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.

Full story

(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. Puff

    Hey Carramea, get off the hope dope. You will start to see many strange things from here on out. Your man is NOT what you think he is. Try reading his bible, Rules for Radicals, then come back and tell me to get over him. This time next year you will be out on the streets with your tin cup. BO will make sure the USA becomes a 2nd rate country. He is a joke and always will be right along with his worshippers.

    January 4, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Jenkins

    This is NOT the way we ALL expected Obama's transition to go. There's been more scandal than anyone can imagine. This does NOT bode well for his presidency.

    January 4, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Cheryl Tx

    TO-Matt of Chicago January 4th, 2009 1:58 pm ET
    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.............Shut your LYING LIPS

    January 4, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Last Honest Man

    Not a Democrat....Oh my God....what has the world come to. Its your time under the microscope. This is going to be fun.

    January 4, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. DC Observer

    Do not fret Mexican Americans and illegal latinos - when you watch C Span on TV to tune into the cabinet meetings, just press SAP on the television set and everyone will be speaking in Spanish - it will be just like the real thing.

    January 4, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. casper

    at least he seems to be doing the right thing by withdrawing, so many of the others that were caught are still in denial that they even did anything wrong,( chicargos governor, alaskas governor, rangel, craig, etc., etc., etc.

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Should never have shaved the beard

    As soon as Richardson shaved his beard and moustache off, the FEDS recognized him

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. BB

    At least he's pulling away before the disruptions cause problems. I admire that.

    Look at the mess that Gov. in Illinois is causing. THAT's the governor that needs to go away. NOW. Blago

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Kim

    Well, at least he has enough integrity to decline the nomination if he feels this investigation could bring delay or dishonor to Obama's presidency.

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Dani

    This president's people already in trouble. Oh yeah, this'll be MUCH better than Bush.

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Perusing-Through

    WHAT ? ? ?

    Say it ain't so Bill . . . . . . please, say it ain't so!!!!

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. PA Dem

    Why would Latinos be angry with Pres-elect Obama. It was Richardson that resigned. Again, no drama!!!!!!!!

    And for all those saying they are disillusioned with politics now, grow up. I know DC (and politics) well enough to be a little cynical. Politicians are so closely linked with corporations and special interests that this is inevitable. What we look for is someone of character who in spite of all that, is truly looking to better this nation and the world. I'm not angry with Pres. Bush because he is wealthy, connected to big oil and is a republican. My issue with him is that he has flipped this country the bird...given us the big moon! He could care less about us. He and Dick Cheney have brought this country to its knees. That's why I'm angry with him.

    That being said, this country is resilient. We will bounce back, Dems and Repubs and reclaim what's ours! We will also fight the right fight and bring our military home! I pray only the best for this new administration. Its success means our success!

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Ah, Brutus gets his due....

    What goes around, comes around. The guy knifed Hillary in the back
    and now it's time to pay the piper. Justice still prevails.

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Willy Fischer

    Carramea: I like the fact that you put that little word 'may' in your response.

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Mike

    Thank goodness for the high standards set by Obama for all potential employees to meet.

    January 4, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Joan

    That’s called Karma, Bill. You screw over the people who got you where you are and those people get to be Secretary of State and you get to be guest commentator on huffpost. Justice is sweet.

    January 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Steve

    I am curious if the media will give this the same attention as they would if it was a Republican....time will tell.

    January 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. SMR

    Withdraws or forced to withdraw, thats the question? Obama will run a honest ship, so we will find out about the story of Richardson later.Obama needs no more distractions,his plate is overflowing as it is.:(

    January 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Another Liberal Bites The Dust

    1 down. About a dozen more to go. Corruption runs DEEP with the liberal scum Let's hope the card holding member of the communist party selected for Labor Sec is next.

    January 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Jar

    What's next for the Democrats? This is why I am nonpartisan now, why should a party like this define me? GROW UP DEMS! Sickening.

    January 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Michael

    Typical and unsurprising – New Mexico corruption runs rampant in the state (based on direct experience).

    January 4, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. La Chatte

    Karma is amazing! Bill "Bad Rug" Richardson who, to a large extent, owes his political career to Bill Clinton, seems to be about to receive what he so richly deserves. During the (corrupt) nomination process, he supported Hillary until one day when he surprised a lot of folks by backing Obama– in spite of all the comments he had made as to Obama's lack of experience. Then there were those little rumors about The Rug becoming Secretary of State. Coincidence– or an unholy alliance? Oops. And now– a federal investigation serious enough to make him withdraw as recipient of the booby prize...er Commerce position. LMAO

    January 4, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Who was Michael Connell?

    Growing that beard was a dead giveaway.lmao.Guess he didnt think he would be recognized.Stop the partisanship.The two greatest crooks in US.history,Ben Bernachi and Henry Paulson are planning their getaway,while we squabble over this stuff.

    January 4, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. dave

    "change is on the way"

    latest development in the "do as i say and not as i do" administration.

    January 4, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. American Citizentry

    Unfortunate. It's the nation's loss. He is one of the smartest and most well rounded members of the cabinet.

    I'm sure Team Obama will have a solid second pick in a few weeks.

    January 4, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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