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. M. Taylor

    Everyone has a right to say no and I am sure that there are many other qualified applicants that will be able to lead that portfolio. This is only a big deal to those who think it is a big deal to "say no" to President-Elect Obama. I am sure the congressman will have a lot of air time in the next five years. He can also join with the Republicans in defeating honourable policy decisions that will benefit the American people. It is no big deal. He can now cut out the article, frame it and boast about if for years to come.

    December 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Andy

    @Obama-Mama Don't throw that shoe woman, I'll go anywhere that's free of Democrats

    December 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. tfc

    Deport him!

    December 17, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Erik in Iowa City

    Of course, trade is not going to be the No.1 issue of the new administration, but it will be wrapped up in what actually is the No.1 issue, the economy. Perhaps Rep. Becerra didn't want to act as spokesman for positions he didn't agree with. I can respect him, if that's the case.

    December 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. shaun

    It's funny to see all the Obama haters posting indirect insults against him to vent their anger and frustration from losing the election. I guess some people just can't let go, but guess what? Yes we did, and no you didn't.


    seattle, wa

    December 17, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Virginia

    Smart move, I'd say.

    December 17, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Marc

    Given the current state of the economy see people just wanting/wishing that things get worse just to 'proudly' say 'TOLD YA!!!" is sick. None of you guys have any proofs that BHO IS going to sink the country.
    PROOFS, not what Rush Limbaugh, Savage and the likes says in their shows (without never bothering to explain how they came to the conclusion in a rational way), but anything that can be considered by someone reasonable that does not (yet) share the same point of view of you would consider as a valid evidence.
    But you probably are still doubting that he's American, so...

    December 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. cal

    Without a doubt the smartest, not clean, but smartest candidate yet. Boy, Obama hasn't entered the office yet, and he's already degraded the office and people don't respect him. How do you expect repubs and conservs to respect him if dems and libs don't. Stop the hating you dems and libs and support the prez to be, lol.

    December 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Eve Catherine

    Don't be such drama queens! Obviously trade ins't one of Obama priorities and Rep. Becerra has a very powerful job in Congress so he just wants to kepp it. It's no big deal.

    December 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Ramirez

    For all you idiots who continue the negative attacks on Obama. Let me remind you morons – can I call you morons? – let me remind you morons that for the majority of the last 8 – o.k, I'll spell it out for you – EIGHT – years – your beloved Bush and his Republican run Congress – have brought this country to its knees.

    Obama hasn't even set foot in the White House and you're blaming you present lot in life on him. There's NO where else to go in this country but UP.

    All of you so called Obama haters – read a freakin' book about the process....or did you burn those too because they scare you and the words are too tough to pronounce? Freakin' idiots

    December 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. An observer

    The time has Come, you should not rage THE OLD TIMER when you have not even learned to spell. Way to go smart one...............

    December 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. G

    Oh well just find someone else Next!

    December 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Gene

    Bacerra just knows that Obama will work him to the bone... like he's going to work everyone else to the bone...

    Congress has become a place where the people are spoiled with cushy jobs and little responsibility other than filling their own pockets and casting votes.

    December 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Bosworth

    How dare he turn down the Great Obama! Now, Obama will use his magic powers to punish this insolence!

    December 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. richard

    Can't wait for Obama to get in office so I can throw my shoe at him.
    I plan to treat Obama just like the democrats treated Bush, so it won't be hatefull when I follow their lead.

    December 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. IRISH

    Pretty good. By not taking the job, if he disagrees with Obama, he doesn't stand the chance of being fired.

    December 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Darell in WPB Fla

    TO OLD TIMER: Dont worry Im sure that your trustworthy unbiased FOX NEWS Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly will be at the forefront for and anything negative against this administration so Im sure you will have your warped view reported. I have nothing against the senior citizens of our nation we will all be old one day but my problems with most of the Repubs which obvioulsy reflects mostly old white men and women is that your unrelentless in not wanting to change, you're always satisfied with how things are because thats what you grew up with, you think nothing about the future of your children or Grandchildren

    December 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Sounds to me like this guy knows nothing about multi-tasking and uses tunnel vision only which we've seen for the last 8 years.

    December 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. rena

    Bottom line. He's afraid and can't handle the challenge. What fool who has been vetted to this job wouldn't take it; unless if himself feel he is unqualified. At least the lationos can't say BO didn't offer their race a job in the administration. BO always trying to give someone the benefit of the doubt, even though he vetts pretty tough.

    You gotta love this guy. Haters and racists need to seek the true ONE (Jesus Christ). Your souls are in danger of HELL fire!

    December 17, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Daniel

    Fall ...comes after Pride...The pride and arrogance of the young man shows in his face. Obama, you have our support. He is looking for a priority job, lets see his resume...

    December 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. yasmine

    Arkansas Undertaker, I agree that there might be big skeletons in this guys closet ... so he turned down the job ... in any case... NEXT...

    Our president, Obama, is handling things very well.............

    December 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |

    so somebody think lawyers in politics ruines the country

    if so good luck America you did it again......!!!!!!!!!!!!


    December 17, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Antonio from KY

    I feel where that guy is coming from. He probably doesn't want to deal with the mess of working for and in the white house. Hey, you can't knock him because he didn't want it. He probably loves the job he has. In congress he will have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. I can understand where he is coming from.

    December 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  24. Sweetie

    Good for Xavier!

    This is the bad news we are about to experience....

    Obama is so inexperienced he doesn't realize the importance of Trade!!

    Welcome to the HELL of Carter II....

    Those of you too young to remember the hell of Carter I will never vote for or trust an inexperienced Liberal again!

    December 17, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  25. Lhill

    I believe the reason that Becerra declined the position that Obama offered is because something in his background check did not go through smoothly, so to save Becerra dignity, Obama just allowed him to say he refused the position. Inconjunction, when Valarie Jarrett was supposed to get the senate seat and it did not go through, the media was told that she refused the position and took the advisory position instead. I believe Obama has made some great choices. No one man does not change that fact, maybe Mr. Becerra had personal reasons why he could not accept the position.

    December 17, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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