At a Democratic candidate forum that focused on minority issues and was moderated by Tavis Smiley on Thursday night, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the first Hispanic presidential candidate, said issues of diversity for him weren’t “talking points, they are facts of life.”
Despite the setting, he did not focus on his ethnicity, instead returning to international policy and his experience as a former U.N. ambassador during the discussions.
He took specific aim at U.S. policy in Darfur, calling on the government and the nation to pressure the Chinese government to participate in economic sanctions against Sudan for its role in the humanitarian crisis in the western Darfur region.
Previously in the week, Richardson stressed his nuclear negotiation experience during a speech at the Center for National Policy on Wednesday, calling for the United States to begin talks with Tehran without preconditions.
He advocated allowing the peaceful development of nuclear energy, but said he is in full agreement with the international community that Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons.
In response to the proposed immigration bill that failed to pass the Senate this week, Richardson released a statement saying he was deeply disappointed in the decision and said Congress should continue to work on passing immigration reform. Richardson had initially supported the bill, but later switched his stance saying it put too much burden on immigrant families.
A poll commissioned by the Richardson campaign showed Richardson with 13 percent of the support of likely caucus goers in Iowa. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., led the poll with 34 percent, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., polled at 24 percent and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., with 17 percent.
Next week Richardson will be fundraising and campaigning in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan. He will spend July 4 at holiday events in New Hampshire.