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Obama Abolishes Commerce Department: "You Just Can't Get Good Help These Days"

02/12/2009 02:41 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Following the withdrawal of New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg from consideration to be Secretary of Commerce, which followed the withdrawal of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's withdrawal from consideration to be Secretary of Commerce, which followed Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker's withdrawal from consideration to be Secretary of Commerce, President Obama has decided to stop trying to fill the post.

"I said on George Stephanopoulos' showthat picking a dog for my daughters has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary," the president said, "but I was wrong."

White House staffers have been heard whispering about a Commerce Department "jinx" and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was observed tearing up briefing books and dousing presidential advisor David Axelrod with confetti. "We've got an economy to rescue," Emanuel told reporters. "Who needs this s--t?"

The functions of the Commerce Department, sources say, will be transferred to the Department of Labor, which until from 1903 to 1913 was called the United States Department of Commerce and Labor, and also to the portfolio of White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, who is still miffed at not being given a Cabinet post himself.

White House officials deny that before reaching this decision, the administration considered privatizing the department and accepting a bid from Microsoft to run the agency. "No way," a senior adviser insisted. "Though if it had been Apple or Google, that would be different..."