Bill Richardson's big ouch

Obama gets the answer right: National security and human rights don't have to conflict.

Published November 16, 2007 1:01PM (EST)

The Las Vegas debate is the best so far, with meaty exchanges on health care, merit pay for teachers, illegal immigration and the crisis in Pakistan. But Bill Richardson made the night's big gaffe so far during the discussion about Pakistan, seeming to imply that human rights should sometimes come before national security. When Wolf Blitzer asked him to clarify whether he really meant to put human rights before American security, Richardson missed the opportunity to insist they don't have to conflict with one another, and simply answered: "Yes."

Obama got the answer right, to my mind. "The concepts are not contradictory, Wolf. They are complementary." Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd jumped to say national security should come first. Plenty to chew on in this exchange. I didn't really think Richardson was going to succeed in his apparent effort to run for vice president, but now I'm sure he won't. I don't see Clinton, Obama or Edwards picking a running mate who just teed up a great GOP attack ad for their opponents. More later.

By Joan Walsh

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2008 Elections