The Big Question is a feature where influential lawmakers, pundits and interest group leaders give their answers to a question that’s driving discussion in news circles around the country.

Some responses are gathered via e-mail, while others are gathered in person via tape recorder.

Today’s Big Question is:
Judd Gregg's withdrawal: what happened?

See responses below from Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Virginia Fox (R-N.C.), as well as Simon Rosenberg, Dr. Herbert London, Dean Baker, Ron Bonjean and Dr. Larry J. Sabato.

See the last Big Question here.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said:
I think he got cold feet.  He thought he wanted to be Secretary of Commerce. Maybe it was his childhood dream to be Secretary of Commerce. But the stimulus is a very real thing. See the full response here.


Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said:
He didn’t think that he could serve. I guess he did the best thing — to withdraw and to step back.

This was obtained in person via audio recorder.


Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) said:
I think he just rationally thought about it.  There was probably just a big difference in policy and where he felt the direction the country should go in. See the full response here.


Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said:
I think you have to take him at his word.  He came to the realization that he could not be an active part of that team.  He could not support the policies and actions of the Obama administration. See the full response here.

Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network said:
During the Clinton Administration, Judd Gregg fought hard to deny the Commerce Secretary the ability to use the latest techniques to ensure the most accurate Census count. The goal of this effort was to make it harder for the Census to count minorities, young people... Read the full response

Dr. Herbert London, president of the Hudson Institute said:
My suspicion is that Judd Gregg found unconscionable the "pork" in the so-called stimulus package and decided he could not countenance the basic economic stance of the Obama administration.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said:
I think we should take Senator Gregg at his word. As a cabinet secretary in the Obama administration, he would have to support President Obama's policies... Read the full response

Ron Bonjean, president of The Bonjean Company said:
This was just a bridge too far for President Obama and Senator Gregg to cross.

After leading the public affairs team under Commerce Secretary Don Evans, it makes sense to me that Senator Gregg withdrew his nomination. The irreconcilable policy differences... Read the full response

Dr. Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said:
This is an embarrassment for both Sen. Gregg and the White House, but it can teach us a useful lesson: There are limits to bipartisanship. We have a two-party system for a reason. Democrats and Republicans don’t agree... Read the full response