Archive for the ‘Commerce’ Category

Gregg Goes From Bipartisan Symbol to Top Obama Critic

March 28, 2009

Sen. Judd Gregg, who was President Obama’s commerce secretary nominee until withdrawing his name from consideration, has emerged as the toughest critic of the president’s handling of the economy and has helped galvanize Republican opposition to Obama’s policies.

Fox News
At first, the relationship between President Obama and Sen. Judd Gregg looked like love at first sight, proof that opposites do attract.

Obama is a 47-year-old left-leaning Democrat who believes in the power of government to solve people’s problems. Gregg is a 61-year-old New Hampshire Republican who advocated limited government and made millions through business investments.

Their unlikely partnership seemed destined to transcend partisan lines and symbolize the change that Obama promised to bring to Washington.

But Gregg, who was Obama’s commerce secretary nominee until withdrawing his name from consideration, has emerged as the toughest critic of the president’s handling of the economy and has helped galvanize Republican opposition to Obama’s policies.

He warned on Monday that Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal will lead to unsustainable debt levels and send the country on a fiscal path resembling that of a “banana republic.”

Gregg kept up his attacks on Obama’s budget request Saturday in the weekly Republican radio address, saying the path to prosperity is not the excessive spending proposed by the president but limited spending that holds down the growth of government, taxes and debt.

The senator said Obama’s proposals “represent an extraordinary move of our government to the left.”

He said Obama “is not trying to hide this; in fact, he is very forthright in stating that he believes that by greatly expanding the spending, the taxing and the borrowing of our government, this will lead us to prosperity.”

Like most relationships, this one began with mutual admiration, respect and trust, with flowery compliments flowing between each other.

At their first public appearance together a week-and-a-half before Valentine’s Day, Obama called Gregg “a master of reaching across the aisle to get things done. He will be an astounding addition, a trusted voice in my Cabinet and an able and competent ambassador … I can think of no finer steward for our nation’s commerce.”

In turn, Gregg praised Obama’s economic stimulus proposal to stabilize the economic slide and pull the country out of recession as an “extraordinarily bold, aggressive, effective and comprehensive plan.”

Read the rest:

In his radio address Saturday, Gregg countered each of Obama’s policy principles:

— “It is the individual American who creates prosperity and good jobs, not the government.”

— “We believe that you create energy independence not by sticking Americans with a brand new national sales tax on everyone’s electric bill, but by expanding the production of American energy … while also conserving more.”

–“We also believe you improve everyone’s health care not by nationalizing the health care system and putting the government between you and your doctor, but by assuring that every American has access to quality health insurance and choices in health care.”

Liberated “Almost Commerce Sec” Gregg: Obama’s Harshest Budget, Debt Critic

March 24, 2009

Now that he’s not joining them, Judd Gregg has made no bones about criticizing the Obama administration.

The New Hampshire senator and formerly almost-commerce-secretary has become one of President Obama’s sharpest and most prominent congressional critics of late, saying this weekend on CNN that “this country will go bankrupt” under Obama’s budget and denouncing the administration’s consideration of rolling big energy and health care policies into the un-filibuster-able budget, telling the Washington Post that that’s the “Chicago approach to governing” (akin to “running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River”).

Gregg cuts a unique path: He stands by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and told CNN’s John King that while he has problems with the budget and stimulus package, when it comes to the administration’s efforts to stabilize the financial system, “I think they’re taking the right course of action.”

In an interview yesterday, Gregg praised Obama on a personal level as a “pretty effective guy” and a “great personality” and gave preliminary kudos to Geithner’s new bailout plan (though he wanted to read the fine print), saying that public guarantees plus private dollars could equal the right formula to get toxic assets off of banks’ books.

Meanwhile, Gregg has also emerged as one of the sharper critics of the effort to impose a supertax on AIG bonuses, calling that “an abuse of the tax laws” (though he says that the bonuses themselves are “despicable” and that more should have been done to rein in American International Group earlier).

The tax-AIG-at-90-percent effort, Gregg said yesterday, “sets a horrific precedent for our nation. This is something Venezuela might do.” He adds: “As a practical matter, the opportunity to discipline this was flubbed by us. The Treasury Department had every opportunity to limit these bonuses,” including making the $30 billion in additional funds released this month contingent on curbing bonuses.

Read the rest:

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. speaks during a news conference on Capitol ...

Gregg said President Obama proposes to amass more debt than all other U.S. presidents — combined.  Here Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 23, 2009.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Gregg: ‘I’m Too Conservative’ for Obama

February 13, 2009

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg said Friday that he pulled out of the job of commerce secretary after realizing that “I’m just going to be a little too conservative” for President Obama’s administration.

Associated Press

If you’re going to be on a football team, “you’ve got to pull out and block on every play, you can’t do it on every other play,” the senator said.

“I didn’t feel comfortable going forward because of my individuality, for lack of a better term,” Gregg said during an appearance Friday morning on CNBC.

Gregg said he thinks Obama is on the right track in attempts to stabilize the shaky financial system and that the proposal of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner — much criticized as being too vague — is going to be an extremely strong initiative once it is filled out with details.

At the same time, Gregg said his conservative inclinations would show up in terms of fiscal spending.

Regarding the $790 billion economic stimulus plan, “I think there was a tactical error made … in that you allowed the appropriators to write the package,” said Gregg.

He said he thinks the stimulus plan “should be focusing mainly on trying to stabilize the real estate markets, and promoting small business and getting jobs.”

Read the rest:

Gregg Flip-Flop Emboldens “Loyal Opposition”

February 13, 2009

Judd Gregg was all but dead to his Republican colleagues just a few days ago, another collaborator drinking the Obama Kool-Aid.

But the New Hampshire senator‘s surprise decision to remove himself from consideration as President Barack Obama’s Commerce secretary Thursday has provided the GOP with a new rallying cry, and a new hero against a foe who just a few weeks ago seemed almost unassailable.

Republicans applauded boisterously when Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) opened a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement Thursday night by announcing Gregg’s withdrawal.

Charles Mahtesian

US Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, speaks during a news conference on ... 
US Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Gregg has withdrawn from President Barack Obama’s nomination to be the Secretary of Commerce.(AFP/Getty Images/Alex Wong)

“He made a difficult decision to turn down a job that a lot of Republicans could take,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). “Here’s a guy who’s going to turn down his place in the history books.”

In pulling out, Gregg pointed to “irresolvable conflicts” on the two issues behind which the Republicans have been closing ranks—the stimulus package and the alleged politicization of the census.

Read the rest:

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

February 13, 2009

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

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.

Read the rest:

Obama, Stimulus, Gregg, Recovery? — A News Day of All Bad News

February 13, 2009

“Mr. Obama’s victory feels more than a bit like defeat. The stimulus bill looks helpful but inadequate, especially when combined with a disappointing plan for rescuing the banks. And the politics of the stimulus fight have made nonsense of Mr. Obama’s postpartisan dreams.”

That’s from Paul Krugman of the New York Times, a big Obama believer and one who would have like a much bigger stimulus.


The Washington Post lead Editorial today commented upon Judd Gregg’s withdrawal from the Commerce Secretary nomination:

Mr. Gregg’s concern about potential changes at the Census Bureau, particularly news that the census director would report to the White House instead of the commerce secretary, are understandable: Either this administration trusts me or it does not, he might fairly have felt.

For the Obama administration, Mr. Gregg’s withdrawal represents another bump at a particularly unhelpful time. Mr. Gregg said yesterday that he had told the White House several days ago of his decision. If so, you have to wonder why the administration did not take better control of the situation, instead of waiting for the news to detonate and then issuing a statement that looked peeved and churlish as it insisted that Mr. Gregg had come calling for the job, and not the reverse.

Read the rest:


When Will We See Economic Recovery?

By Kelly Evans
February 13, 2009
Perth Now

ECONOMISTS in the latest Wall Street Journal forecasting survey predict a second-half recovery is looking less likely now than it did a few months ago.

Recent data, showing just how sharply growth has declined in the US and abroad in the final months of 2008, has cast a deepening shadow over 2009.

As recently as last September, economists on average thought the US would see annualised GDP growth of 1.2 per cent in the first three months of this year; now, they see a 4.6 per cent decline.

Forecasts for the second quarter, the April-June period, have seen a similar shift, from a 1.9 per cent growth forecast to a 1.5 per cent decline, based on the 52 economists who participated in the Journal’s February survey.

The average forecast now sees growth in the third quarter at 0.7 per cent, less than half the rate expected last fall.

The fourth-quarter picture has also darkened, but just slightly, to growth of 1.9 per cent from the 2.1 per cent seen in November.

Read the rest:

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Census, White House and Judd Gregg

February 12, 2009

House Republican leaders said Thursday they’re ready to go to court against President Obama if he doesn’t scuttle his plan to move the census into the purview of the Oval Office, saying it’s an unconstitutional abuse of power.

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, R-Ind., also called on Obama’s nominee to head the Commerce Department, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, to withdraw his nomination if Obama moves forward with the change. Gregg has been a long time opponent of increased funding to the Census Bureau.

Obama Commerce Secretary Nominee Judd Gregg Withdraws

Under Obama’s plan, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, who has yet to be named, would report to White House senior management in addition to the Commerce Department, which oversees the bureau.

A Senate committee has scheduled a hearing next month on the potential change. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are also pushing for an investigation.

GOP leaders sent Obama a letter to the White House on Wednesday demanding a reversal of the plan.

“If the president doesn’t acquiesce to our letter, then we will seek the courts,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., a ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said at a news conference Thursday. 

“Ultimately I don’t think there’s any question among federal courts about whether or not this is a personal power of the presidency or whether or not executive privilege would be waived if he started doing functions like this,” Issa said.

A spokesman for Issa told that the lawmaker wouldn’t initiate a lawsuit but would lend his support to any individual or group that did.

At the news conference Thursday, House Republican leaders announced the formation of a census task force to keep an eye on developments. Republicans displayed a large placard with a 2006 quote from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that read, “If you think redistricting is always partisan and political which it is…it’s going to be on steroids this time.”

Census numbers determine everything from government pay-outs to how many people represent each state in Congress. Past censuses have sparked fights over issues as varied as how to ensure remote population groups are counted accurately to how such terms as “poverty” are defined.

The controversy began when Obama nominated Gregg to head the Commerce Department.

Gregg once voted for a broader budget measure that would have abolished the agency, and he opposed increased funding for the 2000 census. Gregg’s record raised concerns about his commitment to an accurate census count, a priority for minority groups that have historically been undercounted.

Gregg’s nomination initially pleased Republicans because he has opposed increased funding to the census and once supported abolishing the agency. But now they have begun to question his silence.

“If the president doesn’t trust Judd Gregg to lead the census, he should withdraw the nomination,” Pence said.

The White House sought to soothe those concerns in a statement late last week reassuring that the census director would “work closely with White House senior management.”

That in turn sparked an uproar from Republicans, who accused the White House of injecting partisan politics into the census and seeking to cut out agency professionals in favor of political operatives.

The White House issued a statement Wednesday, emphasizing Obama’s commitment to a “complete and accurate count through a process that is free from politicization” even while seeking to explain that no real change was being made to the census director’s chain of command.

“As they have in the past, White House senior management will work closely with the census director given the number of decisions that will need to reach the president’s desk,” said the statement from White House spokesman Benjamin LaBolt.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who has pushed legislation to create an independent census agency, complained about the move by House Republicans, saying their “answer is to have a press conference and create a tempest over the Census Bureau, even before the president has had a chance to unpack his bags.”

FOX News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Obama Commerce Secretary Nominee Judd Gregg Withdraws

February 12, 2009

Judd Gregg, the New Hampshire Republican Senator, has withdrawn his name for consideration as the Obama Adminisration Commerce Secretary.

Gregg said he had not fully agreed to the Obama White House plan to move the U.S. Census from the Commerce Department to the White House.

Gregg also did not support the stimulus.

Gregg gave a statement to reporters for TV cameras and said the president was very gracious throught this process….

Census, White House and Judd Gregg

Here is Judd Gregg’s statement:

Sen. Gregg stated, “I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce.  This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time. I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“However, it has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me.  Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns.  We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.

“Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives.

“I greatly admire President Obama and know our country will benefit from his leadership, but at this time I must withdraw my name from consideration for this position.

“As we move forward, I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the President’s proposals.  This will certainly be a goal of mine.

“Kathy and I also want to specifically thank Governor Lynch and Bonnie Newman for their friendship and assistance during this period.  In addition we wish to thank all the people, especially in New Hampshire, who have been so kind and generous in their supportive comments.

“As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision.  I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”


This is the second Obama Commerce nominee to drop out.  Bill Richardson withdrew his name because of a grand jury investigation in his state house….

In this Feb. 3, 2009 file photo, then-Commerce Secretary-designate ... 
In  this Feb. 3, 2009 file photo, then-Commerce Secretary-designate Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., speaks in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington. Gregg has withdrawn his nomination to become President Barack Obama’s commerce secretary.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)


The Associated Press said:

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire abruptly withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary Thursday, citing “irresolvable conflicts” with President Barack Obama‘s handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census.

“We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy,” Gregg said in a statement released by his Senate office.

Gregg, 61, is a former New Hampshire governor who previously served in the House. He has been in the Senate since 1993 and currently serves as the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, where he is known as a crusader against big spending.

He was Obama’s second choice to fill the Commerce portfolio.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew several weeks ago in the wake of a grand jury investigation into alleged wrongdoing involving state contracts. He has not been implicated personally.

In his statement, Gregg thanked Obama for the nomination, and said, “I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.”

In citing the stimulus and census, he said, “Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”

Read the rest:

From Politico:
Over the span of just three months, Bill Richardson has gone from being on the shortlist for secretary of state to late-night punch line, a breathtaking descent that has tarnished his once-sparkling career.

Since withdrawing as the nominee for secretary of commerce in early January amid questions surrounding a federal grand jury investigation, New Mexico’s Democratic governor has seen his political fortunes crater. Once unmatched in his power and popularity in Santa Fe, Richardson’s grip on state politics has been weakened by the whiff of scandal, and home state opponents have been emboldened by his plummeting approval ratings — numbers that have dropped below 50 percent, according to a recent SurveyUSA poll.

“He’s had a pretty rough go of it since he withdrew,” said Timothy Jennings, a Democrat and New Mexico’s Senate president pro tempore. “His popularity has really declined in the state.”

Read the rest:

Obama, Dems Want It All and Socialism Now

February 9, 2009

The White House has removed the supervision of the Commerce Department  over the census.  The census determines how congressional districts are drawn.  Therefore it makes no sense for one party or for the White House to oversee the census.

Fear Rahm Emanuel.

Expect the USA to add a  51st state: the District of Columbia: with two more Democrats in the Senate.

While the census was being grabbed, the House and Senate continued to stoke up the charcoal for the pork fest.  And President Barack Obama went to Elkhart, Indiana where unemployment exceeds 15% — mostly because they make something that we can only afford in really good (and wasteful) time: RVs.

“We” elected Barack Obama and his Democrat buddies but we do not have to be silent while really foolish re-workings of America are in progress.

Heath Shuler said today the Speaker Pelosi and Leader Reid had “failed.”

Failed in honesty and committment to their offices….and oaths….

Most of our liberal Obama-swallowing media isn’t very helpful during all of this: still bashing George W. Bush and not looking seriously into the Obama Administration….


Pelosi, Reid “Failed;” Honest Democrat Their Worst Nightmare

Census (From Fox News):

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Obama’s Ethical Government: It’s Your Call

January 22, 2009

The Obama Administration has sworn to uphold the highest ethical standards ever.

Have we heard this before?

And haven’t we already seen ethical callenges for the new administration?

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson removed himself from consideration after the then President-elect nominated him as Commerce Secretary.

Richardson said he had done no wrong.

Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy F. Geithner told the Senate Committee considering his nomination that the nonpayment of payroll taxes in the three years he was at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004 “were careless mistakes. They were avoidable mistakes. But they were unintentional. I should have been more careful.”

Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee ...
Fool Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be US Treasury Secretary at the Dirksen Senate office Building in Washington, DC. Geithner apologized Wednesday over past tax transgressions….  He wants to run the IRS so he can make sure you pay your taxes….”I was careless”….(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

He remains the nominee for Secretary of the Treasury.

The “G Man” did do wrong, got caught making money instead of paying taxes, and paid up and got away with it.

Apparently, if you are in any questionable ethical jam in the Obama Administration: it’s your call.

Since we are in an economic mess and Timothy Geithner is apparently a well qualified nominee for Treasury, even though his recent service dolling out the people’s money might be questionable, his ego allows him to stay in contention.  His President and the Senate will probably support him.

Ethics sometimes looks “situational.”  No wrongdoing has been proven in the case of Illinois Governor Blagojevich, yet he stands impeached.  Nobody liked him anyway.

Blago: call G-Man.  He made some money and got away with it, for a while.  You didn’t make a dime and got impeached.  Go figure.

In this Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod ...
Not guilty of anything…In this Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has some final words for the media after he announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat in Chicago. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revoked embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s access to classified federal security information.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty, file)

“We need Geithner in this economic crisis,” Democrats are saying all over news TV shows.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is seen at the University ...
Bill Richardson

So Richardson apparently said to Barack Obama, “Please do not consider me for Commerce any more, as I have this little grand jury problem to deal with.” This is really too bad, because Bill Richardson speaks Spanish, represents well some in the minority community, and is extremely well qualified at just about anything he tries to do.  He also proved his skill and experienced in talking with nasty dictators.

Mr. Richardson has my respect and admiration for pulling his name at the slightest hint of trouble…

Geithner?  I can’t give him the same kudo…

 Bill Richardson Exits Obama Cabinet Under The Cloud of Possible Corruption
Obama Stresses Transparency, Ethical Conduct to New Administration

Read the rest:
Obama, Biden: Fight Scandal, Corruption, Bad Government Please….

 Democratic Scandals Boring, Less Sexual, But Genuine

Carville’s 2009 Predictions: Stand By For More Democrat Scandals
 Obama Gets an “F” on Transition Openness, Transparency

In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair  in Springfield, Ill.  Blago’s real crime: nobody really likes him….