New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who gave up his own run at the nomination in January, is endorsing Barack Obama. The nod from the country’s only Latino governor comes at a point in the campaign when the Hispanic vote will be less of a factor.

Still, it’s good news for Obama, who has suffered through a spate of terrible news cycles. According to the L.A. Times, Obama’s campaign is planning “a series of such endorsements and announcements.”

As a former Clinton White House official, Richardson had been under pressure to support Hillary, but he said recently of his obligation to the former president: “I paid him back. Because I served well.”

Many progressives had gravitated toward Richardson, who, other than Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, had perhaps the strongest anti-war platform. But his role as secretary of energy in the immoral imprisonment of American scientist Wen Ho Lee is a permanent stain on his record.

Updates: You can watch video of Richardson’s announcement and read up on how he almost went for Hillary and his response to the Clinton campaign’s dismissal of his endorsement here.

Also, Clinton fixture James Carville says the timing of the endorsement is appropriate, since it’s like Judas betraying Jesus.

(h/t: The Page)

Los Angeles Times:

He also ran against Obama, of course. But in a prepared statement he’ll release today, Richardson will say:

“”I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world,” AP reported.

Richardson will also say, “There is no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama has the judgment and courage we need in a commander in chief when our nation’s security is on the line.”

Campaign sources indicate Obama hopes to roll out a series of such endorsements and announcements during the long run-up to the Pennsylvania primary April 22 to create a sense of momentum. There’s still former Sen. John Edwards out there and, of course, former senator, former vice president and former presidential candidate Al Gore, who’s not always had the closest relationship with his ex-boss’s wife.

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