The Washington Times - February 12, 2009, 05:36PM

“It really wasn’t a good fit,” Sen. Judd Gregg just told reporters on Capitol Hill.



Gregg this afternoon shocked the White House, becoming President Obama’s fourth nominee to drop out of consideration for a top post.


“The president asked. I said yes, that was my mistake, not his,” Gregg said. “It wasn’t my personality.”


Asked when he informed the White House, Gregg said he gave them “fair warning.”


Among the jokes in the press room, “The vetting process didn’t reveal his history of being a Republican,” and, “If I sit here long enough I will be nominated for Commerce.”


Last week when Obama nominated Gregg, he said they may be from different parties but agree “the only way to solve the great challenges of our time is to put aside stale ideology and petty partisanship, and embrace what works.”


Gregg, standing at Obama’s side that day, said it was “not a time for partisanship” or to “stand in our ideological corners and shout at each other.”


But as I noted in my Web story found here, he’s changed his mind.


Jon Ward noted that Obama, on the road to promote the stimulus outside Washington for the fourth day in a row, took the stage at the Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Ill., at the very same moment the news of Gregg’s withdrawal broke.

It was not clear whether the president was aware of the news as he began to speak.


But Obama ran through the list of elected officials in attendance, and called out Rep. Aaron Schock, the 27-year old Republican whose district includes the Caterpillar plant, and who had flown out with POTUS on Air Force One.

“Stand up, Aaron. Aaron’s still trying to make up his mind about our recovery package,” Obama said, as the crowd murmured.


“We know that all of you are going to talk to him after our event, because he is a very talented young man,” Obama said, as some in the audience shouted their agreement. “I’ve got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria.”



 Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent,
The Washington Times

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