Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretary-designate

Breaking, from NBC News:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.

"Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact," he said Sunday in a report by NBC News' Andrea Mitchell. "But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process."

He said he plans to continue in his role as governor. "I appreciate the confidence President-elect Obama has shown in me, and value our friendship and working partnership. I told him that I am eager to serve in the future in any way he deems useful. And like all Americans, I pray for his success and the success of our beloved country."

So much for no drama.

Update [2009-1-4 14:57:45 by Todd Beeton]:President-elect Obama's statement (via e-mail):

It is with deep regret that I accept Governor Bill Richardson's decision to withdraw his name for nomination as the next Secretary of Commerce.Governor Richardson is an outstanding public servant and would have brought to the job of Commerce Secretary and our economic team great insights accumulated through an extraordinary career in federal and state office. It is a measure of his willingness to put the nation first that he has removed himself as a candidate for the Cabinet in order to avoid any delay in filling this important economic post at this critical time. Although we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson's decision, I look forward to his future service to our country and in my administration.

Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, commerce, New Mexico (all tags)

Comments

47 Comments

Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

"So much for no drama"? That shit happens is inevitable. That the disposal is handled quickly and quietly: that's no drama.

by jlmccreery 2009-01-04 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

Exactly.  Why are we putting a PUMA post as the top story here.  The fact that this has been handled so quickly shows there is no drama.   Drama would have been other stories breaking and then the withdrawal after 8 days of bad news.

by gavoter 2009-01-04 09:05AM | 0 recs
why are you calling him a PUMA?

Transplanted Texan was a Biden supporter who voted for Obama in the New Hampshire primary.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-04 09:19AM | 0 recs
Yes, that was ridiculous.

Not everyone who says anything remotely critical of Obama is a "PUMA". I doubt TT has even ever commented on Riverdaughter's demented blog! Heck, I don't even see TT's diary as "critical".

I think one of the worst mistakes of the GOP in the Bush years was in not listening to different points of view and not adjusting to a new political environment. They had tunnel vision, and it helped cause their downfall. I hope we Democrats don't commit the same mistake in thinking that Obama can do no wrong.

by atdleft 2009-01-04 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

You're calling me a PUMA? That's hilarious. Thanks, desmoinesdem.

And it's not the "top story." It's just the most recent story.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-01-04 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

You are the one who had to add the "So much for no drama." snark at the end, which of course is one of the many rallying calls of the PUMA.

If you strictly wanted to post this as a recent news story, you could have done so without the snark.

by gavoter 2009-01-04 09:55AM | 0 recs
few things are more annoying

than people who cry "Clinton shill" or "PUMA" the second anyone criticizes Obama, and now apparently even when someone inserts snark you don't like in a story that's only tangentially about Obama.

No one likes a sore winner, especially a sore winner who wrongly assumes others to be sore losers.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-04 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

This is so irritating. Anyone who doesn't do as you say is a PUMA?  Get over yourself, please.

by Denny Crane 2009-01-04 10:42AM | 0 recs
seriously

 Obama is not the Saviour, my friend, he is a politician.  The PUMAS were created for real, VALID reasons.  That does not take away from the fact that Obama may be a great President- or he may have problems.  This whole "my team, your team, us, them" crap is really childish in my opinion.  I really like Obama and voted for him- does that mean I won't call him out on EVERY thing he does that I feel is wrong?  Absolutely not.  Does that make me a PUMA?  If so, then I'm a proud PUMA.

by easyE 2009-01-04 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: seriously

Okay first of all TT is not a PUMA. Secondly, it is absurd that people cannot be critical in anyway of Obama without getting hit for it here. There is plenty of room for reasonable discussion..

Now that that is out of the way lets dispense with the theory that were good or valid reasons for the PUMA movement. The PUMA movements sole purpose was to undermine the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign. Anyone who took part in it should take a long walk off a short pier.

Does that mean you should not be critical of Obama? Of course not. We should be pushing him to do what is best and calling him out when he doesn't. But lets not pretend the PUMAs are on our team or should be welcomed back even if they want to be. Screw 'em.

by JDF 2009-01-04 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

It strikes me as drama because Richardson is a big name and it's related to an investigation. Whether he did anything or not or is to blame or not, it's still drama. Now, if this was a lesser-known name, like Solis Doyle or Duncan, or if it weren't investigation-related, it would be less of a story.

by Nathan Empsall 2009-01-04 09:25AM | 0 recs
EXACTLY!

This IS NO DRAMA.  If there is a problem, than rectify it quickly and move on.  Better that Richardson was NOT nominated for Secretary of State which would have been this withdrawal a MUCH BIGGER DEAL since there are so many foreign policy crisis going on right now.

Also, by withdrawing NOW instead of during a Senatorial hearing this will now be a one or 2 day story particularly since there are so many problems going on right now.

AGAIN THIS IS NO DRAMA.

by puma 2009-01-04 10:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

I wonder what made Edwards and bill Richardson run for president , if they are proven ( not yet in BR's case) to have indictable offenses.

what did they think they were doing to this country had they actually won and were president when all this crap came to light?

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-04 11:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws

I will say that I love the way this has been handled. Quickly and with as little drama as possible.

It is a shame though, I loved that spot for Richardson.

by JDF 2009-01-04 09:06AM | 0 recs
and I would be happier with him

at State or Transportation--didn't like Richardson on economic issues nearly as much.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-04 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws

you mean releasing this information on a Sunday afternoon while the playoffs are abound :)

by MumbaiBurns 2009-01-04 12:17PM | 0 recs
Here's an idea:

How about an LGBT nominee for Commerce? It would be a nice change from the Rick Warren crap. Not that I'm holding my breath.

by johnny longtorso 2009-01-04 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's an idea:

I think there is an LGBT on the Energy/Environment team.

Not that two is too many, just saying I believe there is representation.

by Trowaman 2009-01-04 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's an idea:

Nancy Sutley, "Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality". Not a cabinet-level post, which is what I'm talking about. Obama has found places for Latinos, Asian-Americans, African-Americans, and women in his cabinet, but no gays. I can't imagine there are no qualified LGBT people out there.

by johnny longtorso 2009-01-04 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Here's an idea:

I LOVE that idea.  Frankly- not holding my breath.  Not sure if Obama cares about LGBT issues more than he cares about not upsetting the Religious Right- sadly.  He has a very VERY spotty track record on these issues- which is extremely frustrating....

by easyE 2009-01-04 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson

Am I being a conspiracy theorist if i think this might have been an easy way for Richardson to get out of doing a job he didn't really want?

by liberalj 2009-01-04 09:17AM | 0 recs
he could have said no a month ago

if he really didn't want this job.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-04 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: he could have said no a month ago

It would of fed into the Obama snubs Richardson story and made it worse if he refused the post a month ago. Obama had to offer Richardson something, lots of people weren't happy that it was only commerce and for Richardson to turn it down then would of embarrased Obama.

I don't know the inner workings of Richardson's mind, i just guess that he's not that upset about losing commerce.

by liberalj 2009-01-04 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson

I doubt Richardson had anything to do with the timing of the FBI investigation. And as politically incompetent as he may be I can't imagine he would see withdrawing under the cloud of a criminal investigation as preferable to taking a job he didn't love.

You do have to ask what was up with Obama's "vetting" operation, this investigation has been going on since last summer. Maybe they were too busy trying to find something on Clinton.

To me this demonstrates the problem with Obama's goo-goo rhetoric. Richardson is not a bad guy, and so far he is being investigated, he has not been convicted or even indicted for anything. He may not have done anything illegal or different from things Obama or any other cabinet nominees have done. But the investigation gave the Republicans a cudgel he does not want to fight against, so he withdraws.

by souvarine 2009-01-04 09:49AM | 0 recs
If he's innocent

it's a minor cloud. And taking a job you don't want for four years is a major commitment.

by Neef 2009-01-04 10:25AM | 0 recs
It struck me that way too n/t

by Neef 2009-01-04 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

I've never been all that impressed with Bill Richardson, honestly.  He was sloppy and bumbling during his 2008 POTUS campaign, and this isn't the first time he's been tainted with scandal.

He seems to be a pretty good governor, but I'm not that upset that he won't be part of the Obama administration.  I do appreciate the fact that he's a good team player and is stepping aside before this turns into a total fiasco.

by JK47 2009-01-04 09:25AM | 0 recs
Yes...

Hopefully, the third time will be the charm in finding a scandal-free Commerce Secretary.

by atdleft 2009-01-04 10:27AM | 0 recs
3rd time?

The first name floated was someone who took her name off the list as possibilities.  There wasn't any scandal there at all.

by puma 2009-01-04 11:22AM | 0 recs
Hopefully

Obama is savvy enough to try to get a Repub senator from a state with a Dem Governor.

That means Voinovich, Snowe, or Collins.

by ClintoniteNoLonger4McCain 2009-01-04 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as C

Why would they name him in the first place? They had to have known about the investigation--it came out literally hours after his nomination was announced. This was a sloppy, and poor choice by Obama.

Anyone with an "FBI investigation" anywhere near them should NOT get a cabinet appointment, whether the investigation clears them eventually or not. Perception is reality. Everyone in politics should know that by now.

by need some wood 2009-01-04 09:39AM | 0 recs
I don't think the FBI investigation happened

until AFTER Richardson was announced.

by puma 2009-01-04 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't think the FBI investigation happened

According to the Washington Post article from December the investigation began in the summer, long before the November election:

The U.S. attorney's office in New Mexico also declined to comment on the investigation, which began in the summer. Several Finance Authority board members have publicly confirmed being interviewed by the FBI. Paul Kennedy, an attorney for Richardson's former chief of staff, David Harris, confirmed that his client had been interviewed by the FBI in the summer but declined to comment further.

by souvarine 2009-01-04 10:24AM | 0 recs
Thanks

Well it was dumb to put him as Commerce Secretary since he was under Federal investigation so that was a mistake.

The Obama team IS going to make mistakes.  Everyone does.  The important thing is how they respond to them.  It appears that this response was swift and happened BEFORE the Senate hearings and before Obama became the president so I consider this swift.

I think the reason why this happened quickly was that the Senate hearings were coming up and Richardson and Obama team decided that this would NOT be a good thing to happen while Obama is trying to get his administration off the ground.

by puma 2009-01-04 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Thanks

Eh, I don't know that it was dumb. Anyone in a position of power will attract controversy, it may be that this investigation turns up nothing substantial. I think they made a calculation that Richardson was a good choice despite some problems, but then this issue is got too much press.

Overall Obama has run his transition very smoothly, I've been impressed and I did not support him in the primary. I also like the way he is sticking to the "one president at a time" line, which has the effect of hanging most of our troubles around Bush and the Republican's necks. I'm desperate for Obama to become president and start tackling these problems, but he is probably smart not to take responsibility until he has actual power.

by souvarine 2009-01-04 11:39AM | 0 recs
The Obama people said that he hadn't been

forthright about the investigation. Personally, I'm savouring this moment - what goes around comes around and it couldn't happen to a better sleazy, women groper, sexual harrasser, hypocrite and fat opportunistic Judas!

by suzieg 2009-01-06 01:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

I am really enjoying this news regarding Bill Richardson.    I don't think I am enjoying this as much as the Clinton are....but nonetheless.....this revelation is karma with a side of justice served.

I will never forget the actions of March 21 2008.  

Karma does exist and that makes me feel good.

by newmexicodem 2009-01-04 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

Pffft.  This has NOTHING to do with Karma.  Your whining about the 'actions' of last spring are nothing more than sore losership.

by lojasmo 2009-01-04 12:52PM | 0 recs
As if Obama would want to be around

a man who sold the Clintons down the tube simply for his own political advancement - he knows very well that the man has no morals or loyalty but to himself!  He's well rid of him, for good and must be giving himself a great sigh of relief!

by suzieg 2009-01-06 01:31AM | 0 recs
Re: As if Obama would want to be around

And yet Obama offered him the cabinet position.  Strange.

by lojasmo 2009-01-06 05:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Proof!

 I guess that's the point of this diary. And it certainly is proof, finally!

by QTG 2009-01-04 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretar

lol

by moscow 2009-01-04 11:14AM | 0 recs
by art3 2009-01-04 12:08PM | 0 recs
Thankyou TT

At last this site has some moderation back. And I mean moderation, rather than lickspittle enthusiasm. Kudos.

by zerosomgame 2009-01-04 12:13PM | 0 recs
Political hit?

Bush US attorneys have a history of political hit jobs and leaking info to cause political damage.

by bakho 2009-01-04 12:35PM | 0 recs
This is part of the new administration

This was really about the fact that Franken was scheduled to win, and Obama wants a filibuster proof majority.

Richardson used the whole bonds issue as a cover story. The reality is that the political calculus of having +two+ senators for one cabinet seat appt. was too great of a thing to pass up - with Richardson back to NM,  Obama will hunt down a republican senator from a state whose governor is a democrat - the appointment made will be for a democratic party - and the senate will have a filibuster-proof majority.

Which means Franken will be seated with only one defect from the currently shattered, liberal-inundated, non-conservative, big spending GOP.
Which should be easy enough given the ties to all the lobbyists they have right now.

The system is slowly being dismantled piece by piece and the lobbyists haven't even figured out its happening.

Gotta love  Bill for this one. Only a diplomat could make a deal with the devil like this.

by Trey Rentz 2009-01-05 06:00AM | 0 recs
The lobbyists are not shaking in their boots on

the contrary, they have their own people very well placed in Obama's  administration!

by suzieg 2009-01-06 01:33AM | 0 recs

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