Thursday, September 22, 2005


Democracy Now broadcast live from the New Mexico state Capitol this morning (from the t.v. studio next door to my office) and Amy Goodman's guest was Gov. Bill Richardson, who answered questions for more than 30 minutes.

The interview was far less confrontational than Goodman and Richardson's encounter last summer in Boston. He didn't tell her to get her microphone out of his face this time. But Goodman and co-host Juan Gonzalez (who was in a studio in New York) got in some good questions.

Richardson had to defend himself about the Wen Ho Lee case. Despite the statements of a federal judge, Richardson on Thursday strongly denied that he was the anonymous source who originally revealed Lee's name to reporters months before Lee was charged. (In a deposition for Lee's civil lawsuit, Richardson said he didn't remember making some statements about the Lee firing attributed to him in various newspapers.)

The governor mistakenly told Goodman that Lee was convicted of "several charges." In fact, Lee pled guilty to a single charge of mishandling sensitive materials.

Goodman also asked Richardson about Iraq. He said he does not support an immediate withdrawal or setting a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq. Richardson also stood behind President Clinton's policy of sanctions against Iraq -- even when Goodman pointed out that thousands of children died under that policy.

Richardson told Goodman and Gonzalez that he probably wouldn't vote for U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts due to concerns about Roberts' views on civil rights. (Fellow Democrat, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman has announced that he will vote for Roberts.)

And notably, Richardson refrained from using the phrase "illegal aliens" when talking about his position on immigration. This is much different than his defense of the term on aappearancece on the radio show Latino USA a few weeks ago.

UPDATE: Here's a link to a partial transcript of the interview. The Wen Ho Lee segment can be found here. (And look for more links on the right side of the page.)

FURTHER UPDATE: In my haste to get this on my blog before running down to Albuquerque Thursday morning, I mistakenly wrote that Richardson said he'd "probably wouldn't vote against" John Roberts. I just corrected it say he probably wouldn't vote for Roberts.

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