Bill Richardson on Hillary 2016: 'I'm Not in the Suck-up Camp'

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 05:57 PM

By Jason Devaney

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Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who served under President Bill Clinton as secretary of energy from 1998 to 2001, said he is not in the Hillary Clinton "suck-up camp" for president in 2016.

In a Washington Post interview published Monday, Richardson was asked about his thoughts regarding Hillary Clinton's tour to promote her book "Hard Choices."

He replied: "You know I'm not in the 'Ready for Hillary' camp, right?"

When asked why, Richardson said, "It's because of our differences when I endorsed Obama. The differences haven't healed, and I'm not in the suck-up camp."

Richardson ran for president in 2008 but abandoned his campaign after losing in some of the early Democratic primaries. He then threw his support behind Obama, a move that incensed the Clintons. They saw it as an act of betrayal, as the trio was a close-knit group during and after the Clinton administration.

Richardson served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for one year before becoming energy secretary.

Clinton allies were also offended at the time, with adviser James Carville comparing Richardson to Judas  — the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver.

Later in 2008, Richardson said the rift between him and the Clintons "could be pretty much a permanent fissure." 

Richardson, however, seems to be changing his tune a bit. He would not commit to endorsing any of the potential 2016 candidates for president, and said he is impressed with Clinton's book tour thus far.

"As much as I say to you that I'm not in her camp, I haven't signed on, I believe this little listening book tour has been a stroke of genius," Richardson told the Post. "What she's doing is she's becoming unstoppable. One, she's whetting the appetite of every Democrat, particularly women that are going to vote for her in droves for historical reasons. Two, she's putting out all the baggage early and I think dealing with it effectively. Third, she's recruiting every able campaign worker, especially the Obama team, which is unsurpassed in their skills for electioneering. And then fourth, she's honing her skills."

Richardson, who left the office of New Mexico governor in 2011 and now works in the private sector, said he witnessed a recent Clinton speech in New York.

"I must say, her speech and delivery were very good, very strong," Richardson said. "So, I think this period of the book tour, the speech-making, is an actual campaign. I have no doubt that she will run."

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