Richardson to Endorse Obama Today

ABC News can confirm that former presidential candidate, Bill Richardson is set to endorse Sen. Barack Obama Friday.

According to Obama campaign aides, Richardson will appear at Obama’s 9:30 am Pacific-time rally at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon.

Noting he was "deeply honored" by Richardson's support Obama said in a released statement, "Whether it's fighting to end the Iraq war or stop the genocide in Darfur or prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, Gov. Richardson has been a powerful voice on issues of global security, peace and justice, earning five Nobel Peace Prize nominations."

Richardson’s endorsement of Obama over Senator Hillary Clinton is seen as a blow to the Clinton campaign who have a long relationship with the governor.  Richardson was Ambassador to the UN under the Clinton administration, and remained friendly with the former President afterward.

Both presidential candidates have courted Richardson’s endorsement actively since the governor bowed out of the race on January 10th after a poor showing in the Iowa caucus.  Obama’s Communications Director Robert Gibbs said Obama regularly talked with Richardson on the phone, usually once a week.

In the days leading up to the March 4th primaries Richardson hinted that an endorsement may be coming soon.

Richardson told CBS on March 2nd that, "Whoever has the most delegates after Tuesday should be the nominee."

But after big wins from Clinton in Ohio and Texas leaving no definitive nominee, talk of an impending Richardson endorsement died down, as the race between the candidates heated up once again.

While visiting Richardson’s state in early February, Obama told reporters that then he wasn’t preparing for an endorsement then. "We have no plans of receiving an endorsement, but I would love to be pleasantly surprised. I’ve had many conversations with Governor Richardson and I’m sure the Clinton campaign has. He is obviously a tremendously important leader in the country. He ran a terrific race this presidential season and I think would make an enormous contribution to any candidate who he chose to support," Richardson said at th time.

Richardson’s endorsement makes the third former presidential candidate to endorse Barack Obama, following an early endorsement by Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and a February 26th endorsement by Senator Chris Dodd.

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