February 12th, 2009
05:30 PM ET
13 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. RyanD.

    Poor guy couldn't be in charge of Bush's redistricting efforts so he bailed?

    Good riddance. GOP doesn't know how to play well with others.

    February 12, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. AB Miller

    Welcome to our new era of bipartisan love, peach, and harmony - if only everyone would just kneel down and start worshipping like we're supposed to do.

    Bush may have been a religious zealot, but at least he wasn't a self-worshipping narcissist with a GOD complex.


    (ps – Palin is so dumb and evil.)

    February 12, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Jon Davis

    "Good riddance. It was a mistake for Obama to have picked him to begin with."

    I agree. Obama doesn't need an immature senator who is not trustworthy or interested in bipartisanship.

    February 12, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. chris from stl.

    Repubs are already out with their talking points .... just a few minutes ago a repub strategist on Chris Mathews reciting the same thing referring Carl Rove in in charge on census!

    There are so many things that needs to be done by the new administration .... the repubs are pulling the country back to the 18th century.

    February 12, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    The humiliation came in the election and the GOP is still smarting. When 2010 comes the people are going to clean your clock because they can see through your antics and lies.

    February 12, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  6. Chris from NY

    The media can spin this any how they want we know what happened. One thing the media has yet to learn is that half of us are educated. We know how to reason and think for ourselves. So, stop spinning this to make more of a news that it is or should be. Gregg dropped out from the nominations: good riddens.

    February 12, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. RGA

    Lame excuse. Looks to me, like the man can't take challenge the current administration is in. So, he'd better take the easy out now... good thing he did so, Pres Obama can find someone else more capable of doing the job.

    February 12, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Patrick

    The census has always been done through the commerce dept. It's been the same way no matter if it's been a D or R in the white house. Obama taking it under his wing was a completely partisan move.

    February 12, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. brian

    Gregg lobbied for the job via Harry Reid. Larry/Bird study facts before spouting your crap. The timing of this today was for pure humiliation to Obama. Typical repug tactics! Party before country.

    February 12, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  10. Jo

    Just goes to show the American people that the republicans have no brains to think on their own and have to bow down to the leadership. Does this remind anyone else of the country in Eurpoe with the leader who had his followers do the same thing back in the 30's? Gregg I am sure your time is up in Vermont very soon. Block and obstuct all you can until then.

    February 12, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  11. Darwin

    Republicans have totally screwed our country up – I think Obama should not bring any more GOP members in the cabinet they're too stupid.

    February 12, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. jenn

    Ah, those "unnamed sources close to the situation."

    In any case, Gregg has behaved childishly here. He's a savvy politician–he should have known going into this that he would be working FOR Obama as a Cabinet member. So for him to pretend that he was shocked, yes, SHOCKED, that Obama would want to maintain control over policy and matters such as the census is hard to believe.

    I hope people are realizing that while Obama has made good-faith efforts to reach out to the GOP (efforts he doesn't *need* to make, given the Dem majorities in Congress), they've been slapping the hand of friendship he is extending. That may play well with the 20% of people in this country who think that Congressional Republicans are doing a good job, but everyone else? Not so much.

    February 12, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Mike, Syracuse NY

    @Mark S, for 104 years the census has been the responsibility of the Dept. of Commerce. Just because a Republican would have headed the Dept. is no reason to move it. This was clearly political on the part of the Dems. THEY ARE PUTTING THEIR PARTY AHEAD OF THE US. Get with the program pinhead.

    February 12, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. Deborah

    Let him go! There are only two answers for Gregg's decision, he got hate mail and death threats from his Republican colleagues and he realized he was way out of his league.

    The Republicans are full of it and it is getting very very old. Hey people wake up. The "R" are about themselves not you. They keep the hate going by continually appealing to our most negative side. WE AMERICANS are better than this. We must stop this hate. As long as they can find fault and keep us all focused on negativity, they keep us from focusing on them.

    Americans are losing their homes, their jobs and self esteem and they don't care. How fast did they rush the Stimulus Bill in October to bail out the Banks? I'm ashamed of what they are doing to people and the dirt they keep throwing. They speak from both sides of their mouths.

    February 12, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    So what? His withdrawal humiliates New Hampshire.

    February 12, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. kayla


    February 12, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. Lesley

    It sounds like after "talking with GOP leaders," Gregg changed his mind and joined the Republican opposition fold. He apparently can't think for himself. It may be good that he declined.

    February 12, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Why is the WH running the census? The source of this article's point is well taken; if Karl Rove was given control of it, census workers would be egged. Now the shoe is on the other foot and folks are quiet? Intellectual honesty anyone??

    February 12, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Sick of Politics

    I agree with Mark S. I'm so sick of the GOP and their grandstanding. Shut up about your tax breaks that haven't worked in 8 years. What a bunch of babies. They did this same garbage when Clinton was president. OMG. Run the country – that's why you were elected. We're sick of your out-of-touch with the American public beliefs. Good riddance to Gregg. See ya.

    February 12, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    C'mon, Gregg put his name out there and pushed for the nomination. Further, Obama has not hid what his administration was going to be about.

    I suspect there is more to this than we were told.

    Gregg was a waste a time in the first place. The job should go to a progressive.

    February 12, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. David Lewis

    It's About Time.... that Gregg realized what was going to happen to him if he joined the cabinet. Obama only picked a republican to try to break the "filabuster" in the senate.

    February 12, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Matt

    I'm a pretty hardcore democrat, and I actually agree with the GOP on this one... if they didn't want him doing the census they shouldn't have appointed him in the first place. Bad move by Obama.

    February 12, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  23. The Lady

    If you can't have it your way you bail out like a big baby. What a loser, you should stand for what you can do for this country and not what you are getting out of this.

    February 12, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. Allen in Hartwell GA

    First of all why would the census be in the Commerce Department? Second, I think this is just an excuse for Gregg to keep his old job. Thirdly, who cares?

    February 12, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. Sick of Politics

    Uhh – Bush wasn't evil? Where have you been? None of us – not the new President or most Republicans (except for Cheney) even know of all of the stuff that happened when he was in office. But you know, it was all good to lose all of our rights and tick off the rest of the world by being arrogant b/c it "kept us safe" and "he knew best."

    February 12, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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