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Richardson, only Latino governor, endorses Obama for the speech on race

Associated Press Writer

March 21, 2008 (AP): Bill Richardson, the only Latino governor in the United States, backed Barack Obama for president, moved to deliver his much-coveted endorsement by the senator’s speech about race.

The New Mexico governor joined Obama at a spirited rally Friday and said the Illinois senator demonstrated his leadership abilities this week with his speech on race. ``You are a once-in-a-lifetime leader,'' the governor said from the stage. ``Above all, you will be a president who brings this nation together.''

Richardson dropped his own bid for the nomination in January. Richardson was relentlessly courted by both candidates and his support for Obama provides him a potential counterweight to Clinton’s strength among Latino voters.

It was not the first time racial concerns had helped to drive a prominent backer to Obama. Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy was moved to drop his neutrality and side with Obama in part because of what he saw as Bill Clinton's racially tinged criticisms of the senator.

Richardson heaped praise on Obama’s speech of March 18th, about the nation’s racial divide. [This speech in its entirety can be viewed online at: www.laprensa1.com or at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23691239#23691239

“As a Hispanic-American, I was particularly touched by his words,'' Richardson said. ``Senator Obama has started a discussion in this country that is long overdue and rejects the politics of pitting race against race.''





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