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Sunday, January 04, 2009

SUNDAY STUNNER: RICHARDSON WITHDRAWS COMMERCE NOMINATION 

ASSOCIATED PRESS: WASHINGTON (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has withdrawn his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama's commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation. Obama's transition office said Sunday that Obama has accepted Richardson's withdrawal.

Complete Obama and Richardson statements here.

ABC News says Obama transition team faults Richardson for not being forthcoming about investigation

Lt. Governor Diane Denish released this statement:

"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. 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."

Here is the stunning news, coming from NBC at 11 a.m. Sunday:

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.

"Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact," he said Sunday in a report by NBC News' Andrea Mitchell. "But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process."

He said he plans to continue in his role as governor. "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."

Washington Post coverage here.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2009
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