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Gregg Under Consideration for Commerce

Updated 12:56 p.m.
By Philip Rucker and Dan Eggen
Republican Sen. Judd Gregg said today he is under consideration by the White House to become commerce secretary, the last remaining post in President Obama's Cabinet.

The New Hampshire senator is among several leading contenders, including Symantec Corporation chief executive John Thompson, for the job that became open earlier this month after New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew as Obama's nominee.

"I am aware that my name is one of those being considered by the White House for secretary of Commerce, and am honored to be considered, along with others, for the position," Gregg said in a statement released by his office today. "Beyond that there is nothing more I can say at this time."

If he picks Gregg, Obama would add another Republican to his administration as well as create a vacancy in the Senate that would be filled by New Hampshire's Democratic governor, John Lynch. If Lynch named a fellow Democrat to the seat -- and if Democrat Al Franken is declared the winner in the closely contested Minnesota race -- Democrats would have a 60-person, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

A respected fiscal guru in Congress, Gregg was one of the GOP's lead negotiators of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. Gregg, 61, is heir to a prominent New Hampshire political family and was a businessman and attorney before entering politics. He was elected to Congress in 1980 and later served as the state's governor from 1989 until entering the Senate in 1993. Gregg is a former chairman of the Budget Committee, and in 2005 won $853,492 with a winning Powerball lottery ticket.

But his selection might also lead to tough questioning before the Senate. Gregg's name came up in connection with the uproar over improper hiring practices at the Justice Department during the Bush administration, including the selection of immigration judges. The department's inspector general found in a report issued last year that senior Justice officials used political and ideological affiliations in deciding whom to appoint as immigration judges, which are nonpartisan civil-service positions.

Gregg helped to secure one of those judgeships for a former campaign treasurer, Francis L. Cramer, who had less than six months of experience with immigration law and had previously been rejected as a tax court judge because of a lack of qualifications, according to the inspector general's report and other records. In a March 2004 e-mail, one Justice official asked a colleague to notify Gregg about Cramer's appointment because "this is the issue he'd been pushing with us," the report said.

The Government Accountability Office, a legislative watchdog, also criticized Cramer's appointment, saying that "converting a Schedule C [political] appointee with less than 6 months of immigration law experience to an immigration judge position raises questions about the fairness of the conversion."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 30, 2009; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Cabinet  
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President Obama, it isn't going to make any different with the Republicans on the Hill, nor the Senate, they still are not going to support you and your agenda on fixing Bush mess. Therefore put a democrat in that position. You got to learn you cannot buy friendship, only lose a lot of money! That holds true to picking a Republican for a post in your cabinet. Remember Bill tried that, and the Republican went all out trying to impeach him. So, forget about inclusion, just do as Bush did. FORGET THEM(THE OTHER SIDE)

Posted by: Chrisjj1948 | February 2, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

"It would spell the end of Gregg's career as a Republican."

No big deal. The Republican Party is finished. There maybe a minority Southern Traditions Party that rises from the ashes. There may be a New American Fascist Party led by Rush and Sarah but the Republican Party committed suicide by embracing the Bush-child and leaving the country in shambles.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Just say "NO" to GOP feel-good appointments! No Republicans in Cabinet positions!

Posted by: gm467 | January 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Like skrut003 says - it is indeed a brilliant political move. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If the Republican's oppose and skuttle a Greg nomination, they have pushed him towards the Democrats. The 60 vote fillibuster proof is not a partisan requirement, it could be 57 Democrats, 2 Independents and a dissolusioned Greg.

Posted by: thinkagain | January 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

It would be a brillaint political move to nominate Gregg. I'm not sure I agree that he'd face tough questions in the Senate regarding Bush's Justice Dept.? Who would ask these questions? Normally, it would be Democrats, but since they'd be getting a 60th seat, they'd probably go pretty easy on him. Would Republicans smear Gregg over what happened in the Republican Justice Department? A Gregg nomination would mean that the Republicans would have to turn on a respected member in their own ranks. That alone has political benefits for the Dems. I think that if Gregg is well qualified for the job, Obama should offer it to him.

Posted by: skrut003 | January 30, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"I doubt he'll take it. Repubs take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh, you know, the drug addled, racist that wants our PRESIDENT to fail.

Repubs hate Obama and would never give the Dems a chance to have a 60 vote majority.

It would spell the end of Gregg's career as a Republican."

Well, yes, I suppose that's the point,especially in a toxic stew like the NH Republican party led by John Sununu Sr. But its a brilliant political ploy, at the very least, and Gregg has already delivered the money shot by stating that he was honored rather than rejecting it out of hand.

As for the Cramer situation, I don't know if that's an automatic disqualifier. What senator hasn't pushed a political appointee at one point or another?

Posted by: zoot1 | January 30, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Agree with JRM2. Gregg is probably a non-starter for that reason. Now to an urgent issue that both parties must address:


Team Obama must immediately join with GOP defenders of the Constitution to dismantle the nationwide extrajudicial punishment network -- authoritarian bureaucrats and security/intel officers and their nationwide network of citizen vigilantes fronted by federally-funded volunteer programs.

This nationwide, Gestapo-like operation has made a mockery of the judicial system for the past eight years and has claimed many victims from all strata of society.

Crimes against humanity are being committed across the nation via the use of so-called "directed energy (radiation) weapons" which the Bush D.O.J. recently confirmed are being widely deployed to police forces nationwide.

These RADIATION weapons emit silent, pulsed bursts of various forms of radiation -- and are degrading and damaging the health of those on the receiving end as well as their operators.

This weaponry has NO PLACE in civilized society -- much less in the hands of security personnel who interact with the public.

The widespread deployment of this weaponry virtually assures its misuse. Imagine if rogue actors tried to use its silent, deadly force to induce illness or to disable our political leaders.

Perhaps they already have.

Victims of this extrajudicial punishment network also see their finances and livelihoods expropriated and destroyed by coordinated "multi-agency action" "programs of personal destruction" that deny them due process of law while degrading their lives and destroying their families.

The IRS, under Bush-Cheney, has been transmogrified into an ideological weapon of social control and recrimination by these covert multi-agency actions.

Obama administration officials must address these abuses IMMEDIATELY, before these affronts to the Constitution destroy more American families -- and subvert the Obama presidency.

The authoritarian bureaucrats and officers behind these "programs of personal destruction" remain entrenched. They cannot be co-opted or reformed. They must be removed from power and brought to justice.

Team Obama, the victims of The American Gestapo continue to suffer. And those who have survived their social genocide of the past eight years are prepared to give testimony. Here is this journalist's account:

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 30, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

The powerball win looks fishy. It doesn't look like we're moving away from the casino culture, or the zero-sum game.

Filibuster-proofing the Senate sounds good though.

Posted by: rooster54 | January 30, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I doubt he'll take it. Repubs take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh, you know, the drug addled, racist that wants our PRESIDENT to fail.

Repubs hate Obama and would never give the Dems a chance to have a 60 vote majority.

It would spell the end of Gregg's career as a Republican.

Posted by: JRM2 | January 30, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

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