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Monday, March 12, 2007
(10:03 AM) | Stephen:
Poor Bill Richardson

Garance Franke-Ruta tries to defend Bill Richardson from unsubstantiated gossip over at Tapped, citing an article in The Politico with rather more optimism than it deserves.

Even though I initially considered it a good answer, the plain fact is that when Gov. Richardson says that he was "vetted" by both Clinton and Kerry for a cabinet position, ambassadorship and vice-president positions, he's just deflecting the question. He's not answering a thing. Most damning of all, the Politico quotes "senior Democrats" saying that Richardson withdrew his name before the final, and most complete, stage of vetting by the Kerry campaign. "He wanted to be considered because he wanted his name out there," a senior Democrat close to the vice presidential process said of Richardson. "And once his name was out there, he withdrew. So there was never a full vetting."

That's two interviews now in which the Vetting Defense has been employed, one with the Albuquerque Tribune and now one with The Politico, at least. Apparently this is the strategy they've decided upon.

It won't work. Even if Richardson is only running in order to increase his chances of being a vice-presidential pick for the Democratic nominee - unlikely given his ambitions and history - his increased name recognition is only hurting him so long as he refuses to engage this issue directly.

Edwards, Clinton and Obama are candidates that the party activists either do like or don't. Richardson is currently the candidate that they want to like but are waiting to hear more. What they're going to hear will drive them away from Richardson and will ensure a furious response if he even comes close to being 2008's Democratic vice-presidential candidate.

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