According to our Matt Cooper, Gregg called New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) a few hours ahead of releasing his withdrawal statement to alert him. But the White House appeared blindsided by the Gregg withdrawal, according to various reports, so much so that some officials were first learning of the news from reporters.
A Democratic Hill staffer writes in:
It’s hard not to think that Gregg’s withdrawal, with the grumbling about the census and the stimulus, was not timed to cause the most damage possible to the Obama administration. Releasing the statement just as Obama took the stage in Peoria was clearly designed to undermine the President’s event. The fact he scheduled a presser only seems to confirm it. The classy exit would have been to wait til tomorrow afternoon to quietly bow out. Basically Gregg decided not just to politely decline, but rather to blow shit up and burn the bridge behind him. Do not think this portends good things for the wider political climate.
If the larger GOP strategy can be describe as putting all of their chips on “FAIL”, this has to be seen as a significant addition to that pile, no?
Late Update: For his part, Gregg said at a press conference just now that he gave the White House “fair warning” of his withdrawal.