New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is on the rise from the second tier in the Democratic presidential race and former Sen. John Edwards is closing in on Barack Obama as front-runner Hillary Clinton’s strongest challenger.
That’s how I saw it in Monday’s dramatic new-age debate, televised by CNN with questions from ordinary citizens on YouTube. It’s an exciting format, with some questions offbeat and clever, others heartbreaking and poignant. And it brought out the best in Richardson. . .
The governor, who wants to be the first Hispanic president, appeared strong, empathetic and decisive as he addressed issues from the Iraq war and genocide in Darfur to No Child Left Behind.He really was terrific in Monday's debate. I especially appreciated the Governor's answer to the question about same sex marriage. Instead of saying he is torn on the issue or that he thinks marriage is only between a man and a woman, he said he wants to accomplish what can be accomplished. That is, he wants to work towards civil unions, domestic partnership benefits, and anti-discrimination. Good answer!
Answering a moving plea for help from a woman in a Darfur refugee camp, Richardson said he had visited it, seen the desperation and pain there. He asserted passionately, “The answer here is caring about Africa” - about AIDS and poverty and massacres. He said the U.S. must do much more to pressure other nations in Africa and beyond for a more effective U.N. presence in Darfur.
Richardson doesn’t mince words. Asked whether No Child Left Behind (though many have been, in a badly run, underfunded effort) should be revised or scrapped, he quickly replied, “Scrap it!” It was badly conceived, he said, especially in its insistence on penalties for underperforming schools. “If a school isn’t doing well, we should help it,” he said.
Now for the ad... Many Mainers are veterans. I don't know the statistics off hand, but I am sure we are among the higher percentages of veterans in the country. As such, we are interested in how our service members are treated. I urge everyone to look at Richardson's new ad "Heroes"