Democrats may need time to heal, Richardson says

May 27, 2008

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. 

billrichardson.jpg“There’s going to be a need for healing,” Richardson, a former White House hopeful who is backing Obama. 

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.)

13 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Ya think? Richardson said that he was surprised by the vitriol coming from the Clintons when he defected to Obama. He hasn’t seen nuthin yet. They won’t ALLOW the party to heal. Mark my words.

Posted by mary | Report as abusive

“Judas” is out of his mind if he thinks the Dems need time. We’ve had time to hear him and don’t care much for his loyalty.

Posted by Ginger | Report as abusive

Judas Richardson going to help heal the party.
He and Congressman John Lewis should do a great job.
After turning on a long-time friend for a neophite,
the liberal wing of the Democratic Party wants to
make nice with Blue-collar Democrats!

Braaaahhhhaaaaaa!

Posted by Louisiana Bubba | Report as abusive

Gov. Richardon was the best candidate and the worst politician in this race.
We can only hope Obama chooses him for Secretary of State.

Posted by Remus | Report as abusive

Bill Richardson is a bad reminder to 17 million democrats who voted for Senator Clinton what can happen when someone needs notoriety. His face is the face of deceit. He handled it all wrong and embarrased the Clintons. That will not be forgotten by her supporters. Because he chose to “announce” a personal conversation with the Clinton’s and made the statement they feel “entitled” he made it very difficult to come over to any side that he supports. THIS VOTE WILL NOT FORGET! Somehow, Richardson lost the respectful lesson. Did his behavior show respect? I do agree, most hispanic people are extremely respectful and hold Senator Clinton in high regard, but we do not feel the same for Richardson.

Posted by cb | Report as abusive

I don’t understand why a politician can’t change their mind, just because he worked for Bill, I don’t see why he should now be required to support Hillary, after all, the race is between Obama and Clinton, Hillay Clinton – not Bill.

I don’t understand why people will so blindly follow a party, or a loyalty rather than consider the alternatives. Good job Gov. Richardson.

Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

For those of you being critical of Governor Richardson, please, enough is enough! The man is FREE to endorse whoever he thinks is best for the Presidency. I know the Clintons think everybody owes them one thing or another; however, just because people worked in Bill’s administration does not mean they owe them their lives or anything else. They did their jobs, they did it very well, end of discussion. None of us owe the Clintons a darn thing!!

The DNC may be shocked to discover that the rift in the party won’t be healed by a little time and a few concillatory speeches. The nominating process, NOT the two candidates, has split the party. Michigan, Florida, SuperDelegates, fickle endorsers switching candidates in hopes they end up on the “winning” side – all leaves a bad taste in the mouth. My candidate is the one who would win in November, not the weaker one who seems destined for the nomination. If that happens, I will consider myself a Democrat in Exile, and I won’t be “coming home” to the Party in November. There are MANY of us out there, Richardson. Deal with it.

I don’t see why anyone would compare him to Judas. His decision to back Obama was bold, yes, and I could see how the Clintons felt angry, but in his bold move he made it clear that he is taking a position because he believes in the betterment of the country – i.e. putting country over relationships with the Clintons. Richardson showed he believes Obama can improve our country more than Clinton. Bold. We should be supporting Richardson for placing country first, and his reputation second.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

So Judas Richardson wants us all to heal and make nice…I’m a Hiilary supporter who hopes that she’ll ultimately decide to run as an Independent.Wouldn’t that be a slam dunk!Only the Democratic party could lose an election at a time like this by supporting an inexperienced know-nothing (or as he calls himself, a Community Organizer’, with as much experience in resolving America’s problems as Britney Spears. Oh happy day, a change is gonna come.

Posted by MARI | Report as abusive

It is truly pathetic seeing how the Democratic party has divided itself over these two mediocre candidates. We have a woman whose only claim to fame is the fact she’s married to a former U.S. President (and you cannot tell me she’d be a Senator for New York if not for her last name) and a man who speaks well but honestly has tremendous ambiguity on who he is and what his policies really are.

Can you anti-Obama fanatics say that if the positions were reversed and Obama was trailing by a hundred delegates or so, that you’d not be saying that Obama should drop out and that his supporters should mend fences and join with your side? Why then not prove to them that you’re better than they are by doing just that. Support your candidate, but once the election is done, if Clinton loses, support Obama fully.

No more badmouthing. No more calling his supporters “Judas” and the like. You’re no better than the Republicans in doing this. It makes me glad that I’m an independent rather than associate with people who blindly refuse to acknowledge their candidate made mistakes that cost her the Presidency, or the supporters who badmouth Clinton and her supporters for continuing to struggle on despite fighting a lost cause.

Neither side is right. Both sides need to deal with that.

It doesn’t matter whar Richardson says………….
He will not bring the hispanic vote for Obama. Hispanics are loyal people. They don’t flip-flop for anyone especially the rookie.

Posted by Lil | Report as abusive

Bill Clinton gave Richardson a leg-up to help him get where he is today. Richardson is only trying to look out for himself, people will remember that about him. His state voted for Hillary Clinton and he throws away years of Clinton’s friendship and support and goes against his own state’s popular vote. Since Richardson had been running for President, I suppose he just couldn’t take that women was ahead of him in the polls. When he came out for Obama he gave some lame excuse like Obama whispered me the question when I wasn’t paying attention and he was the only one who helped me in the debate. Richardson got alot of good experience working with the Clintons, so if he can ever be trusted again, maybe he will have a future in politics.

Posted by 0vertime. | Report as abusive