Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Richardson: I'll Meet Dictators Anytime


Bill Richardson, D-N.M., meets Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Baghdad in July 16 1995. (file photo).

So the debate earlier this week informed us that Sen. Barack Obama would be more likely to meet with rogue foreign leaders than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who drew a hard line.

But what about Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, whose diplomatic specialty has been intervening in crises abroad?

In an interview late Thursday, Richardson refused to engage in the sparring between Clinton and Obama on the subject. "But on the substance, you know I've actually met a lot of these guys already - I've met Castro, I've met Chavez," Richardson said proudly in a phone call from Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he was campaigning.

Richardson, the former Ambassador to the United Nations who has negotiated with rogue leaders from Saddam Hussein to officials from North Korea, said the latter would be his top priority if he had to schedule a list of meetings with dictators as president. Last on his list, he said, would probably be Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. Everyone, he said, deserved the right to talk to the United States if it would resolve a crisis.

"But I'm not just going to say, 'Yeah, I'll meet with you - for what? For coffee?' No, you have to have hard-nosed negotations," he said.

Side note: Obama has challenged Clinton to follow up on - read, change -- her answer from Monday night. "We responded to her in this situation and I think that there is a genuine difference. If there isn't a difference, then I think Senator Clinton should explain it. I think we should talk to everybody," Obama said in an interview with NBC on Wednesday.

Clinton is unlikely to rise to the bait - even though the history books show her husband met with rogue leaders himself in office. Former President Bill Clinton met with both Hafez Assad of Syria and President-elect Hugo Chavez of Venezuela while he was in office. But Phil Singer, a Clinton campaign spokesman, said on Wednesday: "Bill Clinton never agreed to meet with rogue leaders without preconditions his first year in office."

--Anne E. Kornblut

By Post Editor  |  July 26, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Bill Richardson  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: McCain Media
Team Quits

Next: Ex-Clinton In-Law
Skips Endorsement

Comments

While everyone seems to be talking about whether Hillary or Obama were correct during the debate the real issue should be who is better for the job. It is obvious that Richardson's expierence makes him the better candidate and better person for the job. If Hillary and Obama were not running Richardson would be walking away with the nomination

Posted by: dave16 | July 30, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think Hillary is realizing now that she picked the wrong topic to fight Obama with. She and her campaign thought it was a winner, it is bitting them back. lol..politics is a funny business.

Posted by: sbtufa | July 26, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Alright, finally a little publicity for Richardson. I support Richardson simply because he is the best man for the job, all politics aside. Plus, only Dem governors have won in the past 30 years, and with Richardson getting reelected with a 68.8% majority, hell, even 40% or Republicans voted for him, I think he's got the best chance of uniting the country. Plus, he has ideas across the board... he's got specific plans.

The Clinton camp is making this whole thing an issue. It's purely a media thing. There were many more important things said at the debate... where's the spotlight on Gravel saying "follow the money" when Clinton is the only one of the top three to accept money from lobbyists? I guess her camp isn't pushing that one so much.

Posted by: dkheloussi | July 26, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Exactly

Posted by: russmcdaniel | July 26, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson is clearly the best candidate. He shows strength without showing his teeth. The world is too dangerous a place to go around embroiling ourselves in fights. He knows this and has a plan and the know-how to resolve world problems without war. He has a track record for doing exactly this. Clinton and Obama are the trendy candidates of the moment, but Bill Richardson is the one with substance.

Posted by: johnrehmeyer | July 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson is clearly the best candidate. He shows strength without showing his teeth. The world is too dangerous a place to go around embroiling ourselves in fights. He knows this and has a plan and the know-how to resolve world problems without war. He has a track record for doing exactly this. Clinton and Obama are the trendy candidates of the moment, but Bill Richardson is the one with substance.

Posted by: johnrehmeyer | July 26, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Why is the media pushing Obama and Clinton so hard...excepting the fact that a major chunk is owned by the neo-con nazi murdoch...we all know that whoever in todays age gets the most media attn is the candidate who will get the most of their partys votes. Does anyone else see this as a form of propaganda and social engineering?

Posted by: russmcdaniel | July 26, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Is it not an indictment of the American political Left's cognizance of history that the major contenders for the Democratic Presidential nomination are all angling to become the Neville Chamberlain of the Twenty First Century?

Posted by: burnetten | July 26, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

If I were President Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama, Bill Richardson is EXACTLY the Sec of State I would send to break the ice with rogue foreign leaders.

Richardson is a SUPERB diplomat!
(POTUS? eh, not so much)

Posted by: freespeak | July 26, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Most of this is simply an ego trip. If Hilliary was to become President and by meeting a dictator (without preconditions) avoid a war, then she should meet with him/her. It could very well be that by doing that, she could save American soldier lives. She should not let her ego govern.

Someone once said, "it is incredible how much can be done, provided no one cares who takes the credit."

Posted by: ramos1 | July 26, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but when Bill Clinton was first in office, he wasn't seen as a "rogue leader." Now that Bush has established himself as one, the next President will need to work hard to re-establish relationships with other countries, including the ones Bush has treated has enemies. If we wait for other world leaders to make the first moves, or to bow to our commands, we will only be continuing to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Hillary would have been better off saying, "I'll meet with the leaders of other countries, but I'll be circumspect about what we'll promise them in return for meeting them." What she did say made it look like she was hedging.

Obama may be finally learning how to unsheath his claws. He's been too passive and polite in the debates so far. I realize he and Clinton don't want to shred each other to bits, but we voters want to know what differentiates them.

Posted by: Heron | July 26, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I wait with bated breath to read what preconditions the Clintons did/will impose on meeting with countries that have heard little from the U.S. for decades except threats and attempted coups - Iran and Venezuela and Cuba - and Syria and Iran, that are critical to negotiations to exit Iraq. Obama did not commit any error in his statement; it is normal for the world's superpower to meet with and negotiate with world leaders. Maybe America's forgotten what real world leadership looks like. In case Mrs. Clinton forgot, there is a much more urgent need for dialog with those countries after so much hostility, and with the U.S. in two wars and threatening a third with Iran and a fourth in Pakistan! Sitting around for an entire year before making any diplomatic moves is not acceptable! Failure to dialog brought N. Korean missile tests; dialog stopped them. Obama gets my vote, more than ever now that Clinton totally reversed her position - she supported Obama's position until, in the debate, he called into question her judgment for voting for the Iraq War without knowing how we would exit. If she makes policy decisions in fits of anger, I don't want her near the presidency. Parroting by politicos and pundits that unspecified "conditions" are a prerequisite will not make Clinton's faux pas disappear. The need for diplomacy is urgent now. By January 2009, it will be absolutely critical to begin the process, appointing the best advisors, ambassadors, State Dept., so we can begin a new direction as a world leader.

Posted by: VCubed | July 26, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company