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.

Full story

(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. ANDY AMES

    I'M FROM NEW MEXICO, WE ARE TICKLED TO DEATH THAT OUR BILL IS STAYING HERE IN NEW MEXICO WHERE HE HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BEST GOV.'S WE HAVE EVER HAD!
    YOU ARE NOT HURTING OUR FEELINGS BY COMMENTS LIKE "GO HOME WHERE YOU BELONG", BECAUSE WE BELIEVE THAT "HOME" IS WHERE HE "BELONGS" AND WE ARE GLAD HE'S STAYING.
    AND PLEASE STAY WHERE "YOU" BELONG, WE DON'T NEED ANY TOURISTS WITH RACIAL AGENDAS HERE IN THE "LAND OF ENCHANTMENT"! THERE'S A REASON WE HAVE THAT TITLE, YOU MIGHT TRY "GOOGLE"!
    BY THE WAY I'M CAUCASION WITH NO RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, OR MEMBER OF ANY GROUP OTHER THAN THE CITIZENS OF THESE UNITED STATES.
    SO THANKS FOR GIVING OUR GOV. BACK. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN CHOSEN SEC.OF STATE. IF I'M A RADICAL MUSLIM I MIGHT LISTEN TO A "JUDAS". ESPECIALLY SINCE HE BETRAYED A WOMAN.... IN YOUR OPINION. I BELIEVE HE JUST SAW A BETTER PERSON FOR PRESIDENT. BUT THAT'S JUST ME, AND 63 MILLION OTHERS, GO FIGURE?
    WE NEED TO STOP SENDING WOMEN REP.'S TO THE MIDDLE EAST TO TALK TO IDIOTS THAT THINK WOMEN ARE LOWER THAN "COW DUNG"!!!!! IT'S LIKE TRYING TO SEND MALCOM X TO CONVERT DAVID DUKE.
    ADIOS AMIGO'S,,AA

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

    For those of us who have followed and experienced Mr. Richardsons career this development is not surprising. It is sad but it is not surprising and it does not show integrity – it shows that he was finally cornered and couldn't find someone to bail him out.

    What happens to Denish now though?

    January 4, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. The Ethics of Obama

    This is what honorable public servants do. They put the Nation's interest AHEAD of their OWN.

    Per the American judicial system that we all are suppose to respect, especially anyone that should be posting on a BLOGG about Government, Politics and civic matters, Bill Richardson is innocent until proven guilty. I'm cheered to know that it won't even get to that point. This is not a criminal matter and there is ZERO hint that Richardson can be even remotely tied to ANY legal jeapordy.

    Govenor Richardson, you are a good man and we will get you on the team at a later date.

    January 4, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. pam Eugene OR

    Thank you Gov Richardson. There can not be even a hint of wrongdoings in the Obama cabinet.
    It is a shame for the Latinos but I applaud Richardson's decision.
    I can't wait to hear from all the Obama haters who will fill this blog with venom no matter how this was handled.
    Go for it haters!
    I can't wait for my new President.

    January 4, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Joseph

    darn, If Richardson is telling the truth and shows this truth to Obama, then why wouldn't Obama stand behing him and say the nomination will go foward?

    January 4, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Griff

    Who care's I have no Politics now.... Only the preservation of this Planet for all the youg Folk now and those still yet to come.. Conflict is so easy to Avoid, and so easy to stick your head in the Door... What America did /is doing will create more Conflict. That is my only input to waht America is Doing.... Race is a stupid Satement.... Black is white to me....

    January 4, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Dave

    Is the beard coming back now?

    January 4, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Perusing-Through

    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

    After all the fuss Bill made about NOT getting Hillary's U.S. Secretary of State posting; now Bill decides to drops out. Why would Bill put the Obama-Biden team and the Democratic Party in this position, especially a transition period that is high-paced, sensitive, and needs to hit the ground running come January 20th. Say it ain't so Bill, , , , , please, say it ain't so!!!

    January 4, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. G

    Oh God and here come the republicans sounding their fake outrage but when it's one of their own they are nowhere to be found. This is disappionting but stuff happens and we move on I really hope people don't blame obama for this but that would be to much to ask. He's getting blame for everything under the sun and he is not even President yet go figure.

    January 4, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. MK

    Innocent until proven guilty. That is what America stands for, right? If all of you who oppose this principal would kindly leave our Country it would be a better place for the rest of us.

    January 4, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Barb

    This is disgraceful.........these investigations happen for a reason and if you can't live a clean life you don't deserve to represent the people! Why is it that politicians seem to spend as much time getting money any way they can, as they do on their supposed jobs?

    January 4, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Matt

    "DEMS ALREADY JUMPING A SINKING SHIP DAH WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK IT—–O9 GETTING OFF ON A GOOD START————"

    You are letting your ignorance be seen, careful !

    Bill Richardson is a registered Republican in case you did not know, he even was trying to get nominated by the Republican party to become a Republican President.

    You are showing the raw, bare ignorance of the whole GOP ideology in that last post

    Congratulations.

    Matt – Seattle, WA

    January 4, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Curt

    The man doesn't want to create distractions during our Countries difficult times. Fine. I hope he is cleared of all charges and if not I will be dissapointed.

    Currently he is only under investigation. To complain about President Elect or cry out that this man is a criminal is stupidity at best. Perhaps ignorance. Regadless Politically motivated people make stupid political comments all day long. Both extreme sides are full of complete morons. I sometimes wish we could reach across the internet and slap people. It wouldn't help but it would sure feel good.

    Oh look the sun came up, Why didn't Obama make it earlier.
    There seems to be salt i the Ocean, perhaps Bush should have cleaned that up. ID Ten Tee S

    January 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. jonathan

    Clearly, it would seem of late, that there is NO politician NOT corrupted by greed and self serving interests of power and wealth.
    After all these years of Republicans being exposed left and right on every level of imaginable corruption, the Democrats seem to be proving no different.

    So.
    Why don't we get rid of each and ever single elected con artist and all their little pawns and pages through out Capital Hill, the White House and indeed all of Washington, and see if we can't start over.
    Starting premise, elected officials and their families are not allowed to make more than One Hundred Thousand per year. Ever. Their devotion to public service must be total and without financial gain of almost any sort. Period.

    January 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Ed

    Puff, how can Richardson be a loser because he backed Obama. He picked the winner (!). Maybe that's what's bothering you.

    January 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Paul

    Feds going after one of the few high profile Latinos in politics–what a surprise.

    January 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. what the?

    I like Bill Richardson and I like his statement. He is innocent until proven guilty and he is stepping aside/telling Obama not to nominate him, because he loves our country. He wants whomever fills the cabinet post to be able to put 100% into the job and he does not feel like he can do it right now. I think it is honorable and he is putting COUNTRY FIRST above his personal gains.

    January 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. DWoods

    If it is the best thing for the country and people, let it be. The less distractions, the better off. Obama is not officially the president until January 20th and already he has two wars, economic issues, stimulus package, and other issues to deal with. Richardson does not want to turn a mild headache into a migraine. Therefore, he is dealing with it appropriately. I commend him for that.

    January 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. str8tupsista

    There is a character issue in corporate America and American politics. A whole generation has grown up in this country where bad behaviour has not been punished, it has even been rewarded. Yes, there are definitely "content of character" issues that are never discussed, because in politics and corporate America, the last thing folk are interested in is the truth. People are "in it' for the power. People will do what they have to do to have power: lie, cheat and steal. I'm just glad that if it was necessary for him to do so, that he did it sooner rather than later.

    And all you armchair politicians are so quick to point the finger at the choices Mr. Obamhas made, if you think you can do so much better, why aren't you President Elect? There's a biblical story that says: how can you see the speck in your brother's eye, when you' ve got a PLANK in yours? It's so easy to sit back and judge, point fingers and criticize others. But what have you done for America lately?

    Grow up people. Every administration has its controversies. Everyday people lie too and some Americans have set the bar so high (and unjustly so) for Obama, that if someone he knows f a r t s blow in the wrong direction, some will want to start impeachment proceedings.

    Can we let the man get in there and hold all criticisms for at least 4 years? Let him DO something first, then be judged for it.

    For a junior senator from Chicago, the man has done well. And get this, though I know you need him to be for reasons only you know, MR. OBAMA IS NOT THE OMNIPRESENT, OMNISCIENT GOD. It's up to each of us as responsible American citizens to walk with SOME integrity, dang. But like Lauryn Hill says, that's why the car comes with a steering wheel and reverse gear, if we see ourselves going in the wrong direction, we can back up, turn the car around and back in the right direction.

    No one has had a presidency without challenges controversies and obstacles. Mr. Obama is no different. Sheesh!!

    January 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. gl, Pittsburgh

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

    Becasue the Republicans hate to lose and will do any thing to continue to destroy the American people for their own policially advanage. I hate most Republicans becasue they are very self centers and don't like to play with other races.

    January 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Molly

    Wow...this is seriously disappointing! One way to decrease the corruption in our government is to start replacing all the old players.

    January 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Larry

    Come on Bill ...

    Do you mean to suggest that you did not know this information weeks ago when the nomination was offered?

    Why did you ever allow your name in the pool if you already knew this inquiry would have an effect on the process?

    With all the critics out there just looking to skewer Obama on any little thing, he doesn't need this kind of crap from friends.

    January 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. BC in NC

    If the shoe fits, wear it. Don't throw it.

    January 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. S. Robinson

    Isn't Solis a Latina???? At least the cabinet will have one representative for Latinos. But Still.
    I am surprised and extremely unhappy about this news. Richardson, what up with this????

    January 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Jim In SF

    Carramea – That's a laugh, it's only been a few weeks since the election. Did you haters of Bush ever stop, day after day for 8 YEARS?! No, and funny how YOU raise the race card so as to try to stop debate on topics having nothing to do with race – how intellectually dishonest of you. But typical for a liberal I guess, the ends justify the means, right? Sad.

    January 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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