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Bingaman won't endorse yet

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By Roger Snodgrass

 Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said he was not ready to endorse either candidate in the Democratic race for president.“They are both friends,” he said of his two colleagues, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. “I have a lot of respect for both of them.”In a visit to the Monitor Wednesday, Bingaman said he had talked to both candidates, but he is still uncommitted.As a superdelegate to the convention, Bingaman said he would make his decision based on “who will make the best president and who has the best chance of being elected, in that order.He said he would make his decision before the convention.On budget prospects for Los Alamos National Laboratory this year, Bingaman said he did not see a different outcome from the appropriations process last year.“I think we are likely to pass a continuing resolution,” he said. “I think we’ll be watching to see what happens in the fall. We’re going to do all we can to keep the train on the tracks.”Bingaman said he saw evidence that LANL is trying to persuade agency’s in Washington to help them broaden their mission beyond nuclear weapons and to focus on some different challenges, like the energy challenge.“They’re working hard at that at this point,” he said. Bingaman said he did not have a prognosis on where the economy is headed at this point.“Some people say it is the beginning of a serious recession and others that it is a blip,” he said, adding that a lot depends on how successfully the Federal Reserve manages the currency.As a member of the Senate Finance Committee that approved the tax rebates many taxpayers will be getting in May, Bingaman said most economists had said it would be the best course to keep the recession shorter and keep it from going deeper.An eight-week session of Congress begins next week. Lasting until Memorial Day, the period is one of the longest, continual periods of work during the year.