The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



One-Time Cabinet Nominee Assails Obama Budget Plan

By Philip Rucker
While President Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address today to assuage the fears of people in the flood-ravaged upper Midwest, his one-time nominee to be commerce secretary took to the airwaves as a fiery critic of the administration's budget plan.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who was Obama's second pick for the commerce job and dropped out days later, delivered the GOP's response address today, saying that Obama's budget proposal "spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much."

Gregg, a deficit hawk who is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said Obama's budget would triple the national debt over the next 10 years.

"He also is proposing the largest tax increase in history, much of it aimed at taxing small business people who have been, over the years, the best job creators in our economy," Gregg said. "And further, he is proposing a massive new national sales tax on your electric bill, so that every time you turn on a light switch in your house, you will be hit with a new tax -- and it averages over $3,000 per household.

"These are staggering numbers," Gregg continued, "and represent an extraordinary move of our government to the left."

The address was remarkable in that it came from a man who, just seven weeks ago, stood at Obama's side and accepted a Cabinet post in the new Democratic administration.

"This is not a time for partisanship," Gregg said at his Feb. 3 White House announcement as commerce secretary nominee. "This is not a time when we should stand in our ideological corners and shout at each other. This is a time to govern and govern well. And therefore when the president asked me to join his administration and participate in trying to address the issues of this time, I believed it was my obligation to say yes, and I look forward to it with enthusiasm."

One week later, of course, Gregg withdrew as Obama's nominee, saying that he wanted to remain "my own man" and that joining the Democratic administration was "just a bridge too far for me."

Posted at 5:14 PM ET on Mar 28, 2009  | Category:  Economy
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Their was a song that used to turn up on Black radio during the mid to late '70's--the line was' Smiling faces, sometimes, pretend to be your friend'. The refrain went, 'Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes, they don't tell the truth; Smiling faces, smiling faces tell lies, and i got proof'. Thank you senator Gregg for the flashback. Your words still ring true on February 3rd, that 'this is not a time for partisanship'. Now we know that you didn't believe what you said.

Posted by: jrev7620042000 | March 30, 2009 10:16 AM

I think most reasonable people--including Senator Gregg--believe that we must stem the tide of climate change. Of course, I understand the reluctance to burden families who are already struggling, so why not consider a revenue-neutral carbon tax? Not only would a fair and simple tax avoid the evasion and market manipulation that plague cap and trade, but it would significantly reduce emissions, incentivize the creation of new, climate-friendly technology AND return the revenue to families. Especially in the current economic and political climate, a carbon tax makes most sense.

"he is proposing a massive new national sales tax on your electric bill, so that every time you turn on a light switch in your house, you will be hit with a new tax -- and it averages over $3,000 per household.

Posted by: SallyVCrockett | March 30, 2009 5:42 AM

We're borrowing more, spending more (in the wrong places), not regulating enough, and still taxing less than is sustainable - that's why we are in the spot we're in. Its been 1 year 53 days since W introduced the first 3 Trillion budget (which did not include the wars or alternative tax fix among other spending). President Obama's budget is less than a 10% increase considering all. More importantly is that the GOP wants to get more reckless with revenue (1/3 reduction in the highest marginal tax brackets - its even possible they want to eliminate capital gains taxes). Folks, the top 400 tax returns filed in 2006 reflected a 17.17% income tax rate. Thats the average overall - but the rest of us bear another 14% in payroll taxes. Among the top 400, only .14% of their income is subject to payroll tax. Our payroll taxes are subsidizing the low taxes for the top 400 not to mention the top 1%. Gregg and the GOP are insanely clinging to thier beliefs because they can't face the fact that policy according to their beliefs ran this ship aground.

Posted by: tigman_2 | March 29, 2009 11:05 AM

anOPINIONATEDsob said:

"...The only question remaining is weather this administration has the stones to prosecute the chicken hawks...Revolution is not a dirty word either!"

I'm all for revolution but poor English detracts from the massage. You'll need educated people with the right political outlook for your revolution, believe me.
Your future leon trotskys.

It's not "weather", it's "whether".
Trust me, I know. English is my second language - I learned it properly.

Posted by: VMR1 | March 29, 2009 10:33 AM

An electricity tax that comes out to $3,000 per household? That's a hot one. Where in Gods name do you get your numbers from? And where was all the worry about how we're going to leave the next generation when the Republicans were in charge? You neo-con nut-jobs do nothing but take. All off ya are a bunch of bloodsuckers. Forget about the next generation, show me one thing that you've done for this generation.

Posted by: HemiHead66 | March 29, 2009 8:32 AM

Liberal is not a dirty word. The saying goes "if you're not part of the solution, your part of the problem" and it describes the republican party all the way back to WWII. Gregg had a chance to become part of the solution and chose to remain part of the problem. The public has finally realized that they have been robbed by greedy skull and bones republicans for decades. The only question remaining is weather this administration has the stones to prosecute the chicken hawks or will just hope we forgive and forget again. DON'T BET ON THAT. Revolution is not a dirty word either!

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | March 29, 2009 7:48 AM

This is so typical of what Scott McClellan said about permenant campaign mode. The DCmedia and most of cable punditry is all about the next bill, the next election, ramping up and making up controversy. rather than concentrating on governing. Like the Fix thinking the biggest story from the WH presser was the Prez risking the ire of the "media mover and shakers who set the conventional wisdom for the presidency". Arrogant much?
Big surprise, a Republican doesn't like what the President is doing. Well Sen. Gregg, 500,000 people, give or take elected you and your ideas. 62,000,000,000 elected Obama and his ideas. 'Nuf said

Posted by: katem1 | March 29, 2009 6:43 AM


Google it.

YOU -- or someone close to you -- could be its next victim.

Unless Team Obama -- especially AG Holder, SecDef Gates, SecDHS Napolitano, SecTreas Geithner -- take down the draconian Bush-Cheney extra-legal "torture matrix..." array of secret "programs of personal destruction...

...coupled with the proliferation of mind- and body-degrading "directed energy" radiation weapons -- the Zyklon-B of a grassroots, government-enabled American Gestapo.

Attorney General Holder, you must act NOW to restore human and civil rights in America.

Before the naivete of liberals empowers the saboteurs and Dr. Strangloves who say "No!" to change.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 29, 2009 1:20 AM

When you start a fire and call the fire department, you don’t then criticize the fire fighters for responding with the equipment and expertise they deem necessary to correct the situation. That’s exactly what conservatives/GOP folks are doing with respect to the current economic war, which they, by the way, started. The administration is not trying to change the system, lock stock and barrel. The goal is to tie up those glaring loose ends, which allowed the savings and loans fiasco, ENRON, Madoff and now the entire Wall Street debacle to occur and ultimately the back-stabbing betrayal of every American. Note the increasing severity of the foregoing list. Where have Senators Gregg and Spence been all these years as Americans steadily and increasingly saw their capitalist/free market institutions unapologetically send them and their life savings down the tube?

When those CEOs were on Capitol Hill, did they have any answers to the problems, which they had created? No, they had no answers. Left to their own devices, and without controls, they were like bulls in the proverbial china shop. In time, everything came tumbling down, turning portfolios into so much confetti. After making such a colossal mess, what did these titans of problem solving do? They went crying to the government for answers and for help with luxury jets in hands, clearly illustrating an imbecilic business life style that is inimical to the well fare of their companies, their clients and the nation. That is what these bastions of the free market did.

These CEOs had ample opportunity to tell Congress the White House and the American people that they had solutions to the problems of their companies and didn’t need any help from D.C. They had a chance to say: “Thank you, but no thanks.” They didn’t do it. Why didn’t they stand up for our great capitalist/free market system? The huffing and puffing that we are hearing from GOP/conservatives like Senators Gregg and Mike Pence should be aimed at these CEOs, not at the administration and Capitol Hill. When you call the doctor due to your own idiotic life style, don’t then complain about the shots in the butt that he gives you. The cure for the mess that you have created is going to be painful. Take it. The pain will not last forever. Though it may seem like it. So it is with our present economic crisis.

Posted by: vmonroe_valnesio | March 29, 2009 12:28 AM

Have you read what has been determined about Obama?

Posted by: dottydo | March 28, 2009 11:27 PM

Waitaminute... even the Weekly Radio Address is worth an official "Republican response?" I thought only the SotU and other major speeches merited a Republican response... the fireside chat, though? You've got to be joking.

Pretty soon there will be a Republican response to every time that Obama sneezes.

Posted by: scharb | March 28, 2009 11:07 PM

The dim light bulbs that burn in the brains of those who have never taken a World economics class, have little concern for Obama's micro-management policy starving people to death in other parts of the World.

The consumer likes coffee and diamonds. Obamaland hates that consumer.
Who survives because they liked just diamonds and coffee?

The Congo.

Americans enmasse think Obama is an idiot, the Congo thinks he is an idiot.

How do you think he is going to fare with Nations who have made this World turn safely without his stupidity for years, by consuming (which is sharing)?

TEA PARTY will not fund Obamaland, and want a valid Constitutional POTUS, Biden.

Posted by: dottydo | March 28, 2009 9:14 PM

So the Republicans must really be unhappy with Ronnie Raygun who tripled the National Debt. Or Bush-daddy, who doubled it. They are so transparently political that only the 20% right-wing America-hating Rush-lovers pay any attention. What a crock!

They torched the American economy and are complaining that Obama is wasting water trying to put it out.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 28, 2009 8:33 PM

If dishonesty showed on a person's face there would be no mirrors....

Since they don't, the Republicans have no problem with mirrors....

Seriously, Gregg is showing his true colors. He's kowtowing to the GOP.

First he was willing to work with Obama by being on his cabinet, then decided not be on his cabinet, and now is going to fight Obama's efforts to undo the damage done to America by the FAILED REPUBLICAN policies.

I guess, the Republicans are more concerned with their careers and ideology than what is best for America.

GOP = grossly out-of-touch politicians

Posted by: abby0802 | March 28, 2009 7:36 PM

The utility increase will arise due to the cap-n-trade proposal. As we place carbon credit taxes on energy producers they will pass those costs along to We the People. The exact cost to each of us will depend on where you live, how much fuel you use, etc. Carbon credits are a scam and a way to re-distribute wealth. Namely ours to Third World countries.

Keep an eye on what the UN is proposing including asking for taxing authority. Yes they want to be able to tax all the countries in the world including Americans. More importantly the UN wants to tax Countries with money to send to the Third World. They are talking about trillions of dollars from our pockets. Obama has supported this in the past and if we sign on to the new carbon treaty we will be sold out.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 28, 2009 7:20 PM

Once again, Republicans, in their effort to undermine Obama, spout outright lies, and offer no options. None. Put your money where your mouth is, you dummies. SOMETHING DRAMATIC MUST BE DONE! And where were you all when Bush was creating the deficit with his trumped-up war?

Posted by: stick1 | March 28, 2009 7:19 PM

Drainyou, the operative words here are triple the national debt in ten years. That is optimistic, if the economy nose dives or even stagnates and does not grow during the next ten years over this reckless spending it will be much more.

It sounds like you are a younger generation. Unfortunately you will likely not be able to afford a tv in the future. Do you think the taxman is not going to be coming for you? That somehow the top 2% of the earners in this country are going to be able to write a check for this? Just look at what is happening in California and the tax increases that are going to hit everyone.

The taxman is going to be taking bites out of everybody and everything to try and pay for this. If you think you are not included wait until we see $6.00 to $8.00 a gallon gas due to tax increases.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 28, 2009 7:08 PM

Sorry Judd Greg, You tried to do the right thing by asking for and getting a cabinet post; but then your a-hole republican buddies called you on it and like a little spoiled brat you weaseled your way out of it saying you wanted to be "your own man". You're not a man, you're a chicken-s--t, big-money-owned piece of crap.

Just how is taxing the top 1% of big money(that control 50% of the country's wealth) going to hurt small business owners that make less than $250K a year?

A $3000.00 electric bill increase? What planet are you from?

Yeah, it was a bridge too far. You would have had to actually perform and rescind the the bull-s--t lies you and the f-in republicans have been feeding us all these years.

Better yet, why don't you, as one of your idiot republican buddies said recently, do the Japanese thing, hari-kari? That way you can can release the oxygen you're wasting for somebody that can use it!

Posted by: janovak | March 28, 2009 7:01 PM

Hey Judd!
Exactly how is this the largest tax increase in history? You moronic Republicans trot out that line every single time We The People decide that the highest marginal tax rate in this country is too low. And you know how I know its' too low? Because it encourages the kinds of salaries and bonuses that we see out there at banks and insurance companies. The kinds of salaries and bonuses that encourage people to do ANYTHING to bump up short-term profits - even if it means wrecking the economy.

If George W. Bush and the rest of y'all Republicans wanted tax cuts on the rich to be cut so badly, why didn't you try and make the cuts permanent? Why'd you make them temporary, with an assured expiration date? The answer is obvious - because you wanted a political issue down the road. You wanted to be able to play politics, like you're doing now, at a time when the country can't afford your stupidity, nonsense and greed. You set yourself up for this, and now you're following through with empty rhetoric.

By the by, if the Republicans really wanted to cut the deficit, why on Earth are they so against raising the highest marginal tax rate back up to where it was under their hero Ronald Reagan? If we're going to give my generation, and future generations, some real prosperity, how about asking people of tremendous means, who have made a killing off of this whole economic fiasco, to make a sacrifice and pitch in?

As for small businesses, since when has the Republican Party given a damn about them? Republican policies are entirely geared toward helping big businesses like Wal-Mart as they steamroll over every small business in their path.

F YOU REPUBLICANS - Seriously, F YOU! You've ruined this country as best you know how, and now you're harping from the peanut gallery about grown-ups telling you to go sit at the kiddie table and keep your hands to yourself until you want to engage in an adult discussion. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SPEND MONEY TO FIX YOUR GIGANTIC, EPIC-PROPORTIONS MISTAKES (purposeful "mistakes"?).

There are going to be dramatic, suspenseful, award-winning movies that people of my generation will watch when we are older detailing just how atrocious you Republican a-holes were at governing. EPIC FAIL.

Posted by: DrainYou | March 28, 2009 6:25 PM

Is anyone going to propose any kind of bail out for homeowners? Congress says that AIG is to big to fail, if that is so what about the average hard working person who is having to foot the bill for all of this spending?

Posted by: racam | March 28, 2009 6:24 PM

All Democrats are not Spendocrats. Separate the party and identify the Spendocrats and vote them out of office in 2010.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | March 28, 2009 6:22 PM

Why should anything this guy does surprise us???? First, he asked for the cabinet post. Next, he withdrew. How can we believe anything he says? Just ignore him. He represents some of the very worst in Republicans.

Posted by: Formerrepublican | March 28, 2009 6:20 PM

RE: Sen. Gregg address

More evidence pointing to the urgent need to show the door to the saboteurs and the Dr. Strangeloves.



Google it.

YOU, or someone close to you, could be next.

Unless Team Obama...

...especially AG Holder, SecDef Gates, SecDHS Napolitano, SecTeas Geithner...

...takes action.


...before more damage is done to American justice.

Posted by: scrivener50 | March 28, 2009 5:39 PM


Just what Part of:

O'Bomba is the MOST Liberal Senator EVER;

Didn't everyone understand? :-(

Texas did NOT Vote for it!

May God have mercy on the People in the States that did!

Then again... ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | March 28, 2009 5:31 PM

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