More bad news for Bill

Why does Sen. Chris Dodd want you to read a new profile of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson?

Published June 11, 2007 4:14PM (EDT)

Last week I wrote a less than flattering piece about New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's lousy performance so far as a presidential candidate, including the bungled "Meet the Press" appearance, the confusion over Justice Byron White, the false claim that he was drafted by a baseball team, the flat stump speech, etc.

Today, I got an e-mail from the campaign of Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd. Attached was a new profile of Richardson by Ryan Lizza, the indefatigable reporter for the New Republic. The subject line read, "They're all named Kim." This was not a good sign for Richardson. No presidential candidate wants other campaigns to send around their profiles. The old saw is wrong: In politics, all news is not good news.

And Lizza's profile is certainly not good news for Richardson. It captures the New Mexico governor joking about North Koreans: "They're all named Kim." It describes his "touching problem," including a scene where he is seen "tickling the scalp" of an attractive young woman on the trail in Iowa. It notes that when he was asked in March about the Iraq war supplemental bill then being considered by Congress, Richardson's response was: "I'm just not familiar with the supplemental ... Which one is that?"

Unless Richardson turns his campaign around, the piece, which is not yet posted online, may end up as a historical epitaph for the governor's presidential ambitions. At the end of the piece, Lizza basically announces his opposition to Richardson's candidacy: "Richardson may be a good Cabinet member for the next president, but, despite his charm and likeability, the next president needs to be more than a frat-boy-in-chief who believes that personal connections can overcome all the world's ideological fissures," Lizza writes. "We've already been down that road."

When the story does go online, don't expect to find a link at

By Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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