Judd Gregg, the Republican senator who suddenly withdrew himself as a nominee for Commerce Secretary, "feels very strongly" that President Obama is on the right economic track.
"He's going to be a very strong President, in my opinion," he said in an interview on CNBC Friday.
Nevertheless, he maintained that philosophical differences over long term fiscal policy were too great for him to be a true team player in the President's Cabinet.
"Basically, I have very strong philosophical views, and they're pretty fiscally conservative," Sen. Gregg said. "For me to go into the cabinet, and be the type of team player you have to be, and support the President the way you need to, 100 percent of the time, would have been very difficult."
He said he still sees some issues with the current stimulus legislation, and will probably vote against it.
"There was a tactical error made, in my opinion, in that you allowed the appropriators to write the package," he said. "We should be focusing primarily on trying to stabilize the real estate markets, and promoting small business and getting jobs."
Responding to assertions that he originally sought out the position, Gregg did not "campaign" for the job, he said.
He also downplayed the idea that White House moves toward being involved in the next national census, an effort headed up by the Commerce Department, played a role in his exit.
Gregg accepted full responsibility for the sudden change of heart, and praised the President's handling of the situation.
"It was a great honor to be asked," he said. "He has been extraordinarily gracious throughout this period."