Richardson outlines specific strategies on Iraq, homeland security, and reducing the US budget deficit
CHICAGO, IL -- Distinguishing himself from all the other major Democratic candidates, Governor Bill Richardson, former UN Ambassador and diplomatic trouble-shooter, said that the United States must remove all its troops from Iraq to provide a real chance for peace and stability in Iraq. The position of the other candidates, leaving troops behind, continues the American occupation and reduces the likelihood of other countries' positive involvement in bringing lasting peace to Iraq. The Governor appeared along with six other Democratic candidates in Chicago at a debate sponsored by YearlyKos, an annual conference for bloggers.
After other candidates gave general speeches about the Bush administration's failed Iraq policy, Governor Richardson got to the point with his specific, no-nonsense strategy.
"I have a one-point plan. Get out of Iraq, and leave no residual troops," said Governor Richardson. "Only then can the real process of diplomacy begin. Approximately 100 Americans are dying per month -- our troops are targets. We must get out, and there must be a regional reconciliation conference and a rebuilding conference."
On domestic policy Governor Richardson, the only candidate with executive experience, indicated that he has already balanced five budgets and believes that our nation's astronomical foreign deficit is a threat to our future.
"We need to spend the $450 billion we're spending on the Iraq War on top priorities here at home -- healthcare, building energy independence, and education. We need a constitutional amendment to balance the budget and give the President the line item veto. We need pay as you go policies and if you cut a tax, you pay for it. We need to end corporate welfare, and we need to reduce earmarks. I have experience balancing budgets and I know the fiscal responsibility and effort that's required."
Governor Richardson also said that as President he will restructure the Department of Homeland Security to react promptly and effectively to disasters and to better serve the American people.
"First I will only appoint people who actually know what they're doing," said the Governor. "I would also take FEMA out of homeland security and put it under the President." The Governor also said American foreign policy plays an important role in making the country secure, and the US must take action to restore our standing in the world.
"We must again become the country that respects human rights. We must close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, we must reinstitute habeas corpus, and we must end our policies of torture."
Sunday Governor Richardson will be campaigning in Iowa. Tuesday he will return to Chicago for a Presidential forum sponsored by the AFL-CIO.