Appearing at the AARP Divided We Fail Forum in Iowa Thursday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson used his experience expanding several health care programs in his state as proof he could overhaul the country’s health system.
Richardson addressed other health issues this week, and was the only presidential candidate, Democrat or Republican, to attend a conference sponsored by the Obesity Society.
“We must help people understand that it is a disease, not a behavior,” Richardson said. “And those of us who are overweight or obese are not lazy or undisciplined. We cannot allow Americans to be taken in by the easy comfort of stereotypes.”
On a different issue, he told the Associated Press he would think about banning assault weapons if it could be effective, which may raise some eyebrows among his National Rifle Association supporters.
“I believe you don’t need Uzis to go hunting,” said Richardson, a rare Democratic gun rights advocate. “If there is an effective way to ban them, I’d take a look at it. But past bans don’t work.”
And in a bit of candidate ribbing, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., offered Richardson the chance to wager over a Sox-Yankees series, reminding New Hampshire voters that Richardson is a Yankees fan.
The governor revisits his home state for a fund-raiser Friday, and then visits New York on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday he plans to appear at the NBC/DNC presidential debate in Hanover, N.H., and will spend Thursday and Friday in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.