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. Lisa Gross

    Ken, you are just flat wrong. Obama is special and someday you will come to know that! Thank you Mr. Richardson for your wonderful endorsement of Barack Obama! I agree with all that you have said about him 100%!

    March 21, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. John Smith

    I am ashamed about how the Clintons have treated Bill Richardson!! Is this how the Clintons make enemies by belittling others?

    March 21, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. mn

    Obama is absolutely liar.
    We can't trust him since lie and lie!!

    March 21, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. xtina

    Oh please "Sean", with all respect to your opinion, please run down Obama's "qualifications" – or just name one thing from the time he got the Senate seat until today that he has "changed" in government.

    March 21, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Shannon

    it's funny, I saw BIll Richardson saying just a few weeks ago that endorsements were silly. I guess he's a good Obama supporter, they never say what they mean, and their actions never match their words.

    March 21, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. brnman04

    Thanks Gov Richardson.

    March 21, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  7. Dave from queens, NY

    Well it looks like all us insignificant people outnumber Penn's significant people.

    March 21, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  8. SJ Thornton

    You see how the Clintons use people!

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

    All eyes are on Mr. Obama now! He has received endorsements from many big fish. You have to deliver now, and not let who supported you down!!!!

    March 21, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Netta D'souza MD

    It is good this guy got out of the race. He knew nobody would vote for him.Lack of integrity and lack of loyality
    He said obama helped him at one of the debates when he could have put him under the bus. I think he has been promised a front seat in the bus if that bus only makes it to the destination.
    I hope this guy realizes that it should be left to the voters. It would be a lack of judgement for obama to use this clowns endorsement. never know when he will drop obama or vice versa like obama dropped his uncle.

    March 21, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. jimmy vekmen

    The American Revolution had Benedict Arnold.

    The Clintons: Bill and Hillary have Bill Richardson

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

    Ironically, I have never been more convinced of the utter stupidity of the people in this country. This is one bandwagon I'll never be jumping on. I have to keep reminding myself taht this is the country that elected George Bush twice and taht intelligence has nothing to do with it. Yes, and I really respect people who turn their back on their friends when it no longer suits them. Obama and Richardson are two peas in a pod. Yes, I imagine it is painful to tell someone who thought you were thier friend you found someone newer and better. Yes, Obama is special and precious. He is just so much better than everybody, gosh, I wish we could all be so sparkly and special.

    March 21, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  13. I Used To Love her, PA

    I don't understand how people can call Bill Richardson a traitor. He said it was a tough decision but in the end, saw something special abiout Obama. Now I know thats kind of a punch in the stomach to the Clinton's but its time that you HRC supporters realize that Obama is the future of the DNC.

    Barack Obama/Bill Richardson 2008

    March 21, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. DeB

    Richardson is too little to late.
    He won very few votes when he was in the race. He will bring very few now.

    March 21, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. Ray Melnik

    It speaks volumes about Obama, that a person who knows both so well, chose him to support. I simply don’t understand, given the crossover of concerns, why John Edwards will not endorse. His endorsement would mean so much.

    March 21, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Axel

    More irrelevant news...

    March 21, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Paul from Kissimmee

    He couldn't carry his own state during his bid. So who cares.

    March 21, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Bayou Joe

    CNN Censors, Where are my comments? You don't want to hear the truth, just support and rantings from the Obama lunatics.

    March 21, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  19. Richardson Should Take His Own Advice

    And support the person his state voted for....i.e. not Obama. This looks like nothing more than a little opportunism by Richardson. Well at least now Hillary won't have to tell him that she isn't gonna choose him for her VP.

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

    I just saw Richardson's interview. John King got him on a big flip flop about endorsementsgood for King. In my opinion Richardson should have just stayed out of it like he first stated. He says his own endorsement isn't significant, so why is he blasting a Clinton advisor on their comment above. I have lost all respect for Gov. Richardson not only as a politician, but as a man.

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

    Introducing President McCain..........Same as the old boss

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

    Well, now that we know that Hillary Clinton lied about her role in NAFTA, and cost the American people there jobs, Richardson picking Obama is the best thing that has happened in this election. I was for Hillary, but I can't believe she said she had no role in NAFTA and then come to find out, she was the big backer in NAFTA and now Buffalo, New York is crying the blues. Don't forget Michigan.
    Thanks Hillary!

    Obama/Richardson 08!

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

    Bill Richardson....who? That seemed to be the sentiment of him in the Primaries.

    March 21, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. D in New Mexico

    Richardson is a liar. Hillary took our state and he now endorses obama? Shouldn't the obama people have told him no – to reflect the will of his state's people??? Richardson is likely stumping for VP now and went with who was easy rather than face a challenge. I have lost all respect for that man, he lost any vote I would have ever made for him now. And I'm Hispanic!

    March 21, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. Grif

    "Rally Round the Flag Boys"

    Now who was in that Movie?? I'm sure he's a Supporter of Hillary.

    March 21, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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