[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/20/transition.wrap/art.penny.pritzker.jpg caption=" Penny Pritzker was national finance chairwoman for Barack Obama's presidential campaign."]CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker said Thursday that she is not a candidate for Secretary of Commerce in the administration of President-elect Barack Obama.
Pritzker said she "never submitted any information for the vetting process to begin" and that "while there were discussions, I was never formally offered the position.
"I have obligations here in Chicago that make it difficult for me to serve at this time."
Pritzker was Obama's national campaign finance chairwoman and had been mentioned as the leading candidate to become Obama's Secretary of Commerce. She is the chairwoman of TransUnion, a national credit-reporting agency.
In a written statement her office issued Thursday, she said, "I think I can best serve our nation in my current capacity: building businesses, creating jobs and working to strengthen our economy."
Pritzker noted that "it has been my great privilege to serve in the Obama campaign. I look forward to helping our new president in every way possible and am excited about the future under his leadership."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/16/art.lemon.cnn.jpg caption="CNN Anchor Don Lemon talks politics with Ludacris and Tommy Lee"] ATLANTA (CNN) - I’m not exactly sure how it happened. But yesterday I found myself involved in an intense discussion about politics in the middle of the newsroom with…. Wait for it…. rapper Ludacris and rocker Tommy Lee. The two men were here to promote their new reality show “Battleground Earth.” In the show both artists try to out green each other while trying to coax viewers into environmental consciousness.
Out of the gate I asked about green backlash. Many people feel like this entire “going green” movement has become more marketing than reality. They agreed that while people might see it that way, it’s not necessarily so, at least in their view.
Tommy Lee admits he’s not a political junkie - he says he rarely watches television or listens to news reports. So he had no opinion on the presidential candidates’ environmental policies. In fact, he had no opinions on any of their policies. “Man, tell you the truth, I only listen to music,” he said in front of the entire room and about four cameras. He seemed sincere. I didn’t press him.
Ludacris, however, was very opinionated. He very strongly said to me, “I support Barack Obama.” He is happy with Obama’s environmental policies, and keenly aware of just how much attention this election is garnering from the American people. But when I tried to press him on other issues like race, religion and HIV in the black community, he steered the conversation back to his stance on the environment. He did promise, however, to address those issues with me in another interview at another time. Smooth. Ludacris has come a long way in a short time: from rapper to social activist to environmental cheerleader.
As he and Tommy Lee walked off, entourage and reality TV cameras in tow, I thought to myself: if someone had told me at breakfast that I’d be talking with Tommy Lee and Ludacris later in the day about the environment and politics I would have called them a liar, which just goes to show, you never know. For hanging out just a bit with music superstars, I got mad props from my colleagues here at CNN.