From MSNBC's David Gerlach and NBC's Mark Murray
Despite citing the economic stimulus as one of the reasons behind his withdrawal to be President Obama's Commerce secretary, Judd Gregg had been saying some very nice things about the plan, even though he recused himself from voting for or against it while being considered for the Commerce post.
On Feb. 4, the day after Obama officially nominated him for the job, Gregg told CNBC's Larry Kudlow that a major stimulus plan made sense. "I think a major stimulus package ... makes a lot of sense, and the Senate is still working its will and I expect it will come up with an even stronger package than the package that left the House. If we don't get this economy going, the numbers that represent this stimulus package are going to be small compared to the loss of revenue to the federal government."
When Kudlow then asked whether the conservative Gregg had an "epiphany" on the stimulus, the New Hampshire senator responded, "I have been supportive of a very robust stimulus package from Day One. I think this economy has to have a major stimulus initiative because the only group with liquidity is the federal government."
Gregg did say in the CNBC interview, however, that he wanted the legislation to focus more on homes and homebuyers. "I have said I think we need to put more targeted effort on the real estate side, where we balance and basically look at how we control the price of real estate, so people have more confidence in the value of their home."
As far as how he'll vote tomorrow on the final stimulus legislation, Gregg today wouldn't say if he'll vote for it or against it.