The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Richardson Appointed Commerce Secretary

President-elect Barack Obama introduces New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as nominee for commerce secretary during a news conference in Chicago, December 3, 2008. (Reuters)

Updated 12:57 p.m.
By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- President-elect Barack Obama nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former political opponent, to be commerce secretary this morning.

Obama said Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and international negotiator, will be "a leading economic diplomat for America." He will also be a domestic strategist as Obama wrestles with the declining U.S. economy, Obama said.

"Bill Richardson is a leader who shares my values, and he measures progress the same way I do: Are we creating good jobs instead of losing them? Are incomes growing instead of shrinking?" Obama told reporters at a Chicago news conference.

Richardson, a former member of Congress and energy secretary whose endorsement of Obama during the Democratic primary was considered valuable in attracting Hispanic voters, emphasized the "new future of energy independence and clean energy jobs."

Switching from English to Spanish, he thanked Hispanics for their support and confidence and said the strong turnout for Obama demonstrated strength and unity. He also said he intended to strengthen connections between the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Richardson is the third Democratic presidential candidate to be invited to join Obama's team, following Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, nominated Monday to be secretary of state.

A reporter asked Obama whether Commerce was a consolation prize for Hispanics and Richardson, who had made no secret of his desire to be the nation's top diplomat. Obama emphasized the commerce secretary's role in the economy and said Richardson was "the best person for that job."

"When people look back and see the entire slate," Obama went on, "what they will say -- not only in terms of my Cabinet, but in terms of my White House staff -- I think people are going to say this is one of the most diverse Cabinets and White House staffs of all time.

"But more importantly, they are going to say these are all people of outstanding qualifications and excellence," Obama said. "One of the strong beliefs that I've always held and has been proven to be correct throughout my career is there's no contradiction between diversity and excellence."

Richardson appeared alongside Obama in the Chicago Hilton conference room where the president-elect has been announcing his Cabinet choices. As they stood before eight American flags, each man wore a flag pin in his lapel.

For good measure, Richardson wore a tie dotted with tiny American flags.

Amid questions about the economy and the rescue package, a reporter asked the clean-shaven Richardson why he had recently lost his thick beard.

Before Richardson could speak, Obama interjected with mock seriousness, "I think it was a mistake for him to get rid of it. I thought that whole Western rugged look was really working for him.

"For some reason, maybe because it was scratchy when he kissed his wife, he was forced to get rid of it," Obama said, "but we're deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard."

Richardson, 61, was a seven-term member of Congress who gave up his eighth term when he was appointed U.N. ambassador by President Bill Clinton in December 1996. He has been elected twice as New Mexico's governor.

The Republican National Committee branded Richardson's selection as evidence that Obama, elected on a platform of change, is bringing no such thing to the White House.

"Nothing says 'change' like nominating another consummate Washington insider and former Clinton cabinet member to serve as your commerce secretary," RNC spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson said in an e-mailed statement. " 'Change' in an Obama administration certainly looks like more of the same."

Obama's prepared remarks announcing the nomination follow:

Last week, Vice President-Elect Biden and I began the process of announcing our economic team. Today, we are pleased to name another key member of this team: our nominee for Secretary of Commerce, my friend, Governor Bill Richardson.

With each passing day, the work our team has begun, developing plans to revive our economy, becomes more urgent. Earlier this week, we learned that the U.S. economy has been in recession since December of 2007 and that our manufacturing output is at a 26 year low - two stark reminders of the magnitude of the challenges we face.

But while I know rebuilding our economy won't be easy - and it won't happen overnight - I also know this: right now, somewhere in America, a small business is at work on the next big idea. A scientist is on the cusp of the next breakthrough discovery. An entrepreneur is sketching plans for the startup that will revolutionize an industry. Right now, across America, the finest products in the world are rolling off our assembly lines. And the proudest, most determined, most productive workers in the world are on the job - some, already on their second shift of the day; many, putting in longer hours than ever before.

After nearly two years traveling across this country, meeting with workers, visiting businesses large and small, I am more confident than ever before that we have everything we need to renew our economy - we have the ingenuity and technology, the skill and commitment - we just need to put it to work. It's time to not just address our immediate economic threats, but to start laying the groundwork for long-term economic prosperity - to help American businesses grow and thrive at home, and expand our efforts to promote American enterprise around the world.

This work is the core mission of the Secretary of Commerce. And with his breadth and depth of experience in public life, Governor Richardson is uniquely suited for this role as a leading economic diplomat for America.

During his time in state government and Congress, and in two tours of duty in the cabinet, Bill has seen from just about every angle what makes our economy work and what keeps it from working better.

As Governor of New Mexico, Bill showed how government can act as a partner to support our businesses, helping create 80,000 new jobs. And under his leadership, New Mexico saw the lowest unemployment rate in decades.

As a former Secretary of Energy, Bill understands the steps we must take to build a new, clean-energy industry and create the green jobs of the twenty-first century. Jobs that pay well and won't be shipped overseas - jobs that will help us end our dependence on foreign oil.

And as a former Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill brings both international stature and a deep understanding of today's global economy. He understands that the success of today's business in Detroit or Columbus often depends on whether it can sell products in places like Santiago or Shanghai. And he knows that America's reputation in the world is critical not just to our security, but to our prosperity - that when the citizens of the world respect America's leadership, they are more likely to buy America's products.

To this crucial work of restoring America's international standing, Bill will bring a leadership style all his own. Bill has never been content to learn just from briefing books - never satisfied with only the official version of the story. During his time in Congress, he held more than 2,500 town-hall meetings, so he could hear directly from constituents. He was a regular in the U.N. cafeteria, mixing it up with U.N. employees over lunch. And during his 2002 campaign for Governor, he actually broke a world record by shaking nearly 14,000 hands in just eight hours.

All of this reflects a determination to reach out and understand where people are coming from, what they hope for, and what he can do to help. This approach, I believe, has been the key to Bill's success as a negotiator and will be key to his work on the critical functions of the Commerce Department - from administering our census and monitoring our climate to protecting our intellectual property and restoring our economic diplomacy.

In the end, Bill Richardson is a leader who shares my values -- and he measures progress the same way I do. Are we creating good jobs, instead of losing them? Are incomes growing, instead of shrinking? I know that Bill will be an unyielding advocate for American business and American jobs, at home and around the world. And I look forward to working with him in the years ahead.

Posted at 11:57 AM ET on Dec 3, 2008  | Category:  Cabinet
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Things no-one understood:

Lets have a look at the Roman Vaticaan. Founded on the idea of "if you can not beat them, join them. And so, this way the old-testament-believers control the Vaticaan.

Now the Old-Testament-Believers put deliberately Old-testament-Prophecies into scene... and christians ... see it as an act of god....

yes, right, even an ex-alcoholist is brainwashed that he is the chosen one to attack Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran... exactly the way the Old-testament-Believers want it to happen....

Lets have a look at the election of a new pope.... (A) a secret election, so no-one knows who votes on who and... (B) all the biljets are burned in white or black smoke... This is a school-example for electionfraud....

As you can see all the western-christian world-political leaders follow the Old-testament-prophecies.... which are put into scene.... deliberately .... by the Old-Testament... believers....

And so... predicting the worlds political future.... is childish simple....

Posted by: Happyness | December 5, 2008 4:16 AM

It looks like the Great Messiah Loser Elect
Messiah Barack Hussein Obama's Magic Teleprompter and So-Called "Good Judgement"
Has Failed Miserabley When Obama Named The
Sexual Harasser and Lt Gov of New Mexico
Gropper,Token Hispanic,and Hillary Cliton
Back Stabber,No Business Experience Loser
Bill Richardson To BE His Sec Of Commerce.
Stand Up Against Obama's Rewarding Sexual
Harassment By Contacting Your US Senators
To Deny Confirmation Of Pervert Bill The
Sexual Harasser Richardson As Sec Of Commerce...It's Time Barack Hussein Obama
Stop Acting Holier Then Thou,When Names A
Female Sexual Harasser Like Bill Richardson
As Sec Of Commerce! Shame On Obama!..Please
Stand Up Against Obama's Nomination Of This
Creep With No Business Experience,Loser
Bill Richardson Confirmation By Calling,
Faxing, and Emailing Your Two US Senators
To Block Richardson's Confirmation NOW!..
And Contact "The Office Of The President
Elect Obama" To Demand Obama Withdraw The
Bill Richardson Nomination As Sec Of Commerce! I wonder how fast WAPO will deny
My First Amendment Rights and Delete My
Post Here? Just Say NO To Bill Richardson!

Posted by: sherrykay2008 | December 4, 2008 8:26 AM

Dude's got a resume longer than your arm.

Appointing qualified people to work in government seems like such an obvious idea
I wonder why the last guy didn't try it more often.

Richardson seems like a guy who will re-interpret NAFTA more than re-write it. This will not make some people happy. Those hoping for protectionist trade policy probably won't get it. But Obama will put labor/wage and environmental standards back on the table because we need to raise wages and stay competitive on trade while lifting standards in the region.

Richardson's job one will be to smooth things over with Canada and Latin America. This would include backing away from the legal appeals on NAFTA related court decisions which make us look more like poor sports than good partners.

That won't make some in big business happy.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | December 3, 2008 6:48 PM

We don't even know if he is a "natural born" citizen. Why won't he allow his original LONG FORM birth certificate to be released? That would clear up the issue once and for all.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2008 5:52 PM

For the record, he is not officially President-Elect yet.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2008 5:12 PM

Bill "allegedly" won't have a post. He said he will stay out of wife's way.
He also said that if asked to do "stuff" by President-Elect Obama, he will.
'Course, I can't even imagine what that "stuff" may be.....

Now --say it with me 3 times.
President-Elect Obama
President-Elect Obama
President-Elect Obama

I would advise Mr. Richardson not to take any planes. ((( big cheesy grin )))

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 3, 2008 4:51 PM

New "Change" Same as the Old. Seriously, though, is he going to name Bill Clinton to some post too?

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2008 4:07 PM

They will all be confirmed, I have no doubt.
Richardson is a great choice, but I did want him as Secretary of State.
He will "save" the Commerce Dept..

All countries around the globe know Richardson and I thought that would bring more "reluctant" countries to the proverbial table. With Hillary, as Secretary of State, we may lose a couple countries coming to table by the fact that she is a woman and a Clinton.
But we will see.

Today, I decided I wanted to be Bill Clinton. ((hearty smiles)))
I bet the man is having a blast!!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | December 3, 2008 2:53 PM

I thought that Gates was actually registered Independent, not GOP.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2008 2:02 PM

President-elect Obama is proving himself to be strong and confident by the choices he is making (even though I have not agreed with them all). He is secure enough in who he is that he can choose former opponents and even keep a Republican on board.

And this is exactly what our country needs: a srong, confident, self-secure President who is not afraid of dissent (unlike the current occupant ofthe oval office) and does not view oppsoing views as "unpatriotic".

We are fortunate to have Barack Obama. He is a once in a generation-type leader. But don't be delusional and think he get us out of this mess that took 8 years to make: it is going to take time. And it is going to take sacrfice.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | December 3, 2008 1:43 PM

He hasn't been NOMINATED either.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2008 1:38 PM

QUESTION TO THE COMMENT BY jrobi22: Exactly how would you justify your comment that Joseph Biden was also a great pick?
Other than being on "the take," having his snout deep into the taxpayers trough, being unemployable outside of government and having history of being very dishonest, what's his value to the taxpayers?

Posted by: individual | December 3, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

He's lower maintenance than Cheney.

Posted by: skelly1 | December 3, 2008 1:33 PM

Richardson has not been appointed to anything. He has been nominated. Fix the bogus headline.

Posted by: natterly71 | December 3, 2008 1:24 PM

QUESTION TO THE COMMENT BY jrobi22: Exactly how would you justify your comment that Joseph Biden was also a great pick?
Other than being on "the take," having his snout deep into the taxpayers trough, being unemployable outside of government and having history of being very dishonest, what's his value to the taxpayers?

Posted by: individual | December 3, 2008 1:01 PM

Just what the taxpayers need, another political mandarin. The major difference separating Richardson from the likes of Obama, Biden and most members of the federal bureaucracy is that he's fat and somewhat greasy looking. Yet he won't take a backseat to anyone when it comes to getting his snout deep into the taxpayers trough. Now if Obama would only bring back Janet Reno and Robt Reich, the zoo would be stocked.

Posted by: individual | December 3, 2008 12:55 PM

Making Sense of Hillary as SecState

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 3, 2008 12:46 PM

The President "Elect" does not NOMINATE. For gawd's sake WaPo the new Senate hasn't even been sworn in yet.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2008 12:46 PM

I imagine that Gov Richardson wanted to be SecState... Oh well, the times are very dangerous, and the nation is better served by having the Clintons handle State.

HRC as SecState was a very good decision by Obama. She'll be more important to his administration than Biden, who was also a great pick.

Posted by: jrob822 | December 3, 2008 12:04 PM

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