2020 Candidate Conversation: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet | New Hampshire Public Radio

2020 Candidate Conversation: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet

Jan 13, 2020

We begin our Jan. 13 show  with U.S. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.  A former Superintendent of Schools in Denver and co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, with a keen interest also in immigration reform, Bennet is running on a platform that includes a public option for helath care, expanding tax credits for the middle class, and repairing the country's infrastructure.   

Bennet also holds the record for one of the most-viewed floor speeches on C-SPAN's Twitter feed when he excoriated Senator Ted Cruz over the government shutdown of 2019.  Soon afterwards, he expressed interest in running for president.  Bennet has made New Hampshire the centerpiece of his campaign. Although his candidacy has yet to gain steam, he has said he has the best chance to beat President Trump, in part because he's been able to win national elections in a swing state. 

Original Air Date: Jan. 13, 2020

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Transcript:

This is a computer-generated transcript, and may contain errors. 

Laura Knoy: 

I'm Laura Knoy and this is The Exchange.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet has gone all in for New Hampshire, although he has staff in Iowa. Bennet says the Granite State is where he's really hoping for a strong finish. Despite his low poll numbers right now. So toward that end, the Colorado senator recently kicked off a series of 50 town hall meetings in the 10 weeks before primary day. This hour, on The Exchange, we talk with Senator Bennet about his policy ideas and where he fits in the Democratic field. Later on, a New Hampshire based Middle East expert gives her views on Iran, Iraq and U.S. foreign policy. As always, we welcome your questions. And Senator Bennet, welcome. Really nice to meet you.

Senator Michael Bennet:
It's very nice to meet you, Laura.

Laura Knoy:
So you joined this race after dealing with prostate cancer. You received a clean bill of health last April, decided to run for president after that. Once it was over. Congratulations. By the way, let's just put that right out there. So what makes you a better choice, Senator Bennet, than the other Democrats who are running?

Senator Michael Bennet:
I think I'm a better choice because I've got a different range of experience. I was in business and I was the superintendent of one of the largest school districts in America. And then I spent 10 years in the Senate engaged in a lot of bipartisan work. But there long enough to understand the nature of the corruption there and why the most important things don't actually get done. And I don't believe the other candidates have diagnosed it the same way I have. And I think they'd have a hard time overcoming it if they became president.

Laura Knoy:
A lot of candidates are talking about corruption. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. So how are you different?

Senator Michael Bennet:
I think I'm different because I understand how to build a coalition of Americans to create a constituency for change, to overcome that corruption. I think Bernie and Elizabeth both believe that the answer here is to substitute our more preferred version of single party rule for their version of single party rule. And I just disagree with that. I think we're not going to make any progress by doing that. I don't want to spend the next 10 years fighting a losing battle for Medicare for all when I think that we could end childhood poverty in the eight years that I was president and give the middle class in this country a huge boost. I'd rather work on those issues.

Laura Knoy:
So let's focus on what's doable instead of fighting over what's not doable, is that what you're saying?

Senator Michael Bennet:
It's not even what's doable, it is what is it is the way you build a political movement in this country to overcome the entrenched forces in Washington, D.C. that requires winning purple states. And it's one thing to run and win the Senate race in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And I have deep respect for obviously for the people who live there. But I'm the only candidate in this race who's won two national elections in the swing state. It's the swing state of Colorado, and it requires something different. And I think for the Democratic Party to not just beat Donald Trump, but also win the Senate again and then on the back end of that, be able to govern the country again, we need to reinvent our politics.

Laura Knoy:
Why do you think that message isn't resonating, Senator Bennet? You don't need me to tell you. You're way down in the polls.

Senator Michael Bennet:
I got in the race later a much less well-known than either Bernie or Elizabeth or many of the candidates in the race. And so I've been playing catch up the whole time. And that that actually is why I've embarked on the strategy to have 50 additional channels. I've already spent more time in New Hampshire than any.

Laura Knoy:
You've been here a lot.

Senator Michael Bennet:
I've had you know, I had 33 town halls before. I said I'd do 50. Hilariously, I saw a guy downstairs as I was getting on the elevator to come up here today who said, I remember you came into a fundraiser for John McCain when I was in Denver once. I said I did. He said I never saw a Democrat do that before. He said, we'll keep it up because John John would have done it this way. And I said, well, the only problem is I'm not John McCain. But I do think it's the right strategy.

Laura Knoy:
So it sounds like you are hoping that you'll come across as a a moderate, a pragmatist, a guy who can win in swing states, therefore, across the country.

Senator Michael Bennet:
I think I once heard myself described as a pragmatic idealist. And I'll take that pragmatic, because I think we need to get stuff done in idealist, because I believe in democracy. I believe it's essential to humanity that our democracy survive. And that's the way that I've approached the work in the Senate as a school superintendent and as a candidate for president.

Laura Knoy:
So I definitely talk about some of the issues in just a moment, Senator Bennet, but so far, the more progressive or liberal wing, call it what you want, seems to be gravitating towards Senator Sanders and Senator Warren. And the more moderate wing seems to be gravitating towards Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. So how are you going to sort of get a wedge in there into that ankle of the field?

Senator Michael Bennet:
I think it's by having 50 more town halls in New Hampshire. New Hampshire has made the difference before and I think, you know, my experience is very different from Mayor Pete's. My school district's budget was three times the size of. South Bend, Indiana's budget, just for perspective, and I'm of a different generation than he is and and with respect to Vice President Biden, I respect his service. But when he says that if we just get rid of Donald Trump, it will somehow all go back to normal. It ignores the very profound structural issues that exist in our democracy that have been created by the Supreme Court in Citizens United. The partisan gerrymandering that's happened. The money that has supported the Freedom Caucus is disabling of our exercise and self-government. All of that has to be overcome. And it can't be overcome with bumper stickers. It can't be overcome with slogans. It has to be overcome by very tough political work organizing state after state after state of people to to fix it.

Laura Knoy:
In a moment, I want to ask about immigration and education. Big issues for you, Senator Bennet. I want to invite our listeners, though, to join us as well. Our number here in The Exchange is 1 800 8 9 2 6 4 7 7. And for the first half of our show today, we're talking with Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet. He's running for president, really banking on New Hampshire for his success. We'd love your questions and comments. Send us an e-mail exchange at NHPR.org.

Laura Knoy:
Senator Bennet, you've not been on the debate stage for some time, falling short of polling and fundraising thresholds set up by the party. And you said in New Hampshire recently, quote, "The debates I don't think have done very much for the Democratic Party. I think they sort of played into Donald Trump's hands. I can see why it's entertaining and part of what we should do, but it shouldn't be the central way we conduct this election." Still, not everybody can go to your town halls. Many candidates don't go up to Berlin or Milan or more rural parts of the state. So the debates do give voters a chance to see contenders. So what would you change?

Senator Michael Bennet:
Well, I do go through those rural parts of the state, by the way, and I think it's important for people to do that. I think it'd be much more useful for us to have a longer form town hall format that would allow candidates either alone or together to appear and answer the audience's questions in an in-depth way.

Senator Michael Bennet:
The thing about the debates is, you know, I suppose it's important to know whether the president can answer a question in 30 seconds or prepare a soundbite for just the right moment in the debate. But I doubt very much that's the most important credential for a for a prison, especially when the president is Donald Trump. So I will say that I think the DNC made a terrible mistake by throwing a bunch of us off the debate stage.

Senator Michael Bennet:
New Hampshire is less decided today than New Hampshire was six weeks ago or six months ago or a year ago, because what people are trying to figure out is which of these, I call them mugs, usually I'm referring to myself, but which of these people can actually take on Donald Trump and beat him, which is the right question for people to be asking. And I think it's not resolved in the voters' minds in New Hampshire, which is why it seems crazy to me that we would have limited the number of people that would have had that kind of exposure on the debates. It may sound self-serving of me to say it, but I think history will show that I was right.

Laura Knoy:
Let's talk about a central part of your campaign, Senator Bennet. You call it the "Real Deal." You say it would cost six trillion dollars,there is a lot in here to unpack. But there's one piece that I would really like to ask you about. A big part of this plan is what some people describe as universal basic income for kids. Now, Andrew Yang has been talking about universal basic income for everybody. How would your approach work?

Senator Michael Bennet:
The way this would work would be it would increase the child tax credit from $2000 today to thirty six hundred dollars for every kid under the age of six. More than $3000 for every kid over the age of six. It would be available to everybody up to people making $180000. So actually, this is a massive tax cut for the middle class. Columbia University has looked at the proposal and said it would cut childhood poverty in America by 40 percent in one year. It would end $2 a day poverty for kids in America. Those are kids who are living in families that are literally living on $2 a day from an education point of view would transform the lives of millions of Americans. And from the perspective of giving kids a chance to become participants in our economy and in this democracy. I think it's more important than anything that any other candidate has proposed. So we could accomplish that, by the way, without adding a single federal bureaucrat.

Laura Knoy:
Because it's already in place you're just expanding the tax credit.

Senator Michael Bennet:
So for the 3 percent of what Bernie's Medicare for all would cost, we could cut child poverty by 40 percent and give the middle class in America a massive tax cut.

Laura Knoy:
So this would be available to families with kids up to making up $180000.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Right.

Laura Knoy:
That's not for upper middle class or wealthy people.

Senator Michael Bennet:
No.

Laura Knoy:
How do you feel about the argument that $180000. That's pretty high still. So maybe those folks don't a giant tax break?

Senator Michael Bennet:
Well, I actually think my proposals, every single one of them and the "Real Deal" are tailored to be progressive, Bernie's proposals are not. So his proposal for free college is a regressive proposal. My proposal for free preschool is a progressive proposal. The the American Family Act, which is the child tax credit combined with expansion, the earned income tax credit, combined with paid family leave, combined with raising the minimum wage in this country. Those things taken together, which I have proposed, would give the middle class in America an enormous shot in the arm and give the kids that I used to work for as superintendent in the Denver public schools, a fighting chance to be a participant in the democracy. I think that's what we should be standing for as the Democratic Party and as Americans. That is what we should be doing to make sure we leave more opportunity, not less to the people coming after us.

Laura Knoy:
Let's talk more about education since you mentioned it and you were the superintendent of schools for Denver, a big district where you shook things up. Senator Bennet closing so-called under-performing schools, allowing charter schools to operate in district buildings. You don't need me to tell you this upset a lot of people. How does that experience shape your current approach towards education policy?

Senator Michael Bennet:
It certainly didn't upset as many people who are upset by the fact that there are kids in huge swaths of our community who had no decent school to go to, you know, who literally, no matter where they traveled, could not go to school. That would provide them a chance at the American dream. And I think that's what we should be focused on as Americans.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Stanford University just did a study of the Denver public schools and they concluded that the kids in Denver are growing so much faster academically than the kids in the rest of the state of Colorado. It's as if the kids in Denver have 60 additional school days a year compared to the their peers. That is incredible. The kids in Denver were dead last in terms of achievement growth. Fifteen years ago, we became one of the fastest growing school districts in America because people who had been fleeing our district at the middle school level in the high school level came back. And so you're right. We had we did replicate high performing charter schools. We closed low performing charter schools. And overall, there are more kids in non-charter schools today in Denver than there are in charter schools because of the work that we did. In other words,.

Laura Knoy:
They're in traditional public schools.

Senator Michael Bennet:
All of it is incremental. Right. So we need to make progress as a country here, because unfortunately, our education system today is reinforcing the income inequality we have because the best predictor of the quality of a kid's education is their parents income. That is ruthless and that is wrong and we need to change it.

Laura Knoy:
So New Hampshire Democrats recently rejected again for a second time a large federal grant aimed at opening up more charter schools here in New Hampshire. In general, Democrats here say let's spend the money on improving the regular traditional public schools. I just wonder how you feel about that, especially given your experience.

Senator Michael Bennet:
First of all, I'd say I would have voted to reject it, too. Let me tell you why. And first of all, we need to invest more in our public schools. New Hampshire is not investing in its public schools the way it should. Colorado is not investing in our public schools the way we should. And we're not paying our teachers like the professionals that they are. And it's a disgrace that money was a political ploy by Betsy DeVos, who, you know, I think has been the worst education secretary we ever had.

Senator Michael Bennet:
She doesn't believe in accountability for charter schools. And without any accountability, charter schools are a disaster. In the Denver public schools, the charter schools were accountable to exactly the same school performance framework. Every other school was accountable to.

Laura Knoy:
Because they were public charter schools?

Senator Michael Bennet:
Because they were public charter schools. But because the chartering authority was the school district, you couldn't just you know, some university couldn't just decide. We're going to put a charter school there. Some for-profit, couldn't decide, we're going to put a charter school there. My school board governed this question and they were the ones who decided which school was replicated, which schools not, and not only were they under the same accountability system.

Senator Michael Bennet:
And DeVos, by the way, doesn't believe in any accountability for schools at all. They had to take the same number of special needs kids and English language learners and kids living in poverty. So how you do this really matters. I think we need to move beyond these political slogans because frankly, all I care about is that poor kids in America have access to quality education. And I can tell you today they do not. In broad swaths of American cities and rural areas, there are geographic areas that cover age, coverage, geography. The kids could travel all day and not find a school that would give them a chance at becoming a part of our democracy and part of our economy. So I know why they rejected the money and I think they did. For the right reasons, I agree they should have rejected it.

Laura Knoy:
When asked about immigration, Senator Bennet. You've been working on this issue for a long time. Just to let listeners know, back in 2013, you were one of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators known as the Gang of Eight who came forward with an immigration reform proposal, passed the Senate, died in the then-Republican controlled House. What did you learn from this, Senator Bennet?

Senator Michael Bennet:
This is a perfect example of why we have to fix the politics in Washington. What I learned from this is an undemocratic group of tyrants called the Freedom Caucus made it impossible for our democracy to work its will.

Laura Knoy:
This was a group of conservatives in the U.S. House at that time.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Yeah, well, they call themselves conservatives. I think they're radicals. And they they don't believe that. They believe that it's their way or the highway on every issue, including immigration. And so if that bill had been allowed to go to the House floor and get a vote from the House of Representatives, it would have passed. And if it had passed, we would have had a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people. We would have passed the most progressive Dream Act that had ever been passed.

Senator Michael Bennet:
And we would have passed a bill that had 46 billion dollars of border security and not $6 billion for Donald Trump's mediæval wall, but actual 21st century border security. That would have allowed us to see every inch of the border and do the internal security that's required as well. Instead, the Freedom Caucus prevented it from going forward. And this is just one example of the way they have immobilized our exercise in self-government.

Senator Michael Bennet:
And they are, they were a reaction to Barack Obama's election. And for the last six years, Barack Obama was president, we couldn't get anything through the Congress because of them. We can't even pass a basic infrastructure bill in Washington while China is building 35 hundred miles of fiber optic cable to connect Latin America with Africa, to export the surveillance state that China is building. And we as as Americans, we have to overcome these people if we're going to turn a democracy over to the next generation that we can be proud of. And that is to go back to the very first question you asked.

Senator Michael Bennet:
I think that is what distinguishes me from the other people in this race. When Joe Biden says if we get rid of Trump, it's just gonna go back to normal. If normal is a living under the thumb of this radical wing of tyrants called the Freedom Caucus. That's not a normal I want to accept.

Laura Knoy:
Yeah. I mean, in fairness, I think Senator Biden has a little bit of a broader message than that. I mean, you sort of characterize his message as if we get rid of Donald Trump, everything will go back to normal. on this subject. I think he's talking a little more broadly than that.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Well, on this subject, I think that's what he said. I want to be fair to him. I mean, what what do you...

Laura Knoy:
So, anyway, let's talk more about your policies. I did want to ask you about one more question about the border in terms of illegal crossings. You did seem last year, Senator Bennet, to part ways with your fellow candidates last year, at a Democratic presidential debate. They did one of those hand raising things. You know, do you support or do not support?

Laura Knoy:
You were the only candidate who didn't raise his or her hand with the question, do you think illegal border crossings should be treated civilly? So indicating that you feel like illegal border crossing should be treated criminally. Can you help me out with that? Help me figure out, how do you feel about that?

Senator Michael Bennet:
After that debate, the President Obama's secretary of homeland security wrote an op ed piece saying the worst thing you could do for people in Central America would be to decriminalize crossings at the border because it would make the border, the southern border of the United States a magnet to people who need to have opportunity but have no means of getting it.

Senator Michael Bennet:
And I don't think that, you know, that the decriminalizing the border, how everyone wants to call it, is the answer to solving the issues that people are facing in Central America. I think what we have to do is deal with the refugee crisis that is at our border in a humane way. My mom was a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust and was separated from her parents at the border. So this isn't political for me.

Laura Knoy:
How would you resolve or at least helped to resolve, clearly, the U.S. can't do everything, the refugee crisis that you mentioned at the border, I'm sure, you know, we hear many people are fleeing violence in their villages, drug gang violence. They feel like this is their only solution. So how would your plan have approached that?

Senator Michael Bennet:
In 2014, I went down to the to the border or not to the border, to El Salvador and to Honduras. So as a parent, I could understand why parents would be putting their kids in the hands of drug smugglers, paying them a year's salary to bring them to the border of the United States, knowing they might very well be raped on the way, were murdered on the way.

Senator Michael Bennet:
And the answer is complete desperation. These are not people looking for jobs. These are people who are fleeing for their lives. I think we need a president who can lead the entire hemisphere to resettle the refugees that are border. We should take refugees in the United States. And there are plenty of places that the people would like to go. You know, the people at the border don't necessarily want to come here. They might prefer being in a place where people speak Spanish and the cost of living is lower. But Donald Trump is such a failure as a president. He's treated us as a weak and pathetic country that can't resolve issues like this. If I were president, we'd resolve this issue. But not only that, we would work with the northern triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to help restore the rule of law and some economic growth so that people actually have some hope and can overcome the gangs that you mentioned that are tormenting them and making their lives a misery.

Laura Knoy:
Let's take some calls, again, I want listeners to join us with their questions. The next 10 minutes or so, we're sitting down with Colorado Democratic Senator Michael Bennet. He's running for president, doing a lot of work toward that end here in New Hampshire. You can join us with an e-mail exchange at @nhpr.org. Go ahead, Ernest. You're on the air. Welcome.

Caller:
Hi. Thank you for taking my call. I would like to ask your guest if he could speak a little bit about how he would manage the cost of his proposed cap, child tax credit cut for the middle class, as we've seen very often in the last few years. You know, tax cuts tend to raise deficits an awful lot. We have entitlement programs and an aging population. So how would how would we balance the cost of this next tax cut?

Laura Knoy:
Earnest I really appreciate the point. And I have been asking some candidates, Senator Bennet. We now hear that our federal deficit is approaching one trillion. I remember when debt was measured in trillions in deficit. I didn't even come close to that. So it is. It is something needs to be addressed.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Well, first of all, to Ernest's point, for background, over the 10 years that I've been in Washington, it's been very unclear to me that Democrats in general care about this issue in Republicans say they care about it, but they are lying because the hypocrisy is just staggering. I mean, we are going to have a trillion dollar deficit going to two trillion dollars at full employment because of the irresponsibility that's going on down there. Every single dollar of the six trillion dollars that I have proposed in this campaign, that's incremental, I have offset either with savings or with or with taxes, because I certainly don't want to make matters worse.

Senator Michael Bennet:
The 22 trillion dollars of debt that we have on the balance sheet is a theft from the next generation of Americans. There is nothing progressive about it. Sometimes I hear progressive say the debt doesn't matter. That is ridiculous. We are constraining the choices our kids will make and we are in. We're failing to invest in them. We've cut our investment in them by 35 percent while we're stacking this debt on top of them. That is a moral theft from them. And it's deeply unfair. So we have to solve it.

Senator Michael Bennet:
And in the proposals that I've made in this election, every single one of them is paid for, including two trillion of the six trillion that's paid for with what I call a smart wealth tax. Compare that to what Elizabeth Warren has proposed. She's proposed 41 trillion dollars of incremental spending and has shown how she must pay for almost none of that. Bernie Sanders has proposed 55 trillion dollars of incremental spending and has proposed how he's going to pay for none of it. And in fact, he wears it as a badge of courage that he's not going to pay for any of it. Fifty five trillion is is far more than we're going to spend over the next 10 years as a federal government. Forty one trillion is about the same amount. So, you know, I don't think we're going to beat Donald Trump with a bunch of empty promises. And I don't think we're going to beat Donald Trump not paying for the stuff we're proposing. The fact that he has been as fiscally irresponsible as he has been is something that we should be running on and pointing out because it is a disgrace.

Laura Knoy:
So, Senator Bennet, people like Ernest are concerned about the deficit. And we've heard this from other people and I hear you critiquing the big spending proposals of some of your rivals. And yet those two people, especially that you just mentioned, Sanders and Warren, they're like number one and number two and number three in most polls.

Laura Knoy:
So I just wonder, what that says to you about the Democratic party.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Let me say it again. Let me say it again.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Maybe it's possible to win a Democratic primary promising a whole bunch of people free stuff. I do not think it's possible to beat Donald Trump doing that. And I'm in this race to beat Donald Trump and change the way Washington works. Do you know since 2001, we have borrowed five trillion dollars from the Chinese to give the richest people in America tax cuts? We have borrowed 5.6 trillion dollars from the Chinese to fight two wars in the Middle East that lasted 20 years and did not result in outcomes that the American people should feel very satisfied with. So the impatience you hear in my voice is that the cost of losing to Donald Trump for the children that I used to work for in the Denver public schools and kids just like them all over America is existential. And that's why we have to win and that's why we have to run on a set of proposals like the child tax credit that is a massive tax cut for the middle class and lifts kids out of poverty. That would be wildly popular all over America and build political momentum for a progressive agenda that at least as my theory of the case.

Laura Knoy:
Senator Bennet, you mentioned foreign policy and Middle East wars. And I did want to briefly ask you about what we've been seeing in Iran. You're on the Senate Intelligence Committee. So clearly you are keyed into this. What would your strategy be in this region, especially given Iran's interest in becoming, you know, a major player? I mean, we've seen a lot of back and forth between Iran and the U.S. Now, you've said President Trump's strategy - not good. You'd like to see a larger strategy. That's fine, we understand, because you're running against, to defeat President Trump. But what would your approach be?

Senator Michael Bennet:
And let me just laid on Donald Trump. I mean, the. Our own War College did a 2000 page assessment of the Iraq war, which I just mentioned. And their conclusion was Iran won our Iraq war. And the reason why they concluded that is that since the time we invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein, Iran has been able to spread its malevolent behavior throughout the Middle East from Yemen into Iraq, into Syria, into into Lebanon. And and that is a huge danger for us and for Israel.

Senator Michael Bennet:
So I think the key for us, if I were President, would be to mobilize our allies around the world to make sure we were pushing back on what Iran is doing both conventionally and with its nuclear weapons. It cannot be a go it alone strategy that is an invitation for another 25 year war in the Middle East. The Obama administration's very good work, not perfect work, but very good work on the Iran deal was a really good example.

Laura Knoy:
So you would have stayed in that if you were president.

Senator Michael Bennet:
Yes, as an attempt to actually manage a problem in the Middle East rather than go to war with it for once. And so more of that and less of Trump playing into the hands of the hardliners in Iran, I think would be good for America.

Laura Knoy:
Another concern now is that Iran will conduct cyber attacks on America. They've done this before, including in your home state of Colorado, where Iranian cybercriminals attack the Department of Transportation, I believe, just real quickly, because you are on the Intelligence Committee. How well prepared are we for this possibility?

Senator Michael Bennet:
I can't speak to any actual intelligence, but I can answer your question. We're not prepared well enough, fortunately, because of the, of the men and women who were working diligently in our intelligence agencies. We are better protected today than we were when Russia attacked us in 2016. Even though Donald Trump won't even admit that the Russians attacked our democracy or continued to attack our democracy, we need to get much better prepared for the kind of cyber attacks that we're going to face, not just from Russia, but as you mentioned, from Iran, from China as well. And in North Korea.

Laura Knoy:
Senator Bennet, last question, a more personal question. You've been called one of the most literary contenders for president. Your mom is a librarian. Full disclosure, your dad, Doug Bennet, used to run NPR back in the day. Your brother is editorial page editor of The New York Times. So lots of emphasis on the written word in your family. And I've heard that you often start meetings by asking what people are reading. I'm going to turn the tables. What are you reading right now, Senator?

Laura Knoy:
If you have time to read, you're campaigning for President!

Senator Michael Bennet:
Actually, one thing I'm reading right now, which I've never read before, is Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the campaign trail.

Laura Knoy:
That's a classic.

Senator Michael Bennet:
You know, another classic is, you know, I've been reading some Seneca because it's the only way to sort of maintain your equilibrium when you've got Donald Trump as your president. Two books I would recommend. I wouldn't recommend those. I recommend these two books. Casey Gerald's There Will Be No Miracles Here, which is an incredible memoir by a thirty two year old American citizen that everybody should read and Evicted by Matthew Desmond, which is about the housing crisis that so many families in America are facing because of our counterproductive federal housing loans.

Laura Knoy:
Okay. And we have our candidate tracker on NHPR.org. But where are you heading next today, Senator?

Senator Michael Bennet:
I'm actually getting on an airplane. Having been in New Hampshire all weekend. I'm going back to Washington for the impeachment, which we didn't even talk of.

Laura Knoy:
Sure.

Senator Michael Bennet:
I'll see you at one of the town halls over the next 30 days or so. Thank you New Hampshire.

Laura Knoy:
It was nice to meet you. Thank you very much for being here.

Senator Michael Bennet:
It was very nice to meet you, Laura. Thanks for having me.

Laura Knoy:
That's Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a Democratic presidential candidate. This is The Exchange on New Hampshire Public Radio.