Obama adds former rival Richardson to team

Dec. 3, 2008 at 12:11 PM
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CHICAGO, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday tapped New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for Commerce secretary, saying his background is suited for the job.

"I know that Bill will be an unyielding advocate for American business and American jobs, at home and around the world," Obama said during a news conference in Chicago. "And I look forward to working with him in the years ahead."

Besides being New Mexico's chief executive for two terms, Richardson also represented the state in Washington, and was a U.N. ambassador and an Energy secretary under former President Bill Clinton.

"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 said.

Richardson begged to differ with media outlets labeling Obama's Cabinet a "team of rivals."

"(In) the worlds of diplomacy and commerce, you open markets and minds not with rivalry but instead with partnership and innovation and hard work," he said.

The Commerce Department will play a vital role in the nation's economic recovery, Richardson said.

"The official role of the department is job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improving living standards -- the same goals of your economic plan, Mr. President-elect," he said. "The catch phrases of your economic plan -- investment, public-private partnerships, green jobs, technology, broadband, climate change and research -- that is the Department of Commerce."

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