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. dash

    Looks like obama team was busy looking at Bill and Hillary's records and blindsided records of those who suported him.
    James Carville might be celebrating?
    Obama promised corrupts out of washington but himself appointed corrupts into his team. who's next? Reid is in Blago and ....

    January 4, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Susan in PA

    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 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |


    January 4, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. AE

    Same old moronic comments. Perhaps the investigation is about whether or not there actually was impropriety or if it is just the appearance of such. You all are so quick and willing to judge others with half baked truths. At least Richardson has the decency to withdraw. Unlike the governor of Illiinois – now there is reason to be concerned about the tainted nomination of a public official.

    I only wish you would all just raise your standards a bit. Haven't we had enough trailer-trash politics? Why not post something informative. I would like to know more about why the poster indicated the people in New Mexico know the real Richardson. That would be informative. That makes me wonder and think, I guess it gives the rest of you a headache.

    January 4, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Clinton Supporter

    So I see Tubby had to withdraw. Isn't that a shame. What goes around comes around. I'm sure Bill Clinton is having a good laugh, I certainly hope so. I know I am!

    Turns out Richardson preferred Barack and his sleazy Illinois friends to Hillary Clinton. And how right he was to "stick with his own kind." Definitely not Hillary's type at all.

    There will be overwhelming silence from the Clinton camp, but personally, I'm hoping Carville says something so I can have another good laugh. He did hint that we were not through with scandals among the Democratic "leadership."

    THE SLEAZE FACTOR – never underestimate it.

    Now I wish someone would go after Howard Dean. I guess I'll have to be satisfied with the Blagojevich nonsense for the moment. Sooner or later, the ways in which Barack himself got dirty hands will come out, too.

    I'm patient. I can wait.

    January 4, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. V. Clausewitz

    Dang! Ms Pelosi is sure doing a grand job cleaning up all this corruption.

    January 4, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Jim

    Stepping down after an investigation has been revealed is not ethical and shows ZERO integrity. Not being a crook in the first place shows integrity.

    We knew about this quite a while ago; why was he nominated in the first place? What happened to the vaunted Obama vetting machine? Or, what has c hanged about the investigation?

    January 4, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. TEX

    Oh, get off it - Obama is not a real black man. Stop accusing people of that kind of hatred. People really love him for himself.

    January 4, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Don't comment if you've never lived in New Mexico.

    Richardson is not a great leader. He's a crook with a gigantic ego.

    Hispanics deserve better. So does America.

    January 4, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. joyce

    There are a lot of qualified folks for O to choose from.(Obama- not Oprah)

    January 4, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. robby10001

    I smell a Clinton

    January 4, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Greg, NH

    This is what it is. Democrats are full of scandals and they will come out one by one. Even Obama is tainted with this so American people will know it sooner or later. Brack already has liaison with such radical rogues and thus Barack is not a saint. I know CNN will try to censor this but let it go on the record. In the other article, they said George Bush is the worst president. Let us wait and watch Barack Obama will do., most inexperienced president of our nation.

    January 4, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Good

    I'm actually happy with this outcome. I never liked Richardson personally, he was never on the same level as Biden, Hillary and Obama. It's clear that he got the commerce post because he had to get some sort of post. Thank god it wasn't state. Well now, instead of a political hack in there we get someone that can do some good for the economy. Maybe the first LGBT secretary.

    January 4, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. greg

    just another reason why obama is the wrong choice he keeps making mistakes but the black man keeps getting away with it. If it were Sen. McCain doing this, you would all be on his "febble mindeness", these next 4 years are going to be the worst.

    January 4, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Critical Thinker

    Burn S: Did you even READ the article? In case you haven't, Richardson is backing out because of HIS OWN issues, not because of Obama and his administration. Your post just continue to show how hate keeps people from being logical and enable them to wrongfully accuse people and sleep at night. That's just scary...

    January 4, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. dan

    shocked. another dem facing federal probe

    January 4, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. none of our business

    No surprise to me. The only reason he is withdrawing now is that any investigation is likely to air his tight relationship with the president of Mexico and their common plans to favor the nation of Mexico when it comes to commerce and means to further support the nation of Mexico through their agent – Bill Richardson.

    January 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. Kork

    Glad to see Richardson won't be hanging around. I've been fine with most of Obama's picks, but this particular one surprised/frightened me a little bit... So I hope Mr. Obama makes a wiser choice the second time around.

    January 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. alekinny

    Still waiting for Rahm Emanuel to call it quits after it becomes known that he DID negotiate with Blagojevich. It is not even January 20th and the Obama myths begins to unravel.
    What did we expect? That is what happens when the media (CNN included) builds a wall of protection around a community activist and ACORN lackey just to ensure that their chosen candidate wins the presidency. Fortunately, gravity still works and what goes up must come crashing down.


    January 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. tony_n_atl

    here we go....corruption after corruption...I am just sick of all politicians!!!!!!!!!!

    January 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Wisest one of All

    No surprise there. richardson is as big a big of trash as any politician. Just like the racist empty suit hussein nobama there is nothing different or special about him. Proven Fact!

    January 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Bimmer


    This snake should crawl back to his hole.

    January 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. joseph Karoki-Cherry Point

    Here Come the Obama Haters...waiting ..waiting..

    January 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Hankers

    He did the right thing. The last thing this country needs right now is instability and apparent credibility at the top. Unlike many politicians that continue with business as usual while under investigation or even convicted.

    January 4, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Sherrol in Canada

    You know what, Richardson didn't want this job in the frst place, he wanted Secretary of State.

    January 4, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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