Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson says he believes his Hispanic heritage will be a key asset as he attempts to distinguish himself from other candidates in the 2008 election.
"It will provide, hopefully, a base of support. Hispanic votes are very important in the early primary states, like Nevada," Richardson said on Saturday. "Naturally, I am campaigning hard to get Hispanic support. But I am not running as the Hispanic candidate. I am running as a mainstream American candidate who happens to be Hispanic."
The New Mexico governor -- who also is a former ambassador, Cabinet member, and congressman -- spoke before his speech on Saturday night at a Broward County Democrats' dinner.
The Broward County Democratic Party chairman, Mitch Ceasar, said Richardson's heritage is one of two important growth targets for the party.
The other is that he is from a Western state once considered solidly Republican.
"The challenge will be for him to show not just that he's the Hispanic candidate, but that he can mobilize that base," Ceasar said. "His ability to do that will be measured and considered by all candidates in the future."
Joe Garcia, executive vice president of the nonprofit NDN Network, formerly known as the New Democratic Network, said Richardson is "what the new Democratic Party will look like" as it works to attract Hispanics and make inroads in the West.
"I think he offers tremendous opportunity for the growth of the party in areas where the party needs to grow," the Miami activist said.
Richardson's father was an international banker from Boston and his mother was Mexican. Richardson settled in New Mexico after several years as a Washington staffer, partly because of the state's large Hispanic population.
His main problem in the 2008 campaign is that he trails the top-tier candidates -- New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Illinois Senator Barack Obama and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards -- in name recognition and fundraising.
Richardson does have a strong resume that includes stints as US ambassador to the UN, energy secretary, congressman and twice-elected New Mexico governor.
Richardson said this broad experience is unmatched by any of his rivals and said his campaign is based on selling that resume to voters.
"When the American people see my record and my experience, they will know I'm not just a candidate who talks the talk, I've walked the walk. I've done things this country needs," Richardson said. "I may not have the most resources or the rock-star status, but I think this should be an election about competence and vision for the country."
In his speech to about 700 Broward Democrats, Richardson called for US troops to leave Iraq by the end of 2007 and said he is uniquely qualified to help broker a workable power-sharing arrangement among the competing factions in Iraq.
"The next president must be able to repair the damage that's been done to our national reputation," Richardson said. "It is time for our troops to leave with honor."
Also, Richardson, who has visited North Korea several times for talks, both in an official and unofficial capacity, said the recent tentative agreement with the communist government over its nuclear program illustrates that "diplomacy can work even with the most unsavory of regimes."
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big