Shelby Drops Holds on Obama Nominees Alabama Republican says he was just trying to get the president's attention By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Feb 9, 2010 7:00 AM CST 21 comments Comments Richard Shelby speaks during an interview with George Stephanopoulos in this April 20, 2008 file photo. (AP Photo/ABC News, Fred Watkins) (Newser) – Richard Shelby has decided to release the holds he's been using to block more than 70 Obama nominees in hopes of scoring two lucrative projects for his home state. The Alabama senator, who was hammered by Democrats for obstructionism, said he used the holds "to get the White House's attention on two issues that are critical to our national security—the Air Force's aerial refueling tanker acquisition and the FBI's Terrorist Device Analytical Center." Now that Shelby has Obama's attention, he's releasing his holds "on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force tanker acquisition," a spokesman said. Robert Gibbs on Friday said, "If you needed one example of what's wrong with this town, it might be that one senator can hold up 70 qualified individuals ... because he didn't get his earmarks."