...President Obama appears set to nominate Republican Sen. Judd Gregg as commerce secretary, a move that could happen in the next day or two, Democratic officials said yesterday.
Gregg (N.H.) acknowledged Friday that he was under consideration. But administration officials took it a step further yesterday, saying he is atop the list to fill the job, and other officials said they thought he was all but certain to be tapped. His nomination and confirmation would give a leading economic role in the Obama Cabinet to a fiscal conservative, while bolstering the president's argument that he has built a truly bipartisan administration.
...Republican officials said they are resigned to Gregg's departure from a critical Senate seat that Democrats had already intended to challenge.
...Gregg's nomination would also offer the White House the chance that New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) would appoint a Democrat to serve the two remaining years of the senator's term. That, combined with the seating of Al Franken if he prevails in the disputed Minnesota election, would give Obama the 60-vote majority he needs for a filibuster-proof Senate.
Pretty interesting move on Obama's part. Lot of risk for a lot of reward. It will also be interesting to see the arm-twisting that the Governor of NH is subjected to.Gregg is a Republican Party stalwart who has firmly opposed abortion rights even as his state has grown increasingly moderate in recent years. His strong support of the business community and his standing among fiscal conservatives in Congress could help Obama persuade Republicans to join him on initiatives regarding government entitlements and the federal budget.