Yesterday, Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM-Obama) discussed his endorsement for Barack Obama with reporters:
He told reporters that he almost endorsed Clinton, but waited a little longer to see how things played out, and as the infighting increased, Richardson became displeased with the party and the candidates. He told reporters “That upset me” when talking about Clinton’s 3 A.M. ad.
Richardson said that he began getting calls from the Clinton camp, saying that Richardson owed Clinton the endorsement since resident Clinton had Richardson on his cabinet, saying “That really ticked me off.”
But Richardson, a former candidate himself, would be a powerful endorsement to whoever he gave his support, so “the pursuit was pretty relentless on both sides.”
He finally decided that he didn’t owe the Clintons anymore: “I was loyal. But I don’t think that loyalty is transferable to his wife. … You don’t transfer loyalty to a dynasty.”
Art Torres, the California Democratic Party chairman and a friend of President Clinton and Bill Richardson said, “They’re very similar in personality. There was a bond established, and I think [President Clinton] feels a little hurt.”
An anonymous associate of President Clinton earlier told reporters that “I think [Bill Richardson] really owes a big chunk of his success and his career to the Clintons.” Richardson responded, “Look, I was a successful congressman rescuing hostages before I was appointed. I was a governor afterward, elected on my own.”
Richardson had previously watch the Super Bowl with President Clinton. He discussed talking with the former President, saying, “I remember talking to the president and saying, ‘I’m leaning. But I’m not there yet.’ Sometimes people hear what they want to hear.”
Bill Richardson described how the 2 different sides approached Richardson for an endorsement from 2 different approaches. He said that Obama called Richardson about once every 3 days, “dialing the phone himself, no operator,” while the Clinton campaigned called him at least 8 times a day, “Bill calling, Hillary calling, friends of mine that were in the Clinton administration, Clinton operatives, Clinton Hispanic operatives, New Mexico Clinton Hispanic operatives.” Richardson said that the callers who made Richardson feel like he owed it to the Clintons did more harm than good, “I think the Clintons have a feeling of entitlement … that the presidency was theirs.”
Richardson said that he actually began to really like Obama while Richardson was still running himself. “I saw real growth in the guy. A tremendous growth in policy and expression and experience.”
Richardson told reporters that he was not trying to gain a position in an Obama administration, “I never say never in politics, but I’m not pining for it [the VP nomination].”
So Richardson had made his mind up. It was time to call Hillary and tell her. He said that their conversation was “was proper but heated,” and that he has not talked with the Clintons since then. He said that “the ferocity [and] the intensity” from the Clinton campaign since then has surprised him. With pictures of Richardson and the President still hanging in the Governor’s mansion, Richardson said that “He’s very much a part of my life.”
So, that’s Richardson’s perspective of what all happened. Meanwhile, the infighting continues, and the Job for John McCain and his staff gets easier.