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  Bipartisanship dead? Huge blow for Barack Obama as Judd Gregg withdraws as Commerce Secretary nominee
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Last EditedScottĀ³  Feb 13, 2009 02:29am
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News DateThursday, February 12, 2009 08:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionUK Telegraph.

"The bombshell news that Senator Judd Gregg, citing policy differences over the stimulus bill and Census, is pulling out as Commerce Secretary is a major blow to President Barack Obama. Here's a quick take on why:

1. To have a fiscally conservatives Republican in the Cabinet alongside fellow Republicans Bob Gates, Pentagon chief, and Ray LaHood, Transport Secretary, gave Obama something tangible to back up his claims of a bright bipartisanship dawn heralded by his administration. That's gone now. If no more than a handful of Republicans vote for the stimulus bill tomorrow, then Obama's promises of a new bipartisanship could be dead on arrival.

2. Obama's now lost two Commerce Secretaries (the other was Bill Richardson), just as Bill Clinton lost two Attorneys General in 1993. As Oscar Wilde would have blogged: "To lose one Commerce Secretary, Mr Obama, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

3. This shows ineptness and disorganisation within the Obama administration - the "amateur hour" that Kathleen Parker wrote about.

4. The timing is terrible for Obama - the evening before what promises to be a sizeable legislative victory when the Senate and House passes the $800 billion-ish stimulus bill. It rains all over his victory parade.

5. This helps Republicans in the Senate. Although Gregg's replacement Bonnie Newman would have been a Republican Senator, she was likely to have been much more of a New England moderate in the mould of like Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins - and therefore more likely to cross the aisle on key votes - than the former New Hampshire governor.

6. Related to 5, the New Hampshire seat will no longer be an open seat in 2010 (Newman had indicated she wouldn't run) if Gregg chooses to stand again. So it goes from being likely Democratic pick-up to toss-up or even likely GOP. UPDATE: Gregg has just said he won't run in 2010. So this is probably a wash for the GOP - a likely Dem pick-u
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