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Richardson Campaign Press Release - Richardson Clear Winner at Final Democratic Debate before Iowa Caucuses

December 13, 2007

Richardson says Iraq is most important issue facing America at Des Moines Register debate

DES MOINES, IA-- At the Des Moines Register debate today, New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson demonstrated that he will be ready to lead from his first day in the Oval Office.

Clearly the most Presidential of the candidates, Richardson turned the conversation back to the most important issue facing America: the war in Iraq. Richardson reiterated his profound commitment to ending the war quickly and safely.

"I am going to focus on one issue because I am concerned about the fact that, in the media and in the last debate, the Iraq war was not discussed," Richardson said. "Somehow we are losing sight that this is the fundamental issue affecting our country. This is not just because we need to come together as a country, as this war has divided us enormously, but also because it is the key to what we do to give health care, our kids, and creating jobs a chance.

"37 American troops died in November. We have over 60,000 of our troops with mental trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, and we have a VA system that is not responding. This is such an urgent, fundamental issue, and I can tell you that as I have gone to every one of the 99 counties in Iowa, this is the number one issue affecting this country and Iowa caucus-goers."

Campaign manager Dave Contarino echoed Richardson's strong stance on the Iraq war.

"Governor Richardson believes that our brave troops have done all that they can in Iraq," campaign manager Dave Contarino said. "There is no military solution to the Iraq war, only a political one. Governor Richardson does not want to see one more American soldier die in the midst of Iraq's civil war. It is past time for our troops to come home. Only in this way can we invest in top domestic priorities such as universal health care and education."

At the debate, Richardson proposed an ambitious agenda for his first year in office.

"In my first year, I would pull all of our troops out of Iraq, leaving no residual forces behind and providing a specific plan for a safe withdrawal," Richardson said. "I would make a major effort to pass universal health care; it will take two or three years to implement. I would announce an energy revolution because I think that reducing our dependence on oil is one of our most urgent priorities.

"Then what I would do is simply say to the American people, as your President, I am going to follow the Constitution of the United States. That means bringing back habeas corpus, not using torture as a tool in our foreign policy, and rejoining the Geneva Conventions. That means no eavesdropping on our own citizens. That means restoring ourselves as a nation that will respect the balance between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. We will be the conscience of the world, not the world's policeman."

Richardson has visited every one of Iowa's 99 counties and has a strong organization in the state. Combined with today's debate performance, he has growing momentum going into the January 3rd caucuses.

Bill Richardson, Richardson Campaign Press Release - Richardson Clear Winner at Final Democratic Debate before Iowa Caucuses Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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