Obama mourns loss of Richardson beard

December 3, 2008

When Barack Obama unveiled a newly shorn Bill Richardson as his Commerce Secretary pick on Wednesday, Obama praised the man but pointedly criticized his grooming decisions.

“We’re deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard,” the president-elect said.

“I think it was a mistake for him to get rid of it. I thought that whole Western, rugged look was really working for him.” Obama said of the New Mexico governor.

Richardson grew the beard when he dropped out of the presidential race in March, recalling another Democrat who ditched his razor when he fell short of the presidency — 2000 candidate Al Gore.

The facial fuzz also had the added benefit of hiding the corpulent governor’s double chin.

“For some reason, maybe because it was scratchy when he kissed his wife, he was forced to get rid of it,” Obama said.

Richardson was not given a chance to explain his decision.

Was this an example of Obama showing mastery over his nascent “team of rivals,” which includes former rivals Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton?

Perhaps he was simply worried about the lack of facial-hair diversity in his future administration.

While Obama has taken pains to appoint women and blacks to senior positions, only the mustachioed Attorney General pick Eric Holder breaks the ranks of the clean-shaven.

Photo by REUTERS/John Gress (Richardson with Obama at Chicago news conference).


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Yes indeed Richardson looked much better with the beard. ON top of it all, the man seemed to have a lot of weight. High time Obama set a rule to trim down the weight of his Cabinet.

Posted by chui | Report as abusive


I hope you have a fat kid.

And for the Reuters tabloid, why dont you focus on more pertinent points of that press conference. Like what it means to have Richardson, who we know as a good governor of a big rich border state, how he’s going to deal with Border Patrol and everything from the predicting the weather to shipping. He is going to be a powerful person and your futzing with Obama’s comments on his moustache. Huh?

Posted by Offended | Report as abusive

Governor Bill campaigned hard for Obama and Democratic congressional candidates in New Mexico. His labor is obvious in the all-Democratic group elected, and the general opinion, no political function is complete without great New Mexico food, shows too. Of course, we think he’d have been great as Sec State, but the president-elect sent a strong message to ‘Main Street,’ when he chose him for Commerce. He gave businesses, especially small ones, the best ‘sales representative’ and help for new business-building and trade negotiating he knows. Commerce will not be a “low-profile” cabinet post in his administration.

Posted by Sharon | Report as abusive

The person offended by Chui’s comments—Lighten UP !!!

Posted by Jerome Firtel | Report as abusive

I’m not offended that the article brings up Richardson’s corpulence. I want Obama to have a strong cabinet, not one where the “Commerce Czar” drops dead of a heart attack a week after being confirmed. Perhaps he didn’t get the State position because he doesn’t have the stamina to travel all over the place.

Besides, Obama chose to make a joke about it, so it’s newsworthy. It’s good to have a smart, serious guy still be capable of attempting humor. If Richardson is not offended, why should you be?

Posted by Toastie | Report as abusive

I am living in Arizona and have lived in New Mexico, Our two great Southwestern states will miss their excellent governors who are going to be in the President’s cabinet and stepping down prematurely. They will serve the country well.


Posted by Anne Wiggins | Report as abusive