October 18th, 2007
03:58 PM ET
15 years ago

Richardson: Bush administration too supportive of dictators

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) — Democratic hopeful Bill Richardson accused the Bush administration Thursday of "helping dictators all over the Middle East."

"Instead of giving assistance to developing countries [based] on human needs, on micro-lending, on renewable energy, we're giving U.S. foreign aid to build palaces and to corrupt dictators that are not helping us," Richardson said.

The New Mexico governor specifically targeted the administration's relationship with Pervez Musharraf, the current president of Pakistan.

"I would not give him the kind of assistance we give him unless he does something about the safe havens of the terrorists. We have too cozy of a relationship with Musharraf."

Richardson made the comments while speaking with reporters in Des Moines
following a speech on 21st century global threats.

When asked if he felt Musharraf's government is a legitimate one, Richardson
said, "He was elected in a way that does not support legitimacy. He should have free and fair elections."

He immediately added that Musharraf "is the leader there," but that the United States should still be able to inflict diplomatic pressure.

"Pakistan is a strategic ally, but we should use our leverage on [Musharraf] to go after the terrorists and to become more democracy-oriented, like have an election," Richardson said.

UPDATE: Responding to an initial posting of this story, RNC spokesman Brian Walton told CNN in a statement, "When Bill Richardson is pretending to play the role of tough on national security, you know Halloween is almost here. It is quite a change from the Richardson who wants to hand off Iraq to the terrorists as quickly as possible regardless of the outcome."

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Bill Richardson • Iowa • Race to '08
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    No duh. That's because the Bush administration itself is a fascist dictatorship!

    Vote for change with Obama in '08!

    October 18, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Hmmm... I wonder how Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Iran's President, Kim Jun Il, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Palestinian leaders in Hamas feel about President Bush??

    October 18, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. Selim Sazak, Turkey

    I found Senator Richardson's remarks regarding Gen. Musharraf as "insensitive" in the least sense of the word. Gen. Musharraf is not a dictator, at least not as much of a dictator as the US-backed and US-installed Askar Akayev of Kyrghzistan or the very government the US has. Gen. Musharraf is not dictating anything, he is just under too much pressure from the pro-Islamist militants and the opposition groups who seem to have joined hands for increasing the pressure on Musharraf. Musharraf may be a dictator in the ideal sense but he is not the slightest bit of a dictator when we look at the tyrannies we have in the world, the very tyrannies US has chosen to ignore and even support. S

    October 18, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Steve Sumter, SC

    Really! Who does Castro wish to be president? Could it be Hillary? Didn't the Clinton Adminstration (in which Richardon was a part) play footsie with Kim Jung Il? Didn't Pelosi hang out with the prez of Syria? My, how we forget!

    October 18, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. laurinda,ny

    Well it certainly took him long enough to figure that out. We all knew that, with the exception of the dumb Republicans. The "commander in chief" is a moron and the rest of the world leaders know that too. Bush thought they just wanted to be his friend.

    October 18, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Sounds like something Obama said 2 months ago.

    October 18, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Henry Tucker, Ga

    4 hours ago you posted this article.. NO COMMENTS since?? Really??

    Or are you guys at CNN just really lazy about updating your blog with the comments??

    October 18, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. Dave, NY, NY

    Bush is getting more bang for his buck then Clinton did. One good example of this would be the North Koreans who took the money Clinton offered and then went ahead with their nuke program anyways...

    October 18, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Wow...he must know someone at CNN....other than quoting Michael Moore – I can't think of a more irrelevant person...can you?

    October 18, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. Marc, St. Paul, MN

    Somebody want to tell me how much money we give to developing countries. We support developing countries without sending them money, we support them here. What percent of cooks are from developing countries and where do you think the money is going?

    October 18, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  11. PollM, Dallas Tx

    Do you we make an exception for every occasion.

    Should US foreign policy be supportive of dictators, when it serves US interests?
    -–> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=744

    October 19, 2007 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  12. Antonio, Barcelona Spain

    So if Musharraf isn't going after the terrorists in his own country why are we allies with this guy?

    Also, if we're at war in Iraq to save people from a dictatorship (are we allowed to talk about the WMD we didn't find out there?) then why are we supporting other dictatorships?

    October 19, 2007 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  13. straighttalker

    Isn't this the same guy that wants to help bailout Castor and Hugo Chavez??

    October 19, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. James, Phoenix AZ

    I think the GOP has been too supportive of the dictator we have in the White House right now.

    October 19, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Selim, perhaps you would do yourself a favor by cracking open a history book regarding Musharraf. He IS a dictator, a self appointed leader who seized power in a bloodless coup. Not exactly a democratically elected leader.

    It's no secret that the US supports dictators that are friendly to our economic and strategic interests. This has always been the case. It wouldn't bother me so much if we would just be open and honest about it instead of parading around as some benevolent force of democracy. We know that's far from the case as our OWN government is corrupt to the core and the american people are too discouraged or apathetic to do anything to change it.

    October 19, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    First Richardson says Bush is too supportive of dictators, and then says we need to keep the U.N.

    Is he sophisticated enough to know he just flip-flpped?

    October 19, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Albee Darned, Dallas, TX

    Two observations: One, President Bush is the first president to give solid unwaivering support to the only free deomcracy in the middle east – Israel.

    Two – he also removed a dictator masquerding as a president with taking out Saddam Hussein.

    Richardson's position seems kind of funny. If you work with dictators, there is a problem. If you don't work with them, you're lambasted for being US centric – and have 'the wold hates us' lable pasted all over us.

    IF you want to see where we support dictators in the worst way, take a look at the UN. There is a real dictatorship in the making.

    October 20, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |