WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House officials are pouring cold water on North Korea's claim that it is "owed" direct talks with the Obama administration after a meeting Wednesday with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
Senior Obama administration officials said the six-party talks are still the proper venue for such a dialogue, and the officials stressed that Richardson was not negotiating on the president's behalf.
"Our policy toward North Korea remains today as it has been - calling for the complete de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," said one of the senior administration officials. "We believe the six-party talks are the best forum for that. The bottom line is the ball is in North Korea's court."
The officials said North Korea can choose one of two paths, either continued provocation by testing missiles or a more peaceful road in which they live up to previous commitments.
SANTA FE, New Mexico (CNN) - North Korea believes it's owed bilateral talks with the United States after the communist government released two detained American journalists this month, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Wednesday after meeting with two North Korean diplomats.
"They feel, the North Koreans, that by giving us the two American journalists that they've made an important gesture," Richardson said on CNN's "Situation Room." "And now they're saying the ball's in our court."
The visit comes on the heels of a trip to the communist nation by former President Bill Clinton to gain the release of the two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling. During the visit Clinton met with reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, whose government is under U.N. sanctions for its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons program.
"They do feel they are owed a gesture on the U.S. part," Richardson said, adding, "I don't believe that should be the case because this was a
humanitarian gesture that needed to happen."
The North Korean diplomats felt Clinton's trip, while a humanitarian one, helped "thaw relations" and gave North Korea "international prestige,"
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two top North Korean diplomats were traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to hold talks with Gov. Bill Richardson, the governor's spokesman said.
Kim Myong Gil and Taek Jong Ho, senior diplomats with the North Korean mission to the United Nations, left New York on Tuesday and are scheduled for a two-day meeting with Richardson, said a U.S. source with knowledge of the visit and a senior State Department official.
Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has traveled to North Korea several times in the past, most recently in April 2007 to secure the return of remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the Korean War.
The U.S. source with knowledge of the visit said that the North Koreans had asked Richardson for the meeting.
Richardson would listen to what the North Koreans had to say but would not do any negotiating, the source said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Bill Clinton's campaign-year resentment of President Obama is a thing of the past, according to a lengthy profile of the former president in Sunday's New York Times Magazine - but he hasn't quite come to terms with the Kennedy family's decision to back Obama over Hillary Clinton during the primary season.
Clinton reportedly has yet to make his peace with Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Massachusetts senator's niece, Caroline, over their high-profile endorsements of Barack Obama during the primaries.
The Times, also citing unnamed sources, says Clinton harbors hard feelings toward New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who held several posts in the Clinton administration but who chose to endorse Obama instead of Hillary Clinton.
The former president has adjusted to his wife's new role on the international stage. "She used to look forward to me coming home from wherever I've been," Clinton says in the magazine article. "Now I'm afraid I'll be second fiddle to whatever world leader she's just met.
Later, he added: "... We've reversed roles."
Clinton also made clear that his vast network of global contacts and knowledge of world affairs is always available to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "'If she asks, I tell her what I think,'" the former president says in the profile. "And if there's something that's going on that I feel that I have particular knowledge of, I say that.'"
(CNN) - Bill Richardson's withdrawal from his commerce secretary nomination Sunday didn't just leave a major gap in the new administration, but it also sorely disappointed Latinos who view the New Mexico governor as their most prominent representative.
"We are hugely disappointed. It's a stunned community out there," said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
"He is a very well-recognized leader not just in the Latino community but in this country and he has a long record of public service," she said.
(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson spoke out foir the first time since withdrawing his nomination as secretary of commerce, citing the distraction of a federal investigation into ties to a company that has done business with his state.
Speaking to reporters Monday, he said that he underestimated how long the investigation would take, calling it an "untenable delay" likely to hinder his confirmation process.
Watch: Richardson speaks out
Two Democratic officials told CNN the investigation involves a California company that won municipal bond business in New Mexico after contributing money to various Richardson causes.
Gov. Richardson and President-elect Obama announced Richardson's decision to withdraw Sunday. (Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is withdrawing his nomination as Commerce Secretary, two Democratic officials told CNN's Ed Henry on Sunday.
The Democratic officials said Richardson cited the distraction of a federal investigation into his ties to a California company that won municipal bond business in New Mexico after contributing money to various Richardson causes.
Richardson, one of the best-known Hispanics in the Democratic Party, served as the energy secretary in the Clinton administration as well as ambassador to the United Nations.
(Full statements from Obama and Richardson after the jump)
(CNN) – They call him “Rahmbo.” In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, Rahm Emanuel is known for his tough tactics as a power on Capitol Hill, but sources close to him say there is more to the man than meets the eye. CNN’s Alina Cho takes a closer look at the pit bull politician, Barack Obama’s new chief of staff.
Plus: Barack Obama promised healthcare reform before the economy crumbled. Can the president-elect still keep his word? CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the latest “Memo to the President.”
Also: Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden - it seems that those who ran against the president-elect get a place in his cabinet. CNN’s Frank Sesno takes a look at Obama’s team of rivals.
Finally: Congress may be in love with its new half-billion dollar Capitol Hill visitor’s center, but there is no love for the lawmakers. CNN’s Jim Acosta reports.
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(CNN) – Gov. Bill Richardson showed up to his press conference with President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday morning without the beard he has been sporting since dropping out of the presidential race in January, sparking his new boss to tell reporters he is "deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard."
"I'm going to answer this question about the beard," said Obama, when Richardson was asked where the facial hair went. "I think it was a mistake for him to get rid of it. I thought that whole Western, rugged look was really working for him.
"For some reason, maybe because it was scratchy when he kissed his wife, he was forced to get rid of it.," Obama continued as his nominee for commerce secretary smiled broadly. "But we're deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard."
Obama didn't let Richardson answer the question, but the New Mexico governor told Esquire Magazine in an interview posted online Wednesday that "After the campaign, I grew a beard as a rebellion against those consultants who told me I had to comb my hair, shave, lose weight. I said, You know, I’m gonna do what I want now. That was a good feeling."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama announced New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his pick for secretary of commerce on Wednesday, calling him a "leading economic diplomat for America."
"I know that Bill will be an unyielding advocate for American business and American jobs, at home and around the world. And I look forward to working with him in the years ahead," Obama said at a news conference in Chicago, Illinois.
Richardson, one of the best-known Hispanics in the Democratic Party, served as the energy secretary in the Clinton administration as well as being the ambassador to the United Nations.
With the announcement, Richardson becomes the third former presidential rival to join Obama's team. Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's pick for secretary of state, also competed for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Richardson on Wednesday called it a "great honor" to be chosen for the post.
Watch Richardson describe how Commerce can push economic recovery
"There are some who speak of a team of rivals, but I've never seen it that way. Past competitors? Yes. But rivals implies something harder-edged and less forgiving. And in the worlds of diplomacy and commerce, you open markets and minds not with rivalry, but instead with partnership and innovation and hard work," Richardson said.