My January 16, 2009 Letter to the Editor about Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson

commentary by Timothy Horrigan; January 16, 2009

On January 6, 2009, the editorial writers at my local paper (The [Dover, NH] Foster's Daily Democrat) published a strange editorial suggesting that Hillary Clinton must be taking delight in Bill Richardson's misfortune. Supposedly she was still furious because Gov. Richardson threw his support behind Barack Obama rather than herself when he dropped out of the 2008 Presidential primary race. (Gov. Richardson got less than 5% of the vote in the two contests he entered before dropping out.)

The editorial was prompted by the withdrawal of Gov. Richrdson's nomination to be the US Commerce Secretary thanks to questions about state contracts which had been issued to one of his campaign donors. The editorial rather oddly failed to note another Cabinet nomination: Hillary Clinton's nomination (which has since been confirmed) as Secretary of State. I immediately fired off a letter to the editor, and it was published ten days later on January 16, 2009:

Editorial was speculation

To the editor: Your editorial writer speculated on Jan. 6 that Hillary Clinton "must have wanted to break out with a wide grin" when she learned that Bill Richardson would be withdrawing his commerce secretary nomination. Supposedly, your editorial writer told us, she must still be furious that Richardson endorsed Barack Obama rather than herself when he dropped out of the Presidential race way back in March 2008, and hence she must now be taking delight in Richardson's misfortune.

This was a purely speculative editorial— but even speculation should be based on fact. Two key facts were totally left out of the editorial.

Firstly, Sen. Clinton did endorse then-Sen. Obama after their long primary battle and she campaigned very enthusiastically for him nationwide. Both she and her husband even made campaign appearances on Sen. Obama's behalf right here in the Seacoast region. Secondly, Sen. Clinton herself is a member of President-elect Obama's incoming cabinet. Indeed, she has been nominated to the most prestigious cabinet post of all: secretary of state. This was a job, ironically, which was expected by many to be offered to Gov. Richardson.

Timothy Horrigan


Original URL for my letter (subject to linkrot over time):

And, so you know what I am ranting about, I may as well post the January 6, 2008 editorial itself here— even though it is a load of bullcookies— since it might disappear from the Foster's site someday.

Richardson's final farewell?

Wherever Hillary Clinton was when Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination as the next commerce secretary, she must have wanted to break out with a wide grin. If she wasn't in a setting where she could do it, she must have at least felt warm all over.

Richardson was Barack Obama's pick for commerce because he had done the president-elect a big favor. After ending his own candidacy for president, Richardson endorsed Obama in March 2008.

Et tu Brute?

It's as good as it gets.

The Clintons were good to Richardson. In 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated him to be ambassador to the United Nations and the Senate confirmed the choice. Little more than a year later he became energy secretary.

Short memory or wanting to make a difference? Most likely, it was the latter. The endorsement came at an important time for Obama. He was struggling for the nomination. Richardson read the signs and went with the junior senator from Illinois.

The Clintons were reported to be furious. And who could blame them? They treated him well and what did he do in return? All he lacked was a toga and an unsheathed dagger.

Barack Obama accepted Richardson's withdrawal "with regret" and — it is to be suspected — with no small degree of relief.

Richardson is entangled in a play-for-pay scandal in New Mexico, where he is governor. A federal grand jury met in Albuquerque in December to look at how California-based CDR Financial Products won $1.5 million in work from the New Mexico Finance Authority in 2004.

CDR is reported to have donated $100,000 to Richardson's efforts to register Hispanic and American Indian voters and pay for expenses at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Monday, Richardson read from a prepared statement, but declined to talk about the grand jury investigation.

"It was my decision to withdraw," he said. Of course it was. But he thought the federal investigation would be over by now and his Senate confirmations would be under way.

Imagine what such hearings would have been with this cloud over Richardson's head. Senators of both parties would have had a field day. It would have gone the way of similarly vetted nomination in other years.

Richardson insists on his innocence. So does Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich following allegations of his having tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant following the election of soon-to-be President Obama.

Whatever his reasons for being, Bill Richardson's future is now in the hands of federal investigators and the people of New Mexico.

Original URL (subject to linkrot over time):

 [July 16, 2014] In case you are wondering whatever become of Bill Richardson: he served out his second term as Governor of New Mexico, which ended after the 2010 election. He cannot run again for Governor of New Mexico because of a term-limits law. Since his term expired, he has joined the boards of various corporate entities, some non-profit, some for-profit. He has also been doing a little consulting and a little free-lance diplomacy. There are still lingering suspicions floating around him, but he hasn't gotten in any serious legal trouble.

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