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Richardson Withdraws Bid For Commerce Secretary

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says he is withdrawing his name from consideration as commerce secretary with "great sorrow" amid an investigation into a company that did business with his state.

A grand jury is investigating how a company that contributed to Richardson's campaign won a lucrative New Mexico state contract. Richardson says he and his administration acted properly, but that the investigation would force a delay in the confirmation process. He says he could not, in good conscience, ask the president-elect to delay important Commerce Department work in the face of the economic situation the nation is facing.

President-elect Barack Obama says he accepted Richardson's decision with deep regret, and says he will move quickly to fill the void left by Richardson's withdrawal.

Richardson says he will remain as New Mexico's governor, and that he told Obama he is eager to serve in the future. The president-elect says he looks forward to Richardson's future service to the country — and in the Obama administration.

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Allison Keyes
Allison Keyes is an award-winning journalist with almost 20 years of experience in print, radio, and television. She has been reporting for NPR's national desk since October 2005. Her reports can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition Sunday.
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