Bryson takes leave of absence

posted at 9:21 am on June 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

After his arrest and hospitalization in Los Angeles over the weekend, Commerce Secretary John Bryson has taken a leave of absence from his job to attend to his health, leaving his deputy Rebecca Blank to fill in as Acting Secretary until his return.  Politico considers this bad news for Barack Obama, in a month that has started badly and will probably only get worse:

It was an uncomfortable way to start the week, making it impossible for the White House to reset its economic message after Obama had to walk back his “the private sector is doing fine” comment from Friday. That self-inflicted wound came in a news conference meant to divert from a series of bad news cycles: the massive Democratic loss in the Wisconsin recall, Bill Clinton’s off-message adventures, national security leaks, the dismal May jobs report and his own fundraising numbers for the month showing him millions of dollars behind Mitt Romney.

June’s already shaping up to be one of President Barack Obama’s worst months so far — but it’s not even half over, and his troubles are far from done: The Supreme Court decisions on health care and Arizona’s immigration law loom, as does the continuing trouble over the launch of the national security leaks investigations.

But even the Bryson story is proving difficult for a White House that’s under attack: Speaking to reporters Monday for the first time since the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced that Bryson had hit two cars and was being investigated for a hit and run, White House press secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t confirm the incidents, nor would he say Bryson was fit to serve. Carney repeatedly referred reporters to the Commerce Department and would not comment on the seizure to which the Commerce Department said Bryson attributed the situation. …

Republicans have been calling Obama out of touch on the economy, but Carney’s account indicated Obama wasn’t kept fully up to date with the events about one of his own Cabinet secretaries.

Carney described the White House as unaware of Bryson’s Saturday accidents for a whole day after they happened, not learning of them until Sunday evening. Chief of staff Jack Lew spoke with Bryson on Monday morning, when Obama was first informed of the incident.

Bryson’s arrest for felony hit and run and his hospitalization certainly aren’t a great way to start a week, certainly, but I’m not sure if it’s bad news for Obama, at least not in the campaign sense that Politico’s Reid Epstein proposes. The circumstances of the accidents make it pretty clear that Bryson was significantly impaired, and assuming that no drugs or alcohol were involved, that means some sort of organic brain issue, for which Bryson could hardly be blamed. Thanks to the low profile of Commerce Secretaries in general and Bryson in particular, no one’s going to notice the difference.

In fact, the leave of absence is probably good news for Obama for that very reason.  Had Bryson resigned, Obama would have had to nominate a new Commerce Secretary and endure a Senate confirmation hearing in the next couple of months.  Even if the new nominee had proven popular in the Senate, the hearings would have allowed Republicans to ask detailed and pointed questions about Obama’s economic policies and regulatory efforts, with the media on hand to provide coverage for the answers.  This way, Obama gets to avoid all of that by having Blank fill in for Bryson — perhaps all the way to the end of the year.

June will be a bad month for Obama, without a doubt, with most of the bad news self-inflicted.  But Bryson’s arrest and leave of absence will be nothing more than a footnote.  If the House ends up voting on contempt charges for Eric Holder, it won’t even be the worst news from the Cabinet.


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I’m sure the careening car was identified by the “Obama 2012″ bumpersticker on the back of it as well as the tire tracks on the taxpayers it ran over.

How perfectly fitting.

NoDonkey on June 12, 2012 at 9:25 AM

I wish the gentleman well, as far as his health is concerned. I agree this will be a footnote, especially considering the Obamacare decision the Supreme Court should be issuing either next Monday or the following Monday.

Drained Brain on June 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM

The average non public sector worker would still be in jail if they did what this clown did.

However, a different set of rules applies to the ruling elite.

acyl72 on June 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

The economy will improve if the position goes unfilled.

hillsoftx on June 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

The secretary of Commerce can go on leave, ’cause the private sector is fine. Nothing to see here. Move along.

WhatNot on June 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Not to be too nit picky here but my understanding was that Bryson was cited but not arrested because he was taken to the hospital. Did I miss something?

Happy Nomad on June 12, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Can Blank fill in at 1600 Pa. Ave?

hillsoftx on June 12, 2012 at 9:31 AM

This is not a Foxworthy joke, but…

You know your re-election is in trouble, if..

you are glad to have a senior admin official face felony charges in order to distract the voters from your record

faraway on June 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

The average non public sector worker would still be in jail if they did what this clown did.

without more info no judgement can be made

gerrym51 on June 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

The Commerce Department is a car wreck and should take a permanent leave of absence.

RadClown on June 12, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Is this yet another Obama lacky that commutes to California on weekends…and wonder if it is on our dime?

Dingbat63 on June 12, 2012 at 9:35 AM

June won’t be that bad, the golf courses are in full stride and lobsters are are good eatin’ out on a sunny, Rose Garden veranda.

Bishop on June 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Despite a lot of comment about ‘seizure’ being just an excuse (apparently because most commentators think a seizure is entirely incapacitating), the event fits an episode of psychomotor epilepsy very well.

PersonFromPorlock on June 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM

San Antonio got some great economic news today, we’ve attracted a Raman Noodle factory. http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/local/article/Ramen-noodle-maker-hungry-for-location-in-Bexar-3625964.php

This should be the flagship industry for the Obama “administration”. It just works on so many levels.

NoDonkey on June 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

After his arrest and hospitalization in Los Angeles over the weekend,

News stories I’ve read say he was “cited.” Was he actually arrested, meaning a trip to jail, or was he merely given a citation. The thing is, you do not merely get a citation for a felony.

I can understand him going to a hospital rather than jail if there are health concerns. I can understand an officer on the scene determining it was a seizure, he’s not responsible, and even dropping all charges on the spot. I can understand him being released on his own recognizance by a judge.

But merely being cited — for a felony? That procedure by law enforcement sounds odd.

rbj on June 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

“cited”…given paper…arrested…taken to slammer and book ‘em danno. The drug results should be today from saturday 5 pm west coast. Obama was on golf course saturday and immediately notified monday morning after his post toasties.

Mr. Sun on June 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

This is not a Foxworthy joke, but…

faraway on June 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

That was almost Foxworthy-worthy.

Dextrous on June 12, 2012 at 9:41 AM

Bryson’s leave of absence is good news for law-abiding drivers in DC, who have one less hit-and-run driver to worry about in their rear-view mirror.

Even if Bryson did have a seizure when he hit the first car (the Buick), if he was conscious enough to get out of his car and talk to the men in the Buick, he should have been “man enough” to wait for police to arrive, and accept responsibility for rear-ending another car. Since he fled the scene of the accident, he is a hit-and-run driver, and deserves to be punished as such.

Steve Z on June 12, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Hopefully the guy will be o.k. but IF THIS WERE A REPUBLICAN…..The MSM would be asking “Seizure or Seagrams?”

dirtseller on June 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Bryson’s leave of absence is good news for law-abiding drivers in DC, who have one less hit-and-run driver to worry about in their rear-view mirror.

How can you hit-and-run when you’re sitting in endless traffic?

NoDonkey on June 12, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Bryson’s arrest for felony hit and run and his hospitalization certainly aren’t a great way to start a week, certainly, but I’m not sure if it’s bad news for Obama, at least not in the campaign sense that Politico’s Reid Epstein proposes. The circumstances of the accidents make it pretty clear that Bryson was significantly impaired, and assuming that no drugs or alcohol were involved, that means some sort of organic brain issue, for which Bryson could hardly be blamed. Thanks to the low profile of Commerce Secretaries in general and Bryson in particular, no one’s going to notice the difference.

I’d bet at least 95% of us here didn’t know who Bryson was in the first place, and will probably have forgotten him by tomorrow. And we’re obsessive political junkies. I doubt 1% of the electorate knows who the guy is.

That, and the fact that it appears to have been a medical problem, makes this an enormous nothing-burger, so we better finish it before Bloomberg decides to ban them.

RINO in Name Only on June 12, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Is this yet another Obama lacky that commutes to California on weekends…and wonder if it is on our dime?

Dingbat63 on June 12, 2012 at 9:35 AM

… and…while he’s having “seizures”?

KOOLAID2 on June 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM

So Obama learned about the incidents at pretty much the same time the rest of America did? Most. Competent. Administration. Ever.

steebo77 on June 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM

I don’t see a story here that has any relation to politics or the goings-on at Commerce. If this is important, then so is Lindsay Lohans’ latest crash. Where’s that post?

I’d recommend letting this one go.

BobMbx on June 12, 2012 at 9:54 AM

if the obama administration didnt have a commerce secretary, would it make a sound?

t8stlikchkn on June 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

you are glad to have a senior admin official face felony charges in order to distract the voters from your record

faraway on June 12, 2012 at 9:32 AM

He was cited with a felony offense, but has not been charged as yet. That’s up to a DA.

steebo77 on June 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Could somebody please clarify if he really had a seizure or was he just buzzed up? Surely if you had a seizure you wouldn’t get arrested would ya?

That’s kind of like having a heart attack and hitting another car, do they arrest you for that, especially FELONY CHARGES????

Felony charges rather imply, uhhh FELONIUS/WILLFULL/MALICIOUS conduct no?

Tim Zank on June 12, 2012 at 9:56 AM

How is this any different than Republicans driving the economy into a ditch?

/

steebo77 on June 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Well,John Bryson was Hopeys `Private sector`Expert!!

Between Obama`s Private sector comment,and Bryson`s accident,
it looks as if,Team Blue will have collateral damage from this
whole episode!!

canopfor on June 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

I’m hoping that November is his worst month.

ProfShadow on June 12, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Get well Secretary Bryson! Rehab is tough and the first step is to admit that you have a problem!

jjnco73 on June 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Commerce Sec in the ditch, just like the ObamaEconomy.

http://thehayride.com/2012/06/the-end-of-the-republicans-drove-the-economy-into-a-ditch-metaphor/

Kermit on June 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM

A dozen empty slurpy cups were found littered around the car.

NoDonkey on June 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Hopefully the guy will be o.k. but IF THIS WERE A REPUBLICAN…..The MSM would be asking “Seizure or Seagrams?”

dirtseller on June 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Now that’s funny! Priceless

jjnco73 on June 12, 2012 at 10:11 AM

A dozen empty slurpy cups were found littered around the car.

NoDonkey on June 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM

…how many ounces?

KOOLAID2 on June 12, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Obama gets to avoid all of that by having Blank fill in for Bryson — perhaps all the way to the end of the year.

Come on, people. We’re slipping. This joke practically writes itself.

Team Obama Admits They Fire Blanks at Commerce.

Steve Eggleston on June 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Come on, people. We’re slipping. This joke practically writes itself.

Team Obama Admits They Fire Blanks at Commerce.

Steve Eggleston on June 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM</blockqu

Your right, Arthur Bach is running Commerce!

jjnco73 on June 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM

The thing I don’t understand — and I’m not trying to sound mean here — is how did he have more than one accident? I say this because I had a very scary experience with a friend of mine who is epileptic driving a car (at the time he wasn’t yet diagnosed as epileptic — he had a head injury a few months prior & this was his first seizure — lucky me). Anyway, he’s driving, I’m in the passenger seat & he starts having a seizure, runs a red light, and we only avoided a crash because I reached over, took the wheel & steered us away from the oncoming traffic & used the emergency brake (luckily between us) to stop the car. We went up a little on the curb, but didn’t really hit anything major (and, thank God, didn’t hit any people).

My point is, if I hadn’t been there to stop him running into oncoming traffic, there is no way after that first impact he would have been able to leave the scene and get into another accident, leave that scene and get into yet a third accident, and then leave that scene. He was completely out of it, during the seizure and for a significant time after (when EMTs got there & the seizure itself had passed, he didn’t even know his name, the date & his motor skills were weak). Now, I’m not a doctor & maybe the seizures Bryson allegedly had are different from the one my friend had that day, but the story strikes me as odd given my own experience with my friend.

Dark Star on June 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

there is no way after that first impact he would have been able to leave the scene and get into another accident, leave that scene and get into yet a third accident, and then leave that scene.
Dark Star on June 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Somewhere in there is where you draw the line between a seizure and a spree.

Too bad this kind of Medical Excuse Technology wasn’t available when Ted Kennedy had his day-long Chappaquick “lapse in judgement.”

logis on June 12, 2012 at 10:40 AM

“leave of absence”?
I didn’t know he was even working?

redguy on June 12, 2012 at 10:59 AM

there is no way after that first impact he would have been able to leave the scene and get into another accident, leave that scene and get into yet a third accident, and then leave that scene.
Dark Star on June 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

These sound like fender-benders at best, not a James Dean crash-a-thon. All seizures do not result in a person wigging out and convulsing. Some seizures are barely persceptible physically but wreak havoc on brain function.

Whatever conversation he had with the occupants of the “Buick” will reveal his mental state. I suspect it would have been jibberish.

BobMbx on June 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM

All seizures do not result in a person wigging out and convulsing. Some seizures are barely persceptible physically but wreak havoc on brain function.

Whatever conversation he had with the occupants of the “Buick” will reveal his mental state. I suspect it would have been jibberish.

BobMbx on June 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM

That’s the answer I was looking for — completely different from what happened to my friend (who was definitely wigging out & convulsing — he couldn’t have spoken to anyone during the seizure & could barely speak after the convulsing stopped). That’s why I wrote I wasn’t trying to sound mean — if the man is sick, I’m not trying to cast aspersions on him — the story just struck me as odd given my (albeit limited) experience with a person having a seizure (the full on wigging out, convulsing kind).

Dark Star on June 12, 2012 at 11:22 AM

why would someone who had a “seizure” leave the locale and fly coast to coast rather than stay a few days and be totally checked out by a local doctor? The answer is he was fleeing the area because of further repercussions and/or he needed to get to DC to destroy the office “evidence”.

Mr. Sun on June 12, 2012 at 11:32 AM

… leaving his deputy Rebecca Blank to fill in

I see what you did there.

KS Rex on June 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Republicans have been calling Obama out of touch on the economy, but Carney’s account indicated Obama wasn’t kept fully up to date with the events about one of his own Cabinet secretaries.

What a great boss Obummer is! I guess if you’re not a union thug or hollyweird star, you aren’t on his radar, even if you’re a direct report.

KS Rex on June 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

The circumstances of the accidents make it pretty clear that Bryson was significantly impaired, and assuming that no drugs or alcohol were involved, that means some sort of organic brain issue, for which Bryson could hardly be blamed.

That’s an assumption I’m not ready to make yet.

Odd that if Mr. Bryson’s issue was indeed 100% “organic”, that we haven’t heard about a tox report.

Tim_CA on June 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

For those questioning the seizures. There are different types and it is possible to be functioning and even talking but not be all there. The person may not even remember afterwards. I say we give this some leeway until more information is offered.

hopeful on June 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM

You know, Bryson may be a victim of “Dan Quayle’s disease” .. you know .. a thrombosis from sitting in an airplane too long, that broke loose to cause a mini-stroke, hours after the plane landed (although I think Dan only had the thrombosis, like NBC Correspondent David Bloom, but Quayle survived).

J_Crater on June 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Updatey!
=========

Commerce Secretary John Bryson undergoing medical tests to determine cause of seizure
Tuesday, June 12, 12:30 PM
**************************

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/commerce-secretary-john-bryson-undergoing-medical-tests-to-determine-cause-of-seizure/2012/06/12/gJQA1lehXV_story.html

canopfor on June 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM

“Leave of absence”? Good riddance, you stinking Enviro Industry thug.

Let’s all do our part in November to make sure Bryson’s “leave of absence” becomes permanent in January 2013.

CatchAll on June 12, 2012 at 1:12 PM

bryson gets $1.37 BILLION…has radical connections!!…
http://www.wnd.com/2011/09/349101/

Mr. Sun on June 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

If he had a seizure or a stroke or something, that’s pretty scary. I hope he gets better soon.

Allahs vulva on June 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

All politics aside… I hope Bryson is well. New onset seizure in his age group. Hope not a Ted Kennedy situation…

southernms on June 12, 2012 at 8:51 PM