Breaking news this afternoon as another Obama cabinet nomination has imploded, as Judd Gregg withdraws as Commerce Secretary designate.
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.
What had been viewed as a prized get for Obama, helping to recover from the Richardson embarrassment, has backfired. Now, he has lost his second choice for the position.
"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.
Gregg's move taints an otherwise positive story for Obama, the deal on a Stimulus Package...
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.
And makes public a story that has been under the radar - the President's attempt to make an Acorn-style power play, the politicization of the census. This story from the Washington Post appeared a few hours before this afternoon's shocker from Gregg.
House Republicans will hold a news conference today to announce the formation of a census task force as they continue to urge President Obama to reconsider his plans to have the director of the Census Bureau report to senior White House staffers.
Obama's time in Chicago taught him to grab the mechanics of power, a skill that was demonstrated by his campaign's working of the rules of the Democratic primary process to outflank Hillary. He's looking to make a similar move by gaming the census.
They asserted in a letter to the president yesterday that the proposal is an "unprecedented politicization of the Census" that would "open the door to massive waste and abuse in the expenditure of taxpayer funds, billions of which are distributed on the basis of Census data." (See the full letter after the jump.)
Reports are that the White House is stunned by Gregg's decision, saying that he campaigned for the job at Commerce. Judd will hold a presser later. How does the Post feel about Gregg's withdrawal? Here's the paper's photo caption:
Withdrawal highlights the downside of Obama's efforts to put Republicans -- including a relatively conservative one like N.H. Sen. Judd Gregg -- into high positions in his administration. (Photo: Bloomberg News)
In other words, the President was dumb to trust a Republican. Why didn't they say, "Second Commerce Secretary withdrawal highlights hazards of inexperienced president." 4:15 pm 4:45 update 5:10 pm update