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Richardson Endorses Obama

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THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - March 24, 2008
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Richardson Endorses Obama
By Patrick Healy
The New York Times

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who sought to become 
the nation's first Hispanic president this year, plans 
to endorse Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic 
nomination on Friday at a campaign event in Oregon, 
according to an Obama adviser. 

Mr. Richardson, a former congressman and energy secretary 
in the Clinton administration, dropped out of the 
Democratic race in January after finishing behind Mr. Obama 
and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the first nominating 
contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Since then, both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have aggressive-
ly courted Mr. Richardson for his endorsement. Mrs. Clinton 
had also deployed her husband, and Mr. Richardson's former 
boss, to seek the governor's political support; former 
President Bill Clinton watched the Super Bowl in February 
with Mr. Richardson, and both Clintons had spent time on 
the phone trying to persuade him to back her candidacy. 

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In a statement explaining his endorsement, which was 
provided by the Obama campaign early Friday morning, 
Mr. Richardson hailed Mr. Obama's judgment and ability 
to be commander-in-chief - qualities that Mrs. Clinton 
has called into question in recent weeks on the campaign 
trail. 

"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," Mr. Richardson said in the state-
ment. "As a presidential candidate, I know full well Sen. 
Obama's unique moral ability to inspire the American people 
to confront our urgent challenges at home and abroad in a 
spirit of bipartisanship and reconciliation." 

Mr. Richardson based his candidacy in large part on his 
strong opposition to the war in Iraq and on calls for an 
immediate and total withdrawal of American troops from 
Iraq. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton both support a steady 
but carefully paced withdrawal of troops; Mr. Obama, 
however, was an early, consistent opponent of the war, 
while Mrs. Clinton voted in 2002 to authorize military 
action in Iraq and supported the war in its first years. 

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As a governor, Mr. Richardson is a super-delegate who 
would have a vote in the nominating contest if neither 
Mr. Obama nor Mrs. Clinton ends the primary season in 
June with a lead in the delegates amassed during the 
2008 primaries and caucuses. Mr. Obama now has an overall 
lead of 148.5 delegates, according to an analysis by the 
New York Times; a candidate needs 2,024 to win the 
Democratic nomination. 

Moreover, as the nation's only Hispanic governor, Mr. 
Richardson could become a champion for Mr. Obama among 
Hispanic voters, who have been a key voting bloc for 
Mrs. Clinton in the primaries thus far. And his endorse-
ment is also notable because he is a friend and admirer 
of Mrs. Clinton, and was widely viewed as a possible 
running mate for both her and for Mr. Obama. 

Mr. Richardson served as ambassador to the United Nations 
under Mr. Clinton, and has also worked as an official and 
unofficial troubleshooter for the government on foreign 
policy issues and crises, drawing on his extensive 
contacts overseas such as with leaders of North Korea. 

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"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. He showed this 
judgment by opposing the Iraq war from the start, and he 
has show it during this campaign by standing up for a new 
era in American leadership internationally," Mr. Richardson 
said in his statement. 

In a prepared statement, Mr. Obama said:

"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, earning five Nobel Peace Prize nominations," 
Obama said in a statement. 

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