Obama’s team of rivals just lost a high-profile Republican: Following criticism from both sides of the aisle, Judd Gregg withdrew himself today from consideration for Secretary of Commerce. On the Democrats' side, the Congressional Black Caucus and a group of Latino officials voiced concern about the New Hampshire senator's record on Census Bureau budgets. Gregg’s census funding cuts, they argued, led to undercounts of minorities. To assuage their fears, the White House offered to take a bigger role in census management, a move that Republican leaders said indicated a lack of trust in Gregg. This afternoon, GOP conference chairman Mike Pence said, "If President Obama doesn't trust Sen. Gregg to oversee a fair and accurate census, he should withdraw the nomination." Hours later, Gregg withdrew himself due to "irresolvable conflicts" of policy. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is already working to win back the wayward right-winger: "Sen. Gregg made a principled decision… He is among the smartest, most effective legislators to serve in the Senate."
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