By Andy Laub 12/31/07 — Governor Bill Richardson swapped the
normal stump speech for a special question and answer today in a stop
at Dallas County, Iowa.  

To start things off former
American Air Force pilot John Early credited Richardson for getting
him released from a prison in the Sudan.  He said it was
Richardson’s strong negotiation skills that freed him.

“The
Governor did this whole thing [hostage negotiations] in the middle of
about 4,000 armed rebels,” said John Early.  “He was determined
to do whatever it took to get the release of me and my crew, only
because I was an American.”

Governor Richardson said that
President George W. Bush has dubbed him as, “the man bad guys like to
talk to.”  However, he thinks if he were elected president it
will be this quality that restores America’s battered foreign
relations with the international community.

Throughout the
question and answer period Governor Richardson continued to stress his
position on environmental protection, raising teacher’s salaries to a
$40,000 minimum and preserving social security.

He also
touched upon immigration, admitting that his stand on the topic has
turned caucus supporters away from his campaign.  “Whenever I
talk about immigration I usually end up losing votes,” Governor
Richardson said.

His border control plan involves shifting
federal funding towards doubling border patrol officers and police
stations in the Mexican border region, forcing immigrants to learn
English and deporting ones with criminal records.

“When you
build a twelve foot wall,” Governor Richardson said criticizing the
current administration’s border control policy.  “You know what’s
gonna happen next?  A thirteen foot ladder.”

This is
Richardson’s fifth and last stop in Dallas County, Iowa and Richardson
hopes that his ability to “walk the walk” will help him break into the
top tier come caucus crunch time this Thursday.

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