I'm not going to speculate on whether New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson did anything wrong or not. Frankly, I don't have any idea. But I do applaud his swift and immediate action of withdrawing from the nomination to become Secretary of Commerce. This is how politicians should act.
Richardson to withdraw as Commerce secretary
New Mexico governor cites pending investigation of business dealings
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, tapped in December by President-elect Barack Obama to serve as secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name for the position, citing a pending investigation into a company that has done business with his state.
"Let me say unequivocally that I and my Administration have acted properly in all matters and that this investigation will bear out that fact," he said Sunday in a report by NBC News' Andrea Mitchell. "But I have concluded that the ongoing investigation also would have forced an untenable delay in the confirmation process."
He said he plans to continue in his role as governor. "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."
Obama said Sunday he accepted Richardson's decision to withdraw with 'deep regret.'
"Governor Richardson is an outstanding public servant and would have brought to the job of Commerce Secretary and our economic team great insights accumulated through an extraordinary career in federal and state office," Obama said.
Richardson, 61, was United Nations ambassador and energy secretary during the Clinton administration, and he is in his second term as New Mexico's governor. He also served seven terms in the House of Representatives.
If he had been confirmed by the Senate as secretary of Commerce, he would have taken over a sprawling department that oversees the National Weather Service, the Census Bureau, economic development programs and more.
One of the nation's most prominent Hispanic politicians, Richardson had pledged at the time of his nomination — in English and Spanish — to work to renew the economy.
Obama on Sunday gave no indication whom he might name to replace Richardson as the nominee but said "we must move quickly to fill the void left by Governor Richardson's decision."