If there was any doubt about whether or not New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is tapped into the concerns of the Lowcountry, he quickly proves his street cred Sunday.

“One of the things that I noticed down here is that you have a little bit of a traffic problem,” he says, noting there should be more talk in the campaign about the alternatives to just adding more pavement.

While several of the Democratic candidates are coming down tomorrow for the CNN/YouTube debate at the Citadel, Richardson came a day early for a little campaigning, stopping at Mt. Pleasant supporter Robert Burton’s home. The candidate is climbing the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, both vital early states, but he’s still got a lot of work to do in South Carolina, and he knows it. At one point, as he was going around the house shaking hands, Richardson tapped a woman on the back and asked her, “Have I said ‘hi’ to you?”

During a brief talk, Richardson hit the big points in his campaign, leading with his call to get out of Iraq.

“But we’re going to have to withdraw with a plan,” he said. “We’re going to have to do something that we haven’t done in a long time. It’s called diplomacy.”

Richardson also called for universal health care, money for expanding early education and college, mandates to balance the federal budget, a continued push for oil alternatives and energy efficiency, and for America to reestablish itself as a global leader.

When asked how he’ll prepare for the YouTube debate, where questions will be offered by video submissions from voters instead of journalists, Richardson said he had seen all the videos (well, this is a guy on the road a lot).


“I haven’t prepared for every question,” he says. “But the good news is that this is a debate that is unstructured. This is a debate that is going to be off the cuff, not run by some stuffy anchor, but by the American people. So, I’m excited about it because it’s going to allow us to have a debate with each other — a little exchange. And that’s what I want to see.”

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