If you didn't have an opportunity to watch the first Presidential Forum in the run up to the 2008 Democratic Primary you can now do so. Governor Richardson made a strong impression to many in the audience and was interrupted at least three times by applause.
LoganFerree of Freedom Democrats had this to say about Governor Richardson after the AFSCME Forum:
We certainly agree! Here's the video
Looking at the Democratic field, Richardson is head and shoulders (and knees and toes) above the rest.
Have you signed our latest petition? Governor Richardson sent an email yesterday making it clear where he stands, we must begin direct negotiations and stop the aggression.
Read his email, sign the petition, and tell us what you think
The President's saber-rattling strategy towards Iran needs to stop now. Mr. Bush has no authority to attack Iran and the American people won't stand for another unwarranted and unwanted war. This is a time for alliance-building, direct engagement, and tough face-to-face negotiations—not chest-beating and dangerous brinkmanship.
Today, we need to send a clear message to the White House and Congress: We want diplomacy in Iran, not attacks.
The worst possible mistake for the US and the world would be to take military action in Iran before exhausting all diplomatic avenues. Iran may be moving forward with plans to build nuclear weapons, but they are years away from accomplishing that goal. There is no immediate danger. Yet, rather than engaging the Iranians directly about their nuclear program, Mr. Bush refuses to talk and instead makes threats. He moves ships to the region and claims, without any convincing evidence, that Iran is helping Iraqi insurgents. This is not a strategy for peace, it is a strategy for war—a war which has not been authorized by Congress, and which would be a disaster for the region, for the United States, and for the world.
After three decades in public service, as a Congressman, UN Ambassador, Energy Secretary, Governor and diplomatic envoy, I know what works: tough, credible and direct negotiations with adversaries, backed by strong international alliances. But by alienating our allies, over-extending our military, making idle threats, and antagonizing just about everyone, the Bush administration has undermined our diplomatic leverage.
The recent agreement with North Korea over its nuclear program shows that direct diplomacy can work, even with the most unsavory of regimes. It is unfortunate that it took the Bush administration six years to try diplomacy. Had we engaged the North Koreans earlier, instead of calling them "evil" and talking about "regime change," we might have prevented them from going nuclear in the first place.
Iran's nuclear program may be a threat to peace, but it also is an opportunity to start rebuilding American credibility and leadership, which have been so weakened by six years of incompetence.
Sign the petition now demanding diplomacy, not attacks. This administration's strategy of isolating and provoking Iran must end.
I believe that now is the time to act deliberately and thoughtfully. Now is the time for real diplomacy - not more irresponsible threats and a stubborn refusal to talk.
Yesterday, the LA Times featured Governor Richardson's position and strategy for getting out of Iraq. This is good timing, especially with a new National Intelligence Estimate that paints the war in dire terms.
Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico We cannot solve Iraq's political crisis with military force. We must re-deploy from Iraq over the next year, as we launch a diplomatic offensive to get the Iraqis, their neighbors and international donors to help stabilize the country or bear the terrible costs of failing to do so. As long as our military is bleeding in Iraq, we lack the diplomatic leverage to accomplish this. We need to break this logic by getting our troops out, so that we can negotiate with others from a position of strength.
We must use our redeployment to leverage others to make hard choices and assume responsibilities. The Bush administration still has not learned that power alone is not strength. Military power is a great resource if you know how to use it.
When you military is powerful, you can negotiate from a position of strength. But when you squander your military power, you deprive yourself of diplomatic leverage. This is what has happened in Iraq. We need to break this dynamic. Iraq is also a terrible distraction from the real war against the real terrorists who attacked America on 9-11. Every day that our troops remain stuck in the middle of Iraq's civil war, they also are not available to protect America from Al Qaeda. Every day our army and marines are tied down in Iraq, they are not available for essential tasks such as reinforcing the stretched NATO forces in Afghanistan. Every day our National Guard troops are in Iraq, they are not at home where they are needed for homeland security.
Every week we spend $2 billion in Iraq we don't spend that money to defend our ports, our transportation networks and our cities. A phased re-deployment over the next year will give diplomacy a real chance, and will enable us to redirect our resources to the real war against Jihadist terrorism.
One of the great things that came out of the Guv's speech this weekend was an end to the conventional wisdom that the Guv isn't charismatic. This meme has popped up on various comment threads on diaries and blog posts here and there but as David from the blog the Blue Mass Group puts it:
Surprise! Bill Richardson has charisma
And here's some big news: one of the bits of conventional wisdom on Bill Richardson appears to be wrong. The guy's got plenty of charisma. His speech was funny, charming, plain-spoken, bold, passionate, and had the crowd on its feet cheering numerous times
But don't take his word for it watch the speech and tell us what you think.
The Guv was in El Paso yesterday for one of our first fundraisers and about 100 El Paso supporters turned out to support Governor Richardson last night. The El Paso Times has the story and Sam Legate sums up the Guv's support in El Paso perfectly:
El Paso lawyer Sam Legate, who attended the fund-raiser, listed a number of reasons why he supports Richardson—namely that the governor's charisma and experience are what make him the best candidate in the Democratic field.
"I think historically East Coast candidates have not been very attractive to the nation. People seem to like Midwesterners or Southwesterners because they're more the common people," [...] "El Paso was very generous to the governor because he's very loved here."
We all know that the Guv has not only talked the talk, he's walked the walk and last night Jon Stewart described the Guv...well you'll see.
Hat tip to NM FBI Hop
Gov. Richardson appears on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos today. Here's an excerpt from the interview:
To find out when This Week airs in your area, check your local listings.
"The next president must be able to make us energy independent, must be able to make schools better, create jobs, give the American people, every American, a fair shot," said Richardson. "To get that done, you need real-life experience. All I'm saying is, a lot of these folks can make speeches about all these things. I've actually done it."