Williams: Governor Richardson, though, there was broad disagreement on this panel about you having the only negotiation experience.
You did raise your qualifications earlier. Is your contention that, say, the top three frontrunners in this race are less qualified than you are to be president?
Richardson: No, and I'm positive. You know what I'm hearing here? I'm hearing this holier than thou attitude towards Senator Clinton that -- it's bothering me because it's pretty close to personal attacks that we don't need. Do we trust her? Do we -- did she take money from special interests?
No. Yes. Sorry, go on.
We need to be positive in this campaign. Yes, we need to point out our differences. And I have big differences with her over the war -- I would get all our troops out -- over No Child Left Behind -- I'd get rid of it. I also have differences over Iran. I think that was the wrong vote for her to cast because I think it was saber-rattling.
But I think it's important that we save the ammunition for the Republicans. If we continue, I believe, harping on the past and not focusing on the future -- look, the reality on the electability issue is, the last senator that was elected president was 40 years ago.
Look, the reality on the electability issue is, the last senator that was elected president was 40 years ago. His name was John F. Kennedy.- Advertisement -
We elect governors as president. Seven out of the last eight have been either governors or ex-governors.
And my view is that I know how to bring people together. More than all the issues that we're talking about it's who can govern, who can manage.
Pretty much if you aren’t Bill Richardson you aren’t allowed to go after any candidate even though that’s pretty much why we watch debates. I mean for me, I want to know what sets candidates apart from one another. I appreciate when Barack and John break down Hillary’s inadequacies. I appreciate when Joe Biden talks about all the candidates’ downsides. If you aren’t going to talk about real issues, you should at least talk about what makes you better than each other in this media-run “horse race.”
I'm the only CEO in this race. I've balanced budgets. I've provided health care to kids under 12. I've improved education. I've got foreign policy experience. I've negotiated with foreign countries as a diplomat, as a hostage negotiator.
Yes, I do think it is substantially more than my colleagues, although they have a strong record.
But the important thing is that we need to stay positive. We need to have disagreement on the issues, not on whether you can trust -- I trust Senator Clinton, but I don't agree with her on a majority of issues.- Advertisement -
I wouldn’t sell yourself to the Democrats in America by pimping the fact that you are the only CEO in the race. We do not hold CEOs in high regard in this party. Most of them are responsible for the soaring magnitude of despair in our nation right now.
Williams: Senator Dodd, you gave an interview to our local NBC station here today, alluding to problems with Senator Clinton's national electability. What is the point you want to make on that score?
Dodd: Well, first, I think electability's a very critical issue. Look, at the end of this process here, we need to have a Democrat in the White House come January 20, 2009. That is essential in my view to get this country back on its feet again, to restore our moral authority in the world. It is a critical question.