WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush's pick to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission withdrew his nomination Wednesday amid strong opposition from some Senate Democrats.
The White House said it was reluctantly accepting the decision by Michael Baroody after ``some members in the Senate rushed to judgment.''
Baroody is a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers, and his critics on Capitol Hill said he would not provide the leadership the agency needed in order to protect consumers.
Democrats also had raised questions about a $150,000 payment that Baroody would have received when he left the lobbying group.
The White House took issue with the critics, who included Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama. Baroody had served in the Labor Department, where he was assistant secretary of policy during the Reagan administration.
``The president selected Mr. Baroody to serve in this position because of his strong commitment to protecting American consumers, his impressive leadership record and extensive public service,'' the White House said in a statement. ``We are disappointed he will not have the opportunity to strengthen the CPSC's ability to protect American consumers.''
The White House said it would immediately begin the process of finding ``another qualified and comitted leader to serve in this important position.''
A Senate subcommittee hearing on Baroody's nomination had been scheduled for Thursday. Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Richard Durbin of Illinois wrote Bush last week saying the nomination should be withdrawn.
``We should not put a person who's made a living lobbying against consumer protections in charge of safeguarding the public from dangerous and defective products,'' said Nelson.
A controversial $150,000 payment the manufacturers group would have paid to Baroody was arranged in January 2006, long before he was considered for the consumer agency post.
However, a change was made to his agreement early this year when he was under consideration. Nelson, Durbin and Obama asked the president to provide details on the payment.
In addition, Senate Democrats made clear that they would raise questions about how Baroody intended to deal with potential conflicts of interest at the agency, which has been at odds with Baroody's employer on a variety of issues.