Bill Richardson on Principles & Values

Democratic Governor (NM); Secretary of Commerce-Designee


2008: Appointed by Clinton, but endorsed Obama

The former president, red-faced & simmering, sat in the living room venting his frustrations. He was furious with Richardson, the 4th-place finisher, for cutting a backroom deal that had funneled some of his supporters to Obama, after assuring Hillary's campaign that he would make no such pacts. Bill Clinton had appointed Richardson to two high offices during his administration, and now he'd knifed Hillary in the back. I guess Energy Secretary and UN Ambassador weren't enough for him, Clinton huffed.
Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p. 5 , Jan 11, 2010

Withdrew nomination under scandal from $1.5M donations

In 2008, Obama nominated Richardson, saying "Bill showed how government can act as a partner to support our businesses." Those words took on a new meaning a month later when news emerged that one of Richardson's donors--who had won $1.5 million in state contracts--was under criminal investigation.

Richardson was forced to withdraw his nomination, but he still embodies Obamanomics: a politician who increases government influence in the economy with the assistance of Big Business. That his actions and policies would lead to scandal is to be expected--the business-government coziness he and Obama both favor is a breeding ground for corruption.

The root of Richardson's scandal was his much-touted "public-private partnerships," which were pitched as a kind of "third-way" compromise where government calls the play but private industry carries the ball. But putting money and power that close together is asking for trouble. Richardson's record as governor turns up a string of dubious dealings.

Source: Obamanomics, by Timothy P. Carney, p. 26 , Nov 30, 2009

Endorsed Obama despite intense pressure from Bill Clinton

On March 21, Bill Richardson endorsed Obama at a critical time, helping to show that Rev. Wright had not frightened away high-profile Democrats. Given Richardson's ties to the Clintons--he served as UN ambassador and secretary of energy in the Clinton administration--the decision to back Obama was seen as a rejection of Hillary that came despite intensive efforts by both Clintons. Former administration officials also pressured him, saying he owed the Clintons.

In a highly public moment of courtship, Bill Clinton had come to Santa Fe to watch the Super Bowl with Richardson. After the game, Richardson spoke to Hillary by phone. "She said, 'Bill, we need you, I need you to endorse me before Texas. Please consider.'"

When Richardson finally decided to back Obama, he called Hillary. "Hillary said, 'Bill, why, why?' And I said I think there's something special about this guy, something good. And I've gotten to know him and I think he's somebody that comes once in a generation."

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p.204-205 , Aug 4, 2009

Giuliani left Iraq Study Group; uninterested in war deaths

Q: You have openly questioned Giuliani’s experience to be president. You had this to say about Giuliani’s decision to leave the bipartisan Iraq study group, the Baker-Hamilton bipartisan commission. “He didn’t show much interest in a war where young Americans are fighting and dying.” Do you really want to stand by those words about Rudy Giuliani?

A: He didn’t show interest in the Iraq study group, which was about where Americans are fighting and dying. The Iraq study group met without his participation, and he either voluntarily withdrew or was asked to withdraw from the Iraq study group, which was trying to sort out the tremendous challenge we had, particularly at that time, in Iraq because of the failed strategy of Rumsfeld. I admire & respect Rudy Giuliani. This is not a question of personality. It is a question of experience, knowledge, background, and ability to lead. I served on a weapons of mass destruction commission, and I was pretty busy with other things at the time, too.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , Nov 11, 2007

Predicts a win in New Hampshire primary

Q: The latest Wall Street Journal national poll shows you up slightly in the last month, into second place. What’s happened to your campaign in the last month?

A: We’ve been moving up, with obviously a great deal more enthusiasm at town hall meetings. I think there’s a poll out this morning that shows that only 16% of the people in New Hampshire have definitely made up their minds. This thing is wide open. I know from previous campaigns that a lot of people, particularly independents here in New Hampshire, wait. A lot of people haven’t made up their minds. We’re campaigning hard. I’m glad the way that things are going. And I can sense that we’re doing very well here in N.H. We’re on the upswing. And I can tell you right now I will win New Hampshire.

Q: You’re saying flat out you’ll win New Hampshire.

A: I’m saying flat out.

Q: And if you don’t?

A: I will.

Q: But are you saying if you don’t that you’re out of the race?

A: Of course not. I’m just telling you I will.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews , Nov 11, 2007

Well-off childhood in Mexico as son of Citibank executive

While William Blaine Richardson III is of 3/4 Mexican descent, it’s the other 1/4 that gave him his name, and he had a tonier upbringing than any of the other Democratic candidates: a well-off childhood in Mexico City as son of a Citibank executive, and prep school in Massachusetts. None of this reduces his significance as the first Latino presidential candidate, at a time when Latinos, by far the fastest-growing portion of the population, are becoming a force in national elections.
Source: The Contenders, by Laura Flanders, p.185-186 , Nov 11, 2007

Lead by example by climate negotiations with the world

[As one of my goals of my “2020 Vision” energy & climate policy, we should] lead by example. Picture a world united around the concepts of reversing climate change trends and reaching for a safe and secure energy future. In this world the US is no longer the lone ranger. Instead, it leads the world by example--reducing its own voracious demand for oil, sharply cutting back on its greenhouse gas emissions, working closely with allies to implement energy & climate agreements that recognize our national interests and those of other nations. In the process, we will strengthen the economy & rebuild America’s future.
    2020 Vision to Lead by Example
  1. Back to the negotiating table, toward mandatory international emissions limits.
  2. Invigorate and motivate the North American Energy Council.
  3. Work to finance the small incremental cost for developing nations to adopt low-carbon technologies and options.
  4. Work to stabilize the defense of international oil and gas transportation routes.
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.230-234 , Oct 26, 2007

The New Realism: end policy based on unilateralist illusions

I often talk about the New Realism. This administration’s lack of realism has led us to a dangerous place. We need to take a different path, one past on reality, not unilateralist illusions. As a nation, we must understand that the gravest dangers that threaten us today do not threaten only us--and that therefore to pursue our national interest and meet these challenges, we must work with our friends, our enemies, and everyone in between. It will be a path not of hard words, but of hard work, and a path of moral strength, not pious judgments. We will need strong diplomacy, backed up by a strong military and alliances. This is the path of American leadership.
Source: Leading by Example, by Bill Richardson, p.195 , Oct 26, 2007

Would not leave NM governorship to be vice president

Q: What do you say to those people who suggest that this campaign may be about the vice presidency for you?

A: Well, I would say to them that I want to be president. I believe I’m the most qualified because of my ability to bring change and experience. I’ve done a lot of these things that everyone talks about in their 10-point plans. I’m not interested in being vice president. If I’m not selected, I will return to the best job in the world, governor of New Mexico. I’ll start riding my horse again. I’ll have a normal life. I have four years to go. Being a governor, the CEO of a state, is the best job I’ve ever had. So, I would not leave the arena, sadly.

Q: So, you wouldn’t leave the governorship of New Mexico to be vice president on anybody’s ticket?

A: No, no. I’m very happy where I am.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

With me, you get both change AND experience

You know, I think that Senator Obama does represent change. Senator Clinton has experience. Change and experience: With me, you get both. We’re going to need change to become energy independent. We’re going to need experience to deal with foreign leaders, as I have.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

My sense of social justice comes from being a Roman Catholic

Q: Do you believe that, through the power of prayer, disasters like Hurricane Katrina could have been prevented?

A: I pray. I’m a Roman Catholic. My sense of social justice comes from being a Roman Catholic. But, in my judgment, prayer is personal. How I pray and how any American prays, for what reason, is their own decision. And it should be respected. It’s important that we have faith, that we have values, but if I’m president, I’m not going to wear my religion on my sleeve & impose it on anybody.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

Decisive political moment: wife agreeing to marry him

Q: What’s the decisive moment in your life that led you to seek the presidency?

A: The decisive moment in my life was when my wife, Barbara, decided and agreed to marry me, because it was the best decision I ever made and, hopefully, she ever made. We’ve had 35 years of marriage. It has given me strength and has been an anchor in my life. A decisive moment for me to return to public life was 9/11. When it happened, I wanted to get back in public life.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

I have the most experience and I represent change

I want to lead this country because I believe I have the most experience and because I represent change. I also believe I’m electable. Now I notice how a lot of these candidates have talked about all the things that they want to do and where they stand. I want you to look at my record as a governor, as a congressman, and see what I have done. The full range of issues that have been discussed here, I’ve delivered on as a governor. And I would do the same as president. The issue is, how can we bring this country together to achieve the goals of full equality? And the best barometer of that is your record, not your speeches. The best barometer of that is who has delivered, not your 10-point plans. And with that closing, I ask for the support of the many people here that support in this country full equality.
Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate on gay issues , Aug 9, 2007

Running on resume & record, to be president of middle class

Q: Let me show you a commercial your campaign is running:
Man posing as job interviewer: (To Richardson) OK, 14 years in Congress; UN ambassador; secretary of energy; governor of New Mexico; negotiated with dictators in Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Zaire, Nigeria, Yugoslavia, Kenya; got a cease-fire in Darfur; nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times. So what makes you think you can be president?
(End videotape)

Q: You’re running on your resume.

A: I’m running on my record. And the reason for that ad is I’m an insurgent candidate. You’ve got to do things differently. I’m also positive. I’m trying to draw attention not just to my record, but the fact that I can bring people together. The country is bitterly divided. We need to regain our international moral authority. I believe I know how to be a president for the middle class, improve our schools, universal health care. That was what I’m trying to get through in that message.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Offered MLB contract, but mistakenly called that drafted

Q: Your resumes had always said that you were drafted in major league baseball since 1966 by the Kansas City A’s. You now say you were not drafted.

A: At the time, the draft was just starting. I was offered a contract, $25,000, by a Houston Colts scout. So I assumed that I had been drafted. And then when I played in the Cape Cod League as a pitcher, my arm was already starting to go because I’d thrown too many curveballs. I made a mistake. I should have checked. But I was a decent player until I was about 21.

Q: You spent a lot of time in Massachusetts. Are you a Red Sox fan?

Q: I’m a Red Sox fan.

Q: But, now, governor, this is very serious. In your book on page 18 you said “Because of Mickey Mantle, I became a Yankee fan.”

Q: I was asked, “If you weren’t running for president, what would you rather be?” I said I would like to be number seven, Mickey Mantle, playing center field for the New York Yankees. But my favorite team has always been the Red Sox.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series , May 27, 2007

Biggest mistake is impatience, like pushing minimum wage

Q What is the most significant political or professional mistake you have made in the past four years?

A: I’m impatient. I try to change institutions in my state rapidly. I’m too aggressive. One instance: In New Mexico, I desperately wanted a year ago to increase the minimum wage to $7.50. And instead of pursuing diplomacy, for which I’m known for, instead of consultation, I tried to ram it through my legislature. We finally got it done a year later. But I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’m not perfect.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

I can bring people together

I believe that this election should be based on qualifications, on who has the best vision for this country, on who has the clearest position, and on who has the most experience. I’ve been in the arena. I believe I’m the candidate with the most national security and foreign policy experience.

I believe that I’ve been a governor, and I can govern. I can bring people together. I’ve created 80,000 new jobs in New Mexico. I’ve made New Mexico the clean energy state. We’ve cut taxes for every New Mexican, especially New Mexico’s middle class.

What this country needs is somebody that can work across party lines. That can end this war. That can restore America’s credibility internationally. That can make America become energy independent with an Apollo program towards energy independence. That can fight for global climate change. I believe I am the best candidate. I may not be a rock star, I may not have the most money, but I believe I have the best vision, and the best background to be President.

Source: Virtual Town Hall on Iraq, sponsored by MoveOn.org , Apr 10, 2007

Pledges to not engage in negative campaigning on Dems

We’ve been given two minutes to tell you how we’re going to balance the budget, get out of Iraq, give opportunities to every American, strengthen the middle class. I can do it in four words: Elect a Democratic president.

I think it’s really important now that we have a strong nominee. The worst thing we can do is tear each other down. So what I am proposing is that every Democratic candidate sign a pledge that we will not engage in any negative campaigning towards each other.

Source: 2007 AFSCME Democratic primary debate in Carson City Nevada , Feb 21, 2007

Richardson’s Rules for negotiating

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.363-5 , Nov 3, 2005

New Progressivism: combine opportunity with accountability

Our ideas for serving the needs of the people of New Mexico today are coalescing around what we call “New Progressivism.” It has its roots in the core values of the Democratic Party that have always stressed opportunity. Opportunity has always been a cornerstone of any progressive movement; what is new is the accountability that we build into our programs.

What we are proving is that we are pro-people and pro-business and pro-environment at the same time, something that progressives, and Democrats, have traditionally found it difficult to do.

The objective of New Progressivism is to promote opportunity in health care and education and jobs in a fiscally responsible and efficient way to create a stronger community and quality of life. The key points are:

Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.358-359 , Nov 3, 2005

In Guinness Book of World Records for most handshakes

In a political race, I am almost reflexively paranoid. It does not matter what the polls show. You have to work every minute of every day as hard as you can and leave nothing to chance. We raised $7.5 million, and my finance chair said he we took in as much from Republicans as he did from Democrats. Over the course of the campaign, I probably shook a hand for every one of those dollars. In fact, I shattered Theodore Roosevelt’s long-standing record for handshaking and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. On New Year’s Day, 1908, Roosevelt squeezed 8.513 hands; on September 16, 2002, I touched 13,392 in eight hours.
Source: Between Worlds, by Bill Richardson, p.296 , Nov 3, 2005

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