After he endorsed Barack Obama in the middle of a heated primary battle, it was inevitable that Bill Richardson would get offered a cabinet position. There were some rumors that he might be offered Secretary of State if Hillary declined, but now Richardson has been named as Obama’s Commerce Secretary:
CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama named New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as commerce secretary on Wednesday, filling a top economic post in troubled times and placing a second former campaign rival in his new Cabinet.
Talking optimistically despite the recession, Obama also said, “We have everything we need to renew our economy, we have the ingenuity and technology, the skill and commitment _ we just need to put it to work.”
The president-elect called Richardson a leading “economic diplomat for America. During his time in state government and Congress, and in two tours of duty in the Cabinet, Bill has seen from just about every angle what makes our economy work and what keeps it from working better.”
Obama seemed in a lighthearted mood as he made the announcement. Asked about Richardson’s recent decision to shave his beard, Obama joked that he was “deeply disappointed.” He said he guessed Richardson decided to jettison the facial hair after his wife found it scratchy.
Richardson’s endorsement back in March caused quite the stir in the Clinton campaign. Before it was made, Hillary tried to convince Richardson that there was no way Obama could win the General Election.
After it was made, the endorsement drew some fairly heated comments from both Bill Clinton and James Carville, who both compared Richardson to Judas with Carville accusing Richardson of violating a loyalty that I thought only existed in the Corleone family.
I’m guessing that Bill and Hillary won’t be sitting near each other at the Cabinet table.