Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Mini Media Frenzy Over Big Bill's Prez Plans; Sudan Venture Throws Curve, Plus: Foes Of Bibb Push Their U.S. Attorney Candidate 

Big Bill
A mini media frenzy broke out Tuesday as Big Bill watchers wondered if his diplomatic trip to Sudan will interfere with his planned announcement of a committee to explore a run for the '08 Dem Prez nod. Kate Nash of the ABQ Tribune led our fretting squad and was joined by KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson who got me into the guessing game on the station's 6 p.m. news. Over at 770 KKOB-AM radio, newshound Laura MacCallum shrugged it all off and expressed more interest in what kind of strife was going on in the state GOP, not the Sudan.

This got started because Bill told the Trib he would announce his Prexy plans prior to the start of next Tuesday's legislative session, but with the extended humanitarian and diplomatic mission to the Sudan, that deadline is becoming iffy.

Guv campaign manager Amanda Cooper would only say “expect a decision in January."

Top consultants I quizzed said the Guv is best advised to make sure he does the announcement right, and not be pressured into an event that does not maximize his national TV exposure or present him in the best possible light. (The Guv has a substance abuse news conference slated for Monday, Martin Luther King Day, but nothing yet on the Prez plans.)

“This is a big shot for him. The pictures he sends across the nation are the most important. The advance work needs to be solid. Just throwing his name out there sitting behind a desk would not give him the best send-off.” Remarked one of my insiders.

Announcing Monday would mean he would be giving the State of the State address to the Legislature the next day at noon. Not a good mixture. A weekend announcement and you lose maximum media impact.

Also, saying he is running for Prez immediately after completion of the Sudan mission may spark criticism that he is politicizing the suffering of the citizens of that nation.

What to do? Why not announce in a couple of weeks--after the 60 day legislative session is well under way, you have had plenty of time to get the national media lined up and also practice delivering a solid message. If you think you are going to get a second chance at the national media with a “formal“ announcement, you could do a low-key announcement of the exploratory committee. But that second bite out of the apple may be unlikely. Best, say those I consulted, is to go all-in with the committee and do it in a big way. After all, he's not called "Big Bill' for nothing.


Here's a photo of the Guv with women and children in Darfur, now notorious worldwide for its suffering. It would be pretty cool if our state, through its Governor, played a role in helping to halt that suffering. For sure, the Sudanese and the people of New Mexico would have a bond that would stretch well into the future.


KOB’s Dyson and I started covering New Mexico politics at UNM in the early 70’s. He remains a political junkie to this day and tells me Richardson’s odds of actually winning the nomination may be long, but not as long as some nationally are saying.

“The fact that he is a Governor is important. When was the last time we had a senator elected president? Not since Kennedy. That gives Richardson an edge as the party is looking for someone who can win,” Dyson advised.

He also said the impressive gubernatorial resume is going to get a warm reception. The problem, Dyson offered, is breaking through nationally.

”There's only one way to do that--by winning early, really early,” concluded the longtime political reporter.

Amen, Stu. Can you believe that MSNBC has already announced an April ‘07 debate with all the Dem Prez candidates? Now, that's early.


I wouldn't call it an anti-Bibb bandwagon, but in reaction to our Tuesday blog in which the Alligators pinpointed Jim Bibb as the likely replacement for outgoing U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, we did receive some comment saying President Bush and Senator Domenici, who will have the ultimate say on the appointment, should not rush to judgment; that ABQ attorney Charles Peifer should not be underestimated. Here's an example:

“Bibb is the "easy" pick, not necessarily the best one. You may want to keep in mind that Peifer was close to (former NM GOP Attorney General) Stratton and current judge Jim Browning as well as the (GOP lawyer/lobbyist) Mickey Barnett crowd too. Some Republican lawyers who are pushing Peifer because they think he's one of the best lawyers and has the brains and backbone to take over an office run by folks with one foot in retirement.

“Bibb worked for Iglesias (as an assistant U.S. attorney). He was pretty low on the pecking order. If Bibb got the job, he'd be the boss of his old bosses. They would rather run Bibb against (Democratic Bernalillo County District Attorney) Kari Brandenburg, after they get him to move to ABQ. DA--if handled correctly-- can be a very good stepping stone --ala (the late GOP Congressman) Steve Schiff.” So informs one legal beagle.

Interesting stuff. If it comes down to who can be a bigger thorn in the side of the state D's and Big Bill, it would seem Bibb would have he edge, If it comes to getting the most qualified and experienced candidate, it appears Peifer has the inside track. It’s a powerful position and one worth watching which we will be doing.


Maybe it was the way I phrased it, but a couple of readers thought I wrote Tuesday that Toney Anaya was seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate in '78 and was beaten by Pete Domenici. Of course, it wasn't that way. Pete was after his second term when he edged out Toney. I covered that campaign for radio and remember that it was the first time a candidate--Domenici--spent over $1 million on a statewide campaign...

As for Toney, he does have a connection to the U.S. Senate. He started out in the 60's as an aide to Dem U.S. Senator Joe Montoya (1964-76)...Speaking of the late Montoya, a reader asks why I never mention him as a powerful appropriator for NM, along with Senators Domenici, Chavez and Anderson. Joe was a member of the powerful senate appropriations committee, but he did not have the power of the others nor the length of service, but his role is duly noted.

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