Richardson on “21st century global threats”

New Mexico Governor/former Congressman/former UN Ambassador/former US Energy Secretary/Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson is scheduled to deliver a "major address" at noon today.  It’s now 12:08 p.m.  He is nowhere to be seen, so I shall regale you with the setting.

The room chosen for this major address is the same room Hillary Clinton chose a couple of months ago for her major speech on Iraq.  It’s on the 4th floor of the refurbished Masonic Temple, now called the Temple for the Performing Arts, in downtown Des Moines.  The infamous Centro restaurant is at street level in the building.  Several of the people who’ve crowded into the room are holding a cup of Starbucks coffee, as there’s a Starbucks in the street level portion of the building, too.

NOt only has Hillary Clinton used this as a campaign venue, it’s the same room where John Kerry delivered his "announcement" speech during his "announcement tour" back in 2003.  You may have seen the marble pillars behind him in some of the video snippets which were eventually used in campaign commericals.  I was in this room on the first Saturday of this month, attending the media wedding of the year in Des Moines — uniting Dave Price of WHO-TV and Emily Givens of KCCI-TV.  One of Dave’s newsroom colleagues has just suggested Emily is the better half of that pair.  I shall not comment.

There is a teleprompter set up for Richardson and a huge American flag hangs behind the lectern for a backdrop.  A placard on the front of the lectern is red, white and blue, too.  It’s a Richardson for President poster.  Now, David Hurd, retired CEO of the Principal Financial Group, has announced it is "my pleasure to introduce Bill Richardson."  He declares himself "wonderstruck" by Richardson’s resume.

Richardson is now behind the microphone.  The time:  12:17 p.m.  Richardson is recognizing Des Moines for Darfur and other groups represented in the audience.  He’s now referencing the One campaign, and shows the crowd he’s wearing a One bracelet.

"It’s great being here at the Temple for the Performing Arts.  I always feel if a community has a spirit for the arts…that somehow the troublesome issues…will be better handled….

Now, you can tell he’s going to the teleprompter.  "Global challenges that pose significant dangers to the human race….We know that poverty & overpopulation affect us all….climbate change, environmental degredation…these are not just the problems of individual nations.  They’re the problems of an interdependent world….Problems that span time and continents can only be solved through…diplomacy….From the deserts of Mesopotamia to Africa….It will take vigilance and bold action now….If we wait 10 or 15 years to address these problems, it will already be too late."

"Most urgent" challenge is global climbate change, according to Richardson.  He’s reading from a text, so I shall just link to it later and save my typing.   

Now, he’s talking about famine and hunger.  "Catastrophically rising temperatures threaten…our farm belt.," he tells the crowd, which is probably over 200. 

The crowd applauded Richardson when he entered.  The first time his speech was interrupted for applause was when Richardson made reference to Al Gore’s Nobel Prize win. 

Richardson is talking about a "New Realism" and a "Marshall Plan for the 21st Century" — a "massive, multilateral effort to assist the developing world in eliminating poverty, protecting the environment, combating pandemics, conserving water supplies and stimulating economic opportunity."

Richardson touts his "upcoming book Leading by Example" — which he described for the crowd as a how-to book to combat global warming.

He’s also defending the United Nations as "necessary and important."  (Vilsack always said "important and necessary")  He got applause when he declared, "cowboy diplomacy will always fail."  His next applause comes when he attacks human trafficking. 

He’s concluding:  "We cannot afford leadership that has not been tested.  My colleagues in this race have my respect, but it is a simple fact that the next international deal negotiated by any one of them will be their first," he said, as some in the crowd laughed (probably more accurately tittered).  "We also cannot afford another president who doesn’t understand that stubbornness is not strength," Richardson continued, to applause.

Speech over.  30 minutes.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.