Democrats may need time to heal, Richardson says
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Democrats will eventually unite once the hard-fought presidential nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is resolved but that process may take time, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said on Monday.
Richardson, who had served as energy secretary and ambassador to the United Nations in former President Bill Clinton’s administration, remained on the fence for several weeks before deciding to support Obama, an Illinois senator, two months ago.
After announcing his decision, he talked of a tense phone call with Hillary Clinton when he broke the news to her. James Carville, a longtime adviser to Bill Clinton, called Richardson a “Judas.”
Obama, who now holds a lead in delegates over Clinton that probably is insurmountable, was on the campaign trail with Richardson on Monday. The governor introduced the Illinois senator at a Memorial Day veterans forum in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Richardson, who is of Latino descent, is expected to provide a boost to Obama’s efforts to court Hispanic voters.
Campaigning in Puerto Rico last weekend, Obama sprinkled some Spanish phrases into his speech. Richardson said the senator’s Spanish is “passable” but the effort is appreciated by these voters.
Although Latinos gravitated toward Clinton in many primary races, Richardson said Obama can boost his support by increasing his visibility with the community.
Listing some of the messages that will help Obama, Richardson said, “He talks about respect. He’s a minority himself” and comes from a family of modest means.
– Photo credit: Reuters/Edwin Montilva (New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, shown during an April 2008 trip to Venezuela.)