CNN's Yellin claimed census was a "big issue" for Gregg after Gregg said it was not

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

CNN's Jessica Yellin stated that the Obama administration's decision to strengthen White House oversight of the census was one of "two big issues" leading Sen. Judd Gregg to end his nomination for secretary of commerce. In fact, Gregg has said that the "census was only a slight catalyzing issue," and "not a major issue." He also called it a "slight issue" and said "[i]t wasn't a big enough issue for me to even discuss what the issue was."

During the February 12 edition of CNN's Campbell Brown, No Bias, No Bull, CNN national political correspondent Jessica Yellin stated that the Obama administration's decision to strengthen White House oversight of the census was one of "two big issues" leading Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) to end his nomination for secretary of commerce. In fact, while Gregg cited the census in a press release announcing his withdrawal, during his January 12 press conference, Gregg said that the "census was only a slight catalyzing issue. It was not a major issue."

During the press conference -- which aired on CNN several hours before Yellin's report -- Gregg was also asked, "[C]an you just elaborate on the census as being an issue?" Gregg responded: "Well, I don't need to elaborate. I know it was a slight issue." A reporter then asked: "Well, what was the issue, from your perspective?" Gregg responded: "It wasn't a big enough issue for me to even discuss what the issue was."

From C-SPAN's January 12 coverage of Gregg's press conference:

GREGG: Why don't we just --

REPORTER 1: What role did --

GREGG: I'll get around to everybody.

REPORTER 1: What role did issues with the census play? And will you run for re-election in the coming year?

GREGG: The census was only a slight catalyzing issue. It was not a major issue.

Will I run? Probably not.

REPORTER 2: Can you just -- can you just elaborate on the census as being an issue? I mean, you know --

GREGG: Well, I don't need to elaborate. I know it was a slight issue. I mean it --

REPORTER 2: Well, what was the issue, from your perspective?

GREGG: It wasn't a big enough issue for me to even discuss what the issue was.

REPORTER 3: Senator, White House --

GREGG: Yeah?

REPORTER 4: Will you vote on the stimulus? And what do you make of the administration's new plan to address the financial crisis?

GREGG: Well, I think the administration is doing an extraordinary job of trying to manage this financial crisis. I think their decision to move quickly on the TARP and get the extra TARP money in place was very important. I believe that Secretary Geithner has put forward a very -- the outlines of an extremely comprehensive plan that I think will work when it gets the detail behind it.

From the February 12 edition of CNN's Campbell Brown, No Bias, No Bull:

YELLIN: So, there were two big issues for him.

One: He's a fiscal conservative and was upset about the price tag on the stimulus deal. He didn't even vote on it, which made White House aides very unhappy.

But the other big issue was the census. It might sound minor, but the White House planned to take oversight of that out of the Commerce Department. And the Census helps determine congressional districts, which party has power. And Republicans started to howl about this, saying it's a pure power grab by the White House. They put enormous pressure on Gregg to fight this.

And, tonight, Republicans are saying that Gregg's withdrawal is a real blunder by the White House. They're working this for all it's worth -- Campbell.

BROWN: Jessica Yellin with the inside scoop for us. Jessica, thanks.

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Jessica Yellin
Show/Publication
Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull
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