President Bush's presumptive nominee to the new job of manufacturing czar - a Nebraska executive with some plastics processing experience - took his name out of consideration March 11 amid a political firestorm.
Anthony Raimondo, chief executive officer of Behlen Mfg. Co. in Columbus, Neb., withdrew his name after Democrats criticized him for starting a factory in China, and his nomination got caught in a political feud between his two home state senators.
Behlen is primarily a metal fabricator of livestock tanks and other agricultural equipment, but the company has several rotational molding machines for making drinking water tanks, a company official said.
Behlen had a custom rotomolding division in New Paris, Ind., but sold that last year to Buyers Products Co. in Mentor, Ohio, because it wanted to exit the custom market, the Behlen official said.
The administration had been prepared to nominate Raimondo on March 11, filling a new position that President Bush announced in a speech on Labor Day. Commerce Department officials said they would continue to search for a candidate who would be the assistant secretary for manufacturing and services in the Commerce Department.
Besides the dust-up about China, the Washington Post reported that Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican, was unhappy with Raimondo's nomination because Raimondo had been a supporter of the state's other senator, Democrat Ben Nelson.
Raimondo would have come with some familiarity with government: He is a former board member of the National Association of Manufacturers and is currently chairman of the Omaha branch of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank.