Gov. Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

March 21, 2008

According to a CNN article posted late Thursday night, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is endorsing Obama today at an Oregon rally around noon.
Richardson dropped out of the race for the Democratic Presidential nominee several weeks ago, and has been open about his struggle to decide between the two candidates. He had discussed the difficult decision in the past as very difficult, and it seemed he was torn between loyalty to the Clintons and his admiration for Barack Obama. Apparently he has finally decided to make a definite endorsement.

In an e-mail to supporters, Richardson said Obama will be a “historic and a great President, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad.”

Richardson also said in the e-mail that he was touched by Obama’s recent speech on race in America, saying he “understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.”

“My affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver,” Richardson wrote in his e-mail. “It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the fall.”

The endorsement couldn’t have come at a better time for Obama, who has struggled over the last week, and faced the most difficult days of his candidacy.  While Richardson was never a hugely popular contender for the nomination, he is very respected not only with the Hispanic community, which has been largely supporting Hillary, but also beyond. It is unclear how much influence his endorsement will have, but it seems clear that had he chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton tomorrow instead, it likely would have increased her momentum and dealt a significant blow to an already wounded Obama.

Richardson’s endorsement, following Obama’s speech on race, coupled with the likelihood of anger over his passport information breach, may help to steady his slide and give him a chance to get back on his feet.

It appears that Richardson had little to gain politically from such an endorsement, risking a position on Hillary’s cabinet if she gets the nonimation and wins the White House, and in all likelihood did it simply because he felt it was the right thing to do. The question arises if Obama’s speech was what finally nudged Richardson to act. Perhaps he will address that question in interviews over the next few days.

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