The debate was translated into Spanish for broadcast, but the only two candidates who speak Spanish — Richardson and Sen. Christopher Dodd, D- Conn., — were denied the chance to use their competitive edge.
“I do want to say that I was under the impression that in this debate Spanish was going to be permitted,” Richardson said. “I’m disappointed today that 43 million Latinos in this country — for them not to hear one of their own speak Spanish is unfortunate.”
The debate was dominated by the issue of immigration, and Richardson said he would bring comprehensive reform if elected and not look at erecting a wall as a solution.
“If you’re going to build a 12-foot wall, you know what’s going to happen? A lot of 13-foot ladders,” Richardson said.
The governor was in Las Vegas over the weekend, continuing his push to be the Democratic favorite in a state that has gained new importance with an early primary. He emphasized the connection of coming from another western state, and told a few jokes.
“Be proud of the West, be proud of Las Vegas. Be proud, you know, that today we can make history in this country. We can elect maybe the first woman or African American or Hispanic or — forget the Mormon stuff,” Richardson told Democratic voters, according to the Associated Press.
Last week, Richardson brought his opposition to the Iraq war to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post.
“I am convinced that only a complete withdrawal can sufficiently shift the politics of Iraq and its neighbors to break the deadlock that has been killing so many people for so long,” he wrote.
He released a new ad last week focusing on his more serious side and his international experience:
He also saw the fruits of his labors in negotiating the release of U.S. soldier remains by the North Korean government earlier this year.
The remains of Cpl. Clem Robert Boody of Independence, Iowa, were identified last week and returned to his family, which thanked Richardson for his work on getting Boody home.
Richardson is in Colorado and California Monday for fund raising. He will participate in the Huffington Post/Slate/Yahoo! online debate Wednesday and intends to spend Friday through the weekend in Iowa campaigning.