New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson became the latest Democrat to
officially enter the crowded 2008 presidential race Monday. VOA National
correspondent Jim Malone has the latest on the campaign from
Richardson has been running for months but
officially announced his candidacy in Los Angeles where he said he hoped to
repair what he called the ravages of the Bush administration.
"This presidential election is unlike any others that we have ever seen," he
said. "From day one, we have to repair the damage done here at home and our
reputation abroad. And that all starts with restoring diplomacy as the primary
instrument of our foreign policy and basic fairness as the primary means for
solving problems here at home."
Richardson has wide experience in government. He previously served as a
congressman, ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary under
Richardson favors a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and is one of eight
Democrats now in the race.
Richardson has had trouble breaking into the top tier of Democratic
candidates that so far includes Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and
former Senator John Edwards.
Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly magazine says at the moment, the
Democratic race appears to favor Hillary Clinton.
"As the landscape currently stands, I think she has beaten back the Barack
Obama challenge, and a lot of it is because the hierarchy of the party is with
her," he said. "She is collecting these endorsements around the country from
governors and mayors with big networks that get out the vote in Democratic
But Crawford and other analysts caution that the election is a long ways off
and that voters will not even begin the selection process until next January
with the Iowa caucuses.
Richardson hopes his Hispanic heritage will appeal to voters in California
with its large Hispanic population. California is among several states that have
moved up their presidential primaries to next February 5 in hopes of having a
greater impact on the presidential selection process.
Florida Governor Charlie Christ signed a bill Monday that shifts the Florida
primary from February 5 to January 29 in hopes of luring candidates in to
campaign even earlier in the primary season.
University of Virginia expert Larry Sabato says the competition among states
to have a voice in the presidential selection process has never been so fierce.
"The tremendous frontloading that will occur on February 5th nearly
guarantees that the first four or five states to vote will be the ones to pick
the nominees," he said.
A new poll in the early contest state of Iowa shows former North Carolina
Senator John Edwards narrowly leading the Democratic field over Barack Obama and
Hillary Clinton. Bill Richardson was in fourth place.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads the Republican field in Iowa,
followed by Arizona Senator John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy