Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson told Arab Americans that he has the diplomatic experience to work for peace in the Middle East.
The New Mexico governor and former United Nations ambassador said ''solutions imposed from outside almost always fail.'' He added that he would talk with Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi leaders to try to stabilize the region.
Richardson routinely touts his foreign policy experience, which he says far exceeds that of his rivals.
''Have faith in this country. We're a good country,'' Richardson said at the Arab American Institute's National Leadership Conference Sunday in Dearborn. This Detroit suburb is widely considered the center of Arab America, anchoring a community of about 300,000 in southeastern Michigan who trace their roots to the Middle East.
Hundreds of conference attendees also heard Sunday from Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, another presidential candidate.
Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama addressed the conference by video during the weekend. Presidential candidates Mike Gravel, a Democrat, and Ron Paul, a Republican, spoke Friday.
The overriding message from Democrats was that Republicans have led the country astray by profiling Arab Americans, invading Iraq, undermining civil liberties and damaging the country's moral compass and its credibility abroad.
Richardson said he would close the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba and argued for bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq. He criticized his Democratic rivals for saying they want to end the war but would leave behind some troops. (MORE)