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Breaking News: Barack Obama gets Bill Richardson nod

After weeks of personal pondering and not a little anguish, New Mexico's Gov. Bill Richardson haNew Mexico Gov Bill Richardson endorses Illinois Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nominations decided to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The official endorsement will come later today in Portland, Ore., according to the Associated Press.

Richardson, who ran against both of the surviving Democratic candidates, Illinois Sen. Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, is the nation's only Latino governor. He gave up his own run for the White House on Jan. 10 after never really gaining much traction -- he garnered barely 2% of the caucus votes in Iowa -- amid suspicions he was really auditioning as a possible vice presidential nominee for the party's eventual winner.

That suspicion might still be there. Richardson and the less-experienced Obama could make a good fit since such a combo brings a Latino link to the nation's fastest-growing population sector, a managerial link both as a Cabinet secretary and a state chief executive, diplomatic experience as a troubleshooter and U.N. ambassador and, especially, someone not recently connected to Washington and from the once-staunchly Republican Rocky Mountain corridor.

After a series of initial stumbles, Richardson did show some flash during a summer debate in Des Moines when he referred to both Clinton and Obama. "You know," he said with a smile, "I think that Sen. Obama does represent change. Sen. Clinton has experience. Change and experience: With me, you get both."   

Had it come earlier, the governor's endorsement could have helped Obama stem Clinton's victories in Texas and California, where she showed real strength in Latino communities. In fact, she won the Democratic primary in Richardson's home state with a 2-to-1 majority among Latinos.

Richardson, who is a Democratic superdelegate, gave a subtle hint to his...

choice 10 days ago, as reported in The Ticket. At a UCLA forum, he was asked which Democratic candidate could best handle today's challenges.

"I'm truly conflicted," Richardson said. "I'm torn. I see ... a lot of loyalty I owe President Clinton. He made me U.N. ambassador. He made me secretary of Energy. He's treated me extremely well. But you know what? I paid him back. Because I served well." Richardson described the former first lady as "enormously capable ... but I did run against her."

He also ran against Obama, of course. But in a prepared statement he'll release today, Richardson will say:

"I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America's moral leadership in the world," the Associated Press reported.

Richardson will also say: "There is no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama has the judgment and courage we need in a commander in chief when our nation's security is on the line."

Campaign sources indicate Obama hopes to roll out a series of such endorsements and announcements during the long run-up to the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 to create a sense of momentum. There's still former Sen. John Edwards out there and, of course, former senator, former vice president and former presidential candidate Al Gore, who's not always had the closest relationship with his ex-boss's wife.

Although Obama leads in the popular vote total and in delegates, more recent opinion polls seem to indicate a shift toward Clinton since Obama's twin losses in the major states of Ohio and Texas, and last week's furor over his pastor's anti-white and anti-American sermons.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo by Jim Cole/Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (60)

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Fantastic. I fully agree. Mr. Obama is a once in a lifetime leader that this country and the world needs now.

Good move Gov. Bill. Your timing was both honest and perfect. I hope you do not expect a cookie from Obama's camp for your politically timed endorsement!!

With both FL. and MI. effectively silenced, do you lean your weight knowing for certain that you are not going to tilt the nomination one way or the other. Smart!

Short of Obama committing political suicide, the Clinton Machine has used its last Ace with Rev. Wright; or has it? Let's hope so. Nevertheless the Party heavyweights have started flexing their muscle and we may not live to enjoy a true PA. election.

Incidentally, Obama may still give you, Gov. Bill the "secretary of state" position in his cabinet if Clinton refuses to accept it. Afterall she is the best qualified for this position and accompanied by her hubbie Pres. Bill Clinton as an honorary emmissary, we would definitely get two for the price of one.

See prior posting of this endorsement...

Another nail in dear Hillary's coffin. But when pray-tell will the stake be driven through her heart?

One down. Next will be JEdwards. Al Gore will be the icing on the cake. Time to shut down the Clinton machine.

Ah, Bill Richardson wants to be remembered for being on the right side of history. Good for him. He had too much decency to wait for a sleazy last-minute convention superdelegate deal. I hope Joe Biden and John Edwards soon follow suit.

Al Gore's inevitable endorsement should wrap this thing up (he sent his kids to his Ivy alma mater, Harvard, which is more pro-Obama than any race, region, or generation, let's not forget). Geraldine F sneers that "African Americans are Obama's core constituency" but it seems to me that Harvard graduates split even more favorably for the young Senator. Oh, and let's not forget how much Gore famously repudiates the Clintons.

Intrade has had Hillary under 20 cents on the dollar, while Obama has been over 70 cents, all month. This contest is over.

BTW, LAT, what's with the Obama O-mouthed picture on the front page? You don't want me to start counting positive versus negative images like I did for the NYT, do you? (I discovered a statistically frightening pro-Hillary slant.) It's so easy to document a longstanding bias... Remember, history is watching how we all behave in this election!

What we are seeing is the beginning of Brown-Black-Asian coalition government that will dominate the U.S. for the foreseeable future.

I'm sure that Obama didn't want to share power with Latinos or Asians, but seeing that whites, of any economic class, ultimately will not accept a black President, begrudgingly decided to accept Brown-Black Axis.

Edwards is a disappointment and a half. He should have endorsed Obama long ago. For all is progressive rhetoric, he has sat on the sidelines.

Remember, he voted for the Iraq war. He appears more and more to be a shallow opportunist.

This is thrilling news! Richardson was my first choice before he dropped out. Now an Obama-Richardson ticket - *that's* the true dream ticket.

Bill Richardson couldn't possibly believe that Obama is the better qualified candidate. He's in this for the VP nom, I'm guessing. I hope other superdels have the integrity to stand up and back Hillary. She's far from perfect, but she's ten times the statesperson and qualified candidate. (Listen to her facility re foreign policy, and then listen to Obama's "ums" and "you know"s. The orator's not so impressive when it comes to facts. It's like he's trying to remember what he crammed the night before from the Cliff's Notes of Hillary's position.) And I think we're all beginning to see how quickly Obama's veneer of superior integrity and the speeches about hope and change wear thin. Where, oh where, is the substance? And his lack of integrity is becoming crystal clear. Obama's "family" ties to his frighteningly racist spiritual advisor aren't going anywhere. They're etched in the consciousness, Bill Richardson or not. McCain's already making sure of that. Hillary is the only dem who has a chance in hell of pulling this thing off. And she's the only one who deserves it.

Governor Bill richardson's endorsement is even more meaningful today due to the current atmosphere in this country incited by conservatiove talk radio led by Hannity, Limbaugh and savage. It shows great courage to follow one's beliefs and values.

As a Latino I am proud of Richardson for closing ranks behind Obama and showing that inspite Clinton support amongst us when it comes to this type of harmful race mongering we will stand for the truth and support someone who has shown temperance and great wisdom as Obama has.

it would be a great statement if Edwards were to make an Obama endorsement in this climate and show some courage. most of his supporters large and small have moved towards Obama. Now is the time to stand up and be heard.

There is a chorus of jingoistic, syncophants with a penchat for fear mongering who are raising their ugly heads now. It is time that we close ranks as richardson send in his announcements make make Obama our nominee

It's all over but the shouting. On second thought, Hillary, could we just skip the shouting? Truly it is time to end this race and start looking to the fall and who will run with Obama. Richardson? Maybe. I liked him too...

Would Richardson have endorsed Obama if they did not share the same major fundraiser Nancy Pritzker, the Chicago billionaire heir of the Hyatt Corp fortune who is Obama;s campaign finance chief? Interestingly Nancy Pritzker was also the major financial force behind Nancy Pelosi's campaigns. Nancy Pelosi has not yet endorsed Obama but has done everything in her power to ease his way.

Richardson's endorsement came because he was BOUGHT not because he believed.

Obama's endorsement by Richardson signifies only one thing, "That everybody is coming to realise that Obama has the courage, Judgement and Integrity to lead the United States.

Good! That would be a great ticket! Obama-Richardson

I don't mind Hillary, my problem with the Clinton campaign was Bill. His role in their White House, as policy adviser and jetting off where he wants to on the White House airplanes.

He's ditching the role as First Lad.

According to Hillary's past First Lady schedules, she was 3 days at the White House then diving into policy meetings, trying to get that health plan debacle going.

She wasn't elected to run policy meetings back then.

Bill not elected this time, uncertain status as a former President with what National Security clearance? His eyes couldn't see what the President is only supposed to witness.

His influence weakens whoever Hillary would pick to be her Vice President. Would Bill interfere at other agencies like the State Department? Bill talking to Congress trying to influence White House policy?

Why mess with tradition, keep Bill from returning to the White House!

Now Richardson can campaign for Obama in different area's like the advantage Bill and Hillary have had, being in separate locations.

Bill called himself, Hillary's rural Hit Man.

Hillary's value is in Congress, possibly could become Majority leader in the Senate some day.

Anything can still happen in the Democratic race, but first one between Hillary and Obama starts mentioning a running mate, their message to voters becomes more clear from two, that could be imagined in the White House.

After Pennsylvania votes, Obama should mention his running mate considerations.

"I'm truly conflicted," Richardson said. "I'm torn. I see ... a lot of loyalty I owe President Clinton. He made me U.N. ambassador. He made me Secretary of Energy. He's treated me extremely well. But you know what? I paid him back. Because I served well." Richardson described the former first lady as "enormously capable ... but I did run against her."

Bill Richardson was bought. Penny Pritzker, Chicgao billionaire Hyatt heir and Senator Obama's campaign finance chief offered to put her considerable fund raising talents to work for his slate of local and national candidates. Ms. Pritzker is an enormously influential fund raiser with deep pockets of her own. She has already conjured the money successfully for Nancy Pelosi's congressional runs--Nancy Pelosi has not endorsed Senator Obama but works behind the scenes in the DNC to ease his path viz. her opposition to re-running the Florida and Michigan primaries or seating the FL and MI delegates, effectively disenfranchising the Democratic voters of those two states. I wonder if she would be as adamant if Senator Obama had won in the two primaries?

The HRC WH calendars are out there now! And what does the calendar show for the morning of 9/11/98? Perhaps a prayer breakfast involving respected mainstream ministers and pastors from all over the county? And if so how did a "racist hatemonger" get invited, much less have his picture taken shaking hands with the President of the U.S.?

Perhaps Rev. Wright is not really the fringe lunatic that the neo-con extremists are trying to claim, a claim the sheeple are lapping up right and left, so to speak?

Hannity and you plausibly deniable McBush people...this is for you:

In the midst of this frenzy of guilt by association and character assassination, when will some respected public figure with a knowledge of the 20th century history of this sometimes deeply flawed government of ours finally say "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Senator Clinton is backed into a corner with only the voters left on her side. Here's hoping they come through big. Theirs in the only endorsement that really matters. And she's proven she's not a quitter.

So "Wall Street loves Democrats." It's about time Wall Street woke up. I own a nickel and dime portfolio myself and I am furious at the way the Republicans are destroying the economy.
I cannot get a decent return on my investments because most people in this country not to mention the world are too broke to buy the goods and services the companies in my portfolio offers.
PLUS, green technology offers a 6 trillion dollar market (according to some estimates) A recent article in USW@Work points out that the wind energy sector alone can produce 600,000 good-paying, union jobs. Think of what that will do for the economy!!! Furthermore, pension funds like Cal-STRS own shares in green technology. Launching the green economic revolution will eliminate the state's need to support aging teachers
And since I am investing in green technology myself, I want a sweeping Democratic victory this November, 2008 because they promise to jump start the green economic revolution.

So Go ahead, Wall Street, fall in love with Democrats. And MAKE MY DAY.

All are welcome to the "Approval Style Voting for the Democratic Cabinet" site: No-nonsense speculation.

All the ivory tower democrats seem to think the Obama speech on race helped endear himself to America, and this is simply not the case with the average independent voter. The average independent voter didn’t want to have to face the question of race, so rather than answer it, they will avoid it in future elections, and this translates to a loss of support for Obama. It is hard to see how a speech that blamed both white and black citizens in America for social injustices while still showing support for Rev Wright will help his poll numbers.

So Gov. Richardson finally got someone to promise him the Secretary of State job.

This is the news we have been waiting for Governor Richardson is so well respected and his endorsement for Barack Obama taking the race to a new level.

Now all we need is for John Edwards to come off the fence and endorse Obama, then Hopefully as a Party we can UNITE to beat McCain.

Anyone who does not give full support for the sake of the party does not deserve to serve and hold office.

Richardson times his announcement for the only moment when Obama has been in trouble. He had already snubbed Bill Clinton's requests at the Super Bowl, so clearly his heart has been here for a while. It's not opportunism, it's judgment. I can see how the Clinton camp would fail to recognize that.

That's two of the big six now that have endorsed Obama. Biden, Edwards, where are you?

(And need I mention that Mike Gravel said he was ashamed of Hillary, or that Kucinich asked his supporters to go to Obama in Iowa? Or that Carter, who does not endorse, said his 'whole family was deeply excited by Obama?)

Obama has support from the left for his judgment, and the centrist Republicans for his honesty and even temperament. My sister was a Richardson precinct captain who wound up caucusing for Obama when Richardson didn't do well enough. He brings in so many new voters, the kind the polls don't track because they haven't voted before. This is our chance.

Richardson sees that he will not be VP or Secretary so he shopped the Obama campaign and will appear in the Obama structure if we are so unfortunate to have Obama the leader of the free world.

Bill Richardson was very unimpressive when he ran in the primaries. In light of the Obama/Wright controversy, this endorsement just shows bad judgement on Richardson's part. Furthermore, Richardson is a strong advocate for immigration amnesty ... and, since Obama has been meeting with La Raza, this endorsement makes one question Obama's recent proposals to strengthen border security and immigration control.

Richardson you are an idiot and we will remember this slap in the face to the Clintons !! Stay in New Mexico and get a new hairpiece. You look ridiculous in more ways than one.. GO Hillary 2008 !!!

I really don't get the writer's reference to the "twin losses in the major states of Ohio and Texas".

While Clinton won the Texas primary by about 3% (thereby amassing 4 more delegates than Obama), Obama won the Texas caucus (gaining at least 7 more delegates than Clinton).

Overall, then, by delegate count Obama won Texas. At worst, it could be described as a split decision, but certainly not as a loss.

I'm truly conflicted, Bill Richardson said — President Clinton had honored Mr. Richardson with appointments both as U.N. Ambassador and Secretary of Energy. More important than our media’s frenetic fanfare of Mr. Richardson’s endorsement would be keen inquiry into Mr. Richardson’s interest as a prospective vice president. That would be a litmus test for his touted yet 11th hour endorsement this late into this contest. Most political sycophants’ motivation is for self gain; his inexpedient endorsement leaves room for reasonable speculation; moreover, his credentials do, in fact, position him as a strong contender for a VP running mate. Richardson’s rationale leaves an edifice of transparent desire.

richardson's endorsement is big, edwards would be even bigger but Gore would be the biggest.

Here is hoping Al Gore gets on board with Obama

Does this mean that OBAMA has now earned the solid endorsements of more that two of the former Democratic presidential candidates? First Dodd, then Richardson....hmmmm, who's next?

If I am correct, Richardson and Obama are biracial, even though is really is no such thing as "race," only subspecies variation and cultural upbringing--and least we forget their cultural upbringing, both are Americans. The talk of black/brown/yellow coalitions is ludicrous and actually funny to me. As if there is a conspiracy against the "white" majority by America's minorities to bring them down. Any enlightened person understands that in order for us, as a nation, to move upward, we must embrace everyone, equally, with an open-mind, so that we can expose the societal assumption of "racial" differences for the biological empty-shell that it truly is.

Our nation stands at a crossroads, and this election will determine the greater future for our lifetime and that of our youngest children. If we can, as a nation, finally unite as a nation of Americans, not along so-called racial lines, we will truly make a positive difference for the future of our planet. But that is a big "if," as it will take courage and foresight, and a proactive approach to politics and society. We saw we want change, and most of us truly understand the need for it, but The Few hold the reigns of power and access to to power and will fight and say and do anything to maintain that power. Clinton is part of The Few, and her recent ridiculous, laughable and politically dangerous statements and announcements by her campaign officials just makes that readily apparent.

An Obama presidency is but the beginning of a movement that can bring about a restoration of the common good, for all of us, and not just for the super powerful, rich, and connected. An America that has the potential to hold the promise that the founding fathers hoped for. We must strive for a more perfect union, indeed. The key word being "union." If it does not start now, it will never start. And the planet, and life as we know it, may be in the balance.

The Hillary campaign has not been fully vetted, and her nomination will not bring about victory for the Democratic Party. If the neo-conservatives are asking Republicans to crash the Democratic primaries and vote for Clinton, then that should be warning enough for all of you that support her that they know they can beat her, and will beat her. And not only will we lose the presidency, we will lose the senate, perhaps the congress, and many local offices as well. The occupation of Iraq will continue, and we will invade Iran, and billions and billions of dollars will go to making The Few even more powerful. Even if McCain is a one term president, the Supreme Court will be lost for a generation to the neo-conservatives and that will truly be the ruination of our civil liberties and our constitution.

Hillary has lost. Wishing will not make it come true. Gaming the system will, and even then she will lose, and the Democratic Party will be nohing but a mockery of the ideal it is named after--democracy. The crossroad we are at can take us one direction or the other. And Hillary and her supporters are trying to take control of the wheel. So I ask of her supporters to, please, understand the bigger reality, and think of the long-term future and not short-term gain. It's difficult, and takes a paradigm shift in thought and understanding, but it must happen, or all that you hold dear and the very reasons you support her will be lost to you as well.

I'm truly conflicted, Bill Richardson said — President Clinton had honored Mr. Richardson with appointments both as U.N. Ambassador and Secretary of Energy. More important than our media’s frenetic fanfare of Mr. Richardson’s endorsement would be keen inquiry into Mr. Richardson’s interest as a prospective vice president. That would be a litmus test for his touted yet 11th hour endorsement this late into this contest. Most political sycophants’ motivation is for self gain; his inexpedient endorsement leaves room for reasonable speculation; moreover, his credentials do, in fact, position him as a strong contender for a VP running mate. Richardson’s rationale leaves an edifice of transparent desire.

Are you sure that Richardson is the only Latino governor...isn't the Gov from Arizona Latina?

Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama
explains why Hispanic voters failed to vote for him
when he was trying to secure the Democratic
presidential nomination. POOR JUDGEMENT.

Thank you, Bill Richardson, for speaking out about why you support Barack Obama.

It's not over till the fat lady sings. Now, Barack, it's time to bring out Aretha!

Now, it is time for Hilary to endorse Obama...but wait a minute ...she is still there.....oh l quess it will not be long before she drops out.

After she drops out, we can now concentrate on McBush!!...sweet.....

Thanks Bill Richardson.

Too bad Obama is still unelectable in the general. No endorsement is going to unring the bell Rev. Wright sounded. The Obamabots are too tone deaf to notice, but McCain is the real winner in all of this.

As a hispanic voter who knows many other hispanic voters, Richardson's endorsement doesn't mean a thing. I am offended by all the news commentators who think it will matter. As if we are not intelligent enough to think for ourselves. Who ever said Richardson himself is highly regarded amongst hispanics. As a Mexican-american, no hispanic endorsement can erase the images of Mr Jeremiah Wright referring to the 9-11 terrorists attacks as 'chickens coming home to roost'. He said this on 9/16/01 5 days after the tragedy. Remember how all of us felt after 9-11. I remember people of all races pulling together as if race did not exist as we were all attacked as a country. The images on tv of people holding up pictures of their loved ones as missing and this man Jeremiah Wright response was so low. I guess he and the members of his church did not feel that need to pull together as a country. No this man is definitely anti-American and so is Obama. Richardson CAN NOT change that, Hispanics love this country too.

Note to "Top of the Ticket" you write, " ... more recent opinion polls seem to indicate a shift toward Clinton since Obama's twin losses in the major states of Ohio and Texas ..." Obama won Texas.

I am glad to see someone else endorse Obama. The attacks on him in the press have been unforgiveable, & they are just wasting time. We have huge issues to deal with in this country. We have to decide if we want to make a better future for our descendants, or do we want to keep falling for negative campaigns that are designed to keep us from solving anything? Don't fall for negative campaigns, America!

Btw, I am a white woman who is ready for a black president.

Uh, do you have proof that Obama is "anti-American?" He IS American!! It is amazing that if you criticize or expect better from your country, you are labeled anti-American. McCarthyism lives and on this blog too.

The race is over


Bill Richardson is a opportunist that waited for the perfect offer to endorse one or the other i am sure. For that i don't trust him. I am Hispanic and i would never vote for Obama nor Richardson.

It would be amazing to see a diverse government representing the diverse population.

This is amazing

I agree with you, Barbara. I think that people on the left need to fight back against this myth that we aren't patriotic, or that we hate America. The worst label they have put on us since Bush came to power is "traitor". I am sick & tired of this offensive name-calling. It's time for us to say, No! You are no longer going to call us horrible names.


Lets pls keep all racial comments out of this, as they all rest on flawed presmises. Obama is BI-RACIAL and hence when he speaks of unity it comes from the fact of who he is-he really represents most Americans. His black father abandoned him and white mum and grandparents raised him. He is married to a black woman and has kids with her. Given all this he absolutely cannot be racial from EITHER side! so everyone should give the race politics a rest and judge him on his policies where he outshines all other candidates through his integrity and consistency. He has earned everybody's support!

Does this mean that OBAMA has now earned the solid endorsements of more that two of the former Democratic presidential candidates? First Dodd, then Richardson....hmmmm, who's next?

It seems to me that the Democratic machine's are destroying themselves to gain the White House, If the trend continues with the racist BARACK, no matter what the politicians and the newsmedia does, we the populations are not stupid the way they want us to believe, I for one will vote for Mccain than rather to vote for BARACK.

They are a lot of peoples that I talk to and they all feel the same.

I do not want Sharpen or any other blacks to cover BARACK ASS for his racist preaching for 20 YEARS.

They antiamerican, they do not belong in the higher up government.

You what I think Barack Obama is saying? Everyone's a little bit racist: My pastor was a little racist, Geraldine Ferraro was a little racist, heck, even my grandmother was a little racist. WE ALL ARE A LITTLE BIT RACIST. Yes, that means Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain are a little bit racist. If you say "I'm not racist" then you are a liar! We've all discriminated against someone else because of their perceived race or ethnicity. Let's all just stop trying to be perfect and admit our mistake so we can move on from this.

That's what I think Barack Obama is saying, but DANG, he has to be brave as heck to try to express that. That "I'm not racist" attitude, that "Politically Correct" attitude, that's just a flavor of "The Emperor's New Clothes," a band-aid for the real problem. What we really need to do is start working together, not as blacks, whites, latinos, asians, native americans, pacific islanders, etc, but as AMERICANS. We need to stop stepping all over each other and start working together to fix our country. That means stop oppressing other blacks, whites, latinos, asians, native americans, pacific islanders, etc, and start cooperating with them. I want improved national security, I want a healthier economy, I want better health care, but national policy means nothing if we refuse to work together.

Also, let's not forget that our instinct to discriminate transcends race and includes qualities such as: gender, sexuality, age, etc. We need to overcome these obstacles as well.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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