WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack
Obama on Tuesday nominated Republican Senator Judd Gregg as commerce secretary
in his cabinet.
If confirmed, Gregg, a senator from New Hampshire in
his third term, will become the third Republican Obama enrolled in his cabinet,
following Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray
U.S. Senator Judd Gregg makes a speech as President Barack Obama looks on at the White House in Washtingon Feb 3, 2009. President Obama announced that
Gregg would be his choice for Commerce Secretary on Tuesday.
This is widely seen as another effort by the
Democratic president to build bipartisan cooperation in his government.
Obama announced his choice for the key cabinet post
at a White House press conference, and urged the Senate to rapidly confirm the
nomination so Gregg could start his work to boost trade of the country, which is
currently in the worst financial crisis in decades.
"With the stakes this high, we cannot afford to get trapped in the same old partisan gridlock," Obama said.
U.S. Senator Judd Gregg makes a speech as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden look on at the White House in Washtingon Feb 3, 2009. President Obama announced that Gregg would be his choice for Commerce Secretary on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)
Gregg echoed the president, noting "this is not a
time for partisanship" and "this is not a time when we should stand in our
ideological corners and shout at each other."
Gregg, 61, is a former New Hampshire governor and
currently a senior Republican member in the Senate Budget Committee. He is
expected to play a key role in having his party fellows endorse Obama's economic
stimulus package of nearly 900 billion U.S. dollars.
Some earlier reports said that Obama would enroll
Gregg in his cabinet to allow New Hampshire's Democratic governor to replace
Gregg in the Senate, thus giving the Democrats 60 seats in the 100-member
chamber, which means unchecked legislative power.
However, right after Gregg's nomination, U.S. media
reported, citing two different sources, that the New Hampshire governor would
give the vacated seat in the Senate to Gregg's former chief of staff Bonnie
Gregg himself also made it clear that he would only
accept the nomination if it will not change the balance of power in the Senate.
Obama's first choice for commerce secretary, Bill
Richardson, withdrew his nomination last month due to involvement in a
corruption case still under investigation.