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. Mickie

    In other words, he can't serve the President and fight for sending jobs oversees, freebies for China and South America but not for the U.S. True republican!

    December 17, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |

    funny guy wants to be popular for himself

    December 17, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. David, Silver Spring, MD

    I think in our representative democracy that it's okay for someone to decline a job offer, even from the President. This isn't a summons to the palace, you know.

    December 17, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Nick-o

    Trade will be important, in that getting trade deals done fairly so it benefits the USA as well as the other trading partner. It's real easy to make trade deals where we get shafted by every other country. Fixing the trade deficit is an important issue, and it's something Xavier is too chicken to try.

    Go hide in congress while the big boys in the White House do the dirty work.

    December 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Mike

    He is right. Obama will ignore trade, to the long term detriment of the US economy. Becerra doesn't want to join the Carter II administration, that is understandable.

    December 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Splurge

    Gosh, were all of you telling Xaviar to "do as the president tells you and don't ask questions" saying the same thing the last 8 years? You lined up like sheep for Obama when he ran and you'll do the same now that HE is president, not just for any president. As a result, you won't question Obama in the way you questioned Bush and the country will be worse off for not having learned that lesson.

    December 17, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Dave in CT

    What, not a cushy enough job for you, Becerra? Or is it that you don't want to give up the benefits of being on the Ways and Means committee?


    December 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. AJ

    Oh goodness, someone actually said "No" to the great man? Will the earth shake? How about a few plagues?

    December 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Sye the Pychic

    I see globalism winning.I see millions of our jobs lost forever.I see only the rich getting richer and everyone in America making minimum wage or less.

    December 17, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Obama denied! That is just awesome......and has to humble a guy who has the most arrogant personality and biggest ego of anyone I have seen on television (yes...including Hollywood stars).

    Obama will need many more of these denials to bring him back down out of the clouds to a level where he can relate to the American people.

    December 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Mark Richmond

    Becerra knows better than to get tied up with an administration that will be involved in scandal for the next four years. Good for him.

    December 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Anne E.

    What an insult - way to go, Sparky!
    If the Latino community starts complaining that there aren't more Hispanics at the Obama table, we'll know whose name to mention as shoving back at our new President the invitation for the opportunity of a lifetime.

    December 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. M

    Lol, at least he realizes how big the challenges are, and does not believe (like the rest of the delusional liberals) that "hip-ness" is sufficient to face it.

    December 17, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Myrna Ulrich

    Good For Him for Standing Up and Just saying NO!!!!! Latinos Have a BIG Voice in this Country and I am glad He turned down the Position ! California is My Home State by the way !!!! At Least One Honest Politician Out there , You Rock...... I doubt very Much if Obama will do anything about Trade, Unfortunately that is NOT on his to do list... This Made My day, after all the Godawful selections Obama Has Made... Former Obama supporter in Wisconsin

    December 17, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. brad

    Basically this says more about Rep. Xavier Becerra. At least he is honest he doesn't want due to it not being the major focus for the incoming administration.

    December 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. lovable liberal

    Ron Ft. Myers thinks he's the people, but what he wants is not the majority's desire.

    December 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Michael in Ventura,CA

    The House of Representatives IS the "People's House", and with less republiCAN'TS perhaps the House will actually be that again. The fact that this man chooses to serve from that venue is his choice.Presidet-elect Obama will have the cooperation of Congress and a top-notch Cabinet.
    Why all the cynisism?

    December 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Taniel

    It seems hard to believe considering how early we are in the cycle, but there is already a lot of Senate drama for the 2010 cycle with Tom Vilsack out in Iowa, Sink and Mongiardo inching towards a run in Florida and Kentucky, and Houston Mayor Bill White jumping in the Texas Senate race. (All details here).

    December 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. Dave

    As far as I'm concerned lawyers have ruined this country and guess where a lot of them are........... CONGRESS

    December 17, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |

    the first smart person on the block....i would not want to be picked by Obama for anything....... wait until the bottom drops out and falls directly on the people the this guy has picked.....You dont think for one minute that this guy is going to take any heat for his appointees do you

    wait til it happens then we will see if the reporters that pick this j-- will report of his downfall {{{{{ JOHN KING ROLAND MARTIN BILL SCHIENDLER ]]]] you won't hear a peep out of these guys...the slanted C N N election coverage boys

    December 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Mike

    "...he felt trade would not be a major focus in the Obama administration." Neither will a lot of other necessary policy issues because Comrade Obummer will be concentrating on the important stuff behind the scenes until it surfaces buried in some law - providing gay rights, indoctrinating pre-schoolers, strengthening the unions that undermined our largest companies and our education system, helping the trial lawyers, "listening" to radical Muslims so we don't offend them.....need I continue....

    December 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |

    @B J Penn December 17th, 2008 11:49 am ET

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

    Yeah, he's such a bum that he got elected President of the United States of America.

    Get over yourself. Silly Republitard.

    December 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |

    Thrtr id nothing wrong with unions and they have nothing against
    fair trade and keeping jobs in this country by not selling out to china and god knows.
    If it wouldn't be for unions you would be working 14 hrs a day und 7 days a week.
    You are a typical capitalist.

    Becerra things that job is not good enough for him and has higher ambitions, thats all.

    December 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Jay G.

    I think he should offer it to Rep. David Wu of Oregon.

    December 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. Michigan man

    Trade not a big deal? Think China! Obviously, this guy has not done his homework!

    December 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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