December 17th, 2008
11:11 AM ET
10 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. Orlando

    He's not joining Obama's team.....who cares. I think Obama can survive without him!

    December 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. dee harvey

    When an offer is made and usually turned down after the fact its because something came up in the transistion process that keeps it from moving forward. What I like about this transistion team is it allows for the recipient to bow out gracefully. While keeping his dignitity intact. I am sure Xavier Becerra would have jumped at the chance to be the first Latino trade representative.

    December 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Debby

    He said no to Obama!!!!! Now he will be vetted and hounded throughout the Obama administration. LOL

    December 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Erma

    OOH ! What's in HIS closet ?

    December 17, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. concerned Dem

    I feel it's ok to take your career in a different path than what someone else has chosen for you. Trust me, Barack will choose another person. The world won't end because this man turned down this position. I am sure Barack isn't mad at him, because he's not a dictator.

    December 17, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. rich

    He probably could not get thru the vetting process due to a few closet skeltons or two. Bet?

    December 17, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Independent Fred

    Wow the amount of vitrial and miss information on this thread.

    Perhaps he really likes what he's doing now perhaps he has other issues? This idea that he's either a dope for not accepting the position or smart becuase Obama's bad news is hilarious.

    Ever heard the words "freedom of choice?"

    December 17, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Debra

    The time has Come December 17th, 2008 12:38 pm ET

    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.
    Please, if you are trying to impress us with how smart you are, at least check your spelling for errors! Telling someone else to grow up and get a life is ok if you represent yourself as someone who at least has finished high school – and not leave the impression you are a drop out ,as you did here.

    December 17, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. dennis_k

    Wow. Based on the intellectual level apparent in the comments from the Obama haters, it's easy to understand how the righties managed to F things up so badly in 8 years.

    December 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Flo

    Mr. Obama need to elect more African Americans. I do respect his choise.

    December 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Debra

    What? Obama run out of people from Chicago to appoint???

    December 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. larry

    One thing is for sure, the current president-elect will be a drastic improvement over the current train wreck. I could not believe his logic for not taking the advice of his team experts to end the war in Iraq. His justification(?)...Send end even more of our finest to their deaths so that he and Chaney don't have to admit that blew it, with the bs justification that it would disrespect those who already fallen(?)so the allowing of even more fall, some how HONORS those that have already fallen somehow HONORS those that have already fallen? That sounds like the demented driveling of psychopathic monster to me.

    December 17, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Arkansas Undertaker

    This man clearly has somethign to hide!!!! Now the press is going to come after him very hard and dig up whatever he is hiding.

    December 17, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Anna, GA

    He didn't have to accept the offer. Suits him.

    December 17, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. obama-mama


    That's right, now you go to hell and wait there for him.

    December 17, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. man of peace

    So much hate and the haters make it so obvious to those of us in this country and around the world. When are you going to understand that one of the reasons for the dark side of our history, and so many of the negative opinions around the world are because of people just like you. The world is watching you, but I doubt that you have the intellect to care. In spite of your hate, most of us in this country believe that President-Elect Obama will make this country a better place.....EVEN FOR YOU!

    The good news is that YOU are the new minority and you should die out in about a generation. See Ya.

    December 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Tricia

    He is allowed to say 'no' w/o it being a big deal for either individual. Ya'll are really reading too much into this one.

    Don't make it so personal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Paul

    So Obama's next choice for this position will have to say to himself "Obama had to settle for me." Bummer....

    I wonder how many of these people posting would say "what a great pick!" if he had accepted. People are so fickle.

    December 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Edward

    LOL at all of the people who are saying that Obama will make thigs worst. I don't know where you've been but things can't get much worst that they are now .... the only place we can go is up.

    December 17, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Silly Liberals

    Always entertaining reading the ignorance of so many (not all) of you liberal whacks! Where is the so-called unity many of you preached about? This guy turns down a job with the Almighty One, and you immediately tear him down. What you need to examine is why he made this decision!

    And please, attempt to proofread your comments before you post. Trying to figure out the nonsense you are typing is nearly impossible with your horrendous spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc. Hopefully, Obama will immediately establish a government-funded proofreading program for Silly Liberals.

    December 17, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Rebekah from TX

    This guy was obviously a loser...Obama will find someone better. It is an HONOR to be considered for Obama's cabinet!

    December 17, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. JAC

    @The time has Come ... try spellcheck before you call someone an idiot ...

    December 17, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    usualy when a politicians rejects an oppurtunity to be in a presidential administration it means they have some stuff that needs to remain in the closet well hidden. Obama has enough drama with the media creating drama ala Blagoiviech. I enjoy how you trolls continue to try and cal Obama a messiah...just oges to show how insecure you are to project that falsehood onto him. So what he drew big crowds of people, so what if he inspired people...isn't that what you would want a president to do...inspire instead of invoking fear, stress, hate and anger?

    December 17, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Charles P

    I think Becerra may have his own personal reasons for not taking the Job, however at this point and time we need to work together to better the USA to the best of our abilities.

    December 17, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Francisco in NY

    Good for Becerra! This was a token offer to appease latinos for tipping the vote in his favor. Hopefully people will wake up and see Obama for what he really is.

    December 17, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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