March 21st, 2008
05:15 PM ET
6 years ago

Richardson calls out Clinton adviser

Richardson’s backing was sought by both the Clinton and Obama campaigns.
Richardson’s backing was sought by both the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

(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

soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. Corey, Maryland

    You tell them Bill!!

    March 21, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. The Perpetual Student

    Yes, Hilary, it is so INSIGNIFICANT that you and Bill tried hard to get it!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. BAKERSFIELD

    another back stabber

    March 21, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. David, Ventura CA

    it is kinda late bill but still a good choice!

    OBAMA08!

    March 21, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    What's wrong with the Clinton's camp. The are not cool at all.

    March 21, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Ken

    I believe that Richardson's endorsement means little to nothing and a slap in the face to the Clinton's, both Bill and Hillary, for it was Bill Clinton that gave him a job.

    Richardson must be trying to see if he can be Obama's VP! Some may say that it would be a "Dream Ticket", but in my opinion, it would be a "Nightmare Ticket".

    Obama has NOTHING special about him!!!!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  7. GO HRC!

    It was Bill Richardson himself who said that endorsements should not mean much and should not sway any voters yet he still endorsed and still argues it should mean something. DOUBLE TALK! He owes alot to the Clintons and he did not pay it back in good service. He will kicking himself when Hillary is the nominee.

    HILLARY '08!

    March 21, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. richard

    How could the call be pleasant when you are a traitor? Does Mr. Richardson really deem it important to share how they responded? If he and Mr. Obama really want to rise above politics as usual, they would not be making these kinds of statements. Sooner or later the artificial purity of Mr. Obama will fade.

    March 21, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Enrique

    What the Clinton advisor said is not only offensive, but divisive. Why not just concede that they lost a valuable endosement and move on?

    If the Clinton campaign truly felt that Gov. Richardson would have no impact, why even mention it?

    Move on with your campaign Sen. Clinton. Stick to the issues. Stop dividing the Democratic Party. Enough "He said, She said." This country deserves better.

    Hispanic- Iraqi Freedom Veteran 2003

    Obama/Richardson 2008

    March 21, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. JP

    Of course the call to Hillary is not pleasant because she is a cold, prickly, calculating, loyalty-demanding, bitter, desperate and just plain miserable human being.

    March 21, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. gerry

    Thank you Hillary.

    You've just empowered Richardson and motivated him to work hard on defeating you.

    March 21, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Vivacious

    Thanks Governor Richardson for endorsing Senator Obama!
    Dallas, TX

    March 21, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Ma

    Who is more flawed a person who spend the last 20 years in a congregation of self proclaim haters or someone who was working to make life better for people.

    March 21, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. TJames

    Typical of the Clintons, disparaging Richardson's record and race if he doesn't stand behind them.

    March 21, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. hal

    I agree- his endorsement is insignificant! He did it because he wants to be the VP.

    March 21, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. NJ4hillary

    Richardson will be the ultimate loser

    March 21, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. josh r

    hahahaha! You fought hard Hillary and I respect your candor (just not the rest of your character), but the people have spoken. You won't win 2/3 of the vote from here on in , and all the superdelegates are inevitably going to run to the Obama bandwagon. Bow out gracefully now and maybe you can still be the New York Governor soon!

    March 21, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Monica, Texas

    You go Bill....Don't let the haters unnerve your support for Obama!!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Go Hillary!!!

    It is insignificant. So what. Who cares.

    March 21, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Robin

    Haven't you learned that yet? Whatever is in Mrs. Clinton's side is the best ever and whatever is not in her side, doesn't mean anything.

    March 21, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Charlotte

    I can only imagine how uncomfortable it would be to tell someone, who trusted you, that you are going to stab them in the back. I could never do that. What really happened? Were you hoping to be Hillarys' VP, then found out you were not? Did Obama tell you you were on his short list? I do believe politics makes for strange bedfellows. The politics as usual is in full bloom. This only proves you can't trust any of them. They are all back stabbers.

    March 21, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Kim

    Richardson please you could barely get 2% of the vote, everyone knows that you are jocking for the VP position be quiet, that's why you sold out to Obama's camp.

    March 21, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Unhappy

    You know it is a funny thing that during the debates all Richardson could talk about was his experience and how important it was to the nomination of a presidental candidate and now he chooses to endorse the most unexperienced candidate. I was almost ready to vote for him and now I am glad I did not. He seems to have poor judgement.

    March 21, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Peter

    hmmmmmmm, let me guess, if he had endorsed Hilary then he wont have mattered anywayz, right? wrong! she will be on air saying how she just got an important endorsement that shows she is more electable. these Clintons are terribly deceptive

    March 21, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Zack

    Politics as usual unfortunately. While any person with a glint of intelligence knows Clinton would rather have a Richardson endorsement than millions of dollars, the campaign still attempts to play it down. What's scary is that people actually buy into this.

    March 21, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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