Obama Looking at Gregg for Commerce Secretary
The Obama administration has been floating the idea of naming Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) to be Commerce Secretary, several Senate sources said Thursday.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Greggs nomination was far from a done deal, but remains a serious possibility. Reached by phone, Gregg, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said he had no comment on whether he has been in talks with the White House about the post.
Obama has been without a Commerce secretary nominee since December, when New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) withdrew from consideration, citing a federal corruption investigation into a company with ties to his home states government.
In recent days, news reports have suggested that Symantec CEO John Thompson is the leading candidate for the secretary job. Thompson, a major Democratic Party contributor, reportedly spent the past week in discussions with the administration.
If tapped, Gregg would be the second GOP lawmaker to head to Obamas Cabinet. The president selected then-Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) as his Transportation Secretary.
Gregg a close ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been a leading Republican voice in favor of government intervention in the financial markets in recent months, despite his solid conservative credentials. He served as McConnells lead negotiator on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill in the fall, and he was one of only six Republicans to vote to release the second installment of $350 billion of those funds.
New Hampshire’s governor is a Democrat, who would be able to name Gregg’s replacement. That pick could give the party a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the chamber if Democrat Al Franken is also ultimately named the winner in the contested Minnesota Senate race.