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Bill Richardson: Is it the President's job to solve moral issues?
Bill Richardson is the Governor of New Mexico and former candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Of Hispanic descent, Richardson was born in Pasadena, California, but spent most of his childhood in Mexico City. Richardson graduated from Tufts University, from which he also received a Masters in International Affairs. In 1982, Richardson was elected to the United States House of Representatives. During his time in the House, Richardson focused on foreign affairs as well as on issues of importance to the Native American community. In 1997, Bill Clinton appointed Richardson United States Ambassador to the United Nations; Richardson left that post in 1998 to become Secretary of Energy. Richardson is known for his "shuttle diplomacy" and has been nominated five times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Richardson was first elected the Governor of New Mexico in 2003; he was reelected in 2007 in a landslide, earning 69% of the vote. Richardson is the author of two recent books: the campaign autobiography Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life, and Leading by Example: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution.
Question: Is it the president's job to resolve moral issues?
Well a president should lead. You know you can’t have individual states and individual movements deciding issues affecting the country. A president has to set a tone. And when it comes to abortion, I believe that . . . in a woman’s right to choose. But as president, I would do everything I can to stop unwanted pregnancies – to push for adoption, and sex education, and family planning. But at the same time, when it comes to gay rights, I think we should be a country that honors the fact that we shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation. As a governor in a red state, as I say, which is a conservative state, I had fought . . . I have fought against those that want to discriminate against gays. And I have got the most gay . . . pro-gay, lesbian record in the country. Not because it’s politically popular – actually it’s a very conservative state – but because it’s the right thing to do. I would try to lead in those areas as President. Not impose my will, but take strong moral stands. Those are value stands. You know we should be a nation of values. And values are not just religious values. Other values that we should emphasize is the right to have healthcare; the right for a child to be able to go to school; the right for anybody to pursue the American dream. So I would expand the definition of what constitutes a value.
Recorded on: 11/20/07
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