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Obama Taps Former Rival Richardson for Commerce

President-elect Barack Obama picked Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., as his commerce secretary nominee Tuesday. Amy Walter of The Hotline looks at how Mr. Obama's Cabinet is shaping up and recent developments in outstanding Senate races.

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    The selection of Bill Richardson as commerce secretary makes him the third former Democratic presidential hopeful to join Obama's team, after Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton.

    Richardson commented on that at the announcement event in Chicago today.

    GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), New Mexico: There are some who speak of a team of rivals, but I've never seen it that way. Past competitors, yes, but rivals implies something harder-edged and less forgiving. And in the worlds of diplomacy and commerce, you open markets and minds not with rivalry, but instead with partnership and innovation and hard work.


    President-elect Obama was asked if Richardson's appointment was a "consolation prize" for Hispanics who had been hoping Richardson would be chosen as secretary of state.


    Commerce secretary is a pretty good job, you know? It's a member of my key economic team that is going to be dealing with the most significant issue that America faces right now, and that is, how do we put people back to work and rejuvenate the economy?

    Bill Richardson has been selected because he is the best person for that job and is going to be outstanding in helping me strategize on how do we rebuild America, how do we get businesses moving, how do we export effectively, how do we open up new markets for American products and services.

    His mixture of diplomatic experience, hands-on experience as a governor, experience in the cabinet, experience in Congress means that he is going to be a key strategist on all the issues that we work on.


    Richardson, like all of President-elect Obama's Cabinet picks, will have to be confirmed by the Senate. And with yesterday's Republican win in Georgia, the Senate will have at least 58 Democrats, but not the 60 super-majority they'd hoped.

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