December 17th, 2008
11:11 AM ET
9 years ago

Becerra says no to Obama

Becerra is staying in the Congress.

Becerra is staying in the Congress.

(CNN) - Rep. Xavier Becerra, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for U.S. trade representative, pulled himself out of the running Tuesday.

In a statement released by his office, the California Democrat said he's more interested in working alongside Obama from his seat in the Congress.

"I am grateful for that privilege and now see a rare opportunity to push across the goal line much of the unfinished business of America: investing in our infrastructure and our workers, universal healthcare, comprehensive immigration reform, and scrubbing a tax code that’s out of shape and behind the times," he said in the statement.

“Working for and with incoming President Barack Obama would be an opportunity of a lifetime. I will get to experience that thrill… by working by his side in the People’s House just down the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Democratic sources told CNN earlier this week that Obama had formally offered Becerra the position.

But Becerra told La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper, that he felt trade would not be a major focus in the Obama administration.

"I came to the conclusion that it would not be priority No. 1, and perhaps, not even priority No. 2 or 3," he told the paper Tuesday.

Becerra, whose district includes much of Los Angeles, is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He was also recently elected vice-chair of the House Democratic caucus.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. Laverne

    I guess he's got something to hide too!

    December 17, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. same old story

    This guy makes millions for selling out this country to the globalists,why would he want a real job?

    December 17, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. karen

    Thats too bad. I want to say that the Drudge report is a disgrace and that Matt should grow up-he is a disgrace to civilized society – To show Barack at the top of his page with a cigarette in his mouth or whatever it is –shame shame on you--Matt what were you doing at that young age because you arent doing much good as a grown adult. You are a negative man with a very small...........mind.

    December 17, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. ARB

    Smartest decision this man has ever made.

    December 17, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Shawn Phetteplace


    How thick do you have to be?

    December 17, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Ron Ft. Myers

    People's house? The people are all against much of what we're getting jammed down our throats and our elected officials do not seem to care.

    December 17, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. Tom in Delaware

    He joins all the candidates for leading the CIA.

    Who wants that job knowing that Eric Holder is going to prosecute anyone who hasn't resigned.

    No wonder the CIA is running ads on TV for 'Employment Opportunities'.

    December 17, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. obama-mama

    Oh well, can't win them all....Next.

    December 17, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Cammi317

    "He felt trade would not be a major focus in the Obama administration." Basically, the job is not important enough for him...LOL. Gotta love the honesty.

    December 17, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. S Callahan

    Nothing wrong with setting your priorities....
    Glad you for change....we taxpayers are too!

    December 17, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. wat-wat-watt

    I'm guessing he did not want a pay cut.

    December 17, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Herman In LA

    That's ok there are other that will be glad to except this post.

    December 17, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. JK Ashburn, VA

    Becerra is probably right. This administration won't focus on trade because the unions are knee-jerk reflexively against trade. Obama is going to need to educate the unions, and the public, about the value and importance of trade. If he doesn't, and the lefties in Congress bend over for the unions, heaven help the economic consequences to the US and the world.

    December 17, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Candice

    Well everyone can't be on Barack's team! At least he was honest in telling everyone he thinks he deserves a higher position... BUT I don't think a U.S. Trade Rep is a low position considering all the happenings going on with the Free Trade Agreement. The bus will keep on moving...

    December 17, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. Oreste Ona

    What does he really want to be? Is he sincere or else?

    December 17, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. Matt

    OK, so he basically said he didn't want to be trade secretary because he felt trade wouldn't be a major focus of Obama's administration, i.e., that if he took the position he wouldn't be getting enough spotlight? Loser. Do as your President says he needs you to do and ask questions later.

    December 17, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  17. Michael Clarke

    Xavier you have got to be kidding me. Trade will not be a big deal in the next eight years? How do you say "no" to the President of the United States when he asks you to do something for him? Shame on you.

    December 17, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Spider

    Yeah Matt, do as your President tells you to do and ask questions later.

    That is what the people of Germany said about Hitler 60 years ago.

    December 17, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Ego problem

    Sounds more like sour grapes to me. Obama has to address trade issues if he expects to get the economy back on the right track. This guy seems to be saying: "What, me be the lowly trade rep for the U.S?" I was hoping you'd recognize my superior ego and appoint me Secretary of Everything I Consider Really Important."

    December 17, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Paul

    Hey America, time to open your wallets. If any of you who voted for BHO are stupid enough to believe that he will accomplish anything without your money, you are dreaming. Get ready to have your meager incomes become even more meager. America is getting exactly what she deserved.....and asked for....change!! It's just not going to be the change you expect!

    December 17, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Mesa Mick

    His right to say no.
    What's good about it though is that he didn't say it in Spanish to the whole country like Bill Richardson did when he accepted his job. Funny, I though English was the "unofficial" language of the US – don't you think Richardson was patronizing just a little bit to much? Or was he trying to make Latinos feel "proud" to be Americans by speaking Spanish to them? Somethimes PC makes me gag....

    December 17, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. B J Penn

    Obama is a bum I wouldn't want to work for him either. Change = Bad to worse

    December 17, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. JM

    Oh the horror. Someone said no to "the one".....

    December 17, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. William


    What is getting jammed down our throats that "all" of the people are against? If all of the people are against what our elected officials are doing, why does a majority keep, um, electing them.

    If you want to make the case that people are ignorant of what their elected officials are doing or that they systematically misjudge what is in their own best interests, you may have a point. But the idea that people are actively opposed, makes no sense.

    December 17, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. Independent In NY

    Kinda makes you wonder what skeletons are in HIS closet........

    December 17, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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