Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador, offered advice to a few Republicans in Des Moines Thursday.
DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson on Thursday defended the United Nations and its role in international diplomacy against recent Republican attacks.
"[I will] introduce some Republicans to a basic reality," said Richardson. "[The] United Nations...is a necessary and important framework for building the international cooperation that will be necessary to confront problems like environmental degradation and poverty."
In a speech addressing 21st century global threats, the New Mexico governor said the U.N. is vital to peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, and solutions to global climate change.
"As a former U.N. ambassador there - your ambassador there - I, more than
anyone in this race, understand the shortcomings of that institution," the New Mexico governor admitted. "But I also know the incredible power in the legitimacy of international cooperation."
Richardson also took shots at his opponents - both Democratic and Republican - over their international resumes.
"My colleagues in this race have my respect, but it is a simple fact that the next international deal negotiated by any of them will be their first."
Richardson's remarks come the same day Republican candidate Mitt Romney
called the U.N. a "failure."
-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch