The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Ron Kirk Likely to Head USTR

Former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Associated Press)

By Al Kamen
President-elect Barack Obama is expected tomorrow to announce the last three cabinet-level picks for his new administration in Chicago, with outgoing Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) getting the nod as secretary of transportation, Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) to be named secretary of labor and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk likely to pick up the U.S. Trade Representative portfolio.

Kirk was widely touted by national Democrats during his 2002 race for the seat being vacated by Texas Republican Sen. Phil Gramm. Democrats saw Kirk, former Texas secretary of state, as a business-friendly African American who could get elected in the South. Kirk won his 1995 race for mayor of Dallas with 62 percent of the vote and was re-elected in 1999 with an overwhelming 74 percent of the vote in 1999.

But he came up well short in his race to replace Sen. Phil Gramm (R) in 2001, losing to Sen. John Cornyn by 12 points. After that, Kirk returned to practicing law and lobbying.

Posted at 2:50 PM ET on Dec 18, 2008  | Category:  Cabinet
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Very very good choice. Ron Kirk has been a solid leader in the Dallas community and much of what this city has gained with respect to business/cultural/employment gains has been a direct result of his leadership efforts, while Mayor of Dallas. Often fighting through the negative contentious politics of this major city, he perserved and DFW has seen tremendous growth upward. I welcome his appointment, if true.


Posted by: SWlifeEastCoastBred | December 24, 2008 12:07 PM

Apparantly, Most folk who would comment negatively about Ron Kirk have no freakin' notion to what he had done for the City of Dallas and Texas. Dallas is headquarters to SEVERAL major cooperations-national and international. The economical, commercial, and urban growth and development that we whom live in the Dallas/ Fort Worth metro surpasses SEVERAL major(minor) cities because of what he put a stamp on before he left office-in comparison to Minneapolis, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, etc. Dallas has seen such a significant boom in the past 10-15 years because of him. Have you seen the job market in the Dallas metro area comparative to other major cities? How about the housing market? How about Dallas is the home of some the highest regarded in the Healthcare, Financial (millionaires & billionaires),IT, Religious,and ex-POTUS industries? I think his body of work speaks pretty well-unlike mayors who try and jump up 10 notches to run for V-POTUS. Maybe you all should take a trip to Dallas sometime and stop being so judgmental! Not mention Ron Kirk wouldn't be the first person to be considered for a position not because they've already done the job-but because he brings a solid body of work to the table. You may not have been as "Qualified" to have gotten the job you have! Was it a buddy who got you in? same Alma mater? Family or money? Or maybe even God's devine purpose? (not be preachy like that, but it's truth!)
Peace, Love, and Harmony From TX ya'll!!

Posted by: terrellshaw | December 19, 2008 2:51 PM

The choice of Ron Kirk is an excellent one. He was a great Mayor of Dallas and a courageous U.S. Senate candidate who almost beat the slime campaign run against him by the Bush hooligans, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes.

Kirk is an effective and competent manager with a demonstrated ability to resolve contentious issues creatively and with such a respectful manner that adversarial parties often find common ground.

He also happens to be one of the most decent human beings in politics today and is blessed with a tremendous sense of humor.

Posted by: jeffersonian1 | December 18, 2008 10:10 PM

So,once again WAPO must have rushed another
idiotic and unquestioned "The Office Of The
President Elect" Press Release Into Print!.
.You betcha I want to know all about this
latest Affirmative Action Black Cabinet
Nominee background and Exactly What Does
Qualify Him To Be Our Chief US Trade
Representative and what is his actual world
trade record as well? More slipshod and
pathetic reporting once again by WAPO.

Posted by: Marilyn80 | December 18, 2008 7:09 PM

So what are his credentials for trade negotiator? And what about Obama's campaign promise to remake NAFTA? Is Kirk on board for that? Do you have any information about any of Kirk's previous positions on any of those previous trade deals?

A name without relevant details is not much "reporting."

Posted by: infuse | December 18, 2008 5:21 PM

Do either of you know what you're talking about? What are Kirk's merits/demerits other than his being appointed by Obama?

Posted by: greenmountainboy | December 18, 2008 4:32 PM

A great day for Obama and for America. The government is being returned to people who believe in public service and protecting the interests of average citizens. Praise God!

Posted by: cdierd1944 | December 18, 2008 4:27 PM

Another really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: hclark1 | December 18, 2008 4:06 PM

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