Fri Feb 13, 7:39 AM
PEORIA, Illinois (AFP) - President Barack Obama's quest to bridge Washington's sharp political divides has been dealt another blow with the surprise exit of his commerce secretary pick, Republican Judd Gregg.
Gregg's withdrawal on Thursday, over "irresolvable conflicts," complicated Obama's attempt to win Republican support for his 789 billion dollar economic stimulus package and other key agenda items.
The New Hampshire senator made his decision public just as the president began a speech here appealing to Republicans to drop objections to the plan, expected to finally clear Congress on Friday.
Gregg said he was quitting because of differences on the massive package and the reorganization of the Census Bureau, part of the Commerce Department.
Obama later told reporters aboard Air Force One that he knew Gregg had been having secon
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