Richardson: I Don't 'Owe' Hillary

Sunday, 13 Apr 2008 07:53 PM

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New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says he nearly endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Richardson said both Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, whom he eventually endorsed, lobbied heavily for his official backing.

"The pursuit was pretty relentless on both sides," he admitted, while also revealing that he struggled with issues of loyalty: he was former President Clinton's U.N. ambassador and then secretary of the Energy Department. But he concluded that he had paid his debt by helping get the North American Free Trade Agreement passed, and stood by Clinton's side during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

"I was loyal," Richardson told the Times. "But I don't think that loyalty is transferable to his wife. . . . You don't transfer loyalty to a dynasty."

Richardson said he grew angry over some calls he received from Clinton supporters before he made his endorsement decision, in which his honor was questioned and it was suggested that he owed Hillary Clinton his support.

"That really ticked me off," he said.

He also was bothered by Clinton's "3 a.m." TV ad, in which Clinton questioned Obama's personal mettle. "That upset me," Richardson said.

In the end, he told the Times, he was swayed by the mostly positive tone of Obama's campaign, as well as the relationship he developed with Obama during private conversations.

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