Emanuel says administration doing well

Feb. 13, 2009 at 8:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The Obama administration has more hits than misses despite several U.S. Cabinet nominees pulling out of consideration, said Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

"Some may call it amateur hour," Emanuel said of critics pointing to Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., withdrawing his name from consideration as commerce secretary Thursday.

Gregg was the third Cabinet nominee of President Barack Obama to withdraw from consideration. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew after he was nominated for commerce secretary and former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., withdrew as Obama's nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, The Washington Times noted Friday.

Any rough patches the Obama administration has experienced are overshadowed by consideration of the $789 billion recovery spending bill and documents Obama has signed, Emanuel said.

"I think the president has always indicated there will be days where there are setbacks, days where there will be disappointments, but as long as we're moving forward those will be bright days not just for us but in fact the American people," he said. "Let's be honest: will the economic recovery or Judd Gregg be a bigger discussion point a week from now?"

In addition, Obama's early-administration accomplishments also include signing bills to expand children's health insurance and employment non-discrimination, and issuing executive orders that roll back Bush administration policies on detention of suspected terrorists, labor policies and fuel efficiency, Emmanuel said.

He acknowledged that the Gregg withdrawal was disappointing but said "it's better we dealt with it now."

Emanuel indicated Gregg had wanted to wait until after the stimulus vote to announce his decision but the news was leaked.

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