Richardson's Gaffe Problem

At last night's LGBT presidential forum, Bill Richardson made the one glaring gaffe of the night:

Melissa Etheridge: Do you think homosexuality is a choice or is it biological?
Bill Richardson: It's a choice.

Once he said it, it was clear to everyone that he'd made a mistake. Etheridge even tried to give him a second chance to answer and Margaret Carlson tried to bail him out later, but neither time did Richardson take the lifeline, seemingly clueless as to how to right the error. But just as he said it, the first thing to pop into my head was: oh, man, his campaign's going to have to clean up this mess. And sure enough, per America Blog, Richardson issued this statement of clarification:

I misunderstood the question.  Let me be clear- I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice.  But I'm not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law.  That is what I believe, that is what I have spent my career fighting for.  I ask that people look at my record and my actions and they will see I have been a true supporter of the LGBT community."

It's a fine statement and echoes something a friend of mine said to me last night: "why does it matter if he does the right things?" Which is a sentiment shared by Atrios:

But in general terms, focusing on the record is something we should do more instead of trying to divine what's in the souls of candidates. There are reasons for doing the latter, as past performance is no guarantee of future returns, but ultimately it doesn't really matter what politicians think about things deep in their hearts.

True enough. But for me, for better or worse, it's not his record OR what's really in his heart that's the issue here. There's a whole other level of information we're getting from these debates, which is how these candidates are going to handle themselves against their Republican counterparts in the general, whether as a presidential or VP candidate. Many people tout Richardson's resume as the reason he'd make a great presidential candidate and his ethnicity and geography as evidence that he's the perfect VP choice, but after last night and after his choice of Byron (Whizzer) White as his model Supreme Court justice (see his mea culpa for that HERE) and after his cringe-worthy Meet The Press appearance from May, I really have to conclude that Richardson is just not ready for prime time. There are limitations to a resume. Secretary of State -- hell yes, but please candidates, please take him off your VP shortlists. The last thing we need is for "Boy, I really screwed that one up" to be a recurring refrain during next year's campaign season.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Bill Richardson, Democratic Primary, HRC/Logo presidential forum (all tags)

Comments

52 Comments

my husband is with you

He really wanted to like Richardson. He likes governors and felt Richardson might be the best candidate to bring over some of the moderate Republicans.

But every time he has seen one of the debates or heard about one of the gaffes, he has edged closer to the conclusion that Richardson is not ready to handle the 24/7 scrutiny of a lengthy campaign.

My husband is still undecided, but he is now leaning against Richardson.

by desmoinesdem 2007-08-10 03:21PM | 0 recs
Re: my husband is with you

I felt exactly the same. Had Richardson as my second choice after Hillary because he was a governor, had a good resume and was from a swing state. I really felt he had potential. But the more I get to see him in action, the more disappointed I get. He dropped from the second place to ranking just barely above Kucinich and Gravel.

I really want to like the guy, but he's just not good enough for this level.

by Ernst 2007-08-10 03:39PM | 0 recs
absolutely not ready for

president.

the question is would he be passable as VP or
would he sink the ticket

by TarHeel 2007-08-10 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: my husband is with you

I wanted an Obama/Richardson ticket, now I want anyone but Richardson because he simply can't be counted on not to make a huge mistake. I want to know more about Ted Strickland, he's was a house memebr and now a governer so if he's competent and can lock up Ohio he's first on my list.

by nevadadem 2007-08-10 04:05PM | 0 recs
have your husband

1.  watch the MTP interview of Richardson

2.   and THEN show him Edwards' head to head polling against the GOP and tell him about Giuliani's brutal divorces and Edwards' solid 30 year marriage ... if he's worried about beating Giuliani

by TarHeel 2007-08-10 04:52PM | 0 recs
And he's gotten

mostly a free ride from the media--amazing considering he's at double digits in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Nothing about Wen Ho Lee, for example. And the other candidates have left him alone, choosing not to point out that a balanced budget amendment, which he supports, is a pretty kooky idea.

All that will change if he rises in the polls, which means he do worse the better he does.

by david mizner 2007-08-10 03:32PM | 0 recs
he's probably

the highest liability candidate after Gravel.

Kucinich believe it or not has not committed any gaffes.

by TarHeel 2007-08-10 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: he's probably

Kucinich is really profiting from Gravel. Now he's just "the one most to the left" Instead of "the really nutty left one"

But as soon as Gravel leaves the race that would be over.

by Ernst 2007-08-11 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: And he's gotten

Good! Somebody finally pointed out that he was one of the leading figures in the persecution of Wen Ho Lee, and still refuses to admit that he or anybody in the government made a mistake.

by Baltimore 2007-08-11 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

I agree with you.  I've been supporting Richardson, Obama and Edwards.  I hope Richardson will be Secretary of State and have said that often.  He has a lot of foreign policy experience.  

I'm a retired psychotherapist and have enough experience to know that sexual orientation is biological.  If it were chosen, there are a lot of preadolescents who would choose to be heterosexual, I believe, because when one is young it is very difficult to live in the social context we've created for males and females.

That is changing, thank goodness.  Bill Richardson should be negotiating on behalf of the US wherever he is needed.  He will be a breath of fresh air after Condolessa.

by cando 2007-08-10 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

The choice vs biological argument is so basic to understanding the politics of just about all of the issues discussed at the forum.

The conservative arguments against public school sex ed, anti-discrimination/hate laws, etc always invoke 'lifestyle choice'.

The accusation of wanting 'special privileges' of marriage equality is rooted in the conservative belief that homosexuality is a choice.

I thought the question was offered up as a softball and was quite amazed with Richardson's lack of awareness.

by dblhelix 2007-08-10 03:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

The issue is not what bothered me about Richardson, it's that if he can give that answer in that setting. His position on gun control is similar to mine so I  wanted to like him but he simply is not a good enough candidate to put on a national ticket.  

by nevadadem 2007-08-10 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

I'm sorry I hate to interrupt, but when does a person giving their honest opinion a "gaffe". The man obviously believes that it is a choice. Now, if that flies in the face of what many of you believe then so be it, but don't say he made a mistake.

The last I heard no one can prove definitively what the correct answer is...

This is the problem with the progressive movement and why we don't win, every group does it's one trick pony routine and if someone doesn't agree exactly with their position then their a loser. People who participate in homosexuality are a minority in this country and always will be, get over yourselves. There are plenty of other issues that need to be addressed as well. It's funny how progressives get on the conservatives about having only a few issues and look at the progressives...

by Forgiven 2007-08-11 04:39PM | 0 recs
Its a gaffe when its retracted

If Bill Richardson was giving his honest opinion, then we should have seen him stand behind it; this post isn't as much about what Richardson believes as it is about his ineptitude in expressing it. Your line of argument only raises a question of Richardson's consistency and willingness to stand up for his beliefs.

If you revisit the post that gives rise to these comments, you'll see a campaign claiming that their candidate "didn't understand the question," which was a position offered unsuccessfully to Richardson by Ethridge seconds after he made the comment.

That's why this is a gaffe. You're right. No one can prove what the correct answer is. I'd just like Bill Richardson to pick one and stick with it, at least for 24 hours.

by PBCliberal 2007-08-11 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

Within the past week I advocated selecting Richardson as the VP.

With his choice comment I retract the endorsement completely and irrevocably.  Richardson clearly understands nothing about the science or the politics.  That is a level of out-of-touchness I cannot accept.  

That said, if it was true that being gay was a choice, I fail to see why that would make it OK to discriminate.  The underlying premise is that something is wrong with being gay than only biology makes acceptable.  I don't buy that.

by Trond Jacobsen 2007-08-10 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

the only thing decided so far in th8s primary campaign is that B Richardson will not be selected as a VEEP a shame because he could help in some southwest battlegrounds. People say Obama isn't experienced but how can Richardson make these kind of mistakes? a democratic dog catcher would know better.

by nevadadem 2007-08-10 03:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

I don't really know why he's still running. There are so many rumors about him that he's got to know he'll get hit hard if he's the nominee. Plus, he always looks genuinely baffled at most of the debates. He's the Tommy Thompson of the Democratic field.

by bluenc 2007-08-10 04:04PM | 0 recs
rewatching MTP

I forgot that he lied about the death of a soldier and a story he made about about the mom...

Where the mom demanded a "written apology" (Ms Miller) from Richardson.

Richardson said he had a different "recollection"

by TarHeel 2007-08-10 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: rewatching MTP

Go back and read the original Associated Press story - a third party backs Richardson's version.

It was at the funeral that Richardson learned of the low death benefit. Richardson then went to the New Mexico legislature and got the death benefit for fallen New Mexico national guardsmen and women raised (now at $400,000).

Here are some of the other actions Richardson has take to support veterans in New Mexico. It would be great if all governors showed his wisdom, leadership and compassion:

* Granted free tuition to any New Mexico Public University for any child of a New Mexican Guardsman killed in action.

* Eliminated state income tax for all active-duty military pay.

* Elevated Veterans' Affairs to his Cabinet, creating the Department of Veteran Services.

* Granted extensions for activated Guard personnel to file state taxes.

* Granted a grace period for expired drivers' licenses for Guard personnel.

* Offered tuition refunds or credits to Guard personnel currently enrolled in school.

* Provided free hunting and fishing licenses to all veterans for one year following their redeployment back to the U.S.

* Committed to easing the transition between employers and their employees who have been called to serve.

* Granted administrative leave to state employees with family members returning from Iraq.

* Authorized 15 extra days of military leave for every soldier who's been deployed.

* Invested in veterans' services:

by Stephen Cassidy 2007-08-11 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

I suspect that he, like each of the second tier candidates, is really running for veep.

by Pender 2007-08-11 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

Richardson's unawareness of facts that have appeared on the cover of Scientific American show he is not ready for prime time. An American President in the 21'st Century needs to deal with many Scientific subjects, the origin of homosexuality, global warming, peak oil, frankenfood, stem cell research,etc. He need not be a scientist or engineer, but he should the basic knowledge of a well-read layman.

Perhaps I'm spoiled by the intellect of Bill Clinton.

by antiHyde 2007-08-10 04:08PM | 0 recs
Slightly More Impessive then Gravel

Throughout the campaign, I think that Richardson has performed marginally better than Gravel, though not as well as Kucinich.

Given this fact, how the hell has he managed to acquire his exceptional resume?

by BigBoyBlue 2007-08-10 04:37PM | 0 recs
smooth talker

who has little detail in what he says.  And even less feasibility in his proposals.

I'm actually surprised the new hampshire folks aren't quicker on the draw.

by TarHeel 2007-08-10 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

richardson haseverything could ask for...he's not onlythe only governor on the field,which is a huge plus, but he's a rara governor with foreign policy experience.

by JaeHood 2007-08-10 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

It was disheartening to learn that Richardson messed this up so badly. I supported him but we already have a president who can't keep himself out of trouble. We don't need another one. Very sad, because he's definitely one of the good guys.

by Subversive Librarian 2007-08-10 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

I do agree he does not seem  ready for prime time.

But I do find something that rings true in the statement "But I'm not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law."

The whole argument of whether homosexuality is a "choice" or not seems to sort of assume that if it is a choice, that would somehow make it more wrong, but it is ok because homosexuals "can't help it". But why? If it is a choice, all the more reason that it should be accepted and given the same rights and privileges as heterosexuality. Nobody is being harmed whether or not it is a choice or not. It seems to me that arguing over whether or not it is a choice is heavily buying into an unnecessary premise of the right.

Anyway, the fact that Richardson was not familiar with the issue shows he is indeed out of touch with the LGBT community, and not ready for prime time.

by thenew 2007-08-10 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

When it comes to any kind of legislation, politicians have to make cost/benefit analyses to decide how to vote. If you are considering voting for an expansion of welfare, for example, you have to consider the benefits to the recipients of the expanded program, and you have to consider the harms associated with higher non-discretionary spending and possible distortions of low-income workers' incentives.

In this case, if you're a politician considering the costs and benefits of a piece of anti-gay legislation, you have weigh the benefits of making the religious nutjobs happy against the harms of screwing over the gay people.

But if homosexuality is a choice, then that harm isn't as great. You're not screwing them over THAT badly, since they could always just choose to be straight. So this tips the balance toward anti-gay legislation.

That's why it's so important that gayness be acknowledged as immutable. It's not about harboring a gross-but-not-their-fault sentiment, it's about fully understanding the harms of oppression.

by Pender 2007-08-11 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

What isn't biological?  What isn't a choice?

You choose to have sex with who you choose to have sex with.  A woman can choose to have sex with another woman, and it doesn't mean that she's gay...and the sexual act was still biological.

I'm sick of people trying oversimplify everything.

Every "choice" that people make isn't a good choice, and everything that people do that they couldn't help, meaning they didn't make a "choice," isn't good.

So, what difference doesn't it make whether it's biological or a choice?

by OE 2007-08-10 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

You're welcome to conclude that you sleep with women because you like them. But you've only redirected the issue and raised the question of why you like them. Do you like them because you made a conscious decision to like them, and you could have easily decided to like guys instead, or is it more complicated than that? Do you like them because there is something that makes them attractive that you can't quite determine, like when you don't know when something is "art" but you know it when you see it.

When that minute comes that you think a guy is really sexy and you want to sleep with him, will it be because you woke up that morning and decided you wanted to find a guy sexy?

by PBCliberal 2007-08-10 06:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

This stuff all gets really murky when we start asking ourselves why we want what we want ("biology," whatever that means, or just ordinary desire).

I have argued before in this space that we need to defend peoples' rights to choose their (consenting, adult) sexual partners.

No gay gene is required.

by nvalvo 2007-08-11 02:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

There is more to biology then genes. Environment plays a role, the amount of certain hormones present during the pregnancy etc.

And while I agree with your position, I want to stress that it isn't murky at all that attraction and desire are really biological functions not controlled by conscious thought. Born that way is a bit simplistic, but calling it a choice is just false.

by Ernst 2007-08-11 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

Even more telling is that as Melissa Etheridge and Margaret Carlson gave him opportunities to recover, he was not aware enough to realize that he had made a mistake and to clarify his position. The audience groaned as he was speaking and he was not able to read the audience reaction and know that he need to change course?

And the audience was a friendly audience that was grateful that the candidates were willing to speak to them.

I am sure that Richardson is a good man, but we need someone more on the ball for the Democratic nominee.

by Bloggernista 2007-08-10 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

I'm ready for him, Biden, and Gravel to drop out. None seem able to contend credibly in a debate. I know some Biden fans will disagree, but he's made some gaffes recently and I don't think he seriously is after the nomination.

The others seem to either be real contenders, or like Kucinich have a position that they fervently want to see voiced and find no one else willing to voice it.

It's sad about Richardson, because his resume is so great, but he is awful on TV and in the debates sometimes gives those embarrassing "deer in the headlights" responses.

by Coral 2007-08-10 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

by Coral 2007-08-10 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

It seems pretty obvious that no one is born a homosexual. However, that doesn't mean that people choose to be that way either. I would say the best answer to the question would be both.

by scaryice 2007-08-10 07:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

I was born, as you say, "a homosexual."

In no way did "choice" enter in the equation with me.  Quite the contrary:  I tried like hell when I was a teen to NOT be gay.  

Guess what?  It didn't work.  Lemme guess, you aren't gay?

by jgarcia 2007-08-10 07:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

If you didn't choose to be gay, that doesn't mean that you were born that way. I highly doubt that if you were adopted by 100 different families in 100 different cultures around the world that you would turn out gay in all of them, regardless of your environment and your life experiences.

I'm sure some people are more likely to be gay due to their biology. But to suggest that you were going to end up gay with a 100% probability, please.

by scaryice 2007-08-10 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

If you didn't choose to be blonde, that doesn't mean that you were born that way. I highly doubt that if you were adopted by 100 different families in 100 different cultures around the world that you would turn out blonde in all of them, regardless of your environment and your life experiences.

I'm sure some people are more likely to be blonde due to their biology. But to suggest that you were going to end up blonde with a 100% probability, please.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-08-10 10:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

How is that "pretty obvious?"  I would like to see you make the same argument to the many i've known (including my current partner) who were thrown out on the streets by their parents because they were gay.  Who would choose this for themselves?  And on a more scientific level, look at the research dealing with identical twins, and it becomes clear that sexual orientation is purely genetic.  

by bluedavid 2007-08-10 10:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

Seems like between the likely veep candidates--Richardson, Biden and Dodd--Dodd is the only one who doesn't stick his foot in his mouth.

by Bush Bites 2007-08-10 08:46PM | 0 recs
no, we need Dodd in the Senate

if he leaves that seat the CT governor will appoint a Republican to take his place.

So sorry, he's a great guy but I don't want Dodd on the ticket.

by desmoinesdem 2007-08-10 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: no, we need Dodd in the Senate

Not that I'm a Dodd supporter, but remember, this would happen in '08, after we've picked up several other Senate seats anyway.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-08-10 10:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem


       With all the very important issues to deal with in this campaign, I can't believe people are focussing on this non-issue.
Whether homosexuality is biological or a choice isn't really
relevant.  Richardson has it right - this is a human rights issue,
and homosexuals are entitled, at the very least, to civil unions
and full rights.

      But since we are on the subject of gaffes, why don't we
talk about Hillary.  In an early debate, she said she would pass
health care reform by the end of her 2nd term(why so late?).
But in a later debate, she says she would pass it sooner - why
the change?  

      She was also asked a question about whether we are safer
now than before 9/11/01, and she answered "yes".  But that
seems ridiculous considering how much blood and treasure we
have spent in Iraq, and how that illegal and immoral invasion
has cost us the support of so much of the muslim world.

      When she chastised Obama during another debate about
his willingness to talk to various "bad leaders", she did it with
a contempt that seemed to suggest any change with the current
way we conduct diplomacy is out of the question.  I got the
feeling she was channeling Lieberman and the DLC and if she is
elected, it will be business as usual with regard to foreign
policy.

      And then when Obama hit back with "we don't need Bush-
Cheney lite", she responded with "whatever happened to the
politics of hope?"  She sounded like a bully who threw a punch
and then was hit very hard in return saying "why are you so mean?"

      And the big question is why is the media not questioning
her on any of this?  Why does she seem to be getting a free
pass no matter what she says and how ridiculous it may be?
It's probably because she has locked up so much of the
big-money corporate support.  None of what she says probably
matters, since she doesn't mean much if any of it; like her
husband Bill in '92, she is saying what her team thinks is
necessary to win, and then she'll govern in any way she chooses
once elected.

      So why don't we focus on real issues and genuiness
instead of trivialities?  We can't afford more years of business
as usual.

     

by cynical yet hopeful 2007-08-10 11:07PM | 0 recs
This isn't really about "choice"

This is about Richardson getting flatfooted in a debate to a powerful niche constituancy, not having the artful grace of a good politician to realize he stepped in it in real time, or the facile ability to get in the life raft he was offered by Ethridge and again by Carlson.

In the new politics of macaca, we can't have guys who say "maricon" on Imus or tell questionable stories about dead soldiers even after the family has asked them not to.

Richardson has a great resume, and as a Hispanic Dem governor in a western state he is a great balance to any of the frontrunners.

But one of the most important "real issues"--maybe the most important given our recent history--is can our ticket get through what will be an interminable election season without stepping on a land mine. Richardson landed squarely on one of the biggest in the LGBT community, which is why the echoes are still reverberating here in the debate its reignited, and why he's doing damage control claiming he didn't understand the question.

by PBCliberal 2007-08-11 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

It's not a choice.  Who in the world would choose to be hated and descriminated against and bullied and robbed of their rights.  Some guys do sleep with both sexes, they are bisexuals and it is a real thing- maybe to them and straight people, it appears like a choice- but every homosexual I've ever met has never said it was choice unless they were brainwashed by religious nuts.

Richardson is terrible in these debates- I am like a lot of others and wonder how he managed to get all the jobs and experience he has- he doesn't exude any of that listening to him.

by reasonwarrior 2007-08-11 12:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

Nah, there are straight men, gay men, and repressed gay men. Northwestern University did a study on sexual arousal in so-called bisexual men and found that every single one of them was either straight or gay. Bisexuality is a sort of halfway house for coming out of the closet, and a refuge for teenage experimenters.

by Pender 2007-08-11 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

that's interesting.  I always believed that.  However, do you have a link to the results of that study?  Thanks.

by jgarcia 2007-08-11 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

Here's the NYTimes article that discusses the study:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/05/health /05sex.html?

Unfortunately it's in the archives now so you'd have to pay to read it.

Here's some random web site's synopsis: http://www.narth.com/docs/alleging.html

and here's an angry bisexual (just a guess) trying to debunk it: http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/re ports/NYTBisexualityFactSheet.pdf

I admit that I'm pretty biased in this debate, having watch enough of my gay friends go through the bi-now-gay-later phase and having experienced the temptation to think of myself as "a little bit bisexual" back when I was trying not to be gay. I still have some friends who claim to be bi. Predictably enough, they all sleep exclusively with men, and indeed the only indication of bi-ness is their proclivity to proclaim loudly and uncomfortably how hot such-and-such girl is.

by Pender 2007-08-11 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

"their proclivity to proclaim loudly and uncomfortably how hot such-and-such girl is"

LOL!  I know how you feel.  That must be sooo annoying!  haha

by jgarcia 2007-08-11 12:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Richardson's Gaffe Problem

"But in general terms, focusing on the record is something we should do more instead of trying to divine what's in the souls of candidates. There are reasons for doing the latter, as past performance is no guarantee of future returns, but ultimately it doesn't really matter what politicians think about things deep in their hearts."

I couldn't disagree with you more.  Most of the time, in fact, character is just about the only thing that does matter with politicians.  If a political leader managed to accomplish something positive in his past, but did so only because it was advantageous for him at the time, that is no evidence he'll be with you in the future.  

The weight and power of the forces aligned against progress are such that they can only be defeated by an excess of principle and moral courage.  Seriously.  Any other motivation will be snuffed out.  A man (or woman) must believe in what's right so strongly that they're willing to suffer for that belief.  

I'm not joking.  I'm sick of Democrats especially for focusing on who has the best five-point plan, who throws out the most red meat to their supporters.  These things don't make you an effective leader.  Character does.  Principle does.  

by Ryan Anderson 2007-08-11 09:35AM | 0 recs
Richardson has a strong record on LGBT issues

Richardson was flat wrong on the question of choice and sexual orientation.  As a supporter of Richardson, I really disappointed.  

At the same time, Richardson recanted what he said soon after the debate.  He also described what was going through his mind in this interview by the Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ekti d47982.asp

In the end, I judge candidates on their records.  In Congress, Richardson voted against the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and will reverse it when President.  In New Mexico, a state evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, Richardson

* expanded anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • provided state health insurance for domestic partnerships,
  • signed into law the state's first hate crimes legislation for crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity,
  • transformed health services in the state for AIDS patients.

If a few state senators hadn't blocked it, New Mexico would have a Domestic Partner Rights Act.  Richardson fought hard for the legislation earlier this year.  Have any of the other Presidential candidates called on their state legislatures and governors to enact Domestic Partners statutes?

Recently, the Bay Area Reporter, the leading LGBT paper for San Francisco, profiled Richardson noting:

B.A.R. publisher Thomas E. Horn, who was born and raised in New Mexico and whose family has been involved in the state's politics - an uncle served as a state legislator and then the state's Democratic Party chair in the 1950s and 1960s - first met Richardson when he served as a congressman.

"I really think he is the most qualified Democrat in the race for president," Horn wrote in an e-mail. "His track record is exceptional. He's done a fine job as governor ... and was re-elected with around 70 percent of the vote."

Horn, who said he expects to make an endorsement in the primary but has yet to back a candidate, said winning the southwest will be key to the Democrats taking back the White House. Not only does he see Richardson having an advantage in the West, but Horn also praised his gay rights track record.

"If a Democrat carries New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, we don't need Ohio or Florida to win. Richardson is very popular throughout the southwest and stands the best chance of being able to do that," wrote Horn. "His record of LGBT issues has always been stellar."

by Stephen Cassidy 2007-08-11 09:14PM | 0 recs
New Mexico GLBT Progressives on Richardson

http://www.democracyfornewmexico.com/dem ocracy_for_new_mexico/2007/08/bill-richa rdson.html

That is a link to comments on Richardson by members of the GLBT community from New Mexico. They know him best.  One stated:

"After 14 years of trying in NM to pass Non discrimination in the workplace, he helped us get it, and kept Gender Identity in the bill when many legislators were backing away from that language! The same with Hate Crimes. Executive Order granting DP benefits to state employees, and working hard to keep a DOMA off the books here. The biggest thing to know about our Governor, that has been my experience is that in the GLBT community he has never made a promise he didn't keep, or bust his ass trying!"

by Stephen Cassidy 2007-08-15 01:41PM | 0 recs

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