Obama mum on Dick Parsons for cabinet

Also tells CNBC he's fighting to keep his BlackBerry

NEW YORK -- President-elect Barack Obama refused to say Wednesday whether former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons would be named commerce secretary to replace New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who dropped out of contention earlier this week.

Obama told CNBC in an interview Wednesday afternoon that he hadn't made the decision and wouldn't say whether Parsons was on the shortlist.

"I am not going to make comments at all," Obama told CNBC's John Harwood. "Dick Parsons is a great guy, though, a good friend of mine."

Parsons is part of Obama's economic transition team. He also has been floated as a possible mayoral candidate in 2009 and has served on transitions for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former New York State Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Parsons' name came back into consideration for commerce after Richardson stepped aside after being nominated by Obama.

In the interview, Obama also said that he was fighting to keep the BlackBerry that he has continually carried as a senator and a presidential candidate.

"I actually took it out as a consequence of this interview, but I'm still clinging to my BlackBerry," Obama said. "They're going to pry it out of my hands."

Obama promised that he'd get access to a computer, perhaps not in the Oval Office, but somewhere else nearby and he said he hoped that there was some way to keep access to the BlackBerry. But he said that it wasn't just the Secret Service but lawyers who have objected to Obama having a BlackBerry.

"You know, this town's full of lawyers," Obama joked. "I don't know if you've noticed and they have a lot of opinions. And so I'm still in a scuffle around that."

Obama had given an exclusive interview to CNBC. Next up is "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," the ABC public-affairs show that will have the first Sunday morning show interview with him since he arrived in Washington.
comments powered by Disqus