave in a decent and civilized manner.

    February 12, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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