January 10th, 2008
05:01 PM ET
6 years ago

Frustration with Washington makes 'experience' a liability

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is a former congressman, ambassador and energy secretary.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is a former congressman, ambassador and energy secretary.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - If experience were the only qualification, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson would be a shoo-in for president.

But with frustration with the political system running high and candidates who call for "change" enjoying success on the campaign trail, experience scores few points with voters - and, in fact, may be a liability.

Richardson, a former congressman, ambassador and Cabinet member, couldn't get any traction during his presidential run, and he announced Thursday he was dropping out of the Democratic race.

"The time has come to end my quest and come home to tackle the challenges before us in New Mexico," Richardson told cheering supporters in his state capital of Santa Fe.

In his final debate Saturday, Richardson seemed frustrated by the notion that experience was a liability.

"Look, what we need is change. There's no question. But, you know, whatever happened to experience? Is experience kind of a leper?" Richardson asked. "What is wrong with having been, like myself, 14 years in the Congress, two Cabinet positions?"

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Filed under: Bill Richardson
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Richard Wilde, Lubbock, Texas

    I encourage thoughtful voters to write in the name of Bill Richardson in the primary voting if his name is not on the ballot.

    January 10, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  2. Bob Andersen

    Kerry is endorsing Obama because is white just like Oprah endorsed Obama because is black...give me a break america

    January 10, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  3. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Says Robin from LA: "People do care about experience. But they also want "fire in the belly." Only Hillary has both."

    "Fire in the belly" is otherwise called "indigestion"–a sensation which, on a philosophical level, Hillary causes in a lot of people.

    January 10, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    "Look, what we need is change. There's no question. But, you know, whatever happened to experience? Is experience kind of a leper?" Richardson asked. "What is wrong with having been, like myself, 14 years in the Congress, two Cabinet positions?"

    Come on, Governor, you know perfectly well what's wrong with "experience:" in the case of all you would-be Presidents, all your experience was attained at the cost to this country of all the screw-ups you collectively made to get that experience. The "experience" of you Democrats in creating the Welfare State, combined with the "experience" of the Republicans in fighting a useless war has morally and monetarily bankrupted this country.

    That kind of experience we definitely don't need.

    January 10, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  5. David Allen Linkenheimer, East Brady, Pa.

    Those with the so called "Experiance" may have a problem if high treason is added to the Bill of Impeachment in Congress; if they come back in session.

    Having your picture taken while sorrounded by uniformed police is evidence of treason.

    The police state advocates gained power circa 1865; Department of Justice (1871)

    How did we survive the first 90 years with out a paid police force?


    I suppose you will consider me one of those "HomeGrown Terrorists" because I am not in favor of the status quo.

    January 10, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  6. Robyn

    About dynasties. I would like to set the record straight once and for all.

    The Kennedys are a dynasty.
    The Bush's are a dynasty.
    The Butthos are a dynasty.
    The Roosevelts were a dynasty.

    The Clintons are NOT a dynasty. They are two people from normal families who happened to get married and both of whom happened to share a passion and commitment to public service which led both of them into politics – first Bill, then Hillary. Neither of the Clintons benefits from a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, or sibling’s political success. As far as I know, Chelsea has no political ambitions.

    Stop with the dynasty stuff.

    January 10, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  7. Amused, Las Vegas

    Jose Card –

    "Richardson's real experience hurts, while Hillary's questionable experience sells.
    This says something about Dems in an Independent's opinion.

    Would Governor Richardson consider switching to Independent?"

    There is no viability in an independent candidacy. NONE.

    Wish it weren't the case, but it is. There is only spoiler opportunity. Look at the timing of Bloomberg's renewed interest.

    RIchardson would make a great VP candidate.

    January 10, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Seam, Philly, Pa

    Matt and Jose Card: Did either one of you vote for Richardson?

    January 10, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  9. carol

    Bill – I would trust you completely as an excellent Vice President to Hillary. I think you could work together very well. You seem to be fair with an open and nuturing personality. Help Hillary nurture and repair the world. Thank you for your service to our country.

    January 10, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. Brian

    And it can not be anything another than frustration!

    January 10, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. Corey

    Cheers, just happy to see that without a doubt, come January, 2009, there will be little feet running around the White House again, those of the Obama kids! I am soooo exicted!!!!

    January 11, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  12. Brenda

    I am not looking for experience of being first lady or taking foreign trips but real experience of changing things not intents. That is why I am looking for for change this time around...

    January 11, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  13. Fanner 50

    Dropping out tells me that they were never really in ,but just fluff and mirrors for the CHOSEN ONES.

    January 11, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  14. Mcain - Secret

    McCain has a lot of baggage too. What is he going to gut to pay for that war machine.

    Britney Spears support of Hillary shows they are two peas in a pod.

    Washington experience is a liability Olypic experience is valuable.

    January 11, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  15. Lei An

    Obama campaign has been manipulating the voters to think that experience is now a liability because they understand that he can't even compare himself with Clinton in the category of experience. I'm not saying that he is not qualified for the presidency. That will be up to the voters to decide. All I'm saying is that he doesn't have as much experience as Clinton does, which is extremely important for the next president. In a time that we have ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, crucial national security issues, recessive economics, and many other problems, we don't have the luxury to give a new president the on-job training.

    And, there is nothing to be ashamed of for serving this country and working hard for the American people for so many years.

    Also, take a look at any of those job postings. Almost every job nowadays requires two-year experience. Then why do we think that every other job in this courntry requires experience except the most important one?

    January 11, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  16. threeriverscrossing, Raleigh, North Carolina

    Every election cycle in the last 30 years, both the Democrats and Republicans have promised change in Washington. Republicans promise to cut government and Democrats promise to help the working poor. Is government smaller? Do the working poor still need help? It seems every 16 years, the "change" jingle catches on with a generation, so nothing new. Poor Democrats and Republicans, they are so confused and confounded by progress by each going in the opposite direction. Progress is all about "Compromise" not "Change."

    In the end, conservative Democrats, like myself, who supported Bill Richardson, will not be easily swayed be popular jingles of change, but by substance of policies, on lower taxes, economic growth and trade, government spending, foreign affairs and national security. Government, like in the business world, experience and past results counts therefore.

    Finally, Governor Richardson, we are proud of your positive, gracious and noble moral advocacy of your campaign. You inspired us to think about what is the true meaning of freeing the Iraq people, that the American spirit in not about nationalism of occupation, genocide, or distain for free will and human values around the world but that the American spirit is about innovation, economic growth, moral prerogatives and freedoms that are by measured by results in the quality of lives of the American people and as well as in the world community as a whole. Foremost, a master negotiator with legendary outcomes that exemplify risks, courage, and freedom.

    January 11, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  17. charlie

    Well, I wouldn't worry about any of these guys. He's a very well-fed man (he could use a diet and some physical exercise), and I'm sure he'll get rich if he isn't already when he leaves his post. I made the mistake of voting for Bush in 2000 and then I enlisted after 2001. As an Airborne Ranger with three overseas deployments, I assure you all that nothing is going to change with this election very fast.
    Even if Obama wins, his message of hope and change will be bogged down by the establishment everyone rails against, and yet, seemingly, works for.
    I can also tell you all that this horrible mess in Iraq is going to last a long-time. The companies make too much money, too many people's careers are involved, and more Amerians will still turn out for the Superbowl than, say, write a letter to their representative.

    I'm done voting
    Sgt Porter

    January 11, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  18. David-Paul Niner

    Public endorsements are a double-edged sword. The candidate inadvertently inherits the endorser's PR issues, and in the event that the endorser is political figure, possibly even their voting record.

    Its possible that Kerry is looking for a VP run and approached the candidate he felt most likely to select him. I see Hillary going in a completely different direction.

    January 11, 2008 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  19. Dave

    Experience in this case was not the liability. In fact it was very much the fact that this guy who helped to broker the completely failed shut down of the nuclear power plant in North Korea may have experience of sorts, however that didn't necessarily make him any more qualified then the majority of the candidates on both sides of the aisle. For all his talk he has very few, if any significant accomplishments as a politician or as a diplomat.

    January 11, 2008 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  20. See ABC News for Latest on Obama

    SEE ABC NEWS FOR THE LATEST ON OBAMA. Obama has skeletons in his closet. Look at the blogs carefully too, because a lot of what is said by people there I have researched myself in the past days and found it. Vote on QUALIFICATIONS...a lesson that as Americans we keep having to relearn. Better to know now than later, because Republicans will pull all of this out if and after he is nominated. At least Hillary has already been put under the microscope, so nothing will be left to disclose. I am not saying this to take sides, but rather so that we can vote for the most electable Democratic candidate. God willing!

    January 11, 2008 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  21. More proof Obama is not ready to lead this great country

    More proof Obama is not ready to lead this great country! NH debate showed a side of Barack Obama not seen before and it wasn't pretty especially Asked in the Saturday Democratic debate about her dearth of "likability," Clinton offered an answer both artful and sweet - first, demurely saying her feelings were hurt and mock-heroically adding that she would try to carry on regardless, then generously conceding that Obama is very likable and "I don't think I'm that bad, At which point, Obama, You're likable enough, Hillary." He said it looking down and with not a smile but a smirk people didn’t like it and since have started to look closer at obama.
    Obama has been getting the media free pass, freest of all passes general neglect of the obvious central contradiction of his candidacy - the bipartisan uniter who would bring us together by transcending ideology is at every turn on every policy. Obama doesn't even offer a modest deviation from orthodoxy. When the Gang of 14, seven Republican and seven Democratic senators, agreed to restore order and a modicum of bipartisanship to the judicial selection process, Obama refused to join lest he anger the liberal base.
    Special interests? Obama is a champion of the Davis-Bacon Act, an egregious gift to Big Labor that makes every federal public-works project more costly. He not only vows to defend it, but proposes extending it to artificially raise wages for any guest worker program.
    On Iraq, of course he denigrates the surge. That's required of Democratic candidates. But he further claims that the Sunnis turned against al-Qaeda and joined us - get this - because of the Democratic victory in the 2006 midterm elections.
    Obama has yet to have it pointed out to him by a mainstream interviewer that the Anbar Salvation Council was founded by Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha two months earlier. Obama has yet to be asked why any Sunni would choose to join up with the American invaders at precisely the time when Democrats would have them leaving - and be left like the pro-American Vietnamese or the pro-French Algerians to be hunted and killed when their patrons were gone. That's suicide. The New Hampshire surprise has at least temporarily broken the spell. Maybe now someone will lift the curtain and subject our newest man from hope to the scrutiny that every candidate deserves.

    "Mr. Obama has failed to rise to leadership on a single major issue in the Senate," he had a habit of ducking major issues, voting 'present' on bills important to many Democratic interest groups, like abortion-rights and gun-control advocates. Obama is calculating ,For someone who talks about a new, positive style of politics and pledges to be true to his word, Mr. Obama too often practices the old style of politics, saying one thing and doing another.

    January 11, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  22. Diane

    I'm tired of the other candidates insinuating that Mr Obama and Mr Edwards just fell off of the turnip truck. Both of these candidates have actively worked in professional roles, social changes roles, and elected office for many years – both of them could be effective Presidents.

    It's not that voters have rejected 'experience' – we have rejected the Washington establishment's ways of doing things. We don't want negativity and slurs. We don't want partisanship and scandals. We want our leaders to be good, honest people who can make things happen.

    Both Mr Edwards and Mr Obama fit that description. It's possible that Mr Richardson did, too, but his campaign just never seemed to get any traction, nor much air time in the media. I'm sorry that he dropped out, as I was interested in hearing more from him through the campaign process.

    January 11, 2008 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  23. Chuck Huckaba

    I am 59 years old and am so tired of these so-called "experienced" crooks being in power in Congress. I think Barack Obama would be such a good change in the White House, though I have no idea why anyone would want to tackle the mess our current "experienced" leader has gotten us into! Myself, I hope all of Richardsons support goes over to Obama because I think that Clinton is just sooting off her mouth and listening to what her husband tells her. Gee, it would be a real shame if both Clintons had to join the other millions of out0of0work Americans in this country!

    January 11, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  24. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Vic Novosad, Sugar Land, TX January 10, 2008 6:49 pm ET

    We hope Governor will throw his popularity and experience directly in support of Hillary Clinton. He has done so much for this country, it's hard to believe this wonderful American would endorse someone who has served only ONE YEAR
    in the Senate.

    Prior political experience is not a requirement for the presidency, Vic. For example, Dwight Eisenhower never served a day in any elective office (he was a 5-star general in the Army) before he was elected president twice.

    January 11, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  25. MR

    He didn't endorse Obama or Hillary. He preferred to stay out of it.

    January 11, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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