WASHINGTON - U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu announced his resignation this morning amid new reports that Alameda County workers had unearthed more than a dozen additional dead hobo bodies at his former home in Berkeley, California. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist had been the subject of a week-long controversy after he amended his White House application form to declare "3 or 4" hobo corpses in his crawl space, but after this morning's discovery, Chu said he felt he could no longer serve as an effective spokesman for Administration energy policy.
"Getting America on the road to energy independence requires a secretary who is focused full time on developing comprehensive strategies for alternative fuels, rather than a political distraction over a handful of decomposing drifters," said Chu. "I'm afraid I am no longer that person."
Chu said he would return to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he will resume his scientific work investigating particle dynamics and local homeless shelters. President Obama said he would accept the resignation with regret, and expressed hope that a new Secretary could be named within the week.
"It was an honest mistake on Dr. Chu's part," said the President. "The section of the screening questionnaire about dead hobos has been confusing for a lot of nominees. In his defense it only specifies 'basement/crawl space/storage shed,' so I can somewhat understand why he didn't mention the ones discovered by the backhoe yesterday. That said, it's important that we move forward with revitalized American energy leadership. I'd like to thank Dr. Chu for his service and delicious home-made beef jerky, and wish him well in his future endeavors."
Sources inside the administration say the President is favoring University of Texas petroleum geologist / registered sex offender G. Harland Tellis as Chu's replacement. Tellis is expected to face stiff opposition from netroots blog sites like the Huffington Post, who have thrown their support behind British pop singer Gary Glitter.
The Chu hobo kerfuffle was the latest in a week-long series of Obama administration personnel imbroglis that have led to 36 White House resignations. Former HHS Secretary Tom Daschle and Chief Performance Officer Nancy Killefer saw their tenures cut short over tax issues, which continue to dog Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Geithner is also dogged over dogs, after his failure to report over $14,000 in income from his backyard pitbull fight business. An earlier federal grand jury probe over an alleged 12-state outlaw motorcycle gang methamphetamine network forced Commerce Secretary designate Bill Richardson to resign before Mr.Obama's inauguration. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis faces continued scrutiny over late taxes, lobbying, and involvement in a Tijuana car theft ring, while National Security advisor Samantha Power has received GOP criticism over her 2006 volunteer work as a sniper for the Taliban. Her boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has yet to deliver a promised 'full explanation' after police discovered 11 Laotian prostitutes caged in the garage of her Chappaqua NY home. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack faces increasing questions over his one-time membership in an all-white golf and satanic baby snatching club. Last week Mr. Obama was forced to amend an earlier executive order banning lobbyist from administration jobs after news reports identified over a dozen members of his team who previously, or currently, lobbied on behalf of Raytheon, General Dynamics, the UAW, Church of Scientology, the Crips, ACORN, SPECTRE, Friends of Ebola, North Korea, Coalition for a Human-Free Planet, and MSNBC. The revised executive order, which requires Executive Branch employees to limit lobbying to lunch breaks, is expected to be revised again before the week.
Deputy administration press spokesman Bob Hitler Jr. brushed off press gallery question this afternoon following the Chu announcement, and said that early stumbles are part of every presidential transition.
"I think the American public understands that whenever there's a transfer of power, there are always going to be a couple of trips and stumbles, followed by an ethics imbroglio or two, and maybe a little glitchy pecadillo or occasional kerfuffly snafu," said Hitler. "If anything, these resignations just go to show how committed President Obama is to bringing ethics back to Washington. After the days of Scooter Libby and Jack Abramoff, I think the American public can take pride in the fact that almost 80% of the White House staff have full legal permission to pass within 300 feet of Chicago public playgrounds."
Whether the skein of ethics problems will dent the President's popularity is yet to be seen. Newsweek's longtime political analyst Jonathan Alter said he would award Mr. Obama another record 75th straight "up arrow" in his weekly Convential Wisdom column, but warned that he must act quickly before he loses control of the agenda.
"The problem with the Chu resignation is that now all the critic will be asking, 'what about all the other cabinet members with dead hobos? Why do they get a pass?' Frankly I blame Rahm Emanuel for this mess, and Obama needs to tell him to fix it now. The President has to get the public's attention focused on his new improved $180 quadrillion stimulus package and his weekend Vanity Fair cover shoot with Annie Leibowitz," said Alter, collapsing into tears while clinging to his Bearack the Bear plush inauguration collectible.
White House chief of staff Emanuel, who awaits arraignment in a Hopkinsville KY jail following his early Wednesday arrest for truck stop prostitution, was not available for comment.