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          Front Page  news  washington

'Nice People,' Bad Law — Gov. Takes Heat

By Michael Coleman
Journal Washington Bureau
          WASHINGTON — PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley had Gov. Bill Richardson squirming this week when he challenged Richardson's assertion that Sen. John McCain and Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona were "nice people" in spite of their support for Arizona's controversial new immigration law.
        In an episode taped Monday, Smiley — who opposes the law allowing police to ask suspected illegal immigrants for identification — said Richardson's logic didn't hold up. Richardson has strongly condemned the law, but suggested to Smiley that he sympathized with the political bind McCain and Brewer find themselves in.
        Here's how the exchange (slightly abreviated) went:
        Smiley: "How do you say a woman like Governor Brewer is a nice person when she signs into law a bill you think is inhumane?"
        Richardson (grinning): "Tavis, I'm your friend. Why are you asking me an impossible question?"
        Smiley: "It's not impossible; I just think it takes courage to answer, respectfully.
        Richardson: "They're doing this right now because they are both in tight re-elections, politically untenable positions. If they favored vetoing this bill — like I urged her to do — she would probably be out of office."
        Smiley: "So what? She would have done the right thing, according to you."
        Richardson: "I'm just making an observation. Everybody that's elected worries about getting re-elected first. That's a commonality that everybody has. But you've got to do the right thing for the public good, and maybe there is a chance of redemption. Maybe they will see that this bill is hurting the state enormously. Maybe some legal challenge will take it off the books.
        "I'm not perfect. I'm just stating a political reality. It was very tough for them to veto this bill politically."
        Smiley: "I'm not sure I liked that last answer, but out of respect for our friendship, I'll let you go."
        ENCHANTED SUB: The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution Tuesday honoring the new state-of-the art USS New Mexico submarine that was commissioned for duty in March.
        The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., reads in part that the U.S. House "honors the USS New Mexico as one of the most advanced submarines in the history of the U.S. Navy; commends the diligence of the New Mexico Council, Navy League of the United States, and the USS New Mexico Commissioning Committee who contributed to the support of the USS New Mexico."

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