Richardson Addreses NAA, After 'Glass Attack'

By: Greg Mitchell Gov. Bill Richardson, the Democrat from New Mexico, called on the nation's publishers today to "focus on what states are accomplishing, not partisan squabbles in Washington." Most of his speech at The Associated Press's annual luncheon at the Newspaper Association of America convention in San Francisco focused on what he called a health-care crisis in America that far outstrips Social Security woes.

Addressing questions about whether he would run for president in 2008, Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor and a former Clinton Administration official, refused to rule it out, twice calling it a "wide-open" race. He added that if he announced he would first tell Tom Lang, publisher of the Albuquerque Journal.

Richardson also predicted a Democratic "resurgence" in 2006 and 2008. "And I want you guys to cover it," he added.

The luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel was marred for one E&P editor, who found a large piece of glass in his mouth, which was mixed in with the sorbet for dessert and was decidedly not ice. Another attendee at the same table found a smaller piece of glass in his sorbet. Neither was hurt.

Breaking the ice in his speech, Richardson tried several jokes, recounting, for example, that he had once played baseball in the Cape Cod league but never took steroids because "I didn't want to be governor of California." He also noted that Condoleezza Rice probably will not run for president, for how could she run in those high heeled boots? He compared blogs, with their "low standards" and open opinions, to Fox News. And, finally, he noted that Gannett CEO Doug McCorkindale is worried about Social Security going bust in 2042 "because that's when he plans to retire."

Then he called on the publishers to cover health-care issues and other state issues. "The federal government can learn a few lessons from the states," he said. "Governors are the activists."

In response to a question from the audience about what the Democrats need to do to rebound, he suggested: "Democrats need to stand for something. And we must be clear what our values are and not just be negative."


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