DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Bill Richardson called Friday for an immediate cutoff of all military aid to Pakistan that does not go directly to the fight against terrorism.
"President Bush should immediately suspend non-terrorism related military aid to Pakistan until President [Pervez] Musharraf resigns," he told a Des Moines audience. "Not one penny more until Musharraf is gone and the rule of law is restored."
On Thursday, the New Mexico governor called for Musharraf to step down – a move that was immediately criticized by a Democratic presidential rival, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden.
Richardson said Friday the risks of Musharraf remaining in place were greater than those if he lost power, because the Pakistani president had not been able to root out terrorists taking refuge inside his nation’s borders. He also accused other Democratic presidential candidates of naivete for not sharing his view.
"Like the Bush administration, they cling to a misguided notion that Musharraf can be trusted as an ally to fight terrorism or to change his despotic ways. Despite their faith, Musharraf has thumbed his nose at America again and again. How many times does the Washington conventional wisdom need to be proven tragically wrong before Washington insiders give up on it?"
Richardson, who laid out his own foreign policy credentials Friday, took aim at some of his less-seasoned rivals, arguing that "We cannot afford another president who is a foreign policy novice. We cannot afford another president who takes the easiest path rather than the right path."
The New Mexico governor is running a distance fourth or fifth in most recent polls of Iowa Democrats, registering single digit support among likely caucus goers.
–CNN's Sasha Johnson and Rebecca Sinderbrand