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. soberone

    When Hillary got Murta's endorsment, was it too late, unimportant, backstabbing and all the other terms that have been thrown out.
    Children, recess is over and time to learn a little more politics

    March 21, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Don, San Francisco

    This is a huge coup for Obama, regardless of any spin the Clinton camp may put on it. It puts a huge dent in any argument that they alone can carry the Hispanic vote in the general election. And the idea that perhaps we may see an Obama/Richardson ticket? Makes one think if that may be the actual "Dream Ticket" for the Dems.

    March 21, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Kim

    Obama has a bit more backbone than Richardson, at least he did not sell out his bigot of a pastor, after he stuck by him for 20 years.

    March 21, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. rendezvous

    never .. never trust this guy...
    this is how you define a BACKSTABBER...
    I dont care if this unknown guy supports obama
    HIllary... you need to go all the way and thats it...
    HILLARY '08.. I dont care if Ted doesnt support or Ricahrdson doesnt support..

    March 21, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Trina

    Did we expect Billary to react any other way? It says a lot about you when your "friends" don't endorse you. Old politics are a thing of the past.

    March 21, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Deb from PA

    If Hillary gets elected president, imagine how painful and difficult it will be for ANYONE who goes against her wishes. Scary. That reminds me of the last 8 years.....

    March 21, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Hill supporter

    who cares about Richardson. Politicians are all back stabbers and disloyal to their so called friends. Obama will not win in the ge bec all the Hillary supporters will make sure he doesn't. That's tje obama magic right there. and since dnc not willing to seat fla and mi, say goodbye now to the presidency. i didn't realize how messed up the democratic party is and now i know. i am going republican. i like john mccain and will start giving to his campaign is this obama phoney guy gets in.

    March 21, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. jo

    Richardson's support of Obama has only created more divide and now he will not only have the chance to be VP because unfortunately I believe that if Obama wins the democratic nominee, McCain will win, but he won't have the support of his state anymore. Enjoy being the Governor because it probably won't be for long. You went against the vote of the people of your state. You are a longtime friend of the Clinton's. I sure wouldn't want to be your friend. I am sorry but I just think this was very wrong of you and doesn't speak well of you as a person. I guess Obama's "Svengali" effect has worked on you too.
    Something is very strange about this whole thing.

    March 21, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Linda

    Why are people calling him a traitor? Just because he decided to choose the person that he thought is best qualified to lead the country forward? Please! Congrats to Bill Richardson for not bowing to the Clinton's pressure.

    It means more that much more BECAUSE of the relationship with the Clinton. Knowing them as well as he does and the pick Obama speaks volumes. Think about that......

    March 21, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. JFK

    Wow, I am so tired of hearing Obama this and Obama that! Its getting real old real fast! If you were not so sensitive Mr Obama, maybe we can get back to discussing the real issues. And please, leave your hate filled church too while your at it.

    March 21, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Anna, New Mexico

    Richardson has disgraced our state. I will never support him again. I was fine with him endorsing Obama but to put down Clinton just reveals his true colors. You will never be governor of our state again so I hope obama gave you something good.

    March 21, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. Betsy

    Hillary seems to constantly dismiss things after they happen unless they are in her favor. If she wins a state – apparently it is an important win. If she loses a state – well frankly that was expected and it wasn't important anyway. So here is this longtime supporter that they lost – umm....Didn't her husband spend superbowl Sunday with this man? and they say "well it doesn't matter because he isn't USEFUL" anymore. That says a whole lot about her.

    I guess I would hate it if she were President and my issue wasn't "useful" to her.

    March 21, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. JerryZ

    She has Morons working for her. Just as stupid as she is.

    March 21, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. Voter in North Carolina

    I am from North Carolina and Richardson's endorsement of Obama means nothing. North Carolina is a red state. I am a Democrat, but tending to vote for McCain because of the way the Democrat National Party has treated voters in Michigan and Florida. I will vote for McCain to protest the DNC.

    March 21, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  15. Darryl, Arlington TX

    Thank you Gov. Richardson,,

    Yes We Can.... Hillary is just hating on you because you made the better choice...

    God Bless America

    We have our Dream Team

    Obama 08

    March 21, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Walt, Belton,TX

    Deb from PA, well as the eight prior years, maybe even more so.

    March 21, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. mike

    Dems are toast in Nov.!!! Don' t blame hillary for the lost.

    March 21, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. akaDoug

    What's wrong Clinton-zombies? Does it hurt when people actually wake up and see what a waste of a vote it would be to support Hillary (my negatives are worse then GWB's) Rotten-Clinton?

    Us Obama supporters wouldn't know...because we keep getting Superdelegates jumping onto our fast moving train!

    You can continue to throw the kitchen sink at us, you can continue to this scorched earth campaign, but we are continuing to win, you can't beat please Hillary, for once, think about somebody besides yourself and drop out gracefully!

    March 21, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. RK

    Good for you Bill! I agree with you for calling them out when I heard HRC's campaign called your endorsement insignificant. Anyone that doesn't vote for them will be 'insignifican't' first it was MI and FL but now that she needs their votes she has since back peddled. Now its the caucuses, small states, and you. HRC is two faced. only likes you when she needs you.

    March 21, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  20. LifeLongDemocrat

    What's the motivation for this...eye on the VP prize? I guess loyalty is out the window. I still will NOT vote for Obama...would rather sit this one out or write-in Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. joe m

    the response by clinton to loosing this sought after endorsement does not help her. it makes her appear as if she is someone who has no use for anyone who is not willing to help her obtain what she wants. it should have been sufficient for her to state that she respected richardson and his decision.

    March 21, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Independent in California

    Hey Hillary! How do those sour grapes taste? Kind of like defeat?

    March 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. biged55

    what kind of warped world do the clinton supporters live in?

    March 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. xtina

    Good! I hope Bill R tells Obama to cut taxes for all Americans, and to not punish the rich and successful, as Obama wants to do

    March 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. Tom

    if Richardson meant anything to anybody why did he only get "1%" of the vote???

    What a scumbag he is, going against his own people that voted for Hillary.

    But then again, thats what you'll get wieht the Empty Suit and his "valet".

    March 21, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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