Monday, January 29, 2007

Q & A with Bill Richardson

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Q+A: Bill Richardson

Candidate for '08 stays true to Western roots

By Michael J. Mishak
Las Vegas Sun

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson swung through Nevada over the weekend for the first time since declaring his intentions to run for president.
One of eight Democrats in a diverse field, he was the first to hire staff in the state and, as an underdog, he wants to capitalize on a natural edge he may have because he is the sole Westerner in the race.
In a 30-minute interview with the Sun, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations showed himself to be one part diplomat, one part cowboy - and maybe one part colorful linguist, though that part was mostly off the record.
"The environment, nuclear waste, alternative energy, property rights and water. I'm pro-gun. I understand Western values. Rugged individualism is important. The West, for example, is not waiting on Washington to act on clean energy. In New Mexico 10 percent of our electricity has to be renewable, and we've got plans to double that."

Sun: Some say the Nevada caucus is your only chance to swing into the top tier of presidential candidates, and if you lose here you're out of the race. What do you say?

Richardson: I know I'm an underdog, but I've only been in the race for five days. I agree that I have to have a strong showing here. Do I have to win? I'm not sure. Yes, I'm concentrating on Nevada right now, but I'm not a regional candidate. I'm using the West as my base because I'm a Westerner. I believe the American people are ready for candidates with solutions. They're ready for candidates who will inspire them. They have shown that they're ready to accept a woman for president, an African American for president - and hopefully a Hispanic for president.

Sun: For someone who's spent the better part of his career in Washington, you've played the Western card pretty hard.

Richardson: I've always been connected to the West. I was in Congress for 15 years and I came home to New Mexico every weekend. I served my country. Last time I checked, being a congressman, you have to be in Washington. I have a horse. I'm a hunter. What else can I say?

Sun: What's your favorite table game?

Richardson: As secretary of Energy I used to go to Las Vegas to deal with the Nevada Test Site, but I'm not a gambler. I go to Vegas for major championship fights, restaurants and concerts. George Strait, Rod Stewart, the Eagles. The only gambling I did was to put a few bucks into some Ferris wheel thing.

Sun: Any chance of your old boss, President Clinton, stumping for you on the campaign trail?

Richardson: No. I think there's zero chance of that. We have a good relationship and I feel very loyal to him. But this is family now. I don't expect him to support me and that's fine.

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