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Richardson in Florida, and it's not for the sunshine

He won't be talking to Florida voters unless they have a check in hand, but Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson is in the state today.

Richardson was the first candidate to declare that he would honor the calendar set by the Democratic National Committee that allows only four smaller states to vote before Feb. 5. Those states -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- pressured all of the major candidates into signing a pledge that they would not campaign in Florida. Except to raise money.

This evening, Richardson is expected at a reception hosted by former U.S. Rep. Larry Smith of Hollywood and his son, Grant Smith, at the Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm in Fort Lauderdale. A check made out for at least $500 is your ticket in.

RIchardson supporters know him to be a charming, intelligent man, but that charisma hasn't come across in televised debates.  At the Sept. 9 debate at the University of Miami, Richardson attacked the Univision network for prohibiting him from answering questions in Spanish. He came across as combative again in Wednesday's debate on MSNBC when asked about immigration. "You asked me because I'm the Hispanic here, but I'll answer," Richardson said.

In both of these instances, a sense of humor would have gone a lot farther than indignation.