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Overheard at the Commerce Department ...

By Ed O'Keefe
Commerce Department

The Eye, after ditching plans to attend a different event, found himself near the Commerce Department today as President-elect Obama named Bill Richardson as the next secretary of commerce. So after sampling the tasty fare at the Ronald Reagan Building's food court, he sampled the opinions of some rank-and-file Commerce Department employees, to see what they think of their next boss.

A six-year employee of the Import Administration said he's "really thrilled" by the pick and noted that Commerce Department employees can bid for the opportunity to have lunch with the secretary as part of the Combined Federal Campaign. "I'm just thrilled to hear that there's finally a secretary I'd like to have lunch with," he said.

"I liked him for president, but never thought he'd get it," said one eight-year veteran of the International Trade Administration, a division of Commerce. Obama's pick of Richardson impresses her since "usually they pick a business executive rather than a politician."

Another ITA employee said she heard about the move on the radio this morning while driving to work and made a mental note to look up Richardson's bio on the Internet later today.

Lots of other employees didn't have an opinion or seemed too frightened to speak to The Eye (though we promise he's harmless). All of the employees were granted the opportunity to speak on background, even though The Eye assured them all he is not interested in jeopardizing anyone's career. We'll be on the lookout for the opinions of other rank-and-file employees in the near future, as Obama makes his final Cabinet selections.

Leave your thoughts on the Richardson pick -- good or bad -- in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 3, 2008; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Overheard  
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