New Mexico Governor backs Obama over Clinton

March 22nd, 2008 - 5:57 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, March 22 (IANS) New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has given his crucial backing to the US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, over former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, EFE news agency reported. The country’s only Latino governor made the endorsement at an Obama rally in Portland, Oregon, Friday.

Referring to the Illinois senator’s speech this week about the controversial statements made by the former pastor of his Chicago church, Richardson said: “Senator Obama showed us once again what kind of leader he is”.

The 60-year-old Richardson, who withdrew from the Democratic presidential contest in January, was energy secretary and later the US ambassador to the UN during the administration of Bill Clinton.

The former first lady had sought the governor’s endorsement.

The Obama campaign has been going through a difficult time since national television repeatedly showed portions of sermons by his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright with phrases condemning the US for its history of racism and its foreign policy.

Occasionally switching to Spanish, Richardson Friday praised the Illinois senator for responding to the controversy about Wright head on.

“He spoke to us as adults. He asked us to ponder the weight of our racially divided past, to rise above it, and to seize the opportunity to carry forward the work of many patriots of all races, who struggled and died to bring us together,” the governor said.

“Senator Obama reminded us that cynicism is not realism, and that hope is not folly,” he added.

In a first reaction to Richardson’s announcement, Clinton said while both she and Obama had “many great endorsers”, it was the “voters, not endorsers” who would decide the contest.

Obama has won more delegates to the Democratic National Convention than Clinton and attention has shifted more and more to the so-called super-delegates, who aren’t elected by voters but are designated on the basis of their hierarchy in the party or their position in the government.

Richardson is one of the super-delegates.

“As a presidential candidate, I know full well Senator 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,” he said.

Till now, Senator Clinton could count on the support of the majority of Hispanic voters in the states where there have been primary elections or caucuses. In New Mexico’s voting, she won twice as many Latino voters as Obama.

Richardson, the son of an American father and a Mexican mother, is one of the most prominent Hispanic officeholders in the US.

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