If you were President, what would the U.S. look like at the end of 2013 in terms of jobs, unemployment and economic growth?
Well, you'd see a very dramatic change in the perspective of small businesses, entrepreneurs, middle-size businesses and perhaps even some large multinationals. They'd say, You know what? America looks like a good place to invest again, a good place to take risk, a good place to hire again ... This is all about creating good jobs for middle-income Americans, and it's a place where the President, frankly, has failed. His effort to put in place a series of liberal proposals he thought were historic kept his eye off the ball of getting the economy going again. It is the economy, and the American people aren't stupid. They want someone who can get this economy going again.
What would the unemployment rate be like at the end of your first year?
I can't possibly predict precisely what the unemployment rate will be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we'd put in place, we'd get the unemployment rate down to 6% and perhaps a little lower.
The President says your experience at Bain Capital will be central in this election. What did you learn at Bain that would help you create jobs?
That's a bit like saying, What have you learned in life that would help you lead? My whole life has been learning to lead, from my parents to my education to the experience I had in the private sector to helping run the Olympics, and then of course helping guide a state ... I understand, for instance, how to read a balance sheet. I happen to believe that having been in the private sector for 25 years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created that someone who's never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn't understand.
So when the President says he wants to focus a lot of the election and debate on your career at Bain Capital, do you welcome that?
Well, of course, I'd like to also focus on his record. What is it that he's done as the President of the U.S. over the past four years? ... Has the President made things better for the American people? Are they better off than they were four years ago? ... Did he hold unemployment below 8%? It's been, what, 39 months now. That hasn't happened ... Gasoline prices--are people happy with those? Home prices--are they happy with the home prices, the level of foreclosures? Do they think someone can do better? I think the American people want someone who understands the economy, who has a vision for getting America working again ... I think the reason you're seeing, across the country, people saying they'd like to try someone new is because they believe this President, while he may be a nice guy, is simply not up to the task of helping guide an economy.
Is there some new idea, some original idea, that you have that you think would lead to a lot of new jobs?