Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's Time For Some Answers

In an e-mail to supporters today, Governor Richardson called out his fellow Democratic candidates on how many troops they'd leave behind in Iraq and for how long.

All the major Democratic candidates say they are eager to end this war, and they all say they don’t believe there is a military solution in Iraq. Why, then, do they maintain that we must leave an indefinite number of troops behind for an indeterminate amount of time to work hopelessly towards a military solution everyone says doesn’t exist?

It is time to get a straight answer from all the other candidates: how many troops would you leave behind? For how long?

Bill Richardson's position has been clear and strong: No troops left behind. None, zero, zip, zilch, nada. Not one residual troop left in Iraq.

Markos just wants the other Democrats to answer the damn question already.

"How many troops will you leave behind in Iraq."

Anything above the security detail for the US embassy in Baghdad (all U.S. embassies in the world have Marine guards) is one troop too many. You want advisors to train Iraqi troops, you want a strike force to hit terrorist camps and whatnot, stick them over the horizon in Kuwait.

But if nothing else, can we please just get a clear answer to that damn question?

Over at Open Left, Chris Bowers shows his disdain for candidates who dodge this serious question.

I applaud Richardson's efforts on this front, just as I applauded MSNBC when they attempted to get straight answers from candidates on how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq if they become President. However, if my experience on this front is any indication, even if this question is asked at the Univision debate, in all likelihood no one except Richardson and Biden will answer the question (Kucinich and Gravel might, since it is hard to predict what they do). The question will be labeled hypothetical, and the response will be that they will listen to the commanders on the ground. And then, the debate will move on to the next question.

The more I think about this dodge from Clinton, Obama, and Edwards on how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq, the angrier I become. Why is an inquiry into how many troops they intend to leave in Iraq a hypothetical question not worthy of an answer, but inquiries into how much their health care plans will reduce the cost of insurance premiums a hypoethical question worthy of prominently displaying an answer to on your website?

And Jerome Armstrong of MyDD has previously said of Governor Richardson's plans for Iraq:

I think Richardson, more and more, is showing the strongest voice on getting out of Iraq, and unlike Clinton or Edwards, Obama is not going to be able to shut down Richardson's move to his left, based on the 2002 vote.

So sign the petition and demand that the other Democratic candidates stand up and unequivocally state their position on how many troops they'll leave in Iraq and for how long.

We've always known where Bill Richardson stands. Where do the others stand?

Bill Richardson Calls For Congressional Fortitude on Iraq

With reports that President George W. Bush will request an additional $50 million in funding for the war in Iraq, Bill Richardson issued the following statement:

"The only appropriation Congress should pass for this war is funding for a safe and quick withdrawal. This Congress was elected to end the war in Iraq. They need to stand up to President Bush and do the job. This is an issue where leadership means no compromises. It took us too many years and far too many lives to end the war in Vietnam, and we cannot repeat that mistake.

"Congress should use every power at its disposal to end this war, including de-authorization and refusing to fund the war beyond what is necessary for the safe redeployment of our troops.

"George Bush should show less concern about his legacy and pay more attention to the lives of our men and women in harm’s way. The best way to support our troops is to get them all out of Iraq as soon as it can safely be accomplished.

"This administration miscalculated the intelligence before the war, mismanaged the war itself, bungled the surge, and now has the audacity to ask Congress for more funding to continue this tragic misadventure. The answer should be a resounding no." [emphasis mine]
In other words, deauthorize the war and get all of the troops out ASAP. No compromises, no games, straight to the point.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Richardson Gets Some Love on Iraq

Of the top four Democratic Presidential candidates, Bill Richardson has the strongest plan, calling for ending the war now (he's been calling for that for months) and leaving no residual troops. But, as Chris Weigant notices, Bill Richardson is also the candidate most willing to share details of his plan.

Bill Richardson is one of the most consistent voices in the Democratic campaign on Iraq. He not only wants to begin withdrawing troops, he wants them all out in six months. All of them. This is significant because many of the other candidates refuse to give an honest answer to the question: How many troops would you leave behind, and for how long? Richardson does so admirably.

He lays out his 7 point plan on his website, in an attempt to answer every question about how exactly we should get out of Iraq. This is also significant, because many of the candidates' websites are severely lacking in details, instead merely hitting broad generalities. Richardson tells you exactly what he wants to do on Iraq, in enough detail to answer your questions but not with so much minutiæ that your eyes glaze over. He seems to have struck a perfect balance on how to address the issue.

After 6+ years of government operating in secret, you'd think that Democratic candidates would be eager to share their plans for a new direction for American foreign policy. I'm saying that Richardson's rivals are hiding something, but perhaps they're not forthcoming because none of them has the foreign policy chops that Richardson has and it would show if they released a detailed plan.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Richardson Fights Cancer, Promotes Health Care at Forum

As someone who has had 1 aunt, 1 uncle, 2 grandfathers, 1 great-uncle, and 1 cousin die of cancer, and another cousin currently suffering from the disease, I was happy to see Governor Richardson take part in Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Presidential forum yesterday.

There's no way around it: cancer sucks. We all know someone who has been affected by this disease and we need a federal government committed to research for a cure.

Here is the video of Governor Richardson at the LIVESTRONG forum.

Mi Familia Con Richardson

Last week Governor Richardson launched his new national grassroots Latino outreach program: Mi Familia Con Richardson.

Here are two old friends from Los Angeles (I worked with both of them at L.A. City Council), Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes and Senator Alex Padilla talking about their involvement in Mi Familia.

First up is Felipe, the newest member of the California State Assembly.

And next is Alex, who when I knew him was the youngest Council President in city history.

Para español venga aqui y aqui.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bill Richardson's Plan for Jobs and the Economy

Today, Governor Bill Richardson outlined his plan for the future of American jobs and the economy on day three of his six day trip to Iowa.

You can find the text of the speech, entitled Creating a New American Century of Prosperity, here.

Here are some of the highlights of the plan:

  • Fiscal Responsibility -- Ending the war in Iraq and eliminating wasteful spending at home. Governor Richardson believes that fiscal responsibility begins with getting all of our troops out of Iraq - leaving NO residual forces behind. He will repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and slash Congressional earmarks and corporate welfare. Using this money, a Richardson Administration will:
    1. Eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax that squeezes the middle class;
    2. Establish a Rural Jobs Tax Credit for employers in less populous areas;
    3. Reward companies that pay workers above the prevailing wage with a tax credit; and
    4. Promote Green Jobs in renewable energy to help transform America into a"Clean Energy Nation."
  • Technology and Innovation -- Promoting research and development and improving educational opportunities in math and science. Governor Richardson knows that America's future depends on investing in technology and education. As President, Richardson will:
    1. Foster investment in new technology by doubling and making permanent the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit;
    2. Establish a federal Angel Investor Tax Credit to promote investment in hi-tech industries;
    3. Develop innovation through regional Innovation Summits that unite disparate groups to spark the economy;
    4. Hire 100,000 new math and science teachers to increase our children's competitiveness;
    5. Build 250 Math, Science, and Innovation Academies by 2012 to train the next generation of American scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and teachers.
  • Investing in the American Workforce -- Protecting our most valuable asset, the American people. As he did as Governor of New Mexico, President Bill Richardson will support the businesses and workers that are key to American prosperity. Richardson will:
    1. Index the minimum wage to inflation;
    2. Offer rebates to businesses for hiring economically underprivileged high school and college students;
    3. Bolster America's economy and infrastructure by creating incentives for green building; and
    4. Protect the rights of workers by defending the practice of collective bargaining and supporting the Employee Free Choice Act.

I also posted recently about Governor Richardson's strong record of standing up for working families, and how his economic policies have turned New Mexico around.

As President, Bill Richardson will bring those who aren't the richest 1% back to the table.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Here is Governor Richardson's latest ad which touts his experience in turning round the New Mexico economy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Richardson Health Care Plan Detailed in Quad City Times

Governor Richardson outlined some details of his health care plan in a column in this morning's Quad City Times.

My plan is a common-sense approach that builds upon existing systems, offers well-established coverage options, and provides Americans with choices of affordable care:

1. Working families and small businesses will be able to purchase the same coverage available to the president and members of Congress.

2. We will allow Americans 55 to 64 to buy in to Medicare.

3. We will strengthen the Veterans Administration and create a Heroes Health Card to provide veterans with high-quality care, without bureaucratic hassles.

4. We will enable dependent young adults to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 25, reducing their costs and increasing coverage.

5. Families who want to keep their current health insurance will have the freedom to do so.

6. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

My plan also keeps coverage affordable:

-- A sliding scale tax credit will help families obtain coverage.

-- My plan will cap interest charges on personal credit card medical debt.

-- As with auto insurance, all Americans will be required to have health coverage and employers will pay their fair share of employee health-care costs.

-- We will control costs by streamlining administration, implementing electronic medical records and simplifying hospital regulation.

-- We will also emphasize preventive care and healthier lifestyle choices. In my state we improved the rate of fully immunized children, took junk food out of schools and put physical education back in. Investments in preventive care will create a healthier America and save billions of dollars.

I'll post more on the Richardson health care plan later, as more details emerge.

Richardson to Unveil Universal Health Care Plan Today

In just a couple of hours, Governor Richardson will be unveiling his universal health care plan in a speech before the Iowa Professional Firefighters Local 15 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

"My plan focuses on guaranteeing universal coverage, keeping down the cost of care for all, and improving care in general. My plan provides affordable health coverage choices to every American, without raising taxes," said Governor Richardson. "I am excited to share my plan for universal healthcare -- I am confident it is the best plan for our nation's future."

Here is an executive summary of the Richardson health care plan as presented at Richardson for President. Stay tuned for more details on Governor Richardson's plan as they get released today.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Governor Richardson on Homeland Security

Here is Governor Richardson talking about Homeland Security at the Yearly Kos Candidates Forum on August 3.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Yearly Kos Update: Governor Richardson Arrives

Governor Richardson has arrived at the McCormick Center. As far as I can tell he's the first candidate here. After giving a TV interview, the Governor is doing what he does best: meeting the people. He's currently in the ballroom shaking hands and meeting the 1500 or so Yearly Kos convention-goers.

It should be to his advantage to be here early, because Governor Richardson gets a chance to mix and mingle with the progressive blogosphere, and not just fly in and fly out. By showing up early, Governor Richardson is showing how much he values conversation with the netroots and is willing to engage in the 2-way conversation.

More later...

Yearly Kos Update

It's an exciting day here at Yearly Kos. Around 1pm the Democratic presidential candidates (with the exception of Senator Biden) will be here to participate in a forum. Governor Richardson is already in town, coming in from Iowa last night.

In talking with people in other exhibit booths and fellow Kossacks, there seems to be a lot of interest in Governor Richardson. People appreciate how the Governor actually listens when you're talking to him and how he understands retail politics. The bottom line is that people just want a candidate to listen to them. Governor Richardson wins with people because he's open to meeting anyone, anytime and having a two-way conversation.

In addition to our booth here at Yearly Kos, the other candidates have their booths. It's interesting to note that the Edwards campaign booth is filled with inflatable furniture, but doesn't appear to be staffed. We've heard comments about people not being happy that Edwards staff isn't around to staff the booth.

I'm planning to live blog the presidential forum here, and following that session, Governor Richardson will be hosting a break-out session where he talks about his plan for Iraq and his experiences dealing with the bad guys of the world. It promises to be a great session. We've even had people telling us that Governor Richardson's session is completely full and asking if we sneak them in.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Live from Yearly Kos

I'm sitting here with Cara Valente-Compton in the Richardson for President booth at Yearly Kos. It's a constant flow of people who are seeking more information about the campaign and checking out the other vendors and campaigns.

So far it's been really positive, with new people signing up at Richardson for President, and picking up flyers with information on Governor Richardson's positions on various issues, as well as walking away with their Richardson swag.

Governor Richardson will be here tomorrow to participate in a forum with the other Democratic candidates, and then will have a breakout session which Emmett wrote about earlier.

I'll post more later, so watch for the updates.