When New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, an old Clinton loyalist and Clinton administration Cabinet member, stunned the Hillary Clinton camp by endorsing Barack Obama, acid-tongued James Carville compared him to Judas, who betrayed Christ.
“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Carville said, referring to Holy Week.
Carville got a lot of flack for that remark, but Wednesday night, appearing with Richardson on the Larry King show on CNN he refused to back down.
Asked by King if they had spoken to each other since Carville made his charge, both said no. And when King asked Carville how he feels, an unapologetic Carville said he thought his Judas remark "was an appropriate metaphor," and said he meant it, adding that had it been the Fourth of July instead of Good Friday, he would have called him Benedict Arnold.
When King asked Richardson how he reacted to being called Judas, Richardson recalled "I said I wasn't going to respond and get in the gutter. I feel very strongly this is typical of the reaction of many of the Clinton supporters.
"They feel that they're a dynasty, they are clinging to the throne, [angry at] anybody that disrupts that dynasty or challenges it — I ran against Senator Clinton. I served with President Clinton very honorably and I'm grateful to him, but I have a larger loyalty to the country, to doing what's right for America."
Obama, he said, "is the candidate [who] can bring us together. It's typical of the negativity that the Clintons right now are using against Senator Obama. I think it's wrong — it's going to divide the party."
The debate, he furthered, should be about such issues as the Iraq war, the administration's "horrendous energy policy. Universal healthcare, education . . ."
Carville countered, saying, "I said what I said — I admit it, and I think the more important thing is what's going to happen in North Carolina and Indiana. He has his opinion; I have mine. I said it, and I was quoted accurately."
When King asked Richardson if he had told people that he was going to endorse Sen. Clinton the New Mexico governor denied it: "I was close to endorsing Senator Clinton after President Clinton visited me in Santa Fe to watch the Super Bowl. He's a very persuasive guy, but the more we got into the campaign, it really bothered me . . . that 3 a.m. phone call [TV ad] implying that Senator Obama was not experienced . . . that's wrong.
"This man can face dictators; I faced dictators; he can lead our foreign policy. He has the judgment and temperament to move forward. I felt . . . that Obama has a special quality of being able to bring the country together."
"is loyalty, he added, was not to his past, or who appointed him, but instead his loyalty is to the country, "to who can bring this country together, who can internationally send a message that America is going to stand on moral standards and change our climate-change policy and be a beacon of hope and human rights around the world. I think that's Obama."
Carville's advice to the Obama campaign's complaints about the Clinton's negative attacks: "Stop whining. "
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