New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, himself a former presidential candidate, endorsed Barack Obama today. In an e-mail to supporters, Richardson said, "We are blessed to have two great American leaders and great Democrats running for President. My affection and admiration for Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton will never waver. It is time, however, for Democrats to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to prepare for the tough fight we will face against John McCain in the fall. The 1990's were a decade of peace and prosperity because of the competent and enlightened leadership of the Clinton administration, but it is now time for a new generation of leadership to lead America forward. Barack Obama will be a historic and a great President, who can bring us the change we so desperately need by bringing us together as a nation here at home and with our allies abroad."
Richardson's endorsement bodes well for Obama in several ways. Obviously, it's a high-profile endorsement - and another superdelegate.
Also, if any of the former presidential contenders had reason to endorse Hillary Clinton, it was Richardson, who served in Bill Clinton's administration as ambassador to the UN and as Secretary of Energy. His ties with the Clintons go back years. The fact Richardson not only didn't endorse Hillary, but also waited as long as he did, speaks volumes about what he thinks of that campaign.
Finally, Richardson is on anyone's short list as a running mate, and he knows it. Consequently he's been playing it safe (perhaps too safe) ever since he dropped out of the presidential race on 10 January. Richardson has a big role to play in the next Democratic administration, perhaps as vice president. He's not going to blow it by picking the loser. Today's endorsement tells us that one of the most skilled leaders in the Democratic Party thinks Obama is the eventual nominee. That point can't be understated.
One more shoe needs to drop, and his name is John R. Edwards.