Bill Richardson Endorses Obama Sen. Barack Obama capped a challenging week Friday with a key endorsement from his former rival. What sparked this change of heart for Richardson?
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Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

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Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

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From the studios of NPR West, this is Day to Day. I'm Alex Chadwick.


And I'm Alex Cohen. Coming up, "Cuisine on the Cheap"; it's a new cookbook and every ingredient in it is just 99 cents.

CHADWICK: First, the political roller coaster heading up today for Senator Obama. He's being endorsed by a former rival for the presidential nomination, Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico. The endorsement is a relief after a challenging week for the senator.

Coming up, we're going to look at how all this affects his opponent, Senator Clinton. Now to NPR's David Greene from Washington. David, welcome back. You were in Philadelphia for Senator Obama's big speech on race this week. How has the week gone for him?

DAVID GREENE: You could feel it was a pretty pivotal moment for Barack Obama. I mean a lot of these incendiary comments from his former pastor in Chicago, Jeremiah Wright, were making their way all across the blogosphere and all over the Internet and concerning a lot of people, and Barack Obama took a risk. I mean he came out, he gave a speech, he denounced the comments that were made by his former pastor but said that, you know, to disavow his former pastor would be like disavowing his own grandmother. So it was viewed as a risky speech and clearly a challenging beginning to the week for the candidate who right now still has the delegate lead in the Democratic race.

CHADWICK: He does. We're going to get to Governor Richardson in a moment, but there's been this other story that broke yesterday involving first Senator Obama and now Senator Clinton as well - passport records. What's going on here?

GREENE: Yeah, I mean it's really crazy. I mean - we don't quite know what's going on yet. Maybe some State Department employees who were just a little over curious, but we do now know that both Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's passport files were dug into by people at the State Department, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice apologized to Barack Obama earlier. We don't know exactly what anyone was looking for.

We do know that back in 1992 a similar thing happened with Bill Clinton's files. You know, at that time there were all these rumors that he renounced his citizenship to try and dodge the draft, and a political appointee went into Bill Clinton's files when he was a candidate and the Inspector General at the department did an investigation and said that indeed they thought someone was looking for politically damaging information about Bill Clinton.

So we should hold back. We don't know exactly what went on at this point with Obama and Clinton's files, but we do know that people were poking around.

CHADWICK: David, I'll just note that this may be non-partisan poking, because the wires are now reporting that Senator McCain's passport records may have been delved into as well.

GREENE: Not leaving any candidate out, are they?

COHEN: Hey, David. It's the other Alex here. And I wanna go back to today's endorsement of Barack Obama by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Real quickly here, New Mexico's caucus has passed. Will this endorsement have any affect among Latino voters?

GREENE: Well, you know, Bill Richardson in a general election campaign could certainly help whoever the nominee is, and if it's Barack Obama turn out Latino vote. You can't see it being that crucial now since we're through a lot of the states with a lot of Latino voters. Puerto Rico is still coming and you could see Bill Richardson picking up a delegate or two, but I think it's more important - if Bill Richardson had come out and supported Hillary Clinton at this point, people might have looked back at this week and said, wow, what a rough week with Jeremiah Wright and that news and then a well known Democrat comes out and supports Hillary Clinton.

But the fact that you have an established Democrat saying, we've been through this tough week, I've watched it and I'm still supporting Barack Obama, you feel Obama emerging and saying I'm in the same place I was, still sitting here with the delegate lead despite some of the tough times this week.

COHEN: NPR's David Greene, thank you so much, David.

GREENE: Thank you, Alexes.

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