Richardson Targets Dems on Iraq

Bill Richardson challenges his '08 rivals on residual forces in Iraq.

ByABC News
September 24, 2007, 8:52 PM

Sept. 24, 2007— -- Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson is using a new web video to distinguish his position on Iraq from those of his 2008 rivals.

"George Bush says the surge is working. Gen. Petraeus says it will take more time. Republican presidential candidates say stay as long as it takes. No surprises there," says the narration in a Richardson Web video launched Monday. "But, you might be surprised to learn that Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards would all leave tens of thousands of troops in Iraq."

The four-and-a-half-minute Web video goes on to argue that Richardson is alone among the major Democratic candidates in pushing for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq other than those needed to defend the U.S. embassy. The Internet-only Web video will be followed on Wednesday by a television ad which will air in New Hampshire.

View the web-only video here: VIDEO

View the TV ad here: VIDEO

When Richardson got into the presidential campaign, the rap on the New Mexico governor was that he was not really running for the top job. With his Hispanic heritage and lengthy resume as a former congressman, U.N. ambassador, and Energy Secretary, pundits suggested that Richardson was simply angling to be somebody else's running mate.

But beginning with a hard-hitting speech to the Take Back America conference on June 19, Richardson has sought to distinguish himself from his rivals by directly challenging their Iraq positions.

Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.) has said that she would begin bringing U.S. troops out of Iraq within 60 days of taking office. But she has also repeatedly outlined a four-pronged ongoing mission in Iraq.

The former first lady envisions U.S. forces (1) making sure al Qaeda does not obtain a staging ground, (2) guarding against Iranian influence, (3) looking after the treatment of the Kurds, and (4) training Iraqi troops if the Iraqi government gets its act together.

Obama adviser David Axelrod told ABC News on Aug. 19 that the Illinois Democrat foresees U.S. forces performing a similar four-pronged mission as Clinton.