Obama Plucks Gregg From Senate

Posted February 3, 2009 at 10:57am

President Barack Obama on Tuesday nominated Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire to be his Commerce secretary, adding a second Republican and a sixth sitting or former lawmaker to the list Cabinet nominees. Acknowledging the ideological differences between him and his newest adviser, Obama nevertheless said that he and Gregg share a concern with the economic problems facing the nation and the need to do something about them. “We don’t agree on every issue, most notably who should have won the election,” Obama quipped during an appearance with Gregg at the White House. But he called Gregg a “master of reaching across the aisle” and said he would be an effective ambassador to the business community. Gregg commended Obama for his stimulus plan, even as many of his likely soon-to-be-former GOP colleagues express grave concerns. “You’ve outlined an extraordinarily bold and aggressive, effective and comprehensive plan for how we can get this country moving,” Gregg said. “This not a time for partisanship. … This is a time to govern, and govern well,” he added. “And therefore when the president asked me to join his administration … I believed it was my obligation to say yes, and I look forward to it with enthusiasm.” Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has been nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) has been nominated for Labor secretary. Also joining the Cabinet from Capitol Hill are Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. LaHood, like Gregg, is a Republican, while holdover Defense Secretary Robert Gates served in three Republican administrations.