Dick Richardson was initially a Congressman of the Enclave, rising to power in 2215 with help from his father, Richardson Senior, who served as the former President of the Enclave in the term that preceded his son's own succession to the office. This process ended up with Dick Richardson being elected by the Enclave in 2220 for his own first term as the President of the Enclave. By 2242 Richardson was serving his sixth term in that office, leading the Enclave towards a new era of American prosperity and mutation-free humanity. However, he did so at the cost of his own health, as he had become a thin, nervous man as tired and frayed as the suit he was wearing.
Richardson controlled the military forces of the Enclave (who descended from the pre-War United States armed forces), and was the head of a patriotic propaganda campaign targeted on the pure strain humans who inhabited the Enclave's Oil Rig off the coast of California. He oversaw the Enclave's master plan to free the wastelands of the United States from the grip of all mutants by killing nearly all intelligent life on the North American continent with a genetically modified biological weapon. By his own claims, President Richardson did not find any joy or pleasure in the Enclave's plan of exterminating the people on the mainland using the a modified strain of West-Tek's Forced Evolutionary Virus, but was calmly accepting of what he saw as a necessary evil to ensure the survival of the Enclave's "pure" humanity.
The game's ending states that with the destruction of the Enclave's oil rig in 2242 by the Chosen One, all traces of President Richardson's existence were destroyed forever, with the title of "President" now simply used as a term to frighten the children of the Core Region. That being said, his successor President John Henry Eden from Fallout 3 refers to President Dick Richardson as one of America's many leaders that he studied for inspiration, and Elder Owyn Lyons mentions President Richardson when talking about President John Henry Eden stating, "The Brotherhood encountered the Enclave once before, on the west coast. Back then there was a 'President' Dick Richardson who led them."
Interactions with the player character
Involved in quests:
In spite of the fact that he is one of the shortest lived characters in the entire game, he practically reveals all the background storyline questions regarding the Enclave, their reason behind digging up Mariposa Military Base, and their connection with the Vaults, as well as the reasons for the kidnapping of the Chosen One's fellow tribesmen. The President seems to be somewhat gullible in both his willingness to reveal so much to the player and that in one dialogue option the player can claim to be the 'Emperor of the Planet Quetzl' and Richardson pretends to believe the player, although he is merely stalling for time while security arrives to kill you. You can also get him to tell you some pre-War history which shows that the U.S. was winning the war and was marching through Beijing when China panicked and started launching bombs. America retaliated with their own and suffered severe damage from the enemy bombs. It is revealed that the bombs dropped on China completely destroyed the entire country leaving nothing.
He holds the Presidential access keycard, which can be only obtained by killing him using one of the following options:
Use many super stimpaks on him (eight shots seem to be enough; although players who use the Restoration Project patch will need about 12 super stimpaks), and then use the Pipboy's wait function for the after effects to kill him. (Enclave not alerted)
By reverse pickpocketing him with an active explosive and leave to another section, he will either die or be weakened (Enclave not alerted)
Just kill him (Enclave alerted)
Sneak and shoot him, if he receives a critical hit, he will die (Enclave sometimes alerted, sometimes not)
Richardson is a reference to former president Richard Nixon, also known as Tricky Dick.
He may also be a shout out to the 1980 Japanese film Virus (Fukkatsu no Hi), which features an America governed by a President Richardson, although that character was depicted as sympathetic and humane.
"That's a shame. A conversation with a genuine mutant like you? It'd certainly paint me a picture of what life's like in that radioactive hell on the mainland."
"Hello, there. I'm President Richardson and I'm damn proud to meet you. Uh, Vault 13, I see. You've been doing your country an invaluable service."
"The only way for true humans, and democracy, to be safe is to cleanse the mutants from the globe. We humans will take back that which is rightfully ours."