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. Will in Richmond, VA

    Why is torture illegal in the United States? Is it because most decent human beings believe it is barbaric and wrong? Why should human decency be withheld from our enemies?

    Wasn't the wisdom of your mother, "two wrongs don't make a right"?
    –Your teacher, "Kill them with kindness"?
    - Your savior and mine, "turn the other cheek" and " "Love your neighbor as your love yourself".

    Torture is inhumane and wrong and makes us as bad as those we fight against. It erodes our moral high ground and we must not allow it.

    June 18, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. aware

    Forget it Richardson!

    Nor do we have to treat terrorists (now seeking nuclear power as a war tool) in a time of war as deserving of all the benefits of our legal system. Obama is scary – his ideas are delusional! 🙁

    Disillusioned Democrats and Independents vote for McCain the only wise choice left for 08! 🙂

    June 18, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. Stephen H

    Jose' June 18th, 2008 4:30 pm ET

    Maybe its you who are the moron pal! Detaining people without charging them for sometimes up to six years is ridiculous. Particularly if we can not prove that the individual even commited a crime. Mr. Richardson wants the principles of our laws to be upheld and not brushed aside for convenience sake or out of fear.

    June 18, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. R.I.F.

    This is really not a debate. The Bush administration has gotten people use to such a warped way of thinking that some people, including McCain, thinks that we should just arrest "suspects" and never formally convict them. We are acting just like the countries that we are trying to "free".

    June 18, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. James, SC

    Peter E June 18th, 2008 4:26 pm ET

    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!

    Well said!

    Now that we held hundreds of people in prision without trial and released them, they are NOW real terrorists. If you were held in prision for years, then told you were free to go without any proof of a crime comitted or charges you would be very mad. The GOP has no trouble doing this because they have been conducting this business from the beginning. The rest of America is finnaly calling them out on this issue. Now, McCain supports this kind of government and justifies this action in the name of national security. Oh yea this the kind of President I want.

    By the same time it took me to type on this blob, over a ton of illegal drugs was smuggled into our boarders. This stuff will kill our good American citizens. Where is the GOP action in the name of national security?

    June 18, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Independent

    Mr. "Only a half percent". Obviously the thousands that represent that ratio aren't significant to you.

    You obviously can turn on your friends, so why not the people you represent. You will be remembered – you will not be forgiven.

    June 18, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |

    change we can believe in

    June 18, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. Independent

    Alex- New Jersey:

    He's a back stabber. I wouldn't want him as a friend. I don't want him in our government!

    June 18, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. skunkrat The Marine

    I agree with him but I don't trust him. He is a lot like McCain; he will say anything to advance his political ambitions. Please Obama don't appoint Richardson to anything.

    June 18, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Just Say No To Rich's VPship

    I don't trust Richardson, because I think he just wants to be the next Vice President, but I think he's right in this case.

    Barack watch your back.

    Obama 08

    June 18, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Tell the truth

    Good job.

    Where will this end. Because you are American is does not make you better then someone else. I know you guys did not live in this era but black people once get the same treatment. They were not equal like whites. Women got the same treatment. They were not equal like men. Everyone should be treat equally. Rember if the shoe was on the other foot.

    June 18, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Billiam the Kid

    Why all the hate rose?? What'd Bill ever do to you???

    June 18, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    I agree with Richardson. Not trying people for their crimes and just sentencing them, what kind of democracy is that?

    June 18, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |

    heard Obama on the news this morning talking about McCain “flip-flopping again” on opening up off-shore (and other?) drilling.

    Will someone PLEASE explain to me why changing your mind about an issue is negatively deemed “flip-flopping”???

    Think of it this way: You’ve been sunbathing all your life: you LIKE the sun, you like the color it gives to your skin, you like the Vitamin D that it provides, you like the warmth on your skin. Then it is determined to cause skin cancer. So…. you change your mind and decide sunbathing is not such a good idea.


    Times change; people change; situations change. If you continue belief in something, even if the situation dictates you might need to CHANGE your belief — aren’t you just being bone-headed???

    June 18, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |

    I saw BO’s grandmother once on tv . Poor Old lady kind of leaning over at the shoulders & she’s Still working as a librarian at 84 yrs old !

    June 18, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Pick Me!

    What's worse, a terrorist or a lontime friend and colleague that will tunr on you?

    Some tell Richardson to stop begging for a spot.

    Richardson: Pick me, pick me...

    June 18, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Joe Six

    The former Energy Secretary was a total failure in the job. He pushed for renewable energy, and what did we get? Not much. He pushed for fuel efficiency. We got gas guzzling SUVs. If Obama is going to rely on Richardson for advice, we'll get more of the same policy failures.

    June 18, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. Tom, St. Paul

    Wow, lots of anti-Richardson sentiment here, but no one is giving any reasons why they loathe him! I never paid much attendtion to the guy, but I like what I am hearing from him now. Would you anti-Richardson posters please tell me why I should hate him? Please be specific, I don't want to hear that you think he's a moron or a traitor or a liberal or a weakling, I want to know WHY you think he is one of those things.

    June 18, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Chut Pata

    The majority of the Gitmo detainees have been freed already. That included from pre-teen kids to handicapped seniors. It so happened that US had put a reward on Taliban fighters (not just Al-Qaeda terrorist) and the crook Northern Alliance rounded off many innocent people and sold them to the US like kettle. That included doctors and relief workers who were in the war zone for volunteers work.

    The elders of our nation ensured fair trials over mob lynching, for some valid reasons. Guilty people got away due to lack of sufficient edivence even those day, but then it ensured that no innocent person would be hanged.

    Just think about it, if we take away accountability from the government, any political opponent of the government would end up in Gitmo like a third world country. Stop this before it is too late.

    June 18, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. Rick

    Bill Richardson is probably the most inept person ever to hold public office(and that's a long list of clowns). His solution is more "solar and wind energy".
    Hey Bill, solar and wind isn't going to get it done. Neither is ethanol or biodiesel. Until we come up with something entirely new, such as fuel cells, we need to have good old fashion crude oil.

    June 18, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. JB from NH

    Obama isnt saying treat them like American citizens, he asks that we abide by the Geneva Convention. Shouldn't we?

    June 18, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. boered1

    And the clintonistas are out today!! I now know why they are willing to support mccain over obama look at their responses here, "whenever richardson is on I hit the mute button", "I turned off my tv when I heard he was going to talk" etc they alkso cannot understand that to defeat your enemy you must get to know them and what drives them to get to know them and their drivers you must talk to them. heck even Isreal has started to learn this they are talking with Hamas! but the poor moronic clintonistas cannot even LISTEN to a man who opposes their belief in the infallability of hillary. moronic clintonistas you think just like the republicans no wonder you will vote for them!!

    Simple fact what richardson said is correct the Constitution asay ALL MEN it does NOT say ALL AMERICANS but hey I would not expect the RNC or the clintonistas to know that as, from I can tell, they have never read it (psst we DO NOT live in a Democracy we live in a representative republic where we select those to carry our point of view but do NOT have a direct say in our government jsut thought you would like to know the TRUTH)

    June 18, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. Grace

    Richardson got it right. Americans will always be honorable!

    June 18, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. Jake the Rake, Chicago

    Wait until Al Qaeda is in Richardon's backyard and he has to dodge
    roadside bombs on the way to work and drive his kids to school in an armored car-then we'll see how he feels–

    June 18, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. PG

    Shoot, in AMERICA they put men and women in prison for years before discovering that some of these same men and woment were innocent all along. AMERICA denounces how other countried treat AMERICAN citizens who are put in prison without justice and laws. So now AMERICA wants to do the same? AMERICA is better than that, yet Bush-McCain have dragged AMERICA's name into the gound!

    June 18, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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