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Richardson Campaign Press Release - Richardson Demonstrates Clear Difference on Experience, Foreign Policy, and Iraq

January 05, 2008

MANCHESTER, NH-- At the ABC News/Facebook debate today, New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson once again demonstrated that he is the only candidate with the foreign policy experience and vision to restore America's standing around the world. Governor Richardson also made it clear that he is the only candidate focused on truly ending the war in Iraq.

Once again, it was apparent that Bill Richardson is the only Democratic Presidential candidate with both a strong foreign policy background and the experience to tackle the domestic problems that President Bush will leave to the next President of the United States.

"In any foreign policy decision, I would use diplomacy first," Richardson said. "That means that the last thing we need in the Muslim world is another action like Iraq which is going to inflame the Muslim world in a horrendous way."

When the other three candidates engaged in a squabble over foreign policy, Governor Richardson called upon his diplomatic expertise to lighten the moment, interjecting, "I have been in hostage negotiations that were a lot more civil." Governor Richardson then went on to clearly explain how the United States should handle the governmental crisis in Pakistan.

"Here is an example of a country which is a potentially failed nation-state with nuclear weapons," Richardson said. "What a President must do is have a foreign policy of principles and realism. With Bush's foreign policy, with regard to Musharraf, we get the worst of all worlds. We have a situation where he has not gone after al-Qaeda in his own country, despite the fact that we have given him over $10 billion.

"Musharraf also severely damaged the constitution. He basically has said that he is the supreme dictator. What I would specifically do as President is to ask Musharraf to step aside. There is a provision in the Pakistani constitution for a caretaker government of technocrats. We need diplomacy. We need a Pakistan with free and fair elections and a concerted effort on the part of Musharraf or whoever is in the leadership in Pakistan to go after the terrorists."

A former U.N. Ambassador and diplomatic troubleshooter, Richardson once again presented his plan to safely pull all of the troops out of Iraq within a year and then bring the warring factions together through tough American-led diplomacy.

"Our current policy on Iraq is a massive failure," Richardson said. "There is no military solution; there is a political solution. Have there been any compromises between the Sunni, the Shia, and the Kurds? Zero. Has there been progress in sharing oil revenues? Zero. Has there been progress with regional elections? Zero. Is the Maliki government intensifying its efforts to train the Iraqi security forces more than they have? No. Is there any end to Iran's efforts to bring terrorist activities to Iraq? No. Including Iran and Syria, no one has participated in a regional solution."

Richardson's foreign policy and domestic experience has been key to his growing support across New Hampshire. Campaign Manager Dave Contarino believes that the format of tonight's debate helped to showcase Governor Richardson's unique experience in both the foreign policy and domestic arenas.

"Americans got to see the four top Democratic candidates clearly define their positions and qualifications, and Bill Richardson was the clear winner tonight," Contarino said. "Bill Richardson is the only Democratic Presidential candidate who has run a state, balanced budgets, raised teacher salaries, provided access to health insurance for every child under twelve, and created jobs. Under his leadership, New Mexico has over 80,000 more jobs, and we have the lowest unemployment since we started keeping records.

"The momentum that we are seeing in New Hampshire demonstrates that the American people want a President who also has the diplomatic experience to protect America's interests around the world. Bill Richardson has faced down tyrants, rescued hostages, and negotiated cease fires. He is ready to lead America."

Bill Richardson, Richardson Campaign Press Release - Richardson Demonstrates Clear Difference on Experience, Foreign Policy, and Iraq Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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