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Gregg Withdrawal Deals New Setback to Obama Cabinet

Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg became the latest Cabinet nominee to withdraw from consideration, citing key differences with President Barack Obama on economic issues and the forthcoming Census. Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza discusses the development.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Our lead story. President Obama suffered another major loss in his cabinet lineup today. Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire withdrew as the nominee for commerce secretary. He cited critical differences with the president on economic and other issues.

    SEN. JUDD GREGG (R), New Hampshire: You know, I've been my own person for 30 years. I've been a governor, and I've been a congressman, and I've been a senator, made my own decisions, stood for what I believe in. You know I'm a fiscal conservative, as everybody knows, fairly strong one.

    And it just became clear to me that it would be very difficult, day in and day out, to serve in this cabinet or any cabinet, for that matter, and be part of a team and not be able to 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. And I know he's going to be a strong and effective and good president.

    I made a mistake. I should have focused sooner and more effectively on the implications of being in the cabinet versus myself as an individual doing my job. That's something I'll struggle with for a while as to why I wasn't more focused sooner.

    I think this — obviously, what happened was, as we moved forward over the week, I did focus.

    My genuine belief that this administration — and specifically this president — is going to be a good presidency is what caused me to say yes without really thinking through the implications to me as — as an individual and the way I approach issues, and the fact that I've always been independent and had a fair amount of opinion and principle that would be hard for me to adjust or trim my sails on.

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