From NBC's Mark Murray and Chuck Todd
PHILADELPHIA -- Just hours before tonight's debate, Richardson is up with a new TV ad in Iowa, which seems to us like a closing advertisement a candidate would air right before the voting. It's also worth noting that the ad is much more serious than his earlier "job interview" ads.
"I'm Bill Richardson," he says in it, "and when I began this campaign for president, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew I wouldn't have every answer. But I'll always tell you what I really believe. And I'll never mislead you. I knew there'd be differences between the candidates. Especially on Iraq. I'll get every soldier out. You can't say you'll end the war if you plan to leave thousands of troops behind. The Iraqis sure won't think the war is over."
He continues, "If you're wondering if anyone can really do all this, just look at what I've done in my life and how I've done it. Not by dividing people. But by earning their trust. And that's really where we need to begin in Iraq... I approved this message because I'm sure not the best looking or the flashiest … but I know who I am. And I know how hard I'll work for you."
By the way, NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli -- who's covering Richardson filing his paperwork today for the New Hampshire primary -- reports that Richardson said he would not accept matching funds "because it's unilateral disarmament." It's worth noting that not accepting matching funds makes it MUCH easier to transfer one's presidential money into a Senate account. Just some food for thought...