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. Ed (Sacramento, CA)

    To those who call Richardson's move a "stab in the back", I have just one question? What kind of person would Richardson be if he endorsed Clinton despite his desire to support Obama? The answer is this: "a political cronnie". Don't you think we've had enough of those types in the past 8 years?

    March 21, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Tom in MA

    Truth hurts, huh Bill?

    March 21, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Christian, Tampa FL

    It's very, very, very typical of the Clinton camp to automatically dismiss any state or individual that chooses Obama. I guess that the Democratic Party will be irrelevant once it picks Obama as the nominee.

    March 21, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. Yes

    Bill R. shares a vision with this country, a vision that we can unite as Dems and make America better for all.

    Don't hate him for believing in hope.


    March 21, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. KRD

    Obama , I'm from Michigan . You and your camp are cowards!!!
    you may think you have stopped our votes , but come the general election , Michigan is going to vote for Hillary or who ever is running against Obama .

    Hillary / McCain 08

    March 21, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Sherry

    I think Richardson is an INGRATE. After all the Clintons have done for him and the hypocrite probably didn't even like them. FOR

    March 21, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. magic

    I find it strange that the "new type of candidate",the
    "candidate of change" has the support of the old school democratic hacks. Ted Kennedy is the poster boy of old style politics. This candidacy is now the establishment candidacy. Richardson justs adds to old
    school of washington in-side politics and state govenors that are entrenched in the past. Ironic!
    Wake-up and count the hacks supporting this candidate and try to keep a straight face when talking about a new style politics and change.

    March 21, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. Brad from Canada

    Hillary loves politics... unless she's losing. Richardson is moving toward the candidate he likes while also making a career move. Plain and simple. If Clinton doesn't accept this, she has no place in modern politics.

    March 21, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. Siaki

    Gov. Richardson's endorsement is only a self serving effort with the hope that if Obama becomes the candidate that he will be picked as his vice president. However, me and my family will continue to strongly support Senator Hillary Clinton because we believe in everything she stands for and the fact that she has a record to speak for much more than a well delivered speech. I do not find that impressive because everyday I get up to go to work and I teach my kids the values of hard work to do well in this country. Go Hillary lets take this all the way to November and eventually the Inauguration in January 2009.

    March 21, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. Raum

    Hillbots are feeling the pain as much as Hillary.

    Seriously lets get this over with so we can concentrate on McCain. Enough of this silliness.

    March 21, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. breh

    The Clinton's will do anything and say anything... and Bill is quite adept at dropping subliminal messages we all know that... just let the will of the people take place. Be it before Texas, after Texas who's just shows that those who want real change are moving on to the nomination with OBAMA.

    Clinton & McCain =equal more of the same

    OBAMA 08!!!

    March 21, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Matt - Indianapolis

    Mr. Penn's dismissal of Governor Richardson's endorsment of Senator Obama as being limited by his ethnicity is evidence of the very Ferraroesque tactics utilized by the Clinton campaign that are anti-thetical to the very principles of the Democratic party. Senator Obama, President Kennedy, Vice President Gore, Senator Kerry, and so many others have faced similar attacks in election history, and yet, they have left an unmistakable positive mark on public service in the US.

    March 21, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. Nancy S-Long Beach CA

    Bill Richardson has a deep understanding of American international relations as well as the domestic issues that continue to dog our politics. I think this is a big endorsement and is not coming late. The Clintons have formidable influence on the Democratic Party and it would be tough to come out for their opponent. We all need to move past the pettiness of the last couple of weeks and come together in order to beat John McCain in November. Anyone but Hillary would have admitted defeat by now. She is mathematically out of the running. You go, Bill! You go, Barack!

    March 21, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. xtina

    Wow, "Talmis" made a great example. Obama is surrounding himself with old "establishment" guys, How is that change? How is he different now from the others? And add to that his promise to raise taxes and give Congress more money to spend / waste . Great

    March 21, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. Bill Richardson - Sit Down

    Bill Richardson got his butt whipped during the election, and turned on the Clinton's who helped him a great deal. An endorsement from this guy is not important. Someone tell this Clown to sit down.

    March 21, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. Michael in MO

    Richardson, you're on a boat that will ultimately sink. IF Obama is to become the democratic nominee, HE is in fact, the one not electable. Republicans can't wait for that potential day after the DNC in August. They will slaughter him with closet issues we can't begin to imagine. And Obama feels the Wright issue knocked the wind out of him?!! Ha! As for this lifelong democrat, if Obama is ultimately the nominee, I, like millions of other democrats, will be voting Republican this Fall.

    March 21, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Jay Graham, Dallas, TX

    This is all for a VP ticket.

    March 21, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Pat

    No wonder the press and politicians manipulate you people like sheep. Your ability to reason logically is non-existant. You obviously don't think for yourselves. Are you telling me that Bill should have sided with Hillary because he's known them for a while? THINK about it!! He didn't go with them, what does that tell you?? He KNOWS them!!

    March 21, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Chuyita Chin


    I guess you won't be posting my comment any time soom, right?

    March 21, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. Grif

    Oh what evil warps we weave, when we practice to deceive...

    I Hope you keep your Loom, In Tune...

    March 21, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. G

    Alright this is very good news! I am not surprise that the Clintons would call Richardson's support insignificant, anything that doesn't work in their favor is always insignificant. Am tired of the Clintons always calling the shots as to what states are important and now endorsements. Good thing he didn't cave into Clinton pressure and stood by what he believes in like it or not. And can they get back to the issues? Everytime I turn on the news the Clintons are attacking another irrelavant thing. And no he didn't backstab anybody I learn in life that you don't own anybody anything here, you must stand by your own principles and fight for what you believe in. Other people can fight their own battles.

    March 21, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Former Obama supporter

    Didn't Bill Richardson say his own endorsement would not make a difference? Why he is crying then?

    March 21, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  23. Susan

    I have always liked Governor Richardson, but have now lost my respect for him. There is something very sad about hurting a friend for political expediency.
    And of course the Clinton campaign is disappointed and have every right to try to minimize the effect of this endorsement.
    I really do think the endorsement is significant, but Clinton's supporters need to pick up and go on and keep to the issues.
    Obama is going very negative right now, and Bill Richardson should be ashamed to be supporting Obama's DIVISIVE tactics. How can you ever hope to ultimately unite a party when one candidate's campaign has called the other's character seriously flawed??

    March 21, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. Ronald

    Clintons are the most power hungry couple in politics and their hatred for anyone standing in their way is legendary. That's why CNN is so afraid of posting comments negative of Hillary and questioning why CNN is so anti-Obama and guilty of race-baiting journalism. Though not as nearly as guilty of Faux . . . I mean Fox News.

    I bet this comment doesn't get posted just proving my point!

    March 21, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. catmom

    Just listened to Bill Richardson and saw how he couldn't help but say something negative about Mrs. Clinton by letting people know that she had a negative response to his decision. Another person pandering. Wonder what position he is lookin for.

    March 21, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
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