Richardson Gets Endorsements, Writes Book, Touches the Voters

After having his campaign derailed by poor showings on Meet the Press and the last debate, Bill Richardson is trying hard to remain in the race. He has hit ten percent in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire and has received a round of endorsements from Congressman Mike Doyle (Pennsylvania), Congressman Solomon Ortiz (Texas), Congressman Gene Green (Texas), and Congressman Silvestre Reyes (Texas).

Richardson also joins Al Gore and John Kerry in writing books on the environment and energy. His book, LEADING BY EXAMPLE: How We Can Inspire an Energy and Security Revolution, will be published in November. If This Be Treason reports:

The six-figure book deal was made by with agent Rafe Sagalyn, for world rights, with Eric Nelson, a Senior Editor at Wiley. Richardson decided to write the book when he realized that the various solutions on the table from politicians, diplomats, pundits, or industry leaders were not bold enough or comprehensive enough to truly help American reach its goals in time. In LEADING BY EXAMPLE, Richardson argues that we have known about our country’s energy problems for 35 years, but since 1985 our consumption has climbed, fuel efficiency has stagnated, and our crippling dependence on foreign oil is as big as it has ever been. So Richardson is issuing a call to action, for Congress, the energy industry, and the public. He is calling for a new American revolution – an energy and climate revolution.

Richardson did receive some embarassing publicity in this article by Ryan Lizza who finds that his resume might not be enough:

Then again, a good resumé is not all it takes to win the nomination, and there are some signs that Richardson may not be the perfect candidate. In fact, as we get up from our seats to visit the play-by-play announcer’s booth, Richardson does something I’ve never seen any politician do. There are two women sitting in front of us. They are both young and attractive, probably in their twenties. The governor rotates his large frame sideways and shimmies out of his row. The two women smile up at him. As he passes, Richardson reaches down and places his fingertips on the head of one of the women, tickling her scalp as he opens and closes his hand. Then, as he reaches for the next scalp, his hand suddenly aborts its mission, as if the governor realizes this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Richardson’s touching problem isn’t exactly news. In 2005, his lieutenant governor, Diane Denish, told The Albuquerque Journal that she goes out of her way to avoid sitting or standing next to Richardson because he’s a little too grabby. “He pinches my neck. He touches my hip, my thigh, sort of the side of my leg,” she told the newspaper, which illustrated the story with a photo of Richardson smiling mischievously as his hand reached around toward Denish’s backside while the two sat next to each other at a public event.

The truth is that Richardson touches everyone this way. He routinely twists staffers into headlocks and pokes or bear-hugs people he’s just met. At one event, I saw him grab a beefy union guy by the lapels and shout into his face, “Stay loose! No commitments yet!” His “political trait,” he writes in his recent memoir, is to get “up close and personal.” It’s part of his charm and makes him a natural politician (he is, after all, the Guinness Book of World Records champion for a politician shaking the most hands in eight hours–13,392 at the New Mexico State Fair in 2002). It’s also what enables him to negotiate with dictators–to treat them with the same level of cordiality as more upstanding members of the international community. But Richardson’s informal style is not without its drawbacks. On the most basic level, giving an unsolicited scalp tickle to a stranger is peculiar behavior for a presidential candidate, and Richardson’s touching has fueled a nasty whisper campaign that he’s unelectable. But, even if you put aside those rumors, Richardson’s style betrays deeper problems with him as a candidate.

The Fix finds that this behavior paints “a troubling picture for a man who wants to be the next leader of the free world.” Richardson wasn’t helped by the explanation from advisor Steve Murphey that, “Everybody touches everybody!” Michael Crowley sees a campaign theme song in that explanation:


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