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Richardson Campaign Press Release - Governor Richardson Proves Most Experienced Candidate of Change in Foreign Affairs at DNC Debate

October 30, 2007

Hostage rescued from Iraq by Richardson appears at debate

PHILADELPHIA, PA-- New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson discussed his extensive experience in negotiating with foreign leaders at the DNC-sanctioned NBC/MSNBC Presidential Debate tonight.

When asked about how he would negotiate with Iran, Governor Richardson responded: "Even more of a threat than nuclear weapons is a loose nuclear weapon crossing the border. What we need is an international agreement. The key has to be diplomacy. In the fourth row, there is a man named Bill Barloon whom I rescued from an Iraqi prison in Abu Ghraib. It is going to take leadership, diplomacy, and negotiation. I went head-to-head with Saddam Hussein and brought two Americans out-- Bill is one. The greatest words I heard after I got him out were "thank you." Then I said, "I am taking you home." That is diplomacy. That means talking to Iran, Syria, and North Korea. I have done it all my life as a diplomat, as a U.S. ambassador, as a special envoy, and as a hostage negotiator. I have the most international experience. I have gone head-to-head with the North Koreans. We recently got back six remains of our soldiers. We got the North Koreans to stop their nuclear reactor. I believe it is important that we have a leader not just who can bring people together, but also can resolve some of the thorniest problems we have."

Richardson's campaign is currently running an ad, "Only One," that details a hostage situation in Iraq that then-Congressman Richardson was called upon to defuse. In the sixty-second spot, Bill Barloon, the late David Daliberti, and his wife Kathy Daliberti praise Richardson for obtaining the release of the two men from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in July 1995.

See the ad and background materials here:

During a discussion about his qualifications to be the next President, Governor Richardson discussed his differences with the other candidates on the important issues facing our country.

"We need to get all of our troops out of Iraq," Richardson said. "I would get rid of No Child Left Behind. I believe we need to focus on the future. Look, the reality on the electability issue is that the last Senator who was elected President was 40 years ago. His name was John F. Kennedy. We elect Governors as Presidents. Seven out of the last eight have been either Governors or ex-Governors. My view is that I know how to bring people together. More important than all of the issues that we are talking about is: Who can govern? Who can manage? I am the only CEO in this race. I have balanced budgets. I have provided health care to kids under twelve. I have improved education. I have foreign policy experience. I have negotiated with foreign countries as a diplomat and as a hostage negotiator."

On the topic of energy, Governor Richardson showed that he has the most comprehensive and specific plan to address the issue of energy in the United States.

"We need an energy revolution that does the following: reduces the consumption of fossil fuels and establishes fuel efficiency standards of 50 miles per gallon," Richardson said. "Of all the electricity in America, have at least 30% produced from renewable sources. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and by 30% by 2020. We need a cap and trade system. We have to ask the American people to sacrifice a little bit. What does that mean? That means: When we use appliances, mass transit, or air conditioning, we all should come together to reduce this dependency on foreign oil that affects our national security. When 65% of your oil is imported, when the planet is polluted by fossil fuels and manmade pollution, we need American leadership and Presidential leadership to create an energy revolution."

As the only major Presidential candidate to make education a key issue on the campaign trail, Governor Richardson made his position clear.

"Compared to countries like China and India, there is a competitiveness gap here," Richardson said. "I would have 100,000 new science and math teachers. We have to pay our teachers what they deserve: a national average starting salary of $40,000 per year. I will get rid of No Child Left Behind. I would have science and math academies. We need to build into the high school curriculum more language and arts to provoke creativity in science and math."

Bill Richardson, Richardson Campaign Press Release - Governor Richardson Proves Most Experienced Candidate of Change in Foreign Affairs at DNC Debate Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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