New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama Fri., March 21.
At a rally in Portland, Ore.—with Obama standing beside him—Richardson said that Obama 'will make a great and historic president.' Referring to Obama's recent speech about race, Richardson added that Obama 'understands clearly that only by bringing people together, only by bridging our differences can we all succeed together as Americans.'
Richardson, the nation's only Latino governor who dropped out of the presidential race in January, may impact the voting of his racial demographic. Traditionally, Latinos have favored Obama rival Sen. Hillary Clinton.
In a letter e-mailed by Obama's campaign, Richardson described Clinton as 'a distinguished leader with vast experience' but favored Obama.
Clinton strategist Mark Penn downplayed the significance of Richardson's endorsement, saying, 'The time that he could have been effective has long since passed. I don't think it is a significant endorsement in this environment.' Campaign spokesman Phil Singer added, 'We respect Gov. Richardson. But at the end of the day this campaign is about Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama.'