From NBC's Mark Murray
Yesterday, Biden's campaign blasted Richardson for changing his position on troop withdrawal from Iraq. Then, just hours later at the AARP forum, Biden -- with a smile on his face, as always -- jabbed the New Mexico governor after Richardson talked about his experience dealing with health care.
"My good friend from New Mexico, God love him. His state's a couple million people," Biden said. "Give me a break. He can pull that together. Pull together 300 million people. That's like saying, you know, 'I played halfback when I was in high school; I can play in the pros' -- a different deal."
Well today, the Biden camp is once again going after Richardson -- this time charging that the New Mexico governor imposed an $8-a-day tax (which he later repealed) on nursing home beds to make up for a shortfall in Medicaid.
Why is Team Biden going after Richardson? A Biden aide tells First Read that Richardson has "gotten a free pass from the press. And we're not going to let that continue."
Richardson spokesman Tom Reynolds responds, "The campaign is heating up. Certain campaigns are trying to draw attention away from their low poll numbers with harsh attacks. We are going to continue to run a strong, optimistic campaign."
*** Update *** Reynolds adds this regarding the nursing home-bed tax: "The record clearly shows [Richardson] has expanded access to quality, affordable health care, among many other significant achievements that continue to improve the quality of live for New Mexicans. Instead of using Republican talking points that Sen. Biden ought to know are full of distortions, he should stay positive, and like us, offer solutions."
A source from a rival campaign also notes that the Biden campaign release today recycles a charge the New Mexico Republican Party has made in the past.