Richardson Makes His Bid Official, In Spanish

Linda Wertheimer, All Things Considered (NPR), May 21, 2007v

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has announced his candidacy for the presidential vote in 2008. Part of Richardson’s announcement was in Spanish, as he said, “With pride, I hope to be the first Latino president of the United States.”

Richardson was born in California, where he made his announcement Monday. The son of an American banker father who was posted to Mexico City and a Mexican mother, Richardson is a native Spanish speaker; he would be the first Hispanic presidential nominee of either major party.

As of Monday, Richardson’s standing in the polls had risen to 10 percent, making him the Democrats’ No. 4 candidate in Iowa and New Hampshire.

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New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson argues, with considerable validity, that no other Democratic presidential candidate comes close to his vast foreign policy experience. His propensity for back-slapping and schmoozing can make one forget the time that Richardson has spent as a serious diplomat.

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Richardson has taken some positions not widely shared among his fellow Democratic candidates, such as supporting gun rights. Of all the presidential candidates—from both parties—no one has received a better rating from the National Rifle Association than Richardson. He also has talked about his refusal to raise taxes in New Mexico—normally a Republican position.

With so much attention focused on New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and, to a lesser extent, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Richardson remains a long-shot candidate, and he has acknowledged that on the campaign trail. He has raised far less in campaign funds than the so-called “Big Three.” The Nevada caucuses, scheduled for Jan. 19, 2008, are seen as his potential break-out opportunity. But if he fails in his bid for the nomination, he has been mentioned as a potential vice-presidential choice or, more likely, a potential secretary of state in a Democratic White House.

[Editor’s Note: Listen to NPR puff piece here.]

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