In recent days, conservatives have been claiming that the reason Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) withdrew as Obama’s Commerce Secretary nominee was because of an alleged White House plan to “politicize” the Census Bureau. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich yesterday promised to avenge Gregg by holding up the Commerce Department completely:
“The idea they would have U.S. Census [controlled by the White House] is such a terrible idea that Republican senators should announce that no member of the Commerce Department will be cleared and approved until they put the census back in the Commerce Department,” Gingrich said.
As Gregg himself has admitted, this issue didn’t play a big role in his decision and these claims are overhyped. “The way it was explained to me is that the Census would still report to the Commerce Secretary, but the White House wanted to have a major interest in the census process also,” he said on CNBC.