WASHINGTON — Deputy Commerce Secretary Clarence J. Brown took over as acting secretary today after the death of Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige in a freak horse accident left the Reagan Administration without a key player at a crucial time in trade negotiations with Congress.
Brown, a former Republican congressman and unsuccessful 1982 Ohio gubernatorial candidate, assumed the top job after consultations with legal advisers at the White House, department spokesman Malcolm Barr said.
"He has gathered his staff together. . . . Life goes on," Barr said of Brown.
Administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said President Reagan will not nominate a permanent successor to Baldrige until after the commerce secretary's funeral Thursday.