Governor of New Mexico and former Democratic presidential hopeful, Bill Richardson, endorsed Barack Obama on Friday. Both Clinton and Obama lobbied for Richardson’s support after he dropped out of the race earlier this year. Richardson, who since dropping out has grown an attractive beard, says that he was inspired to endorse Obama after his speech on race earlier this week.
“Senator Barack Obama addressed the issue of race with the eloquence and sincerity and decency and optimism we have come to expect of him,” Mr. Richardson said at the Portland rally. “He did not seek to evade tough issues or to soothe us with comforting half-truths. Rather, he inspired us by reminding us of the awesome potential residing in our own responsibility.”
He added: “Senator Obama could have given a safer speech. He is, after all, well ahead in the delegate count for our party’s nomination.”
While the endorsement probably isn’t nearly as valuable as it would have been two months ago when Richardson was more of a public figure and New Mexico had yet to vote, his endorsement is still valuable in what has been two rocky weeks for Obama. Richardson, the nation’s only Hispanic governor, may help Obama finally win the elusive Hispanic vote, which has traditionally gone to Hillary. Additionally, having served as secretary of energy and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton, and having been viewed as an “experience” candidate, this endorsement has to come as a blow to Hillary. Even if Richardson’s endorsement ultimately doesn’t have a big effect on voters, it may have one on superdelegates. Richardson, besides being a superdelegate himself, is a important member of the Democratic party and could potentially influence other superdelegates.
I don’t how likely it is for the Democratic Party to choose a Black/Hispanic ticket, but I’ve always said that I think a man of Bill Richardson’s experience would make a great vice president choice. Below is the full video of Bill Richardson’s endorsement. I’d imagine Richardson isn’t used to talking to crowds this large. Stick around until the 9:00 mark to see Richardson draw laughter from the crowd as he recalls a time when Obama saved him during a debate.