November 15th, 2007
09:17 PM ET
11 years ago

Richardson: Human rights before security

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had strong words about balancing core values like human rights with security at Thursday night's debate.

(CNN) - In response to a question about Pakistan, Democratic candidate Gov. Bill Richardson, D-New Mexico, said human rights come before national security.

"Security is more important than human rights. If I'm president, it's the other way around," he said.

Richardson emphasized Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's need to restore the constitution, the supreme court and let former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto run in a free election.

When asked to clarify by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Richardson reaffirmed his position about security and said, "It's not just about what Halliburton wants in Iraq. It's also about our values and freedom, equality. Our strength is not just military and economic. Our strength as a nation is our values, quality, freedom, democracy, human rights. That's where we're strong."

- CNN's Adam P. Levy

Filed under: Bill Richardson
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Lorenz, Queens, ny

    I'll take a look at what our constitution has to say Mr. Richarson

    November 15, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  2. jennifer, Evergreen, CO

    I believe the candidate's name is Richardson not Richarson.

    November 15, 2007 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  3. Michael, Hilton Head, South Carolina

    He is right. It is absolutely disgusting if anyone would disagree. Darfur is a perfect example. We are sitting by allowing genocide to occur because there is no benefit to the American people in Darfur besides being moral correct.

    November 15, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  4. Tex Mex, NYC, NY

    Blitzer is clearly pro-Clinton and anti-Obama. Both his tone and demeanor when questioning Obama is uncalled for.

    November 15, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  5. BDC, Phila PA

    Its sad, but the world isn't all rainbows and sunshine. If national security takes a backseat to being gentle and kind to everyone we're going to suffer at the hands of those who don't agree. Human rights is a close second, but CAN'T exist without security first because the world just isn't that nice a place.

    Its a really nice sentiment but so is a world without hate and war. Not realistic for someone with "so much experience" sorry.

    November 15, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  6. D Mac, Northern NJ

    Dodd had the great answer right back to this and Clinton stepped right in and agreed. When you take the oath of office it says nothing about promoting human rights around the globe.

    It reminded me of the famous Bernard Shaw question to Mike Dukakis a few years back about capital punishment and the hypothetical of his wife getting raped and murdered – you don't nuance the question and answer it in Philosophy 101 terms, you come out emotional and strong on it.

    November 16, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  7. mike, Coarsegold Cal.

    I am glad to see Richardson is for the war in Iraq. The atrocities and violations of human rights by Sadam far outweigh our national security.

    November 16, 2007 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  8. Spandan, Sunnyvale, CA

    Without the vigorous and vigilant protection of America's principles – at the core of them are human and civil rights – our nation loses its very character, the very thing that makes this country America. A great American once said that those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither. That same principle applies to our international presence. We cannot let fear override protections of human rights or our support for the aspirations for freedom of people all across the globe. Worst, when we let the mindset prevail that our national security and human rights principles are in conflict, we cannot be more wrong. The expansion of freedom and human rights across the globe is the only permanent way to secure ourselves from the threats we face.

    Security and liberty need not be balanced against each other. Such premise is an affront to our those who put on the uniform of the United States and believe in their core that they serve a country that is also a cause – that they serve to secure the cause of freedom.

    November 16, 2007 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  9. Sel, Ozone Park New YOrk

    Way! to Go! Now here is a candidate who actually sticks to his beliefs!!! I am pretty sure we are all tired of Haliburton controling the future of our nation!!! Isn't Human rights the basis of which the US CONSTITUTION is based on? Last time I checked our freedoms should be protected not antagonized by private interests!!!

    November 16, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. Brian, Syracuse NY

    Dodd's baseless claim that 85% of Muslims hate America is extremely hateful, arrogant and counterproductive. I don't think a single REPUBLICAN candidate would even go so far as to say that such a majority of Muslims hate freedom.

    Richardson could have phrased his answer better but the message is clear; If we don't whack the hive, we won't get stung. There is room for peace for everyone.

    November 16, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. Jack, Fort Myers, Fl

    Human rights? OK so you were nominated for a medal. Here's what I believe you were saying: Constitutional rights before security? No question–but that also has to be weighed against the specific threat. The constitutional rights of criminal and terrorist suspects–aren't the same as law abiding citizens. If you mean these people once arrested or detained should have due process under our constitution, then I agree. If you're talking about wire-tapping and eavesdropping–that should be allowed, as long as "due process" has been obtained. But frankly, I couldn't understand just what you were talking about–the US or Pakistan? The Patriot Act–what? Do you know?

    November 16, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Ryan Indianapolis

    You cant have human rights if you dont have security first..Doesnt take a brain surgent to figure that out...

    November 16, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. Ms. L, Albany, NY

    I just might vote for Richardson now.

    November 16, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    It hurts to say this but Hillary was right to disagree with him here.

    His speech and thought process, though well versed, rings hollow in this day and age, we need to improve our nations security and CHANGE how we go about it, or all those nice human rights ideas DIE right along with us.

    We are a good people, who still help other GOOD people, nobody does more or has done more for the betterment of the world that the U.S.

    November 16, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Maslow's Hierachy of Needs (going waaay back to Freshman year Soc 101) mandates that you must first actually BE ALIVE and sucking oxygen BEFORE you can enjoy "human rights."

    November 16, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |