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L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa makes his peace with the Democratic outcome (sort of)

June 5, 2008 |  7:52 pm

We're betting Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is like a lot of Hillary Clinton's dedicated supporters: They're doing their best to learn a new song, but it's hard to let go of the music in their hearts.

Asked today by The Times' Joel Rubin for comment about the Democratic presidential race, VillaraigosaLos Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa campaigned hard for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and now is prepared to work for the presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama   stressed that he's ready to put on his traveling shoes for presumptive nominee Barack Obama. But he also still wanted to say good things about Clinton -- and dismiss any notion that he regretted the decision to serve as one of her most ardent advocates.

"I was proud to have supported Sen. Clinton and her effort," the mayor said during a news conference at the LAPD training center. "I have never been involved in a presidential campaign where I've seen anyone with the passion and persistence and intestinal fortitude of Hillary Clinton. I was proud to be associated with that campaign."

He continued: "But now that Sen. Obama is the presumptive nominee, I've said for a long time that I am prepared to work as hard for him as I did for Sen. Clinton."

That would be plenty hard, as we've taken note of before. And it will be worth watching if the Obama campaign takes him up on his offer as part of what has to be a sustained effort on it's part to significantly burnish the candidate's appeal to Latino voters, especially ...

... in several key Southwestern states.

Asked what he liked about Obama, Villaraigosa said, "I think he's inspiring. I think he clearly touched a chord with the American people when he talked about a need for change."

Finishing his answer, he tellingly worked in a reference to his first choice in the White House derby, saying, "I think Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton share values that I believe are important not only for our party but for our country."

Villaraigoisa said he had spoken with members of Obama's camp but declined to provide any specifics.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho/L.A. Times