Open Thread Updated: There's Good News Tonight


Hat tip Walter at Stumbleupon for this find.

Gregg has just withdrawn his nomination for Commerce Secretary because of irresolvable differences on the Stimulus Package as well as on the question of the Census. According to the New York Times, Gregg issued the following statement:

“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,” Mr. Gregg said in a statement. “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.”

Mr. Gregg said that the Census had been “only a slight issue” in his decision to withdraw. Nevertheless, the Census has been a big issue between Republicans and Democrats for years, and Mr. Gregg has been involved in the dispute. A decade ago, he resisted efforts by President Bill Clinton to increase financing for the 2000 Census.

They also quote a statement by Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary in which Gibbs says that it was Gregg who suggested his nomination to the President. It was he who made the first approach. They quote the following by Gibbs:

“He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President’s agenda,” Mr. Gibbs said. “Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways.”

Here is a video of Obama's address in Springfield last night on the occasion of Lincoln's birthday. What I found especially interesting was his joke at Gregg's expense.

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What is the scandal to come that is really behind his withdrawal? You know it will come. This is the GOP we are talking about.

Interestingly he joked about Gregg. Perhaps he was forced out by Obama because he didn't come through with support for the stimulus. I don't put anything past that gang of Republicans. Don't get me wrong!


The Kansas City Star carried an interesting account of a warning National Intelligence Director Blair gave to Congress yesterday. McClatchy's Warren P. Strobel reports the following:

The global economic crisis is the largest near-term security threat to the United States, President Barack Obama's national intelligence director told Congress on Thursday, signaling that the new administration is broadening its definition of national security beyond traditional military and homeland security concerns.

Retired Navy Adm. Dennis Blair said the worldwide economic downturn could spawn political instability across the globe, hamper U.S. allies and drain support for the American-led international free-trading system.

"Time is probably our greatest threat," Blair said in prepared remarks before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "The longer it takes for the recovery to begin, the greater the likelihood of serious damage to U.S. strategic interests