Thursday, March 29, 2007


A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
March 29, 2007

The Richardson campaign last week sent one of its fundraising letters to The New Mexican’s post office box.

It was addressed to “Ms. Santa Fe New.”

And, in a nice personal touch, the letter, from campaign manager Dave Contarino, started off, “Dear Ms. New, I just got off the phone with Governor Richardson and he asked me to write you immediately.”

Apparently the guv. and “Ms. New” are old friends.

Deep down in the second page of the three-page missive, Contarino outlines Richardson’s goals for the next three months.

And in the letter is something that the campaign refused to tell me earlier in the week — how much money Richardson’s raised so far.

The letter says Richardson’s goal is to raise an additional $2.7 million from “the governor’s most passionate supporters” to meet a goal of $5.92 million by June 30. That would seem to indicate the campaign had raised about $3.22 million as of March 22.

It’s not clear why they’re shooting for $5.92 million by the end of June instead of an even $6 million. Maybe they’re hoping for $80,000 from less passionate supporters.

Richardson’s other goals include showing “the American people what the governor has done in New Mexico” and presenting a “detailed outline of his plan to get American troops out of Iraq and establish a permanent Mid Eastern envoy.”

Another goal is to “blitz the early primary states to get his message of economic growth at home and diplomacy abroad to the voters. Once we’ve spread the word, we’ll begin to gain on the so-called ‘front-runners.’ ”

In an underlined paragraph, Contarino says, “If we can meet these goals by June 30, we will have the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States in our sights by the end of this year.”

I hope they’re not counting on a contribution from Ms. New.

Nuclear and other threats: I thought Gov. Bill Richardson’s appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart would be the most humorous thing coming out of the Richardson campaign on Wednesday, but somehow an irreverent Washington, D.C., blog found some comedy in a speech Richardson made to Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

In a post with the headline, “Bill Richardson Threatens ‘Nuclear 9/11’ & Al Gore’s Life, Wonkette: The D.C. Gossip noted “You’re not a serious candidate until you start crazy fear-mongering so voters know you’re Tough On Terrorism,That’s why a somewhat likable like Bill Richardson had to ramp up his campaign today by threatening Americans with a ‘nuclear 9/11.’ ”
Before the word “voters” was a scratched-out word: “idiots.”

“Richardson, who couldn’t even keep track of laptops when he was Energy Secretary, says as president he will secure the world’s nuclear weapons to stop the constant accidental terrorism nuke attacks that are such a regular feature of our lives today.”

Wonkette missed an opportunity to poke fun at Richardson’s call in the speech for “a new Manhattan project to stop the bomb.” He’s already called for an “Apollo project” for clean energy. Can a president have a Manhattan project and an Apollo project at the same time?

As for the second part of Wonkette’s headline, the blog quoted an Associated Press story in which Richardson credited Gore with raising awareness of global warming — a quote described tongue-in-cheek as a “chilling message.”

“ ‘I like Al Gore, he looks very healthy and prosperous,’ Richardson said with a laugh. ‘He should stay where he is.’ ”

Bolo the belt: O.K., Wonkette, you can mock our governor. But not our recently designated official state tie. Last week, in a post about the governor’s weight loss, Wonkette wrote, “Richardson has reportedly lost 30 pounds, but he continues to burden his horse with the extra weight of a jackass ‘bolo tie’ that all western U.S. politicians are compelled to wear.”

Thanking Karl: Newsweek’s Michael Isakoff, in an article on that magazine’s Web site Tuesday, offers the latest twist in the ongoing U.S. attorney saga.

According to the story, Steve Bell, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., sent a “cryptic thank-you note” to White House political director Karl Rove in January at the same time Domenici was recommending replacements for fired New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

“Thanks for everything,” Bell said in a Jan. 8 e-mail to Rove and two other White House officials. Isakoff said the same e-mail included the name of a candidate to replace Iglesias.

Isakoff admits it’s not clear what Bell was thanking Rove for. “But the thank-you note is the first indication that Rove himself may have been involved in replacing Iglesias,” he wrote.

Domenici spokesman Chris Gallegos told Newsweek, “We’re not going to have anything to say about that e-mail,” and Bell “did not want to discuss a private communication.” A White House spokesman, according to Isakoff, said the e-mail was “interpreted” by the officials who’d received it as “a thank you for considering the names of Domenici's candidates for replacing Iglesias — not for their help in removing Iglesias.”

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