Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Minute Attacks on Richardson?

Yeah... but really low budget ones.



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Radiation Billness

SFR contributor and blogger Laura Paskus has a critical analysis of Bill Richardson's energy policy, among other things, in this month's issue of The Progressive. It's definitely worth reading, especially if, for a second, you thought that Richardson's policies would stand up to the scrutiny the media aims at first tier candidates.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

¡Yo Quiero Taco Bill!

A version of this story appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter.

By Dave Maass
davem@sfreporter.com

This month, Republican Mike Huckabee pushed into the near-lead slot in Iowa thanks to a roundhouse endorsement from Chuck Norris.

Like Huckabee, Bill Richardson is also an ambitious candidate with gubernatorial experience. Yet, none of his celebrity endorsements—not even Martin “I played a President on TV” Sheen—have budged him from his second-tier status. But maybe Richardson can finally score an “Early Four” state now that Carlos Alazraqui, the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua, is stumping and stand-upping for him in Nevada.

SFR asked Alazraqui, who also plays Deputy James Garcia on the Comedy Central show Reno 911!, how he’s helping the cause:

SFR: How does a Richardson campaign joke go?
CA: I don’t do jokes about his campaign. I talk about what we have in office, about how it’s hard for me to trust a president who I believe has to study from cue cards every morning. [Bush impression]. Workin’ hard. Doin’ a good job. Makin’ progress. Stay the course.

You’re also the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua. That’s an iconic role.
It was at the forefront for three years, from ’97 to 2000. People still remember it nostalgically. It’s very bizarre to be part of the American zeitgeist both as a talking Chihuahua and a racist sheriff.

Do you feel being a celebrity has an impact?
Maybe I’m not as big as Oprah. I mean, I’m a basic cable comedy actor, but, you know, why not? They feel like they know us, so maybe in that sense we have the power at least to get them to go and vote for any of the candidates on either side.

Would you like to see Bill as vice president if he doesn’t win the primary?
Whatever position of the Cabinetry he can get would be fantastic. He brings a lot of experience. Maybe he’s saying that [he wouldn’t accept the post] at this point in time because he’s still in the race. To say that would sort of admit defeat. I think he will accept some sort of position if he’s not elected via the primaries.

Could you endorse Bill with the Chihuahua voice?
Yeah!



Man with a plan :: Cindy Sheehan likes Bill Richardson on Iraq—if only he’d call her.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter.

By Dave Maass
davem@sfreporter.com

In a field of Democratic presidential contenders putting forth vague timelines for troop withdrawal from Iraq, one candidate’s plan sticks out for Cindy Sheehan.

The outspoken and controversial “Gold Star Mom,” whose son, Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq, led the anti-war charge in 2006, only to face disappointment when the new Democratic-controlled Congress failed to pass a veto-proof withdrawal timeline in 2007. Sheehan is now challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

And she’s also identified Gov. Bill Richardson’s promise to withdraw all troops from Iraq within the first three months of his presidential term as “the way to go.”

Sheehan tells SFR she won’t be making an endorsement for the Democratic primaries, and will instead likely back US Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., if she wins the Green Party’s presidential nomination. In the Democratic field, however, Sheehan says she’s leaning toward US Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, even though “Kucinich isn’t as strong on immediate and total withdrawal as Richardson.”

That may only be because Richardson is one of the few Democratic candidates who hasn’t met with her, Sheehan says, and he’s not putting much effort into California.

“People are thinking, ‘Well, any Democrat would be better than George Bush,’ even though Hillary and Obama and Edwards haven’t said they would advocate for an immediate withdrawal of our troops from the Middle East,” Sheehan says. “I think that is very naïve and not very wise. If they really wanted the occupation to end, they would be working for the bottom-tier candidates like Richardson, Kucinich and [Mike] Gravel.”

But national priorities are changing, Cook Political Report’s senior editor, Jennifer Duffy, tells SFR. Health care, the housing crisis and the swinging stock markets are propelling “the economy” into the top concern slot, trumping Iraq, in voters’ minds, Duffy says. Plus, Iraq has quieted down in the last few months.

“I think that people realize you can’t wave a magic wand and end this,” Duffy says. “I also think that the news out of Iraq is not as awful as it was for a time. To me, this whole thing is just encapsulated in an ad that Hillary put up in Iowa yesterday. She goes through all her issues and then goes, ‘Yeah, and we’ll get out of Iraq.’ It’s sort of like a big postscript for her.”

Richardson’s Iraq plan tops his pitch list. Recently, he even launched separate campaign Web sites dedicated to the issue, including GetOurTroopsOut.com and 2013isTooLate.com, a poke at Clinton and Obama’s refusal to promise an end to the occupation by the end of the first presidential term.

Richardson’s position has yet to propel him above fourth place in the polls, and Duffy suggests that if Richardson did move up in the polls, his Iraq policy wouldn’t withstand scrutiny.

In fact, in his 2005 memoir, Between Worlds, Richardson admits to getting both the first and second Iraq wars wrong.

Regarding the second war, Richardson takes a position nearly identical to John Edwards.’

“Had I known then what I know now, I would not have supported the president’s decision to go to war,” Richardson writes.

While perhaps this doesn’t count as a flip-flop (maybe just a “flip,” Duffy says), Richardson’s reversal does further obfuscate the options anti-war voters will have to choose from.

“I think it’s extremely muddied as far as the candidates and their views on the war, and definitely between what they say and how they vote,” Toby Hartbargar, Iraq Veterans for Peace member and administrative employee, tells SFR. “I’m extremely pessimistic about the outcome of the election. Whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican, either way, looking at the frontrunners right now, it’s fairly depressing.”

However unlikely, a Sheehan endorsement may clear it up a bit, Duffy says, but perhaps not in a way that would help Richardson.

“I think [Sheehan] suffers from a little overexposure,” Duffy says. “I don’t think that her endorsement would carry enormous weight, but it would come with all the negatives. If somebody was on the fence between Richardson and, say, Clinton, it could push them one way or another. She’s just a become a very polarizing figure.”

Monday, December 10, 2007

Two kids in a dorm room

The brand new video blog, The Richardson Campus , from two Stanford students (a freshman and a masters candidate), dissects Bill's Sudan policy.



The kid with the fluffy hair really ought to read more SFR.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bill’s ABCs

A version of this article appeared in this week's Santa Fe Reporter.

By David Alire Garcia

As he struggles to claw his way up from a distant fourth place among likely Iowa caucus-goers, Gov. Bill Richardson has a new TV ad airing in the Hawkeye state. It aims to teach viewers some basic math: Richardson + the Oval Office = pure educational bliss.

The ad rehashes some of the same footage from Richardson ads that ran in New Mexico during the guv’s ’06 re-election romp, while an authority-soaked male voice-over reviews the guv’s ’08 education promises: Scrap the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act; set a national minimum teacher wage; universal pre-K and new math and science academies across the country.

Entitled “Bold Plan,” the ad ends with this line: “See what he did for New Mexico schools. He can do that for America.”

A Richardson-affiliated Web site dedicated to the guv’s record on education—www.risingschools.com—ticks off all the noteworthy things he’s done for the state’s schools. The bullet points run the gamut from boosting teacher salaries to increasing accountability to removing junk food from school campuses.

A campaign statement accompanying the release of the ad notes that “New Mexico ranked second in the country in education reform by the Fordham Foundation.”

A trip to the Thomas B Fordham Foundation Web site confirms the 2nd place ranking on reform, but the Richardson campaign left out a couple of other findings. The same study concludes that the state ranks 32nd for student achievement and has made only “minimal progress” for poor and minority students.

Scott Darnell, communications director for the Republican Party of New Mexico, piles on predictably—but accurately—with the following additions: Only 58 percent of the state’s public schools made adequate yearly progress under NCLB, and Richardson’s own Public Education Department reports a decline in the number of schools that met student academic performance standards from 2005 to 2006.

“If Richardson plans to do for the nation what he has done for education in New Mexico, we can expect nothing more than more of the same,” Darnell says. “The New Mexico education system should not be held up as the ideal standard.”

Monday, December 3, 2007

First Name Recognition

Today Arianna Huffington's blog sports this headline:

Will Hill Kill Bill for Lying About Iraq?

Since we playfully refer to the Governor by his first name, that's who I initially thought she was talking about, especially since Richardson's Iraq exit strategy's been taking a lot of heat for being a bit on the impractical side.

Turns out, though, that Arianna's talking about Hill's husband for claiming he'd always been against the war, even though his record indicates otherwise.

I can't help but wonder if Bill's fourth-place polling is any kind of reflection of the fact that he's not the most prominent "Bill" touring the campaign circuit. Maybe he should change his name to Guillermo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

There's Something About Bill: Political Canvases

A version of this story appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter.

There's Something About Bill: Political Canvases
NM artists brush up on Bill’s campaign.
By Dave Maass



Question: Can 65 local artists be wrong about Bill?

Answer: Not if they haven’t really made a decision yet.

Bill’s campaign is throwing an art show on Nov. 29 at the Hilton Santa Fe, called—for lack of a better name—“The Great Art Event.” Tickets are $250 for two, and approximately 100 patrons will be guaranteed a random piece of art donated by 65 local artists. The gala will likely be a who’s who of the local art scene, including First Lady Barbara Richardson, who will be on hand to dole out the prizes personally.

Calculated out, the event should raise at least $12,500 for Bill’s campaign. That really isn’t a whole lot, considering that, with the $2,300 maximum contribution limit, he could raise just as much chatting up half a dozen wealthy retirees.

In the end, it looks as if it’s the art patrons who will be coming out on top. At $125 a pop, they’ll be getting a steal depending on whose art they win. For example, photographer Cathy Maier Callanan estimates her three donated works—including a portrait of the late local eccentric and artist Tommy Macione—are worth approximately $1,000 on the open art market.

For the artists, donating work seems to be less an endorsement and more a thank you to the Richardsons, particularly Barbara, for supporting the arts. Michael Namingha, for example, who’s donating a 9-by-11 inkjet print of his word-art, says he hasn’t picked a candidate yet. However, Richardson is a friend of his father’s, Dan Namingha, who also is contributing art to the cause.

Perhaps, pro-Bill artists aren’t unlike other pro-Bill fence sitters: They tend to like Bill, but they’re not willing to commit to him unless he can prove he’s a viable candidate. Considering that Bill’s narrowed the gap between himself and John Edwards in New Hampshire to within a point, that may not be too far off.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Criticism for Bill

The opposing perspective on Richardson's LV debate performance:


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Praise for Bill

Here's an interesting take on why Richardson is making a difference in the presidential race even if he isn't leading the pack quite yet. It's a column by Ruben Navarrette Jr. that praises Big Bill for showing a little political courage during the Nov. 15 Las Vegas CNN debate. Combined with fellow Washington Post Writers Group columnist David Broder's (mostly) kind words about Big Bill offering substance over slogans - during the same debate - at least our home state guv is still turning some influential heads.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stuck in Iowa

The Washington Post and ABC News published a poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers today and the results are nothing short of dismal for our home state guv. Overall Richardson is mired in 4th place in just about every category, and even the spinnable silver linings can easily be spun right back to argue that Richardson is hurting big time with only seven weeks to go.

The poll will probably be best remembered for revealing that Barack Obama has edged past Hillary Clinton in the minds of the voters who will set the tone for the remainder of the Democratic contest. But for La Politica junkies here in NM (as blogger Joe Monahan fondly refers to us)_it just might also mark Richardson’s sinking prospects to be prez.

The Post-ABC News poll pegs Richardson’s support at 11 percent, virtually unchanged since July despite lots of TV ads and plenty of visits to the Hawkeye state. He needs to double his support if he hopes to exceed expectations and scoot past John Edwards.. and give his campaign any semblance of a “win” in Iowa.

Big Bill is locked in 4th place as the voters’ preferred 2nd choice (which is very important given the way the Iowa caucus is organized), and he’s also 4th best as the candidate who… “best understands the problems of people like you,” is “most honest and trustworthy,” has the “best chance of getting elected,” and can handle the economy, health care, social security, Iraq and Iran.

And on most of these questions the guv is a distant 4th.

On the bright side, Richardson scored an impressive sounding 1st place showing among Dems who say that immigration is their most important issue. Sadly for Bill, only 2 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers say immigration is the most important issue.

According to the poll, Richardson is actually tied for 2nd place (behind Clinton) with 16 percent of Dems saying he has the “best experience” to be president. That also sounds good until you see that despite that glittering resume we’ve all heard so much about, he’s tied with none other than one-term former Sen. Edwards.

Maybe worst of all, only 2 percent of those hyper engaged Iowa Dems say Richardson has campaigned the hardest in Iowa. So contrary to his reputation in these parts, apparently our guy is lazy too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another Nom.


Oh my. I'm so surprised. Bill's been nominated again for the Nobel Peace Prize. From AP:

Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee said he has sent a nomination packet to the Nobel Committee in honor of Richardson's diplomatic efforts with countries such as Sudan and North Korea.

"He's well-deserving," said Gordon, who got to know Richardson when they served in Congress together. "It's just a continuation of his willingness to continue to go around the world, whether it's a matter of hostages or other tense situations, and work with all parties."


Before you get all braggy about our governor, read David Alire Garcia's investigation into Bill's previous nominations.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

There's Something About Bill :: Richie Rich

A version of this story appeared in this week's Santa Fe Reporter.

SFR's Tips for Cashing in On Bill
By Dave Maass
davem@sfreporter.com

n a market economy, it’s said, consumers vote with their dollars. Since 2000, that concept has become a literal political phenomenon at Intrade.com’s “prediction market.” The Dublin-based Web site allows politicos to put their money where their savvy is through a stock-market-style gambling system.

Intrade.com users choose from a list of possible political events that will have a definitive yes-no outcome, such as Hillary Clinton winning the 2008 general election. Intrade.com uses the term “contract,” but for all practical purposes, Web site subscribers are trading stock in the outcome.

And like the stock market, demand raises a contract’s value, while liquidation sends it slumping. Contract values are measured in points, each worth 10 cents.

Here are SFR’s tips for banking on Richardson:

Bill to win the Democratic nomination
Bill’s chances of winning are at an ultralow at 0.8 points. He’s in fifth place behind Hillary Clinton (70.5), Barack Obama (14.4), Al Gore (6.7) and John Edwards (5.2). In fact, investors predict there’s a doubly better chance that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will join the race and win the Republican nomination. Yet, Bill is playing to win in the early primary states and running a strong ad campaign. Bill’s a long shot, but the cheap contracts could turn a huge profit if Bill makes last minute gains.

Bill to be tapped for the vice presidential nomination

Bill’s still in the top tier of potential vice presidential candidates with a contract rated at 16 points and rising—perhaps in reaction to Bill’s defense of Hillary during the last debate. Bill’s contract is tied with that of US Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who, as Hillary’s national committee co-chairman, is widely speculated to be her first pick. Barack is currently the best rated at 21.5 points. However, as a byproduct of the widening Hillary-Barack rift, Bill’s contracts could rise slightly in value.

Bill to drop out by Dec. 31, 2007
General speculation that Bill would make a run for the seat of US Sen. Pete Domenici, R-NM, has the governor currently ranked the fourth best bet in both parties for bowing out. But since US Rep. Tom Udall, D-NM, has announced his Senate candidacy, SFR predicts that Bill’s even less likely to make the switch. Instead, SFR recommends investing immediately in “Democrat to win the NM Senate,” currently trading at 44 points.

Bill to win NM Presidential Primary
While this contract isn’t available yet, Intrade
.com spokesman John Delaney says it will soon be offered on the site. SFR’s recommendation: Buy fast, buy in bulk and sell when it tops 90.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What the?


Bill's got a new website. That's in addition to his gubernatorial site, his campaign site, and his Get Our Troops Out site-- Oh wait. GetourTroopsOut.com now forwards to his new site, 2013istoolate.com.

That's really too bad. Get Our Troops Out was a neat site with a positive message about Richardson's plan. The new one is just a pot shot at Obama and Hillary. Howevs, the prediction of cost, casualties and deaths is pretty cool and well cited.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I see London, I see France ...

Blogger Chuck Offenburger of Offenburger.com has some, er, interesting commentary on Bill's appearance this Sunday at the Greene County Courthouse in Iowa:

He gave a tremendous 45-minute speech, but the more he started lifting his arms, putting his hands behind his head and sticking his hands in his jeans’ front pockets, well, those of us on the east side of the front few rows couldn’t help but notice that the zipper on the fly of those jeans was creeping downward.

My wife Carla Offenburger, who is very good at spotting flaws in men, if you know what I mean, turned to me and whispered, “I think you should be telling him that he needs to zip up his pants!” I had a two-word answer: “Not me.”

Richardson started taking questions from the audience, became even more animated and soon that zipper had slipped down a good four or five inches. Then we could see white underpants – thank God.



And that's only the beginning ... read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

There's Something About Bill: Grin & Bear It

A version of this story appeared in the Santa Fe Reporter.

There's Something About Bill: Grin & Bear It Can Richardson bite back at Colbert?
By Dave Maass
davem@sfreporter.com

With a tip of the hat, a wag of the finger, satirist Stephen Colbert threw his, er, tie into the South Carolina presidential primary. You could almost hear the sighs from the Federal Election Commission attorneys dreading the possibility of a televised McCain-Feingold Act prosecution. The Colbert Report host isshooting for slots on both the Democratic and Republican primary ballots, and he’s already climbing in the polls.

He’s jumped from 0 percent to 2.3 percent, according to a national poll of 1,000 voters conducted last week by Public Opinion Strategies. This means Colbert has edged out Bill Richardson by 0.2 percent.

Unlike presidential candidates Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul, Bill has yet to submit to a Colbert interview (though he did plug his book once on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart). When Huckabee appeared, he begged Colbert to join him as a running mate.

“This is nothing more than a gimmick for Stephen Colbert to sell his book, and the media is playing right along,” Richardson spokesman Tom Reynolds told the Albuquerque Journal. “We enjoy his show—but this is a serious election with serious consequences—and we are not going to comment on this ridiculous exercise.”

That’s pretty weak. SFR has a suggestion. If Bill wants to chase Colbert out of the race, he needs to remember one word:

Bears.

Brown bears, black bears, grizzly bears: Colbert fears them. Most weeks, bears top his Threatdown list. That’s how Bill can bite back. After all, he’s known for his bear hugs and he manages a state where, this year alone, one bear wandered into hospital in Rio Rancho and another bit a 13-year-old at Sugarite Canyon State Park.

Here’s the truthiness on Bill’s bear record:

• Bill officially declared this year’s Super Bowl Sunday, “Brian Urlacher Day,” in honor of the Farmington-born linebacker for the Chicago Bears.

• In March 2007, the “Out in Hollywood” blogger for the Los Angeles Daily News referred to Bill as “a big bear of a man.” Even his initials invoke the name of the beast.

• Bill’s CafePress store sells little white teddy bears wearing red ribbons and three different Richardson slogans for $14.45.

• Bill’s campaign contributors include employees of “Big Bear Construction,” “Bears Bilingual Mobile Services,” and investing giant “Bear Stearns,” for whom he delivered an energy speech in March.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Peace Prize Envy

This was a political cartoon waiting to happen:



Now read David Alire Garcia's research on Bill's "nominations."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just a couple decent links

Nothing to thoughtful this Sunday morning. I could blog on Richardson's semi-promise to look into the Roswell UFO crashes, but it's already been blogged to death.

Instead, I'll provide you with two of SFR's secret links:

1) Conservative strategist Patrick Ruffini's Richardson wire.

2) Time magazine's ranking of presidential candidate gaffes. Richardson actually does pretty well in contrast to the Republicans.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

There's Something About Bill :: Political Animals

A version of this piece appeared in this week's Santa Fe Reporter.

If dogs could vote, they might pick Bill.
By Dave Maass
davem@sfreporter.com

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost the dog-lover vote back in June, when The Boston Globe reported that he’d once tied his dog’s kennel to the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour cross-country trip. The Irish setter reportedly wet itself on the journey.

Creatures can’t vote and, as nonprofit organizations, neither People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals nor Animal Protection of New Mexico may endorse a presidential candidate. However, the Humane Society Legislative Fund can, and so far, they’re pleased with Bill.

“We don’t expect orthodoxy and we don’t expect people to be aligned with us in every aspect
,” the Fund’s president, Michael Markarian, says. "But we do look at the signals, what people have done with public policy and in their personal lives to help tell the story about their commitment to animal welfare. "

Here are the highlights of Bill’s animal rights narrative:

February 2005: Bill signs an executive order creating a Rodeo Council, citing the sport’s economic impact and “deep culture roots.” The next year, Bill approves $250,000 in rodeo facility improvements and $300,000 in scholarships to attract rodeo students to New Mexico colleges.

September 2005: Bill downs an oryx (see photo, right) with a single shot from 100 yards at Ted Turner’s ranch, according to a June 2007 Washington Post article. Bill has the antelope head mounted on a wall at the governor’s mansion beside a pair of elk horns and a stuffed wild turkey. Bill tells the Post he prefers shooting doves.

December 2006: Bill releases a $3.6 million “Animal Protection Plan,” a 10-point agenda including a $150,000 allocation to create an Animal Welfare Oversight Board and $2 million to improve animal shelters.


March 2007: Bill pushes to ban cockfighting in New Mexico. The Legislature passes it during the 2007 session, and Bill signs it into law. It’s a bit late: State Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, D-Doña Ana, had been introducing ban bills for 18 years, and New Mexico is the 49th state to pass the prohibition.

July 2007: Animal Protection of New Mexico honors Bill with its Executive Director’s Milagro Award for government-level animal advocacy.

October 2007: Bill declares Oct. 15-19 “Wolf Awareness Week.” In a press release, Bill says he believes, “as keystone predators, wolves play a critical role in maintaining balanced ecosystems.” The Center for Biological Diversity wags its tail.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lucky Bill

Rather than post a link to any number of stories laughing at Bill for getting beat by Stephen Colbert in the South Carolina polls, I'll balance out Julia's last post with this:



This is Rebecca Lavoie. She blogs at Grassroots & Granite, which is based out of the Merrimack Restaurant, an iconic political trough in New Hampshire. In a recent post, Lavoie admits, to her own full-blushed horror, that she had unintentionally hit on Bill during a seven-minute interview.

She writes: "Yup, with a few inappropriate words, I’ve turned the smartest guy in politics in to a guy that sounds like he’s giving the not-so-cute girl at a bar the brush off."

Read the rest here.


poor Bill

The Houston Press offers up its take on what automobile is each presidential candidate. Bill is depicted (it's a slideshow) in some kind of glass helicopter, and the HP notes: Bill Richardson: Who? Oh, yeah. The guy who’s not named Clinton, Obama or Edwards. Sometimes we even wonder if he’s there. And don’t get us started on how you use the bathroom in that thing.
Ouch.

Monday, October 22, 2007

From guffaws to tears

OK, so Bill's made a huge 180 degree turn in his campaign commercial style. You gotta give him credit: he's had the best television spots of the campaign so far. And the latest one turns the wind-taking "I approved this message" disclosure on its head.

Compare the "job interviews" (top) to his latest ad:





Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bill :: Easiest to stomach?

Happy Saturday to Bill! A poll released by Zogby International today shows that our Governor is the least universally detested of all the presidential candidates from both parties.

The question posed to 9,718 likely voters was, "Whom would you NEVER vote for for President of the U.S.?" Bill's at the very bottom, with only 34 percent saying they'd never vote for him.




With the exception of Hillary, all the Democratic first and second tier candidates made it to the bottom half of the spectrum. You'll notice, though, that Mike Huckabee is just one percentage point away from Richardson in undetestability.

Now, that would be an interesting general election, indeed. And we might see it happen, in a matter of sorts: both candidates highly favored on their respective parties' potential running-mate list.

View to a Kill

All of Bill Richardson's efforts to reach out to women (no pun intended...well, maybe a little bit) apparently paid off with some significant name-dropping earlier this week. No, I'm not talking about the Women for Richardson movement, nor the campaign's "strong presence" (according to BR4P HQ) at the DNC Women's Leadership Forum in DC this week. I'm talking about The View, ABC's popular midday cluckfest.

According to a reliable source (okay, my wife) Big Bill received a largely favorable response from the gals when his name came up on the show. That is, if the former host of Hollywood Squares (Whoopi) saying something like "he seems like an honest man" can be considered a favorable response. And while Richardson took a little hot-flashing heat for his fumbled choice-or-genetics response to the origins of homosexuality, the loquacious ladies ultimately gave Bill a thumb's up for admitting/correcting his error. Now the BR4P campaign can only hope that Rachael Ray does a show on green chile and sopapillas.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Anticlimactic Bill headline of the week.

Here is today's Sioux City Journal headline:

Richardson has plan to find bin Laden


Ohhhkay? Let's have it. Carpet bomb Kumrat Valley? Assassinate a fake Osama so he'll come out of hiding? Send grenade-strapped badgers into every cave in Tora Bora? What's this great plan to find the world's best hidden terrorist?

"I will build an international coalition to find bin Laden, to eradicate al Qaeda."

You know what that sounds like? This:




If we get all the people of the world together, we should be able to find him, right? I mean, it's a small world, after all...

4:30pm Update :: Hold the phone! I found lil' Osama, thanks to the help of a small-world coalition!



Thursday, October 18, 2007

bill's bucks

The New Mex, via AP, recently reported on Bill's campaign contributions from state employees. You can look at a whole lot of other info about Bill's bucks courtesy Open Secrets' campaign contributions information. Also fun to do a donor search.

And be sure to check out Salon's roundup of "All the Candidates' Books", which looks at, yes, all the books written by presidential candidates. (Kind of makes the aspiration to write a book seem less, um, aspirant).

They take an early look at Big Bill's next release, Leading by Example (due out Oct. 26) and conclude: "In short, the perfect candidate is back on paper, but perhaps that's where he belongs." Ouch.

Bill Flintstone?

The political animators at Step On Me '08 this weekend aimed their MS Paint (or whatever low-budj software they use) at Gov. Bill Richardson's campaign. It's a cheap shot, focusing solely on his Spaceport program with Richard Branson. It's awfully unfunny, but it's good to see someone other than Stephen Colbert going to the effort of satire these days. That said, the voice impression is pretty good - somewhere between Bill and Michael Moore.




You can vote on which easier targer Step On Me should parody next: Rudy, Mitt or Fred.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Very Odd Appointment

Bill Richardson has appointed Charles W. Daniels, a criminal defense attorney, to fill the late Pam Minzer's seat on the NM Supreme Court. As SFR reported before, Daniels was one of two Supreme Court candidates who had donated the maximum to Bill's presidential campaign. The other was Appellate Court Judge Michael E. Vigil. The difference between the two? For one: Daniels is a loyal, contributing Democrat (as is his wife Randi McGinn, who also gave $2300 to Bill's campaign, before giving $2300 to John Edwards). Meanwhile, Vigil's a loyal, contributing Republican.

For two, Vigil has a drunk-driving record. Daniels has a great ol' white beard.

But there's something else strange about the appointment. Bill's notoriously pro-death penalty, and Charles is notoriously anti-death penalty.

Of course, if you ask Bill, the appointment had nothing to do with money, but instead ...

“Charles Daniels exemplifies the qualities necessary to serve on New Mexico’s highest court...I am confident that Charles Daniels’ leadership, work ethic and impeccable integrity will be a tremendous asset to the state Supreme Court...I chose Charles Daniels for the Supreme Court given his keen intellect, outstanding reputation and unwavering commitment to uphold the rule of law."

Um...is it just me, or could the same generic statement be made for any of the other candidates?

bill's ad spending

Here's more on Bill's advertising spree via the Journal via some other site, because I can't find it on the Journal's site. —JG

iowa teevee

KSFR reported this morning that Richardson has spent more money on television commercials in Iowa than Barak Obama and John Edwards combined or Hillary Clinton. Obviously name recognition plays a big part in this, the other three candidates all over the news with free press constantly and Richardson pushed to the side with the other lower tier candidates.

Though this article from the Washington Post (from back in April) doesn't address the amount spent it, does highlight the content of the ads, namely Richardson's history and record as Governor and his ideas about the Iraq war. It's nice to see Bill looking forward rather than, as he did at the beginning of his campaign, focus on his resumé at the Federal level. He's done a great job of getting that info out there, as can be seen in an editorial from New Hampshire's Concord Monitor, where his experience is the reason for endorsement.

Unfortunately the KSFR story was just a snippet and didn't offer any real numbers, just a vague comparison.

Where's Richardson on Sudan Divestment?

In this week's Reporter, I take a look at Darfur-linked investments made by New Mexico's Public Employees Retirement Association. All in all, PERA has invested more than $28 million in seven companies identified as "highest offenders" by the Sudan Divestment Task Force.

Unfortunately, according to PERA, they can't divest without a change in legislation. And the legislature can't deal with the issue unless Governor Richardson adds it to the 2008 legislative agenda. However, we haven't been able to get a clear response from his office, even though we've been calling for weeks.

"It’s simply too early to say what will be on the agenda for the next legislative session,” is all Deputy Communications Director Allan Oliver would tell us.

That's not to say Bill hasn't expressed any interest in Sudan. He did personally negotiate a cease fire (which abruptly fell apart). He also made this statement back in April:

"Time is running out for the people of Darfur. The people there cannot wait much longer, for waiting means more death, more broken families, more children without a future. This is a defining moment for the United States. We have an opportunity to lead the world in taking action to end the killing in Darfur and we must not blow it."

If time is running out, how can it be "too early?" Bill also outlined a six-point strategy for handling the Darfur crisis:

  1. First, America must make peace in Darfur a much higher priority. I agree with Save Darfur--we need full-time, high-level US diplomacy dedicated to ending this crisis.
  2. Second, America must engage Sudan's economic and political partners--China Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Arab League to build a multilateral coalition with real leverage. That could begin by endorsing the Arab League's commitments on Darfur--to aid the African Union's mission, to fund development in Darfur, and to support the UN hybrid force in Sudan.
  3. Third, we should deploy a UN peacekeeping force to eastern Chad to prevent a regionalization of the conflict. America should join other wealthy countries to fund refugee camps in neighboring countries and assure that those weak states bend to accommodate, but do not break from the pressure.
  4. Fourth, we should use our full diplomatic weaponry --offering incentives for compliance and threatening multilateral sanctions for resistance to both the Government of Sudan and the various rebel groups.
  5. Fifth, we must develop agreed upon negotiating positions among the rebel factions, to assure that any common resolution won't be quickly undone by one dissatisfied rebel group.
  6. Last, America should join the International Criminal Court.

Point Two is the most relevant here. Many of the "highest offenders" and most powerful in Sudan are corporations fully or majority owned by the Chinese government. It stands to reason that Richardson would pressure China to use its business in Sudan to influence the Sudanese government in Khartoum. Twenty states in the US have already implemented divestment schemes to exert this kind of pressure.

In essence, here's how state divestment schemes typically work. First, states identify companies they invest in who do business in Sudan. Then they send them all letters asking the companies to clarify their involvement and detail any humanitarian efforts they make in the African nation. If the companies don't respond, or if their responses are inadequate, the state then sends them another letter threatening divestment. If the companies still refuse to respond, then the state makes moves to divest -- and only if divestment wouldn't affect their fund by more than 5 percent.

Congress has also made moves to divest the US Treasury from these oil and gas companies, and President George W. Bush has signed an executive order barring US companies from involving themselves in oil and gas interests in Sudan.

In addition, the Sudan Divestment Task Force has also sent all the presidential candidates letters asking them to screen their own investments for Sudan involvement. So far, candidates from both parties, including Barack Obama and Sam Brownback, have divested. Bill acknowledged he received the letter, but has yet to respond whether he'll do the same. Again, we've called his campaign office several times over several weeks and received no real response.

In case you want to screen your own holdings, the Task Force has a handy tool for looking at your mutual funds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Outta Sight/Mind

Wait a second...was Bill wearing a leopard-print dashiki and humming "99 Luftballons" in that candlelit Indian hut? Because I had the SAME DREAM.

Okay, not really. But that's about the only place I would have come across El Gobernador these days. Out here in Cali, it has became glaringly apparent that Richardson's battle for name recognition hasn't gained much traction. These days, in these parts, he's still lanquishing behind Brian Urlacher and Kid Nation when it comes to readily identifiable New Mexico exports.

In fact, I'm hearing a lot more about the Republican law firm of Guiliani, Romney and Thompson than any of the Dems, save Hillary. The Whale's Vagina leans conservative and the folks around my 'hood are strictly Clinton or Obamaphiles, but few people seem to know much, if anything, about Big Bill. While that "official" announcement a few months back in LA served its purpose of giving Richardson a national stage to launch his campaign, it doesn't seem to have resonated with voters here.

Granted, Iowa is still three months away. But it's also three months away and Richardson has to make considerable national headway between now and Super Tuesday to even be considered a viable running mate. But, if nothing else, maybe all those "Job Interview" events will give him a leg up for a position running a grain elevator in Dubuque if the whole president/VP/senator/SOS thing doesn't pan out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bill visited me in my sleep last night

Yes, he did, and it was weird. I shit you not. It occurred at about 5:30a.m. this morning. My dog woke me up as she scrambled over to water dish. I pulled the covers over my head, rolled over and drifted back off.

In the dream that followed, I was in my room in my parents' house, visiting for Thanksgiving. I got up, went to the bathroom, came back and there he was, sitting at the end of my bed, next to a dim lamp.

He told me three things:

1) "I'm not sure where I'll be next year, but I have five options," he said and lifted those chubby little fingers to count them off. "President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Senator, or Governor."

2)"I'm going to be endorsed by the mining association."

3) And then he whisked me off to a small candlelit hut in India, where he told an old couple that their son will be given $78 a week, and that will ensure he goes to school and grows up to be a computer scientist.

And then he was gone and I was back in my parents' house. The dream faded into the newsroom, where I was telling Julia, my editor, about my dream and how I wanted to blog it. She glared at me coolly and suggested I do some research, because journalists don't write pieces based on vision quests.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bill 'n' Olbermann

Last night on Countdown:




I really wish Keith had hit him harder.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bill pisses off Michigan

Thanks to Stateline.org for pointing our N.M.-related news from out of state.

Bill has pissed of Michigan, not just because he withdrew his name from their primary ballot.

According to Detroit Free Press, Bill "Long Shot" Richardson had told a Nevada newspaper: "I want a national water policy...We need a dialogue between states to deal with issues like water conservation, water reuse technology, water delivery and water production. States like Wisconsin are awash in water."

Even though Bill specifically named Wisconsin, it was Michigan environmentalists and Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm who lept to the defense of the Great Lakes.

"It's ridiculous to say that," Hugh McDiarmid, spokesman for the Michigan Environmental Council told DFP. "Until the compact is passed, our water protections are hanging on by a thread."

Apparently, Bill's people wouldn't defend his statement. Tom Reynolds, his spokesman, "did not respond to an inquiry about the governor's comments." Sound familiar?

Is it just me...

...or do Richardson's repetitive denials that he'll run for the Senate sound an awful lot like Larry Craig's repetitive denials that he's not gay?

Just a thought...consider this an open thread for discussion.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There's Something About Bill: Trivial Pursuits

A version of this piece appeared in this week's Santa Fe Reporter.

There's Something About Bill: Trivial Pursuit
So you think you know Richardson?
By Dave Maass

1. What action did Bill Richardson take this month?

a. Called a moratorium on executions until the US Supreme Court rules on lethal injection
b. Approved his Ethics Task Force’s report and recommendations
c. Appointed an NM Supreme Court justice to fill the late Pamela Minzner’s seat
d. Wrote to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to oppose a copper smelt in El Paso

2. How many days in September was Richardson fund-raising in New Mexico?

a. 1
b. 2
c. 5
d. 8

3. How much did Richardson report his presidential campaign collected in the third quarter?

a. $3.7 million
b. $5.2 million
c. $7.8 million
d. $11.1 million

4. Who was Richardson referring to when he explained, “How the Grinch stole children’s healthcare”?

a. US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt
b. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
c. House Republican Leader John Boehner
d. President George W Bush

5. In the event that Richardson wins the presidency and Lt. Gov. Diane Denish wins

a. Senate seat, who becomes governor?
a. Attorney General Gary King
b. Speaker of the House Ben Lujan
c. Secretary of State Mary Herrera
d. Senate President Pro Tempore Michael Sanchez

6. What lapel pin did Richardson tell CNN he wears?

a. MIA/POW logo.
b. Star-shaped American flag
c. The New Mexico Zia symbol
d. Democratic Party Donkey

ANSWERS ARE UNDER "COMMENTS"



Your ranking:
6 correct = Who are you, his press secretary?
4-5 correct = Oh my, you are indeed Bill-informed.
2-3 correct = Meh, you’re about average.
0-1 correct = Please don’t vote without reading our election guide first.




Sunday, October 7, 2007

Bill Richardson: "Very Little Air"



Googling around, SFR found this astrological chart for Bill at Astrodatabank.com. We're not really sure what all the colorful criss-crossies mean, or how accurate it all is, but we find it fascinating nonetheless that the astrologer concluded:

"Richardson’s planets and points are mainly in fire and water signs, with no earth except his north node and very little air. In addition, all his planets except for Uranus are above the horizon...

"...Many born in late-1946 and 1947 share a Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Leo. In Richardson’s case, however, that powerful conjunction includes Mars and the 7th house trio is in a tight square to his Sun, Midheaven and South Node."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

There's Something About Bill: Lo-Tech Special

A version of this article appears in this week's SFR.

Rating His Debating :: The Lo-Tech Version
(using a voice recorder set next to the tv, and camera phone pointed at the screen)
By Dave Maass

There’s a great line from a second season episode of the latest Doctor Who: Following an Earth-invasion attempt, the prime minister laser-beams a retreating alien ship. Appalled, the Doctor states he can bring her down with six words, which he whispers into her assistant’s ear: “Don’t you think she looks tired?” It works.


Not to sabotage Bill’s campaign, but doesn’t he look, sound, act tired? There was the gay-is-a-choice gaffe (excuse: jet lag). He confused SEIU with AFSCME while courting the labor vote. Finally, his performance during the Sept. 26 MSNBC debate was flat and meandering.

Being inarticulate isn’t necessarily a disqualifier, at least among Republicans, who s
eem to identify with bumbling orators. We wonder whether Slate.com’s editors will endorse Bill, if only to adapt their Bushisms feature to Billisms.

Speaking of Slate, surely some portion of 1.4 million viewers had to agree with Brit contributor Christopher Hitchens’ observation that the Dem candidates have lost their luster (except maybe Hillary, with her increasingly charming self-deprecation and the implication that she, not her husband, wears the pants).

While Bill’s unique as the only non-Congressperson, he dropped the ball when moderator Tim Russert pointed out that managing New Mexico is hardly comparable to, say, California or Texas. Sure, Bill also stood out by claiming he’d bring the troops home lickety-split. Obama, Clinton and Edwards would not commit, but their rebuttals painted Bill’s exit strategy (take ’em through Kuwait, Turkey; leave light equipment behind) as impractical poll-pandering.



Bill even had an alienating Axis-of-Evil moment, bragging about his diplomacy with the “bad guys.”



Then there was the audience question on immigration: Would Bill allow sanctuary cities to continue? He’s based in Santa Fe, a notable sanctuary city, and he should’ve unloaded specific examples about how tolerance has benefited the community. Instead, he played the Hispanic card.




The biggest hit was Russert’s condescension of Bill’s social security plan. Postulating a $300 million deficit, Russert teased, “It’s not funny money. It’s real money.”



According to Chris Dodd’s talk clock, Bill racked up almost 12 minutes of airtime. Fourth place, again. No matter how many bones he’s thrown, Bill will never lead the pack until he shakes himself awake and plays alpha dog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Richardson's NM Supreme Court Nominees Are Big Contributors

On Monday, New Mexico's Judicial Nominating Commission held public job interviews for 15 candidates hoping to fill the New Mexico Supreme Court opening formerly occupied by Justice Pamela Minzer, who died last month. Among those 15 nominees, three had contributed the maximum allowable amount under McCain-Feingold ($2,300) to Bill Richardson's presidential campaign. And of those three, two made the cut:

Charles W. Daniels - a criminal defense attorney with Freedman Boyd Daniels Hollander & Goldberg. According to his online bio, he's appeared in every single issue of "Best Lawyers in America" over more than 20 years. Daniels is a loyal Democrat who's contributed thousands to Tom Udall, the Democratic Party of NM, John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He made his donation to Bill's campaign on February 15, 2007--in our minds, a belated a Valentine's Day gift.

Judge Michael E. Vigil - Described by Legalnewsline.com as, "the best-qualified appellate candidate." A Santa Fe-native, Vigil was appointed by Richardson to his current seat in 2003, but his past is dotted with drunk driving offenses from the 80s, which, according to the New Mexican, he begged the Commission to ignore. Although Vigil's contribution to Bill's campaign predates Daniels' by two weeks, Vigil is, for the most part, a Republican funder, listed by the FEC as slipping big bucks to Sen. Pete Domenici, Rep. Heather Wilson and George W. Bush.

While we can only speculate whether the contributions will affect Richardson's appointment decision, it should also be noted that another finalist, Maureen A. Sanders, also contributed $500 on February 15 to Bill's presidential campaign. Two other contributors didn't make the cut, Thomas L. Dunigan ($2300) and Norman F. Weiss ($500).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Getting Better

NM Gov. Bill Richardson sat down for about 20 minutes on PBS yesterday… in one of his better interview performances of the campaign so far.

Looking dapper, his hair neatly combed and styled, the often frumpy guv was anything but as he fielded a wide array of questions from Ray Suarez, even managing to crack a couple jokes along the way.

About the Iraq war, Richardson touted his plan to withdraw completely from the country, leave no residual forces behind and focus on political negotiations. “My position is the war can only end, peace come to Iraq with a compromise… There’s no military solution, but I think there’s a political solution, but the window is ending..

Pushing back, Suarez asked: “You can’t see any role for American arms in that part of the world?” Richardson: “I just believe this war is detracting from the real threats of this country,” he said, pointing to Iran, North Korea, the broader Middle East.

On how the would-be first Mexican American prez would deal with Mexico and the immigration issue, Richardson gave his most thorough answer of the interview.

“The first thing you do is have a foreign policy discussion with the president of Mexico,” Richardson began, emphasizing that the US has to be tough with Mexico. He offered this respectful, but frank advice to Mexican President Felipe Calderon: “Mr President, you got to do something to give jobs to your people, to reduce poverty there, at the very least stop handing out maps on the easiest place to cross.”

Richardson called for a stronger border security, development of higher tech detection methods at border, but no wall. In his best line of the night, he added: “If you build a wall that is 12 feet tall, a lot of 13 foot ladders are going to happen.”

More on immigration: “There’s got to be a legalization program. What’s the alternative? Round everyone up and deport them? That’s not going to happen. Or the current status, which is leave the problem and not deal with it. I think that’s not acceptable.”

In a revealing bit of Richardson’s biography, Suarez asked the guv if not living full-time in the US until he was in the 8th grade “gives you an insight into this that other candidates don’t have?” Richardson answered by touting his bilingualism, biculturalism, his emphasis on “respecting other points of view” and resolving problems through negotiation and diplomacy.

He also plugged an unusual promise if he actually wins the nomination:

“If I’m the nominee, I’ll name my cabinet before the election. So that the American people know what team it is. I’ll have independents, I’ll have Republicans in my cabinet,” he said.

Maybe remembering he’s still in the heat of the DEMOCRATIC nominating contest, he added this with a crooked smile: “I won’t overdo the Republicans.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The BIG Issue

Forgive the nearly unforgivable pun ... Today, Bill chewed the fat with health advocates at the Obesity Society's Public Policy Conference. According to his most recent press release, his promise went like this:

"As a country, we need to have a long-term vision based on education and prevention, not just treatment. As President, fighting obesity will be one of my top priorities."

The obvious question that pops onto SFR's tongue is, has the aspiring executive officer made his own weight a priority? How is he coping with all the steak-fries and pork barbecues and fair food (see campaign Flickr image, left)? We did some a-googlin', and sure enough, back in February, Bill told the Albuquerque Trib:

"This has been a problem for me. I've been on every diet. I've been on every possible effort to lose weight. And I finally have lost weight, but I haven't finished losing weight. I want to lose more.

"Then, the key is, can I stay this way? And that is still the verdict that has not been decided."

That's some candor for you. So how come Bill's spokesperson Tom Reynolds gave us the rude-around when we tried to get the specifics on Bill's diet and exercise regiment the day before the talk? About all he'd say is that Bill's lost 30 pounds since he announced his candidacy, and he's currently on a "strict diet and a vigorous workout routine."

Listen for yourself:




Here's some of the transcript:

SFR: And as far as his diet goes, is he dealing with a nutritionist or a dietician or is it just sort of common sense?
TR: Most of it is common sense. He watches what he eats and he exercises regularly, which is what we're trying to promote for the rest of the country.
So he doesn't subscribe to any of the diets, like the Atkins Diets or any of the other sort of ...
I don't want to get into the specific details about that stuff.
I think that's important though. If he's talking about prescribing diet plans to schools--
Do you want me to answer or no? He's eating more healthy. He watches what he eats and he exercises regularly.
That's pretty vague though. Can you define what 'healthy' is? Can you define 'watching what he eats'?
Do you want me to send you a list of the week of what he eats?
Do you have that?
No! That's getting a little ridiculous.
It's not getting ridiculous. You're being very vague, and I'm trying to specify. Because if you're talking about watching what he eats, is he watching that and comparing that to specific guidelines that have been set up by a doctor or physician or dietician? Watching what he eats, is he looking at his plate and going "Oh there's food on that plate, I'm gonna eat it,"? What is he watching and how is he comparing?
Steve, I gotta go into a meeting, I thought I've been kinda helpful for you.
You've been very vague. Is there someone else I can call? You're saying he's eating "healthy" and you're not defining what eating healthy means and without that, that's just words.
Less fried foods, more fruits and vegetables, portions that are responsible. We're talking about a lot of big issues. You want me to start counting calories.
Well, is he counting calories? That's the question.
He certainly keeps track of what he eats, yeah. I wouldn't say on a calorie-by-calorie basis. We're running for president here. We have bigger issues we're worrying about like the Iraq War and health care.
But he is speaking tomorrow on this issue.
Exactly, because we think its important because we're putting our motto into action.
But, he doesn't feel it's important enough....
Hey, Steve, I'll see if I can get any more details.
I appreciate it.
Thanks.

For the record, the interviewer's name is Dave, and Reynolds never got back to him.

There's Something About Bill

A version of this article appears in this week's SFR.

Cell & Tell: On the Road for Richardson.

When Nevada moved its caucus to Jan. 19, smack between Iowa and New Hampshire, Senator Harry Reid, D-NV, claimed it would “diversify the nominating process” by allowing a Western state to give their candidate an early boost.

However, without the party’s permission, Florida and Michigan also moved their election dates to January. This left Nevada, in the rare poetry of the Associated Press, feeling like the “presidential primary’s awkward stepchild,” with some candidates minimizing their presence in the Silver State.

But not Bill. The Reno Gazette-Journal’s August poll showed that although Bill’s in fourth (behind Clinton, Obama, and Edwards), his support has quintupled to 11 percent since March. While Bill spent this past weekend in Iowa, three vans of faithful gubernatorial constituents journeyed to Nevada.

SFR played Wile E. Coyote with the “Richardson Roadrunners” via mobile phone.

Friday, Sept. 14
2:10 pm, Gallup, NM: “Adopt-a-State” Director Michelle Frost answers her phone while driving, which would be illegal if it were an official state vehicle. She hands the phone to volunteer Don Ortiz, who reports they’re picking up their final three roadrunners.

3:30 pm, Flagstaff, Ariz.: The 30-odd-person convoy stops at Sizzler. Albuquerque volunteer Frank Rosetti reports most choose the salad bar.

7:15 pm, Laughlin, Nev.: They avoid the oft-congested Hoover Dam. Ortiz brags that Frost convinced the Sizzler staff to pick Bill in Arizona’s Feb. 5 primary.

Saturday, Sept. 15
Noon, Las Vegas, Nev.: Rosetti reports he’s learned through neighborhood canvassing that few Nevada Democrats have picked a candidate. The only problem: Even fewer are aware their primary is now in January.

6:30 pm, Las Vegas, Nev.: Rosetti estimates he’s contacted about 40 people, leading him to conclude, “Hillary hasn’t locked up anything.” Meanwhile, Dixie Trebbe from Rio Rancho is phone-banking. She says she spoke to 53 people personally, and only five were actively supporting a candidate, usually Obama or Clinton.

Sunday, Sept. 16
11 am, Las Vegas, Nev.: Richardson’s Nevada communications director preemptively strikes, asking SFR not to call anyone until after 3 pm.

5:30 pm, The Road: After invading a Mexican Independence Day celebration, the weary roadrunners journey home. Rosetti predicts Richardson will “run strong” in Nevada, either winning or taking second place. “It depends on Hillary’s money,” he says, adding that Richardson has some cool new baseball cards.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Slippy McTonguers

About a week ago, Air America hosts were RFLAO-ing about Dubya's latest public-spekaing gaffe. While speaking in Australia, the President confused APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) with OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), and then iced that foot-cake by talking about "Austrian" troops in Iraq. Here's the YouTube evidence:




Yeah, har-har-har ... OPEC-APEC, Austria-Australia ... What a moron and all that.

Unfortunately, it seems Bill one upped the president at yesterday's Service Employees International Union Conference. From "Hubris" co-author David Corn's Blog:

"... As I listened, I wondered why he has not been taken more seriously as a candidate--a smart, accomplished governor of Latino heritage. Then I found out.

"At the end of his speech--after noting all the ways he would defend the Constitution and redress global warming--he waved farewell to the crowd and shouted, 'Thank you, AFSCME!'

"AFSCME? Wrong union, governor. He left and the audience repeatedly shouted, 'S-E-I-U!' A polite reminder."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Unhappy looking camper

Richardson's winning smile doesn't get any love on Slate's Presidential Mashup. Hillary Clinton's big smiling mug stands out on the graphic as the biggest and whitest, while Obama and Edwards, just a little smaller, bookend the former first lady. But what's going on with Bill? He's down there on the bottom of the floating head pyramid with a look of confused anger.

But onto the transcript. There some interesting tidbits here, including Bill's answer to an answer about troop withdraw from Iraq that acknowledges "the other three candidates" but no one else. It's an interesting move for Richardson to put himself with the front runners and ignore the abundance of second tier candidates. It's bold, though a little cocky, but in the end it seems smart to ignore the huge field and for Richardson to compare himself, similarities and differences, to the candidates most people are talking about.

Again Richardson denies any interest in becoming the VP, but without any solid reasons. Sure New Mexico is great and there's probably not a ton of time for the VP to ride his horse but the answer still seems canned and the Gov. refuses to say what about the vice presidency doesn't appeal to him. Nor really why the presidency does.

The best bit, and most fitting for the article at hand, comes from a response to Bill Maher's question about Richardson's faith in voters.
"The national media, for example, in Washington and New York that likes to tell the American people who's going to win, what the polls are saying. I feel that the American voter is substantially well-informed, and it's up to politicians and political leaders and parties to stimulate greater voter turnout, and that means talking honestly about issues."
Hopefully Bill's tiny, grouchy face, and Hillary's big, sparkling one won't sway too many voters out of Richardson's camp, but at least he knows that the problem exists, and that we are paying attention to it.

There's Something About Bill

A version of this article appears in this week's SFR.
Don't Know Cybersquat: Introducing the masters of Bill’s domain.

Three and three-quarter years ago, a Tennessee small-business owner built a Web site for his construction company. He registered the domain, Clintonrichardson.com, and thought nothing of it. That’s his given name, after all, and the name of his company.

His company operates exclusively in Memphis and only builds two or three $100 to $200,000 homes each year. The Web site’s not exactly Chocolate Rain. But six months ago, Clint’s hit counter started acting up. It was nothing server shaking but, in his words, “clicking pretty good.”

Then, a little more than a month ago, he received a call from Washington, DC, asking about the availability of the domain. Then another. A third call came from somewhere in Texas. It seems that Web investors are beginning to take a Hillary Clinton-Bill Richardson ticket seriously, and in a few months good ol’ Clint may have a good ol’ bidding war on his hands.

“They’re just talking. I think they want to hold on for some indication of what the ticket is going to be,” Clint tells SFR. “It’s a Web site that serves my construction company. But if the price is right, I’m certainly willing to consider selling it.”

Fittingly, as a homebuilder specializing in energy-efficient, environmentally conscious housing, Clint says he’s likely to support a Democratic candidate.

“I’m watching closely, and [Clinton-Richardson] is a ticket I’d actually support,” he says.

Clint isn’t the only one sitting on Richardson-related electronic property. Brian Wolk, a lawyer in Plantation, Fla., bought the domain Edwardsrichardson.com in July 2007. He’s not talking about his motivation yet and, as a lawyer, that’s smart; publicly stating your profit-mindedness is the big trigger that sets off the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.

Sponsored by US Sen. Trent Lott in 1999 (back when the minority whip from Mississippi, was the majority leader), the Act was designed to prevent the hoarding and ransoming of domain names. However, it hasn’t stopped the so-far anonymous company behind Politics2008.com, which owns Obamarichardson.com, Richardson2008.com, Richardson2012.com, and Richardson2016.com.

Richardson2020.com, though, is registered to an optometric physician named Todd Richardson from Vancouver, Wash.

But if Bill’s planning on a run in 13 years, he can rest assured that, according to his Web site, Dr. Richardson accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Technorati Profile

Richardson, the energy candidate

This interview with Richardson on energy issues is interesting, albeit a little soft. As a companion piece, also be sure to check out our piece from June, if you missed it.

Richardson, the libertarian

or so argues this piece from Reason, with a dissenting view from former Gov. Gary Johnson (the most libertarian politican ever in NM, possibly anywhere). The piece also notes Richardson's savvy at hiring so many journalists so as to deteeth the state press corps.

Something About Bill

A version of this article appears in this week's SFR.
Hearing Voices
Loose talk from and about Big Bill on the campaign trail.

By Nathan Dinsdale

“It’s not going to work. If you’re going to build a 10-foot-wall, know what’s going to come next? An 11-foot ladder.” – Gov. Bill Richardson, talking to voters in Dover, New Hampshire about building a border security wall on Sept. 2, as quoted by Fosters.com.

“I brought the Red Sox some good luck.” – Richardson, as quoted in the Sept. 3 edition of The Citizen of Laconia (New Hampshire) newspaper, joking about his appearance at a Sept. 1 Boston Red Sox game in which rookie pitcher Clay Buchholz threw the first Red Sox no-hitter in five years.

“You want to arrest somebody? Arrest me.” – Richardson, condemning federal authorities for arresting a terminally-ill cancer patient in New Mexico for possessing medical marijuana, in a speech at a backyard campaign event in Plymouth, New Hampshire on Sept. 2 (as quoted by The Citizen).

“He did not answer my question,” – Plymouth resident Fran Taylor, reacting to Richardson’s response to her question about what the governor would do to help Iraqis who’ve aided American efforts in Iraq but have been denied entrance to the US, in the Sept. 3 edition of The Citizen of Laconia. Richardson instead reportedly gave a lengthy oration on establishing a peace accord in the region.

“Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary. And I want you to know who was the first candidate to sign a pledge not to campaign anywhere if they got ahead of Iowa. It was Bill Richardson.” – Bill Richardson, as quoted in a Sept. 4 story in the Des Moines Register, talking to a crowd at the Northwest Iowa Labor Council picnic.

“That was a little weird. I don’t know what God had to do with choosing Iowa among other states. I found that a little strange.” – Sioux City resident Joe Shufro, reacting to Richardson’s picnic speech, in the Sept. 4 Des Moines Register.

“This process is completely out of control and only an agreement by the candidates can restore sanity…Anarchy in the nominating process does nothing to further the cause of changing America.” – Richardson, in an Aug. 31 statement announcing that he would be the first of the Democratic presidential candidates to sign a “Four-State Pledge” to not campaign in any state that schedules it’s primary or caucus ahead of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

“I don’t see how anybody who believes he or she should be president of the United States of America could get tricked into signing a pact to ignore tens of millions of diverse Americans by a selfish, four-state alliance of party insiders.” – Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman, responding to the “Four-State Pledge” signed by Richardson, in a Sept. 1 story in the Miami Herald.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Richardson pledges domestic partnerships for '08 session

By David Alire Garcia

At an Aug. 30 Santa Fe fundraiser for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign, organized and attended mostly by the state’s gay elite, Richardson poked some fun at himself.
Recalling the political hornets nest he stirred up at a gay-themed Democratic candidate debate earlier this month, at which he called homosexuality a personal preference (“It’s a choice,” he infamously said), Richardson owned up to the gaffe in the first few lines of his remarks.
“I want to start out by saying I’m sorry,” he told the gathering at a ritzy Las Campanas home. “Is there any press here,” he then asked with a big grin on his face. “Can I go off the record with one word?” Hearing no objection, the governor added: “I fucked up.”
The forgiving and slightly inebriated crowd instantly erupted in laughter.
Later on, Richardson promised to put domestic partnership legislation on his official call for the coming January 30-day legislative session in addition to major health care reform.
“The governor is the only person that can add to the agenda,” he said. “If I don’t do anything, it will only be the budget. But I want to tell you here that we have some unfinished business and it’s called domestic partnerships.”
He noted that advocates will need to gain one vote in the state Senate—“or two just for insurance.”
Richardson added, “If we can pass this law, this is going to be historic. Remember we are in a red state,” he said. “I know I’m in a sea of progressives, but I want you to know you are vastly outnumbered,” Richardson said to more laughter. “And if you don’t believe me go to Clovis or go to Alamogordo.”
Members of the fundraiser host committee estimated that as much as $100,000 was raised during the evening.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

kind words for bill

I'm pretty sure the Republican mentioned in this very flattering column about Richardson is David Pfeffer...who else could it be?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bill who?

Poor Bill. An entire article devoted to questioning whether knowledge of foreign policy is necessary for a presidential candidate and not even one mention of Richardson. Although Santa Fe gets a little shout out (sort of).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bill's Gay Gaffe

Choice Words
By Nate Dinsdale

Published: August 15, 2007


Do you think homosexuality is a choice, or is it biological?-Melissa Etheridge to Gov. Bill Richardson at the Aug. 9 "Visible Vote '08" presidential forum focused on LGBT issues.

"It's a choice. -Bill Richardson, responding to Etheridge.

"Presidential candidate Bill Richardson, plung[ed] last night's Democratic gay and lesbian forum deep into Ricky Gervais-style awkwardness. For someone who brags about his experience, Richardson keeps acting like he's not ready for prime time.-Michael Crowley on The New Republic's "The Plank" blog, Aug. 10.
"Throughout his 15 minutes on camera, Richardson tried again and again to return the conversation to his very strong record of actual achievements in gay rights, but the "˜choice' and "˜maricon' gaffes only underline how easily he and voters have been distracted from his impressive resume"”on this and so many other issues. It's the central conundrum of his candidacy.- Chris Crain on his "Citizen Crain" blog, Aug. 10.
"I just simply made a mistake. I misunderstood the question"¦I thought it was a tricky science question, where you put politics into science. I think the word Melissa used was "˜biological'. Since I use "˜choice' so much, I'm so committed to choice"”a woman's right to choose"”I thought that was the appropriate answer"¦Also, I had flown all night from New Hampshire. I was a little tired, but there's no excuse. I made a mistake. I think my record stands for itself.- Bill Richardson, in an interview with Queerty.com, Aug. 10.
"I regret Gov. Richardson's mis-statement"”as I sometimes regret one or two of my own"”but his error in the pressure of a debate should not detract from his very strong record in defense of equality for all Americans, including those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender."- Openly gay US Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, in an Aug. 13 statement.
"[Richardson's] rationale and his initial answer are inexcusable. To gays and lesbians, flubbing the choice vs. nature question is like botching the answer to "˜What's one plus one?' Note to Richardson's current and former gay staffers and supporters: Do an intervention"”and get him an Ambien"”before he implodes again.- Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post column, Aug. 13.


Here's some funny Comedy Central video on that forum.