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Transcripts from our live 538 Politics Podcasts on Discord will be made available here for those who missed it or are not on Discord, you poor souls...

The Rt Hon Dylan Macmillan MP

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and First Lord of the Treasury

MP for Nuneaton

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MVP Interview with Senator and Democratic nominee for President Christina Tillman (D-CA) @Chris

Originally recorded May 2016; posted November 2016

Quote

 

PRESTON: Welcome to the 538 Politics Podcast, I'm Adam Preston. Tonight we have an exclusive interview with the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. Senator Tillman, welcome to the show.

TILLMAN: Thank you for having me, Adam. It is an absolute pleasure to be here.

PRESTON: Congratulations on wrapping up the nomination so early in the process. It must be a relief to already have the support of your party while the Republicans are still slugging it out. However, it also robs you of the media coverage of a primary. A lot of voters still don't know who you are. Would you like to take a moment to introduce yourself to the viewers?

TILLMAN: Thank you, Adam. I want to say I am so extremely proud of the Democratic party and our ability to bring the entire party together from conservative to liberal behind one common goal, which is to continue progressing into our future. I look across the aisle and I see a party that is divided and there is so much fighting in the press about who is more partisan than the other and I can't help, but question if a single one is fit to lead. As I have said in many of my public statements our country is stronger when we are together and that is just what we as the Democratic party are showing we can do. As for introducing myself, I am a wife and mother of 3 young girls. We live Southern California where I was born and raised so adjusting to Washington was an experience. I went to college at USC, however I later become a professor at UCLA teaching International relations and Political Sciences. Since I was elected as United States Senator, where I have proudly represented the great state of California.

PRESTON: California Democrats are infamous as being a little, well ... out of touch with the rest of the country. How are you avoiding falling into that trap?

TILLMAN: (chuggles) Well Adam, I am not your typical California Democrat. I would consider myself more of a middle of the road democrat. I have a beliefs that I am extremely progressive on and there are issues that I am conservative on. So I find myself relating more towards the middle which is right where the majority of Americans live. So as to how I avoid falling into that trap, well Adam, I just be myself.

PRESTON: I can appreciate that. Would you care to offer an example of your conservative streak?

TILLMAN: An example of that would be my stance on the military and foreign policy. As President, I would oppose major cuts in military spending because I believe that it is necessary that our fighting men and women have the best equipment, resources, and training possible. Now there is room for more efficient and fiscal responsible approaches to do that through better contracting and items like that we should address as well. That rolls right into foreign policy. We must have a presence in the world as the greatest super power in history we have a responsibility to not just isolate ourselves. This most importantly with our allies, such Israel. Israel is our closest ally and we need to strengthen our relationship that has been rocky over the last few years. Another point that need to be made is how we deal with China. When it comes to China, we have allowed them to steal our intellectual property, jobs, and keys to our future. I will bring back American jobs by enacting incentives for businesses to keep jobs here at home. I will be tough on China making them honest and accountable for actions taken against the United States. And if not I will impose a series of trade sanctions if China does not act within fair trade practices.  This is why I was extremely proud to help pass the most recent legislation on China that has since been signed into law by President Obama.

PRESTON: Would you be willing to risk a trade war with China with those policies?

TILLMAN: Adam, I believe these policies are necessary for our continued progression into the next decade. Our economy has rebound since the Bush Administration. 11 million job created over the last 8 years and we are seeing all time highs in the stock market. We have done this while China has violated our intellectual property rights and stolen our jobs. I believe in a fair playing field and a collaboration between the two countries. Hopefully diplomatic channels will be this course of action, however I don't want us to close the door to any avenue before we even get started.

PRESTON: When you speak of improving our relationship with Israel, are you willing to go as far as moving our embassy to Jerusalem, for example?

TILLMAN: We will continue to strengthen our relationship with Israel. Continue to provide support in any way possible. We all know the middle east is extremely unstable. So I wouldn't say that moving the embassy is the best course of action at this time, however we can support Israel in other ways. Such as continuing to monitor Iran with the strongest capabilities to ensure they are strictly adhering to our agreement. Any step outside of that agreement and as President I will back us out and call for sanctions to be placed. We will continue our military and economic partnerships with Israel bringing them to the best levels we have seen. We will also continue to combat the ISIS and continue to help stabilize the region around them through diplomatic methods. Stabilizing a region that has been so unstable will not be an overnight fix, but it is a challenge that we, as a world leader, will play our role in helping resolve.

PRESTON: Do you support President Obama's attempts at negotiation with Iran or do you advocate for a tougher approach?

TILLMAN: I support President Obama's approach in negotiating with Iran on the basis that if there is a diplomatic avenue to ending a conflict or contention we should take it. Now under my presidency there will be a zero tolerance approach towards Iran and North Korea when it comes to nuclear weapons. There will not be a time where either of those countries will have the weapon under my watch. Now we will cross that bridge when we get there, but for now I have skeptical optimism that we have made steps towards progress with Iran thanks to President Obama, however that does not mean it is blind optimism. We will monitor both countries and take steps accordingly.

PRESTON: Briefly, what would you consider your top domestic priority?

TILLMAN: That has to be a trick question, Adam. (smiles) All our domestic issues should be of top priority. We should not limit our scope on just a single issue. We have made great improvements in the economy and healthcare, yet there is so much more work to do. The United States is ranked 21st in the world in education so we must improve how we approach educating our youth. We have an immigration system that is in shambles so we will need complete immigration reform. Women and minorities still struggle for equal pay in the work place. Workers across the country worry about retirement and whether social security and Medicare will be there. Those are just a few to name, however the list goes on and on. We have a lot of work to do over the next 4 to 8 years, but it is a challenge that I am willing to step up and lead.

PRESTON: Are you willing to go as far as Medicare for all as some in the progressive wing of your party have called for?

TILLMAN: The ACA is a great start in which it created a public and private market place for both the consumer and carrier. Some of our greatest accomplishments with Medicare was the ability to use Medicare Advantage plans. Again this a private and public market place. Like I said before there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to healthcare. In the United States, the average family spends a 3rd of their income on healthcare and that is with their insurance. We have to lower the cost of healthcare in this country first and foremost. But to do so we have to understand what is driving the costs of healthcare. The leading cause for these issues are preventable chronic conditions.  We struggle with going to doctors regularly and conditions often go untreated so when the patient finally goes to the doctor the costs of healthcare sky rocket so the patient pays more and so does the insurance payer. So as President one of my first acts would be to form a commission on how to tackle these conditions. Once we implement some incentives for the American people we will see the market react accordingly and as cost to payers go down healthcare will start to be more affordable. Now that won't fix the entire problem so we will need to look at strengthening the ACA, including working with states on Medicaid expansion. However I will not be supporting a full Medicare for all solution.

PRESTON: Circling back around to the Republican primary. Who are you most hoping wins to become your opponent? Who scares you the most?

TILLMAN: (chuggles) Adam, you definitely have great questions going tonight. Obviously, I have a vested interest in the outcome of the primary, but at the end of the day I will face whoever survives the GOP mudslinging contest they have going on over there. All I know is I was extremely disappointed today on their stance on the 9/11 victim bill that is before the Senate. The bill was proposed to extend benefits for years to come for those that need it most, however the GOP are backing an "accountability" amendment that eliminates the extension calling it a measure to prevent fraud. Now I bring this up because none of the candidates stood up for the victims so to answer your question who scares me the most it is all of them since they are not willing to stand up for the American people.

PRESTON: (grins) If you gloss over that question, how's this one: Who's on the short list for VP?

TILLMAN: Well Adam, I can tell you that we have started the vetting process and we are starting to form the "short" list as for who is on it. How about I tell you who is not on it? Anyone under 35 and who is not a natural born citizen. (smiles) In seriousness Adam we are too early in the process to give out who is on the list yet, but rest assured when we are ready to share it you will be the first to know.

PRESTON: What qualities are you looking for to round out the ticket?

TILLMAN: Someone that is under the same beliefs that we are stronger as a country when we are working together rather than when we are divide. We have a great history as a nation and Aaron Sorkin wrote one time that really resonated with me he said "we shouldn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election" yet that appears to be where we are as a country. I hope to bridge that partisan divide and be the President not of Democrats or Republicans, but as the President all of the United States and every American here. So I will be looking for a running mate that has that same belief and I can tell you that there so many out there that.

PRESTON: Senator Tillman, thank you for coming on the program. I wish you the best of luck out there on the campaign trail and I hope you will come back soon.

TILLMAN: Thank you Adam for having me. I look forward to be back on soon hopefully with a different title. (smiles)

 

 

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