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. DJ, LA, CA

    There's no greater way to CREATE enemies than torturing innocent suspects to coerce bogus confessions.

    Richardson is spot on. We are a free, proud, civilized people that must not lose sight of who we are and what we respresent.

    Put them on trial...guilty keep in prison, innocent send back home.

    June 18, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Midge from Ohio

    When he came on GMA this morning I turned the tv off. I saw his name on this headline and didn't want to read it. He is an arrogant big-headed fool and I want nothing to do with him.

    June 18, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Johnnie Walton

    It is absolutely amazing that Republicans come out of the woodwork with all of their negative spin when Obama or anyone else suggests spending any money that will directly benefit the American people but do not hesitate to spend with wanton abandon on the militay industrial complex to line their own pockets under the guise of protecting the American people. After all, it is tax money that is being spent. I consider myself a moderate but always end up voting for Democrats because the Republican philosopy in recent years has been disgustingly greedy, power-hungry and self-serving. The lying and fear-mongering perpetrated by the likes of them is appalling. It is blatantly obvious that John McCain is Bush #2 as far as being out of touch with regular folks and current issues. He contradicts himself before he can finish a speech.

    June 18, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Lynn

    Whenever he is on I put my remote on mute. That's what I think of him.

    June 18, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Dark Kent, Not Clark Kent

    Secretary of State in an Obama Administration –

    New Mexico Governor Richardson

    He brings geographic balance from a western state that the Democrats want to turn from red to blue. This former presidential candidate also has served as a cabinet secretary before under Bill Clinton and as a ambassador / diplomat. Drawing on these credentials be brings a new face, in this case, a Latino face to America’s interactions with the rest of the world and will help Mr. Obama rebuild our great country’s standing as the beacon of democracy. Given the succession rules of our country, having a former presidential candidate in this role is also warranted.

    June 18, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Soupy

    Richardson is exactly right. If you believe in human rights to such a degree that you codify them in your law, then they must extend to everyone. Otherwise you admit that they have no respectable basis.

    June 18, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Remember America Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law: He will PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSITITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES SO HELP HIM GOD!

    The Supreme Court said Obama was right and McCain was wrong last week.

    McCain, Bush and the GOP will PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND BIG OIL AND THERE PROFITS SO HELP THEM EXXON/MOBIL!

    EVEN IF IT MEANS HURTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND SUPPORTING TERROIST BY BUYING THERE OIL!

    Obama 08/12
    BECUASE I LOVE AMERICA!

    June 18, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Catty

    We insist on giving them mercy, yet that is the last thing they offered to our citizens on the airplanes that hit the towers, the people in and around the towers and the pentagon, the soldiers in pearl harbor, daniel pearl and his family, and so forth. They should be treated like the mud and dirt that they are.

    And bill, you have even less room to talk about energy independence. Even you know that you failed on that issue.

    June 18, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. DC Missouri

    I believe everyone should have the right to publicly claim NOT GUILTY, even so-called accused terrorists. I don't think that means they should have every right afforded by our Constitution, but to proclaim one's innocence should be a human right.

    We can fight terrorism many ways. I remember Bush going on and on about Americans shopping and flying after 9/11 because [and I paraphrase here] "to stop would be letting the terrorists win"

    Well. To accuse without scrutiny, to suffer rendition and torture without consequences... THAT is letting the terrorists win.

    Let's fight terrorism by getting out of the middle east. Let's fight it by being better than terrorists. Being fair. Being democratic. Being tolerant. Being wise. Being better humans.

    June 18, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. upps--

    we don,t have to be like terrorists -

    but we all are judas --

    June 18, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. insanity

    Gov Richardson is right!

    Imagine if China held someone with due process. We would be yelling human rights!! All humans deserve the right to due process.
    The R party has created a false dichotomy. Giving captured detainees due process is not the opposite of keeping the country safe. Both can be done at once. Infact it's a job of the government to do them both together.

    If America wants credibility in the world when it comes to human rights, respect human rights.. simple as that.

    June 18, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. A Democrat in November - No McBush

    Hundreds of men have been held for years without being charged. This year alone dozens have been released after years of imprisonement without ever being charged.

    Following the Geneva Convention and restoring Habeus Corpus is something we would expect from other countries if they held our citizens.

    June 18, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    cnn please post:

    Remember America; Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law: He will PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND THE CONSITITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES SO HELP HIM GOD!
    The Supreme Court said Obama was right and McCain was wrong last week.
    McCain, Bush and the GOP will PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND BIG OIL AND THERE PROFITS SO HELP THEM EXXON/MOBIL!
    EVEN IF IT MEANS HURTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, DESTROYING THE ENVIROMENT, AND SUPPORTING TERROIST BY BUYING THERE OIL! THE GOP AND MCWAR/BUSH WILL BE THERE FOR BIG OIL!
    Obama 08/12
    BECUASE I LOVE AMERICA!

    June 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. RJ, CA

    So why, exactly, should I care what you say, Richardson? You couldn't even keep the Mexican drug cartels out of New Mexico - maybe a little "tough" would have done it. Now go and enjoy your second 15 minutes of fame!

    June 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Jerry in Fresno

    You are what you practice.

    As a nation are we really so cowardly that we can't live up to our own ideals at the same time we tell the world that these standards are the only true path to nationa greatness.

    "To thine own self be true...."

    Is McCain saying that what was done to him during the time he was a self chosen prisoner of war was justifiable.

    Senator Mc Flip-Flop has a credibility problem on every issue.

    June 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Marc PDX

    I strongly disagree with Bill Richardson's assertion that we are treating the terrorists the way they have treated Americans whom they have captured. Captured Americans have been tortured (dismembered, beheaded, suffered amputations, burns, removal of flesh, etc.), then killed and dragged through the streets (or hung from bridges or trees) for public display. We may have some improvements to make in how we're dealing with these people but we have HARDLY "been like them" in how we're treating detainees. I think someone of Richards' position and experience in American government ought to be much more thoughtful of the image of America he is projecting both domestically and abroad when he makes statements like this.

    June 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. rose, texas

    who wants 2 know what this idiot has 2 say. have no repect 4 him. i'm latino and i know that he is half white and half latino and i sure would not b voting 4 this idiot if he would have made it.

    June 18, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. ???

    S.B. Stein E.B. NJ
    June 18th, 2008 4:23 pm ET

    "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."

    Hear, hear! I wholeheartedly agree with this quote.

    June 18, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Chris from NY

    The issue on this debate is not necessarily on whether these individuals should be treated like criminals or not. The question is how long can a president decide to hold a prisoner whether of a war or not without charging them or releasing them? If I understand correctly Obama is not advocating for these people to be given full rights as the American citizens but of the human race. Charge them with war crime give them the chance to say I did it or not. Find them guilty if you need to and give them the death penalty. That's a due process. More so, some of these people say they did it and would want to die. That says it all. They deserve to die.

    June 18, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. Mike, Iowa

    When you have certain people who make comments such as Obama having a "8/11" mantality it leads me to believe that 9/11 is still being used as an excuse to abuse our power. McCain and George bush both claim they hate war, yet they are both willing to wage war first and willing to stay at war as long as it takes. Basically saying diplomacy is a waste of time and shoot first ask questions later havs become our foriegn policy. Treating detainees like the lowest form of life. Abusing them behind closed doors and stripping them of any rights what so ever. Seems to me like republican policy is not far from those of china,iran and terrorists groups themselves. Like the old saying goes. "Better to be an open sinner, then a false saint"

    June 18, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. Weeping Hollow

    President Richardson ? talks like one.

    Go back and Get some rest Mr Richardson.

    June 18, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Independent (Ex-Democrat) in IA

    I can't stomach this man. He as VP would indicate some sort of backroom deal with Obama. Dean got to keep his post. The only democrat I like even less is Pelosi.

    Stay awake from this flake if you want my support, Obama.

    June 18, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Vote Nader

    Look at the picture. Gov. Richardson plans on shooting Sen. Obama in the back. He wouldn't do anything like that, would he?

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 18, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Rick FL

    We are a nation of laws and due process. The US Constitution has held strong for over two centuries now. Can you imagine the legal precedent it could have created if the decision had sided with Bush/McCain? Scary.

    The Supreme Court made the correct ruling, which Obama (a constitutional scholar) understands very well.

    Dem '08

    June 18, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. obamabot

    republicans want to turn us into a terrorist state,and have succeeded ,in some ways,it appears.AMERICANS DO NOT TORTURE!i hope those responsible for this,are prosecuted and detained ,for life,in guantanamo,themselves.let's start with bush,cheney,rumsfeld,rove,libby,and go right down the line to anyone who still supports these crooks.

    June 18, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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