Opinion: Hillary Clinton gives ‘Judas’ Richardson a hug or a shrug

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It was, if memory and The Ticket’s search function serves, back in March that big Bill Richardson, the goateed governor of New Mexico who’d built his impressive resume largely on important assignments for the Clintons, dramatically turned his back on them and endorsed their chief rival, Sen. Barack Obama, for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Former Clinton strategist and outrageous talk-show guest James Carville likened Richardson’s well-timed shift in allegiance to a historic act of betrayal that occurred many, many election cycles ago and helped create Easter. Bill Clinton was reportedly livid over Richardson’s switcheroo.

Well, today on the very same stage in Espanola, New Mexico, there stood the defeated Democratic senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, dutifully campaigning as promised for Obama. And right there too was Richardson.


Clinton said all the right things all right. She smiled. She waved. She thanked her longtime friend Richardson, albeit simply for ‘being here today.’

But some Clinton supporters may detect a different message in the body language of the aborted hug between Richardson, who started to put both his arms around his former friend, and Hillary Clinton who seemed to pull back.

We’re going to call it a pushug, an embrace that looks like a hug for appearance’s sake but carries no intimacy or friendship whatsoever.

You can judge for yourself on this local news video here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo (top): Alex Brandon / Associated Press; screen grab: