January 4th, 2009
02:03 PM ET
13 years ago

Sources: Bill Richardson withdrawing as Cabinet nominee


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.

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(Full statements from Obama and Richardson after the jump)

It is with deep regret that I accept Governor Bill Richardson's decision to withdraw his name for nomination as the next Secretary of Commerce. Governor Richardson is an outstanding public servant and would have brought to the job of Commerce Secretary and our economic team great insights accumulated through an extraordinary career in federal and state office. It is a measure of his willingness to put the nation first that he has removed himself as a candidate for the Cabinet in order to avoid any delay in filling this important economic post at this critical time. Although we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson's decision, I look forward to his future service to our country and in my administration.


For nearly three decades, I have been honored to serve my state and our nation in Congress, at the U.N., as Secretary of Energy and as governor. So when the President-elect asked me to serve as Secretary of Commerce, I felt a duty to answer the call.I felt that duty particularly because America is facing such extraordinary economic challenges. The Department of Commerce must play an important role in solving them by helping to grow the new jobs and businesses America so badly needs.

It is also because of that sense of urgency about the work of the Commerce Department that I have asked the President-elect not to move forward with my nomination at this time.I do so with great sorrow. But a pending investigation of a company that has done business with New Mexico state government promises to extend for several weeks or, perhaps, even months.

Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact. But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process.Given the gravity of the economic situation the nation is facing, I could not in good conscience ask the President-elect and his Administration to delay for one day the important work that needs to be done.

So, for now, I will remain in the job I love, Governor of New Mexico, and will continue to work every day, with Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish, to make a positive difference in the lives of New Mexicans. I believe she will be a terrific governor in the future.I appreciate the confidence President-elect Obama has shown in me, and value our friendship and working partnership. I told him that I am eager to serve in the future in any way he deems useful. And like all Americans, I pray for his success and the success of our beloved country.

soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Pat F

    @Carramea, that's rich, a Democrat lecturing to Republicans about getting over losses. Gore lost to Bush in Florida eight years ago, but the Democrats haven't gotten over that to this day. That's right, Gore LOST – every recount by independent new organizations showed that Gore lost. That election was not stolen, it was lost by everyone's favorite chubby tree hugger, Gore.

    Note to Democrats: Repeating lies for eight years does not make them true.

    January 4, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Bill

    We'll see more of this stuff as time goes by. There will be a sewer of sleaze disclosed before the Obama reign is finished. Some of it could have been disclosed before the election but the msm chose not to do so.

    January 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |

    I wonder how long Cnn will keep this open like they do Gov.Palin.

    January 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. chris@stl

    I applaud Gov. Richardson's decision .... I wish that idiot Gov from IL also do the same immediately .... He is a cancer to IL and to the democratic party.

    January 4, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Lynne

    So haters still trying to pin everything that happens as a failure of the President-elect?? LOL...get over it, Jan 20th is STILL HAPPENING....so hate in vain!

    January 4, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Y is NE One Surprised?

    Obama continuing to be surrounded by crooks and thugs?? I'm shocked!! It's not that he failed to properly vett Richardson, it's that no one (especially the MSM) properly vetted the shady Chicago politician Obama.

    January 4, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. Jack/ret.

    Richard: "The withdrawal, whether the charges are true or not shows a real integrity not usually observed in a politician."
    We don't know that. . Does that nake him a man of integrity? Perhaps Obama gave him a choice...withdraw or the boot. If these allegations are true, he's a crook. No intregrity in that. (I've always liked Richardson but, if he's a bum, I admit to being fooled).

    January 4, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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