January 6th, 2008
05:31 PM ET
10 years ago

Richardson denies sending Iowa voters to Obama

(CNN) - In a CNN interview Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson denied reports that his Iowa supporters were told to support rival Barack Obama if the New Mexico governor fared poorly in the first round of caucus voting.

“That is totally untrue. I don't know where that came out of,” Richardson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Iowa’s Democratic caucus rules allow supporters of candidates receiving less than 15 percent of the vote in each precinct – which means those names are eliminated from later consideration - to vote for any of the remaining presidential contenders.

Some Clinton supporters had claimed there was a deal that would send the governor’s supporters to back Obama in later voting rounds.

Barack Obama emerged as the clear winner of the Iowa’s Democratic caucuses Thursday night, garnering 38 percent of the vote. Sen. John Edwards took second with 30 percent, and Hillary Clinton came in third at 29 percent. Richardson rounded out the top four with 2 percent of the delegate vote.

On CNN’s Late Edition, the New Mexico governor dismissed claims of a deal with Obama, crediting first-time caucus voters with the Illinois senator’s win “He got a huge amount of voters participating that had never participated before. Hardly anyone anticipated that, at least the huge numbers that he brought forth. So that's why, you know, there are all of these rumors,” he said.

–CNN’s Peter Lanier and Jessica Rummel contributed to this report

Filed under: Bill Richardson
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Rob

    I live in NM. I don't thihk I would take Richardson's comments at face value without proof. He is a liar-get it.

    January 7, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  2. Judd

    Obama used several intimidation tactics against the elderly to win Iowa. I saw it I was there.

    January 7, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  3. Randy Cerf

    Ths would be smart if he wants to be HIS vice president.

    January 7, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  4. curiosityhasme

    Nice try Richardson. I'd deny it, too, since Bill Clinton named you Energy Secretary. Such loyalty. With friends like that.....Richardson, Biden and Dodd all talked about "experience" too. Have all known Clinton(s) for years. Worked side-by-side with Bill and Hillary for years. That's why it is so hard to swallow – that they all stabbed Hillary in the back. When it became obvious in the polls that the three weren't viable, there is no question who they should have supported and thrown their supporters to. The same person that has supported them in the Senate – Hillary Clinton. Which makes the betrayal that much worse. Their egos made them cut deals, as if any of them could really be helped. Now, with their exposure by the media in behind-the-scenes shenanigans (and by precinct captains who were recorded stating, "You can vote for whoever you want; I just know I was supposed to tell you to support Obama") they look even smaller in the public eye. I know I lost respect for all three (Dennis Kucinich doesn't apply) because of the ultimate betrayal, not just to Hillary but the entire Party and country. The saddest part, too, is that Obama was laughing all the way to the proverbial bank. He used them for his own immediate political gain, and even worse, ended long-standing friendships and working-relationships. The power that intelligent people are abdicating to Obama is unbelievable. The power that our dumb-downed BET, uneducated society has turned over to him is not electrifying, it's more like electrocution. I sense a Republican stampede (if it's not already too late) like never seen before. Thanks for helping ghetto / gangsta culture hijack the most important election in the history of our country. New handle? The three stooges.

    January 7, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  5. John Smith,N.H.


    January 7, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  6. Lynn, FL

    If you think Hilary is going to give this country a "mother's love" you are not thinking clearly. Do you remember when Bill was in office? He was the more nurturing parent by all appearances. Hilary is no warm, nurturing mother, loving on anyone. She is a calculating, power hungry person, with little real experience in accomplishing anything in politics to her own record. She, like her husband before her, changes her opinion according to the latest polls and what might be popular at the moment. Thankfully, people are waking up to her game and are voting for change. I also don't understand why you would think she is electable when polls have consistently shown such a high number of people who say they would never vote for her.

    January 7, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  7. Nick Wilson, Richardson, TX

    Obama/Richardson would be a darn good ticket, and Richardson's extensive experience could prop up Obama's lack thereof. He's been a pretty darn good governor of New Mexico. Both are very close from a policy perspective, and Richardson, like Obama, seems to want to focus on the issues more than being divisive and attacking others. Richardson is way wonkier than Obama, which would give Obama the substance he needs to be more viable against the Republicans. There would be no need for Hillary's fake "experience," Edwards' hatred of private enterprise or both of those candidates' divisiveness.

    I'd prefer Ron Paul, but I don't think he's got a chance in the general if he runs as an independent unless Hillary and a hawk Republican are the nominees, making him the default anti-war vote.

    January 7, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  8. Claude Robotham

    Even if true, so what? A candidate who loses is free to endorse another, only here the "endorsement" would have been conditional and made in advance. It's to be expected under Iowa's kooky process. Hillary's problem is her sense of entitlement to the nomination and the Presidency. No doubt she'd have much such a "deal" for herself, if only she could have. It's my hope that this duplicitous, self serving and arrogant person is crushed in New Hampshire and thereafter. She is bad for the Democratic party and bad for the country.

    January 7, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  9. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Regis, I think Sherry is right, you are wrong. People, speically young people are misled by Obama's inflammatory speech. I couldn't figure out why he won in Iowa and leads Clinton in NH by the polls. Obama's political view is dangerous for our Country's future because he doesn't have enough and strong political foundation like Hillary Clinton so he will use existing political members in his administration. Obama likes to change to fresh face, but Obama will work with old politicians and already elected Senators eventually, he couldn't change all of politicians in Washington to like Oprah, college graduates and teenagers for his cabinet then what is different? It is not a change and not safe for our Country in this situation. I hope people think seriously and choose the right person for the White House. I worry about campaign, I think people move to the wrong direction again. Likability doesn't equal with leadership for the Country, I strongly suggest Hillary fights back until win the nomination.

    January 7, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  10. Rufus, Milwaukee, WI


    That's pretty much for you JAY... and also for Michelle (Mrs. NObama), who calls UNSTOPPABLE: STINKY!

    January 7, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  11. Brandon

    For those espousing experience as the most important characteristic in our next president: Dick Cheney and Karl Rove both had many, many years of Washington experience, and look where that got us.

    Mixed race, gender, all of that aside–what we need is a strong leader. We need someone who HASN'T been in Washington and has Washington's warped view of the world and the country. We don't need a strict father, we don't need a preacher, we don't need a career politician, and we definitely don't need a "caring mother." (Remember when your mother lied to you about Santa Claus? Or the tooth fairy? Or whether you were a mistake? Whether that was for your own good or not, it still hurts to be lied too and mothers are FAR from perfect.)

    Honestly, what we need most of all is a change. We need a hope for the future and not the same people who've been controlling Washington for the last 20 years.

    This is my first presidential election that I'm eligible to vote in, and honestly I don't want the same two political dynasties controlling the White House my entire life. According to basic elementary Social Studies, that is called an oligarchy.

    January 7, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  12. Will

    In all honesty, I like Bill Richardson and Hillary. If one of these two don't get it, Id probably vote Republican. Edwards flat out scares me to death, and I don't think Obama is a sane choice either. Neither one of them have a great deal of national experience. Look where voting in inexperience got us in 2000. yuck.

    January 7, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  13. Ross Lippincott; Davenport Iowa.

    me ofcourse January 6, 2008 11:34 pm ET

    Nobody cares!!!
    At the end of the day Clinton will come up with the most delegates….Watch and see how it works… Like it or not..

    Yo me,

    That's what they said about Iowa too.


    January 7, 2008 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  14. Ross Lippincott; Davenport Iowa.

    judith escalona January 6, 2008 11:46 pm ET

    It seems to me, once again, that Clinton won the debate — the media commentators notwithstanding. It is becoming clear that experience combined with a humanistic agenda will triumph over simple inspirational words.

    Were we watching the same debate?

    OBAMA -EDWARDS/08!!!!!!!

    January 7, 2008 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  15. Adam, Sacramento

    As a Richardson supporter I know quite a few other Richardson supporters. Not one of them will be voting for Hillary if Richardson were to leave the race. We are change voters who look at Richardson as a pro second amendment, tax cutting democrat as significant change. He is also significant experience but we want change.

    Some of us will go edwards some obama, the foreign policy voters who knew iraq was a mistake in 2002 will go anyone but clinton.

    We recognize Obama as no slouch you don't become editor of the harvard law review if you are an intellectual dolt. We recognize edwards has a legitimate passion for the middle class.

    This is also Hillary's way of clarifying Richardson won't be her VP candidate as if there was any doubt before. She is running as if she is a foreign policy expert pulling Richardson would confirm she feels weak in the area.

    Obama likely wouldn't as while he has succesfully not played the race card in the primary a double minority ticket might just seem to be doing that.

    If Richardson was to cut a deal with anyone it would therefore have been edwards. But then edwards is a crusader and Bill is a mediator as anyone that watched him diffuse the tension last night realizes.

    Reality is Richardson legitimately believes he would make a good president. In a TV age he may not have the Charisma to get the job. That's less a reflection on his readiness to serve than our preferred media's emphasis on image. If he's pulling poll margin down on any other candidates it's Obama and Edwards however.

    January 7, 2008 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  16. Sam IA

    It helps to understand the caucus system. There was nothing out of the ordinary happening here. In my caucus the obama camp sent 6 people to Richardson to give him a quorum but 4 hillary supporters where sent to to make a quorum for Richardson and take a delegate away from Edwards. That is the name of the game and Richardson was the beneficiary of the undecided group who supported other nonviable candidates.In reality Richardson is running for Vice President if he can amass enough delegates to have some leverage. I believe Grahm from Florida would be the better choice but Richardson would be a good choice also.

    January 7, 2008 03:37 am at 3:37 am |
  17. Sherry

    To Richard, Steve and Jay,

    Talk about stupid. I did not say all mixed race people are for themselves. Most blacks have some white blood anyway. I said Obama is for himself. Check out his record in Illinois and you too will vote for Hillary.

    He is considered black by the majority of voters in this country. The constituition still says 1 fiftth of black blood means you are BLACK. You people (voters who think Obama can win) "do not know your history and are doomed to repeat it."

    It's called "divide and conquer". The democrats are so caught up fighting and you Obama supporters are so naive. As long as voters think that supporting Obama is the way to defeat Hillary, Obama will continue to win.

    However, those same people who are voting for Obama now will not go in that booth in November and vote for him. Stop listening to the press and go check out your history.

    This country needs someone as president who will heal the wounds of the Bush administration. Only the Clinton's know what that position was like before he took office and they (Biden as Hillary's runninng mate) can make it work again.

    By the time this race is over no one, democrat or republican will negotiate with Obama on any issue. Tell me how is he going to get any legislation passed without help from either side of the isle? Don't bother answering that qustion, because he will never be president in this country. The voter backlash in Illinois will boot him out of his senate seat if he dares to run again.

    January 7, 2008 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  18. Erin

    A President is only as good as the cabinet they surround themselves with. Bush has shown us that.

    January 7, 2008 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  19. Jane Smith

    Why is Richardson still in the race? He came out of Iowa with only 2 percent of the votes. He should be excluded from further debates. We need to hear the three main candidates who stand a real chance of winning in November.

    January 7, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  20. S McAtee

    Ignorance breeds so deeply...some people seem to believe anything that someone wearing a suit tells them to believe; start thinking for yourself!

    Here's a reality check...

    Obama can't change squat. You can 'say' you're going to do alot of things, but do you really think that congress is going to go along with the ideas Obama has? Absolutely NOT. Why? Because they sound good when you say them, but don't actually work when applied, especially when you have to get through half a congress that despises what you have to offer.

    I like Obama...but he is DANGEROUS. He is dangerous because has has shown himself to be almost completely ignorant of foreign policy and very little understanding of what he could and could NOT do as president.

    So to put it bluntly, if Hilary doesn't win; I'm going to vote Huckabee.

    Do I agree with Huckabee's policy? Not overly so, although like any candidate, I like portions of what they stand for...but when it comes right down to it, I have to acknowledge that our country simple can't handle someone as inexperienced as Obama in office. I'd MUCH rather have Hilary than Huckabee.

    This isn't about race, gender or pride...this is about common sense.

    Common sense says you don't put the rookie in when you're needing a heavy hitter, especially when that rookie doesn't seem to know the difference between a Homerun and a fieldgoal.

    January 7, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  21. Ron strawbridge

    Look. Theres a big red line dividing the old guard and the new Change that is giving so many so much HOPE!

    The comments of some make me more excited about doing away with the politics of old. But SOME don't get it....

    Hillaryians keep fighting and talking like the old timer politicos.

    Your notions of some kind of set up by independents sounds like something that would come from the clinton or bush camp.

    fear mongering doesn't work either.

    There is a change coming.

    What kind of experience does one need to be president?

    Is there just one kind or set of experience required to do the job?

    I think that successful presidents do not fit into one kind of mold...they are the right men(so far, but I,m not opposed to a woman) for the time.

    Obama's time is now

    January 7, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  22. tombay

    I am a black guy but certainly do not support Obama. Obama is a novice. He is cajoling Americans with his sugar coated words. Americans wake up from slumber and face reality. Obama started by attacking Hillary when he was trailing behind her. Now is ahead, he portrays himself as holier than thou. Go for hillary `08.

    January 7, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  23. brian

    1) Richardson does not want to be Hillary's VP. Just because you were friends with someone and served under her husband, does not mean you want to be her VP. While he may end up being on an Obama or Edwards ticket, or in a cabinet position, he is running because he truly feels he would be the best president. If you had the chance to meet the man and see it in his eyes and hear his words like we did in Iowa, you would know that.
    2) Vivian – it is his real hair without a doubt. Might not be the coolest cut from a young person's perspective, but its real. You can google pictures of him over the years, none even show the hint of balding that he would want to cover up.
    3) Jimmy – as a parent, if my child said that, you use it as an opportunity to tell him that he could never have been a presidential candidate if he kept doing drugs, he regrets the time he wasted doing it, and use it as an example of what a person can do with their life if they live clean. There are real people in life that do drugs, not just people who live in gutters.
    4) Go Marma and Nick!
    5) It was great to see Hillary Rodham Clinton (she changed her name once again just before she announced that she was entering the race because a poll said it would be a good idea) slip by 10 points in a NH poll OVERNIGHT! Won the debate? Give me a break.
    6) Bill had the best line of the night at the recent debate – "I've been in hostage negotiations more civil than this!" – a slam on Hillary, a show of his great sense of humor, and an example of the vast foreign policy experience he has that is unrivaled by the others on stage. This may not be his year to run because of all the celebrities running, but his true experience (not tea-party experience) has no parallel.

    January 7, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  24. Obama cheated

    Senator Barack Obama won the Iowa Caucuses. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson placed fourth. But did they really earn their finishing positions? The answer may be surprising. In the now past ABC New Hampshire debate before the January 8th first-in-the-nation primary, the rules were that only the candidates who finish in the top four slots in Iowa could participate, meaning that second-tier candidates who placed fourth could live on to continue their campaign another day. In the last hours before the Iowa caucuses Obama, who wanted to pad his victory and hedge his bets, approached Joe Biden with this, proposal: In precincts where Biden had a local official loyal to him, and if Biden wasn't viable, then Senator Biden would tell his organizers to move his supporters over to Obama en mass. Conversely, in precincts where Obama had more than enough supporters, he would lend people to Biden to ensure Biden a fourth place finish so that he could,continue Joe Biden actually considered the proposal. An anonymous source close to Biden told the Washington Post that the strategy could be "viability for victory."When the media found out, Obama's camp admitted that the conversation took place. Biden, who when asked about the proposal at a campaign event said that the deal could "probably" help both campaigns; however he later rejected the deal on "moral grounds," a source in Biden's Iowa organization told the Rev. Rob Times on condition of anonymity. History recorded that Joe Biden placed fifth in Iowa, and subsequently dropped out of the race. On January 4, the day after the caucus, the New York Times reported strong rumors that Obama made the same deal to Bill Richardson that he previously offered to Biden, only this time the deal was accepted.The Times article describes not only the rumors, but gives an eye-witness account and confession of an Obama official telling Richardson supporters that a pact had indeed been made between the two candidates. "That's what the leadership has said," admitted Deb Copeland, an Obama volunteer as reported by the New York Times. "What we're concerned about is we heard of a few people going to Hillary. And we want to keep you together," she told the Richardson supporters at the 64th precinct. Volunteers for the Biden campaign told the Rev. Rob Times that Obama organizers used the same speech about a "pact" to lure supporters in at least two precincts where Biden was only a few supporters shy of viability.Representatives from both the Obama and Richardson campaigns deny that such a deal was ever struck, yet first hand testimonies clearly paint a far different picture. The Effect in the end, the effect of backdoor wheeling and dealing between campaigns is that Richardson's fourth place finish could be artificial, and Obama's victory margin is larger than it would have been in a democratic system. Our democracy is based, in part, on the concept of "one man, one vote," and a vote by a secret ballot, free from the judging eyes of neighbors and the media, free from bribery, and free from the influence of political activists. Had the Iowa contest been based on a ballot, and had caucus voters cast a single vote for the candidate of their choice as is the most fair method of picking a president, then Obama may have come in second and Richardson in fifth. If Obama's victory margin had been smaller, or if he placed second, then the dynamic of the race would have changed drastically. Edwards, Clinton, and even Biden may have all come out of Iowa in stronger positions than any of them have.In part, the system is to blame, but those who took advantage of it and exploited it for their own purposes, namely Barack Obama and Bill Richardson, are not without culpability and their misdeeds should be remembered in the minds of voters.

    MANCHESTER, N.H. - Obama campaign violating state law by placing automated phone calls to numbers on the Do Not Call list. Former State Rep. Sandy Keans, a from Rochester, said she received a call.“This afternoon, I received a pre-recorded phone message from the Obama campaign attacking Senator Clinton even though I am on the Do-Not-Call List," Keans said.

    January 7, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  25. Harold Bishop, NH

    Dear poster above: get a life.

    January 7, 2008 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
1 2 3