President-elect Obama has continued naming his political appointees and filling his cabinet with many familiar names including Hillary Clinton and now Bill Richardson. So far, maybe surprisingly, most of the choices have been applauded by many Democratic officials as well as many Republicans who feared Obama may be heading to left with his presidency.
Report on Richardson’s appointment from Yahoo News:
CHICAGO – President-elect Barack Obama selected New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his commerce secretary Wednesday, naming a prominent Hispanic to his new Cabinet and calling him a leading “economic diplomat for America” in troubled times.
Richardson’s nomination brings to three the number of former campaign rivals Obama has welcomed to his team. Joe Biden is the vice president-elect, and Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the next secretary of state, pending confirmation by the Senate.
At a Chicago news conference, Obama praised Richardson’s long resume. He served as 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.
“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.
The president-elect seemed in a lighthearted mood as he made the announcement.
Video of the announcement from ABC News:
Meanwhile, despite the fact that President-elect Obama has named the most diverse cabinet in history, some critics are calling on him to make it even more so. The report on that from Yahoo News as well:
WASHINGTON – Barack Obama, soon to be the first black U.S. president, is on the road to making good his pledge to have a Cabinet and White House staff that are among most diverse ever, although some supporters are asking him to go even further. He added to the minority representation at the top of his administration Wednesday when he named New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Hispanic, as Commerce Secretary.
But some Latinos are grumbling it is not enough after all the support they gave him in the campaign, and gays and Asian-Americans are pushing for some representation in remaining Cabinet announcements. But overall Obama is allaying some early concerns that a black president wouldn’t need to put so much importance on diversity of those working under him.
“The question was: Because he’s black, how much pressure would he feel to be more traditional with appointments?” said Jamal Simmons, a Democratic consultant who worked with the Obama campaign. “The leadership of the campaign in the beginning wasn’t very diverse, so there were questions about that. But I don’t hear those questions any more.”
In Obama’s seven Cabinet announcements so far, white men are the minority with two nominations — Timothy Geithner at Treasury and Robert Gates at Defense. Three are women — Janet Napolitano at Homeland Security, Susan Rice as United Nations ambassador and Hillary Rodham Clinton at State.
This simply proves the timeless notion that you can’t please everyone and probably never will. President-elect Obama’s transition has been going fairly smoothly as each of his choices seems to be just as respected as the last.
We’ll see how this trend continues since the honeymoon period is still in full force with the press.