Saturday, July 26, 2008

Richardson hits McCain's "sour grapes"

The Denver Post

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson slammed GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain today, calling his criticism of Barack Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East as nothing more than "sour grapes."

Richardson, one of Sen. Obama's most high-profile surrogates, also said that the Obama campaign was considering a trip to Latin America sometime prior to the November election.

"There are discussions about it. He wants to emphasize that his administration would not be Europe-centric or only focused on the Middle East," said Richardson in an interview.

The trip would also likely generate excitement among many of the country's Hispanic voters, a critical voting bloc.

The former Democratic presidential candidate was in Denver to rally Obama and Democratic supporters, who were canvassing some 70 locations throughout the state this weekend.

Earlier in the day, during his weekly radio address, McCain suggested that Obama was paying more attention overseas than he was to problems American voters are having at home.

"With all the breathless coverage from abroad, and with Senator Obama now addressing his speeches to the people of the world, I'm starting to feel a little left out. Maybe you are too," said McCain, who also rebuked Obama for not supporting the troop surge in Iraq.

In London, Obama said he didn't understand the criticism, given that McCain had recently visited Colombia, Canada and Mexico.

On this side of the Atlantic, however, Richardson was more blunt.

"McCain's jealous of the the coverage and acclaim Obama is getting," he said. "McCain just doesn't generate excitement."

Richardson, the son of an American father and Mexican mother, has been traveling to the battleground states of Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida to reach out to Hispanic voters.

He said that in order for Obama to win these states, the presidential candidate must continue talking to Hispanic voters about more than immigration.

"He needs to get better acquainted with Hispanic voters and talk about healthcare, education, gas prices, and continue doing Spanish ads that reach a broader group," he said.

Richardson also said in the West, voters want to hear about transportation solutions and environmental issues.

"Not just renewable energy, but protecting wildlife and open space . . . and tourism," he said, adding that hunters and anglers want their recreational opportunities safeguarded as well.

Richardson, who was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as well as energy secretary under President Clinton, was once widely rumored to be in the running for Obama's vice-president slot. Lately, however, much of the speculation has centered on the possibility of Richardson being Secretary of State in an Obama administration.

"Oh, of course, you would have to seriously consider something like that," said Richardson, with a slight head and eye roll. "But if Obama wins, there will be a lot of important, qualified people who want to be in an administration of transformation and change."

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