(CNN) – Bill Richardson criticized a Clinton campaign adviser Friday for suggesting his endorsement of Barack Obama is insignificant.
"I resent the fact that the Clinton people are now saying that my endorsement is too late because I only can help with Texans - with Texas and Hispanics, implying that that's my only value," the New Mexico governor told CNN's John King.
"That's typical of some of his advisers that kind of turned me off."Earlier Friday, Clinton campaign senior strategist Mark Penn said he thought Richardson's endorsement came too late to make an impact.
“The time that he could have been effective has long since passed," Penn told reporters on a conference call. "I don’t think it is a significant endorsement in this environment.”
In the interview Friday, Richardson also said he called Hillary Clinton Thursday to inform her of his decision to back Obama, a conversation he described as "painful."
"It was painful and it wasn't easy," he said. "I've spoken to others who have had that same conversation and they say at the end, it’s not all that pleasant.
"The former Democratic presidential candidate declined to elaborate further on his conversation with Clinton.Last month, Chris Dodd - another former presidential candidate who decided to endorse Obama last month - said he had a "not comfortable" conversation with Clinton informing her of the news.
Also in the interview Friday, Richardson said he ultimately decided to back Obama because the Illinois senator has "something special."
"I think that Sen. Obama has something special,” explained Richardson. “Something that can bring internationally America’s prestige back, that can deal with the race issue as he did so eloquently last week, that can deal with the domestic issues in a bipartisan way."
Richardson, who held posts as the Secretary of Energy and the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. in President Clinton’s administration, also said he "owes a lot to the Clinton family but I served well. I paid it back in service to the country."
Related video: Richardson on Obama endorsement
Updated 7:22 p.m. to add link to interview video
– CNN's Martina Stewart and Alex Mooney
People, please don't forget that Obama is no better than Jeremiah Wright who cursed America. Do we really know who Obama is?
Unless you want to see the DNC split to pieces (i.e. brokered convention) shift your support to Obama and gear up for the General Election. If your not a fan of Barack, then you should take notice that we have the chance to control the WH, Senate, House, and stop the Repubs from taking the Supreme Court where they would most likely overtun Roe V, Wade.
One whiner deserves another
Richardson, you have greatly disappointed me. You are traitor that just wants to be VP. I wish that you did not do this.
Bill Richardson made a good choice. I am grateful.
Doesn't matter anyway Bill... you're on a sinking ship!
The DNC is gonna battle so long and hard internally... they are going to hand the election to McCain... This is only going to get worse.
This is a distraction to Wright story and more coverage to Obama!
Thank you Bill Richardson. There is a dark side to the Clinton's.
Rechi get a life....
Clintons true colors are showing very clearly now. Its all about political gain with Hillary. Sad for her cause America is starting to see the real picture. Thank you Richardson.
Yeah , he has something special all right. The backing of Wright, Farakan and the New Black Panther party. Yipeeeee.
"People, please don't forget that Obama is no better than Jeremiah Wright who cursed America. Do we really know who Obama is?"
We know he's not a racist.
Watch the domino effect. This will be one of many.
Mrs. Clinton has been mathematically eliminated from this race.
Mr. Richardson told her to give it up, and unite behind Senator Obama, the front runner.
She, like Mr. Bush, only wants to hear what she wants to hear.
Mr. Penn is wrong - once again.
Hillary is always talking about herself -nobody else. She is a sheer loser and a danger to the democratic party...
It seems that Obama's vision of one America doesn't include Florida and Michigan...yea, he's the candidate to bring us all together.
A real leader would fight to protect, rather than deny the rights of all Americans to participate in an election. Does he really think that we would support him in November after fighting so hard to silence us in the primary? I don't think putting his own personal interests above the rights of the American people is a good path to the White House.
It is one inept politician endorsing another inept politician and the American people are losing.
International politics are full of allies and "friends" moving support around. If Hillary can't handle a change of heart, how will she handle it as President?
Another reason Hillary concerns me?
Politician loyalty is to the people above all. Thank you for endorsing Obama in the people interest.