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Richardson Campaign Ramping Up

Richardson Campaign Ramping UpTufts graduate Bill Richardson is campaigning around the country in an effort to raise his profile in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.27.07] By his own standards, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is just a regular guy. While Richardson’s down-to-earth personality may allow him to relate to voters, it may not be enough to earn their support. That’s often driven by name recognition—something the 2008 presidential candidate is working to increase.

"I'm not a rock star. I'm not known," Richardson told the Arizona Republic during a campaign stop in Phoenix. But the candidate, who became the first Democrat to run television ads in New Hampshire this week, said he isn’t concerned—even with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama leading in recent polls.

"I have a proven track record," he told the newspaper, pointing to his experience working as a U.S. congressman, a United Nations ambassador and head of the Department of Energy. "I'm somebody that's been successful negotiating internationally, getting prisoners out of jails, bringing countries together."

Richardson, who earned an undergraduate degree from Tufts in 1970 and a master’s from The Fletcher School in 1971, is also known as a successful negotiator. In his career, he has secured the release of hostages and political prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, and Cuba, and helped to broker a cease-fire in Darfur, Sudan.

According to the Republic, political analysts view Richardson—the product of a Mexican mother and an American father—as "the first viable Hispanic presidential candidate in U.S. history." Believing that tolerance has grown in America, Richardson agrees.

"America has advanced enormously in terms of its attitudes in the last four years," Richardson told the newspaper. "I don’t think ethnicity and race will be a factor in this election—or gender."

The candidates’qualifications, according to Richardson, will carry the most weight.

"[The voters] want competence. They want results," he said, pointing to his track record as governor. "A lot of people talk about global climate change. I've done it in New Mexico with global climate change initiatives. They talk about creating jobs. Well, you know, I created 4,000 new jobs in New Mexico," Richardson told the Republic. "I can do that as president."

Richardson explained that he’s also equipped to handle the situation in Iraq.

"I know how to get out of Iraq. I know the country. I knew Saddam Hussein," he told the newspaper. Richardson also worked with Mexican President Felipe Calderon during his time as U.S. Secretary of Energy;he is confident in his ability to tackle immigration issues impacting the country’s southern border as well.

" Mexico has to do more to stop the flow of immigration, and that's called diplomacy. And that's called jointly, (the) U.S. and Mexico working together to reduce immigration," he told the newspaper. "But Mexico has to step up."

Expanding on his position, Richardson told the Republic that "border security is essential" and noted that he was the first governor to call for a border emergency. While he said he "caught a lot of grief from Latino groups" for his decision, he defended it.

"I believe my approach is balanced," he explained to the newspaper. "I’m not just a Latino. I am running for president for all Americans."

A leader who can unite the country is what voters are looking for, according to Richardson.

"They want somebody that can bring the country together," he told the Republic. "I believe I'm going to be elected."

 

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