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Introducing Governor Bill Richardson to Iowa City

Nicholas Johnson

August 2, 2007


My name is Nicholas Johnson and I'm not running for president.

Governor Bill Richardson is a candidate who is, as we say, "right on the issues." Take a look at his seven-point plan for Iraq and his health care proposals, what he has to say about energy and the environment, civil liberties and education, immigration and foreign policy -- and the economy.

I mean really, read what he's had to say. It's all on his Web site, BillRichardsonForPresident.com. In the areas I know about his positions represent the best thinking of those who know what they're talking about. These are humanistic, progressive and pragmatic -- approaches to our challenges. Richardson will be a president who won't embarrass you with his domestic programs. A president you won't have to apologize for when you travel abroad. A president you can be proud of.

Only two months ago tonight, in Cedar Rapids, I met Governor and Barbara Richardson. While he worked the room I interviewed his wife.

She and the Governor have been married for 35 years; a significant accomplishment for political couple.

I concluded my blog entry on the event: "She's bright, charming, accomplished, down-to-earth, relaxed, with an infectious smile and sense of humor and, oh yeah, that guy she was with is not too shabby either."

This is not just my judgment.

David Broder, Washington Post columnist, and dean of the political pack, has written that Governor Richardson is "The liveliest . . . in the large field of Democratic [candidates] and -- not coincidentally -- the likeliest to break through into the top ranks of his party . . ..

If you've seen his commercials you know that no other candidate comes close to the experience he's had preparing him for the presidency.
 
As Congressman Richardson, he served on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, was elected by his colleagues as Chief Deputy Whip, and in the 103rd Congress introduced 56 bills, 17 of which became law.

And call me naive, but I think someone who can successfully negotiate with Saddam Hussein, North Korean generals, Burmese military leaders, Fidel Castro, and get a fragile cease fire in Darfur you know he might even be able to make some progress with Republicans!

Nor has the international role of this former UN Ambassador ended. As recently as last September he successfully negotiated the release of American Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Sal-o-pek from the Sudan -- Sudan, where he had earlier negotiated the release of Red Cross workers. That effort in Darfur was January this year. As recently as April he was discussing nuclear disarmament in North Korea.

You know about his four nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, and his popularity with diplomats during his successful tour as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. What you might have missed is that he was the favorite of the UN workers as a result of his practice of eating with them in the workers' cafeteria.

Much of his solid knowledge regarding energy and global warming comes from his experience as a Cabinet officer, Secretary of Energy.

But as impressive as is his long trail of accomplishments, the most important item in his "Presidential Job Interview" application for me is his time as governor.

And I don't just mean his creation of 80,000 jobs, the $100 million he invested in need-based college scholarships, the improvements in K-12 education and children's health.

I mean simply the experience of being governor. Senators make speeches. Some are inspiring, some are boring, all are speeches. Governors do what presidents do. They govern. They administer, they manage, they have to balance budgets (as this Governor has done five years running), and they have to be able to work with everyone.

Governor Richardson was most recently re-elected with 70% of the vote -- including 40% of all Republican voters. It's the best training program we have for the presidency. And he's the only Democrat in the running who's proved himself in that arena.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great privilege to introduce to you the man whom David Broder says is the likeliest to break through to the top ranks of his party, a man who has visited more Iowa counties in the last three weeks than Senator Grassley gets to in a year, a man who is about to demonstrate to you why you're going to end up caucusing for him next January -- Governor Bill Richardson.