Thursday, May 06, 2004


As published in The Santa Fe New Mexican

Yes, national reporters are just as persistent as New Mexico reporters in asking Gov. Bill Richardson about his prospects of being John Kerry's running mate. And to his credit, his answer is basically the same no matter who is asking.

No I'm not interested. I'm very happy as governor of New Mexico. I don't plan to leave here.

And when asked whether Team Kerry has contacted him about the possibility of joining the ticket, the answer is a brusque "no comment."

Richardson went through this routine Tuesday at a press conference at Longfellow Elementary School following Kerry's appearance there.

However, Richardson added a little teasing when Lois Romano of the Washington Post asked a question Tuesday about Kerry's vice-presidential selection.

In a story this past Sunday, Romano had written: "In interviews with more than 20 Democratic and campaign operatives with some direct or indirect knowledge of the process, it is clear that Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) are being officially investigated by Washington lawyers. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack apparently is also under consideration, as is Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.) -- each viewed as a moderate, midwestern balance for the Massachusetts senator."

Nowhere in the story does the name "Bill Richardson" appear.

"By the way, Lois, I didn't make your list anyway," Richardson told Romano. "I read your list. So how am I going to make it if I'm not on your list?"

Richardson was smiling when he chided Romano for not including him. Does this mean he wants to be invited to the prom even if he says he doesn't want to dance?

We kid you not: At his Longfellow event, Kerry faced questions and comments from a small group of educators, school employees and parents. While some of the questions were predictable, it didn't seem as if they were planted or preapproved by the Kerry campaign.

In fact, Tuesday might have been the first time the Massachusetts senator has had to grapple with an issue raised by one woman who identified herself as an employee of an after-school program.

The woman told Kerry that she believes "calling our children 'kids' also sends a message. Kids are little goats. And in Spanish, when little kids grow up, they grow up to be something that is not positive."


"I think we ought to start talking about our children, because they are children. They aren't kids," the woman concluded.

Kerry didn't comment on this alleged linguistic slam against children. He thanked her and quickly went on to the next question.

But as of Wednesday afternoon, the Kerry campaign hadn't yanked potentially offensive material on its Web site that refers to Kerry's "Three-Point Plan to Keep Every Kid Safe, Healthy and Ready to Learn."

Cheshire in charge: New Republican state Chairman Allen Weh announced Wednesday that he's appointing Whitney Cheshire as acting executive director of the state GOP.

It's not clear in this case what "acting" means. Cheshire could "act" as director longer than several "permanent" executive directors of the party during the past year who didn't last long.

Until recently, Cheshire was the state communications director for the Bush-Cheney campaign. During the last session of the Legislature, she was press secretary for House Republicans.

And she managed the successful 2002 primary campaign for U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce.

Cheshire also has ties to the two feuding factions within the state Republican Party. She was the campaign spokeswoman for gubernatorial candidate John Sanchez in the 2002 general election.

But two years before, she managed state Sen. Ramsay Gorham's re-election campaign.

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