To the suggestion that his recent endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination showed personal disloyalty to Sen. Hillary Clinton, Gov. Bill Richardson said that in deciding between love for country and love for the Clintons, he chose his country.
He also criticized the "personal venom" of some Hillary supporters, like James Carville, who criticized Richardson for his announcement of backing Obama, saying they feel a sense of entitlement, "that the presidency is theirs.
"I think loyalty to the nation, loyalty to the party is a lot more important than personal loyalty," Richardson, D-N.M., told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer. "I owe the Clintons a lot. I served in the president's cabinet. That loyalty is to President Clinton. That doesn't mean that I'm going to for the rest of my life be in lockstep with whatever they do."
To underscore his point, Richardson pointed out, "I ran against Senator Clinton. I was a presidential candidate."
With regard to recent suggestions on how to resolve the tight race between Clinton and Obama, a race that may come down to the party's superdelegates choosing a nominee, Richardson said a meeting of superdelegates (who could convene to make their choice known weeks before the August convention) was an "interesting" idea but should not overrule the choice made by voters.
"What you don't want is for the big shots in the party, the superdelegates, to determine the nominee," he said. "It should be voters. It should be delegates chosen according to proportionality.
"But, maybe, what can happen is some of the major party leaders like Governor Dean and Speaker Pelosi, Al Gore, John Edwards … find ways that superdelegates can have discussions, can have some kind of consensus emerging so that we don't have a bloody convention where we're weakened."
Also appearing on the program was Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, D., who said discussions about vice-presidential options for the Democratic ticket were "getting the cart before the horse" before the remaining primaries - including Pennsylvania's - are done.
"Let's try to stay focused on the election at hand," Nutter said.
Read the full "Face the Nation" transcript here.