December 17th, 2008
11:11 AM ET
14 years ago

Becerra says no to Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. gl, Pittsburgh

    Andy – You haters will be the minority real soon. People of color will be the majority and while the white race fade away year after the year.

    December 17, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. andrea

    Clearly he is not a fit (for whatever many or few reasons), and he was gracious enough to conclude this. I won't speculate on why but, I admire his recognition and declination. He does look like trouble for the cast and wise to stay away.

    December 17, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    How can he think that trade will not be a top priority when facing an economic crisis that will require equal attention given to trade as well as environment, infrastructure, education and even agriculture!

    December 17, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. nikko

    he didn't want to get his hands someone's chief of staff

    December 17, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. nikko

    he didn't want to get his hands dirty...unlike someone's chief of staff...

    December 17, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. god bless usa

    --after picking hill clinton for the sec of state...i dont trust obama anymore....i voted for him cuz, he said he'll bring change,,, but he fooled me...

    December 17, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. mm

    He is hiding something.

    December 17, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. john wilson,Pa

    This guy is making more money than secretary of trade.he also has something that unfinished bussiness.He got something for sale!

    December 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. PA

    It's frustrating reading half of your posts–Some of you unnecessarily find faults and incessantly belittle President-elect Obama and others in the Party. Seriously? For those of you that say he's egotistical or makes poor decisions–He's one of the sharpest people in politics. He came from "humbling" beginnings and worked hard, earning his way to some of the best schools in our country. Most of you that constantly rag on him, ask yourself... are you finding faults with him or yourself?

    December 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Dee Ousley

    From reading some of the previous comments, it's some pretty sick people out there. Is it a crime to be happy in the job? Some people are reading far to much into Rep. Becerra saying no, and need to grow up. Obama can't do anymore damage to our country or our ecomony than Bush and his administration has already done. I guess if we had voted for McCain/Palin it would be all peaches and cream right now. We're in a very big mess and we better figure out how to start working together and get it fixed, instead of continuing to sling mud at someone who has not even sworn in yet. This is still Bush's watch until Jan. 20, 2009 so stop blaming President-Elect Obama for everything that has already happened. Some of you are filled with so much hate and ignorence that you won't give Obama a fair chance. You were willing to sacrafice yourselves and family by voting for McCain/Palin to get more of Bush's love for america just because Obama is part African American, and was given his fathers name, WOW. WAKE UP PEOPLE, we all know that Bush wasn't elected by the people. We know that Bush, other high ranking Republicans in Congress, his brother, and the supreme court stole the presidency to do exactly what is being done to us, but people were willing to stand behind him anyway. Now the rich is very rich, and the poor is worse off as always. I'm glad there will finally be someone actually occupying that office, because as far as I am concerned, that office has been empty for the past 8 year because Bush wasn't elected, so he wasn't there. Oh, by the way just because Obama is from Chicago, doesn't mean he is a lying thief like your boy. Just because Obama is Black doesn't mean he's bad.

    December 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. Cynthia

    Oh well, who cares ..... NEXT!!!!!!!!

    December 17, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. No incumbents 2010

    He said No to Obama? Doesn't he know who Obama is?

    December 17, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. obama realist

    What a smart man! Obama is nothinig but hype from the media – no experience, no proven leadership, no proven ability. Let's see how we spiral...

    December 17, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. deb in Colo

    @ Jeff who said:
    "Obama denied! That is just awesome……and has to humble a guy who has the most arrogant personality and biggest ego of anyone I have seen on television (yes…including Hollywood stars)."
    DUDE!! Take off the blinders – have you listened to BUSH or CHANEY in the last week alone. Talk about ARROGANCE.

    December 17, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Scott

    Maybe Rep. Becerra didn't want to be out of a job in four years when Obama finish his one an only term.

    December 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |


    December 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Merck

    Becerra will take the job LATER for sure, as HE WANTS TO

    Who would like to be regarded SECOND GRADE after Becerra
    refused to make use of his FIRST OPTION!?

    Of course it's neccessary to be enthusiastic in politics, but
    it's more important for EXPERIENCED HIGH RANK MANAGERS of the
    administration to make sure that they are not obliged to just
    OBAY ORDERS like Recruits in the Army have to do,
    to learn their job to survive and win on the battlefield.

    December 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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