Breaking a streak of snubs, President-elect Barack Obama, at a Wednesday press conference with New Mexico Governor and Commerce Secretary designee Bill Richardson, took a question from a Fox News correspondent.
Obama, who ignored Fox News five consecutive times at previous press conferences, answered a question from the network's Wendell Goler.
Goler asked Obama if he was fearful over the prospect of Treasury Sec. Paulson allocating all TARP bailout funds before he takes office. "And if I may also ask the Governor: What happened to the beard, sir?"
"I'm going to answer this question about the beard," Obama responded. "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. For some reason, maybe because it was scratchy when he kissed his wife, he was forced to get rid of it--but we're deeply disappointed with the loss of the beard.
"With respect to TARP: Until Secretary Paulson indicates publicly that he's drawing down the second...half of the TARP money, it would be speculation on my part to suggest that that money's going to be used up." Congress, he said, has to be notified, and can also prevent access to the funds. "I will say that my team has been reviewing very carefully how the TARP program has proceeded. One of my central principles when I first examined the TARP proposal was to insist that there was going to be strong oversight."
Governor Richardson, also an early Democratic contender in the 2008 presidential election, has a long history of serving in cabinet posts. Under President Clinton in 1997 he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, moving to a position as U.S. Secretary of Energy in 1998, where he stayed for the rest of Clinton's presidency.
The following video was broadcast on Fox News on December 3, 2008: