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. Get Over It

    Still so much hate being posted. Rather than spew your venom, why not get up out of your chair and actually be a contributing member of society – join a local organization, volunteer your time, – no matter your political affiliation. Just do something positive to help this country. Hasn't there been enough hate spread around this world to last you a life time or is that what really gets you going?

    Hate it here in the USA so much? Move somewhere else.

    And you each know to whom I refer.

    December 17, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Phil in KC

    So, if this guy can't be one of the big players on the team, he doesn't want to play at all? I guess it's all about him and not service to country.

    December 17, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Tricia, Florida

    He is entitled to say no; just like the president elect is entitled to make the offer. That's what democracy is all about.

    Let's not make a big deal out of this people.

    Don't make this a personal tit for tat. A black vs. hispanic dis'

    Too many serious issues facing us now, let's try not add to it.

    December 17, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. WhoCares?

    "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."

    So by this statement to think that US Soldiers that "DO" what our President asks are all Nazi's?

    Wow..Nice pure Black & White world you live in...Must be nice.

    December 17, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Minneapple gal

    News FLASH REpublicans and racist:



    December 17, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Frank

    I wonder why, what's the stench?

    December 17, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Arkansas Undertaker

    Obama needs to start turning to some southern democrats as well as well as latinos.

    December 17, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. The Real Issue

    Becerra has every right to refuse a particular position. We are in the United States of America and I will agree with him on one point. Trade is not going to be the main target of this administration. We need to take care of home first and that means jobs....and the economy. What we could do however is reduce Trade of vitals industries such as textiles, foreign cars, and other made somewhere else.....We need Americans to work, save and spend....That's what America is all about!!!!

    December 17, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Li Li

    He seems to be self serving to me. He wants to make sure he can stay where he feels he's most important. He's just ego tripping like so many in politics. You know what would be funny though if it turns out that whoever takes that position becomes center of attention after all the economy is his number one focus and the last time I checked trade could have a pretty big effect on it. He probably couldn't stand up to the pressure anyway.

    December 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. JEO

    all of you cynics, will tuck obama in bed soon.i guarentee it

    December 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. WhoCares?

    "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….."

    Oh yes... The TRUE AMERICAN here.

    Let the U.S. burn and put millions of US citizens with families out of jobs so we can get back at a politcial party.

    So many traitors to the Amercian way it's pathetic.

    December 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Crystal

    Trade is important but it is not priority #1. If we are not producing enough goods/services in the U.S. to trade then I don't see the immediate benefit. Currently the state of our economy prohibits the jobs necessary for the production of goods/services that we could export.

    I agree with a previous comment that the position offered is not big enough for Becerra's ego.

    As for the comment that we are going from bad to worse with President Obama is naive. Things are going to get worse before they get better regardless if Obama or McCain was the new President-elect because our current President has dropped the bottom out of nation. It's not going to be an easy fix for anyone.

    December 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Eric

    He was only tapped because he was a Hispanic and Latinos/Hispanics are making a big deal because there aren't "enough" people who share their heritage in the upcoming admin yet. I'm glad he's staying in the House, there's a lot of work to be done and Obama can't be pulling people left and right out of congress for his admin. Who will be left to push the agenda through Capitol Hill?

    December 17, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Li Li

    PS I have two words for all the people on this site who are bashing Obama. Stop hatin'

    December 17, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Andy

    Wonder if Obama threw his shoe at him

    December 17, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Meh

    I love how my comments never show up.

    December 17, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Frank

    Did everyone see Dick Cheney take responsibility for his actions. A man of conviction. A man or principal. I man who calls it like it is.

    Did everyone see Obama change his position on the Iraq war, on Gitmo, on accepting public financing? A man who blows with the political winds.

    Did everyone see Pelosi's blank stare when asked about torture. She sat in meetings where she was told about the waterboarding and her only response was to question whether or not we were doing enough. Then in public, when others found out about the waterboarding, she acted all upset and said that torture would not be tolerated. Now that Obama is in, she's softening her stance.

    What's next, tapping private phone conversations between terrorists will become ok? Oh wait, they are already caving on that too.

    Change the gullable can believe in.

    December 17, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Stephen

    Mosst of these comments sound like sore losers to me. Any man has a right to ask and any man has a right to refure. No big deal.

    December 17, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Beca

    I am glad he won't stay with Obama, smart man!

    December 17, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Doug from Allentown

    "...He does not look like someone should be offered top priority job anyway..."

    How exactly does one need to 'look' to be offered a top job?

    December 17, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. NY republican

    Wow – now here's an ego the job won't be the top 3 priorities so he doesn't want it.

    To "time has come" – why is it that it's always the people that can't spell that call other people "idiots"?

    December 17, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Lance Coardill

    marginal bit player with the "right name" at best. All these people are fungible. Time to move on. Legends in own minds....

    December 17, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. bill b

    ( To OLD TIMER ): It's people like yourself who think that ( lying, Killer Bush and Corrupt Chaney ) has done nothing wrong to this country in the last 8yrs. Let me remind you, just in case you've been living in a cave for 8yrs: 1: Lied to the country about WMDs in Iraq. 2: thousands of innocent American troops are dead b/c of this liar, O wait and still counting. 3: thousands of Iraqis are dead b/c of this liar, O yeah, and still counting. 4: billions of dollars spend in that invasion of Iraq, and still counting. 5: Sat back a watch a major U.S. city drown for 5 days before he responded, ( Hurricane Katrina ), one hundred plus people died. 6: Mortgage collapse. 7: banking indust. collapsing. 8: thousand of people losing their jobs, and still counting. 9: the U.S. hated all over the world b/c of this idiot. 10: 19% approve rating. So (Old Timer ), I guess those things are not important to you, I guess b/c Obama will make a few mistakes, that's far worst than the things ( Lying Killer Bush and corrupt Chaney ) has done to this country in your eyes. Let me guess you voted for ( Sarah Palin ), if so, that tells the whole story. A TRUE NUT !!!!!!!!!!! Country first my A#$ !!!!!!

    December 17, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Phoenix

    Let me ask you guys a question. What is so threatening about Obama that all you can do is make hateful remarks? First, he can't be compared with Bush because Bush had a record of destroying everything he was ever put over including our country. I don't see anyone griping about his record, is it because he is a white male? When will we get over the resentment that a black man who worked hard for everything he has EARNED finally got payback. It's sad. I am so glad that as a teacher, I see openmindedness and love in the future generations. There is a reason why the man said no, and I'm sure they are respected. I will pray for whomever takes his spot.

    December 17, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Doug from Allentown


    "...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..."

    He is a Democrat. I know, I know. Hard to believe that a Democrat would say no to the chosen one.

    December 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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