New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Tuesday at UCLA that he was "torn" between backing Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama for president.
This article was first published on the UCLA Newsroom website.
By Claudia Luther
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, often mentioned as a possible running mate on the Democratic ticket this year, said Tuesday he was "torn" between endorsing Sen. Hillary Clinton or Sen. Barack Obama for president.
Richardson, speaking at the second annual conference of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations, said in regard to Sen. Clinton that he had served in a number of key positions during former President Bill Clinton's administration.
"But I paid him back," he said. "I served him well."
He used warmer words in discussing Obama. "There's something very special about this guy," Richardson said. "Something about him has inspired a lot of people."
Richardson, the conference keynote speaker, was responding to questions from Los Angeles Times reporter Maggie Farley. Richardson said he enjoyed the attention given to his pending choice by the media and each candidate's supporters. But he told Farley he was "going to make you wait" for an endorsement.
"I'm going to stay loose a little longer," he said.
The all-day conference, "U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Rogue States: Engage, Isolate, or Strike?", also featured Gen. Wesley Clark, a senior fellow at the Burkle Center, and brought together experts from the military, government and academia. It was held at UCLA's James West Alumni Center.
In further questioning from Farley, Richardson said that if the next president of the United States sent him to Iran to negotiate, he would first ask Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "quit messing in Iraq."
"I think it takes an overall political multilateral, multinational settlement in Iraq that involves American withdrawal but that also involves a peacekeeping force that is Arab, that is multinational, possibly a partition," he said. "What we're doing today is just not working."