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 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.

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,, 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 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, which owns,,, and, 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

“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.