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Gov. Richardson endorses Obama

(CNN) — Declaring that Sen. Barack Obama is an extraordinary American, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico endorsed Obama for the Democratic nominee for president on Friday.

Richardson — who sought this year’s Democratic nomination for president himself — joined Obama at a rally in Portland, Oregon, where the senator from Illinois is campaigning.

Barack Obama will make a great and historic president, Richardson said, Obama standing at his side. [It] is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our nation and you are a once-in-a-lifetime leader.

Obama said, I am extraordinarily grateful to have the support of one of the great public servants of these United States.

Richardson praised Obama for his speech this week on race in America, saying he appealed to the best in us. Watch the endorsement

As a Hispanic-American, I was particularly touched by his words, Richardson said, putting his arm around Obama and declaring in Spanish that he is a man who understands us.

Richardson is the nation’s only Hispanic governor. Hispanics have tended to support Sen. Hillary Clinton in her quest for the Democratic nomination.

Obama and Clinton both lobbied Richardson for his endorsement after he dropped out of the race January 10.

Clinton shrugged off Richardson’s endorsement of her rival, saying both of us have many great endorsers, and the voters, not endorsers, will decide this election.

There are still millions of voters in upcoming contests who want to have their voices heard, she said.

Richardson was secretary of energy and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton. He said he remains friends with the Clintons, and watched the Super Bowl with Bill Clinton this year.

Richardson’s endorsement may be more important for its influence on superdelegates, the nearly 800 Democratic party officials whose backing will be essential for either candidate to win the party’s nomination, according to CNN’s senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. As a governor, Richardson is a superdelegate.

It is time … for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the fall, Richardson said, referring to the presumptive Republican nominee.

The Clinton and Obama campaigns have been waging an intense battle for the backing of superdelegates, roughly half of whom have yet to declare their support for either candidate.

This is a larger message to superdelegates, those elected officials and party officials who, in the end, may well decide who the nominee will be, Crowley said.

Richardson said his affection for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver but that it is now time for a new generation of leadership.

Obama can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad, he said.

He drew laughs with a story about how Obama had bailed him out when a moderator called on him unexpectedly during a Democratic debate.

I was about to ask the moderator to repeat the question when Barack whispered to me ‘Katrina, Katrina.’ And I gave my Katrina answer. He could have thrown me under the bus, but he stood behind me.

Obama had earlier praised Richardson.

Whether it’s fighting to end the Iraq war or stop the genocide in Darfur or prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, Gov. Richardson has been a powerful voice on issues of global security, peace and justice, Obama said in a statement released before the endorsement.

Richardson is the second former Democratic presidential contender to endorse Obama, after Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. Two other former candidates, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, have remained neutral.

None of the dropouts has endorsed Clinton.
Gov. Richardson endorses Obama – found here.


March 21, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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