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. tag


    February 12, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. tee

    We don't need the do nothing, but complain a lot republicans anyway.

    February 12, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Country first, eh Republicans?

    February 12, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. natasha in tally

    of course the dems aren't going to trust the repub when it comes to the census. it's all the repub have left in tems of keeping the numbers down. they no longer have the justice departement nor the POTUS to help their small miniorty remain in power. so what's left the census and fox news screaming about ACORN. the white house is smart to ask for involvement. keep you friends close and your enemies....well you now the saying.

    February 12, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  5. W D

    The census has always been non-partisan in the past: it is typically run by career bureaucrats in Commerce.

    Moving it to the direct control of the White House is a major warning flag; particularly in light of the stimulus spending package and the major increase of government control in many sectors of the economy.

    Unfortunately, Congress will not stand up and statutorily decree the census mechanism, especially as they see it as a plum for their patronage.

    I look forward to seeing more urban folks counted, further marginalizing the suburban and rural 'Red' vote.

    I truly think the colors should be reversed; the democrats are clearly socialist and thus traditionally 'red'.

    February 12, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Republican Love

    I personally am very happy to see Republicans doing what they do best. I'm just going to sit back and watch this party crumble. They're doing it to themselves. However, I don't want a bunch of Democrats running unchecked so we need a new party. I wonder what it should stand for... hopefully not dictatorship, we had that with Bush.

    February 12, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. G in BR

    Bird please fly over and pick up Larry Schlueter on your way back to your GOP nest. The country is burning but like Nero you keep playing your GOP violins!! The world would be a better place if you would just keep your foolishness to yourselves. Really!!!

    February 12, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    At least Senator Gregg took quick decisive action to remove his nomination. I have great admiration for Hillary and Panetta and was saddened that they settled for second best. Hillary should have stayed in the senate and Panetta do what he did best, consultancy in the private sector. What is truly an innocent mistake from all the hype from the Chicago O entertainment group which is really begining to crack at the surface. Talk about reality show. No kidding.

    February 12, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. B. Hawkins

    Good !! He never should have been nominated in the first place.

    February 12, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Alfred E. Neumann

    Some pitiful comments by supporters of Barack Obama.

    Politics as usual – we can lay this off on Rahm Emanuel.

    I am a lifelong Democrat but this is cut throat politics from the White House.

    Just because I am a Democrat doesn't mean that I have to turn a blind eye to the truth like some of these posters.

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

    GOOD RIDDANCE – GO AWAY Republican

    February 12, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. PC

    Glad that Sen. Gregg finally saw the light. WE are seeing it loud and clear every day. Obama has NO idea what he's doing! Obama wanted to "impress" with the "speedy" process of "Team Obama." Yeah - well, it REALLY paid off didn't it?

    Like Mom said, "Haste makes waste."

    February 12, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. chuck


    February 12, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. belly

    Let me tear a page from Limbaugh: Let me say this clearly, Let me say this loudly, Let me say this plainly:


    The Republican machine pressured Gregg to resign. When you take a job from someone, you may advise them but they run the show. Did Gregg think because it was 'President Obama' things would be different? Do we really believe every single appointee employed in the Bush administration agreed with everything he did? I doubt it. But they towed the line and remained loyal. Since Gregg could not do that for 'President Obama' then I think it was best he go. Go and continue to be with those you are most comfortable. Go with those who tell you what to do, it may not be in the best interest of Americans, but as long as its for the GOP.

    Thank God America has awakened from the nightmare of the Bush years. And in 2010 America will put this selfish partisan party in our democracy to sleep for awhile.

    God bless President Obama, Vice President Biden, their families and the United States of America.

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

    Obama just wants a "yes" man in that position.
    Change you can believe in.... right.

    February 12, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. belly

    I have worked in many government offices and departments are shuffled and reorganized all the time. If I recall correctly, remember FEMA and Homeland Security for W. Reorganization is an option for President Obama and I think he should do as he sees fit. Don't try and change the rules because it's President Obama.

    That is not why Gregg withdrew. Just because the Republicans say it doesn't make it so.

    If President Obama wants Rahm Emmanuel to manage the Census then I'm with them. It's his Presidency not the GOP.

    February 12, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Flo, Denver

    As an Independent voter who didn't vote for BO nor McCain I don't see where either party, ever did or do now, have any credibility at all. One party won over the other, and giving credit where credit is due, at least BO is making an appearance of bipartisanship. The last 8 years of "my way or the highway" tells us we couldn't have expected anything even remotely approching bipartisanship out of the repubs.

    All that having been said, this wondeful bipartisanship after the total blow-out election in November doesn't fool this voter. It's all done with the idea of taking some air out of the republicans balloons. Some of the repubs are slowly beginning to figure that out too. If BO wants to pull all this off he's going to need some dirt to use for the right reason and at the right time.

    February 12, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. blkgirl

    look ... was this on purpose?

    Census ...
    Republicans have long been known to count only certain parts of the country and omit others... meaning the poor
    people that live in the united states need to be counted

    Obama told us he wanted to do things differently and had never never stated anything less ... Republicans act like they weren't listening...

    February 12, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. Independent

    Just to be fair, and in no way am I defending republicans, Obama dropped the ball on this one. Trying to change the rules of the game on the census, because the "hope and dream" speech does not work in Washington is just an attempt to gain leverage. That would be bad for Democrats in Congress as well, they were upset that Bush tried to run the country like a "dictator" but Obama is trying to do the same thing. There are words and then there is reality. Welcome.

    February 12, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. J. S.

    At least, he didn't HAVE to withdraw for failure to pay his taxes like the Treasury Secretary...the fox is in the hen house

    February 12, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. mark from NY

    people, we have to get those idiots republicans out of washington. they do not care about us. they only care about politics. people, we have the power to clean them up.

    February 12, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. TashaR

    Many people in this america is not over their hatred of black americans because everything that the president tries to do that there are so many critisism. And not enough support is the big dogs cant benefit from his proposal they dont want to back the plan. Mr Obama i think you need to start picking more black americans to be in your top positions. Please learn from your mistake and we still love you.

    February 12, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    I do have to agree..the census does belong in Commerce.....and really, the Dems should not have appointed him in this positiion if that was an issue for them.

    Some one is hanging a chain and ball over him...I can't imagine him just 'giving this up'....what is the 'real' story?

    February 12, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Leslie

    What was the campaign slogan the Republican's used in the campaign...Party First...?

    February 12, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. George in ABQ

    Giving Gregg control of the cesus would have been like wolf gaurding the chicken coop. Given the penchant for Republicans for redrawing voting districts to their political advantage it was the smart same move by Obama. The Republicans have been successful at this over the past 8 yrs especially in Texas (what a surprise!) where have been able to essentially disenfrachise large Hispanic voting neighborhoods. As for Gregg, the writing is on the wall or lets just say its been written for him.

    February 12, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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