Bill Richardson withdraws as Commerce Secretary
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MSNBC and the Associated Press are reporting that Bill Richardson is withdrawing his nomination to be secretary of the Department of Commerce (link). The reason is an on-going investigation into his links to a company that did business with New Mexico:
"Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact... But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process... 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."
Barack Obama, wiping away what were most likely tears, said:
"we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson's decision."
Apparently Blagogate filling the news cycles was bad enough and they decided it was better to dump him now. If Richardson had been confirmed, he would have helped make the Obama administration look bad, but at the same time he would also at least partly have represented the interests of the Mexican government. Overall this is for the best.