A Question for Bill Richardson

-

bill richardson.jpg
I really wish New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson would remain the globe-spanning international problem fixer that he has been for many years. New Mexicans seem to like their Governor-Diplomat, and Richardson seems not to be in any trouble for expanding his job responsibilities to include many things beyond New Mexico’s water wars with Texas and the issue that New Mexico ranks 47th in the nation in terms of per capita income.
But Bill Richardson has announced that he is in, too. And so we have yet another presidential candidate who probably has little chance of actually winning the nod of Democratic Party primary voters.


But his obsessive flirtation with the White House steals oxygen, in my view, from many other excellent Hispanic-Americans who might otherwise move forward if he were not always the front-runner Hispanic who could not go all of the way.
I could be wrong — and I will correct course if that’s appropriate down the road — but as someone who worked with Bill Richardson’s staff closely when he was in the House of Representatives as I worked in the Senate as a senior staff member to Senator Jeff Bingaman, I have seen Richardson and his team up close. I know many of those who worked for him then and who worked for him as Secretary of Energy and then at the United Nations — and now lots of folks who work in his administration in Santa Fe.
The personal activities of candidates and the public ambitions ought not to collide as much as they do in our world — but there are issues that Richardson needs to address that involve his own blurring of public responsibilities and ‘what should be’ private behavior.
I will frame this as a “question” for Bill Richardson.
Have you behaved inappropriately or not in public settings with female members of your government administration, jokingly or not? Have you gestured to female public servants and political appointees — who work as colleagues with you — and made lewd gestures, specifically pointing to them and then pointing at your crotch with a room full of media and other politicos there in the room?
I ask this not to demean or undermine Richardson.
I ask it because I was not in the room when this particular incident occurred but many others were — and rumors have long swept around Santa Fe that Bill Richardson makes a frequent joke out of demeaning women. These incidents don’t have to do with the comments by Lt. Governor Diane Denish that Richardson is a “touchy” and “feely” Governor. They have to do with questions about a far more crude kind of gesture that demeans professional women.
These concerns I have heard may be completely contrived, but after speaking with several senior level New Mexico officials, my sense is that it needs to at a minimum be addressed by the Governor who wants to be President. Some suggest that Richardson “can’t stop himself” or “doesn’t even realize what he is doing” or thinks that “this sort of thing is part of New Mexico’s political scene.”
Given that Richardson has thrown his hat into the biggest political contest in the country — he needs to address publicly concerns about his views towards and treatment of women. Arnold Schwarzenegger fessed up to some of his past misbehavior and moved forward successfully. Governor Richardson could do this too.
Richardson needs to articulate his own views and either categorically deny that anything that could have been perceived as seriously demeaning to women were contrivances of those around him. It would be good for him to give a talk or speech about how important work/family issues are and to manage to weave into that talk respect for women and the requirement that they be free from “good old boy” style harassment.
In the middle of the “first phase” of the John Bolton confirmation battle over his appointment to serve as US Ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson was one of several leading Democratic Party pundits on the Sunday morning shows who predicted that despite the early fireworks and surprising twists at the start of the Bolton confirmation process that he would be confirmed. Then Democratic Party Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Patrick Leahy did the same.
I wrote to all three.
I informed them that the twists and turns that had occurred in the Bolton process had been in part the result of writers, former government officials, concerned NGOs, and this blogger in trying to raise fundamental questions about the appropriateness of Bolton for the UN role.
I told them that they were “flying on automatic pilot” and their cynicism about the potential success of our work was not only undermining us but would also inhibit moderate Republicans from joining what we were doing — and that was essential to win.
I told them that the Bolton battle was about more than just John Bolton and was for many of us a “proxy battle” over the kind of pugnacious, anti-internationalism that had become the dominant personality of the Bush administration’s foreign policy.
Senator Durbin had the integrity and guts to issue a public statement through The Washington Note and graciously reversed his position. Senator Leahy also acknowledged that he had “given the wrong signals” and went down to the floor of the Senate to rededicate himself to advising President Bush to withdraw John Bolton’s nomination.
Bill Richardson instead sent me an email saying he was grateful for the work of the NGO crowd on Bolton, but that I should “stop biting” a friend.
I do like Bill Richardson and feel that he has helped create a motif for state involvement in real international problems that other governors would be wise to follow. I also think that Richardson thrives on complex, tough negotiations and is often able to get some of the world’s worst thugs to do the right thing for a moment. My hat is tipped to him — seriously — for the great contributions he has made in the international arena.
But I raise these other matters not “to bite” Bill Richardson, friend or not.
I raise them because Bill Richardson needed to be told he was undermining us on John Bolton. He needed to be told to back off on that because he had crossed lines that others in the fight could not accept. He wanted the matter ignored perhaps, or pushed under the rug.
But that’s not the way transparent and honest politics should occur in this country. Bill Richardson might make a great President. He is a leader and he has great talents.
But he needs to solve this perceived problem in his political portfolio and address it now. He will possibly see this post as a “biting” one again. But it might just help him as well if he knows that this issue is lurking out there in the minds of many — and he should just come out and put it to rest.
If he does, I’ll be the first to applaud and withdraw my concern. And then I’ll write more about some of the fascinating (and good) wheeling and dealing that Bill Richardson has done for many Americans in real trouble.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

132 comments on “A Question for Bill Richardson

  1. tower defense says:

    What I believe is honesty on his part can be perceived as mealy-mouthed by others. If Steve doesn’t add any details whatsoever, it will appear to be a whisper campaign. If he doesn’t give any background about his relations with Richardson (i.e. Bolton), then someone would dig it up eventually and claim it is some sort of payback, yet if he does lay the cards on the table, then he’s accused of “payback” outright. Kind of makes it hard to get to the reality of the situation for the haters.

    Reply

  2. Press Digital says:

    In any case, what I wrote in the piece, I mean…I’m willing to step back if he provides some kind of commentary that explains why a number of his female colleagues have had concerns and can explain it away in some manner that makes sense.

    Reply

  3. Press Digital says:

    In any case, what I wrote in the piece, I mean…I’m willing to step back if he provides some kind of commentary that explains why a number of his female colleagues have had concerns and can explain it away in some manner that makes sense.

    Reply

  4. Peggy Bryan says:

    Excellent article and very well writen. I hope that a copy of this was sunt to fox news. Thank You and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    Reply

  5. PROTHALAMION says:

    …. aren’t smart chicks just the hottest thing on the Earth?
    Gotta love it.
    But Obama is SO fucking tall ….
    And his WIFE makes Robin Roberts, look short.
    Never underestimate a man who isn’t afraid of a BEAUTIFUL, strong, SMART, tall woman.
    TOO tough to call.
    And don’t you miss Cokie?
    We are all TRULY Our Mother’s Daughters.
    Some day, maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll tell you about Michelle Ma Belle.
    No freebies there.

    Reply

  6. Dave Burdick says:

    Yikes… I read about a third of the comments, but I’m running out of time. I just wanted to weigh in with a sentiment similar to one I think I saw at least once in here already:
    (Disclosure: I like Richardson more than anybody out there right now.)
    Steve, I read you occasionally and typically find you insightful and informational and I appreciate the way that your specific experience adds to what you have to say.
    That said, I do think it’s a little irresponsible the way you brought up these rumors. My specific request would be that in the future, you at least compare them, inline, with similar rumor-related problems facing a candidate’s opponents. I’m not saying you’d have to write three or four grafs on each opponent or anything unwieldy like that, but if you’re going to bandy about this very suspect information — hearsay that, to the casual visitor, appears to have all of the authority of a Drudge source — you ought to at least place it in the appropriate context so that we, the readers, can rest easy that it isn’t meant to be character assassination. That it’s simply analysis.
    If this were in the context of the various scandals — outed scandals and otherwise — of candidates Democratic, Republican and otherwise, I’d have found it purely informational. And if you’re uncomfortable imagining yourself writing a piece involving so much rumor, then I’d ask you to reevaluate this very piece.
    Thanks for the effort you put into TWN on a regular basis — and thanks for being the type of blogger who reads his comments and responds to them reasonably,
    dave

    Reply

  7. Carlos Ponce says:

    I heard Bill Richardson nominated someone to the Council on Foreign Relations. Who did he nominate?

    Reply

  8. Neil Simon says:

    I applaud the seriousnes with which the original post was written, but hope readers will still read it for what it is – a question based on rumors. New Mexico reporters have looked into this issue for years – and any truth that exists lies in the hands of women who have not spoken to any reporter to date.
    Neil
    neilhsimon.com

    Reply

  9. rich says:

    “He joined Kissinger Associates in 2001.”
    If that isn’t the exclamation point to this whole discussion, I don’t know what is.
    Next step: check into Vilsack’s lineage . . .

    Reply

  10. stephen miller says:

    Richardson may be half Mexican, but he shares little with the presumed Latino voting demographic. His father, a Wall St. gringo, was head of Citibank’s Mexico City operation, the only foreign bank there at the time, and the refuge of Mexican oligarch families’ millions. His mom, the Mexican half, came from the top 1% of Mexican wealth.
    He joined Kissinger Associates in 2001.

    Reply

  11. rich says:

    Great post irishkg–
    I’m wondering, though, if it’s plausible that this would ‘discredit’ Richardson on the world stage.
    Given some of his remarkable successes on the world stage–even without a formal post–may indicate Richardson isn’t prone to this behavior unless he’s feeling “at home” or is on home turf (or that he can control it).
    I’m sure it’s a real concern; I’ve run across references in the past; and I’ve been in work situations where someone crosses the line to gain complicity or coopt colleagues. Not good.
    KathyF–this goes on in every state, though it may be more pronounced in New Mexico. I don’t for a minute minimize the reality, though, if I read you right.
    Fascinating post and reaction! The issue was ably set out, with due care, as early as possible. It’s clear to me that there’s MUCH frustration with how candidates are identified as contenders, treated as human beings, and assessed as administrators.
    We get one or two pre-anointed front-runners and–that’s it. The reality is that if you can’t pull in $300 million, don’t bond or curry favor with certain power centers, or pass the gaunlet of some snooty sensibilities, you’ve got little chance of getting a fair hearing or engaging in a fair contest.
    I can’t defend Richardson’s (un-detailed) bahavior. But the process is not delivering the best candidates, and that is costing the country dearly. There is no doubt that many don’t bother simply because the oddities, indiscretions, and personal flaws are deemed grounds for crucifying by a misguided Puritanism not consonant with the American character. The judgemental and those that shape campaign issues have to be held to an equally high standard.
    Thanks.

    Reply

  12. rich says:

    Great post irishkg–
    I’m wondering, though, if it’s plausible that this would ‘discredit’ Richardson on the world stage.
    Given some of his remarkable successes on the world stage–even without a formal post–may indicate Richardson isn’t prone to this behavior unless he’s feeling “at home” or is on home turf (or that he can control it).
    I’m sure it’s a real concern; I’ve run across references in the past; and I’ve been in work situations where someone crosses the line to gain complicity or coopt colleagues. Not good.
    KathyF–this goes on in every state, though it may be more pronounced in New Mexico. I don’t for a minute minimize the reality, though, if I read you right.
    Fascinating post and reaction! The issue was ably set out, with due care, as early as possible. It’s clear to me that there’s MUCH frustration with how candidates are identified as contenders, treated as human beings, and assessed as administrators.
    We get one or two pre-anointed front-runners and–that’s it. The reality is that if you can’t pull in $300 million, don’t bond or curry favor with certain power centers, or pass the gaunlet of some snooty sensibilities, you’ve got little chance of getting a fair hearing or engaging in a fair contest.
    I can’t defend Richardson’s (un-detailed) bahavior. But the process is not delivering the best candidates, and that is costing the country dearly. There is no doubt that many don’t bother simply because the oddities, indiscretions, and personal flaws are deemed grounds for crucifying by a misguided Puritanism not consonant with the American character. The judgemental and those that shape campaign issues have to be held to an equally high standard.
    Thanks.

    Reply

  13. irishkg says:

    I observed Richardson speak as Sec of Energy to the community surrounding DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory. He filled a very large hotel function room, and by filled I mean his presence went to the farthest corners and he drew everyone’s attention.
    Reflecting on your commentary here, there was a somewhat maniacal (as in manic phase of manic depressive cycle) feeling to his presence. (And to be clear I am not offering a psych/medical evaluation).
    I appreciate your reporting along with your commentary and links to others in the policy/political world.

    Reply

  14. Steve Clemons says:

    irishkg — thanks for your lucid and thoughtful response.
    i agree with you that bill richardson’s vita is stunning — a distinguished house of representatives record, and served as ambassador to the UN, Secretary of energy, and as Governor of New Mexico. He is a formidable talent, and I think that he can fill out many, many potential slots in government — and I truly wish I did not have the reservations and concerns that I do, and which I wrote about.
    I think he has to speak to his people with whom he works and find a way to make that discussion public — he needs to do two things, set a context for his behavior that some have seen as over the line in crudeness and as demeaning of women — and then commit to ending a kind of behavior that generates laughs by coopting those in the room to be part of something that should not be happening. He needs to just stop this and say he will — and then move forward with his innovative ideas on where the nation might go — on energy development, in foreign policy, in technology investment, etc.
    but in retrospect, i wish I had written and published this piece a few months ago. I had all of the material then for the article except the quotes from various senior staff in New Mexico that I reference. I decided that if I didn’t write the piece this weekend — it would be wrong and inappropriate for me to raise these concerns later. The accusations of sabotage would be even worse then.
    I still believe that if Governor Richardson wants to get beyond this he can — but he has to admit that something is driving a gregariousness and a treatment of women around him in public circumstances — that he needs to solve if he wants to occupy the White House.
    This concern is not an invented one — it’s significant among those who work with him in the Capital, but very few people bring criticism to Bill Richardson. That may be the larger issue that needs to be addressed.
    All the best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  15. irishkg says:

    Having read this blog for 2 years I stopped when I read this Richardson commentary.
    Since Steve consistently focuses on the larger policy issues and discusses politics in the context of the policy this commentary was very different, in kind. The approach to the issue was the balanced view I have come to expect so there had to be a purpose.
    To answer my own question as to why Steve took it on, I am relying on my assessment of Steve. If Steve thinks it is that serious and merits public attention I accept the need for Richardson to address it now. The context of the discussion in this blog (compared with others) is that if Richardson has this weakness it will discredit important foreign policy positions he, and Steve, support.
    Richardson should take advantage of getting out in front of personal issues, real or “common knowledge.” He like all other politicians, particularly at the national level, need a new more preemptive and aggressive approach to what once might might have remained buried.
    We are in a new era and Richardson should show that it can be done differently and successfully. I for one want to see more presidential candidates with executive experience. Whether he is the one I don’t know but he has potential.795

    Reply

  16. Pissed Off American says:

    No matter how anyone feels about Steve’s commentary here, the fact remains that the ball is now in Richrdson’s hands. He needs to respond. Should he choose to remain silent about the issue, it will only be brought up in the heat of campaigning by a rival, and at that time it will be much tougher to clear the air, if in fact he can do so. In light of the vicious reponses that some of Richardson’s supporters offered above, his silence will only reinforce the impression that he responded by siccing his attack dogs on the messenger. If in fact that is going to be his manner of response, than it fits hand in hand with the kind of crass and bullish behaviour that Steve tells us Richardson may have engaged in.
    And, BTW, some damned fool upthread called me a “Clemonista” and a syncophant while opining that Steve was speaking out now because he was supporting Hillary’s run. I had to chuckle, because when it comes to Steve’s opinions, I can hardly be called a “synchophant”, as I have questioned and disagreed with Steve consistently since I’ve been posting here. And, as far as Hillary goes,I despise the woman, as can be surmised by my comments about anything “Hillary”.
    But anyway, anyone that defends a man publicly gesturing at his crotch as a manner of drawing attention to himself is an ass. Anyone that defends someone that is in the political arena, gesturing in such a manner, is an ass and a damned fool. If in fact Richardson exhibits such behavior in public, he is unfit to represent a monkey, much less the American public.

    Reply

  17. KathyF says:

    Steve, I think there’s an even bigger problem than what you’re hinting at. New Mexico politics just isn’t ready for prime time. There’s a lot of, for lack of a better word, corruption just below the surface of much of what goes on. When a candidate is told he needs to “buy” votes in the South Valley to get elected, there’s something wrong with the process that won’t stand the scrutiny of a national election.
    And you’re dead right about your concerns on other issues, too, but I’m not about to elaborate here. You weren’t joking about Big Bill being all powerful in the state.

    Reply

  18. terri says:

    Steve, glad to respond. I googled both names and found an article at http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/36605.html which has Denish’s staff clarifying the “charges”, saying that Denish had been quoted out of context. Such as, she was quoted calling Richardson’s poking and teasing “annoying” and *she said* the full quote should be that he was “annoying like a little brother or classmate”. Big difference when you complete the sentence.
    About the Frozen Lightening book: looks like a self published work to me. Anyone can write a book and make any claims they like. I know, I’m writing one myself! (Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition, due in April – it’s about the history of Norwegian mittens. We all have our hobbies.)
    Anyway, you still haven’t shown me convincing evidence of inappropriate behavior. And even if he teases too much, so what? It’s not like he’s Bob Packwood. 🙂

    Reply

  19. EWM-Santa Fe, New Mexico says:

    Steve,
    I’m afraid you are right on with these comments. As a proud New Mexican, I wish they weren’t true. On a private e-mail I will send you what I know.
    But the bully in Bill has gotten a lot of people mad and this is evidenced at this book website:
    http://www.frozenlightning.org/
    It is too bad this has to happen but I would rather see it now rather than later when he might be a VP candidate that takes down our Presidential hopes.
    George W. Bush and company are so evil and corrupted that there is no way they can be allowed to have any continued acccess to the White House in a Republican term.

    Reply

  20. Steve Clemons says:

    terri — thanks for your note. not sure how you googled, but the core of some of the “touchy feely” and potentially problematic behavior of Governor Richardson is clear in the main stream press in interviews given by New Mexico’s current Lietenant Governor, Diane Denish. Google her name and Richardson’s and that should come up. I am unaware of any online reference to the incident I highlight in my piece, which allegedly occurred before Diane Denish’s commentary. Thanks,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  21. terri says:

    Steve, with all respect due a complete stranger, I couldn’t find any other references to these allegations, besides you. Maybe Google didn’t find them, maybe they don’t exist, I don’t know. If *you’re* going to make allegations, make them, document them, back them up with evidence. If you can’t, keep them to yourself. By framing your allegations as a loaded question you’re trying to fool people into thinking there’s an actual issue there, even if there isn’t. It’s the logical fallacy of Argumentum ad hominem: argument directed at the person a.k.a. character assasination. Put up some evidence or keep it to yourself. We’re not falling for it.

    Reply

  22. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear zk0sm0:
    I think your point is legitimate — and frankly, I wish I had written this piece last year, or at least around the time of Diane Denish’s comments to the Albuquerque Journal and the subsequent “softening” of the context in which the Governor’s behavior was discussed.
    When Lt. Governor Denish spoke out publicly about this — it was at the end of 2005, December I think. The incident I am discussing took place a few months before then, and the two cases converged in my own mind.
    You are right that I might not have waited until a presidential race announcement to write this piece that I had been chewing on and considering for a long time. In retrospect, I wish I had — and I think it still would have been relevant.
    But to write it in future months would have been inappropriate. In many ways — and I know many folks won’t believe this — I do believe that Bill Richardson could make a great leader and has done many valuable things for the nation. I think very few people challenge him, however, and he needs to stop and consider what his “boredom remedy strategies” do to staff he works with — particularly when these are public settings that impact the way those professionals are perceived by others.
    As I said, if I think I’m way off base here if the Governor responds — or one of his staff call to talk this through — I’ll consider stepping back and reframing what I have written, and accept whatever responsibility is involved.
    But my email and phone have been hot the last few days — and yes, there are some angry folks — but there are also many that have provided ample material to support the issue that Bill Richardson has a political problem with the very people who work for and with him. He’s a king out there — and he is loved and wants to be loved — but it comes at a bit of a price and that means that no one questions his behavior (his public behavior I mean here).
    So….to be fair to your question — yes, I wish I had posted this earlier — like a few months ago. But even then, I think that some would have perceived this to be political sabotage — when that is not my intention.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  23. zk0sm0 says:

    It’s still not clear to me why this warrants your ‘weighing in’ only if/when Richardson announced his candidacy.

    Reply

  24. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear zk0sm0 — Governor Richardson’s own Lt. Governor, Diane Denish — who is terrific and who headed the NM Democratic Party — publicly advised the Governor to get this under control, to deal with it — and I’m unaware that that has happened.
    As I said, if there has been movement on this front about which I am unaware — I’ll withdraw my concern. But to those who think this stinks, sorry folks, but there are issues about this inside NM that are real, that are shared by others, that haven’t been dealth with — and need to be.
    I talked with a decent guy today who took strong exception to my post because of his personal friendship and relationship with Bill Richardson that also involves on of his relatives having a long working relationship for Bill R. He made it clear that while there had long been rumors about Bill playing around privately, he knows that those rumors are untrue — and that Barbara Richardson, his wife, wouldn’t be there with him still if they were. I made clear that that was great — but not the issue here.
    He acknowledged that Bill’s touchy/feely style might be misinterpreted and that his proclivity to “shock” people might have led to the kind of antic described more graphically than I probably should have done in the post — but still, he said that that was part of Bill’s demeanor and acknowledged that this kind of thing could be misread.
    If so, I think Richardson and Co. need to know that some are misreading this style — and he should find a way of assuring those with whom he works that his own behavior, if over the line in these public settings and if crude, was inappropriate — even if in jest. Then he needs to simply stop this sort of thing — and get to big policy debates.
    More later….on other subjects,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  25. zk0sm0 says:

    It isn’t a question of either Steve bringing it up now or someone else bringing it up later.
    It is a question of Steve bringing it up now or bringing it up SOONER.
    I really don’t understand Steve defense of: “I said to myself some time ago that if Bill Richardson announced, I felt a need to weigh in.”
    THAT sounds like the same kind of payback cause/effect that Steve expresses moral indignity at when he bristles at Richardson’s “don’t bite” comment.
    IF this issue (or rather, completely unsubstantiated RUMORS) is important enough to Steve immediately AFTER Richardson announces his candidacy, why was it NOT important enough to Steve at any time PRIOR to Richardson announcing his candidacy????
    This whole thing just STINKS.

    Reply

  26. Joe Scordato says:

    Steve
    Thanks for the post and the responses in the comments. I met the Governor two months ago at an event in NYC and was very favoralby impressed, particularly by his positions on the interaction between energy independence, national security and climate change. While I haven’t committed to any Democratic candidate yet for ’08, he’s a strong contender for my support. I didn’t see any behavior in the meeting that looks like what’s been described here; what I did see a very out-going, smart politician who was working hard to build support. You’re absolutely right to bring this up now and encourage the Governor to address it. The rumors have been out there (I had heard them for a while) and if he gets steam the Rethugs will be using these to swift-boat him. It’s better they’re dealt with early, so it’s old news. The best part of this discussion is that the “problem” looks more like a manageable one of style than a character issue. Keep up the great work.

    Reply

  27. MP says:

    Steve…my basic reaction is one of complete exhaustion. Most of us know people who go lifetimes without ever crossing the line or being accused of crossing the line in this or other similar ways. And those who do cross the line often find it in themselves to apologize and try to move on and improve.
    Why is it that our leaders–even, or especially, our brightest–have such a hard time keeping their “fingers out of the cookie jar”?

    Reply

  28. CLD says:

    Sorry for the double-post. Slow browser, fast Internet. 🙂

    Reply

  29. CLD says:

    Whether his inappropriate actions cause a humanizing effect for Richardson or not; it’s dehumanizing when you’re on the receiving end of the “boys will be boys” schtick.
    As for those who believe this is rumor mongering: Steve has always shown integrity and I know he wouldn’t have posted on this issue if he didn’t have excellent sources that could back up any information they’ve provided.
    Steve, in this day and age, it’s extremely difficult for me to imagine that someone of Richardson’s intelligence and experience would be unaware of the effect his inappropriate behavior would have on those around him. Next thing you know, he’ll blame this on a drinking problem and will need rehab…

    Reply

  30. CLD says:

    Whether his inappropriate actions cause a humanizing effect for Richardson or not; it’s dehumanizing when you’re on the receiving end of the “boys will be boys” schtick.
    As for those who believe this is rumor mongering: Steve has always shown integrity and I know he wouldn’t have posted on this issue if he didn’t have excellent sources that could back up any information they’ve provided.
    Steve, in this day and age, it’s extremely difficult for me to imagine that someone of Richardson’s intelligence and experience would be unaware of the effect his inappropriate behavior would have on those around him. Next thing you know, he’ll blame this on a drinking problem and will need rehab…

    Reply

  31. Steve Clemons says:

    not the senator — thanks for the link to the Diane Denish/Bill Richardson story. I think it does humanize Richardson though it does point up other things — like the “I’m easily bored” comment. That got Senator George Allen into trouble — but that’s not the issue here. What is the issue is a gap between how Bill Richardson sees things and how his “playmates when he’s bored” sees things.
    jdmckay above writes a reasoned note that she/he has heard rumors and then heard that they were not true. I accept that — but I suspect that the rumors may deal with more private matters involving the governor than his behavior at press conferences.
    The specific incident I reference in my piece occurred at a press conference with media and other government officials there. This situation did not involve Diane Denish — so as I have said in my piece, there may be a “good old boy” explanation that Richardson and his team would like to roll out — but the other part of this is that the Governor is unaware it seems of the negative impact that this alleged behavior of his is having on women who work with and for him in a professional capacity.
    In any case, I know you disagree with my view but I do appreciate the link.
    As ever,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  32. not the senator says:

    So is this Albuquerque Journal article what you’re talking about?
    http://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/417233nm12-17-05.htm
    If so, it sounds a little juvenile but otherwise innocuous. In fact, it’s a little humanizing.

    Reply

  33. marky says:

    It’s a huge mistake to think that sexual peccadilloes have any bearing on suitability for public office. Clinton was doing fine—at least in terms of carrying out his agenda—and would have had a successful presidency if the right wing had not spent millions of dollars do to a “where’s waldo” on the Clenis.
    Moral cowardice such as Obama’s or repeated, bald-faced lying like McCain’s are much worse faults than what Richardson is accused of doing–much worse for the public, that is.
    American’s need to grow up and stop expecting their politicians to be saints. Candidate Richardson should be judged on his record of public, political acts rather than according to the highly selective leaking of innuendo about some candidates by those who have an agenda to help other candidates.
    If he harrassed some women, that is a matter for them to take up.

    Reply

  34. jdmckay says:

    Steve:
    I live in NM (ABQ), have heard the rumours. I’ve also heard they are not true. I am not “connected”, but worked on Madrid campaign and pay close attention. I do have reason to not believe your suggestions, both from what “connected” people I know have said, & my experience w/the gov. in other NM issues.
    I like him as well.
    However… upcoming prez election perhaps the most critical of my time (I’m 51). So much damage to repair, so many things to undo, and such a corp. linked MSM that is unreliable.
    I mention this because Richardson’s capitulation to republican congress’ “China nuke” scare in ’98 (?) left an indellable impression… Bill just caved, and he knew better. He “turned the other way” in Wen Ho Lee matter as well.
    For all his talents (and there are many), I’m hoping for someone more determined and steadfast when the cards are on the table.

    Reply

  35. itsbenj says:

    This isn’t an attempt to smear Richardson by Mr. Clemons, its an attempt to head off a stupid media frenzy about another Dem. politician who has acted inappropriately with women. We have enough able people on our team where we shouldn’t be putting people forward who are known to behave this way, because we universally decry it on the other side of the aisle. One of my supervisors knows someone who worked for Richardson a while back, and what that person said about him is exactly what Mr. Clemons is mentioning. Demeaning towards women, rude gestures, and when you know that someone acts like that, in public at times, you have to wonder what else there is to dig up. At this point it is hearsay, yes, but you can bet its going to come up. Better to be prepared than not.

    Reply

  36. Steve Clemons says:

    daria g — i do care about womens’ issues and have for a long time, but my expertise is limited. i once worked with laurie rubiner who works now for hillary clinton; karen kornbluh who now works for obama; and maya macguineas who used to work for mccain. the three are an amazing trio of policy expertises on numerous issues but also gender issues…and i learned much from them. but you are right that i don’t write as much about this as i should.
    to not a senator — i appreciate your perspective. people are right that I have not disclosed sources and won’t. it’s complicated in these cases because real people are involved and will pay a penalty with richardson and others, they feel, if they go public. also, some have a high tolerance for this kind of behavior and calculate that they can do their work and try and minimize contact with him — or perhaps be swept up into higher office and opportunity with him. i’m not sure.
    i do realize that there is an ethical issue of bringing something to a blog when others who have been allegedly hurt in this situation have not gone public. i’m sorting out how i feel about that and don’t think that standard rules of sourcing get us very far. still mulling it over, but i wanted to acknowledge that I do see the issue and understand it. I don’t mean to be sleazy or to be a rumor-monger. The rumor is out there — and so are the incidents, publicly attended, that I have referred to. Those in the Governor’s camp should figure out a way to respond that explains this and apologizes to those who may have been offended, demeaned even unintentionally, and felt cornered because of their employment in his administration.
    Ian — thanks for the note. I wish some people would read the piece again. I think it would answer a lot of the questions being posed in the comments.
    best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  37. ulla says:

    I think it is very brave of you ,Steve, to bring Bill Richardson’s not so kosher behavior towards women into open.. I much rather hear it first from you than drudge who could blow it completely out of this hemisphere with his attention seeking.
    It is obvious you have put a lot of serious thinking into this. I for one congratulate you for a difficlut task well done.

    Reply

  38. not the senator says:

    Without sourcing, spreading these rumours is just sleazy. Steve, you’ve dropped into the Drudge category with this type of story. It will get you hits though, so you succeeded on that front.

    Reply

  39. daria g says:

    Hi Steve
    If these rumors are true it’s important that Gov. Richardson step up and make a statement and apologize for his behavior. Such behavior by public officials should always be called out for what it is. I just wish it weren’t being called out by those who have a completely unrelated grudge against them & wait until said public officials have just announced their candidacy for POTUS to speak out.
    Again if this is true Richardson is in the wrong, but forgive me if I don’t fall over thanking you because it doesn’t seem that basic respect for women is an issue of importance to you – this is just about getting even. Surely you’ve had cause to write about the guy many times before & never saw fit to stand up for those women who are just trying to do their jobs, never saw fit to call him out on this.. until he crossed you on Bolton. If he hadn’t done that.. I guess women’s rights is not an issue you cover here, so good old boys are free to be good old boys.

    Reply

  40. Ian says:

    Steve, I’m surprised at the hostility this piece has generated (though it occurs to me that maybe you are not). In my opinion, it is very carefully written, clearly conscious of the fine line between “raising an important issue” and “rumor mongering”. To those who seemed to have missed this: read it again.
    You certainly did not do your self a favor by stepping into this particular issue (perhaps making a few enemies for life). But I’m sure your regular readers — who count on you for a considered, balanced take on current politics — appreciate the effort.

    Reply

  41. Frank says:

    All this about Richardson will come out during the campaign. To waste ones and zeros on him now, in effect short circuiting what he can contribute in robust debates on issues this country needs to address during the course of his campaigning, is to silence prematurely, an acknowledged contributory voice.
    Lets hear the man out when he is questioned about his raging hormones. Benjamin Franklin had a lot to offer, and maybe would have given even more richness to our nation’s grandeur had he run for president.

    Reply

  42. rich says:

    POA: A Pulitzer Prize* (2004) awarded smack in the middle of the 2004 Prezntial campaign for a series of articles that utterly disproved not only the SwiftBoaters’ claims but also their very reason for being, & verified John Kerry’s 1970 ‘Winter Soldier’ statement in the process–
    –wasn’t enough to pry respected American ‘journalists’ away from entertaining the ‘issue’ and put them onto reporting the facts.
    So what makes you think Steve’s assist here (wise/practical as it is) will a) deter BR’s SwiftBoaters 6 months hence; or b) persuade the media coverage to be even-handed, truth-oriented, or have any sense of balance, proportion, or perspective whatsoever?
    If this is an Ideological Push For Purity, it is wrongheaded. The politial media, both personalities and organizations, will not apply the same standard of purity to themselves. Obama smokes!! Burn him!! (apologies to Monty Python) Faux News is already “accidentally” captioning him as ‘Barack Osama.’
    Since it’s a public/workplace behavior, it matters, as Steve took care to point out originally. I’d read some articles a few years back too.
    But let’s not be accomplices in the game of Crucify the Lowly Human for Minor Blemishes & Pecadillos of the Soul.
    The Tutt-Tutting over Mrs. Dean’s wardrobe and lifestyle was despicable: the country would be better off with a REAL First Lady instead of one costumed for consumption by the warped sensibilities of Polite Company. (I recall the contemptible words of Strom Thurmond’s female matriarch in the WaPo when his daughter went public.)
    * http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=SRTIGERFORCE

    Reply

  43. Pissed Off American says:

    “If steve wants to spread these malicious, unattributed rumors ……..”
    Do a Google. These “rumors” have been seeing the light of day long before Steve raised the issue.
    I notice that those of you expressing the strongest indignation at Steve’s commentary have completely avoided comment about whether this issue is better raised now by Steve, or raised later by a team of swiftboaters.

    Reply

  44. p.lukasiak says:

    If steve wants to spread these malicious, unattributed rumors about Richardson, he should consider doing a guest post on Wonkette…. or maybe Little Green Footballs.
    But this post was just too disgusting for words.

    Reply

  45. nogo postal says:

    C’mon folks..what’s the uproar..Steve tosses out a charge on heresay…so what? …Fox news already has Obama a “sleeper” Hillery is the “ice queen” (with a temper)…Edwards has that “hair”..Gore? just recycle all the B.S. from 2000.. Gov. V? ask him if he was ever too familiar with farm animals when he was 13…we have one year to expose why none of these people are qualified to be our President..
    After all…look at the big shoes they will have to fill…We Americans love spew….or sorry I meant stew..

    Reply

  46. CLD says:

    Women are 50% of the population of this country. If Richardson expects to serve us as our president, he needs to learn that the 50% of the population who are women are actually human beings deserving of respect.
    If he can’t figure that out, he doesn’t deserve to be dog catcher, let alone president of this country.

    Reply

  47. PrahaPartizan says:

    I remember hearing during the 2004 election campaign selection of the VP candidate by Kerry that Richardson had a zipper problem. After eight years of Clinton’s difficulties, I’ve had enough wasting energy defending a Democratic candidate who doesn’t seem to care enough about his office, his legacy, his position and his family to keep it zipped. Why should we select a candidate who doesn’t seem to understand that?
    I like Bill Richardson and think he has contributed immensely to this nation but I will not vote for him to be my candidate given the current slate of potential candidates. I am truly sorry that he doesn’t understand the conundrum in which he placed himself.

    Reply

  48. marky says:

    Look at how Scott Ritter’s credibility on weapons proliferation has been forever destroyed in the public eye because of a charge of soliciting sex with a minor. I’m very leery of rejecting a candidate for higher office, even if there is evidence of sexual impropriety of some sort in his past.
    I refuse to judge Richardson as a candidate based on the rumors that Steve has passed on.
    Nor will I rule Obama out because he used cocaine as a teenager; rather, I rule him out so far because he is a spineless panderer whose tired retread of the old “DC outsider” who will change the culture in Washington fails to impress in the least.
    When Obama said after the last elections that he wanted to wait 6 more months before deciding what to do in Iraq, he totally alienated me with his gutless pose.
    I’ll take Richardson over Obama any day, even if what Steve says is true.

    Reply

  49. six_parnassus says:

    Pissed Off Clemonista – “why are Steve’s repeated civil attempts to explain his timing and motives countered by the kind of rabid attackswe see above? … In other words, you and your cohorts aren’t exactly doing Richardson any favors here.”
    Am I really discussing “civil” behavior with a pissed off sycophant notorious for uncivil, profane, often rabid incoherent invective?
    Guess so.
    Hint: Your cohort credibility hovers somewhere between Ann Coulter and Dick Deer Hunter Cheney.
    Double hint: Our “issue” isn’t Richardson’s accountability. Richardson is wholly and undeniably accountable for his behavior. The question remains: How sincere is Clemons’ “outrage” given Clemons’ SILENCE on the matter of Governor Richardson’s behavior BEFORE Richardson dared tread on Hillary’s moment?

    Reply

  50. ET says:

    Santa Fe is my home away from home. I keep my best belt, jeans, jacket, cowboy hat, laptop and electric toothbrush at a loft there. I’ll probably wind up there. I love the place, every inch of it — love the Santuario. Anyhoo. I don’t know what BR did wrong, but I heard that he’s a great kisser. Of course, everyone ends up a great kisser in the stories they tell me over at the Pink Adobe. I tore out their fence once in a rented Caddy. They didn’t even make me pay for it. I couldn’t tell, at the time, if that was because they wanted me to go, or wanted me to come back. But when I did go back they acted so friendly, like I never left, so they’re part of my heart.

    Reply

  51. john D says:

    Pissed off American,
    On my planet, my teenage/20 something daughters (when they think I’m probably not listening, but only half care) engage in all manner of ribald discussions about their male and female friends and aquaintances intimate attributes and “hook-up” hypotheticals. Do I owe some random guy they are jonesing over’s parent’s an apology? Should I expect the kid’s Mom to ban my daughters from their “family fold”? Or can women do whatever they want to us man-pigs?

    Reply

  52. Doug Teper says:

    I do not know who the Gov. has been sleeping with lately but I know he was in bed with corporate America back in 1987 when he was pushing Tort Deform in the U.S. Congress.
    Check for yourself.

    Reply

  53. Pissed Off American says:

    “Schwarzenegger won, you fools. Proof postive that *no one cares*. But you’d tear down your own just to keep this country (and the women, don’t forget the women – your gallanty is noble but self-defeating) safe from a smart politico with a woody, wouldn’t you? No *wonder* we always lose. Get off the high-horse and get real.”
    Posted by Proud New Mexico
    So. Lets take a hypothetical….
    You stop by the mall at lunchtime, to pick up some new laces for your Nikes. Walking around the corner, you see your daughter gazing across the mall atrium, a look of perplexity on her face. Following her gaze, you see her new boyfriend, Bucko Evans, pointing at his crotch with one hand, while gesturing “come hither” with his other. Tell me, is this a guy you want to welcome into the family fold? Well, its not a guy I want representing me or my country, either.
    (BTW, if you see such actions on the part of our politicians as just a harmless simple case of a “smart politico with a woody”, than you are everything that Richardson is apparently rumored to be.)

    Reply

  54. BevD says:

    Steve Clemons, this is a cruel thing you’re doing here. I can’t help but think of Linda Tripp, “I’m doing this for your own good, Monica.” You’re setting a trap for this man – he calls a press conference and “categorically denies he made lewd comments to women.” And then every reporter in the U.S. will report every rumour, innuendo, story, claim and meanspirited allegation anyone mentions for the rest of this man’s career. A petty, nasty story.

    Reply

  55. Punchy says:

    I’m not sure I’m understanding all the furor about this. Let’s be frank–Richardson is a longshot…a big longshot. Arguing over whether this will come into play during the primaries is like arguing whether or not Gil Meche will win enough games for the Royals to make the World Series. Non-starters all around…

    Reply

  56. Proud New Mexico says:

    with all due respect to your comments, if there *really* are female senior staffers who have witnessed this crap and don’t report it, who are you to report it for them?
    No, seriously – if all they care about are their careers, (working for Richardson), maybe it’s because Bill Richardson offers them something worth protecting him for.
    I guess I’m just getting a little sick and tired of watching Bush GET AWAY WITH MURDER on a daily basis (I mean, really, don’t you have bigger fish to fry?) when every Democrat playing grab-ass gets nailed to the effing wall.
    Schwarzenegger won, you fools. Proof postive that *no one cares*. But you’d tear down your own just to keep this country (and the women, don’t forget the women – your gallanty is noble but self-defeating) safe from a smart politico with a woody, wouldn’t you? No *wonder* we always lose. Get off the high-horse and get real.

    Reply

  57. marky says:

    Compare this post to the complete absence of a similar discussion of Bush’s personality and intellect before 2000. The pundits held their tongues then.
    I don’t know what to make of this post because I don’t know what Steve et. al. are hiding about the other candidates. This kind of selective disclosure of possible scandals is suspicious to me.

    Reply

  58. Carroll says:

    “The lesson still needs to be pressed home to DC that selective scrutiny won’t fly. Examples abound: the shrill badgering of Clinton for smoking pot, while George W. Bush says ‘I’m not gonna answer questions about cocaine’ ends the matter. The stark contrast between lies about sex vs. lies about WMDs & the obscenity fo war. Willingness to impeach over the former, but not the latter. Hillary & Lieberman taking a bold stand on video game violence–but not the real violence in Iraq.”
    Posted by rich at January 21, 2007 10:09 PM
    Well I certainly agree with what you are saying above and the rest of your post also.
    I am all for a person’s personal and public life being two different things…except when it comes to matters of character that might leak over into a person’s other public duties…which I put Richardson behavior under somewhat. I supported Clinton but found his WH fling disgusting but found the impeachment over it more disgusting. However I think Clinton as a person was a master of compartmentalizing the personal and professional, but how many others would be?
    Taken on it’s face it could seem to some not familiar or regular readers of TWN that Steve’s post was gossip or had a ulterior motive….but as a long time reader I have to say I have never seen Steve gossip for the sake of gossip or do a hit piece on anyone he disagrees with. In fact he often irritates me by being so “nice and reasonable” about some of them that I despise..as I have told him several times.
    Therefore in the case of this post on Richardson I think there is an “alert” here that might mean an “attitude” on Richardson’s part beyond just what was mentioned…which we should keep in mind when looking at him as a presidential candidate.

    Reply

  59. Dumbo says:

    God bless you, Steve! I hadn’t forgot what happened during the Bolton fight, either. Serve it cold to the bitch.

    Reply

  60. Dons Blog says:

    “After his videotaped arrest in a D.C. hotel room with the crack pipe in hand, I never thought Marion Barry would be re-elected mayor of Washington. That for me was a good lesson on why people should never assume anything in politics — especially counting upon voters to act rationally when when presented with evidence.” – Posted by Donald
    Ya gotta point.

    Reply

  61. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, in a perfect world, political and social accountability would harbor no favorites, and judgement would be dispensed equally and without bias. But thats not the world we live in. Why do I care about Richardson’s alleged improprieties? Well, because Steve brought them to my attention. Its really that simple. I cannot ignore these rumors merely because parrallel rumors have not been raised about another candidate. I don’t know if you were following this blog when I questioned Steve’s stated problem with Harmon prostituting herself to AIPAC, while on the other hand he completely avoids comment on the other Democrats that are unabashedly sucking AIPAC ass. So to a large degree I agree with you. But we can only decry the illegal, unethical, or immoral actions of our politicians if we know about them, and sometimes that means taking it one sleazy accusation at a time. Richardson need only clear the air, if he can. No harm, no foul. But in reading some of these comments, I am reminded of poor Dan Rather, who had his facts straight about a lying cowardly AWOL malcontent, but managed to get conned into quoting questionable sources and evidence. He was viciously attacked, his career terminated, for telling us the truth. These attacks on Steve don’t quite add up. If Richardson does not comment, than I know what conclusions I am going to draw.

    Reply

  62. rich says:

    POA, Carroll–I’m not advocating lowering the bar OR giving Richardson a free pass.
    It sounds like this was workplace behavior–not good. Were it a personal matter or the foibles of a gregarious man or demonstrative culture, it’d be another story.
    The lesson still needs to be pressed home to DC that selective scrutiny won’t fly. Examples abound: the shrill badgering of Clinton for smoking pot, while George W. Bush says ‘I’m not gonna answer questions about cocaine’ ends the matter. The stark contrast between lies about sex vs. lies about WMDs & the obscenity fo war. Willingness to impeach over the former, but not the latter. Hillary & Lieberman taking a bold stand on video game violence–but not the real violence in Iraq.
    I expect the media interrogators to display minimal standards of decency and integrity as well. So if they go after Richardson, let’s here AAALLL about Barack Obama’s cocaine use in high school. All about Hillary’s meeting w/Avigdor Lieberman (fine to meet, but what’s the upshot?), and McCain’s fashion sense & recklessness w/ soldier’s lives.
    Maybe the moment the catty columnists started treating Howard Dean’s wife’s wardrobe as ‘odd’ or ‘comfortable’ or ‘casual’ as though it were relevant, unusual, unbefitting the role of a candidate’s wife, let alone a First Lady–that may have been the moment I lost patience for this sh!t. When Mrs. Dean’s wardrobe elicits snobby commentary from politicos-in-the-know, then they’re not worthy of their position as analysts & arbiters. Time for these hypocrits to lose their jobs & social status.
    I wanted Bob Packwood to go–but tarring a candidate on one trait or flaw, while refusing to listen to the substance of his speech or the content of his character–its wrong, and it’s damning the process. Unless you want a thousand little martinets marching around like Arthur Dimmesdale, handing out Scarlet Letters to whoever’s the next convenient scapegoat.

    Reply

  63. Pissed Off American says:

    Instead, “Pissed Off Democrat”, why don’tr YOU answer a question or two?
    First, do you really believe that Richardson is better off having these rumors surfaced by a political rival sometime in the future?
    And secondly, why are Steve’s repeated civil attempts to explain his timing and motives countered by the kind of rabid attacks we see above?
    The irony, of course, is that should Richardson remain silent about this issue, it is quite easy to assume these attacks are at his behest. Which only reinforces a negative appraisal of his character. In other words, you and your cohorts aren’t exactly doing Richardson any favors here.

    Reply

  64. Pissed Off Democrat says:

    Clemons – “But this is not minor. I can’t abide politicians who count on the good will of the public even when terrible things may be going on. We need to ask these questions in this case” (3:38 pm)… “This is a democracy — and we have a right to pose questions about a wide number of issues. I think that if Bill Richardson was serious about running, then he is prepared to answer the question I posed” (4:16pm)… “I just spoke a few moments ago to another New Mexico official… I was told … I was also told … That is why it is not hard to find people to confirm the ‘essence’ of what I have written” (5:19 pm) … “I want him to clean up his act and perform great service for this country, but I don’t want the price tag of that political activity to be our accepting or turning a blind eye to completely inappropriate behavior towards women and others who work for him” (6:35 pm)
    1. Absent prior initiatives or attempts at corrective action in relation to your profound, professed, now immediate, concern for Richardson’s terrible behavior, was Richardson’s behavior somehow more minor or less terrible BEFORE Richardson, “in this case,” become a political rival of Hillary Clinton?
    A. More B. Less C. I’m full of shit.
    2. How often did you exercise your right and expend the effort to pose questions on this blog to “unturn” blind eyes concerning Richardson’s “completely inappropriate behavior towards women and others” BEFORE Richardson became a thorn in Hillary’s coronation?
    A. Very B. Not very C. Once, almost D. Never E. It depends how long before you mean by “before” and whether winks ex ante count as questions depending, of course, on what is, is.
    3. To what degree, precisely, did you want” Richardson to “clean up his act” BEFORE Richardson stole a teensy weensy bit of tinsel the from the STARBURST of Hillary’s announcement?
    A. Spic and Span (no double entendre) B. Mr.Clean C. Tidy Bowl D. Piggly Wiggly E. None of my business.
    4. Since you were “told” just about everything posed in your “question,” how many original witnesses did you personally contact to ascertain, corroborate or reconcile, with precision, all material facts pertaining to Richardson’s alleged behavior BEFORE deciding to publicly post what amounts to, as far as we can tell, “confirmed” hearsay?
    A. All B. Some C. One. D. Mission accomplished

    Reply

  65. Pissed Off Democrat says:

    Clemons – “But this is not minor. I can’t abide politicians who count on the good will of the public even when terrible things may be going on. We need to ask these questions in this case” (3:38 pm)… “This is a democracy — and we have a right to pose questions about a wide number of issues. I think that if Bill Richardson was serious about running, then he is prepared to answer the question I posed” (4:16pm)… “I just spoke a few moments ago to another New Mexico official… I was told … I was also told … That is why it is not hard to find people to confirm the ‘essence’ of what I have written” (5:19 pm) … “I want him to clean up his act and perform great service for this country, but I don’t want the price tag of that political activity to be our accepting or turning a blind eye to completely inappropriate behavior towards women and others who work for him” (6:35 pm)
    1. Absent prior initiatives or attempts at corrective action in relation to your profound, professed, now immediate, concern for Richardson’s terrible behavior, was Richardson’s behavior somehow more minor or less terrible BEFORE Richardson, “in this case,” become a political rival of Hillary Clinton?
    A. More B. Less C. I’m full of shit.
    2. How often did you exercise your right and expend the effort to pose questions on this blog to “unturn” blind eyes concerning Richardson’s “completely inappropriate behavior towards women and others” BEFORE Richardson became a thorn in Hillary’s coronation?
    A. Very B. Not very C. Once, almost D. Never E. It depends how long before you mean by “before” and whether winks ex ante count as questions depending, of course, on what is, is.
    3. To what degree, precisely, did you want” Richardson to “clean up his act” BEFORE Richardson stole a teensy weensy bit of tinsel the from the STARBURST of Hillary’s announcement?
    A. Spic and Span (no double entendre) B. Mr.Clean C. Tidy Bowl D. Piggly Wiggly E. None of my business.
    4. Since you were “told” just about everything posed in your “question,” how many original witnesses did you personally contact to ascertain, corroborate or reconcile, with precision, all material facts pertaining to Richardson’s alleged behavior BEFORE deciding to publicly post what amounts to, as far as we can tell, “confirmed” hearsay?
    A. All B. Some C. One. D. Mission accomplished

    Reply

  66. Pissed Off American says:

    “After his videotaped arrest in a D.C. hotel room with the crack pipe in hand, I never thought Marion Barry would be re-elected mayor of Washington. That for me was a good lesson on why people should never assume anything in politics — especially counting upon voters to act rationally when when presented with evidence.”
    Posted by Donald
    Well hey, just look what going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard will getcha.

    Reply

  67. Donald from Hawaii says:

    Dons Blog: “I took a stand against ‘Post-Turtle’ Bush, and now wish I had come out sooner and louder. But in many ways I never thought he’d actually get elected. Not with a past record of drug abuse and failure.” (Posted at 8:41pm)
    After his videotaped arrest in a D.C. hotel room with the crack pipe in hand, I never thought Marion Barry would be re-elected mayor of Washington. That for me was a good lesson on why people should never assume anything in politics — especially counting upon voters to act rationally when when presented with evidence.

    Reply

  68. Carroll says:

    Rich, I agree with what you say to a point. Certainly, we can place standards on our representatives that are unrealistic and unattainable. But it just seems to me that we keep lowering the bar, and that the act of lowering the bar has landed us where we are today, with an obscenely corrupt body of politicians that are not held accountable for their actions, more often than not under the mantra of “so what, everyone does it”.
    Posted by Pissed Off American at January 21, 2007 03:21 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Totally agree…and there is nothing unreasonable about expecting a public figure to act like a gentleman in public at least, even if he isn’t really a gentleman. If he wants to indulge his macho other side he needs to do it elsewhere.

    Reply

  69. John Hansen says:

    Bill richardson is a SCUMBAG GLOBALIST – never done a good thing in his life – trying to get more mexicans over here too.
    This guy should go back under a rock.

    Reply

  70. John Hansen says:

    Bill richardson is a SCUMBAG GLOBALIST – never done a good thing in his life – trying to get more mexicans over here too.
    This guy should go back under a rock.

    Reply

  71. Carroll says:

    “I mentioned it only because his reaction “don’t bite your friends” was another way of saying “don’t challenge me — behave and I’ll support you too”. That kind of quid pro quo is problematic for me.
    steve clemons
    Posted by Steve Clemons at January 21, 2007 04:44 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yep, something about the “don’t bite your firends” is too much like the mentality in letting congressman what’s his name skate for so long on chasing young interns because he was in their party or in the politican system.
    It does sound like quid pro quo… or a “play ball or else”.
    I am back to giving him a zero.

    Reply

  72. Pinko Punko says:

    Maybe the pattern of behavior has gotten stronger over the years, and become more obviously inappropriate? Also, this clearly hasn’t been an easy step, as I wager Steve has many positions in common with Gov. Richardson, and perhaps the sort of enabling behavior of people similarly politically minded as the Governor have kind of swept this under the rug. Finally, even “insiders” in the “know” have consciences, and at some point the burden of insider knowledge becomes too much.
    Steve says he has confirmation from several sources, plus on the record comments from Richardson’s Lt. Governor. This issue does not have to be a deal breaker for the Governor, because it has come up now, but it could be later. So Steve’s giving the Gov. some tough love. Why is this a problem?

    Reply

  73. Pissed Off American says:

    Geez, if some of these are the comments of the typical hardcore Richardson supporter, I gotta ponder what the hell they are thinking. It amazes me that they would rather these rumors surface at a later time, brought up by Richardson’s opponents. The kind of rabid attack that is being launched here against Steve is sure as hell not doing Richardson any favors. Is this going to be his response, an apparent loosing of the attack dogs? Because it is very easy to percieve these attacks as such. Should Richardson choose to remain silent, while a bunch of heretofore unknown posters attack Steve’s motives and character, there are obvious conclusions to be drawn, none of which speak well for Richardson’s character or tactics.

    Reply

  74. Dons Blog says:

    It should probably be Dons Blogs, as I’m currently playing with five. When I finish with politics and the state of the world I open a bottle of wine and starting writing tasting notes, when I’m able.
    It’s a good question and my point wasn’t that the issue shouldn’t be raised. Just whether or not it should be raised the day of his announcement.
    Steve as an idealist would of course feel strongly and raise it quickly. That might be better than waiting until Richardson had been established as the latino icon. Or it might be better to wait, so an apology can be said from strength and not bring down his campaign. This is certainly the election of opportunity, with a Mormon, woman, and person of mixed heritage running.
    I took a stand against “Post-Turtle” Bush, and now wish I had come out sooner and louder. But in many ways I never thought he’d actually get elected. Not with a past record of drug abuse and failure.
    Steve obviously felt strongly about the issue and it is what it is. There is no putting the genie back in the bottle and the next step is left to the governor.
    However it is great to have an open discussion about the issue like this. Thanks for inviting us in Steve.

    Reply

  75. Henk says:

    Damn, the guy just announced like two minutes ago and this kind of crap has already started?
    Excuse my ignorance as to your illustrious career Steve, but if you are a “Progressive” as some here have suggested, I would have to ask what kind of progressive would use this kind of attack on another. After watching Joe Leirbeman in action over the last few years I think I know.
    Steve are you now or have you ever been a member of the DLC?
    Another question would be: have any of these women filed formal complaints? I know it’s a reflective thing for males to protect the “fairer” sex, but quite often, for some odd reason, they see this as condescending. Imagine that. So Steve, again, has any of these women filed a complaint?
    Finally, I wonder what other canditates could be categorized as having an “obsessive flirtation with the White House.” One in particualar comes to mind. What is your relationship to her Steve?

    Reply

  76. El Pocho says:

    Steve thanks for letting us in on this secret…and I’ll bet some of your very best friends are Hispanic!

    Reply

  77. TuiMel says:

    PS: I do not think an analogy between Richardson and Arnold holds up. Being a kick-ass bad boy was part of Arnold’s persona, and for some, part of his appeal. Not so for Richardson, I’d wager.

    Reply

  78. TuiMel says:

    Steve,
    I think your blog is a valuable source of information, and I do not know enough about the talents of Bill Richardson to be a fan of his. In fact, I have been mostly in the “what’s the buzz all about? camp.
    Still your post disturbs me on a couple of levels. (1) I feel that the kind of behavior you describe is inappropriate for a govenor, for a Congressional representative, and for an ambassador of any stripe, but particularly one representing the US at the UN. Why wait until now to pose your questions about it? (2) This question is really an off-shoot from my first question. Are political insiders so blindly ambitious that they would not take a stand against such boorish behavior out of some sense of principal? Does Ms. Denish wish to climb the political ladder so badly that she would not be willing to speak the truth about Richardson?
    I find anonymous sourcing and unretracted inuendo unhelpful and cowardly. Do you really think Bill Richardson is going to ‘fess up and move on? And, I think it almost quaint that you think Govenor Richard might “possibly” view your post as biting. Man, he is going to view it as attempted murder of his political aspirations.
    I understand that the Washington Note is your blog. But, you have an insider’s credibility that typically draws readership. I guess I simply find this post as cheaper than I would expect from you.
    Have your sources go on the record and maybe I’ll change my mind.

    Reply

  79. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks Pinko and Don — you can take me at my word that I am aware of situations that have made women who work closely with Governor Richardson extremely uncomfortable.
    I am not in a position to drag an unwilling commentator into the public, but at the same time, I didn’t have any problem confirming with various others in the media in New Mexico and others who work in government circles that these kind of public behaviors from the Governor occur.
    Richardson sees himself as a larger than life character charging forward like a bull and he seems unaware, according to others, of the negative impact his behavior has caused, particularly the sexually charged behavior such as the “pointing at the crotch” episode which I highlighted.
    As I said, he can categorically deny all of this — and then those who have shared these references with me will have to see whether they want to challenge him publicly.
    I don’t want to support that kind of fight, at least not at the beginning. I want Richardson to clean up his act — deal with his staff respectfully — make a statement explaining some of this — and get back to politicking that removes one of the fundamental concerns about his character and candidacy.
    More later.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  80. Pinko Punko says:

    I think Steve is in a tough position. What I believe is honesty on his part can be perceived as mealy-mouthed by others. If Steve doesn’t add any details whatsoever, it will appear to be a whisper campaign. If he doesn’t give any background about his relations with Richardson (i.e. Bolton), then someone would dig it up eventually and claim it is some sort of payback, yet if he does lay the cards on the table, then he’s accused of “payback” outright. Kind of makes it hard to get to the reality of the situation for the haters.
    My question is that if you read the Washington Note for quite a ways back, are there obvious, yet hidden agendas? I don’t buy it.
    I take Steve at his word.

    Reply

  81. DonS says:

    Just FYI, the Don of DONS blog, ain’t me. (I keep my blog unpublished for the most part because my day job is pretty demanding as it is and, maybe, I’m not as dedicated as you guys).
    Advancing the debate is not always pretty. I’ve been intrigued by Richardson’s vibe but a story I read about one of his diplomatic missions sounded really a bit chaotic; didn’t know quite what to make of it.
    Being aware that scrutiny will come is only common sense.
    Keep the candor coming, Steve. In the end we’re all better off for it, even if it sometimes seems a zero sum game with the thugs getting off easy because of f**king stereotypes and basically owning the media.

    Reply

  82. Steve Clemons says:

    DonS — Thanks for your note. I think I have laid out some of Richardson’s clear bona fides. I think I have in the past on the blog but I need to go back and look — but the problems about his management of staff and his behavior are things I have been exposed to and have known about in various settings for a long time. I know things about other candidates, but those issues are different than this one. I know Hagel’s views on certain matters and not others — and on Richardson, I have a unique perspective compared to many bloggers and writers in Washington because I am interested both in foreign affairs, national security issues (including energy and nukes), and know a lot about and used to work for New Mexico.
    In the end, perhaps I’ll scratch my head and wish I did not post this. I thought about it quite a while — but in the end, I wrote what I did because of my respect for some of the people Bill Richardson has wronged.
    Some he has wronged, knowingly or unknowingly, our outstanding thinkers and workers on behalf of New Mexico. They are classy women who have outstanding political careers ahead — but the New Mexico political environment is not yet mature enough in my view to give them the space to challenge Richardson about this very bad and very crude alleged behavior. Diane Denish is the first to go public — but she wants to be Governor and she backed off a bit, but not that much, about what she publicly said as Lt. Governor about the Governor’s behavior. There may be more.
    So, I don’t work for Republicans — or for rival campaigns — and I don’t have an axe to grind against Richardson. I want him to clean up his act and perform great service for this country, but I don’t want the price tag of that political activity to be our accepting or turning a blind eye to completely inappropriate behavior towards women and others who work for him.
    He should not be outraged by this. He should fix it. He should comment on it and explain it. He should publicly, or privately, apologize to those with whom he works closely — and he should move on and try to capture the imagination of the American public.
    When he does that, perhaps I’ll try to do my part to give those other good aspects of Bill Richardson more of an echo chamber.
    I hope he doesn’t flame out — but he might. Or he might just ignore all of this and move on.
    One can tell a lot by a candidate in the choices he or she makes when stressed about something.
    More later — and thanks to all of those debating this, including those who want to hand me my head.
    As ever,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  83. Steve Clemons says:

    I understand the frustration that some of those angry at this post are venting. I stated clearly that I admire Bill Richardson on numerous fronts. It’s good that Richardson has a strong fan club. You should agitate for him, and it’s appropriate to challenge me.
    The issue is this. I referred to no “drunken escapades”. I referred only to “highly public behavior” in what should be public, professional settings — with quite a number of media around and other professional staff. The question is what does Governor Richardson do in those settings? That is what I am posing. I am making absolutely no reference to private behavior — I am encouraging him to discuss why so many around him believe that his public behavior sometimes ought to “be private.”
    On the question of Jeff Bingaman. No, no one puts me up to anything “Proud New Mexico” — and to my knowledge Jeff and Bill Richardson have a good, productive, long-standing friendship. I know nothing of their relationship than the cosmetics that it appears good.
    I would recommend that those who are riled up by what I wrote — read it again. I am open-minded about this, but those of you who think that there is nothing here need to dig deeper. I have not had a hard time at all getting confirmations from a number of senior level New Mexicans about Bill Richardson’s behavior that combines gregariousness, and to some degree what have characterized as “sexual innuendo” at press conferences.
    Read the quotes I provided above. Some of these people generally forgive Richardson for this behavior or want to look beyond it. But there are some who have been made to feel incredibly uncomfortable about it.
    So for those who are swinging at me, dig a bit deeper. I’m happy to discuss this offline with serious posters as I don’t think all of this should be raging publicly. I think Bill Richardson’s team has probably thought this through.
    If I were them, I’d hold a meeting — get ready to answer the question that if there were women who were uncomfortable with Richardson’s behavior then he was wrong — he should not have created that climate — and then give some response as to why he engaged in that behavior. Is it the political steam he was feeling — or something in the way local politics there is massaged a long, in his perspective anyway?
    I have not gone into private questions about Richardson. There is enough out there about his public performance that generated the material I had and the questions I posted.
    So, dig further — make up your own minds. But I really think that Governor Richardson needs to talk to his staff and team and set right anything that he has been doing that has created a highly uncomfortable atmosphere for some women in his administration.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  84. Dons Blog says:

    Certainly vetting a candidate who will hold such an important position is an important part of the campaign process.
    This is Steve’s blog and I certainly am not one to try and tell someone how to run their lives. But since there is a comment area I’ll throw in my $.02 worth.
    With the long list of candidates and the many possible rumors attached to each one it would seem more balanced to bring up rumors about none or all.
    It would also seem to be a bit more ethical to let someone who has performed some great acts of public service to create a foundation of bona fides before attempting to tear them down.

    Reply

  85. Zathras says:

    I can’t think when one would rather hear about…issues in a Presidential candidate’s background than over a year before the first primaries.
    Personally I see Richardson as a long shot in any event, but you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that in a race in which feminists will be very important and many candidates who agree on most issues will be contending with each other, a matter of personal behavior like this could cripple Richardson’s candidacy unless he clears it up right at the start. Whether “clearing it up” is something he can actually do I don’t know.

    Reply

  86. Proud New Mexico says:

    I’m old enough (barely) to remember Bill Richardson’s first run for Congress in 1982. After that, Bill disappeared to Washington and until he came back to run for Governor, nothing more was heard about him (in my ears) other than that he was doing a swell job inside-the-Beltway.
    Since he’s been back, New Mexico has been electrified with all his ideas. He’s a hands-on fellow (some say to a fault, but I don’t work for the man) and that hass it’s good and bad points. And the rumors has flown through Santa Fe since he arrived that he’s a philanderer and such…
    And yet. I’ve heard this story you repeat heard, along with a lot of others. But they’re all gossip. The Santa Fe Reporter (an out-of-state-owned weekly and a frequent muckraking rag) has refused time and again to run stories about those rumors *because there are no complaints.* In other words, these stories do circulate, but not one person has come forward and filed a complaint, held a press conference, or even filed a lawsuit from behind closed doors.
    I personally have no issue with people in power having affairs (so long as they don’t condem it in public) but even I believe that it can’t just be a fear of reprisals that would keep every woman in a room where this kind of shit went on from running to the press with it. I’d bet money it’s never happened – and until a witness comes forward, perhaps you should call Mary Matlin and get a job shining her shoes.
    So tell us, Steve, “Are you and Jeff Bingaman still sleeping together? Did he put you up to this, out of jealousy that he’ll NEVER get so far?”

    Reply

  87. Pissed Off American says:

    “So Clemons, you got anything to back this up, other than drunken tales told at the bar from someone who knew someone? Anything?? Anything at all???”
    “That’s what I thought.”
    “You can shut the fuck up any time now.”
    Posted by dave??
    Man. And I thought the Republicans were the slimey ones that always attacked the messenger. I guess “Dave” would rather see these rumors crop up in the middle of an expensive and protracted campaign for the Presidency, wielded by some crew of proffessional swiftboaters in the basement of some RNC building somewhere, hacking away at their keyboards.
    Use your brains Dave, would you rather see these rumors surface in the manner Steve surfaced them, or surface as the result of an organized opposition launching a swiftboating campaign?
    By the way, I didn’t see Steve mention anything about “bars” or “drunken tales”. My suggestion to you would be to refrain from accusing Steve of not having anything to “back up” his commentary when you are so obviously prone to posting fantasies of your own.

    Reply

  88. khb says:

    So did you tell Awnald not to run for governor, too?

    Reply

  89. Slothrop says:

    Right. Let’s get started with rumors and hit pieces.

    Reply

  90. Pissed Off American says:

    I don’t understand why Steve is being attacked here for his commentary. If Richardson is acting like a randy monkey towards women around him, I want to know about it. And I surely want to know about it before I invest my support into a candidate’s campaign that quite likely will be derailed by the use of such rumors as grist for a thorough swiftboating by his opponents. I agree with Steve that he has actually done Richardson a service by bringing these rumors into the daylight. Hopefully, Richardson will shed some light on this. If not, he is missing an opportunity to present his side of the story absent the adversarial atmosphere that he will find himself immersed in if he waits until these rumors are the ammunition of his opponents. Steve has made it quite clear here that he realizes there are two sides to every story, and he has graciously offered this forum as a vessel by which Richardson can give the American public his version of events. He will not recieve a more amiable offer in the heat of an active Presidential run. Silence, from Richardson, will not serve him well. He needs to address these rumors head on, in an expedient manner.

    Reply

  91. dave™© says:

    So Clemons, you got anything to back this up, other than drunken tales told at the bar from someone who knew someone? Anything?? Anything at all???
    That’s what I thought.
    You can shut the fuck up any time now.

    Reply

  92. nova silverpill says:

    For a reminder of Richardson’s despicable actions during the Wen Ho Lee case, here’s a transcript of the 60 Minutes interview he gave.
    http://198.170.104.197/60minutestrans.htm
    I urge anyone to actually watch this broadcast. I watched the original broadcast and the re-broadcast and remember at the time being sickened by this man’s actions and hubris.
    …and an encapsulation…
    http://www.quarterly-report.com/human_interest/wen_ho_lee.html
    The man is a scum bag who let an innocent man rot in prison under solitary confinement, just to save political face. He is worthy of our scorn and admonishment. He is unscrupulous – who cares about his alleged sexual transgressions. He leaks government secrets for political expediency. Which puts him in the same company as Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.
    He wants to be the Democratic Party nominee for president? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    Reply

  93. Steven Clemons says:

    BevD — I am a political/policy writer journalist. I worked for three years with the Congressional Delegation from New Mexico. At that time, Richardson was in the House and I was in the Senate. I have maintained by relationships with the State of New Mexico, with the national weapons labs there, the universities, and talented NM policy practitioners and politicians working their way up the ladder. I wrote about this because my proximity to Bill Richardson has been relatively high compared to other commentators. I know about several situations because of comments from people. I know about Lt. Governor Diane Denish’s concerns about Richardson from the media. Though she walked her comments back a bit — she did not retract them, and the concerns remain on the table.
    That is why I wrote what I posed to the Governor today. Thanks for asking.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  94. flounder says:

    Did you ever check out that video of Bush giving Angela Merkel, leader of Germany, a massage that totally creeped her out? Just curious.

    Reply

  95. BevD says:

    If you didn’t witness it, if you think this might not be true, why in the world would you publish it? It isn’t a reflection of concern, it’s a reflection of meanspiritedness and revenge. What is the matter with people in D.C. who think that every rumour, every innuendo, every spiteful comment is grist for the mill, and should never go unmentioned? It is so disheartening.

    Reply

  96. SW says:

    I saw Richardson’s performance up close during the Wen Ho Lee affair and it was not a pretty picture. I have had qualms about his character ever since, even though I like his politics. I have no opinion about the current issue that Steve Raises but I think that for the good of the Democratic Party, now is the time to air this sort of thing because you know damn well that the Rovians are already all over it.

    Reply

  97. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Matt — I’m not really sure how to predict the reaction to any public commentary by Gov. Richardson in contrast to what Arnold did.
    The thing that is very different about the two cases is that — without knowing many of the details of the allegations against Gov. Schwarzenegger — I think that some of those groping allegations were done in private.
    What I am writing about here today is a different kind of behavior — this is activity that allegedly took place in “public settings”, “press conferences”, public meetings…and the like. That is why it is not hard to find people to confirm the “essence” of what I have written. I just spoke a few moments ago to another New Mexico official — just to make sure that my commentary reflects the cases this person has seen and witnessed. I got an affirmative action.
    I was told that in New Mexico — Bill Richardson is the “king” and no one challenges the king without paying a price. That speaks to some of the silence — though most know it is an issue that needs to be addressed. I was also told that I left out more than I included — and that is true.
    I won’t write further about these issues with Richardson unless he wants to address the blog or me directly. I’d even given him the space here to do so if he would like — even if he wanted to really take me on regarding the concerns.
    But my hope is that he and his team have thought this through in advance — and can suggest some context that addresses the concern of some of his employees and political colleagues — and that he can use that as an opportunity to speak of the importance of treating all people — including women — with dignity and respect, particularly when they are professionals in a workplace he ultimately oversees.
    More later.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  98. Matt Browner Hamlin says:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger fessed up to some of his past misbehavior and moved forward successfully. Governor Richardson could do this too.
    Steve, do you think the facts that Schwarzenegger is a Republican and Richardson is a Democrat make their two situations not suitable for comparison? That is, when as the traditional press ever made a Republican’s prominent women problems (Arnold, Giuliani, Gingrich) a defining feature in their coverage? Conversely, wouldn’t you consider misbehavior with women a defining factor used in the Conventional Wisdom understandings of who particular Democrats are (eg Bill Clinton)?
    It’d be great if Richardson could so easily move fast any behavioral problems he has, but I just don’t see it happening.

    Reply

  99. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear rosswords:
    Thanks for your note. I don’t think you are wrong that there is an atmospherics issue here. There are a lot of folks that aren’t comfortable with what I wrote — and it’s on the line for me.
    Washington is a place crowded with overlapping relationships. Earlier today I wrote about Laurie Rubiner, a super talented person in Hillary Clinton’s office. She’s a great friend — but I’m not always on the same page as her boss — and I try to both keep an open mind and yet be truthful about how I see things.
    I said to myself some time ago that if Bill Richardson announced, I felt a need to weigh in. I go to New Mexico frequently and have many friends who work around and for Richardson. Some depend on him for advancement — and just to be square about this, there is a culture of just not raising this sort of issue in NM politics because of the dependency of so many of these followers on “the boss.” That’s the problem.
    Perhaps I should have just kept quiet about this, but I have long been aware of some of Bill Richardson’s less attractive sides — in addition to those that are very impressive.
    I have my foibles too — and things I wish I had not done — but I’m not running for higher office I guess.
    All I can do here is raise something that I don’t think is a small matter and ask Bill Richardson and/or his spokesman, Billy Sparks, to share what I hope they have already planned to deal with this subject. If they have nothing on hand, then I have done them a huge service — because they need to prepare.
    The Bolton matter was one that I didn’t want to raise in retribution. Richardson changed his tune eventually — and he opposed Bolton all along. He just said on TV that he’d get through….and that kind of disregard for what we were doing is a normal thing in politics. His opposition to Bolton was appreciated but his tactical commentary on TV was disruptive to our effort to turn moderate Republicans.
    I mentioned it only because his reaction “don’t bite your friends” was another way of saying “don’t challenge me — behave and I’ll support you too”. That kind of quid pro quo is problematic for me.
    I want to be a gentleman in this encounter — and I’m not beyond rethinking this post….but still, Bill Richardson needs to think this through too.
    best regards — and i do appreciate your honest and sincere admonition on this….
    it’s not a comfortable matter,
    steve clemons

    Reply

  100. Kija says:

    I did not like this post at all. Rumor-mongering is still rumor-mongering when it’s put in question format like this. If you don’t know it’s true, then ask Richardson directly, you have the ability to do that. You should also have asked him for a response to include in this post. This was the worst way to address this question.
    If it’s true, then he should know it would come up, but it should come up with confirmation, not in something that reeks of sleaze and payback

    Reply

  101. rich says:

    Again, it’s admirable to raise the issue in a responsible way that allows it to be addressed responsibly. If Richardson’s a serious candidate, he’s already prepared.
    That said, is the consistency there? Do we ask the same questions or standards of all candidates? Our experinece is, no. Fox on Obama, & the RNC, the Scaifes–they won’t play honorably, either.
    If Richardson’s seriously over the line, as Steve indicates–& it sounds like he’s unaware of workplace boundaries, minimum–then so be it. But if it’s more of the DC Pretense to Primness, more double standard–then targeting Richardson (while remaining mum on other DC players) LOWERS the standards of behavior.
    But can they go any lower? Every reporter who omitted the word “Republican” when speaking of Abrahamoff’s corruption charges, and every Republican who suddenly forgot how to define “impeachment” or “waffling”–they’re not in ANY position, frankly, to take a swipe at Richardson. Not George Will. Not Fareed Zakaria. Not John Harris. etc.
    Certainly Richardson has an obligation to address this. And make good wher he needs to. Certainly the talkingheads and politicos have an obligation to make the distinction between Richardson’s personality and his professional qualifications. Since that boundaries been blurred, he’s got a touch challenge to surmount.

    Reply

  102. Taylor says:

    “Interesting that Steve didn’t bring up Joe Biden’s hair transplants or his plagiarizing of an Irish politicians speech.”
    Neil Kinnock is (still) Welsh.

    Reply

  103. rosswords says:

    Taking revenge? Perhaps an overstatement. But you certainly seemed to make the connection yourself, by linking the two issues in your post. The timing of your post also makes it seem like you’ve been lying in wait to ambush Richardson on his big day.
    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, Steve, because I’ve learned to respect your thoughtfulness and consideration in the years since you began this blog during the first Bolton crusade. But you need to be more sensitive to the atmospherics of a post like this. Even if you know more than you say — and I’m sure you do — it reads like the kind of slime-throwing that has made modern politics so poisonous.

    Reply

  104. nova silverpill says:

    OK, forget all the aforementioned stuff. What about Richardson’s despicable actions and stonewalling vis-a-vis the Wen Ho Lee debacle?
    He is a low, morally suspect character, even without what Steve purports. Next candidate, please.

    Reply

  105. Steve Clemons says:

    Don S and others — I have no interest in political payback. There is much in Bill Richardson to admire, but he also has to speak to the problems that I have suggested in order to be a viable candidate in my book. I hope he decides to communicate in such a way that dispels the concerns of those who have been working with and close to him. He just needs to do it. Full stop.
    For those suggesting I am doing the opposition’s work, that is silly. This is a democracy — and we have a right to pose questions about a wide number of issues. I think that if Bill Richardson was serious about running, then he is prepared to answer the question I posed. Many others will be posing it too.
    In any case, what I wrote in the piece, I mean…I’m willing to step back if he provides some kind of commentary that explains why a number of his female colleagues have had concerns and can explain it away in some manner that makes sense.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  106. DonS says:

    “You’re engaging in character assassination, pure and simple.” says rosswords.
    I think that’s too simplistic, maybe surface is a better word. I believe Steve is, again, putting his cards on the table, and providing a fuller context. He could be accused of payback if he did not provide the wider background. Bolton was a matter that goes to judgment; and maybe a preference for insider governance rather than open processes. I’m not sure there isn’t a connection to the current issue.

    Reply

  107. Richard says:

    Hey Clemons…
    Is it absolutely and categorically true that you had sex with a goat? Not that I am using the cheap (and very worn out) trick of making an accusation via asking a ridiculous question. I didn’t count the number of times Hispanic appeared in this piece but it seemed enough that one might ask: Mr. Clemons do you have a problem with the candidate’s ethnicity?
    Basically Clemons old boy: get the hell out of this country’s political discourse. Fools like you with you “nifty angles” have done nothing but help usher the worst of folks into high office. Take a hike..a breather..sit this one out!!!

    Reply

  108. Hedley Lamarr says:

    This kind of “outing” by a progressive goes against the famous eleventh commandment of Republicans. Let’s not do the other side’s work for them.

    Reply

  109. Jerry says:

    One question Steve: Do you still beat your wife?

    Reply

  110. KnowSomething says:

    Re: Steve’s getting back at Richardson for Bolton
    I’ve heard Steve say this years before the Bolton fight.
    I was thinking of what Steve said just the other day, and wondering if he would discuss it openly on TWN. I commend him for coming right out and doing so, and not piling on Richardson when the chips are down.

    Reply

  111. Steve Clemons says:

    rosswords — appreciate your alternative view, and perhaps you are right. i thought about this for a while, but i know much more about this situation than i have written and think that Gov. Richardson needs to address this concern, which is widespread among people who have worked with him in New Mexico and DC. His Lt. Governor, Diane Denish — a great person who used to head the Democratic Party in New Mexico started this by articulating some of her concerns. She said that her comments were taken out of context — but she did not retract them. She is playing along to some degree in my view as she needs the Governor’s support for her own run for the New Mexico governorship.
    But Diane is not my source for these concerns. There are others — but as I said, if Bill Richardson can address this problem credibly and compellingly, I will certainly applaud that and will try to find ways to emphasize his many good traits.
    But this is not minor. I can’t abide politicians who count on the good will of the public even when terrible things may be going on. We need to ask these questions in this case.
    Regarding Bolton and revenge — you are not correct. I have written about Richardson positively on this blog and was also one of the first to dig into the possibility that Richardson was a possible target of interest by Bolton in the NSA intercepts. I disagreed with Richardson’s comment “dont bite your friend” as a way of saying that Dems and progressives ought not to agitate him if he was over the line. I wrote this before — and have continued to have contact with Richardson’s office.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  112. rosswords says:

    Steve, as a longtime loyal reader, you lost me on this one. It certainly sounds like you’re using gossip to smear someone for not going along with you 100% on Bolton.
    The gossip might be true or it might not, but I think it’s awful to use it to take revenge on someone you’re mad at for unrelated political reasons.
    Shame on you, Steve. You should keep these issues separate. Richardson’s actions on Bolton have nothing to do with his personal behavior, and vice versa. Your protestations about not wanting to “demean or undermine” Richardson don’t ring true. You’re engaging in character assassination, pure and simple.

    Reply

  113. Pissed Off American says:

    Rich, I agree with what you say to a point. Certainly, we can place standards on our representatives that are unrealistic and unattainable. But it just seems to me that we keep lowering the bar, and that the act of lowering the bar has landed us where we are today, with an obscenely corrupt body of politicians that are not held accountable for their actions, more often than not under the mantra of “so what, everyone does it”. Imagine, if you will, what the political scene might be like today if Nixon’s “get out of jail free card” had never of been issued, and he would have died in prison where he damned well belonged. The same goes for the cast of criminals that brought us Iran/Contra. Do you think Bush and his posse of corrupt fanatics would have been so eager to spit on convention and law? I realize that Richardson’s alleged transgressions rumored here are trivial in comparison, but where exactly do we draw the line? Do we excuse Richardson’s alleged lewd and lascivious acts while decrying Foley’s? Do we decry rendition while defending Guantanamo? There is a gut felt reality that most of us possess about right and wrong, and at times it is truly black and white. If the rumors about Richardson are true, his actions were WRONG. Period. Were his actions as SERIOUS as sodomizing a prisoner in the hallways of Abu Ghraib? Of course not. But were his actions just as WRONG? You bet. Wrong enough, anyway, that THIS American does not want him claiming to “represent” me.

    Reply

  114. Alex says:

    Did he do any land deals in Arkansas?

    Reply

  115. rich says:

    Steve’s nuanced post works: Richardson will have to address this head-on, and effectively.
    I’d waited to post this, but I believe a Bill Richardson or Tom Vilsack will FAR better serve the country than the pre-anointed ‘front-runners.’
    It’d crossed my mind that this was a pre-emptive post designed to short-circuit the campaign of the one dark-horse candidate clearly capable of clearing the field of at least a few presumed ‘leaders.’
    I mean what are we doing now, impeaching candidates before they’re sworn in? Before they make a second speech? And yes, that’s a reference to impeaching Clinton based on a lie about a personal matter, not a matter of state.
    I’m DRIVING AT three points: 1) Using one character trait as a stand-in for a fully rounded human being is pretty stupid–and recklessly corrosive. So what if Hillary IS cold or Bush is overly-familiar (him too?). 2) This concern is aplied using a double standard. As Doyle McManus notoriously averred, ‘we’re not going to’ look into Bob Livingston’s sex life–at all, let alone look with an equally sweaty ferver to our view of Bill Clinton’s; and 3) Because of 1 & 2 & recent history, Establishment DC is the WORST possible judge of whether Richardson’s behavior is actually the sin it’s assumed to be; OR fatal to his political fortunes. ((By DC insider=staffer, pundit, press corps, policywonk, politico-and pastor.
    Interesting that Steve didn’t bring up Joe Biden’s hair transplants or his plagiarizing of an Irish politicians speech. Nor Hillary’s various legal travails, deserved or not. This the ONLY time I’ve seen Steve originate charges or scandal against a candidate able to move debate and alter the campaign. Managed to make it sound like he’s doing Richardson a favor, too–which he is.
    I’m the last person to let slide a guy who “makes a constant festive joke out of demeaning women”; one end of of the spectrum.
    Whether Richardson lands nearer to Annoyingly Gregarious than to Bob Packwood can’t be discerned from where any of us are sitting.
    The media sphere & the DC fishbowl are least able to judge the situation is clearly part of the historical record; if not for Dale Bumpers, they’d still be writhing in self-inflicted ingnominy. Add to that the blatant hypocrisy in treatment of Bush’s lies vs. Clinton’s.
    Where a political-social-legal culture (left & right) is too uptight to account for gregarious personalities, regional culture, or full expression by characters–that’s where it needs serious reform.
    You don’t overlook abuse. But Washington’s Pretense to Primness is, and was, bullsh!t. Richardson’s personality has long been well known. He may not be aware that it gets carried too far, that some people have boundaries, that it can be annoying at best and misinterpreted at worst. Steve’s linked article (below) indicates misquotes by the press and that Lt.Gov. Denish merely sees it as the antics of a pest. Would Richardson run if it were more? (he might)
    Still, we need more characters, not more eunuchs. What passes for propriety among our political arbiters in the last 15+ years has cost this country greatly. Better to put away the Scarlet Letters, and Real People be heard, and felt, in the Halls of Power.
    >>>”Asked for examples of quotes being used out of context, Cervini said when Denish described Richardson’s behavior as “annoying,” her full description was “annoying like a little brother or a classmate.”<<<

    Reply

  116. Pissed Off American says:

    Great job! “I don’t know if these nasty rumors are true, but let me spread them again in question form so I can say, ‘They were just questions.'”
    Posted by NaR
    I think you are being overly vindictive here. If these rumors are in fact circulating in Washington, Steve is well within reason to give them the light of day, and query Richardson as to their veracity. You can bet that any political opposition to Richardson will use such rumors to demonize him. It certainly behooves Richardson to address these rumors now rather than doing so in response to an active swiftboating campaign launched by his opposition.
    And if he can’t clear the air? Good riddance. Better now than later.

    Reply

  117. Pissed Off Democrats says:

    And if you’re wondering how 8 years of Bush helped gay issues, please don’t ask, don’t tell.
    Clintonistas apparently found 8 years of Bush worth tolerating if it meant NOT waiting through 8 years of Gore or 8 years of Kerry BEFORE Hillary got her shot. That, dear reader, is the Bible’s truth in Bubbaville.

    Reply

  118. NaR says:

    Great job! “I don’t know if these nasty rumors are true, but let me spread them again in question form so I can say, ‘They were just questions.'”

    Reply

  119. Carroll says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-pinkerton/walter-jones-meets-rudyar_b_39022.html
    I have to go off topic to bring your attention to my congressman Walter Jones, who has introduced HR 14 to keep Bush from attacking Iran without congressional approval.
    Walter is a republican who use to be a democrat like his father before him, and about the time he switched to the repubs I switched to the dems. I still vote for him regardless of the fact that I disagree with him on some issues. I do that because I know that at bottom he is an honest and ethical man and you can reason with a principled man on things you disagree on. He is not a well known politican nationally and is a unassuming person, but when push comes to shove he will stand up and fight, alone, if he has too.
    The one thing I can count on about him is that when he does take a stand, even if I disagree with it, it is not under the cover of bi-partianship to make himself look good or insure the continuation of the two party system or to further any personal ambitions.
    Anyone who wants to support this resolution can call his office at 202-225-3415 or fax him at 202-225-3286.

    Reply

  120. 5th of November says:

    Richardson, Clinton, Obama, Jeb, it does not matter. Unfortunately it took segregationist Governor Wallace to reveal the truth that “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between” Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats willingly went along with the War in Iraq, suspension of Habeas Corpus, detaining protestors, banning books like “America Deceived’ from Amazon, stealing private lands (Kelo decision), warrant-less wiretapping and refusing to investigate 9/11 properly. They are both guilty of treason. Look at the bright side, when we have to vote the Democrats out, we’ll have no choice but to vote for a Third Party.
    Support indy media.
    Last link (before Google Books bends to gov’t Will and drops the title):
    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-38523-0

    Reply

  121. Pissed Off Democrat says:

    Whispered like a true Clintonista. You spend half a monograph summarizing Richardson’s futiliy (regarding past nominations), then smear him anyway with innuendo.
    Oh. But he’d make a great Secretary of State, even with such baggage. OH REALLY? Like John Bolton would make a great ambassador with his?
    Clintonism is SO over, but if Bush is the Bubble Boy reigning over Bushword, he has nothing on Bubbaville and its treacherously delusional Bubbaputians.
    Republicans are salivating.
    They know, as they have since Michael Powell turned the FCC into roadkill, that television is STILL the messenger that guarantees POTUS for the GOP. That while Clintonistas like Clemons subvert or undermine past and present threats to Hillary’s coronation — we’ve always suspected parts of the Clinton apparatus directly or indirectly assisted Bush & co. in 2000 and 2004, particularly those focused on gay rights which found Gore/Kerry less than committed to their issues — they’ve yet to realize campaigns or even “framing” NEVER matter so long as television remains the prime arbiter among millions of unwired or marginally attentive voters.
    Hillary’s run is nothing but a honey trap that will ultimately divide and conquer the life, dollars and viability of a Democratic POTUS.
    Bank on it.

    Reply

  122. Pissed Off American says:

    ”But I wouldn’t run as a Hispanic candidate. I would run as an American, proud to be Hispanic, proud of my heritage. It’s a growing, dynamic community in this country. But I wouldn’t just be focusing on Hispanic issues or trying to get the Hispanic vote,” Richardson said in an interview taped Thursday that aired on ABC’s ”This Week” on Sunday.
    Posted by Carroll
    Well, thats the exact script we could expect to hear him read, is it not? I mean, what else can he say about the issue of hispanic influence on his political decisions, yet still remain politically viable? Ho hum.

    Reply

  123. DonS says:

    Thanks for raising these points Steve.
    I’m not as sanguine as you that, if true, these are curable defects.
    I have a friend who had some Arkansas connections, and we talked back in the ancient days of the ’92 elections. He noted how Bill Clinton had this philanderer rep. An interesting discussion to have on a Fall afternoon in SW Virginia, when I know nothing of Clinton.
    The rest of course is history, and that rep turned out to have been in spades. (An exaggerted peccadillo or just the tip of the iceberg? Who knows). But it didn’t do much good for the county (my own opinion of Bill as politically thuglite wasn’t changed, just my moral sensibility).
    I don’t have the answer, but the issue sure needs to be raised. I’m not perfect. Noone is. But why must outsized talent so often come with such excess of hormone? Or, said another way, why can’t these power possessing beings get over themselves and evolve a bit? Makes all the righteous posturing seem pretty ridiculous, when you know their randy instincts.

    Reply

  124. Carroll says:

    Posted by Pissed Off American at January 21, 2007 12:43 PM
    >>>>>>>>>
    I agree culture has something to with attitudes and may not mean a person’s character is totally defunct. But Richardson has been around long enough to know better.
    However I will uprate him a notch for this statement in the NYT’s today because getting rid of the “hyphen” stuff is a step in the right direction.
    Richardson…
    ”But I wouldn’t run as a Hispanic candidate. I would run as an American, proud to be Hispanic, proud of my heritage. It’s a growing, dynamic community in this country. But I wouldn’t just be focusing on Hispanic issues or trying to get the Hispanic vote,” Richardson said in an interview taped Thursday that aired on ABC’s ”This Week” on Sunday.

    Reply

  125. Pissed Off American says:

    Speaking as a woman…I don’t like it. Aside from whatever it shows about his attitude toward women, it’s course and it’s crude manners wise. I cannot imagine any man I know acting like that. I give him a zero.
    Posted by Carroll
    The person that I employ as a full time apprentice is an attractive woman in her early thirties. Daily, on job sites, she is subjected to stares and leers from the various tradespeople. And the worst offenders are the latino laborers. I say that as a statement of fact, not as an ethnic or racial slur. I honestly believe part of it is cultural upbringing in regards to the status of women. Another part of it, I believe, is the ever present concept of “machisimo” in the latino culture. But irregardless, the cultural factors in no way alleviate the discomfort felt by my apprentice as she attempts to put in an honest day’s work. To imagine a man of Richardson’s station lowering himeself to exhibiting the crass chauvanism of a day laborer’s vulgar leering is not a pretty picture.

    Reply

  126. Wendy says:

    I’m a New Mexican. Richardson would be a great Secretary of State, but a lousy President. Why? Because his interests are not with the average citizen. He’s more a corporate salivator. Ask the middle class or the lower class in NM what they really think…he’s charming and does well on foreign relations, but blows hot air up the skirts of the average New Mexican (we remain at 47th place regarding income and he hasn’t done one thing to begin fixing this area). The only reason he’s done well as Governor is that nobody wants the Republicans in the governors chair. He is also way too cozy with hispanic causes that are more in the area of allowing undocumented aliens into the country without health checks, background checks, etc. He won’t get my vote, but I’ll jump with glee if he is picked to serve in a foreign relations position.

    Reply

  127. Wendy says:

    I’m a New Mexican. Richardson would be a great Secretary of State, but a lousy President. Why? Because his interests are not with the average citizen. He’s more a corporate salivator. Ask the middle class or the lower class in NM what they really think…he’s charming and does well on foreign relations, but blows hot air up the skirts of the average New Mexican (we remain at 47th place regarding income and he hasn’t done one thing to begin fixing this area). The only reason he’s done well as Governor is that nobody wants the Republicans in the governors chair. He is also way too cozy with hispanic causes that are more in the area of allowing undocumented aliens into the country without health checks, background checks, etc. He won’t get my vote, but I’ll jump with glee if he is picked to serve in a foreign relations position.

    Reply

  128. Carroll says:

    Huummm…I didn’t know that about Richardson.
    Speaking as a woman…I don’t like it. Aside from whatever it shows about his attitude toward women, it’s course and it’s crude manners wise. I cannot imagine any man I know acting like that. I give him a zero.

    Reply

  129. Pissed Off American says:

    Nope, no smoothie yet, Steve. But the fixin’s are on on the list.
    All people have flaws, of course. To expect our politicians to be squeeky clean is ludicrous. But the kind of lewd behaviors these rumors attribute to Richardson is beyond mere social impropriety. I suspect that the only feasable political tack he can take is abject denial. To admit to such gestures is to admit to deep flaws in character. And I disagree with your characterization of Arnold’s apparent ability to rise above past behaviors to achieve success. I saw a man that was not in the least sorry for past behaviours, and who was able to lie and weasel himself out of being held to account. His celebrity outshined the truth. Really, its a sad commentary on the current state of America’s moral climate. You would think that we would have the brains to recognize that an individual that exhibits a lack of character in their private or proffessional life has little chance of exhibiting any character in the political arena. Just look at George Bush.

    Reply

  130. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the admonition POA — but I think that if Bill Richardson can explain these concerns and respond to them — he deserves that to be considered. I don’t have the right to bring forward questions like I have and not keep open the possibility that there is more to this than we know. I’m less severe than you — but enjoy your passion.
    Did you get that smoothie together yet?
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  131. Pissed Off American says:

    “But he needs to solve this perceived problem in his political portfolio and address it now. He will possibly see this post as a “biting” one again. But it might just help him as well if he knows that this issue is lurking out there in the minds of many — and he should just come out and put it to rest.”
    “If he does, I’ll be the first to applaud and withdraw my concern. And then I’ll write more about some of the fascinating (and good) wheeling and dealing that Bill Richardson has done for many Americans in real trouble.”
    Oh come on Steve, if in fact Richardson has committed the demeaning and vulgarly chauvanistic actions you describe, it is due to a mindset, a character flaw, that will not be corrected by a simple confession or statement of atonement. You are actually removing the need for accountability by making such statements. If Richardson has in fact made such crude public gestures towards women, he not only needs to step aside from any future political ambitions, he needs to leave the political arena entirely. Such gestures reveal serious character flaws that have no business being possessed by someone proffessing to be a people’s representative. It is time to once again hold our elected officials to a high moral standard, and your stated expectations of how Richardson can redeem himself falls far short of any such standard.

    Reply

  132. David says:

    When personal quirks threaten to undermine otherwise gifted public servants…. Damn, I hope the governor is listening. I imagine Bill Richardson as a badly needed Secretary of State, teamed with Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, both under the ablest Democratic president possible.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *