White House Counsel to Oversee Vetting for New Obama Nominees
Posted Feb 6, 2009 1:52 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
After tax problems vexed several Obama administration nominees, a new person is overseeing the vetting process: White House counsel Gregory Craig.
After just a few weeks on the job, Craig is already playing “an outsize role” in the Obama administration, the Washington Post reports. The story says Craig drafted executive orders closing Guantanamo and ending harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects, and is working on 35 others. Also on his agenda: He is overseeing the administration’s search for prosecutors and judges. He is helping clarify ethics rules. And he even helped find a way for Obama to keep his beloved BlackBerry.
Craig, a partner at Williams & Connolly before he became White House counsel, led the defense of President Bill Clinton during the impeachment hearings. Although he is 63, he has “brought a youthful vigor into the counsel's office,” the story says.
Asked to respond to critics who say Craig is building a bigger and more partisan White House counsel’s office, Craig replied, "We're denying all allegations of empire-building," according to the Post account. "We're not a source of anything other than good lawyering," Craig said.