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Friday, February 13, 2009

Gregg Ditches Commerce Post, RNC Offers Specter

With the announcement that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) has pulled out of his bid to become President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Commerce the Republican National Committee (RNC) today offered Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) as a replacement. “Sen. Specter is a career lawyer and politician, but he’s a fast learner and could be quickly trained to run the Commerce Department,” said RNC Chairman Michael Steele. “Of course, Republicans would miss his stalwart, reliable voting in the Senate. Conservatives never have to wonder how Arlen Specter will vote.” White House insiders suggested Sen. Specter could get the same deal from Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former chair of the Democrat National Committee, that Sen. Gregg made with his state’s Democrat governor — to appoint a Republican replacement once he’s confirmed as Commerce Secretary. However, Mr. Steele said such a concession would be unnecessary, since replacing Sen. Specter with a Democrat would be an “ideology-neutral” move. A White House spokesman said Mr. Obama bears no hard feelings toward Judd Gregg, praising his abortive nominee as “a man who paid his taxes on time.” The administration claims it’s still on-target to fulfill its number one goal for the first 100 days, which is to fill all cabinet posts. “The president is all about creating and retaining jobs,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. “However, at this pace there is some concern that getting an additional four million people hired may take more than one term of office.” RNC Chairman Steele said he’s committed to helping the new president fill those jobs, and has also offered Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, whom he recommended as “team players, depending on which team you’re talking about.”