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. Robert Bauer Sonoma County, CA

    These "uncomfortable" conversations with Hillary, which innuendo suggests are more akin to a child's temper tantrum, are a part of her character that Obama has accurately described as "deeply flawed."

    March 21, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Allen from Visalia

    More Clinton spin. If Richardson had endorsed Billary, they would have touted it as proof that they deserve the nomination. Since they dodn't get it, his endorsement is "insignificant", just like those 30 states that voted against them. Time to step aside Billary, you are the weakest link!

    Obama '08

    March 21, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. L. Tran, TX

    flip-flop!

    March 21, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Matt

    While this is a boost for Obama, Clinton is not out of it. What I don't understand is why Obama supports think there is something wrong with a Clinton supporter. All the reasons a person likes Obama could very well be the same reason people like Clinton.

    Supports don't need to attack each other, as the ultimate goal is for a Democrat to win in November. Just because someone doesn't agree with you does not make them wrong.

    March 21, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Mark

    Richardson is just another backstabber looking for political gain. Of course his conversation with Clinton was painful!

    March 21, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Chris in Va.

    Richardson sees Hillary for what she is, pure political filth.

    March 21, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. Obama Guy

    Get on board or get ran down by the Obama movement.

    Obama 08

    March 21, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Bryce K. Dixon

    Well at least the Clinton's now know who their friends are, and when she wins and she will, she also will know who gets to have milk and cookies with her.

    Hillary 08

    March 21, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Alan

    I was going to leave an email, but Sean said it all.

    March 21, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. disenfranchised in MI

    I think this is a great endorsement. I've been hoping Richardson would speak out this way. He'd be a great addition to an Obama administration, either as VP or Sec of State. He has all the experience that critics are saying Barack lacks. Now if John Edwards will just speak out, that will round out the hand!

    March 21, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. swede_mariner

    If you want to see one of Clinton's dark sides, which of course hasn't been mentioned – search for "The Shocking Video Hillary don't want you to see".
    What a bad person!

    March 21, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Sun Kil Moon

    These sour grapes will distract the Clinton camp for a little while, then they'll be back to Rev.Wright-boatting Senator Obama.

    March 21, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. JL Pagano

    Obama didn't need Richardson's help in Texas – he won it without him.

    March 21, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Robert

    WOW, talk about SORE LOSERS. Ha ha ha... Bill R. worked for them, and even he knows better.

    Quit yer whinin' and get someone to support her. :) Why aren't they? Because they are smarter than you guys!

    hahahhahah

    March 21, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Bert

    Richardson has just invalidated his own presidential run. He and Hillary were supposed to be the candidates of experience while Obama and Edwards were the candidates for change. I guess some politicians will do anything to get elected.

    March 21, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Michael in MO

    Bill Richardson quote, NY Times interview, Feb 17, 2008:
    "My responsibility as a superdelgate should reflect the vote of my state, it should represent the vote of my constituency..."

    Hillary Clinton won the NM primary.

    Hmmm...........

    March 21, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Rob L.

    Mark Penn has done far more for the Obama campaign than Bill Richardson ever will, that's for sure.

    March 21, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. heather

    Life in the World of Hillary Clinton:
    The 30 states who voted for Barack Obama don't matter, nor do the thousands of people in Florida and Michigan who were disenfranchised by not voting because they were told it wouldn't count. The 203 superdelegates who voted for Obama don't count either. As a matter of fact EVERYTHING I DONT WIN DOESNT COUNT

    March 21, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. Deborah

    CNN continues to report that OBAMA lost the race in TEXAS.

    OBAMA did not lose the race in TEXAS. He won the CAUCUS!!!

    CNN is so pro- Hillary that it is pathetic!

    GO OBAMA!! '08

    March 21, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. Chuyita Chin

    I guess you at CNN don't want others to see my previous comment, right? I guess, it must be the FOX NEWS part.

    March 21, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. mike

    Bill Who?

    March 21, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. Grif

    Research!!! Mr Richardson.... Family Tree....

    I suggest you do some!!! Where are you're? True Roots???

    March 21, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. PJ

    Nobody cared about Bill Richardson when he was running for president, and nobody cares now.

    March 21, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. karen

    Well, i guess that ends the debate about whether super delegates will carry the sentiment of their state!!!

    March 21, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. Ifeanyi Azubike Houston Texas

    Clinton is a sore looser. Bill Richardson would have been a trump card for her if she had him, but now he is suddenly insignificant because he did not buy the super bowl flatter. Well now the only person she has to drag on her wild wild chase is Poor old Bill.

    March 21, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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