A spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has now officially denied claims coming from an unnamed Clinton associate that Richardson, who recently endorsed Barack Obama, told the Clintons earlier this year he believed Obama could not win the general election. The spokesman, Pahl Shipley, released a statement that reads:
Governor Richardson has never questioned Senator Obama's electability. He believes Barack Obama is the right person to lead this country and he will be America's next President.
In fact, the Governor endorsed Senator Obama based on his ability to bring this country together both domestically and internationally.
The Governor wants to move beyond this he said-she said nonsense. It's irrelevant and petty. The focus should be on ending the war in Iraq, improving the economy and passing universal health care, which is exactly what Senator Obama is talking about.
Separately, as we mentioned Thursday, several media outlets reported that in a press conference, Hillary Clinton denied that she had ever told Richardson, Obama "cannot win, Bill. He cannot win." But a Clinton spokeswoman told reporters that Clinton was not denying that, but responding to a separate question. ABC's Political Radar blog reports:
Clinton aides now insist the Senator misunderstood the question, asserting the candidate believed she was answering whether or not she would discuss a private conversation.
"I just double checked," Doug Hattaway, [a] Clinton spokesperson told ABC News. "She was saying she was not going to tell (the reporter) about her private conversation."
Of course, the very fact that the Clinton camp was in such a rush to clarify what reporters were interpreting as a denial itself implies that perhaps there's a very specific reason it doesn't want a denial on record.