Bill Richardson for President!

By Jack Lorts of Fossil, Oregon. Jack is a retired Fossil School Superintendent, current Chairman of the DPO Rural Caucus, and former Democratic candidate for Oregon's 59th House District.

BillrichardsonOregon progressives are missing something!

I haven't heard more than token or passing interest in the Presidential candidacy of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. I actually heard one of the talking heads on television the other night state that of all the myriad candidates, Richardson certainly comes to the table with the most impressive background.

Richardson served fifteen years in the House of Representatives. He knows the ways of Washington. He has served in Washington during every Presidential administration since Jimmy Carter. He knows where the bodies are buried.

Richardson served, during the Clinton administration, as Secretary of Energy. As such, dealing with Middle East despots was the name of the game; he knows whereof he speaks. Problems of alternative energy development are issues with which he's dealt on a daily basis as Governor of New Mexico. This is the kind of background and preparation our next President needs to bring to the job. (Maybe even better than owning a baseball team or than failing in the oil business!)

Richardson also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton years. This is where he gained the first hand foreign policy experience which has lead him to personally negotiate the release of American soldiers and citizens held hostage by terrorists and rogue governments in such places as Cuba, North Korea, Iraq and Sudan. This is the kind of background that lead him to meet with North Korean officials just last December, participating in the kind of preparatory talks that have lead to the recent success of the six-party talks.

Richardson has served the past four years as the Governor of New Mexico - a state of over 2,000,000 residents. Don't the other candidates wish they could say the same? Don't all of the other candidates wish they could bring this wealth of experience to the job?

As a rural Oregonian, I would love to have a person with Richardson's background and experience working on my behalf, on urban and rural problems alike -- health care, education, jobs and the economy. The voters of New Mexico, a conservative lot who regularly send Pete Domenici back to Washington, just re-elected Richards 70% to 30%. He can work with elected officials of all political stripes.

Richardson would bring extensive foreign policy experience to the Presidency--earned the hard way. Richardson understands energy issues, from the Middle East to the Great Plains. Richardson has worked among the political landmines of Washington extensively, and, as I said, know where the bodies are buried. And Richardson brings the kind of executive experience needed to oversee that bureaucracy to end all bureaucracies.

If the progressives of Oregon fail to realize what they have in Bill Richardson, it is at their own peril. What he offers is what we need in our next President.

Bill Richardson for President!

Comments

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    Yeah, as an urban Oregonian, I'd love to see him get some media attention, too. Not only does he have all those credetnials, but he seems to be a pretty straight talking guy. He evidently hasn't raised enough money to be considered a "serious" candidate by the media, but he should be up there with Hillary, Obama and Edwards.

  • Dale Thompson (unverified)
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    You make a good case for Richardson. The CW is that he will make a great VP candidate. How about Edwards/Richardson? That would make a very long bumper sticker!

  • Charles (unverified)
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    Jack, This is a great piece. As someone who grew up in all corners of Oregon (Medford, Bend, Milwaukie, and Junction City) and moved to New Mexico while in High School. I can tell you that Bill Richardson is the best candidate the Democrats have. He has been an incredible Governor, dragging this state (kicking and screaming sometimes) into the twentieth-first century. If anyone wants to know more go to http://www.richardsonbringshope.com its a website with lots of info on Richardson and his quest for the presidency. It includes the latest news articles about him as well as a multimedia section with videos of his speeches as well as news interviews with him. I highly recommend the 5 part series "High Ambition" from the Albuquerque Tribune that is linked in the News section of the site, this gives the reader a comprehensive overview of his life and career. If you have any questions please contact me at charles(at)richardsonbringshope(dot)com.

  • Levon (unverified)
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    Richardson would make a great choice......for VP. He doesn't have the star power necessary for the modern age.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    Yep, he sure hasn't got Dubya's star power.

    He's my #1 choice....

  • Chris (unverified)
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    I left the Democratic party last summer, but if I could participate in the presidential nomination process for any candidate of any party, I'd vote for Bill Richardson in a fraction of a heartbeat.

    Definitely the right choice, and for so many reasons.

  • Sara (unverified)
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    Bill Richardson gave the most substantive speech at the Winter Meeting (DNC). Of course, depth is part of what bores the general public. Paring it to be absorbed and NOT canned or 'old school' rhetoric hasn't worked for the others - they are stuck in their moulds. Richardson brings a confidence and intelligence to the table that none of the others have. Hillary was a First Lady and is now a Senator, but she hasn't got the mediation skills of Richardson, and she doesn't have the global network (it's barrowed, at best). Richardson is definitely the one to watch!

  • Chad (unverified)
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    I heard something once about Bill Richardson coming close to a sex scandal or something. This might impede him trying to gain support from some people. Not sure of the details on this though.

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    I was quite impressed with him during the DNC National Convention in 2004. He did a great job in keeping you interested as you watched tv. Definitely something you need in this day and age if you want to be president.

    We regularly elect governor as president, since it's an executive position. He's also from the south, which is where we often elect our Democratic presidents. That's important, because the south is a huge part of being elected president. With people in the south more likely to vote for a southerner than a northerner, he has a huge advantage over people like Hillary. He's also likely to grab the Hispanic vote.

    I'd vote for and support Richardson in a heartbeat.

    Richardson/Obama would be an interesting slate.

  • Rick Hickey (unverified)
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    Richardson supports AMNESTY for Illegal Aliens! He declared a State of emergency on the issue and then would not use his Guard on his Border. He allows the issuance of Drivers' License to Illegals. If Illegals could not get a job or benefits they would leave, on their own. Amnesty is a reward for Illegal behaviour and I remind all that the leader of the 1st World Trade Center attack with Bombs in a Van was a person who was given Amnesty in 1986. He just used, as usual, fake ID.

    WORKER RIGHTS-AFFORDABLE HOUSING-WORKER PAY & BENEFITS-HEALTH CARE-EDUCATION-OVER CROWDED PRISONS-CORPORATE GREED- ALL IMPACTED BY ILLEGAL ALIENS

  • Zak J. (unverified)
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    Jack, you are so right! Richardson is one of the few candidates running who can win the general election; and even more important, he's the candidate who will be able to govern--an experienced executive with a long proven track-record and an insider's knowledge of how to get things done. He's been #1 on my list for a long time.

    Rick--how about some citations? Richardson's position has always been much more thoughtful than a blanket amnesty. If anything, as a Mexican-American President Richardson would have the credibility to make tough decisions without the tired canard of racism being thrown in his face. As a governor of a border state, he also knows exactly how much the federal government under Bush has done to address border security: N-A-D-A.

    Want to slow illegal immigration from Mexico? Repeal NAFTA so their economy, especially in the farm sector, can recover.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    Amnesty is a reward for Illegal behaviour and I remind all that the leader of the 1st World Trade Center attack with Bombs in a Van was a person who was given Amnesty in 1986.

    Bombs in a Van. Geez, thought you were referring to the exalted Timothy McVeigh there for a second.

    Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to Vietnam War draft evaders. Yep, illegal behavior. Kindly comment on that, Mr. Hickey.

    Governors and the president explicitly have power to grant pardons, the functional equivalent of amnesty. Is this power never to be used because it "rewards" someone? Please comment, Mr. Hickey.

    As for the claim about Richardson and amnesty for illegal aliens, this is certainly a popular claim in the right wing blogosphere and right wing media. Too bad its truthiness is problematic, as this posting from a legal blog clearly explains. Following is an excerpt from this blog:

    "New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson addressed the issue of immigration reform in a speech hosted by the Institute for International Law and Politics at Georgetown University on Dec. 7. Richardson, a Hispanic who served in the Clinton Administration, suggested four steps toward tackling the immigration issue: securing the border with more Border Patrol officers (and border fences will not work), increased legal immigration, preventing employers from hiring illegal employees, and providing a path to legalization for the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States."

    Also, a press release from Richardson addressing this issue is here.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Bill Richardson has the most impressive credentials of the lot. That said,

    Path to citizenship is otherspeak for amnesty, explain the difference if it pleases you to try. RR's amnesty began the ruination of construction wages, check the dates. That was a minor number compared to today's numbers, just so you have the facts.

    Please explain to me why somebody will step up to pay a fine and back taxes when they can just keep on doing what they're doing? And explain to me if the message sent across our borders isn't "we'll let you stay when the numbers are big enough, so c'mon."

    If you can't manage the Illegal numbers, please explain how you plan to manage illegal hiring?

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    There are plenty who would gladly go through the process to become citizens. They'll no longer have to constantly worry about getting deported. Or having to leave their family behind. Or getting cheated on their wages and receiving no benefits (health insurance, sick days, etc.).

    They can finally have all the things we take for granted, such as the right to vote.

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    Richardson is terrific, but if anyone thinks "star power" is not important, they've not been paying attention to politics for the past, well, 200-plus years. people vote for attractive candidates much more than they do for qualified ones. JFK over Nixon; Reagan over Carter; Bush over Gore/Kerry; there were other issues involved, but these victories owed much to which candidate had more appeal, not more substance. Richardson lacks that kind of appeal right now, in large part because he's a virtual stranger to most of America. i agree with the idea of him as VP; he'd be rock solid, and in 8 years, he'd be in great shape for the top job. let Obama do the recovery job, which after 8 years of Bush will require more leadership of hope than anything else, and then Richardson can build on that with the kind of solid, responsible, and intelligent leadership this country needs to develop.

  • Robert Ted Hinds (unverified)
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    Jack, please familiarize yourself with the work of investigative journalist, Greg Palast, of the BBC, when he looked into the voting machine irregularities of the 2004 election in New Mexico. http://www.gregpalast.com/recipe-for-a-cooked-election/

    I suppose Bill Richardson is terrific if your view of "progressive" politics applies only to white people, but like those who were guilty of "voting while black" in Ohio and Florida, the fine folks in New Mexico who happen to be Native-American or Hispanic often didn't get their vote counted in 2004.

    Palast reported that when confronted with the information, "New Mexico’s Secretary of State, Rebecca Vigil-Giron, seemed curiously uncurious about Hispanic and Native precincts where nearly one in ten voters couldn’t be bothered to choose a president."

    "Vigil-Giron, along with Governor Bill Richardson, not only stopped any attempt at a recount directly following the election, but demanded that all the machines be wiped clean. This not only concealed evidence of potential fraud but destroyed it. In 2006, New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled the Secretary of State’s machine-cleaning job illegal — too late to change the outcome of the election, of course."

    "Governor Richardson, who ducked the issue for three years, and his Secretary of State, once openly hostile to reform, had to relent in the face of the public uprising. In February of 2006, Richardson signed a model law requiring that all voting in the state take place on new paper ballot machines, with verifiable tabulating systems. Richardson now claims the mantle of leader of the voting reform campaign."

    What a guy. His office doesn't belong on Pennsylvania Avenue, it belongs about 15 miles south of Santa Fe in the state penitentiary.

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    In response to Mr. Hinds' allegations: For all I know, he's correct, but I just scrutinized Palast's article (which is not a BBC report, as Hinds seems to be implying) and found this sort of "spun" prose:

    the machine-counted vote said Indians simply couldn’t make up their minds or just plain didn’t care.

    Well, no, I seriously doubt the "machine-counted vote" drew any judgment whatsoever about reasons. Mr. Palast did.

    a few other examples of Palast's spin:

    It wasn’t just Native Americans who couldn’t seem to pick a President. Throughout New Mexico, indecisiveness was pandemic … at least, that is, among people of color. Or so the machines said. Across the state, high-majority Hispanic precincts recorded a 7.1 percent vote for nobody for president.

    the people we met with, including the leaders of the get-out-the-vote operations, knew of no Hispanics who insisted on waiting at the polling station to cast their vote for “nobody for President.”

    Palast wants us to believe that this highly organized fraud, designed to throw New Mexico's presidential vote to George W. Bush, was engineered by Bill Richardson, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    I think experience counts, and Richardson has a lot of it. (I prefer Joe Biden, though). I heard Richardson speak at the YD's convention in '05, and he gave a great stump speech. I'll have to say I was surprised. He has a skilled media consultant in Steve Murphy, who was Gephardt's Iowa manager in '88 and national manager in '04, as well as a consultant to Wu/Hooley and many other nationally. (SOmeone said Murphy managed Kulongoski's '82 race)

    Having said that , BR has some negatives that a second tier candidate like him can't afford to have )or any candidiate for that matter). FOr starters, BR always lookes in dire need of a diet and a haricut and his potential strenghts in person can't overcome that in the media age. He is rumored to have Gary Hart/ Bill CLinton like appetites, and as those two showed us, smoke can turn to fire and consume a candidate (although Clinton survived). A front page story in NM last year focussed on BR having to be told by a number of higher ups to keep his paws off of the NM. female Lt. Gov. Another front page story told of his ordering his driver to drive his Cadellac SUV nealry 100 miles an hour and then not pull over for a state cop, saying Govs. don't have to follow the speed limit. That is reminisent of former Iowa Sen Jepsen saying as a sen., he could drive in the carpool lane by himself (He lost after that came out). Voters are tuned off by that attitude.

    I hate to sound petty and negative toward one of our candidates, but this stuff is all out there and collectivelly could be very damaging to BR's candidacy.

    In terms of public policy, BR seems to have a good record, but I have my doubts when he brags about lowering taxes and improving education, as he did at the YDs convention. Could be true, but my question is, what happened to public safety, public health, transportation, etc... in NM?

  • lin qiao (unverified)
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    Here are some links to articles about the assertions that Richardson has wandering eyes and hands. Draw your own conclusions.

    numero uno,

    numero dos,

    y numero tres

  • Rob H. (unverified)
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    Does anybody have recollection of Richardson's particiapation while Secretary of Energy in the persecution of Wen Ho Lee? As I recall Wen Ho Lee who was a respected nuclear scientist at Los Alamos got trapped in a Republican media tresher because he took secret computer data on disk home to work on it. It was a security issue blown out of all preportion, but Wen Ho Lee was scapegoated and spent a very long period of time in custody without charges, and mostly because his heritage is Chinese. The scientific communitity stood up to refute this persecution, and the breach of due process as applied to Mr. Lee, but Richardson, I believe, catering to the media frenzy just got on the persecutory band wagon. I am impressed with Richardson in many ways, but this recollection leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Does anyone remember this incident?

  • Rob H. (unverified)
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    There is a long article from the Nation on Wen Ho Lee that deals with his being held as a spy in solitary confinement for some 9 months, and the Clinton White House letting it happen so as to not be vulnerable to Republican totally bogus "security Issue" inflamation. It is in this context that Wen Ho Lee's name was leaked to the media, perhaps by Richardson himself. Clinton was in the throes of the Monica flap and couldn't afford more scandal even if trumped up, so Wen Ho Lee got thrown to the wolves. He subsequently received a settlement from the government. If interested in all this as it applies to Richardson as a candidate continue Wikepedia, and the Nation archives have links about this case. An excerpt from The Nation:

    "Lee sat in jail for one reason and one reason only: The Administration wanted to prove to its critics that it was tough on Chinese spying, whether or not that spying existed and whether or not it had anything to do with Wen Ho Lee. In the end, the spy hysteria whipped up by the Cox committee and the Times has taken a terrible toll on the life of one scientist and has cast suspicion over the entire community of Asian-American scientists, many of whom are now boycotting employment in the nuclear weapons labs."

  • (Show?)

    He's also from the south, which is where we often elect our Democratic presidents.

    Jenni, he is not from the South. He's from the West.

    New Mexico may be south of here, but it's no more the "South" in a political sense than San Diego is in the "South."

    Or, as we like to say over at Western Democrat... The West is Not the South.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    For anyone interested in learning more about BR- The Albuquerqe Journal is running an in depth series of articles about his career and prospects for '08- http://www.abqjournal.com/richardson/537188nm02-11-07.htm

  • (Show?)

    People on the west coast may consider it "west," but much of the country sees it as part of the south. Some compromise and call it Southwest. But it wasn't until I moved here that I ever saw it referred to as the west.

    It's still seen in a much different light by the rest of the country than the "west" is. The "west" (Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California, mostly) are seen as quite liberal, out of touch with the rest of the U.S., etc.

    Those that are in the "south" are often seen as a bit more conservative, often times with a larger minority base of Hispanics or African Americans, etc.

    Having lived in Texas, and having had many friends in and from Louisiana and Alabama, I can tell you people there see New Mexico as a fellow southern state.

  • (Show?)

    Having lived in Texas, and having had many friends in and from Louisiana and Alabama, I can tell you people there see New Mexico as a fellow southern state.

    When I think of "The South", I think of the old confederacy, the states that withdrew from the union and fought against the north in the civil war. New Mexico wasn't one of those. I would say that New Mexico isn't any more "southern" than Arizona.

    But if what you say is true about people in the real deep south thinking of New Mexico as a fellow southern state, then I would say a democratic governor from that state would be a dream presidential candidate, with the ability to appeal to southern voters while not alienating northern liberals or left coasters.

  • (Show?)

    Having lived in Texas, and having had many friends in and from Louisiana and Alabama, I can tell you people there see New Mexico as a fellow southern state.

    When I think of "The South", I think of the old confederacy, the states that withdrew from the union and fought against the north in the civil war. New Mexico wasn't one of those. I would say that New Mexico isn't any more "southern" than Arizona.

    But if what you say is true about people in the "real" deep south thinking of New Mexico as a fellow southern state, then I would say a democratic governor from that state would be a dream presidential candidate, with the ability to appeal to southern voters as well as rocky mountain westerners, while not alienating northern liberals or left coasters.

  • (Show?)

    Here are some links to articles about the assertions that Richardson has wandering eyes and hands. Draw your own conclusions.

    numero uno,

    numero dos,

    y numero tres

    I read the articles above. It sounds innocent enough, but the bottom line is that if Richardson was a middle manager in the private sector and did those things, he would be fired. One of his female co-workers would make a complaint, which would lead to his dismissal, regardless of his real intentions. The only reason he gets away with it as much as he does is because he is the governor.

  • (Show?)

    Here are some links to articles about the assertions that Richardson has wandering eyes and hands. Draw your own conclusions.

    numero uno,

    numero dos,

    y numero tres

    I read the articles above. It sounds innocent enough, and it is certainly nothing on the scale of seriousness like Gary Hart or Bill Clinton. Not even as bad as Gov. Schwarzenegger.

    But the bottom line is that if Richardson was a middle manager in the private sector and did those things mentioned in those articles, he would be fired. One of his female co-workers would make a complaint, which would lead to his dismissal, regardless of his real intentions. The only reason he gets away with it as much as he does is because he is the governor.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    Below is in excerpt from the Alb, NM paper last Sun listing BR's strength's/weaknesses:

    What makes Richardson supporters and others think he's a viable candidate? The short answer is that he can appeal to many groups. He neutralizes Republicans to some degree on key issues like tax cuts and gun control, while staying true to basic Democratic values like abortion rights, pro-labor and expanded health care coverage. "While the liberal wing of the Democratic Party should be comfortable with him, he also has very good relations with business and doesn't strike anybody as being a wacko liberal," says John J. Pitney Jr., a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College in California. "By Democratic standards, he's pretty moderate," Pitney adds. "He's able to win a purple state. A purple state is between red and blue." He has other pluses in a run for the presidency:

    <h1>An impressive resume that includes experience in domestic and foreign affairs as a congressman, U.N. ambassador, Clinton Cabinet member and two-term governor.</h1> <h1>A record of success as governor, including tax cuts, balanced budgets and job growth.</h1> <h1>A practical approach to governing, in which the focus is more on solutions to problems than ideology.</h1> <h1>An affable personality that is invaluable in courting voters and the news media.</h1> <h1>Fundraising skills and a Rolodex fat with friends and other contacts across the country.</h1>
    Of course, no candidate comes without minuses. Richardson's include:
    
    <h1>Resume inflation, including claiming that he was drafted to play professional baseball. He later acknowledged that he wasn't drafted.</h1> <h1>A well-rooted and long-established reputation as being not serious— a "frat boy" image, as one network TV host recently called it.</h1> <h1>An appearance that contributors to his gubernatorial campaigns have been rewarded with government contracts and other favors.</h1> <h1>His role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal and security problems at the Department of Energy while he was secretary of that agency.</h1>
  • (Show?)

    The wandering hands crap is just that, crap. There is nothing there. The claims that Richardson is culpable in some nefarious plot to throw the 2004 election to Bush is just plain stupid.

    Richardson is a smart, EXPERIENCED diplomat and leader with real world executive office experience. He has my support and I added him to my ActBlue page and put my money where my mouth is.

  • (Show?)

    bold off.

    Seriously, this is what passes for "inappropriate" or "wandering" hands?

    Anyone who has spent much time with Richardson has probably witnessed his displays of physicality. Surprising a group of teenage girls at an event in Albuquerque last year, for example, he pulled the junior-high stunt of buckling their knees from behind. Approaching a reporter at a bill-signing ceremony, he introduced himself with a head butt. Appearing at a Santa Fe junior high, Richardson grabbed a boy and held him in a headlock. Shipley said Richardson's favored technique with him is to lick his finger and smudge his glasses lens with saliva. "It's almost like a sign of approval," Shipley said. "That things are going well and it's OK." With chief of staff David Contarino, Richardson takes a permanent marker with the cap on and pretends to draw on his aide's white shirt. "This is part of his personality," Contarino said, "part of his way of connecting with the people who work for him
  • John Reinhold (unverified)
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    "Richardson has served the past four years as the Governor of New Mexico - a state of over 2,000,000 residents. Don't the other candidates wish they could say the same?"

    Bill Richardson wishes he could say the same. According to the Census Beureau NM has 1.92 million people (2005 estimate).

    I am an urban Oregonian. I grew up in New Mexico. I served in the Air Force in the deep south.

    I support Bill Richardson.

    New Mexico is not, and never will be considered part of the South. Most or the people in the country forget "New Mexico" is a state.

    New Mexico is a unique place, very hard to characterize in a few paragraphs.

    And "Governor of a state of 2 million" is not that impressive when there are more than 2 million people in each of the nations top 26 metropolitan areas. (Portland is 24th) New Mexico is around 35th ranked for population.

    But I am registered Libertarian - if I could vote for him in the primaries, I would. If he makes it onto the ticket he gets my vote.

  • Grant Schott (unverified)
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    Watching the AFSCME forum last night, I was impressed with Richardson' delivery, including his humor. I admire him greatly for going to Darfur and for raising that issue. Having said that , I think that BR is full of BS when he says we can have universal health care and other programs without raising taxes.

  • Jack Lorts (unverified)
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    The Opening Salvo! Every day that goes by the record of Bill Richardson appears stronger and stronger. The talking heads of televisionland all over the place admit that the qualifications Richardson brings to the table are exactly what we need in a candidate for the presidency (see Chris Matthews' Hardball). The Richardson campaign has no place to go but up! With the Vilsack campaign throwing in the towel today, it is obvious that the supporters for that low key governor from the small Midwestern or Southwestn state is narrowing their focus--it is going to Richardson! The mud just won't stick! This is a good man, a dedicated public servant, a personally charming man to whom the voters of America can relate, a man with impeccable credentials! The Richardson Team is on the move!

  • Joseph Martin (unverified)
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    The CIA pushed Cocaine in the US
    http://www.thelawparty.com/MediaPlayer/911/TruthandLies0f911Part156k.wmv

    The information you just have acquired is shocking and contrary to what we are told by our government. Everything in this e-mail and web-page can be easily verified so don’t just take our word for it. Take the time to verify it for yourself. Our Country’s future is at stake. http://liar-51.tripod.com/index.htm

  • Mr. Unite Us (unverified)
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    Richardson is too soft on the issue of illegal immigration, so is George Bush.

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