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|Wednesday, January 10, 2001, updated at 09:55(GMT+8)|
Chavez Withdraws as US Labor Secretary NomineeLinda Chavez withdrew Tuesday as US President-elect George W. Bush's nominee for labor secretary, causing the first major setback for Bush's transition effort.
"Unfortunately because of the way the stories have played over the last few days I have decided that I am becoming a distraction and therefore I have asked President Bush to withdraw my name for secretary of labor," Chavez said at a news conference here.
Chevez, who was under fire because of questions and controversy over an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who lived in her home in the early 1990s, said it was her own decision and she was never asked by Bush's team to withdraw.
Expressing her belief that she had done nothing wrong, Chevez said that she was a victim of "search and destroy" politics.
She told reporters that the Guatemalan woman who stayed with her was battered and in trouble, and that she would take her in again "without hesitation" despite what has happened as a result.
Chevez said that she withdrew "with some regret" because it sends a "very, very bad signal."
In reaction to Chevez's withdrawal, President-elect Bush said Tuesday he was "disappointed" that she would not be his labor secretary.
"Linda is a good person with a great deal of compassion for people from all walks of life. Her upbringing and her life prepared her well for the issues facing the Labor Department," Bush said in a statement immediately after Chavez withdrew her nomination.
Chavez, 53, is a conservative immigration specialist who served with the Civil Rights Commission in the administration of President Ronald Reagan.
Local reports said that the potential candidates for the labor secretary include Missouri Representative Jim Talent, defeated nominee for governor of Missouri; Representative Jennifer Dunn of Washington; and Rich Bond, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
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