Bill Richardson: Superman!?


I’ve always respected Bill Richardson‘s diverse public service background and his ability to work out deals with global thugs. But just truth in advertising, I’ve not been supportive of his ambitions to get the keys to the White House.
I would like to see him serve in a senior position in the next government, however. He would add great value.
Yesterday, his comments that the U.S. should simply push Musharraf out of Pakistan’s presidency in the wake of the Bhutto assassination and arrange a new government comprised of technocrats seemed uncharacteristic of him. He’s usually the truth-teller when it comes to the fact that America’s leverage on most tough problems is limited and that it requires a complex, nuanced, strategic approach. I was surprised that in the midst of major Middle East turmoil, Bill Richardson would advocate another round of “regime change.”
All that aside, however, I am a sucker for the email solicitations that have come to me from the campaigns. I liked the “have lunch with Hillary” campaign, which allegedly mimicked the “have dinner with Barack” fundraising effort (according to friends of mine in the Obama campaign).
But I love the line in Bill Richardson’s latest email posted below that came from Richardson campaign director Dave Contarino. There’s a line in there that reads “I’m not sure if the man sleeps.”
I like the sizzle:

Dear Steven,
Right now, this campaign is stretched to the limit.
Over a thousand volunteers are blanketing Iowa and New Hampshire, knocking on doors and trying to get folks to caucus. Campaign staff are working around the clock, talking to the press and handling last-minute contributions.
Now we’ve just got to hit $400,000 by December 31 to back them up. We’ve got to pay for airtime, hotel rooms, meals, door hangers — even gas for the campaign van. So with just 48 hours until the end-of-year deadline, every dollar we raise between now and Monday will count DOUBLE.
I’ve been on the phone all morning, taking calls from more state legislators and leaders who’ve come out to support the Governor. Dozens of high-profile Iowans are already backing Bill Richardson, with many more lined up behind him in New Hampshire — and the calls are still coming!
But no one’s working harder than the Governor. He’s put us all to shame. He’s visited all 99 counties in Iowa. He’s covered over 400 miles in Iowa in just the last few days.
You saw him on MSNBC and CNN yesterday speaking about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Why do the cable news channels turn to Bill Richardson in time of crisis? Because he’s the only candidate on either side who can speak credibly about global issues.
He went from there to deliver a speech on global terrorism, THEN held back-to-back presidential job interviews in Elkader, Anamosa and Tipton. Today’s already packed with a speech on foreign policy, more job interviews, and another slate of house parties.
I’m not sure if the man sleeps.
But this is how he’s going to win it. It’s not about the press. It’s not about the same old news about the “top three.” It’s all literally door-to-door, town meeting, voter-to-voter campaigning now.
Which is why we need you to keep the engine running.
Steven, YOU have the power to determine who will win this nomination. YOU can give Bill Richardson one last, big push to the finish line with $50, $100 or $250. And if you do it now, it will be DOUBLED.
Never forget that Iowa caucus-goers are not going to be told who’s going to win. They don’t care what the polls say. And you and I both know candidates who have surged at the last moment and done very well at the very end.
It’s volatile. 40 percent of Iowa voters are undecided. But I’m seeing the momentum in the crowds. I’m hearing the phones ringing nonstop in our Iowa headquarters.
Bill Richardson’s message is getting through.
Stay with us with $50 or $100 — and let’s blow them away next Thursday!
We’ve spent the last 11 months getting to this point. Everything is in place. And the nomination is within our grasp.
No other candidate can match the Governor. Let’s show them no other supporters can match his, either!
Let’s win this!

I’m sure lots of readers have other political solicitations that have either moved or irritated them — but this is a facinating new era of campaign materials.
Good luck to the Richardson campaign — but I do hope Bill gets some sleep along the way.

— Steve Clemons


2 comments on “Bill Richardson: Superman!?

  1. Nathan says:

    Why Richardson’s remarks got (rightly) skewered and Obama’s August declaration of threatening to invade Pakistan is beyond me.


  2. Tim from Kansas City says:

    I am writing this from Mexico City where I’m staying at a hotel near the old Zona Rosa. Yesterday morning, Friday, Dec. 28, the television monitors in the hotel’s restaurant were tuned to CNN-Latin America. CNN-LA was broadcasting a report on American politicians’ responses to Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. We heard President Bush’s, Senator Clinton’s, Senator Obama’s and Governor Huckabee’s statements; all read with voice-over Spanish translations. Then Governor Bill Richardson appeared live from Des Moines speaking directly in his fluent Spanish. As soon as he came on everyone in the restaurant stopped eating and turned to watch the monitors. After Richardson’s prepared comments, the CNN-Latin American correspondents immediately jumped in with their live questions, which he handled quite well. All the time Governor Richardson spoke there were virtually no conversations going on in the restaurant, everyone was focused only on his comments.
    I,too, am an admirer of Mr. Richardson, but, like Steve, have never regarded his presidential campaign with much seriousness. However, after watching this demonstration of the governor’s true linguistic fluency — and its power to speak directly to the Spanish-speaking peoples of our hemisphere — I am reappraising him. More importantly, I now realize that for any candidate to be an effective world leader in the Twentieth-First Century, he or she must be multi-lingual.
    The era of our mono-lingual parochialism, which was too frequently modeled by our political leaders, must end if we are to thrive as a nation in this new century. (I am not a political supporter of President Bush, but I acknowledge he is one of the few American Presidents who could converse in a second language. I only wish he would use his Spanish more frequently.)
    So my questions for each of these candidates: Besides English, what other languages do you speak? If you’re English-only, how are you going to remedy such a short-coming?


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