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Hispanic leader joins race to White House

January 22, 2007 09:18 IST

Democrat Bill Richardson took the first step towards the bid to become the first Hispanic President of the United States touting his experience as a governor, a cabinet secretary and as US Ambassador at the United Nations.

Richardson's entry in the race for the Democratic Party nomination makes the 2008 race one of the most ever diverse group assembled -- a woman candidate in Hillary Clinton, an African American in Senator Barack Obama and now a Hispanic in Richardson -- all aspiring to be the next US President.

The 59-year old governor of New Mexico announced his intentions on Sunday through a video posted on his website and setting up an exploratory committee that will allow him to start raising the badly-needed money for a Presidential campaign.

"What this country needs is bipartisanship and to bring back civility in government. I have actually done what a lot of candidates give speeches on. As an underdog and governor of a small, western state, I will not have the money that other candidates will have. However, I believe these serious times demand serious people, who have real-world experience in solving the challenges we face. I humbly believe that I am the best-equipped candidate to meet these challenges," he said.

Far behind in the national polls, political analysts still maintain that Richardson is a formidable candidate and one who has vast experience in domestic and international affairs. He has, for instance, hosted talks on the North Korean nuclear programme, has travelled to Sudan over Darfur and has expressed strong views on the situation in Iraq calling for active diplomacy to end the crisis and help that country in rebuilding the infrastructure.

Richardson's standing in the Democratic party and his experience in the Clinton administration makes him an ideal candidate for Vice Presidency say commentators but the New Mexico Governor has made it known that he is 'not in this race to be Vice President.'

The formal entry of Richardson in the Democratic line up for nomination comes at a time when other party loyalists have made known their intentions. Aside from Senators Clinton and Obama and former Senator John Edwards, the Democratic list will include Senators John Kerry, Christopher Dodd and Joseph Biden, former Vice President Al Gore, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kuchinich.

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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