The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Barack Obama

Census Director to Work Directly with White House

By Philip Rucker
President Obama has decided to have the director of the U.S. Census Bureau work directly with the White House, the administration said today, a move that comes as the Census Bureau prepares to conduct the 2010 census that will determine redistricting of congressional seats.

Under the Bush administration, the Census Bureau director reported to the commerce secretary. Obama is adding oversight of the director by senior White House aides, but keeping the bureau itself under the umbrella of the Department of Commerce, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.

After Obama nominated a Republican, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, to head Commerce, Latino advocates voiced concern about him overseeing the politically delicate task of determining the nation's population. But LaBolt suggested Obama's changes to the organizational structure have been long in the making.

"From the first days of the transition the Census has been a priority for the president, and a process he wanted to reevaluate," LaBolt said in a statement this afternoon. "There is historic precedent for the director of the Census, who works for the commerce secretary and the president, to work closely with White House senior management, given the number of decisions that will have to be put before the president. We plan to return to that model in this administration."

The decennial Census is used to redraw district lines for elected seats in Congress and state legislatures, and is always a major issue for minority advocates. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials released a statement on Tuesday, shortly after Obama announced Gregg's nomination, questioning Gregg's willingness to produce the most accurate count of the nation's population.

"As a current member and former chairman of the subcommittee that funds the U.S. Census Bureau, Secretary-designate Gregg fought President Clinton's efforts to increase funding for the Commerce Department to administer the 2000 Census," the statement read. "During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, some policymakers questioned his commitment to supporting the basic functions of the Bureau."

On Capitol Hill, some Republicans took aim at Obama's plan to shift oversight of the Census Bureau.

"Requiring the Census director to report directly to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is a shamefully transparent attempt by your administration to politicize the Census Bureau and manipulate the 2010 Census," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), both of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wrote in a letter today to Obama. "The constitutionally-mandated decennial Census needs to be fair, accurate and trusted. By circumventing the secretary of commerce's oversight of the Census Bureau and handing it directly to a political operative such as Mr. Emanuel, you are severely jeopardizing the fairness and accuracy of the 2010 Census."

Posted at 6:08 PM ET on Feb 5, 2009  | Category:  Barack Obama
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From someone strongly not inclined to have a gun in her home: i'm window shopping for one-at for now. As for the census, remember, there is a difference between door to door counts and estimates. The march continues..

Posted by: pafamily | February 9, 2009 6:21 PM

This is great!

Finally... we may get an accurate census count!

Bring it on!! For years the Republicans have forced their hands on redistricting and undercounting minorities. Look at some of the snake and spider districts throughout the country in the past –Texas is a great example. Shameful antics AFTER the false census numbers are tabulated.

We had a census taker come visit us in 1989 I believe and basically asked us to make up the numbers and information on our household. We gladly - and not so soberly - did just that.

I saw paid Census takers making up numbers, filling out forms in coffee shops. This is no less criminal and may actually become much more accurate.

We have a president in the digital age - let's see what can be done now.

This is all getting exciting! :-)

Posted by: trytheone | February 9, 2009 5:35 PM

It's funny how the GOP inserted their own political appointees into the Census bureau and other departments by having them duck into "safe GS jobs" before his well deserved and much appreciated departure. (harder to remove GS people)

The GOP is also short sighted,suffers from short term memory and is a severely hypocritical lot.

Remember: The toughest critics are often proven to be the biggest hypocrites.
Can you say Hoover or McCarthy?

Get over it. You lost. You also blew your chance MANY times to do the right thing and have FAILED MISERABLY at gaining the Americans citizens trust.
They voted according.

Try to learn from your mistakes and grow up and try to work on becoming credible.
This may be an impossible assignment
at this point and for MANY MANY years.

End of sermon.

Posted by: Fred43 | February 8, 2009 6:07 PM

An estimated 4,000,000 to 6,000,000 Americans live abroad but we have never been counted in the US census. Those who work abroad do pay US income taxes. Recognizing how important we are in US elections, and how aware we are to attitudes towards our country and its policies, we should be counted in the next decennial census in 2010. Experiments were tried in 2000 but were not serious or successful even if some experience was gained. Let's try again and do a better job of counting all Americans.

Posted by: jerykilker | February 7, 2009 10:19 AM

Raham Emanuel es muy bueno para los ilegales! Emanuel es muy simpatico tambien. Senor Gregg no es simpatico para Latinos.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | February 6, 2009 5:58 PM

Good thing Republicans never politicized the Census Bureau by doing stuff like undercounting the urban areas where DEmocrats live.....oh, wait.....

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | February 6, 2009 2:33 PM

It's called, stacking the deck. It's called, fudging the numbers. The Census Bureau is being turned in to ACORN.
Kinda like having Political Hack Boy, Panetta, running the CIA. This is like a bad movie. They own the BANKS. They control more and more BUSINESSES, every day.They want to be in a position, with Universal Healthcare, to CHOOSE who LIVES, and who DIES. They want to CONTROL SPEECH, with their 'FAIRNESS' Doctrine. They want to eliminate the SECRET BALLOT in the Union process. Is everyone STUPID, out there? Are you all BLIND. This can only lead to one place.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | February 6, 2009 8:47 AM

Folks, having the most Liberal Senator, overseeing the Districting for the Congress, while pretending to be anything but a Machiavellian Congressional stooge, disguised as the Executive;

Is almost as bad as the Pork-Fest Stimulus Bill!

Posted by: SAINT---The | February 5, 2009 7:38 PM

This is criminal. Obama is a power hungry dictator. He has politicized a process for his own electoral gain. He should be ashamed of himself, and I hope this goes to the US Supreme Court.

To think, illegal aliens have decided how our census will be conducted. Makes sense, Mexico owns the NY Times and now Obama.

This would be front page headline on a real newspaper. Instead, the Washington Post buries it in a blog.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | February 5, 2009 7:30 PM

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