Obama Cabinet’s ‘Stumbling Start’ May Be Distraction on Economy

No drama Obama is no more.

The surprise withdrawal of Senator Judd Gregg as the nominee for U.S. commerce secretary was the latest setback in a turbulent start for President Barack Obama’s administration after a campaign marked by operational discipline.

By Julianna Goldman
Bloomberg

Gregg, 61, a New Hampshire Republican, yesterday became the third Cabinet appointee to withdraw, along with Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico and former Senator Tom Daschle. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was confirmed only after coming under fire for underpaying federal taxes — one of three nominees to face tax-related questions.

Obama’s “stumbling start” with his appointments has the potential to provide a distraction when the focus should be on issues such as the economic-stimulus plan and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Clyde Wilcox, a government professor at Georgetown University in Washington.

“It’s a real problem that can derail him,” Wilcox said.

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