New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is in the midst of an Iowa barnstorm, visiting 95 of Iowa’s 99 counties. He seems to have something for everyone: a pro-gun westerner that woos rural Iowans with his farm policies and urban Iowans with his Iraq withdrawal plan, writes the Washington Post’s The Trail blog. Richardson told the blog that he believes Iowa Democrats are fickle, so you have to work the campaign until the last day.
The Wall Street Journal noted that Richardson continues to try to moderate the mudslinging between the frontrunners, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. “Let’s keep the mud where it belongs,” he told an Iowa audience as he began explaining his farm policy. Richardson’s farm plan is meant to increase competition for farmers’ products. “I’m going to put a hard cap of $250,000 on direct subsidy payments to farmers and close loopholes. There needs to be full funding and expansion of conservation programs to reduce soil erosion for cleaner water,” he added.
The Christian Science Monitor weighed in on the candidates’ campaign style, noting that the attacks and mudslinging are for the most part about substance rather than below the belt attacks. That differentiates this campaign from previous years’ “The level of it isn’t different from the past; if anything, it’s highly civilized and substantive,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “This is engagement on issues, these are things that matter.” Second tier candidates, notes the newspaper, have to be especially careful since both Fred Thompson and Bill Richardson could be considered for vice presidential slots. When Richardson came to Hilary Clinton’s defense during a televised debate, the move launched a firestorm of rumors that he was being considered as her running mate. Richardson has told New Mexicans that it’s president or nothing, but years ago he also told them that he wasn’t using the governorship to leapfrog to a presidential campaign. Go figure.
While Richardson’s flying around Iowa, Indianapolis 500 winners Bobby and Al Unser are campaigning for Richardson in New Hampshire. The Unser family lives in Albuquerque, and Bobby has been a friend of Richardson’s for 15 years. About 20 people showed up at a Nashua Harley Davidson store to meet the Unsers, according to the Union Leader. The Unsers aren’t the only New Mexicans stumping for Bill: In fact, if you need to get in touch with any of New Mexico’s cabinet this week, you’d probably have to call them Iowa. Among the campaigners are: Representative Tom Udall, former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya, Veteran’s Services Department Secretary John Garcia, Education Secretary Veronica Garcia and Agriculture Secretary Miley Gonzalez. Patsy Trujillo, a deputy secretary at the Department of Aging and Long-term Services and possible candidate for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Udall as he runs for U.S. Senate, is another, reports the Kansas City Star (picked up from the Albuquerque Tribune). State of New Mexico employees have given a total of $468,000 to the Richardson campaign.