February 09, 2012

Prominent Democrat No Longer Up for National-Service Board

President Obama has withdrawn the nomination of a high-profile pick for a seat on the Corporation for National and Community Service board—John Podesta, a prominent Democrat who was President Clinton's chief of staff and co-chair of Mr. Obama's transition team.

Mr. Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the White House, was among seven people that the president nominated in June 2010 to fill vacancies on the national-service board. The nominations were approved by a Senate committee in July but have still not been confirmed by the full Senate.

Andrea Purse, vice president for communications at the Center for American Progress, said in a statement: “Like many of Mr. Obama’s other nominees, Mr. Podesta got tired of waiting for the Senate to act and got busy with other projects and asked for his nomination to be withdrawn.”

A White House spokesman, Eric Schultz, echoed that Mr. Podesta had requested the move because of the long wait for confirmation, adding, "This is one more example of the unfortunate obstructionism in the Senate."

Mr. Podesta was an unpopular selection with some Republicans. A group of conservative leaders included him on a list of "controversial" and "egregious" presidential nominees in a letter they sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010.

The national-service board, which is supposed to have 15 members from both political parties, is now down to just six. President Obama's nominee to serve as chief executive of the corporation, Wendy Spencer, is also waiting Senate confirmation.

Note: this story originally reported incorrectly that Mr. Podesta had been re-nominated to the national-service board last month.

Send an email to Suzanne Perry.