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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/10/art.bocraig1009.gi.jpg caption="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. paul

    Just one more promise not to fulfill! But his people have recently said that a TIMELINE was never set in stone and that it was not a priority. hmmmmmmmmm... enough already. Transparency, honesty, change and hope. Admit when wrong

    October 10, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. tony


    There were some people who said that dissent was unpatriotic when Bush was president. What happened to these people now that the president is from the other party? Hint: they have changed their mind and now they think that dissent is patriotic, while calling the other side hypocrites.

    October 10, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. D. Tree

    The reason the closing has been delayed is because of Republicans playing politics with the issue: the GOP claims the detainees should not be tried on our own soil, even though it is the only solution.

    October 10, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. Steve-Illinois

    The Washington Post reported the story, and he debunks it through the, seldom read by anyone, National Law Journal?
    I give the guy two weeks and he's standing next to Van Jones with that deer in the headlights look, wondering what happened!

    October 10, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Rod

    Oh No this is really negative News and it hutrs my physi. I just can’t take it anymore………..CNN Shame on you……….Reporting this on Obama

    October 10, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. indiana voter

    Beverly in NC,

    What about all the Democrats that are having their own legal issues? And where were you when Clinton committed adultery? Or is the only requirement for having to resign is if you have values and then screw up? Of course values can't find a home in the Democrat party, so that is why Democrats don't ever feel they do anything wrong. They don't know any better. Idiot!

    October 10, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. steven harnack

    Hey lawyer hadle this matter , there is a spot between your lower cheeks that would be a perfect place for you to place your head while you bark.

    October 10, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Louie Campbell

    PLEASE, Naysayers, wont you think and rethink before you accuse! Are you a part of this great country The United States of America?
    Just listening to your comments, and observing you actions, I am doubtful that you want to be a resident of "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave."

    Pray for and support our president who is working so hard to make USA and other regions of the world safe.

    Be blessed, after you have prayed for President Obama. O, yes, he will be successful!

    October 10, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  9. valwayne

    The more strenuously they deny it in Washignton DC, the closer you know the resignation is!

    October 10, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. Lee

    A lot of rumors about about Obama around the world, why? This is an up-side-down world, run by the devil, no surprises.

    October 10, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Obama/Biden

    I am very happy to see that the world is watching my president and at least think that you are deserved to be honored than a lot of Americans do. Many Americans to be specific, I would say the racism one who do not like blacks and Hispanics think that you are un-American and do not deserve to be president of the United states of America. Some said that your birth certificate was fake and that your presidency is illegal. Some said that you could not be the president of the US and they even said that you could be the president of Ethiopia and not America. Thus far, God proved them all wrong and shut them up and let them know that he is in control of this world. I want to warn those people who do not like people who are different from them in skin color to fear God because we are all God creation. It does not matter who you are African or Caucasian. Please do not fear what no man can do you president Obama because I know God elected you president of the US; the people vote you in but they did not do it. Not in a racist country lot ours that Barack Obama could've become president without God help. So therefore, God will protect you and help you succeed.
    I know that people are trying to get you not to be a success just to criticize you as an African American. I know that they are expecting too much of you and they never expected that much from previous president. I wonder why. Is it because they are white like they are?
    God want me to tell you to approve the 40,000 thousand soldiers for the Afghanistan war because it is the right thing to do. You do not want to have not enough soldiers there because if the casualties increases because of not enough soldiers on the ground their, the American people will really get upset of you. I know that Republicans do not want you to succeed and for that reason they will oppose almost any major things you are trying to do. For these Republicans, it is not about the country or the people of America; it is to them about trying to make you look bad to the people to see if they can defeat you next election. These Republicans only care about money and power but, not the people who vote them in power. Do not worry because we the people realize what is going on and will do the right thing for the country. I want you and your administration not to worry too much about bipartisan work because Republicans are on a mission to defeat you and they do not care about the people. Some people think President Obama has a magical solution to all the problems the country is facing that took his predecessor many years to mess them up like they are. Only God has the magical solution overnight to everything; not you president Obama. The people need to give you time to work because you are only eight months into power. Always welcome them on the table but, they will never want to get involve. Mr. President please keep a positive attitude and keep on the good fight and do not let that medal peace of honor make you take the wrong decisions for Afghanistan. Remember not to worry because everything you do Republicans and those who want to see you hurt will never be happy with you. God raised you king like he rose David king over Israel. God told me to tell you more troops are needed for Afghanistan and Iraq need to come to a closure when the time is right to do so.

    October 10, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. Cynthia

    WAKE UP AMERICA! Adulters are on both sides of the aisle as are those who are corrupt. Both dems and republicans are responsible for the mess in our country. Those that are angry about the scrutiny of this administration must have forgot about the last 8 years prior to PBO, and those that complained during the Bush era must have forgot previous. Do you not see the vicious cycle here??? I don't trust either party. Each has party has morphed and become nothing but the same. Our elected members are not serving the greater good of American citizens. They are serving for their own purposes, lobbyists, and anyone else that will line their pockets.

    October 10, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. Mave in ca

    get a life!!!!!

    October 10, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Dave

    Rorscharch: Dissent is patriotic.

    Cheering against good fortune for the U.S. because a president might get credit for it, bringing weapons to presidential appearances, spreading ridiculous rumors and conspiracy theories, shouting on the floor of Congress, threatening to secede from the Union, hoping for military overthrow of the government, etc. goes beyond patriotic dissent and verges on treasonous behavior. The Republicans aren't doing themselves any favors with that stuff. I would never vote any party into power when I'd seen them engaging in such reprehensible tactics.

    October 10, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Hey, all of you Obama Kool-aid drinkers: Your Kenyan-in-Cheif still hasn't closed Guatanamo.


    October 10, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. Julio

    You liberals who post on CNN make absolutely no sense to me. You openly bash a sitting president (Bush), yet are super-sensitive when anyone says anything in the slightest against your messiah or his associates.

    If Bush had done the exact same things (or, in this case, done exactly nothing), and had the exact same associates as BHO, it would have sent you into a nervous breakdown due to the need to bash all the harder.

    Bottom line; the world has never known such hypocrites as the Bush-bashers.

    October 10, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Joe In NC

    "We don't vote for hate-filled, unpatriotic, unAmerican Republicans who cheer for our failure."

    Thank God. And who is "We?" What gives you the right to speak for anyone other than you?

    You are no better than the Nobama god that you worship. Hurry 2012.....Hurry!

    October 10, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. What's the Beef Haters?

    Winning the presidency of the United States is a far greater honor than winning a Nobel peace prize; what's the big deal?...this guy is the president of the United States; so why would you guys hold him to a different standard unlike everyone one else...what has he achieved, haters asked?

    Give it a rest already; President Obama is destined to achieve great things...so yall need to take a chill pill and let him steer this great USA out of troubled waters GW Bush got us into!!!

    October 10, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  19. Ted Tartaglia

    You Repub whiner are getting more pathetic every day! Shut up and go away!

    October 10, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  20. Jeremy...Dallas-Tx

    Hey Lawyer,handle this matter.
    What you have written is nonsence. It is outright lies and complete lack of knowledge of even true composition of NPP members let alone misleading people on our very constitution. You need no enlightment at all because you will not understand. I advise you take Pres Obamas advise to go back to school. You truly need education.

    October 10, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. Lynda

    Grow up GOP and stop acting like little children.........

    October 10, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. fritz43

    The Must-Watch Video and Latest News sections of CNN's front page are worthy of the National Enquirer or The Sludge Report. How about a little less sensationalism and a little more class, people? Leave those kinds of headlines to the F-word network.

    What nobody wants to admit is that this country is still a sea of hatred: religious, racial, economic, political, you name it. Until we address and eliminate the causes of this hatred, we are going to make little progress or accomplish much good as a country.

    October 10, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. phoenix86

    The only one who should resign is Obama. Apparently he is unable to learn on the job, and there is only so much more the world can do to feed his ego.

    Time to go.

    October 10, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  24. Denna

    Why don't we leave the President and his staff alone to make the necessary decisions for our country? I did not really think that Gitmo would be closed within a year. I believe that President Obama is trying to get everything in place to transfer these prisoners to other facilities – or did you want him to just let them go? While I'm on about it, let's cheer on President Obama for his Nobel Peace Prize win. We have, by sheer luck, happened upon a good man who is willing to try to right the wrongs done to America. Let him shall we?

    October 10, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  25. iloveobammy

    if sniffit would swallow the darks juice, he would be happy

    October 10, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
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