Saturday, May 12, 2007

AP: Richardson on The Tonight Show

Richardson on The Tonight Show

By Barry Massey, Associated Press Writer

SANTA FE - Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson bantered with comedian Jay Leno about hitchhiking, baseball and diplomacy as the New Mexico governor appeared Friday on "The Tonight Show."

He's "the most qualified presidential candidate you have never heard of," Leno proclaimed in his introduction.
Richardson, elected governor twice, also served in Congress, was U.N. ambassador and energy secretary in the Clinton administration and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize.

During his appearance, taped Friday afternoon in Los Angeles, Richardson recounted his experiences as an unofficial diplomatic troubleshooter which over the years took him to such places as Sudan, North Korea, and
Saddam Hussein's Iraq, where he negotiated the release of American hostages in 1995.

"We don't practice diplomacy enough," said Richardson. "We ought to talk to our enemies. We ought to practice diplomacy and mediation and negotiation before we send our troops."

Born in California, Richardson was raised in Mexico before attending prep school and college in Massachusetts.
"My mother only spoke Spanish to me. She was Mexican. My father. He wouldn't speak to me," said Richardson, drawing chuckles from Leno. "But when he did, he would speak to me in English. It was totally a bilingual background."

Richardson recounted how he met his wife, Barbara, while hitchhiking when he was attending Middlesex School in Concord, Mass.

"So you would encourage women, if you see Mexican guys hitchhiking, pick them up," said Leno.

Richardson was a baseball standout during his prep school days, Leno pointed out, and the show featured a picture of the young Richardson.

"By the way that was a few pounds ago," said Richardson, who has been dieting to slim down for presidential campaign appearances.

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