March 21st, 2008
05:15 PM ET
10 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. Political Jonze

    Only two endorsements would be bigger at this stage – John Edwards and Al Gore.

    March 21, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Jean

    I wouldn't be to happy with you either , Some friend you are, with friends like you who needs enemies. If I were hillary or Bill I would never speak to you again. I'am sure you hope to gain something by supporting Obama, but actually you lost something. Traitor.

    March 21, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Tired of Hillary camp

    You did the right thing, Bill!! We appreciate it.

    Your late support is a testimony that you were torn between the two candidates and you needed immense courage to say 'no' to the Clintons. But, you did the right thing and I congratulate you for it.

    Those who say Bill is ungrateful, shame on you.... When somebody does you a favor, you return the favor, but not by selling your soul. If Clintons say they had done a favor to Bill, then all should know that Bill did a greater favor to Clintons because not only did Bill Clinton get all the hispanic support during his runs, but also Hillary got all the hispanic support this season despite Bill supporting Obama...

    So, I congratulate Bill again and welcome aboard!

    March 21, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. John

    Obama and Richardson now thats a winner!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. phillip

    the walls are finally closing in on hrc. all those past allies are leaving her (hiliary)in favor of whats best for the american people. his (rich) endorsement of obama is huge given his close ties with the clintons i commend him for being a true american and not a politician!

    March 21, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Judgment is Lacking....

    Who Cares...Wa Wa Wa. Loyality is nothing in politics. They always flock to who ever is winning...What ever....

    March 21, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Larry

    Obama has something "special" alright. And it's name is Wright. And on the issue of Wright, Obama is dead wrong! Even now, he fails to see that in the fall, when the entire electorate is involved and engaged, the incindiary rhetoric that Wright preaches, will be Obama's downfall. The fact that he cannot see that, and has never seen that in the twenty years he has invested in this man, brings into serious question his ability to perceive a dangerous situation and make a reasoned decision to dismantle it.

    March 21, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Roz, IL

    how ignorant, but then again this doesn't shock me coming from the Hillary camp. SORE LOSERS

    March 21, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Mike

    how is this news... Obama must have mentioned possible VP slot... of course it is going to be hard to tell a friend that I am going to support someone else... all of the super delegates are going to have this feeling whomever they back...

    Obama just trying to get the news off of Wright and his radio interview...

    March 21, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Sharon Olds

    when I read the statement of Richardson being insignificant, I did not like that at all. Again, racially dividing the country. Thank you Gov. Richardson for speaking out, this is not just a Black-White America.

    March 21, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. cs

    Now Richardson is calling Clinton advisor RACIST!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Bill

    Richardson is just acting out again. Hillary all the way.

    March 21, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Rich W Marietta, GA

    Not this time. Not this time.

    That's what we will say to Barry in November. You're tired old leftist ideas has been resoundly beaten at the polls before.

    No you can't. No you can't.

    March 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. La Raza

    The news of Richardson endorsing Obama has made my day! May God Bless America. I will pray for the folks that cast hatred toward Obama. You cannot be held responsible solely for your ignorance. The media is partially to blame. I will pray that God helps you to think and see with you own minds and eyes.

    March 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Typical Clintons

    Add this endorsement to the list of the people, states, and votes that Hillary's campaign says are unimportant (after losing them).

    March 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Todd, Utah

    They will say and do anything to get the nomination! Go Barak!

    March 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. junebug

    Richardson is a loser, always has been always will be.

    March 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. loribee


    OBAMA '08

    March 21, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. beggin for VP

    interesting? I think there is a plea bargain...someone is promising a VP spot to all those has beens

    March 21, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Brian

    In May/June, when Obama continues to lead the tallies in more states, more delegates and the popular vote (with or without MI and FLA). Does the Clinton stance change the IMPORTANCE and the DECISION from those millions of “voters” to the “endorsers” and so-called electabiity.

    “Both candidates have many great endorsers, but the voters, not endorsers, will decide this election, and there are still millions of voters in upcoming contests who want to have their voices heard,” Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said.

    Tell me, I’m listening. What will the stance be then?

    March 21, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. sophia nyc

    Simply put:

    Clintons will just USE PEOPLE to their benefit. It's sad that the only significance Hillary can see of Richardson is to pull in the Latino vote.

    Does Hillary really think Latinos are that gullible?

    March 21, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. Bill-Pa.

    Bill Richason seems like he never liked the Clintons.

    March 21, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. Ben

    Gov. Richardson,

    Thank you for putting your judgment and what you believe is the best interests of your country above your personal political loyalties.

    "Loyalty over judgment" has had an eight year run in the White House, but it is about to end. And brought us a little bit closer to that goal.

    Thank you-

    Ben, CA

    March 21, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Rich

    Bill and Barry will make a great team – The first all minority ticket in history to go down in flames!

    March 21, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Bill-Pa.

    OK CNN guessin you like Richardson, cause you keep on cutting my comments off.

    March 21, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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