From NBC's Mark Murray
DES MOINES, IA -- Star attraction Martin Sheen couldn't make it as originally planned -- he is sick and couldn't fly to Iowa -- but that didn't stop a few hundred people from packing a third-floor room above a downtown bar here to listen to Richardson speak.
Is this momentum!" Richardson exclaimed to the crowd. "Is this a real surge!" He went on to say, "We are going to shock the world, right?"
Richardson also said the election "should not be [decided] by the national media. It should be by Iowa." Then citing a poll by the national media -- our MSNBC/McClatchy survey, which has him in fourth place in Iowa, at 12% -- he told the crowd, "We are within striking distance of the top three."
Later in his remarks, Richardson went through all of his campaign promises: bring home all the troops from Iraq, scrap No Child Left Behind, enact universal health care, give veterans a "Heroes health card," which would provide former service members access to the hospitals and doctors of their choice. And then he made his pitch to his supporters and undecided caucus-goers." I want your support... We need you to shock the world."
A Richardson spokesman later estimated to First Read that about 500 people attended the event. Indeed, NBC/NJ Iowa reporter Carrie Dann, also covering the speech, said the gathering was "huge" for a normal Richardson event in Iowa. But it also was clear that quite a few of the people in attendance were from Richardson's home state of New Mexico. The governor, in fact, acknowledged that when he gave a shout-out to the "New Mexico Road Warriors" supporters present, and there was a sizable applause from them in return.
At the end of his speech, Richardson asked, "Iowa, will you help us to take back America?"
The crowd screamed back, "Yeah!"
He continued, "Do we love Iowa?"
"Do we love New Mexico."