Courting Bill Richardson

As the Hispanic-heavy votes in Florida, California, Arizona, and New Mexico approach, Bill Richardson is suddenly the most popular guy around. Apparently he’s been fielding calls from the two leading candidates and their surrogates.

Richardson describes himself as “torn.” On the one hand, he served in the Clinton administration. On the other, Obama once bailed him out during a debate. The Post ’s Jose Antonio Vargas has the hilarious anecdote:  

I had just been asked a question – I don’t remember which one – and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn’t going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, “So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?” But I wasn’t paying any attention! I was about to say, “Could you repeat the question? I wasn’t listening.” But I wasn’t about to say I wasn’t listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, “Katrina. Katrina.” The question was on Katrina! So I said, “On Katrina, my policy …” Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, “Obama, that was good of you to do that.”

Now all Obama needs to whisper is, “Secretary of state. Secretary of state,” and Richardson is his!

UPDATE 11:02 a.m.: Hillary will be announcing a “MAJOR ENDORSEMENT” in a 1 p.m. conference call. Could it be? Stay tuned.