A long clip, but you can dispense with most of it. Watch the first minute, then skip ahead to 4:00 and stick with it until about 7:30 as he accepts the blame for not anticipating that a fiscal conservative might be an uneasy fit for New Deal II. Reminds me of Doug Kmiec, ardent opponent of the Iraq war, inexplicably signing on initially as an advisor to Mitt Romney. How did he not know what he was getting himself into?
If you believe CNN, there’s a lot more to this than Gregg’s letting on:
A source close to the process says that the idea of removing the census from Commerce and having it “run” out of the White House was taken as a slap in the face by Judd Gregg. “It was like saying they don’t trust you” with such a political issue, says the source.
This source says those who wanted Gregg — including chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — believed that in choosing him, the Obama team would be “taking the opposition’s quarterback off the field.”
“They have to take some of the blame for this,” says a Democratic source close to the White House. “They almost humiliated him by taking the census away from him.”
However, adds this source, Gregg’s decision to recuse himself on stimulus was not taken well at the White House either — it was seen as an insult to them.
The One is feigning surprise tonight but he can’t be that surprised if CNN’s right. As for Gregg having to be himself, pay attention at 6:30 as he pointedly declines to say which way he’ll vote on the stimulus tomorrow. The boss warned her readers more than a week ago that he was a “perfect fit” for Team Barry given that he supported TARP. Exit question: Er, does that mean I’m a perfect fit for them, too? Gulp.
Update: In case you’re thinking this means the GOP will have a safe seat in New Hampshire for the 2010 election, think again: Gregg says here that he probably won’t run for re-election.
Update: More intrigue. Maybe Gregg wasn’t such a perfect fit for the Democrats after all:
The $789.5-Billion Stimulus Bill. Republican aides tell me that Gregg was angered that Republicans were “shut out” of the process.
Gregg came to this decision to withdraw from consideration over the last couple days, informed the White House and Senate leaders, and announced his decision today.