Saturday, November 1, 2008

Governor Bill Richardson Gives us "The Word."

After voting in Santa Fe on Thursday, Governor Bill Richardson is back on the road campaigning for Barack Obama.

Traveling in Nevada today, Gov. Richardson called us just after noon. It's the last day of early voting in New Mexico and he's urging voters to get to the polls today. Richardson, who believes the Presidential race is tightening, says no one should be taking anything for granted.

He also said he's confident NM Secretary of State Mary Herrera, and all 33 county clerks are ready for a big turnout on Tuesday.

We asked him about his gaffe on KOA radio in Denver yesterday and he simply says that while he was campaigning in Charlottesville, Virginia (read more about his travel schedule here) when, "I just made a mistake. I've said before that anyone making under $250,000 a year would get a tax cut." He said, he expected the Republicans to jump on it, but that it's ridiculous and a last ditch effort."

Richardson, who announced his own presidential campaign on May 21st in Los Angeles, California, agreed with us that presidential campaigns in the United States are too long. He recommends the country set a time-limit, similar to most European countries and address public financing.

We wanted to get some insight into Barack Obama the man. Governor Richardson told us, "he has sound values and listens to everyone, including the student and even the janitor backstage at a debate. He's really brilliant. Kind of a quiet elegance."

Meanwhile, the governor is also urging voters in three counties, Bernalillo, Valencia and Sandoval, to support the Regional Transit Tax Measure and a constitutional amendment giving power to the governor to appoint a replacement Lt. Governor. Currently the state's constitution is silent on the issue. It may be needed by January if Richardson accepts a cabinet role in a Barack Obama administration.

He told me he's having fun on the campaign trail, but that he and Senator Barack Obama have not addressed a role for him in a possible democratic administration.

"I anticipate being governor for two more years," Richardson said. "I love my job, but you never preclude anything."

Richardson believes Obama will be successful in the West, despite new attacks by Republicans who are challenging Obama's agriculture positions in Iowa and other rural states.

During a conference call on Friday Republican Iowa Senator Sen. Grassley said, "Obama doesn't have a very good foundation. It's ludicrous to blame farmers for obesity and pollution."

Richardson says the attacks are a last ditch effort by the GOP who he says "sense the election is slipping away from them."

"I've run two state-wide campaigns and understand rural New Mexican farmers," said Richardson. "Obama understands the family farmer, advocates family farm subsidies, and supports conservation measures in the new farm bill."

Richardson also told us he's preparing for next year's legislature and says recent revenue shortfalls are a setback, and that they're taking some steps to curb spending now.

The governor said, "I'm still determined to offer health care solutions to every New Mexicans."

Despite a 7th trip to the state by John McCain tomorrow in Roswell, the governor says he doesn't expect another visit by Obama.

Hmm.. Perhaps the Illinois Senator will take us up on our offer of a brief 5-minute telephone interview.

Photos by: MG Bralley

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