Bill Richardson: Should Iowa and New Hampshire stay at the head of the primary schedule?
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: Should Iowa and New Hampshire stay at the head of the primary schedule?
Bill Richardson: Yes I do. And you know why? Because I’ve been through Iowa and New Hampshire. And the way the Iowans and New Hampshirans ask questions, they look into your soul. They ask policy questions. They’ve been through it before. They know that their vote counts, so they take this job of selecting candidates very seriously. You know at first – I’ll be honest – I thought that, “Geez, how am I gonna do? A Hispanic from New Mexico in states that are very Anglo.” So when they brought into the early primaries Nevada – which has a Hispanic population – and South Carolina an African-American population, I thought it would be healthier that diversity would come into the first four states. But I have found – and I mean this sincerely – that Iowa and New Hampshire respect diversity; that Iowa and New Hampshire having been through the whole process before, and having valued grass roots campaigning . . . and the fact that Iowa and New Hampshire like to upset the apple cart; like underdogs; are not swayed by the national media telling them who’s gonna win or who’s ahead; it’s made it into a very healthy process. And I believe that I’m getting an even shot in Iowa and New Hampshire even though I don’t have the resources, or the glamour, or the political pedigree of some of the other candidates. And you know who I’m talking about.
Recorded on: 11/20/07
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