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Obama nominates Commerce Secretary

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has appointed New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as Secretary of Commerce, a top economic position, which is especially important at a time of financial meltdown.

Obama passed over his former Democratic presidential rival for secretary of state.

Richardson's nomination as Secretary of Commerce has for several weeks been all-but-announced. One of the most prominent Hispanic politicians in the U.S., Richardson will become the latest former Democratic primary opponent to join Obama's Cabinet.

Earlier Obama nominated Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, James L. Jones as National Security Advisor and asked the incumbent Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, to stay on for at least a year.

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