'It Was a Little Bit Heated': Richardson's Bad News Call to Hillary

Next time, maybe Bill Richardson should consider text messaging. Something along these lines, perhaps:

I M not 4 U. Me & BHO: BFF. CUL8R

Of course we can only imagine how Hillary's reply would have read. But Richardson did have the moxie to make one of the world's tougher phone calls: informing Hillary Clinton that despite having been appointed by her husband to two cabinet positions, he was endorsing Barack Obama. Richardson has now let it be known that his conversation with Hillary got "a little bit heated."

Kidding aside, consider what it says about Hillary's personality that so much press attention has focused on the call. Imagine if Richardson had instead decided to endorse Clinton. Not many people would be wondering about the atmospherics of his conversation with Obama. Richardson appeared on this morning's Today, and weekend co-anchor Lester Holt wasted absolutely no time: his very first question to the NM governor was about that dreaded phone call.

LESTER HOLT: Before we talk about what was behind your endorsement of Obama, I've got to ask you about the phone call you had to make on Thursday to Senator Clinton. You're friends with the Clintons, you worked for Bill Clinton in his administration. What was the phone call like?

BILL RICHARDSON: Well [chortling], I've had better phone calls. I talked to Senator Clinton about 9 o'clock, and I told her, and, you know, she was, she was disappointed. It was a little bit heated. She asked me why, I gave her the reasons: that race speech, I mentioned there was something very special about Obama [unsolicited advice: when letting a lady down, don't tell her there's "something very special" about the person you're ditching her for], nothing against her and her husband, who I'd served for many years. And, but it was tough, and I've gotta admit, Lester, I really dreaded making that call. All day my stomach was upset [no jokes about giraffes with sore throats, please], and, I did it, but you have to give that courtesy. But it was not an easy one.

A closing observation:

Richardson didn't have to disclose that the conversation got heated. To the contrary, in doing so he breached protocol, which in these situations calls for the person in Richardson's position to deflect the question and answer along the lines: "I'm not going to discuss a private phone call, but just let me say that I have the utmost respect for Senator Clinton," blah blah blah. That Richardson chose to divulge that things got a bit hot has to be taken as campaign strategy, a means of reinforcing Hillary's image as not the world's most amiable person.

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