June 18th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Richardson: 'We don't have to be like' terrorists

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/20/art.billbarack0520.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Richardson endorsed Sen. Obama in March."]
(CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, backed the Democratic Party’s new standard-bearer in a growing dust-up between the McCain and Obama camps over how to wage the war on terrorism.

Asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer whether al Qaeda suspects should be given the same rights that American citizens enjoy in U.S. courts, Richardson said he “totally” disagrees with the Bush administration’s policy of treating terrorism detainees as enemy combatants and treating them differently than defendants in typical criminal cases. “We have to protect our country from terrorists but we don’t have to be like them by abridging our own freedoms,” Richardson added.

WATCH Bill Richardson's interview from The Situation Room

The former presidential candidate, who served as Energy Secretary under President Clinton, also waded into a second dispute between the two presumptive nominees over energy policy. “In the Clinton administration, we pushed for renewable energy, for fuel efficiency. We should have pushed harder,” Richardson said. “I’m the first to say that both Republican and Democratic administrations have not come forth with a sustainable, long term energy policy,” he added.

soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. Enlightened Voter

    I really wouldn't terribly mind if Richardson was VP. He cares, always has and has the 'right' kind of experience not the bush/cheyney/mcwar type of experience.

    June 18, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Peter E

    So... he criticizes the Clinton administration for its energy policies... that he himself engineered when he was the Energy Secretary... blind-sight is 0/0. But that's today's politician for you. Always finding somebody ELSE to blame instead of taking a long hard look in the mirror.

    June 18, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Linda31

    Well said. What do they think the Supreme Court stands for?

    June 18, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Just remember the Ben Franklin quote: Those who give a little bit of liberty for a little bit of security will get neither and don't deserve either (apologies to Ben Franklin for the incorrect quotation). We were set up as country of laws, and we need to stick to them.

    June 18, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Yes.We.Can.

    Well put, Governor Richardson. Very well put! I really love the clean yet strong push from the DNC with the truth- Strong yet uncompromising. I love it!

    June 18, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Lenny

    Governor, What have you done with your thirty pieces of silver?

    June 18, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Peter E

    Al Qaeda suspects are just that: suspects. Considering that thus far we've released hundreds of them without prosecution or trial, chances are that many of the so-called 'enemy combatants' were also nothing more than bystanders who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. So what's the harm in examining the evidence against them? If there is evidence the courts will find them guilty and lock them up. If there is no evidence, we sure aren't demonstrating the fairness of our society by locking up innocent people.
    Trust the system! Let the evidence speak for itself!

    June 18, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. New Day

    This country wasn't founded by people who would ignore the Constitution because they are afraid that the "bad guy" might get him. I'd rather live free than safe; die on my feet than live on my knees. How can we point to people at random and say: "You don't get a trial or due process?" Its McCarthy-ism all over again!!!

    Grow a pair, America!

    June 18, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. oil rules

    So how about before starting a combat operation we Mirandize the opposing army (in their language) on some helicopter loudspeakers of drop some flyers. Dems will do ANYTHING to be on the opposing side of Bush no matter what the cost to our way of life and safety. I guess they will put the AG on the enemies and sue them and tax them out of existence. Stop bashing every policy and offer some REAL solutions if you don't like it. Oh and don't forget the taxpayer will pick up the bill for the lawyers too......

    June 18, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. ProundToBeADemocrat

    Tell them Richard the problem with the republicans is they are not out ther for the interest of the people who needs help they stand for the rich people so to be republican you either have to be Rich and lier or a sucker.

    June 18, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Mary

    If you don't give combatants the right to speak, how do you know you have the right enemy? That not the same as Americans citizens, it a matter of following international law. Look at the mess Bush has made and what McCain wants to continue.

    June 18, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. American

    Thank you Bill Richardson....how can we say we are different from these despicable people if we act THE SAME WAY THEY DO. We have a constitution, and we need to get a president in the White House who will uphold that very constitution....McBushes are a shame to this country! We have 3 bodies of authority in this country, the legislative, judiciary and president....but for the last 8 yrs. only the president has made the decisions and that C grade student has made life miserable for all of us...even the rich can't pay for their homes, gas prices are thru the roof, we are less safe from terrrorist, and our once impecable image abroad is so tarnished, its going to take years and lots of polish to clean!

    Obama will lead us into the future....not prehistoric warmonger McBush!

    June 18, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. nick

    I agree and disagree with Gov. Richardson. I dont agree that they should be getting equal treatment like us.
    First of all they are NOT AMERICAN CITIZENS!
    So why should they be getting OUR benefits?
    I agree we should not use intolerable acts on them, but i also think maybe we should of, i mean come on people in just one day they committed a crude and injustice act killing 3 thousand people. Why should they be treated like they did nothing?

    June 18, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Peter E

    "Down with Cuba! They are holding hundreds of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay without prosecution, evidence, or trial. What? Guantanamo Bay is OUR prison? Then forget what I said. It is completely fair to hold people there for as long as we please 'just in case' they may have somekind of terrorist connection."

    June 18, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Nsikan

    What is wrong with our constitution? Lets read and observe it. Talking and acting tough is not a sign of strength but of weakness and concealing ones inadequacies. Yes, we are better than terrorist, lets act so.

    June 18, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Gary Chandler in Canada

    This is Another flop flip issue for McCain. After co sponsoring a Bill to end military torture of detainees, WHY would he oppose a Bill to end CIA torture?
    He could 'look' like a humanitarian, while making sure the back door on his own Bill is wide open!
    While GOP's will vote Red if a 'rock' was on the slate, those who are making up their minds should Google and Wikipedia; McCain and , crashes planes, promotion to Captain – daddy Admiral, bottom 5 of class, Keating 5, King holiday

    June 18, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Independent LAWYER for Obama

    Agreed! Try the terrorists and convict them publicly – if you just hold them in secret no one will ever trust that we got the right people and that justice has been done.

    June 18, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Jose'

    We're not, moron.

    Detaining the enemy instead of killing them is not 'being like the terrorists'.

    What a tool.

    June 18, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Brian Knoxville, TN

    And yet, my dear governor, the Obama camp has acted so undemocratically that it is no better than terrorists.

    You are enabling a campaign that could not win the nomination fairly, despite the nearly limitless resoruces that it has.

    And now Puma PAC is receiving threating messages from "democrat4life" and other Obamabots who understand nothing about the principles that make democracy work. This "democrat4life" has written that we can just "leave the party, because we [the undemocratic Democratic Party and its selected nominee] dont want you" and that we "are the reason this party [the undemocratic Democratic Party] is so weak at the moment." Then he threatened us.

    And this is only one of the many haters who want us to shut up and get in line, to betray the principles of the Democratic Party along with the rest of you traitors.

    If you people aren't terrorists, then I don't know what is.

    Your hostile takeover of our Democratic Party has to be stopped.

    Puma PAC

    June 18, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. MD

    Few people seem to understand the Supreme Court ruling.

    The Court ruling allows for detainees to REQUEST a hearing in federal courts. It does not place any restrictions on the courts to hear the cases.

    CNN should research this, and publish the pertinent part(s) of the ruling so people understand what the ruling is.

    June 18, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. Wolf


    June 18, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. Alex- New Jersey

    Richardson would make a great VP pick, he really does come off as an honest man with the reasoning and sound judgment to be one heart beat away from being president.

    June 18, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Gerry

    I like Richardson, he always tells it as it is.

    June 18, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  24. Bill

    This is an issue that will show a big difference b/t the two candidates. I do not think we should treat them as criminals with right given to Americans. That is my point of view. No ones patriotism has been questioned but that is a comment that I am sure will be seen in this tread. An implied questioning if someone would have a similar view.

    McCain 08

    June 18, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. gary

    Shut up traitor . What do you know. You let your own state down. Judas was the right word. America gets what they ask for.

    June 18, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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