December 17th, 2008
11:11 AM ET
6 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. Grace

    If Bacerra turned the offer down, he should just shut up & continue his life in congress. He does not look like someone should be offered top priority job anyway. Who is Bacerra anyway. Overestimation of his own importance shines through. I am sure Bacerra would like to be THE secretart if energy or VP. LOL.

    December 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Joe in DE

    Obama needs to choose someone who understands the need to renegotiate trsde agreements to specify that imports to the US meet our health & safety standards and rthat imports pay the cost of adequate US inspection.

    December 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. steve

    oh my god. a dumocrat not wanting to do as high and mighty dumcrat wants. he should be keel huled.

    December 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Joe the Troll

    "Do as your President says he needs you to do and ask questions later."

    That's how Bush handled things, it's not what we need now.

    And Mesa Mick....his name is Richardson, but he is still Latino. He was talking to his folks. No harm there.

    December 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Dee

    lol. So he's too good for the job??
    P.S. Any economist knows that trade is, always has been, and always will be an important factor in any administration. Becerra's just angry the position doesn't have as much camera time. Boo hoo.

    December 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. CK in Virginia

    I'm glad he said no......I wouldn't what to be a part of Obama's administration either. You think Bush's was bad, just wait and see how the next four years play out. I guess Obama is not as well liked as he thought!!

    December 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Joe in DE

    Obama needs to choose someone who understands the need to renegotiate trsde agreements to specify that imports to the US meet our health & safety standards and rthat imports pay the cost of adequate US inspection.

    ( To the reviewer – not a duplicate comment).

    December 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    B F D

    December 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. BS not Maverick

    fool

    December 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Uncle S.A.M.-Virginia

    I guess he's trying ot make a name for himself for political purposes obviously. I can hear him saying it now, "I'm the only representative who refused a position in the administration."

    December 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Joe in Austin

    The only bad choice Obama has made so far.

    December 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. steve

    why would "trade" be number 1??

    wouldnt it be the Economy, Energy Policy and National Security?

    All these items are heavily dependent on trade!

    But why would Obama offer the position if he didnt KNOW FOR SURE the guy would take it?? obviously the guy changed his mind!

    December 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. pebo

    don't worry B J Penn......you won't get the call

    December 17, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. STABLE

    thats right cnn block my comments. see if i talked the type of rhetoric and crap night after night like sean hannity, neal [nazi] boortz or rushsheeda limpbraugh the secret service and the F.B.I. would be knocking down my door. block my comments out you haters. WHATS THE MATTER ; THE TRUTH HURTS?

    December 17, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. fefe

    All i got to say is that latinos are racist people too, and those people don't even like AA's anyway.

    December 17, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. Blasphemous

    Someone dared to refuse Obama...

    December 17, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. D in Phoenix

    This is news? Ya gotta do better than this, CNN!

    December 17, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Luke McCormick

    Saying "no" is one thing. Saying no because you don't think you'll get enough glory from it? Lame!

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

    Right. So managing trade is not more important than preventing terrorism, heading off wars, or repairing the economy. That makes it only...INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT!

    Thank God we won't have this loser taking care of it; Barack, please find an adult for this job.

    December 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Gayle

    What does he have to hide?

    December 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Annie

    Good for him!

    December 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. geecee827

    This headline using the word "reject" makes it sounds like he is against Obama in some way. After reading the article, in no way does this person "reject" Obama, but he wants to keep his seat in Congress. Why do you use the nasty headline-grabbing words to lure people in, only to then print a perfectly innocuous story about this man who appears to like Obama very much, but simply chooses to keep his current job, which he likes very much also. But "saying NO to Obama" just gets you more interest, doesn't it??

    December 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. geecee827

    CK in Virginia – You wish!!!

    December 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Butch Dillon

    I don't know this Becerra guy's reputation, credentials or what actually motivaes him, but he is making the right choice. It will be a long time before the US has need of a trade representative. All nations of the world, including China are pulling back on trade, not expanding it in times of economic collapse. And we all know the situation is only going to worsen into a depression. So let Becerra do as he proposes and give the job to someone else.

    December 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. John

    M, you have a distorted view of us liberals. Many of us do not in our right minds take the problems of this country lightly. There is a world of a difference between between overconfidence and hopefulness.

    December 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. maria

    Maybe he should pick Caroline, rumor is she wants to be involved all of a sudden.

    December 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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