- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is likely to be chosen as President Obama’s commerce secretary nominee, the third selection for that post by an administration still missing key Cabinet members.

A senior administration official said Mr. Locke, the first Chinese-American governor in U.S. history, is the likely nominee.

Mr. Locke, 59, was first elected as governor in 1996 and served two terms.

The pick comes after two nominees withdrew from consideration for starkly different reasons.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, one of Mr. Obama’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, removed himself in January because of an ongoing ethics investigation in his home state.

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire was nominated last month to hold the post, with both he and Mr. Obama saying they could put aside party differences to help the economy.

But one week later, Mr. Gregg abruptly pulled himself from consideration, embarrassing the White House.

The deficit hawk and fiscal conservative said he realized too late that “it really wasn’t a good fit,” and they had “irresolvable conflicts.”

“The president asked. I said yes, that was my mistake, not his,” Mr. Gregg said then, adding that Mr. Obama needed a team “that is fully supportive of all his initiatives.”

Mr. Obama also lost Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Tom Daschle, who withdrew his nomination after the revelation he had three years of unpaid taxes on a friend’s gift of a car service and driver. Chief performance officer-designate Nancy Killefer withdrew that same day because of a small tax lien on her home.

A confirmation vote for Labor Secretary-designate Hilda L. Solis was delayed while she faced questions over her husband’s taxes, but she is scheduled for a first vote Tuesday.

The White House on Monday announced a host of staff appointments, including the new media and online team to be led by director Macon Phillips.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide