ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Santa Fe Salvation Army expects to feed more than 300 people today.
In just about an hour, Gov. Bill Richardson will be helping dish out Christmas dinner to more than 300 people at the Salvation Army, 525 West Alameda St., Santa Fe.
According to the Richardson Watch in this morning's Albuquerque Journal, the governor is taking a three-day break from his make-or-break campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, with the first big test coming in the Iowa caucuses just nine days away.
In the absence of a link to the Richardson Watch on today's ABQjournal.com home page, here's the whole thing (from the eJournal):
Presidential hopefuls — including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson — are taking a couple days off to spend Christmas with their families. Richardson Watch will, too, but before we tuck into tamales, trees and giftwrapped treasure, we’ll catch up on the governor’s pre-Christmas push for the Democratic nomination:
To the Des Moines Register in September: “Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord should be the first.” And to ABC just last week: “I was president of my fraternity, you know.”
“Still,” says writer Scott Martelle, “the lowertier candidates soldier on, in too far to quit and emboldened by the inherent uncertainty and surprises of political campaigns.”
GRINDING IT OUT: Comparing a recent Richardson event in Davenport, Iowa, to Hillary Clinton’s “massive motorcade and bevy of Secret Service agents” rumbling through town the day before, the Quad City Times described Richardson at a coffee shop speaking to 18 people. “It doesn’t get much more grassroots,” the newspaper said.
Richardson attracted about 150 people in a West Des Moines library and used the forum to lash out at Congress and President Bush. “I think we’re going to be stuck with this war because the Congress is weak and the president is persistent,” Richardson told them.
SAY WHAT?: The Associated Press sent a national writer to sum up Richardson and she began her piece by repeating the description of Richardson as often looking like an unmade bed and concluded with this: “Informal. Unpolished. Competitive. Impatient. Bullying. All true, to one degree or another. The unmade bed is smoother around the edges, no doubt, but still rough and tumble when the covers are stripped off.”
LEFT OUT: Borders Books in Albuquerque offers election-themed 2008 calendars near the checkout stands. You can buy a Hillary ’08 calendar, filled with pictures from her life and the campaign. Or you can get a similar ’08 calendar from Barack Obama, Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards or Mike Huckabee. Sadly omitted: Richardson.
HOME STRETCH: Campaign spokesman Tom Reynolds said the governor will “hit the ground running” in Iowa again on Wedneday with a renewed emphasis on the war in Iraq. Heading into the Jan. 3 Iowa caucus and the Jan. 8 primary in New Hampshire, Richardson will promote his pledge to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq during his first year in office, Reynolds said. “We’ve made a concerted effort to focus solely on Iraq and the war and contrasting ourselves with the other candidates,” Reynolds said Monday. “We’re going to be closing hard on Iraq and focusing on our plan to get the troops home. We’re doing it on the stump and in paid media.” Richardson’s campaign last week launched a 30-second television commercial in Iowa and New Hampshire that aims to distinguish him on Iraq from the Democratic frontrunners. Reynolds said recent reports that violence has abated in Baghdad after a surge of U.S. troops this year doesn’t diminish or change Richardson’s message.
“Violence has gone down statistically, but experts say the only real progress can be measured politically and we’re not seeing any of that,” Reynolds said.