A Conversation with Jim Gilmore
The Washington Post reported that you have not had “a single formal campaign event with actual voters present,” nor a kickoff rally. Why is that?
The Washington Post is misleading people. We made a strategic decision not to campaign in Iowa. We wouldn’t rule out going out there, but we do not believe that is the best expenditure of our resources…. So the point is this, the Washington Post reporter said, well you haven’t done any rallies in your own name, thinking about Trump. Trump has decided to do that, we’ve decided not to. It’s just a simple matter of campaign strategy and tactics. Now one last thing, if I wanted to go do that, I’m sure I could do it. If I wanted to spend $3,000, rent a theater and take my entire staff to rally people from around New Hampshire to come into a theater, I’m sure I could do that. But that’s not the most effective way to campaign right now in our judgment.
Your elevator pitch?
It’s a long pitch, but if you live in NYC you’ve got a lot of floors:
1) We don’t believe the economy is good at all. And it’s having a dreadful impact on people, specifically young people coming out of college. Many of them are having trouble getting adequate jobs – 48% of recent graduates are not working in jobs that are appropriate to their degree…. Millions of Americans are under-employed. Wages are stagnant. I have a specific plan to grow the economy:
a. Targeted tax cuts. Simplify the personal tax code and implement a unified business tax. Everybody conducting commercial activity will be taxed at one rate – 15%.
b. Eliminate the death tax.
c. We have to get rid of all of the regulations with American business startups. Many of your readers are going to want to start businesses, and they’re going to find out how hard it is in America today because of its left-wing approach to government regulation.
2) The Obama-Clinton pullback philosophy has allowed very evil people to evade us, creating very dangerous international challenges facing our country. As a result, we’re challenged by the Russians in Europe, by the Chinese in the Western Pacific, by the Iranians who want to build a nuclear bomb (and we just entered into an agreement that’s going to permit that eventually), and by the dissolution of the Middle East, which is leading to terrorist activity that could potentially strike this country. I have a specific program to strengthen the country:
a.The sequester must come off of the budget.
b. We have to form a new Middle East NATO
The Iran deal is bad and should be renegotiated. It almost guarantees nuclear weapons for the Iranians up the road, which means the rest of the Middle East has to start reacting to that right now. I am the only candidate who has proposed a solution: the formation, with American leadership, of a Middle East NATO, which would not only restrain Iran, but would also begin to put together a coalition necessary to attack ISIS.
Syrian Refugee Crisis:
I think that we are challenged here in the United States, because we don’t have jobs yet for our people who are already here. I want to deal with that before we start taking in tens of thousands of additional refugees. I think [Senator Kerry’s announcement to increase the number of refugees the US accepts to 100,000 refugees in 2017] is very humanitarian, but I think it puts the cart before the horse. We have to deal with our own immigration issue. We have to restrain the benefit programs in this country that destroy the American budget, and we have to restore the American economy. We haven’t done any of that yet before we start taking in 100,000 new refugees.
a) We will not deport the 12 million people who are here illegally. But I would require them to apply for a work permit in order to stay.
b) There would be no path to citizenship if you have gotten status in this country illegally. So I’m opposed to amnesty.
c) I am opposed to Donald Trump’s position that we should begin to eliminate birthright citizenship. I believe young people born in this country are Americans.
d) I believe the current crisis means we have to do more to secure the border.
e) We should eliminate sanctuary cities.
f) Anyone who comes in now and overstays their visa when they come across the border illegally should be deported. Starting now. I’m willing to be flexible with the 12 million who are already here, because we’ve inherited that problem.
I think he’s sending a terrible message to the Latino community… I think suggesting that people in that community are rapists and painting them with a broad brush and talking about changing the 14th Amendment to eliminate birthright citizenship is wrong, dangerous and a terrible message that he is sending to the Latino community.
Congressional Performance in Washington:
I think the country is divided. And I think that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are deliberately trying to divide the nation and set rich against poor, black against white. The result of that is you’re seeing tremendous dysfunction in the United States Congress. I believe that we have to try to create a situation where we pass a budget on time and begin to get the country moving in some coherent fashion. Finally, the President should not be trying to govern by Executive Order. It’s fine to carry out the law, but when he changes the law by Executive Order, he’s in violation of the Constitution.
I don’t fundamentally oppose there being a minimum wage. But if the minimum wage is raised to a level that over burdens businesses, then they’re going to have to lay people off. For people who want to raise the minimum wage dramatically, that will result in unemployment. So once again, until you get the economy growing and more revenue coming in and more people getting good jobs, raising the minimum wage is just putting a Band-Aid on the fundamental problem.
What was your reaction to Republican debate on CNN?
I wasn’t included in the debate. It was very wrong to exclude me from the debate. The polling numbers that I’ve seen show me doing about as well as the people who were included, specifically Pataki, Graham, Santorum and Jindal. In some cases, (Graham and Pataki), I’m usually polling ahead of them. So it was wrong for them to exclude me. Second of all, this whole business of picking people according to polls is nonsense. At this point in time it’s all about name identification. Donald Trump has the advantage of being a reality show game host for 10 years. So it’s just wrong. What they’re doing is wrong. As for the debate itself, I’m not going to comment on other people and what they were doing.
One weird fact about yourself that you’ve never shared before?
I tear up in movies… all kinds of movies, particularly movies that talk about American history. My favorite move that talks about American history is “In Harms Way.” I don’t tear up about that one by the way.
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