WASHINGTON -- A Nebraska business executive withdrew from consideration to be President Bush's point man on manufacturing yesterday after Senator John F. Kerry raised questions about his stance on shifting jobs to foreign countries.
The Bush administration said Anthony Raimondo's withdrawal was related to Nebraska political issues and not the flap raised by the Kerry campaign.
Raimondo's nomination appeared in doubt since Kerry raised questions Wednesday. Commerce Secretary Don Evans had refused to answer questions about whether Raimondo, the chief executive of Behlen Manufacturing Co., in Columbus, Neb., was still being considered for the position, saying only that the administration was ''continuing to look at candidates."
The administration had scheduled a news conference for yesterday to announce its selection for the job of assistant commerce secretary for manufacturing. Bush created the position in September to coordinate efforts to bolster the manufacturing sector.
However, the news conference was scrapped after Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, and other Democrats questioned Raimondo's stance on shifting jobs to foreign countries, a hot political issue given the loss of 3 million manufacturing jobs since mid-2000.