Blow for Obama as Commerce Secretary nominee withdraws

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The Governor of New Mexico has told the US President-elect Barack Obama that he wishes to withdraw his name from nomination for the position of Commerce Secretary.

Bill Richardson said an ongoing federal investigation into political donations from a company awarded contracts by the New Mexico state government would not be completed in time for him to begin work.

He was nominated for the job last month by the new President.

Governor Richardson, who served in the Clinton Administration, was an early contender for the Democratic nomination for President.

“I have concluded that the ongoing investigation would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process,” he said yesterday.

“Given the gravity of the economic situation the nation is facing, I could not in good conscience ask the President-elect and his administration to delay for one day the important work that needs to be done.”

President-elect Obama will take office on January 20th in a lavish inauguration ceremony in Washington DC.

He moved to the nation’s capital yesterday from Illinois.

The President-elect will now have to nominate a new candidate for Commerce Secretary, whose appointment is dependent on a Senate confirmation hearing.

Governor Richardson was the first Hispanic American to be nominated to the new Cabinet.

During his term as Governor he has supported LGBT rights.

There is disappointment among activists in the US that no openly gay or lesbian people have been nominated for the Cabinet in the new administration.

Last month the Lesbian and Gay Victory Fund praised President-elect Obama for naming a lesbian, Nancy Sutley, as Chair of his Council on Environmental Quality in the White House.