In case there was any doubt, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson made it official. He is running for president in 2008. The Democrat made his announcement at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. “The United States faces huge challenges, but also huge opportunities. I am running for President because these times call for a leader with a proven track record, and a demonstrated ability to bring people together to tackle our problems at home and abroad. I am that person, not because I say so, but because of what I have done, and what I can do for the American people,” Richardson said.

Richardson also spoke about what he would do in Iraq. “Removing all of our troops and healing Iraq are one and the same. Only when it is clear that the US will leave Iraq can the hard diplomatic work have a chance for success. A negotiated political settlement, involving the warring parties and interested neighbors is how to prevent a regional war. And we have a strategic interest in organizing a regional conference, with all of Iraq’s neighbors including Syria and Iran, to help stabilize Iraq,” Richardson said.

He continued, “But I would leave no troops behind in Iraq. No air bases. No security patrols. No embedded soldiers training Iraqi forces … because we all know what that means. It means our troops would still be out on the streets with targets on their backs. We need a president who is not dismissive of diplomacy, but someone who embraces it as the primary instrument of foreign policy because he has practiced it, and knows how to get results.” In short, he would pull out the troops and negotiate a diplomatic solution. He then spoke briefly about health care and energy issues.

He also talked about his three step plan for immigration reform. “First, we have to recognize that no fence ever built has stopped history…Instead, use that money to secure the border with more Border Patrol officers. We need to at least double the number of Border Patrol agents. That would secure the border. Second, we need a path to legalization requiring those living in the United States illegally to pay a realistic fine, pass a background check, and pay any back taxes. And third, we have to work closely with the Mexican government. Mexico needs to do more to stem the flow. But if we create a reasonable guest worker program and provide a path to legalization for illegal immigrants already here, there is every reason to expect Mexico to do its part with economic reforms and to help us with border security,” Richardson said.

The problem with Bill Richardson is that, despite the fact that he has some good ideas, he is longwinded, uncharismatic, untelegenic, and frankly, boring. For example, his ideas on immigration reform make a great deal of sense, but 2008 is shaping up to be a frontloaded, money driven, personality powered year, and in that race, Richardson can’t keep up with the top tier candidates. Richardson acts and talks more like a department secretary than a president. I am sure that if the Democrats would win in 2008, he would make a fine Secretary of State, but he isn’t presidential material.

You can read all of Richardson’s announcement right here

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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