Sources Say

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign for president got a big boost when one of his former opponents, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, endorsed the Illinois Democrat at a Memorial Coliseum rally on Friday.

Speaking to reporters afterward, Richardson said it was not easy breaking the news to longtime friend Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., whose husband appointed him as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and then secretary of energy.

Responding to a question about how he broke the news to Clinton, Richardson said he had called her the night before, adding, 'I've had better conversations with the senator.'

Richardson also ridiculed the Democratic National Committee's decision to create so many - 800 - superdelegates, even though he is one himself.

'Just 'cause they're a fat-cat contributor or a congressman or senator means you're a superdelegate? No, I think the voter should decide in the primaries. Individual voters and delegates, that's where the nomination should come from,' he said.

Don't read his lips: Adams still wants street tax

City Commissioner Sam Adams seemed to hedge on whether he would ask the City Council to refer his controversial street maintenance fee to the November ballot during Thursday's mayoral debate with Sho Dozono.

Asked about his plans for fixing streets, Adams spoke glowingly about the $422 million package he has crafted, but then said it 'hopefully' would be offered to voters at the general election.

Afterward, Adams told Sources Say not to read anything into that apparent waffling, promising that he still was working to refer the plan to voters in November.

'Yes, I'm still working to raise taxes while running for mayor,' Adams said.

Measures might really get out the vote

Tim Nashif, who led Oregon's 2004 ballot measure campaign that banned gay marriage, said trying to boost voter turnout was not a factor in the national wave of like-minded ballot measures among states that year.

But one of the Republican lawmakers now trying to get two anti-gay rights measures on Oregon's November ballot won't make such claims.

'I think it might help with voter turnout,' said state Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, co-sponsor of an initiative aimed at overturning the 2007 domestic partnership law. 'I do see it as a way to motivate voters in the general.'

Girod's co-sponsor is Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford. State Sen. Gary George, R-Newberg, and Rep. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, are sponsoring the companion initiative aimed at overturning the 2007 law banning discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.

Another backer is former Sen. Marylin Shannon, a Republican from Brooks.

Could it be the five GOP leaders are worried that the turnout in November will tilt leftward, because more liberals appear excited about the presidential race than conservatives?

- Tribune staff

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