You read it correctly: The man that both campaigns were competing for very hard has finally come out and endorsed Barack Obama. Bill Richardson was in the primary race for a while, until he dropped out to do some governing of his state of New Mexico. Without going into detail, I was extremely impressed that the very next day after dropping out, he had started on reworking a whole new health care policy for his state, and within a week it was done. This is a sign of an effective and good politician.
Anyway, Richardson, in a very brave move, came out to endorse Obama over the weekend. People may not know that he was the Secretary of Energy in President Bill Clinton’s terms of service. A lot of people have said that Bill Clinton made Richardson’s career. I think that’s a very unfair statement, but there is a degree of fortune garnered from the position.
I expect that the Clinton campaign team will be furious over this endorsement. As I said, both campaigns were trying hard for the guy. Bill Clinton even went over and watched the Super Bowl with Richardson, and I doubt that the entire night was talk about the New York Giants. So it comes as no real surprise that the Clinton campaign had this to say about the endorsement:
Both candidates have many great endorsers, but the voters, not endorsers, will decide this election, and there are still millions of voters in upcoming contests who want to have their voices heard.
Effectively shrugging it off. The problem with that statement is that is sounds like a campaign that is endorsing a win for the candidate with the most pledged delegates – which the have never done, and will never do.
Someone working with the Clinton campaign often, James Carville (political strategist), had something amusing to say about the endorsement, which is what I think is closer to home in terms of what the Clintons are thinking now:
[Richardson’s Obama endorsement] came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver.
In response, Bill Richardson had this to say:
Well, I’m not going to get in the gutter like that. And you know, that’s typical of many of the people around Senator Clinton. They think they have a sense of entitlement to the presidency.
I found that remark quite interesting. To me, it’s not what someone says about people he says he is still “very loyal to”. Part of the reasoning behind his endorsement was that “it shouldn’t just be Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton.” And that makes total sense. Bring in new, fresh ideas. Bring in a new era of politics. Endorse Obama. Makes complete sense.
Now after all this, does it even matter anymore? If Obama had received that nomination in the days before Super Tuesday, I say it would have changed the whole day. I even think the primary race would be over by now if he had. Even if Richardson had endorsed before March 4, it would have changed things up. Texas probably would have gone to Obama, both in the primary and the caucus. The race wouldn’t have ended there, but it would be in its last throws I think.
Being Hispanic himself, the endorsement would have been ideal when there were a significant amount of states at play that had high ‘Latin’ votes, or at least Southern states. Unfortunately, there’s only 2/3 pseudo-Southern states, and the ‘Latin’ vote isn’t as big a force as it was previously.
But it is still an important endorsement. He is a superdelegate, so ring one more up for Obama. Being a governor and a former secretary, he is a high ranking superdelegate and politician, and he no doubt has connections and enough sway over some more superdelegates to pull them into the Obama camp.
Obama has been the centre of attention for a couple of bad weeks of news, what with all the ‘race’ talk. Having Richardson endorse him creates a positive news cycle for him, a bad one for Clinton. Everyone will be looking at the fact that Richardson, who was a former ’employee’ of Clinton, has turned his back on them and walked the other way. Why didn’t he endorse Mrs. Clinton? Does he think they don’t stand a chance? Does he secretly hate them? What did Obama promise him that was so much better than the scraps Clinton was going to give him? And with all the issue of ‘race’ being thrown around, it can’t possibly hurt Obama to be endorsed by one of the most prominent Latino politicians.
So another good day for Obama.