August 14, 2012
TRANSCRIPT: MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG TALKS IMMIGRATION, THE ECONOMY AND GUN CONTROL ON MSNBC’S “ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS”
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NEW YORK—August 14, 2012—New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on MSNBC today from Chicago where he has launched a campaign to build support in the business community for immigration reform. Mayor Bloomberg told Andrea Mitchell that immigration reform is the key to both maintaining and growing jobs and innovation in the United States, saying that having a nationwide mentality against immigration is "national suicide." Mayor Bloomberg also touched on gun control issues, saying "If you look at the two presidential candidates, they pander to their voting blocs, but they don't address the real issue. That's not leadership. And I've criticized both of them for it in the same ways I’ve criticized them for not standing up and telling us what they're going to do about the scourge of guns in our country - next presidential term and four years, 48,000 Americans are going to be killed with guns, and not one word from either presidential candidate about what they're going to do about it."
A clip of the interview is available to view/embed here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/48663015#48663015
A transcript of the interview is below. If used, kindly credit “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: What is the clearest solution to the jobs crisis that no one is talking about? Economists say immigration reform, that immigrants create more small businesses and new jobs than native-born Americans.
Here in Chicago today, New York mayor Mike Bloomberg launched a campaign along today with former White House chief of staff Bill Daley to build support in the business community for the tough political decisions to reform immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Well, nobody comes here to put their feet up and take welfare. That's just – you know, it may play well on the stump, but America is not a good place for that. There are plenty of other places where you can sleep in good weather and get food and not have to worry about it. America -- and particularly cities like Chicago and New York, these are tough competitive cities. And the only people that come here are people who want to give up everything, take risks and work hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MITCHELL: And joining me now is New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. We talked about it today, you talked about it, you're trying to build political support for it. Tell us why immigration is good for the economy.
BLOOMBERG: Well, number one, the economy is the issue. At least that's what the self-styled experts say. And neither of the presidential candidates are talking about it. They should be talking about it, because the ways to fix the economy, the way to create jobs, the way to make sure that industries don't get developed overseas, to make sure that overseas universities don't catch up to us, is to have immigrants come here and do the things that we need to do.
And it's at both ends of the economic spectrum. We need people to come here for seasonal labor because the bottom line is, no matter what anybody says, Americans -- and it gets demonstrated time and time again -- will not do those jobs. And if those jobs aren't done, the crops rot in the fields. That's been true in the Southeast. A lot of farms are moving to Mexico because we don't have people here willing to do that back-breaking work that's low wages, but that's what it is. It's the only way you're going to have low-cost fruits and vegetables. And if you can't get the labor, you just can't get the crops in, so you're not going to grow them here.
And if those people were allowed to come here, they would create jobs because there's up the scale lots of things, delivery and handling and cleaning and inspections, that pay much better, that get created if we have the seasonal workers.
At the other end, we need the people who are going to invent the next best thing, who are going to start the next company, the so-called science and technology, engineering and math graduates. The people who get Ph.Ds. For every one of those that we have here, they create a whole bunch of jobs downscale. So, from both ends, the solution in America to more jobs is more immigrants. And unfortunately, both candidates demagogue on this and say oh, no, no, no, there aren't enough jobs so we don't want immigrants. As long as that's the mentality, you will not have enough jobs and you are sowing the seeds for what I call national suicide.
Because the people that can start companies, the people that can create jobs, if they can't get it here, they will go someplace else. Canada wants them in. Canada -- most of the visas they give out are for the people they need to help their economy. In America, we give out too few visas, and most of them are not to people who will help our economy. They are simply for people who happen to have connections because there are a lot of their ethnicity here in this country, a lot of family members are here. That’s a prescription for long-term disaster in this country.
MITCHELL: And all of the studies, the study that you just released today show that these immigrants are starting businesses at a higher rate than native-born Americans –
BLOOMBERG: Oh, not even close.
MITCHELL: -- hiring more. One in 10 workers in the United States works for a firm started by an immigrant. And we're talking about small businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies.
BLOOMBERG: Yes. And if you look at the two presidential candidates, they pander to their voting blocs, but they don't address the real issue. That's not leadership. And I've criticized both of them for it in the same ways I’ve criticized them for not standing up and telling us what they're going to do about the scourge of guns in our country next presidential term and four years, 48,000 Americans are going to be killed with guns, and not one word from either presidential candidate about what they're going to do about it.
And the same thing is true. You know, I was listening to your comments and your commentator on Paul Ryan. I don't like most of what Paul Ryan suggests, but at least he has a concrete plan. And they're all sniping at him, and I think the Democrats are making a terrible mistake --
MITCHELL: You mean a concrete plan on the budget.
BLOOMBERG: They are trying to frame this election about Paul Ryan, and in two days, they want the country to understand and in two days, all of these talking heads have made judgments and they know what's going to happen.
If I were running for president, I would tell the public what I'm going to do rather than talk about what the other guy's going to do. In the end -- you saw my comments this morning -- 45 percent will vote for Romney, 45 percent will vote for Obama. That leaves 10 percent in the middle. That 10 percent isn't dogmatic or ideological. They want answers to how they will feed their families, how their kids will get into college, how they will keep their house, how there's going to be in their neighborhood people coming in and starting new stores and that sort of thing.
And I think this demagoguing and sending protesters to heckle somebody, you know, that's old-line politics and people think it works. I do not.
MITCHELL: You talked about guns. Neither of the candidates are really talking about gun control. The president mentioned it briefly in --
BLOOMBERG: No, but the president -- the president when he was running for office four years ago campaigned on, I'm going to introduce a bill to stop people from having assault weapons. Assault weapons are only used to kill people. They're not for anything else. And then he didn't do anything.
Romney, same thing. He was governor of Massachusetts when they passed an assault rifle ban which he signed and he praised. Gets into office, absolutely nothing.
MITCHELL: Nearly 300 people have been killed by gun violence in the city of Chicago in this year alone. People in Chicago, it's one of the worst homicide rates --
BLOOMBERG: We have 250 in New York with a population roughly three times the size. And 250 is 250 too many. In Chicago, 300 is 300 too many. The only ways you're going to stop this carnage is to get guns out of the hands of criminals, drug addicts, people with psychiatric problems and children.
Second Amendment gives you a right to have a weapon. I don't have any problems with that. I support the Second Amendment. I support states’ rights to set their own carry and permitting things.
But the federal laws say those four categories can't own guns. And if you do the polls, the vast majority of the public is in favor of that. Even NRA members and gun owners are in favor of those things. But Congress refuses to give any enforcement ability to the federal government. And in all fairness, the federal government at the executive branch hasn't gone out and worked very hard to do something about it.
MITCHELL: What about the nanny state and the controversy over the Big Gulps and everything else you’ve tried to do in New York City? Trans fats. Your health care costs are down, you've got hard numbers to prove that people are healthier in New York City.
BLOOMBERG: In New York City, people are living three years longer than the average across America, and that all has come in the last ten years. So, you can call it what you will, but we have 8.4 million people that are living --
MITCHELL: Is that mostly tobacco?
BLOOMBERG: Tobacco is one of the big things. Lower murder rate, lower deaths by fire, lower deaths by traffic accidents, fewer trans fats in their foods, bars on windows, seat belt enforcement, those DWI enforcement, those kind of things. And it doesn't take away anybody's right to do anything. You just can't smoke where somebody else is going to breathe your smoke. But if you want to go kill yourself and smoke, I'm protecting you. I’ve said you have a right to smoke.
In the case of full-sugared drinks, all we're trying to do is say you'll likely drink what's in front of you. So, don't allow in restaurants and movie theaters to serve full-sugared drinks in more than a 16-ounce cup. If you want to buy 32 ounces, I'm there to protect you. You want to buy 64 ounces, I'm there to protect you. You just have to take it in two or four cups. That is another thing that will help reduce obesity, and obesity, for the first time in this world, in the history of the world, more people are dying from being overweight than from starvation. This is the first disease that's gone from being a rich man's disease to a poor man's disease. And it will bankrupt the country, and I just want to make sure we get ahead of it.
MITCHELL: Speaking of rich men just briefly, you made your money in business. Mitt Romney made his money in business. How do you feel about the way he's been characterized, and what advice might you give him to defend what he did at Bain Capital?
BLOOMBERG: Well, at Bain Capital, it's a business that's perfectly legal. I assume he did a good job. I never invested in Bain Capital. I'm not an insider there. I don't know.
I can tell you this. Mitt Romney was a good governor of Massachusetts when he was there, and I'm surprised and disappointed that he's walked away from a lot of the things he did. He actually put in a health care plan that worked. And he made it work. And then to walk away from it, I think, is sad but he thinks that's -- he changed his beliefs or maybe he's gotten political advice that says he should do that.
What is interesting here is you now have two vice presidential candidates, both of whom have real opinions and stand out and say what they believe. Paul Ryan and Joe Biden. And I respect both. I don't agree with either one on a lot of things, but I respect both of them for having the courage to stand up and say what they believe. Whether their bosses are happy about that, you'll have to ask their bosses.
MITCHELL: Thanks so much. Mike Bloomberg, thanks very much for being with us today. Immigration, immigration, immigration.
BLOOMBERG: You got it.
MITCHELL: We're on it.
“Andrea Mitchell Reports” airs weekdays at 1pm ET on MSNBC. Subrata De is Executive Producer.