Obama to name Richardson for Commerce on Wednesday

By LIZ SIDOTI? From The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — President-elect Barack Obama is ready to name New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his choice for commerce secretary after passing over his vanquished Democratic rival for secretary of state.

Democratic officials say the two would appear at a news conference together in Chicago on Wednesday.

Richardson’s nomination as commerce secretary has been all-but-announced for several weeks.

One of the nation’s most prominent Hispanic politicians, he will become the latest former Democratic primary opponent to join Obama’s Cabinet. The incoming chief executive has chosen another adversary-turned-ally, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to be his secretary of state. Obama also chose former rival Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate.

The president-elect has moved quickly to fill out his Cabinet, having named more than half of it in the month since he was elected the country’s 44th president.

An energy secretary and United Nations ambassador in President Bill Clinton’s administration, Richardson was a contender for the State Department job, but Obama offered him the post as commerce secretary after choosing the former first lady as his top diplomat.

Richardson sought the Democratic presidential nomination this year but eventually dropped out and endorsed Obama.

On Monday, Obama announced his foreign and national security team, led by Clinton and current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican. A week ago, Obama named his economic team, led by Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary. In the coming weeks if not days, he plans to announce former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as health and human services secretary.

The upper echelon on his Cabinet now is in place.

Among those posts yet to be disclosed if not chosen: the heads of the Interior, Transportation, Labor, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Agriculture and Veterans Affairs departments. Obama also has yet to name his intelligence team, including his director of national intelligence and CIA chief.

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