December 17th, 2008
11:11 AM ET
5 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. billy-bayou

    At what point will Mr. Becerra realize he made a terrable mistake in turning down an offer by the "great himself" obama. What strategy will the "great one" use to make people understand.... you do not dismiss me...EVER.

    December 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  2. Mike T

    To think the President will have a cabinet full of the most qualified people(egad...a SCIENTIST as head of energy....what a concept) without an agenda that favors special business interests is such a delight. For a candidate to turn down a cabinet appointment only shows inegrity.....All you whiney cons can go take a long hike.....and don't come back....

    December 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. Ivory Moore

    I do not like your new format. Please go back to the old one.

    December 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Ivory Moore

    I do not like your new format. Please go back to the old one.

    December 17, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Sye the Pychic

    I see a lot of skeletons in this guys closet.I see a bed with the Chinese moneychangers.I see deals with the Clintons.

    December 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Ivory Moore

    I do not like your new format. Please go back to the old one.

    December 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. VOTED! OBAMA!!! VOTED! OBAMA!! VOTED!

    I love Obama and obviously I voted for him but what the HELL is wrong with you people? You don't have to accept any position/job that is offered to you. I've turned down jobs before and remember it's a job.

    Doesn't make him racist, radical, etc. it's his choice and we have that in America.

    December 17, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. The time has Come

    Hey OLD TIMER:

    Your comments are just uderline your name. Tlak about a stupid idiot of a person. If you could do better why didn't you run for President? Oh...waite maybe because it's your old ways of thinking. Grow up get a life and try to bring this country together...Oh Waite it's old fools like you that can't stand change or when someone does it BETTER than you.

    December 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Andy

    Someone said no to Obama! Don't you get to go to hell for denying the Messiah.

    December 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. vetting process

    The job would have been a "priviledge" and "an opportunity of a lifetime" but he turned it down because "TRADE would not be a major focus" of the administration? What a lousy excuse. Something tells me that this guy is nervous about the vetting process. Got some skeleons in your closet, uh Bacerra??

    December 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. EW

    So this guy doesn't want the job. So what! I've turned down jobs before and I can safely say that I would turn down Obama because I don't agree with his politcs. It doesn't mean I don't want him to be a success. It means that happiness is more important to me than working for Obama.

    People need to quit being so hateful. Lighten up a bit. Show some kindness to those that may not think exactly like you. It might just make you feel good about yourself.

    December 17, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Sheryl

    This is not news!!!!

    December 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Grimm

    It was his choice to make. Though I have to wonder if it had anything to do with the vetting process. He wouldn't be the first to decline based on the vetting process...

    December 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. knowlege

    i can't stand these negative posts about Obama being turned down and not wanting to work with him. Those are racists and yes im throwing the race card because now it more common in whites than it was in blacks. The man is trying to help the country and in turn, those negative anti Obamas on here don't even get it??? It sounds to me that they are uneducated in current events. I challenge those with the hate to see if you could do a better job. Why don't you stop making negative comments and start helping our president come up with solutions and ideas to fix our economy. Grow up!!!

    December 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Frederick in VA

    He's just steering clear from the shadiness. I don't blame him, wait to see what the fallout is from Blagojevich before lining up with the Shady Bunch.

    December 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. warrior

    well everything always happen for a reason, my belive is that it's all going to play out well he probably isn't the best candidate for the job.

    December 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. bruce

    old timer do you still waer your hood and gown in public or are you a punk

    December 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. tired of corporate politics

    c'mon CNN please filter the hate speech as in:
    "latinos are..." "those people..."
    from "fefe"

    Dude, Obama won, you can shut off the divisive hate now.

    When he gets accused of something you can switch on again.

    December 17, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. mw

    Myrna you are a racists nut! This was a chance for diversity in an area of a workforce that does come too often. Again, as someone has already mentioned if there is a lack of Latino presence DONT BLAME THE "BLACK PRESIDENT". Look in the mirror at the bigotry that is in you and others like you.

    This is how each group of people advances, with tolerance, understanding, and respect. You take the best of all people and let that part shine. Don't put down Obama because he has achieve the ultimate. My goodness there are a lot of haters in the world, mostly right here in our very own backyards.

    Shame on all of you.

    December 17, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. CanIcallyouJoe

    Well, it's good to see that rational decisions are being made, and not everyone is reacting all "OMG he picked MEEE" and actually thinking about the job at hand.

    There is just far too much of that mushing when someone is offered a position.

    Also, I think that Obama should consider someone with a proven track record of having a human soul for this position – like 'same old story' said at 11:20: " This guy makes millions for selling out this country to the globalists,why would he want a real job?" ; We don't want a lapdog of the global profit seekers to be there. We're trying to get rid of corporate government after all!

    December 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. god bless the US

    His choice, his decision. If I were offered a presidential position and didn't feel like taking it, i wouldn't do it.

    in the end this is actually good for Obama. No one should feel forced to take part in his administration, nor should anyone join his team if they don't feel comfortable with the job. nor should people join his team just to enhance their own resume for political or capital gain.

    December 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Shaun,FL

    Who cares!!!! – Hey republicans Obama is president elect. How does it FEEL?

    December 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Shaun,FL

    Who cares – Hey republicans Obama is president-elect. How does it FEEL?

    December 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Shaun,FL

    Who cares – Hey republicans Obama is president elect. Suck IT!!!!!

    December 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Stacy from Leesburg VA

    That's great..I guess he won't be getting a Christmas card from the Obama's this year after that comment.

    December 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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