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Feds End Probe of NM Gov. Bill Richardson: No Charges

Criminal charges will not be filed against New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson in the "pay to play" investigation that caused him to withdraw from consideration as President Obama's Commerce Secretary.

The Democratic governor and former high-ranking members of his administration won't be criminally charged in an investigation of how lucrative state bond work went to one of the governor's large political donors, according to two people familiar with the case. The decision not to seek indictments was made by Justice Department officials in Washington, they said, speaking on condition they not be identified because prosecutors had not disclosed results of the probe.

Richardson's spokesman Gilbert Gallegos has issued a statement: [More...]

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Fingerpointing and A Second Problem for Richardson

Via Politico, Obama aides are now saying Richardson was pressed for information about the federal grand jury investigation into a possible "pay for play" situation and was not forthcoming. Others are putting the blame on Obama's transition team, saying the vetting of Richardson was inadequate.

There's also a second area of inquiry Republicans were likely to focus on during Richardson's confirmation hearings.

In addition, Senate Republicans told Politico ahead of Richardson's confirmation hearing that they were looking into questions about Richardson’s connection to a San Diego-based software company that came under investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

More...

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Obama to Name Richardson as Commerce Secretary Weds.

President-Elect Barack Obama will name New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his Commerce Secretary tomorrow.

Why was John Kerry left out in the cold? Among the few high-level positions left for him is Secretary of Veterans affairs.

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Hillary to Richardson: A Shrug or a Hug?


(larger version here.)

The LA Times asks whether Hillary Clinton gave Bill Richardson a shrug or a hug Monday while campaigning for Barack Obama in New Mexico.

Here's the video, you decide.

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Joe Biden Leaves for Georgia

Joe Biden left for Georgia today to meet with its President.

Either Obama is not naming his VP candidate Monday or on a more hopeful note, it's not Biden.

I'm wondering if Bill Richardson could be back in the running, even though he has a speaker slot at the convention. Obama will be in New Mexico Monday, and New Mexico is one of those states (with its five electoral votes) Obama is trying hard to win but he faces a lot of resistance among Hispanic voters in the southern half of the state.

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Bill Richardson Touts Daily Kos and Bloggers

Bill Richardson just praised Daily Kos and bloggers involvement in the political process on Hannity and Colmes. He also said he was sorry he missed Yearly Kos due to a scheduling conflict.

In other comments, he continued to refuse to endorse either Hillary or Obama or to count Edwards out. Hannity asked him if he thought Hillary could win given her "unfavorability rating" and he said yes.

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Bill Richardson Drops Out, Refuses to Endorse Any Rival

As expected, Bill Richardson dropped out of the presidential race today. Here 's a transcript of his remarks.

He did not endorse any of his competitors. Instead, he asked everyone to make up their own minds and listed their strengths:

Senator Edwards is a singular voice for the most downtrodden and forgotten among us.

Senator Obama is a bright light of hope and optimism at a time of great national unease, yet he is also grounded in thoughtful wisdom beyond his years.

Senator Clinton's poise in the face of adversity is matched only by her lifetime of achievement and deep understanding of the challenges we face.

He also appeared on CNN's the Situation Room. When asked who he thought would get the Latino vote, he said Hillary Clinton had an edge but Obama could garner support from all minorities, particularly the young ones. [More...]

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Bill Richardson Now Confirms He's Dropping Out of Presidential Race

Update: Keith Olbermann now says Richardson has confirmed he's dropping out to NBC News.

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The AP reports that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will announce the end to his presidential campaign tomorrow.

Richardson had one of the most wide-ranging resumes of any candidate ever to run for the presidency, bringing experience from his time in Congress, President Clinton's Cabinet, in the New Mexico statehouse as well as his unique role as a freelance diplomat. As a Hispanic, he added to the unprecedented diversity in the Democratic field that also included a black and a woman.

Keith Olbermann on MSNBC says NBC spoke to his campaign which denies it. According to Olbermann, Richardson may just be suspending his campaign.

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Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd: National Guard Needed Here to Fight Disasters, Not in Iraq

Update: Sen Chris Dodd has issued a similar statment.

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Governor Bill Richardson makes the connecton between the California wildfires and the War in Iraq: Because our national guard is there, it isn't here responding to disasters.

George Bush, his Republican friends and the Democrats who continue to allow this war to continue have not only broken our military, they've broken our National Guard.

The news this morning had images of Americans fleeing to a huge sports arena for shelter during a natural disaster that struck a familiar chord. When Katrina struck and the floods hit two years ago, a good portion of the Louisiana National Guard was in Iraq. How many people died in the days it took to get proper personnel on the ground in New Orleans? Today, as the fires rage, California has National Guard men, women, and critical equipment thousands of miles away in Iraq. They need to come home. We need them here.

More....

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Obama to reboot his Iraq policy and rhetoric.

Cross-posted in Orange

Last week I implored Barack Obama to step up on Iraq.

On Wednesday of this week, he will be doing just that.

Context and what to look for below the fold.

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Bill Richardson: Larry Craig "Did a Terrible Thing"

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson has had his problems with expressing his views on gays. Today, in commenting on Sen. Larry Craig's resignation, he stepped in it again.

I remember him fondly. But he did the right thing (by resigning). He obviously did a terrible thing.

Wow. I'd expect that comment from a Republican, family values guy, but from a progressive Democrat? If that's how he views gay sex, he's going to have an even bigger problem with the gay community than he did before.

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Bill Richardson Acknowledges He "Screwed Up" with Gay Remark

I'd like to say Bill Richardson is refreshing for his willingness to admit when he screws up. First, at the Yearly Kos debate, he admitted he "screwed up" in saying we need more Supreme Court Justices like Byron White.

Today, he says he "screwed up" in saying at the GLBT debate that gays choose their sexual orientation.

I made a mistake. I screwed up," he said, acknowledging that the gay blogosphere is upset with him. "[The blogs] went nuts saying, you know, that I literally was a moron and that I didn't understand their struggle," he said.

But, his screw-ups are on big issues. What would happen if he were President and had the opportunity to act before someone pointed out his screw-ups to him?

Richardson says he's not running for VP but won't say he won't accept the nomination.

I also wonder whether Richardson is ready for prime-time. From today's article:

Richardson, who supports civil unions, was asked if he would veto a gay marriage bill because he believed in his heart that same-sex marriage is wrong. He replied, "I don't want to get into that. I thought you guys were going to ask me about other stuff. Don't you care about other stuff?"

He needs some media training, and fast.

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Bill Richardson Opposes Compromise Immigration Bill

Credit where credit is due, and today it goes to New Mexico Governor and presidential hopeful Bill Richardson, who says he will oppose the Immigration compromise because it is too onerous for immigrants:

Mr. Richardson initially said he would support the immigration compromise announced earlier this week. But on Wednesday, he said that after reading it in detail, he had decided to oppose it, saying the measure placed too great a burden on immigrants — tearing apart families that wanted to settle in the United States, creating a permanent tier of second-class immigrant workers and financing a border fence that Mr. Richardson had long opposed.

“This is fundamentally flawed in its current form, and I would oppose it,” he said. “We need bipartisanship, but we also need legislation that is compassionate. I’m not sure that this is.”

Thank you, Governor Richardson.

More....

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Bill Richardson Seeks Passage of N.M. Medical Marijuana Bill

New Mexico Governor and Democrat presidential contender Bill Richardson supports medical marijuana:

"We've only got a few days to go, and I'm urging very quick action on the ethics package," he said. "I'm urging very quick, strong action on predatory
lending. I want that cockfighting bill, I want medical marijuana, I want my tax cuts."

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