CNN Political Reporters
A Democratic source tells CNN’s John King that Republican Sen. Judd Gregg campaigned for the job of Commerce Secretary - and had asked Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to approach President Obama about it. Also that Gregg sat with the president, knew his policies and “erratically dropped out without warning."
A Democratic source confirms the same to CNN’s Jessica Yellin—saying that Senator Reid approached White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel about Gregg for Commerce Secretary.
CNN’s Candy Crowley reports a Republican source close to Gregg says his disagreement on funding for the "census tipped things," adding to increasing "worries about his seat at the table"- that Gregg might be marginalized “basically if on any issue important to Democratic constituencies - they are on one side and Judd is on the other - he is muted." A second GOP source says, "He didn't want to be a powerless GOP token and that's where this was headed."
From CNN’s Ed Henry: A Republican aide familiar with the decision adds that Gregg has been privately consulting with Republican leaders about this move for the “past couple of days” before making final decision today.
From Gloria Borger: A source close to the process says that removing the census from Commerce and having it “run” out of the White House was taken as a slap in the face by Gregg. “It was like saying they don’t trust you” with such a political issue. And guess what—they didn’t.
The source says those who wanted Gregg (including Rahm Emanuel) believed that in choosing him, the Obama team would be taking the opposition’s quarterback off the field.”
A Democratic source close to the White House says, “They have to take some of the blame for this. They almost humiliated him by taking the census away from him.”
However, this source adds, Gregg’s decision to recuse himself on stimulus was not taken well at the White House either—it was seen as an insult to them. A second source confirms displeasure at Gregg’s position the stimulus package to Jessica Yellin
White House Statement: "From the first days of the transition the Census has been a priority for the President, and a process he wanted to reevaluate. There is historic precedent for the director of the Census, who works for the Commerce Secretary and the President, to work closely with White House senior management - given the number of decisions that will have to be put before the President. We plan to return to that model in this administration."
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