Corin Dann interviews Mike Moore
Sunday November 11, 2012
Corin Dann interviews Mike Moore.
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Q + A – November 11,
Ambassador to the US
Interviewed by CORIN DANN
CORIN Well, Ambassador Moore, thank you very much for joining us. Tell us – you’ve been watching this campaign race over the last, well, 18 months, really, since those primaries started. Is this the result you were thinking you would see?
MIKE MOORE – Ambassador to the US
Yeah, it is the result we were reporting back – that we thought the President had the edge in the front-line marginal states. But a week before, we were beginning to get a little nervous. These polls were actually correct, and politicians hate to say this, but the polling was correct – that is, the mainstream polling was actually correct.
CORIN What was it that won it for President Obama? Looking at the economy – such a weak economy, under huge pressure there with unemployment high, yet he somehow managed to do it.
MR MOORE Yes, and he managed to lift up the young vote again, and it would have been a brave person who would have said he could maintain the enthusiasm of the young people. He’s a remarkable man. People are proud of him, and they discounted what was happening in the economy because of what he inherited, and he managed to turn some of those things to his advantage: the auto bailout, the restructuring of Wall Street and all those things. But he is the first president to be re-elected with unemployment over 7%.
CORIN What do you make of the suggestions that he was better at creating a coalition, if you like, of different interest groups – the minorities, the Latinos—?
MR MOORE Oh, it’s true.
CORIN So does that mean that the Republicans, on the flipside of that, are in a bit of trouble here?
MR MOORE Oh, they’re in deep trouble if they rely mainly on the European vote. There's a million new Latino votes every year. That’s four million more Latinos were voting from the previous election. For the first time, Latinos got to double-figure percentage of this economy, and they are highly motivated, and they want the American dream. And I think—
CORIN But why doesn’t the American dream—? That’s also very much a Republican vision as well – personal responsibility, making the best of yourself.
MR MOORE Well, there are parts of the Republican Party that is anti-immigrant. You recall it was that Californian governor who campaigned against migrants having rights in California. That turned what was a Republican state Democratic ever since. And if you trace the campaign, when Governor Perry first launched in the primaries – you know, as Bill Clinton said, he’s a good-looking rascal. You know, he was going like that in the polls [indicates upwards]. And there was a debate, and because he’s from Texas, Governor Perry said that immigrants’ kids should be able to go to high school, they should have rights. And at that point, Governor Romney hit him on he was too pro-immigrant and all that. And I don’t think Governor Romney ever recovered the Latino vote, because at that point the Dems went straight at him. And if I make another point, you know, Governor Romney was sort of refuelling on the tarmac getting ready to go after the primaries. He never got off the tarmac. The Dems carpet-bombed him, absolutely—
CORIN This is an early-on assault on his credibility?
MR MOORE “He’s vain, he’s bane, he represents Wall Street. He doesn’t care about folks like you and me.” And they targeted that in those swing states, and they—
CORIN Was it fair? Were they playing fair, the Democrats doing that?
MR MOORE It’s not for me to say what's fair. (laughs) But they hammered him. They did what the Republicans did to John Kerry. They— You know, politics— Mind you, I wasn’t that good at it, was I? But if you don’t describe yourself, someone else will do it.
CORIN They’ll do it for you.
MR MOORE And they’ll do it, and they did it to Governor Romney. So when the debates came along and Governor Romney – who is, I believe, a moderate – came out reasonable and he didn’t live up to the caricature that the Dems had planted on him, everybody was surprised. But my belief is that they’d hammered him so much—
CORIN It was too late.
MR MOORE ...that it was too late for him.
CORIN Could I bring you back to immigration? Because there is some talk the immigration law could be one area where we will see some movement over the next four years under President Obama. From your perspective, representing New Zealand, is American changing, and will that mean, if there is immigration law changes, that we need to think about what a new America will look like?
MR MOORE We do at every level, and America is changing. The genius of America has always been her capacity to vacuum up so much talent from around the world. You know, there's 200,000 scientists in American who have been educated in Europe. You know, 80% of the world’s Nobel Prizes; 17 of the top 20 universities. So they’re welcoming way, and, look, the New Zealanders we meet up here, they are just stunning. There's little populations at Silicon Valley, at Harvard there's all these groups—
CORIN We’re going to meet one shortly.
MR MOORE Yeah, the alumni from all our great universities. We meet these people. They are stunning. And this is the genius of America. Somebody who makes $10 million in New Zealand comes up here and knows if they’re any good, they’ll get $100 million and they’ll build their business.
CORIN But is that still the America? Is that opportunity still there?
MR MOORE It’s still there, and I’ve always— The American will be the strongest economy for the next 50, 80 years, so long as those borders stay open. It’s her genius.
CORIN Mike Moore, ambassador, we’ll speak more a little bit later in the programme. Thank you.