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

Sources: Bill Richardson withdrawing as Cabinet nominee

ALT TEXT

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)

STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT ELECT BARACK OBAMA:
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.

STATEMENT OF GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON:

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. cph9680

    Sweet. That man is sooo annoying. He needs to get lost.

    January 4, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. richard rohde

    The withdrawal, whether the charges are true or not shows a real integrity not usually observed in a politician. I applaud Governor Richardson on his ethics and wish others Democratic (Charlie Rangel) or Republican (Larry Craig) would follow his example.

    January 4, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. Texas Teacher

    hmmmm.... no comment.....

    January 4, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Stephen

    first

    January 4, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Puff

    We have all known this guy was a loser when he backed BO anyway. What did they call him, oh yeah, Judas.
    Go back to NM where you belong.

    January 4, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. keyser

    The corruption never really ends, does it.

    January 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Larry of Boston

    Nice vetting Mr Obama ........ NOT

    January 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. Maria Loi

    It is about time he does that, not fit for that job!

    January 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Carramea

    My kudos for Richardson for withdrawing when he is under investigation for corruption and taking campaign contributions. While I believe he is innocent till proven guilty , this would be another distraction from Obama getting the presidency up and running . Another possible corrupt politician, and Richardson wanted to be VP ,or even President. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are showing how deep the cancer of corruption in politics has become. I thought he was an honorable man, if hes found guilty I hope hes impeached, if hes innocent then I will have respect for him for giving up his post

    January 4, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Karwolo

    Well he should not have accepted it in the first place. Obama betrayed him by choosing Clinton. This has nothing to do with race or Clinton, but it's about loyalty. Richardson backed Obama over Clinton and Obama blindsided him.

    January 4, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Matt of Chicago

    It seems – listening to some campaign folks – that Richardson agreed to drop out of the Democratic race and endorse Obama – in exchange for payment from Obama -- a Cabinet post

    January 4, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Willy Fischer, San Francisco, CA

    If this is true (that Bill Richardson is withdrawing his consideration for a cabinet post) it is a major setback for Obama. Many Latinos will not be happy to hear this.

    January 4, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Why

    Why??

    January 4, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Daniel

    Wow, this is a surprise...Wonder why he did it.

    January 4, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. honestly

    The Clintons wouldn't have anything to do with this? ... NO.

    January 4, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. sammy

    What is going on here?......why are all these people suddenly causing a disruption for the Obama administration....

    January 4, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. Sherrol in Canada

    Could this be one of the reasons Pres-elect Obama did not c ite Bill Richardson for Secretary of State? Did the Obama vetting process uncover this months ago?

    January 4, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. susie

    Another Governor (Democrat) bites the dust. Two Democrats in a row, within a month.

    January 4, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Disillusioned

    My political cynicism grows and grows... Truly, I am so sad.

    January 4, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Carramea

    Puff do you haters of Obama ever stop? Obama won got over it. This is about Richardson, Obama is going to be your president for at least 4 years. Is it possible for you OMG A BLACK man is going to be president haters to stop the rhetoric and discuss something else?

    January 4, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Goritzia

    Integrity????? He withdrew because he got caught!

    January 4, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. Debby

    The turncoat gets his payback.

    January 4, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Kaci

    Not to fear. Richardson is an intelligent, experienced man with integrity. You can be sure with his resume, he won't be resigned to spendinig his day taking unwarranted shots a people on CNN's comment boards. He has a life.

    January 4, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. BURNS

    DEMS ALREADY JUMPING A SINKING SHIP DAH WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT-–O9 GETTING OFF ON A GOOD START----
    ALL BIG CHALLENGES ARE BEING LOOKED AT AND THE IN
    FIGHTING BEGINS. PROMISES ONLY WORK IF THOSE WHO
    MAKE THEM GOES INTO ACTION. NO PLANS AND NO TROOPS
    ON THE GROUND. RATS ON THE RUN. I BELIEVE WE HAVE SEEN
    THIS FROM THE NIXON FOLKS.

    NAM VET NH

    January 4, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Nameless in New Mexico

    This is not a surprise if you live in New Mexico and have any familiarity with the real Bill. Enough Said.

    January 4, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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