New Mexico senator Bingaman endorses Obama
Sen. Jeff Bingaman endorsed Barack Obama for president Monday, joining Gov. Bill Richardson to put another of New Mexico's Democratic superdelegates in camp with the Illinois senator.
"I am announcing my support for Barack Obama for president and declaring my intention to vote for him at the Democratic convention," Bingaman said in a statement issued by Obama's campaign.
Bingaman, D-N.M., said he believes Obama is a better choice than New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on issues such as the Iraq war, health care and improving energy independence.
Bingaman, re-elected to a fifth senate term in 2006, said the United States needs a leader who can rise above partisanship and find common ground. He said it is imperative to "move the country in a dramatically new direction."
"I strongly believe Barack Obama is best positioned to lead the nation in that new direction," he said.
New Mexico Republicans seized on Bingaman's move away from Clinton, noting she won the state's Democratic caucus in February.
Adam Feldman, executive director of the New Mexico GOP, also criticized Obama's recent comments that residents of small-town America were bitter. He pointed out that Bingaman grew up in Silver City.
"As a product of small-town New Mexico himself, he should have known better than to back someone who is so clearly out-of-touch with the values New Mexicans are proud to hold," Feldman said.
Obama thanked Bingaman for his support and called the New Mexico senator a leader for speaking out on environmental issues such as global warming. Bingaman is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
"Senator Bingaman has been an important advocate in the energy debate and has served the people of New Mexico for decades, giving voice to the issues that matter to families across the state," Obama said. "We are proud to have his support as we fight to bring about real change for families in New Mexico and across the country."
Last month, Richardson threw his support to Obama, drawing fire from Clinton loyalist James Carville, who compared Richardson to Judas for an "act of betrayal." In reply, Richardson called on Democrats to stop negative attacks and move on.
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