I just got off the phone with Fergus Cullen, who until three weeks ago, had been chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, and I asked him to react to the news that Judd Gregg has withdrawn his nomination to be Commerce Secretary.
“This has been a surprising story from the get go,” Cullen said. “I had assumed that Sen. Gregg had taken into account his likely disagreements with the Obama administration on policy before he decided to accept the nomination. Judd Gregg is a mainstream conservative Republican who agreed to serve in a liberal administration.”
Cullen noted that the Department of Commerce, by its nature, lends itself to ideological differences because it is involved in fiscal and economic policy issues.
“This was an inherent conflict that I thought would have been taken into account,” Cullen said.
Cullen was also dismissive about speculation on the liberal blog Talking Points Memo that Gregg may have made the decision to withdraw because he was under fire from the NH GOP. According to Cullen, New Hampshire Republicans were appreciative of the great lengths Gregg took to make sure that his Senate seat remained in Republican hands, at least for two years.
“I don’t think there was significant pressure there,” Cullen said.
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