« Obamessiah: Angel With Crooked Halo | Main | Racist Slurs For Robots? »
March 08, 2007

Bill Richardson, The Hands-On Governor

Wow, it's Dirty Thursday or something.

I came across this via Geraghty's mention of Mickey Kaus' allusion to dirt on Governor Richardson. Some are suggesting that the Governor is a mite touchy, perhaps in a Schwarzeneggerian fashion, as regards women he encounters.

He also writes:

Kf 's tip for reporters and others hoping to help the pecadilloes make the ontological transition from unfounded to founded: Ask around at Cafe Milano, D.C.

Which I find rather odd of him to say -- look, I realize he's in LA, not DC, but if he actually knows something about what a woman at Cafe Milano might say, why not report it himself? Why is he hinting he knows what she'll say, but asking a reporter to ask around rather than just reporting it himself?

At any rate, calling all DC bloggers: Cafe Milano. Go forth and make news.

The Politico, based in DC, is reporting on these whispers; can't they just ask? Why all the masque and mystery?*

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's 2008 presidential campaign has been burdened by unusually public discussion about his behavior with women.

The lieutenant governor of New Mexico, Diane Denish was quoted in the Albuquerque Journal saying she avoids standing or sitting near Richardson because of his physical manner, which she said was not improper but was "annoying." The governor, she said, "pinches my neck. He touches my hip, my thigh, sort of the side of my leg."

On repeated occasions, Richardson has been pressed by reporters or Democratic activists on whether his personal conduct can withstand public scrutiny.

Richardson, in an interview with The Politico, denied behaving inappropriately, calling the talk "mean-spirited." Still, the concerns have become enough of a headwind for Richardson's campaign that the candidate has a more substantive response -- that his personal conduct was vetted, and effectively given a seal of approval, when he was considered for the vice presidential nomination by John F. Kerry in 2004.

"The Kerry people vetted me for vice president," he told The Politico last week. He knew this, he said, because Jim Johnson, the veteran Washington lawyer and Democratic insider, "has said so."

But that line of defense may be less effective in shutting down speculation than Richardson hopes. After five days of phone calls and e-mails, and an initial refusal to comment, Johnson released a one-sentence statement saying Richardson had been "vetted" but offering no details about what that entailed.

"The Kerry campaign vetted Governor Richardson, and nothing was found that would have prevented him from being chosen as John Kerry's vice presidential candidate," Johnson said.


Denish -- a Democrat who ran on the same ticket as Richardson -- said that she sometimes finds Richardson's physical style "irritating and annoying" but that he had never touched her in an improper way. Still, she said, his behavior was inappropriate in public because it could be misconstrued.


Richardson chalks the rumors up to his campaign style.

"There's nothing I can do except just basically continue," he said. "I've never touched anybody inappropriately. No one's accused me of it. I shake hands a lot. I hold a handshaking record. I believe in the physical side of campaigning. I guess I hug people sometimes. That's me. That's my character."

There's a difference between groping -- plainly out of bounds -- and touching innocently but in a way that suggests an intimacy which doesn't exist. So far the allegations seem about the latter.

The old Albequerque Journal article about this (mentioned above) is here, but you have to sit through a 30 second commercial to get it. And, considering we're talking about not-very-powerful charges leveled against a third-tier candidate (for Vice President, don't let his claims of a presidential run fool you), I don't know if it's worth sitting through. Here's some of the juice:

Gov. Bill Richardson likes to touch people. He hugs, pokes, jabs and tickles. If he sees a man with a bald pate, he rubs it. Looking to start a conversation, he might lean forward and head-butt someone— male or female. Richardson says he's just joking and teasing to ease tension and boredom. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish says she finds the practice irritating. She said she tries to avoid sitting or standing next to the governor at public events.


"I think it's irritating and annoying," Denish said in a recent interview.

"I try not to put myself in that situation, trying not to stand or sit next to him."


Denish, who also used the terms "teasing," "adolescent" and "silly," made the comments after looking at photos taken at a groundbreaking ceremony for a train depot in Bernalillo.

Seated next to Denish, Richardson reached his hand behind her chair, turned to her and grinned.

Denish said the governor was poking at the side of her leg.

It went on for five or 10 minutes— the state's bored governor picking at the lieutenant governor, who tossed him some exasperated glances as he caught her eye and laughed.

"He pokes me," Denish said when she was asked about the incident.

At other times, she said, "He pinches my neck. He touches my hip, my thigh, sort of the side of my leg."

She said that he has never touched her in an improper way but that such physical contact in a public setting was inappropriate because it could be misconstrued.

Richardson said he didn't remember much about the Bernalillo event except that it was hot, long and boring.

"I have a short attention span," Richardson said. "I get bored easily."

"Sometimes, when she's sitting next to me, I'll tap her sort of like, 'Can you believe they said this?' '' he said. "It's innocent. I'm teasing. I'm playing around."

Richardson said he picks at Denish like he does everyone on his staff— innocently and playfully.

"I tease Diane. I touch guys. It's my way of lessening tension," he said.

Again, this seems like boorish behavior, but non-sexually so, not respecting people's boundaries and autonomy. A bit worse than a close-talker, but not lecherous.

But, again, Kaus is hinting: Cafe Milano. As I imagine Richardson's former Lt. Governor doesn't hang out there 24 hours a day, I'm assuming he's talking about a waitress. And there are only so many places to touch a waitress as she's whisking by.

The leads are good. There's money out there just waiting for you to take it. Are you man enough? Are you man enough? Go and do likewise, gentlemen.**

* Where?

** Seems too easy, but where? (I know it's not exact.)

Crotchety, Too? Allah has some stuff on this too, including an accusation from an unlikely source -- a blogger at the Huffington Post.

Steve Clemmons "asks" Richardson (I put "asks" in quotes, because Clemmons, for some reason, thinks that the word "question" belongs in quotes):

I will frame this as a “question” for Bill Richardson.

Have you behaved inappropriately or not in public settings with female members of your government administration, jokingly or not? Have you gestured to female public servants and political appointees — who work as colleagues with you — and made lewd gestures, specifically pointing to them and then pointing at your crotch with a room full of media and other politicos there in the room?

I ask this not to demean or undermine Richardson.

I ask it because I was not in the room when this particular incident occurred but many others were — and rumors have long swept around Santa Fe that Bill Richardson makes a constant festive joke out of demeaning women.

I hope Richardson "answers" this allegation "promptly."

digg this
posted by Ace at 01:21 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
NaCly Dog[/i][/b][/s]: "One of my neighbor's has a FEMA approved storm she ..."

NaCly Dog[/i][/b][/s]: "Here is the list of Va approved grave symbols: ce ..."

Commissar Hrothgar [/i][/b][/u][/s]: "I was walking ConorDog at a nearby park. When we r ..."

CharlieBrown'sDildo: "CBD has a stone wine cellar?[i]Posted by: Ben Ha ..."

smelly dr morel: "522 Hitler's Alligator wasn't vegetarian Heh. W ..."

Zettai Roshia-no Asetto: "I tempted to go hunting for an unauthorised peek a ..."

Bozo Conservative....outlaw in America: "Another second hand WWII story. I used to work ..."

Ben Had: "CBD has a stone wine cellar? ..."

ptschett: "I was goofing around on the dirt roads to the sout ..."

Eromero: "Ooohhhhh, CBD. That trackhoe is like a picture of ..."

Ben Had: "IrishEi, I so want West to be the head of the R p ..."

mikeski: "[i]I don't recall having seen that one. Posted by ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64