Governor, we had a big night of speeches last night, and you’ll be speaking later today. What are you planning to talk about?
Well, we’re going to continue the process — all the speakers — of making crystal clear the differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. We’re for building the middle class, not taking it apart. We’re for building programs that support the building class and allow people who aspire to be in the middle class to move forward. That’s the story that we have to tell and it started to come out pretty brilliantly last night.
Obama is seeing a decline in fundraising dollars everywhere, including Connecticut, where there are some deep blue pockets. Why do you think that is?
I don’t think the President was working as hard at fundraising. Remember he didn’t go through a primary stage, and if he had, I think he would have raised more money. Just recently the President raised about $1.8 million up in Connecticut, so I think he’ll catch up.
What does Obama need to do to excite Connecticut voters?
I think Connecticut voters are pretty excited. Connecticut votes very well in presidential elections, so there’s no apathy about Connecticut. We have a senate rate that’s going to be very close and down to the wire; but the Democrats are going to win that seat as well.
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State GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola recently went on the record to say that Connecticut Republicans can be competitive in this year's presidential race. Can they?
No, they can’t. Mitt Romney is not going to win Connecticut, because people understand that he’s about outsourcing. They understand that he has a program that would decimate the middle class of the country. Effectively to pay for his plan, he’d have to raise taxes on the middle class by $2k per family to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans averaging $256 thousand dollars. And let me tell you this about Connecticut [residents], they understand the value of Obamacare. People have talked about this in the past in negative plans. Well all of a sudden people realize that if they have a son or daughter who is between the ages of 21 and 26, they’re now covered pretty inexpensively on a health care plan, as part of what the President did. Many other things have come about as a result, including (plans) for senior citizens. About 49k of them are no longer losing benefits, because they were considered in the “donut hole.” There are a lot of reasons that ensure we’ll get this job done.
What can a president do for towns and cities in Connecticut, in terms of supporting their infrastructure projects, and why do you think Obama would be the better choice?
Well, here’s a commitment the Obama administration has made to train service. We are seeing hundreds of millions of dollars coming to Connecticut to restore train service, where it once existed on the commuter line, and to modernize Metro North, which is largest train system in the country. He’s also committed to a modern highway system. Just this past week, a couple of our smaller airports got grants under a transportation program this President has championed and Mitt Romney has said it needs to be cut out of the budget.
You spend a lot of time meeting with voters across the state. What's the biggest misunderstanding among Connecticut voters about the nominees?
Republicans are spending a lot of time and energy trying to convince people that America is not in a better place today than it was four years ago, but this president has overseen the creation of over 4.5 million jobs, Osama Bin Laden is dead, the Iraq war has ended, and the Afghan war is being drawn down. Manufacturing jobs have grown for two years in a row, the first time since the early ‘90s that that happened in the United States. This president has a great record to run on, but he’s running against people who spent three days in Florida not talking about their platform or budget and trying to pretend that they are somehow Republicans. That wasn’t a Republican convention; that was a Tea Party convention where they invited a couple of Republicans. We’ve got to correct the information that’s been put out by Republicans.
What have you enjoyed most this week, and what have been some highlights?
Well, I like to work, and I like to work hard. I’ve been asked to represent the President at a number of forums. I just completed one with the North Carolina delegation. I certainly enjoy any time I can spend time hearing from people around the country about some of the best ideas. I’ve had some great conversations with my fellow Democratic governors about how they’re moving their states forward and how they’re working with our President to do that. It’s a great boost. By the way, I think that Michelle Obama’s speech last night will go down as one of the great addresses, not just by a First Lady, by any person who is speaking of The President of the United States.