Is Richardson overtaking Edwards for third place in the Democratic primary?
The Concord Monitor offers a bit of evidence for that theory: “In this poll and others, Richardson and Thompson are emerging as candidates on the way up, while McCain and Edwards appear to be sinking.”
What’s surprising about that is that allegedly Edwards’ gaffes – the expensive haircuts, the $55,000 speech to talk about poverty, the massive house, the work for the hedge fund to learn about poverty (?!) – are what’s sinking him. Meanwhile, Richardson has been something of a super-gaffe-o-matic since he got on the campaign trail: saying he wanted a justice like (Roe v. Wade dissent) Wizzer White on the Supreme Court, looking uncomfortable and out of sync in the debates, a terrible interview on Meet the Press… and he seems to be rising in spite of them.
This article by Ryan Lizza described the best and worst of Richardson, exhibited in a few minutes. He begins by describing Richardon’s recent trip to North Korea to retrieve the remains of six American soldiers killed in the Korean war. “
Richardson then contacted Bush’s national security advisor, Steven Hadley, and told him he wanted to make the mission a bipartisan affair. Truth is, he just needed a ride. “What I was mainly interested in was an airplane,” Richardson says as his food arrives and he maneuvers the overstuffed hot dog into his mouth. “So Hadley said–” Richardson pauses and turns to his trooper. “Jakey, you got a napkin?” The trooper passes Richardson a napkin, and he dabs his chin. “So Hadley said ‘OK.’”
The hot dog is soon gone, and Richardson is finishing the popcorn now, as well as his North Korea yarn. “The White House said, ‘We want to have Victor Cha’”– the National Security Council’s top Korea expert– “come too.’ I said, ‘Well, that’d be a signal. The North Koreans will like that.’ I said, ‘We need a plane.’ Hadley said, ‘Yeah, I know you do. I knew you were going to ask.’ And I said, ‘Well, how the [bad word] else are we going to get there?’ And so we got a nice G5.”
This is the essence of Richardson’s appeal–that he can blend seamlessly into a crowd of AAA baseball fans (unlike, say, John Kerry) while chatting about his negotiations with a member of the axis of evil (unlike, say, George W. Bush).
And then, about a minute after telling Lizza that story…
…In fact, as we get up from our seats to visit the play-by-play announcer’s booth, Richardson does something I’ve never seen any politician do. There are two women sitting in front of us. They are both young and attractive, probably in their twenties. The governor rotates his large frame sideways and shimmies out of his row. The two women smile up at him. As he passes, Richardson reaches down and places his fingertips on the head of one of the women, tickling her scalp as he opens and closes his hand. Then, as he reaches for the next scalp, his hand suddenly aborts its mission, as if the governor realizes this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Great way to get rid of those inappropriate touching rumors, Governor!
UPDATE: Maybe Edwards is losing ground because people sense the I’ll-promise-anything-to-anybody vibe that the Onion parodies today…