Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson is in Iowa today, three days after declaring it’s time to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq and leave only enough Marines behind to guard the American Embassy.
"What I’ve proposed is what I believe is the realistic policy on Iraq," Richardson says. "…I believe that our troops have become targets. They’ve done a magnificent job, but when 60 percent of Iraqis say it’s OK to shoot an American soldier, none of the serious diplomacy can happen."
Richardson says his rivals who serve in the U.S. Senate — Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — are backing a timeline for troop withdrawal that still would allow President Bush to keep some troops in Iraq indefinitely. "The distinction I’m trying to draw with the other candidates is they leave an indefinite number of troops — 20,000 is it? 30,000? For how long?" Richardson asks. "…My point is that if you’re going to withdraw, you withdraw."
Richardson says if Iraq is deemed unsafe for Americans, he’s also close the American Embassy in Iraq and get every American out of the country. Richardson, who is currently New Mexico’s governor, had previously argued in favor of the "timeline for withdrawal" position he’s now attacking his opponents for backing. Richardson, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is speaking at a public forum at Drake University this morning. This afternoon, Richardson will meet privately with Hispanic activists in Iowa to tout his candidacy.