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Bill Richardson on MSNBC, FOX. Explains why Obama change re drilling is not a flip flop.

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7:34 A.M. EDT, TUESDAY, AUGUST 5, 2008

MR. KILMEADE: Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico -- of course, former secretary of Energy. And he's done just about everything there is to do.

One quick question before we talk to you a little bit later, Governor: I'm wondering, are you surprised by your former boss's statement that no one is really qualified to be president, even if he had eight years as vice president?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, look, he made that comment in Rwanda. He basically then later said that Obama is going to win the presidency. You know, it was one of those hypothetical cases where he said, I am -- you know, when I became president, there was one year of intensive training. You know, I don't make too much out of it.

MR. KILMEADE: All right, Governor. We're going to talk to you more about what else is going on in this campaign and talk New Mexico politics.

MS. CARLSON: Stick around, Governor. Thanks very much for joining us today.

(Commercial break.)

MR. KILMEADE: Joining us right now, Santa Fe -- from Santa Fe, New Mexico, governor and former Energy secretary, Bill Richardson.

Governor Richardson, welcome back.

And what did you think of the proposals yesterday? I know you could have written them. You have your own theories on this.

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, you know, in the year 2000 when I was Energy secretary, President Clinton ordered me to release several million barrels from the strategic petroleum reserve. Swap them -- basically light oil for heavy oil -- and that did reduce prices. Within two weeks, it buttressed the home heating oil in the northeast.

And then Senator Obama also -- his $1,000 rebate, fuel rebate for every family -- these are short-term steps. But what we need -- and what Obama said we needed -- is hybrid vehicles; fuel efficiency; conservation; 20 percent renewable; all our electricity solar, wind, biofuels; and responsible drilling. And that's a comprehensive policy that I think is really needed and we need to enact. And the Congress, instead of going home for the whole month, should deal with energy.

MR. KILMEADE: Right. It's so disappointing, Governor, that it did go home.

I've got to ask you, too: When you talk about someone changing their policies when it comes to offshore drilling and giving the states the right to make that decision, is there a difference in your mind between changing your mind and flip-flopping on an issue?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, no. What Senator Obama has said is that he is willing to consider offshore drilling as part of an overall compromise that involves a number of steps, but that first, the oil companies should use the 68 million acres of leased land that they're not using. You know, if they used that, and drill there in a responsible way, we would reduce our imports by one-third. And you know, we get 65 percent of our oil from overseas and mainly from unfriendly sources. So it's a last resort.

I would advise him, by the way, not to use offshore drilling. I don't think it works. I think it damages an eco system -- Florida, California -- I wouldn't do that.

MR. KILMEADE: Governor, I have to ask you something else: Doesn't it seem almost un-American to tax somebody's profits, like these oil companies? Does that mean you have to prop them up when they start losing money, because that's where we're supposed to get that $1,000-per-family from?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I think what Senator Obama is saying is look, in the last few energy bills, if you're oil, coal or nuclear, you get these big tax breaks. If you're solar, wind and biofuels, you don't.

I think what Obama is saying is spread it around. Have a situation where solar, wind and biofuels are competing. Shift some of those tax breaks. I don't think it's an extra tax. It's simply a shift and I think that makes sense. It should be competitive -- a fair playing field for all our energy sources.

MR. KILMEADE: Yeah. It's a windfall profit tax, so they're taking profit away from a company that's found a way to make it.

Governor Richardson, I love your insight on so many levels. It's that great resume that keeps on giving. And who knows, you could be the next vice president -- vice presidential nominee, which should happen soon.

Governor, always great to talk with you. Thanks for joining us.

GOV. RICHARDSON: Thank you. Thank you very


7:05 A.M. EDT, TUESDAY, AUGUST 5, 2008

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MR. SCARBOROUGH: With us now, former Democratic presidential candidate and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who has a wonderful history with the Clintons, certainly after endorsing Barack Obama, who's also in -- (inaudible) -- with the governor.

Governor, we're going to ask you about the energy policy of Barack Obama very soon. That was you, of course, watching the Super Bowl. I know it was a delightful experience for you.

But what do you make of Bill Clinton not being able to come out and say that Barack Obama is qualified to be president of the United States?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, he was answering it hypothetically. And what's happened since the primaries ended is both teams, the Obama, the Clinton team, they're coming together. Their staffs are coming together, campaigning together. For instance, in two weeks I am going to host in New Mexico two fundraisers to retire Senator Clinton's debt.

You know, there's still a little anger on both sides, but it's reducing itself --

(Cross talk.)

Democrats are coming together.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: But that's extraordinary, though, Governor. When you have the former Democratic president of the United States --

MS. BRZEZINSKI: I mean, come on.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: -- not saying that Barack Obama's qualified to be president of the United States, and also suggesting that he may not be ready to be president of the United States, that's a serious problem. Can you or somebody else take Bill Clinton aside and say come on, pal, get on board.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: I mean, Governor, isn't the answer yes?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, he basically said that Obama was going to win and should win. But he was taking his own experience. When President Clinton came in, he said that at the beginning there's a lot of training to take place.

I don't think we should make too much out of this. He was overseas, apparently, and was caught in this interview. But I have heard him say many times --

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Well, they had handcuffs on him, Governor. They didn't have handcuffs on him. Come on -- admit it, this guy's a sore loser. He was -- one second you're eating chips and salsa with him at the Super Bowl and the next night they're saying nasty things about you.

Doesn't Bill Clinton need to grow up and get on board?


GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, look. That's politics. You -- when you're in a contest, and I was in this contest, there are a lot of feelings that emerge, especially after you've been campaigning for a couple of years.

But the Clinton people, the Obama people, we're working together. We've got our organizations together. Senator Obama is doing well in the polls. And so I think you move on.

But again, there is a major effort to bring the two campaigns together.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Governor, are you glad that Barack Obama is supporting offshore oil drilling now?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, what he said was first the oil companies have to use the $68 million in leased acres before we do anything. And then, as part of a very broad compromise that includes hybrid cars, fuel efficiency for vehicles, conservation, 20 percent of all electricity renewable energy, solar wind, biofuels, sensible drilling -- then a limited amount of offshore drilling.

I personally, as Energy secretary, if he asked me, I'd say no offshore drilling. Because you're not going to get any advantage for about seven years price-wise. You damage an ecosystem.

But I think Obama's plan is short range. You deal with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, you swap oil, you give an emergency energy rebate of 1,000 bucks to every family. And then, long-range, you have a comprehensive policy.

But just take a look. The last month or so Senator McCain's gotten $2 million from -- oil company since he announced his reversal on offshore drilling.

So I think Obama has a more sensible, comprehensive, grassroots plan.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: What about nuclear? Do you like the idea of nuclear energy that, of course, doesn't leave a carbon footprint? And is Obama moving in the direction of supporting nuclear energy?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I think what Senator Obama has said is what makes sense. It has to be -- (audio break) -- mix.

The problem with nuclear is that what are you going to do with the waste? We haven't decided what to do with it. Nevada's not going to take it. You can't store it in existing sites. So you have to develop a technological solution.

The cost of nuclear is still pretty high. There are safety issues. But you're right; it doesn't emit any greenhouse gas emissions, so it has to be part of the mix, along with carbon-clean coal, natural gas.

But I think the future is in solar, wind, and biofuels and renewable energy. And Senator McCain's been in the Congress for 30 years and nothing has happened to advance those renewable technologies as much as they should.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: All right. Governor Bill Richardson, thanks for being with us. And, of course, on the storage of the nuclear waste, of course the answer's very easy. You store it in Nevada, but -- maybe we look to New Mexico. What do you think? Probably not.

GOV. RICHARDSON: (Laughs.) Well, we already have low-level waste. No, we already have low-level waste in New Mexico, so we've done our share.

MR. SCARBOROUGH: Okay. Very good. Okay, maybe the panhandle of Florida.

All right, Governor Bill Richardson, thank you so much.

MS. BRZEZINSKI: Thank you, Governor.

1 Comment

Governor Richardson:

"My sanctimoniuos, two-faced hypocrisy is nothing more than hypothetical and I reserve the right to transcend same, perhaps, if circumstances dictate.

Oh, I love that word, 'dictate'. Are we still on? Hello! Hello!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 5, 2008 9:48 AM.

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