Judd Gregg Explains His Withdrawal As Commerce Sec Nominee, Sorta Kinda

[media id=7337] Senator Gregg suddenly rediscovers his conservative roots and decides that he wouldn't be a "good fit" in the Obama administration. W

Senator Gregg suddenly rediscovers his conservative roots and decides that he wouldn't be a "good fit" in the Obama administration. Who knew so much could change in the matter of a week?

GREGG: the president has been incredibly gracious. And none of this decision is related at all and in any way to his willingness to include diversity of thought and initiative within his cabinet. Just the opposite. He has been a person who has reached out -- and aggressively reached out across the aisle. And I immensely respect that and I immensely respect him. I know he's going to be a strong and effective and good president.

But for me, I just realized, as these issues started to come at us, that -- and they started to crystallize, that it really wasn't a good fit. You know, I wouldn't be comfortable doing this and that it wouldn't be fair to him to be part of a team and not be able to be 100 percent on the team.

So with that in mind, I said I'm going to withdraw from this process. And I realize that to withdraw at this point is really unfair, in many ways. But to go forward and take this position and then find myself sitting there and not being able to do the job the way it should be done on behalf of the president -- 100 percent -- that would have been an even bigger mistake.

You also have to wonder if it might not have something to do with that Abramoff connection and how Tom Daschle had to stand down as well. Though it would have been funny to watch Republicans restrain themselves from attacking Obama by proxy through Gregg.

Full transcript below the fold:

SEN. JUDD GREGG (R-NH), FORMER COMMERCE SECRETARY NOMINEE: ...to serve out in this cabinet or any cabinet, for that matter, and be part of the team and not be 100 percent with the team -- 110 percent with the team. You know, you can't have a blocking back who only pulls out for every second or third play.

And the president has been incredibly gracious. And none of this decision is related at all and in any way to his willingness to include diversity of thought and initiative within his cabinet. Just the opposite. He has been a person who has reached out -- and aggressively reached out across the aisle. And I immensely respect that and I immensely respect him. I know he's going to be a strong and effective and good president.

But for me, I just realized, as these issues started to come at us, that -- and they started to crystallize, that it really wasn't a good fit. You know, I wouldn't be comfortable doing this and that it wouldn't be fair to him to be part of a team and not be able to be 100 percent on the team.

So with that in mind, I said I'm going to withdraw from this process. And I realize that to withdraw at this point is really unfair, in many ways. But to go forward and take this position and then find myself sitting there and not being able to do the job the way it should be done on behalf of the president -- 100 percent -- that would have been an even bigger mistake.

So that is why I've made this decision. I do believe genuinely that I can be even more effective for this presidency in the Senate than maybe even in his cabinet. I still think I have a fair amount of influence in getting things down around here. And I suspect, hopefully, that that will be retained. In fact, from the comments I've received from my colleagues, that's -- that seems to be even more the case.

And there are going to be a lot of issues on which I'm going to want to jump in on and carry his water here in the Senate and hopefully be successful, because there are a lot of things that have to get done. And I'm willing to work to do that.

I want to especially thank a few people -- my wife Kathy, who has put up with me for all of these years, an incredible amount of time. And who, during this last week, has had an especially difficult tasks putting up with me, as we've sought -- worked through this issue.

Kathy and I want to thank the governor of New Hampshire, who has been gracious, fair and very open with me and with us on this. And he's gone the extra mile.

I want to thank Bonnie Newman. He was going to succeed me in the Senate -- a person of immense talent. You folks here in Washington don't know her, but we in New Hampshire know her well. She's -- whenever she's been called on to do a job, she's done extraordinarily well -- her last job being the president of University of New Hampshire. Actually, the Senate probably loses not having her here.

I want to thank the people of New Hampshire, who have allowed Kathy and I to represent them for all of these years and all these very interesting times. And, hopefully, we've done a good job of carrying the New Hampshire message of common sense and fiscal responsibility here to Washington. And we intend to continue to do that and do it aggressively.

And the bottom line is this was simply a bridge too far for me. The president asked me to do it. I said yes. That was my mistake, not his.

Well, maybe it was his. (INAUDIBLE). But it was my mistake, obviously, to say yes, because it wasn't my personality. And after 30 years of being myself, it would have been hard to assume another role that would've -- where I couldn't have been 100 percent all the time the team player that he needed.

Again, I want to express my admiration for this president. I think he has started off very aggressively to address some very important issues and I admire the people he's been able to attract around him and I'm sure he'll find somebody who's strong and effective to take on this job.

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