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Obama answers calls to add Hispanic to Cabinet

From the Los Angeles TImes:  President-elect Barack Obama has chosen New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be commerce secretary, adding a prominent Hispanic and one-time Democratic rival to his expanding Cabinet.

Obama planned to announce the nomination after Thanksgiving, according to a Democratic official familiar with the discussions. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations and did so on condition of anonymity.

Richardson, 61, had a distinguished and visible career in Washington before returning to New Mexico, where he was elected governor in 2002. Richardson served as U.N. ambassador under President Bill Clinton and later as energy secretary. He was in the House from 1983 to 1997. Clinton sent Richardson on several high-level diplomatic missions while he was in Congress, including direct talks with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Richardson ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but dropped out in January after a poor showing in early contests. He went on to endorse Obama at the height of the Illinois senator's primary contest with Hillary Rodham Clinton, angering many Clinton's supporters who viewed the endorsement as a disloyal snub.

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