April 3rd, 2008
10:38 AM ET
15 years ago

Richardson: I never promised Clintons


Watch Bill Richardson's comments.

(CNN) - New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Wednesday sharply disputed Bill Clinton's reported claim that Richardson promised not to endorse Barack Obama's bid for the White House.

"I never did," Richardson told CNN. "I never saw [President Clinton] five times. I saw him when he watched the Super Bowl with me. We made it very clear to him that he shouldn't expect an endorsement after that meeting."

Bill Clinton's comments reportedly came during a recent meeting with some California superdelegates. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the former president got "red faced" when the subject of Richardson came up and said, "Five times to my face (Richardson) said that he would never do that."

In the interview Wednesday, Richardson acknowledged he was "very close to endorsing" Clinton, but decided not to after the campaign got "nasty."

"I held back. I waited. I felt the campaign got nasty. I heard Senator Obama; he would talk to me continuously," Richardson said.

"The Clintons should get over this," he added.

Richardson, a former U.N. Ambassador and Energy Secretary in the Clinton administration, endorsed Obama late last month.

Read more: Richardson denies promise to Clintons

Related: Watch Bill Richardson's interview on The Situation Room.

Filed under: Bill Richardson
soundoff (433 Responses)
  1. Jay

    This controvery will shape Richardson's legacy from now on. No one will remember him for his international work. He will go down in political history for his betrayal of the Clintons.

    April 3, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Mike M., Atlanta, GA

    Although I'm not a Democrat, I think Gov. Richardson is a very decent and honorable man even if we rarely agree on politics. He is imminently more believable than the Clintons any time of the day. I am sure as a former member of the Clinton cabinet it couldn't have been easy for him to endorse Obama, but that says a lot about Richardson's strong principles. No doubt Gov. Richardson knows a lot more about the way the Clinton's do business than those of us on the outside of government.

    April 3, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. jimmy velman


    April 3, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Helene

    Speaking of Judas, the only one Judas in politics is Joe Lieberman, not Bill Richardson.

    April 3, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Brad

    The vote of the electorate means absolutely nothing to the Clintons as they pander for "superdelegates" – they and Howard Dean have brought the party to its knees and neither will stop until the party is destroyed. Why the media gives a proven lier any attention at all is something I will never understand.

    Get over it Bill, you have absolutely NO credibility left, your credibility was gone when you announced on national TV "I DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMAN." I may be the odd one but I expect a lot more out our president, and I'm one of the idiots who voted for you twice!

    That legacy of a lier who can never be trusted is the only legacy that you will every have, and if your wife wants credit for expericnce, that legacy goes along with her as well.

    YOU do not deserve to be in the White House again in ANY capacity.

    April 3, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Anybody but McCain

    I don't know what the truth is in regards Richardson's promise to Clinton in regards not nominating Obama. I do believe however, that Richardson could have waited until it was a better time to nominate Obama.
    Since he states that he is a friend of the Clinton family, then he would realize the tough position that Hillary was in politically at this particular time, before the Pennsylvania primary, knowing that
    it would have an extremely negative affect on her campaigning there, which I certainly believe it has. That is the true wounding that is going on between "friends" in this situation. Timing is everything in politics, the timing of Richardson's move was an overt political move on his part to hurt Hillary when she was already having other people endorse Obama. Or at least that is how it appears to me and I would say Bill Clinton felt the same way.

    April 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Patrick from CA

    Oh Wow!
    Thanks CNN!
    Another Positive news about Hillary!
    Oh, I am sorry I mean Bill..
    Oh, I mean the Clintons who are both running for president.
    It's so nice to bring back old news of how a two faced fool did or did not promise to back up Hillary.

    April 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. Get Real

    What makes me believe that Richardson is lying is that he said he decided to vote for Obama after the campaign got "nasty". Please, this is politics people....it is a tough venue ALWAYS. Richardson knows that. He was looking for an excuse and found a weak one in order to endorse. I would feel betrayed if I were Bill Clinton, it's only natural. This campaign isn't even close to nastiness when you compare it to past elections. It is strange how fast people forget that. I don't think the Clintons feel they are entitled to the White House. They have always put up a good fight in campaigns and have taken more heat than most. And they get blamed for everything. I would not be surprised if there was something in this for Richardson, something bigger than the Clintons could offer.

    April 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Al from Tx

    So after telling the people of your state that you would endorse the candidate that they chose in the primary elections, you did the exact opposite. Other than that, your endorsement only serves yourself. If Obama wins the presidency and you get on his cabinet, to the Latinos you'll be nothing more than second coming of the pitiful and dishonorable Alberto Gonzalez. What a shame.

    I'm not sure why the Obama campaign would want his endorsement. I'm sure they are smart enough to know that the Latino vote will not follow Richardson. Richardson is Latino and the Latinos continued to support Hillary. What does that tell the Obama campaign?

    Latinos are people of their word. Es la palabra. Governor Richardson, are you sure you're Latino?

    April 3, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Malaimster

    Tell Ricahrdson to actually read what Clinton said. Clinton never said that Richardson promised to endorse Hillary. What he said was that he promised he wouldn't endorse Obama.

    April 3, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Janice, Aberdeen, SD

    It's no surprise the Clintons said they saw Richardson 5 times when they saw him only once, and that this one time he never promised them an endorsement.

    They seem to remember a lot of things differently, such as not being able to remember collectively (both Hillary and Chelsea) they were never shot at by snipers in Bosnia.

    They will do and say anything to get elected, so no wonder Richardson bailed on them.

    April 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Dietrich

    Turn red and point a finger, really now Bill who do you think you are. My hope is only that the rest of the "Superdelegates" follow Richardson's example and reach inside and pull some guts out of their empty sacks of a political body and stop this spinlessness that has been attributed to the Democratic Party." Have they not learned from the Iraq vote or any of History examples that they have experienced in their lifetimes.

    April 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. JMO

    All you had to do Richardson, was keep your mouth shut. That is after you told Bill Clinton "I would never do that". That means, you don't have to endorse Hillary but you shouldn't endorse the other guy. Believe the Hillary supporters when they say they will vote for McCain if the dems run BO. There is no way that man can be president and you ought to know better. Actually, you were my second choice to Hillary, but no more. Talk about lack of judgement ~ you have none!

    April 3, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Bob

    Can we have Hillary's superdelegates being interviewed why they endorsed her to begin with? This is just taking Obama and his supporters in a cheap way. This adds up to the sense of entitlement!

    April 3, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. david goldman



    April 3, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. MLAMELLA, Alexandria, VA

    Bill Richardson IS an opportunist... so are many people in politics. However, this is like a grade school fight. You were supposed to be on MY team! Nah nah nah nah nahhh nahhhhh-he's on my team nowwww. I think they ALL need to get over themselves. But I still support Hillary. Her camp didn't start the nastiness. In fact, all the squabbling was started by people not employeed by Clinton or Obama. The press took every word and ran with it, causing both sides to have to make statements "renouncing" those people. Its very sad that this primary has been drug through the mud.

    April 3, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. MN Woman

    There something more a little smarmy about Richardson. We saw him handwringing like an old biddy on the news about not thinking his endorsement was that important, that he really wasn't sure what he'd do etc, etc., etc. He's just grabbing what face time he can over this.

    Pay no attention to him Hillary, the clear headed women of the country, who don't see Obama as the next American Idol have your back.

    April 3, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Arlene

    The superdelegate who was screamed at was a Clinton backer. However as Hillary says, the superdelegates should vote their conscience. I would surmise another superdelegate will be going for Obama. Gov. Richardson, you are a great man.

    April 3, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Carolyn P

    Governor Richardson deserves the respect of American's everywhere. Why? Because he put what he believes to be the best interests of this country above a personal relationship. I've no dout it was a diffucult decision for him. I originally supported Sen. Clinton, as well, but her own statements and actions caused me to change alliances as well.

    April 3, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Janie Sanchez

    Yesterday Obama said he would give Al Gore a high position in his cabinet. You know he said that so Gore can endorse him. I hope Gore remains neutral. Obama is greedy and smart. He has a lot of endoresements and always says: "I won more states." So, why is he keeping them from counting the votes in Florida and Michigan, what is he aftraid of? I don't know why pictures of Reverend Wrights home hasn't been all over the TV channels, they are so busy attacking Hillary. It's so obvious that CNN favors Obama. They also need to investigate Obama's ties with William Ayers!

    April 3, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. Patrick

    HUH....Why is Bill getting upset ? Hillary said Richardson's endorsement of Obama was meaningless when it happened. Did they change their minds ?

    April 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  22. Preemptivelove

    The Clintons are never going to get over this. Their hypocrisy is astounding–the most calculating and political couple since Antony and Cleopatra, and they're accusing Bill Richardson of playing politics?!?! NEWSFLASH!!!!!! This IS politics. Hillary Clinton plays politics that have deadly consequences, like her Iraq war vote. I'm sick of this being about "The Clintons". It's time for them to go away–no more Clintons!!!!! And certainly, having "The Clintons" as the candidate is a very bad idea. At least Bill should shut up. He's a liability at this point.

    April 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    Another former Clinton cabinet member and a governer just endoresed Obama yeserday. I wonder what the Clintons would call him!

    April 3, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. Ed K.

    Richardson is a lowlife looking for favors and you can't spin it any other way. The way he sucked on Obama on stage made me sick. He was acting like a lapdog not a man.

    April 3, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. Terry

    Must be a hard rock to swallow; when you can't "buy" everyone. I'm proud of my NM governor for saying no to the bully sessions.

    April 3, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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