March 21st, 2008
05:15 PM ET
7 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. elmerg

    As a lifelong Democrat I have to admit I am ashamed of the venom of the remaining Clinton followers, not only in this thread, but everywhere they seem to open their mouths. It really appears they would rather have four more years of Bush (McCain) then have their precious candidate lose. Shame on you people!

    March 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  2. typical white voter

    Did Obamas grandmother issue any racists remarks when Richardson made his anouncement

    March 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  3. An Agnostic Democrat

    Tellin' it like it is and not minimizing or undercuting anyone. Just the TRUTH. Very unlike the candidate with the initials HRC.

    March 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. I used to be a Democrat

    The only thing "special" about Obama is how many Democrats he is going to take down with him. The Democratic party is coming apart at the seems. Obama will not be the next President.

    It is time for us to consider a third party.

    March 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. talmis

    so...Bill Richardson endorses Obama...hum.....who is more establishment?.....Obama right now is surrounded by Ted Kennedy, Bill Richardson.....
    I wonder ...does he really have any right to say that he is not part of the establishment anymore?...

    March 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Ilene, Livonia MI

    Who are these Hillary supporters that write all this crap? Some can't even spell. I don't even know why I bother to read this anymore. Do people really believe we need another liar in the White House?? Why should we all suffer because people like them have a right to vote. I.Q. tests should be a requirement for voting. I am so happy that Richardson gave Obama his support. Another nail in the coffin for Billary. No one needs four more years of lies and anyone that believes anything that leaves the lips of either of them is simply ignorant.

    March 21, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. marla

    What a hypocrite and a backstabber after all the Clintons did for his carreer you should stayed neutral Bill Richardson that tells a lot about your character.

    March 21, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. maximillian

    Clinton must just be having a hissy fit with threats ... Dont dare challenge THE BORG

    "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.

    March 21, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. get real

    Obama must have offered him the VP spot. That's the only reason I can see that he would stab his friends in the back. Obama's smooth. He really wants those latino votes. Next he will be offering illegal aliens free cars to go with those drivers licenses.

    I heard Oprah had the good sense to leave the "Wright" church. Why didn't Obama?

    When are the Obama supporters going to realize this guy will do or say anything to get elected. I'm glad the truth is finally coming out about Obama.

    We can be sure that we will have to watch FOX for any real news. All I've seen on CNN in the last few days is Anderson Cooper and Larry King sniffing Obama's rear end.

    March 21, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  10. Olivia

    Bill Richardson is trying to make his endorsement of Obama seem more justified to the people by accusing a Clinton advisor of belittling the importance of his endorsement. With a friend like that who nds enemies. After ALL THIS TIME.....he who once was blind but now can see.....is seeing with much more acuity the possibility of being on the VP short list or a nice cushy overseas appointment as payment for the endorsement shud Obama become president.
    Hillary is a strong,tenacious, pleasant, knowledgable candidate. She is working hard and doing well when you consider how much negatives have been thrown at her from the start. It would be an honor for me to meet and shake hands with her one day. The press and pundits have aired and reaired the personal pain she went through with the Monica thing; they have put a knife in the old wound and twisted hard. She is still standing tall, even though a knife has been added between the shoulder blades. Viva Hillary.

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. Dave, SC

    This Bill is complicating things. Did you meet Jeremiah Wright? You should know the credentials of Obama. He has nothing there on his portfolio. I am sure American people are aware of theswe gimmicks. We will know this very soon. God bless America.

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Paul from Kissimmee

    It's sugnificant???

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. susannah jones

    I wonder what deal Mr. O'Bummer gave Mr. Richardson....must be VP or more likely, Secretary of State. Politics as usual. No change here! who wants to start a fantasy congress game?

    Susannah Jones

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Venus

    He really disappointed me! You know so far obama hasn't shown anything special to the American people. For one he's never done anything for the American people. What a distasteful choice. Hillary doesn't need him anyway.

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. WhatNext

    It's hard to believe that a man that has listened to and been advised by someone spewing racist and hatred remarks for the past 20 years is going to do anything to help racism in this country. It appears though that he has been doing plenty to propagate by exposing his children to the same rhetoric.

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. Eric, Philadelphia PA

    "something special"... typical Obama-supporter nonsense talk

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Sean

    Sadly for you HRC fans, Richardson is not obligated to endorse Hillary because Bill Clinton "gave" him his job.

    The endorsement should be based on the actual evaluation of the candidates - Richardson did the responsible, right thing and endorsed the person he believed was most qualified. A mistake would have been to endorse Hillary out of misplaced "loyalty" to Bill Clinton.

    The Clintonites reign over the Democratic Party is about to end. Time for the next generation to take over and bring the party forward.

    Obama 08

    March 21, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. Jerry

    I was a long time supporter of Sen Clinton. Not anymore. Go Obama.

    And yes, Richardson's endorsement is big.

    March 21, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. jan

    Time and time again Hillary and her campaign are never gracious when this political race doesn't go her way. She has never once congratulated Senator Obama when he has won states. Her comments have been to dismiss the wins as unimportant. Her arrogance is frightening!!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. Edd

    Richardson: You have just lost your career! You have betrayed the Latino community!!!!! Such a sore looser just like Obama!!!!!

    March 21, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. scgail

    In reading Gov Richardson's statement about the conversation was uncomfortable, It occurred to me that it might have been HIS discomfort at having to tell someone who has been very supportive of his career that he was stabbing her in the back.
    It is interesting that as the country learns new facts about Obama talking about unity but not standing up for it that Richardson now endorses him Maybe Richardson does not care that Obama never explains in his speech why he did not speak out against divisiveness within his church.
    The racial discussion needs to start where we learn values in our homes and houses of worship not in a politically expedient speech.

    March 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  22. Jackson

    unfortunately Richardson has gone the way of the NOBAMA supporters and wants to ignore the facts ... he played it safe ... he thinks!!

    March 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. Dylan

    Great choice Governor Richardson! Glad you have you on board the Obama Express to the White House!

    March 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. mb

    Welcome to Washington, Obama….the land of politics as usual……where loyalty means nothing…..where back-stabbing is the norm.

    So much for change and unity. Words, just words.

    March 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. Marc

    In the end, you have to look out for yourself and I suppose that's what Richardson has done. Obama's celebrity has served him well but unfortunately, it won't get the job done as President. In any case, I'm not surprised Senator Clinton was upset. Betrayal is hardly pleasant and Richardson takes it a step further by detailing his conversation with Hillary. Pitiful.

    By the way, Barack, we haven't forgotten about your other major endorsements, Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan.

    March 21, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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