Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan has never been shy about bucking his Republican Party. And Wednesday he did it again by endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Riordan said the Illinois senator was by far the best choice for the White House and the only one with the intellect to shepherd the country through troubled economic times. “He’s extremely bright and energetic, and he’s a guy who gets things done,” said Riordan, who was a successful venture capitalist before he was elected mayor in 1993, serving two terms.
Riordan criticized GOP presidential nominee John McCain’s past support for financial deregulation, saying it helped trigger the mortgage crisis and subsequent economic downturn. “There’s nothing in his background that shows he’s a person who can understand these complicated economic issues, or shows that he is entrepreneurial enough to bring about change.”
It’s not the first time Riordan has backed a Democrat; he endorsed Antonio Villaraigosa for mayor in 2001 and 2005. While he was mayor, Riordan enjoyed a tight political allegiance with President Clinton, though he said he never officially endorsed him.
“I’m still a Republican, but I still will always vote for the person who I think will do the best job,” Riordan said.
Currently a lecturer at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, Riordan has never been fully embraced by his party’s right wing in California. In his bid for governor in 2002, he lost the Republican primary to conservative businessman Bill Simon, who failed to unseat Democratic incumbent Gray Davis in the general election.
-- Phil Willon