January 4th, 2009

Richardson withdraws name as commerce secretary

Here's what I've been able to learn so far.

And here's the text of statements from Gov. Bill Richardson and 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.
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.

Here's the MSNBC story.

Update, 3:40 p.m.

Here's what Lt. Gov. Diane Denish has to say on the day's news.

"Governor Richardson postponed taking a position in the administration to ensure that President Obama and the American people face no delays in getting to work to fix our ailing economy, and the President-elect said he looks forward to Governor Richardson joining his administration in the days ahead," she said in a statement.  "In the meantime, Governor Richardson and I will work together, as we have over the last six years, to tackle challenges at home, to craft a workable budget with the legislature and to strengthen our economy to make sure that every New Mexico family has the opportunity to succeed."