The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Gregg's Appointment to Commerce on Track

By Anne E. Kornblut
Republican Sen. Judd Gregg is the leading candidate to become the next Commerce Secretary, a move that could happen in the next day or two, White House officials said on Saturday.

Gregg's selection and exit from the Senate would clear the way for the New Hampshire governor, John Lynch (D), to appoint a Democrat as his replacement - giving Pres. Barack Obama the 60-vote majority he needs for a filibuster-proof majority. But Lynch, a moderate, could appoint a Republican instead, filling the seat with a caretaker senator until the next election, in 2010.

Gregg acknowledged on Friday that he was under consideration for the post. Administration officials took it a step further, saying he is atop the list to fill a job that has sat empty since New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) withdrew his nomination because of an investigation involving government contracts.

For Obama, picking Gregg would bolster his argument that he is truly building a bi-partisan Cabinet. Gregg is a fiscal conservative, a longtime supporter of Sen. John McCain and a Republican Party stalwart, though his state has grown increasingly moderate in recent years. Two other Republicans - former Rep. Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary, and Robert Gates, the holdover Defense Secretary from the Bush administration - are already in place.

But Gregg would also bring more than bragging rights: he could help Obama sell entitlement and budget reform to a wary Congress and to the business community, of which Gregg has been a strong advocate. Gregg, a three-term senator, is former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and helped devise the $700 billion bank bailout package that passed last year.

Among the potential Republican candidates Lynch might consider to replace Gregg: Bonnie Newman, the former president of the University of New Hampshire; Doug Scamman, the former New Hampshire House Speaker; former Gov. Walter R. Petersen, Jr.; and former Attorney General Tom Rath. On the Democratic side, it is likely that the two members of Congress, Paul Hodes and Carol Shea Porter, would at least be considered. New Hampshire's other senator is Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who was elected in November.

Posted at 2:16 PM ET on Jan 31, 2009
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Ok...Now there is talk that the Republicans will agree with the appointment of one of their own to the Commerce Secretary post IF the Democratic Governor appoints another Republican Senator. Excuse me but didnt the ex-Gov Blago get impeached for trying to sell something that others wanted?? Does this not smell the same??

Posted by: Concerned28 | February 2, 2009 2:14 PM

georgejones5, politicians are hypocrites, it's a prerequisite for the job and goes with the territory.

What's your excuse?

Posted by: Pluto1 | February 2, 2009 12:18 PM


My compliments to you as well.
Thanks for your comments.

As for your question:
"Under the circumstances, "NO!" is not a viable option." - what I believe is that John Boehner's response to the stimulus package was a demonstration of his ability to discipline the GOP. It was an inside baseball move to shore up the party but it didn't help anybody else and it puts the party right back into a position it can't hold - even with heels dug in. It's a sure sign that he doesn't know the way forward but he did keep the herd together.

As far as prosecution of former leaders - John Conyers is looking into it now. I'll wait for news.

Lastly, I thank you for your compliment
and assure you that even as we disagree, we are on the same side.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | February 2, 2009 11:47 AM


I am surprised to find myself agreeing with parts of what you said. It goes to show that there is often common ground between "unapologetic" liberals and proud conservatives (I didn't want to steal your adjective for my descriptor).

I support the office of the Presidency and I do believe that Obama is a good man. He ran a clean an professional campaign and did not rely on obvious divisive tactics to bolster his victory. I agree that the times were ripe for a Democratic victor. You had the further advantage of having an excellent politician to put forward.

However, I am waiting for him to introduce his first policy that I can get behind. I am aware that elections have consequences and I could foresee a few of his decisions long before the votes were counted, but I am not ready to prop him up on a throne. Besides, it's not as though the Republicans are going to filibuster every piece of legislation that the Democrats introduce.

I wasn't really sure what you meant, by this statement: "Under the circumstances, "NO!" is not a viable option." It seems a little out of context.

I also don't know what you mean by holding the leadership of the party accountable. I do feel let down by the selection of McCain and his subsequent selection of Palin over Romney, so I am trying to become more involved. In that way, I am trying to hold Republican leadership accountable. However, if you are talking about charging Bush and Cheney with a crime, where is the probable cause? I have heard the phrase "Impeach Bush" being shouted by liberals for about the past five years. Where are the grounds for impeachment?

On a personal note, I think you are articulate and argue well. I wish we had you on our side.

CLatrigue - Email:

Posted by: clatrigue | February 2, 2009 7:37 AM


As an American first and unapologetic Liberal second, I have to wonder if you overlook something I've become very concious of.

Specifically, I'm in favor of calling the GOP leadership to task for failing to uphold it's own "contract" with America. The terms of that contract were specific and did not endorse war on questionable terms, an executive power grab, the use of the office of VP and Attorney General to remove political opponents, huge deficits and threats to civil liberties, turning a blind eye on oversight,...etc.

For the good of the GOP and the country I think the leaders NEED to be singled out for failing this country and their party.
The party must be returned to the people and Mr. Steele had better provide more than window dressing.

We need the loyal opposition to be part of government. The current discredited leadership is not showing itself to be capable of filling the job. Under the circumstances, "NO!" is not a viable option.

I support this president and his agenda. But I believe that the polling data which show a largely favorable opinion of Democrats has more to do with the failure of Republican Leadership than any sudden excellence within the Democratic Party.

Fellow Liberals - take heed.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | February 2, 2009 3:10 AM

This is political wrangling at it's finest. Dangling the exalted position of Commerce Secretary in front of a Republican Senator to entice him to vacate his senate seat? This is like Bud Fox's presidency of Blue Star Airlines in the movie Wall Street.

We all know that the real power in the President's cabinet is the Commerce Secretary. It's a sales job without a quota with about as much job security. So Gregg takes the job, we remove any check that the Republican minority has on the Democratic majority.

I have an idea that will make many of you happy. Anyone with conservative values apologizes for the Bush Administration. We disavow our relationship with it and we dissolve the Republican Party. That will essentially make us a one party country. We all know that that system has worked out well for the people in the countries that have adopted it including Nazi Germany, the USSR, pre-invasion Iraq, the People's Republic of China, North Korea and Cambodia.

You have to realize that this country didn't get into this state solely because of bad decisions made by one party or another. Also, consider that the solution may not be a complete reversal of every Bush policy, but rather a measured reversal of some of the ones that didn't work. For instance, corn ethanol and deficit spending did not work well for the country. Reverse them. The Patriot Act has. Keep it.

I do think you would do well to realize exactly how changeable the center of the electorate is.

CLatrigue -

Posted by: clatrigue | February 1, 2009 8:16 PM

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

The dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. As the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP's analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.

The AP reviewed visa applications the banks filed with the Labor Department under the H-1B visa program, which allows temporary employment of foreign workers in specialized-skill and advanced-degree positions.

It is unclear how many foreign workers the banks actually hired; the government does not release those details. The actual number is likely a fraction of the 21,800 foreign workers the banks sought to hire because the government limits the number of visas it grants to 85,000 each year among all U.S. employers.

During the last three months of 2008, the largest banks that received taxpayer loans announced more than 100,000 layoffs. The number of foreign workers included among those laid off is unknown.

Foreigners are attractive hires because companies have found ways to pay them less than American workers.

Posted by: lucygirl1 | February 1, 2009 1:31 PM

No Gregg, period.
This administration is turning out to be the most corrupt and harmful to our nation in recent times.
When just a little more than half the country votes for a President based on the color of his skin (because of familiarity, bias, or misplaced guilt) rather than the content of his character, we end up with a raging Marxist. Coupled with myopic far left wacko Democrats in Congress like Pelosi, Reid, Frank, Levin, Waxman, Schumer, etc...They are hell bent on turning us into the USSA. History has shown that this philosophy doesn't work. Anyone with a mental age over 30 should know this. Unfortunately, most libs never mature beyond 19 y.o. mentally.
Now, one of the messiah's favorite organized groups, the unions, are threatening to strike refineries. Sounds insane, doesn't it? We just experienced a huge rise in gasoline that pretty much helped the economic crash and Democrats and unions want it to happen again. If this doesn't show you what B. Hussein's paybacks to unions will do to business in this country, nothing will. You remember business don't you? The ones that used to HIRE PEOPLE

Posted by: ricardo4max | February 1, 2009 7:10 AM

As a NH voter, I think this is a brilliant move.
Commerce Sec is Judd Gregg's dream job and well-nigh impossible for him to turn down. But he pays for it by giving Obama something he wants -- 60 friendly votes in the Senate.

Barack Obama easily overtakes Dick Cheney as the best political chess player I've ever seen.

Posted by: freespeak | February 1, 2009 6:06 AM

As a NH voter, I think this is a brilliant move.
Commerce Sec is Judd Gregg's dream job and well-nigh impossible for him to turn down. But he pays for it by giving Obama something he wants -- 60 friendly votes in the Senate.

Barack Obama easily overtakes Dick Cheney as the best political chess player I've ever seen.

Posted by: freespeak | February 1, 2009 5:58 AM


I challenge you.

Your list does in fact state truth - but not at all in context and you know it.

Can you list Democrats with flaws? Yes.
Can I list as many Republicans with flaws?

Same as you, I see the Obama Admin. put up their candidates. But I see Obama staff refuse to lie to the press or spin a cover story for ANYBODY.

Daschele may well go down to defeat in the Senate. If he is denied then it is his fault - NOT OBAMA's.

Blago was impeached because Obama would not pay to play.

Richardson bailed out rather than be exposed. Obama didn't provide cover - even for a man who gave him a crucial endorsement.

Look over you list again. Find me one candidate for cabinet - find me one Democrat on that list who got a white wash from the White House.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | February 1, 2009 2:58 AM

Well done lemonj41 -

You've said it it just right!

Posted by: JohnQuimby | February 1, 2009 2:42 AM




* And why is on one raising the radiation weapons issue with the "man from Raytheon," the Deputy SecDef designate? These weapons are WMD and should be BANNED.

The Bush-Cheney "multi-agency action" extrajudicial vigilante network and its related unconstitutional array of "programs of personal destruction" remain in place.

President Obama may not even be aware of some of the deeply entrenched "ops" that threaten his presidency...

... The "multi-agency action" nationwide army of citizen vigilantes hiding behind federally-funded volunteer organizations;

... the deployment of radiation weaponry to police departments nationwide under the aegis of DOJ;

... and the multi-agency unconstitutional programs -- ranging from pervasive spying to a parallel system of transaction processing that amounts to fascistic theft by deception -- must be taken down.

Immediately. Before more damage is done.

Before another "generated crisis" claims the renewed American spirit and again plunges the nation into despair and submission to "the dark side."

The agencies of government that are covertly commandeering this devolution of American democracy -- via their draconian "multi-agency action" programs -- must be reined in and reformed, top to bottom, never again to subvert the rule of law.


Posted by: scrivener50 | February 1, 2009 1:28 AM

There comes a time when services and sacrificies for country are far more important than personal ambitions. Also, a man of wisdom recognizes a golden opportunity and when to abandon a sinking ship. Perhaps, after three terms or so in the Senate, the glamor in this exclusive club, apparently, becomes old hat.

Other than politics and would be qualifications for the Commerce Secretary designee, Senator Gregg, Mr. Obama and his senior advisors looked out into the mist of (his) former colleagues and tapped a consensus builder and unifier from across the proverbial aisle in Senator Gregg. A stroke of genius has been displayed by Mr. Obama, yet, again. It is always best to negotiate from a positin of strength rather than at a disadvantage. Sixty Democratic Party votes give Mr. Obama a clear advantage against a filibuster. However, I am confident that a fifty percent support of sponsored legislation by the minority party is welcomed with significance as much as a one-hundred percent vote from the Democrtic Party.

Senator Gregg will receive an easy enough confirmation by the full Senate. That confirmation will come at a timely juncture to steer a wayward and helmless commerce ship. Of course, there will be a few "ruffled feathers" in the henhouse of the Republican Party. But, will these individuals take time to ponder the effect-cause relationships for the entire change of events sweeping across tghe nation in the first place?

As the Obama administration set a deliberate course full-speed ahead, life jackets will be available for those teetering on deck, over board out of the boat, and sin sinking.

We will stay tuned for the 2010 national elections.

Posted by: lemonj41 | January 31, 2009 9:56 PM

Should a Republican give up his Senate seat for a position in the Obama Administration which is an obvious ploy to reduce the Republican Senate to allow the Democrats to have the 60 votes needed to ram President Obama's polices through the Senate.

I predict Gregg will turn down the offer.

Posted by: dodavatar | January 31, 2009 8:26 PM

Posted by: get_it_right | January 31, 2009 8:22 PM

It's a sad day for American IT workers, this guy supports outsourcing and increasing the h1b program. He will be following the whims of big corporations at the expense of the American worker.

Posted by: debugger | January 31, 2009 8:10 PM

Hopefully, if Gregg takes the job, Gov. Lynch WILL pick a Dem to replace him. I think it's ridiculous for him not to. It the situation were reversed, the Repubs would be wanting a Repub only. If the people in New Hampshire don't like it, then vote the replacement Dem out in two years.

Posted by: SGall23241 | January 31, 2009 8:02 PM

Mr. Gregg - Don't do it!!
Obama is just trying to sucker you!
Sec. of Comm is a nothing job - else why wopuld Obama offer it to Richardson??
Obama wants to take you out of play - then the NH Gov puts a democrat in your seat and takes away the Republican edge!!
Stand firm! Stand tall!!

Posted by: thornegp | January 31, 2009 7:38 PM

11 days in office and President Obama has done more positive for the American people than Bush ever did during his whole 8 years.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | January 31, 2009 7:24 PM

This is the perfect path to 60. Obama is a political genius.

And who gives a * who the Commerce Secretary is anyway?

Posted by: Brittman1 | January 31, 2009 6:57 PM

what about the deputy sec def?

i know the honeymoon's not over. but ... someone's writing this stuff down, right?

Posted by: Waffle1 | January 31, 2009 6:50 PM

Former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee? Really? Uhm, does the Washington Post still do fact checking?
John J. Sparkman (D-Alabama) 1970-1975
William Proxmire (D-Wisconsin) 1975-1981
Jake Garn (R-Utah) 1981-1987
William Proxmire (D-Wisconsin) 1987-1989
Donald Riegle (D-Michigan) 1989-1995
Alfonse D'Amato (R-New York) 1995-1999
Phil Gramm (R-Texas) 1999-2001
Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland) 2001
Phil Gramm (R-Texas) 2001
Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland) 2001-2003
Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) 2003-2007
Christopher J. Dodd (D-Connecticut) 2007-

Posted by: chevychase2 | January 31, 2009 6:46 PM

This is not good news for the environment. Senator Gregg has tried in the past to cut funding to the General Counsel's office at NOAA (which is responsible for advising the agency how to comply with its responsibilities under environmental and other laws). Playing politics with funding of the key legal advisors to this important agency should not be taken lightly. This needs to be investigated and Pres. Obama should seriously consider what placing this person in the top slot of Commerce will mean for things like taking a more reasoned look at the Bush environmental policies, including the last minute ESA regulations and other issues.

Posted by: lawbabie | January 31, 2009 6:32 PM

The idea of Judd Gregg being nominated is outrageous. Any Senate staffer could attest that Gregg isn't even smart! He lacks curiosity, interest, enthusiasm, everything that makes a great mind. Bipartisan is one thing, nominating someone as feeble as Gregg is disastrous.

Posted by: yvettemarie | January 31, 2009 6:24 PM

The only Republican I could support for this position is Joe T. Plumber.

Posted by: motorfriend | January 31, 2009 6:23 PM

The best thing that could happen for the nation would be for the Democrats to achieve a 60 seat, filibuster proof, Senate. Otherwise, Republicans who have announced and followed up with that announcement "action" will continue to dedicate themselves to the destruction of the Obama Presidency and with that, the continuing destruction of the United States.
This is not "patty-cake" politics as usual. Republicans are after the failure of our nation as an economic and military power. Why? is an irrelevant question. As the F.B.I. always states: behaviour is personality and the personality of the Republicans turns time after time towards their own personal wealth and own personal power and the giddiness they receive from domination and destruction.

Posted by: cms1 | January 31, 2009 6:15 PM

Gregg may be a smart political move, but no one is talking about his ideas and interests in the Commerce Dept agenda. Gregg is a budget and finance guy, not a business and tech guy. At least Richardson had some background in trade and tech - two of the top areas of Commerce.

Posted by: AnotherHillguy | January 31, 2009 6:08 PM

>>>But Lynch, a moderate, could appoint a Republican instead, filling the seat with a caretaker senator until the next election, in 2010.

Why not appoint a Democratic caretaker?

Posted by: p_chuck | January 31, 2009 5:58 PM

A slight correction: Gregg has never chaired Senate Banking, though he was the main Republican negotiator on last fall's bailout.

Posted by: CMACDC | January 31, 2009 5:55 PM

Obama is playing chess and seeing 4 moves ahead, while the Republicans are stuffing Checkers up their own backside.

I have now seen President Obama make two strategic assaults on the GOP in the past three days that are extremely effective.

1) is going after the GOP in the swing states and now 2) is starting to eat away at the so called RINOs commitment to the Republican party

Awesome work Mr President.

Posted by: Variant | January 31, 2009 5:31 PM

Walter Peterson is as RINO as you can get. He makes Olympia Snowe look like Jesse Helms. If Lynch appoints Peterson, do not expect Peterson to vote with the Republicans on anything - including especially filibusters. And he won't run again in 2010, opening it up for Paul Hodes.

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | January 31, 2009 5:29 PM

First may I say it is so great to put a name with a face. Ann you Chris Cilliza and Jonathan Capehart are the new faces and smart reporting with the WaPo....

Now having say that. I really hope we do get the 60 vote then that way, the Democratic Party will be held responsible for getting us out this mess or making it worse!!

Obama makes me feel there is something wrong with this bill the way he's going after Republicans to get on board!!

Hypothetical speaking.....

I take my car to a mechanic on the South side to fix it and not only can't he fix it, he makes it worst than it was at first! So the second time I am going to take it to the Northside mechanic, however, I am not going to ask the Southside mechanic to come along because I want to do something new in a bi-partisan way.....

Just like Obama said "there will be time for wallstreet to get their raises, but now is not that time"

well so can be said for the Stimulus Package.

Posted by: danson1 | January 31, 2009 5:25 PM

One who machinates is a machinator, not a machinist. If Rahm Emanuel (not Emmanuel) were a machinist, he would have been laid off a long time ago.

Posted by: jimestw | January 31, 2009 5:04 PM

Week 2

Dashle - overlooks $100,000 tax liability
Rangel - writes tax laws but doesn't pay taxes
Blago - senator for sale
Dodd - writes mortgage law gets sweetheart rates
Richardson - Pay to Play New Mexico
Hillary - live off $250 million of potentates wealth
Emmanuel - Chicago machinist
Barama - Free House from Rezko
Franks - oversees fannie may while living with its CEO
Michelle - $300,000 puff PR job with Chicago Hospital District
Geithner - Head of IRS failed to pay taxes for four years
Caroline - illegal housekeeper, payroll taxes unpaid
Holder - pliant enabler of Pardons

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 31, 2009 4:49 PM

Sen. Gregg can either salvage his political career by taking this appointment and doing a good job at it or sink into oblivion with the damaged GOP brand. he stands little chance of re-election to the Senate in 2 years.

Posted by: gce1356 | January 31, 2009 4:39 PM

Well, this should be a test of whether Obama is a talented wheeler-dealer. If he can't persuade Gov. Lynch to appoint a Democrat to that Senate seat, it's going to make him look pretty ineffective.

I am not too thrilled that the man who drafted that irresponsible $700B bailout is going to be in the Cabinet though.

Posted by: dotellen | January 31, 2009 4:24 PM

As a NH native I think this is great, Obama is a genius! We can co-opt Gregg toward the center, get a Democrat put in place by Gov Lynch, and completely consternate the repugnant right wing Manchester Union Leader's idiot publisher Joe McQuaid! Glory be!

People here couldn't be happier, except the koolaid addicts, who can't drown themselves fast enough in their ignorant talking points to compensate.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | January 31, 2009 4:13 PM

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