The N.H. Primary News Roundup, With Guest Deval Patrick

Jan 9, 2020

Former Mass. Governor Deval Patrick files for the New Hampshire primary, just a day before the deadline.
Credit Dan Tuohy/NHPR

Each Friday until the N.H. primary on Feb. 11, The Exchange will focus on the latest news in the presidential race.  The special Weekly N.H. Primary Roundup will feature state and national reporters, audio from the campaign trail, and occasional appearances by candidates.

For the show's first segment on Friday, Jan. 10, NHPR will welcome Democratic presidential hopeful Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor who jumped into the race about two months ago. Patrick left his job at the private equity firm Bain Capital before launching his campaign.   

We'll also talk with CBS News reporter Nicole Sganga and SNHU Civic Scholar Dean Spiliotes about the week's Primary news, including how candidates have responded on the campaign trail to recent unrest in the Middle East.  

Air date: Friday, Jan. 10, 2020

WATCH THE SHOW:

GUESTS:

Deval Patrick - Twice elected as governor of Massachusetts, Patrick was the state's first African American governor and the second elected black governor in the nation's history since Reconstruction. While governor, he played a key role in preventing the state's same-sex marriage ruling from being overturned by a constitutional amendment; he proposed universal pre-kindergarten and free community college and pushed to bring casino gambling to Massachussetts. After leaving office, Patrick joined the private equity firm Bain Capital in 2015. He has also worked for Texaco and Coca-Cola.

Deval is one of two latecomers to the race, jumping in months after many of his opponents' campaigns were well underway and just about three months before the  N.H. primary. He has pitched himself as a candidate with bipartisan appeal, saying at a recent event in California: "I'm not running...to be president of the Democrats. I am running to be president of the United States. There's a difference."  

Nicole Sganga,  2020 campaign reporter for CBS News

Dean Spiliotes, Civic scholar in the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern New Hampshire University.

Related Materials:

Watch former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announce his decision to run in this video

Watch Dean Spiliotes's Nov. 26 "Pints and Politics" interview with Deval Patrick. 

The Boston Globe summarizes some of the highs and lows of Deval Patrick's two terms as Governor of Massachusetts. Among them: Patrick pushed to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts, signing the state's gaming bill into law in 2011; a Parole Board overhaul met with criticism after a career criminal killed a police officer months after being freed by the Board; Patrick signed both an education reform bill, greatly increasing the number of charter schools, and an ethics reform bill, establishing harsher penalties for campaign finance violations. 

This week's CBS News poll finds a three-way tie among Sen. Sanders, former V.P. Biden, and former mayor Pete Buttigieg. In New Hampshire, Sanders leads, with Biden close behind, followed by Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar. 

Read CBS coverage of how Democratic candidates responded to President Trump's recent decision to order the killing of a Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a top Iranian military leader and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic. 

Visit NHPR Primary 2020 for NHPR's recent coverage of the race, including the Where They Stand series, which examines the candidates' positions on various issues; the 2020 Candidate Tracker, and the 2020 Forums, a series of hour-long interviews with candidates. 

Transcript of Deval Patrick Conversation

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

Laura Knoy:
And Governor Patrick, welcome. Nice to meet you. So let's talk about that late entry. And I know you've gotten a lot of questions about this on the campaign trail. In December of 2018, you said you would not seek the Democratic nomination in 2020, concerned about what you called the cruelty of our elections process and how it could affect your loved ones at that time. You also revealed your wife had been diagnosed with early stage uterine cancer. You've said now she's cancer free. That is great news. Still, that political cruelty that you referred to, Governor Patrick. Has that changed in any way because you did say you were concerned about how that cruelty would affect your family?

Deval Patrick:
Well, I am, and I think any candidate would be. And thank you again, Laura, for having me. And good morning to all of your listeners. Yes, that is a concern we have. You know, it turns out a lot of democracy depends on unwritten rules, right? Rules around decorum and respect and restraint. We have a sensational climate for politics today. We treat it certainly covering the White House as a reality TV show. And I think it's a temptation for candidates to go in that direction, too. That's not who I am. I'm not sure that's what we need in order to get the kind of change that lasts and in order to heal the country. And as I've watched the field continue to campaign and develop and develop and many of it, many of the other candidates are friends of mine, I've talked to them. I've been concerned that we are, we have been offering, and this is a gross generalization, but, either nostalgia, meaning we'll just get rid, as they say, of President Trump and go back to doing what we used to do, which is not what we need right now. Or, our version of anger and division instead of theirs, which I also think is not, sort of misses the moment. And so I think there is still a path. I've always thought there was a path for for someone, not someone, but for me, where I can demonstrate that I have not just ideas, but results. That we've delivered on health care expansion, and to 99 percent of the residents of our Commonwealth, that we have a national model on addressing climate change and on and on.

Laura Knoy:
Well I definitely want to ask you about health care a little bit later. But what about that political cruelty then, Governor Patrick? I mean, you said you were worried about the impact on your family, but you're doing it anyway.

Deval Patrick:
I think, you know, we have to we're going to have to model the kind of politics we want. I always say to people who want to support me, talk to your friends and your neighbors and your co-workers, that cranky uncle who you hate talking politics with and talk to people who don't already agree with us, because we're gonna have to model a politics that says you don't you don't have to agree on everything before we work together on anything. That's the kind of politics that got us in the situation we are today. And we're just gonna have to withstand the incoming to be an example of successful, of a successful alternative.

Laura Knoy:
You mentioned that other candidates in this Democratic field are friends of yours. What is it about this field that you find lacking?

Deval Patrick:
Well, what I was saying earlier, you know, other candidates have great ideas. I have results. I have proof points that these big ideas are actually achievable and they are achievable by setting ambitious goals, but also bringing in others, people who may not share your view about how to accomplish that goal. People who may not share your view that that's the right goal, but that's how you get change that lasts.

Laura Knoy:
So you're saying the other people don't have the experience that you do in bringing people together? Governor Patrick, I guess I'm wondering, you know, I mean, it's hard to keep track of how many people are still running, but roughly 10. What do you offer that they don't?

Deval Patrick:
You know there's a, I have a range and depth of life and leadership experience in government, in the private sector, domestically and internationally, that is unlike anybody else in this race. And so much of that problem solving has been about building bridges to get change that lasts and you know, we have we have a broken political system and democracy, in fact, I'll be saying a lot more about that later on today at a at an open democracy forum, ways in which we've treated our democracy for a long time, as if it would tolerate limitless abuse without breaking gerrymandering and voter suppression, the amount of money and so forth in politics. We have a broken economy in many respects. Notwithstanding the cheery economic indicators.

Laura Knoy:
Jobless numbers came out today. Still looking pretty good.

Deval Patrick:

Yeah, unemployment is low as long as you count both or all three of the minimum wage jobs that people have to survive. Inflation is low as long as you count, as long as you don't count the cost of housing, education and health care. Right? The very things that enable people the stability to move onto a path of economic prosperity. And, so I think, you know, understanding that so many people feel unseen and unheard, and speaking to them and then delivering for them is, is different from a perspective of life experience and, and, professional experience for me, tthan for any other candidate in the race.

Laura Knoy:
There's been a lot of examination of this field and putting people in various boxes.

Deval Patrick:
I know, I hate that.

Laura Knoy:
You do. OK, well. I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway.

Deval Patrick:
I know you know, it's tempting.

Laura Knoy:
So,you know, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren more in that liberal wing, progressive wing. Perhaps Cory Booker, then, seen sort of more on the moderate end, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden. I mean, if you were on that debate stage next week, Governor Patrick, and we'll talk in a moment about why you and others are not. Where would you sort of fit?

Deval Patrick:
Yeah. You know, I don't fit in a box. Most people don't, to tell you the truth. I understand the expedience of trying to get people into their box. But more and more today, when folks talk about the field, I think a moderate seems to be a progressive who actually gets results. I mean, if people keep trying to describe me as a moderate, I'm, you know, 99 percent of the people in Massachusetts have health care. We're talking about trying to get health care to people. We've actually produced that outcome. And somehow having an idea without a result makes you a progressive. Having an idea where you have delivered on the result makes you, makes you a moderate. So I'm not sure that the numbers quite work. I mean, I think that we have, we have, this is the time for big, bold ideas. This is the time to challenge the gap between our reality and our national ideals of equality, opportunity and fair play. That's been my life's work, whether in the private or the public servant sector.

Laura Knoy:
Let's talk about health care, Governor Patrick, since you've mentioned that a couple times. You have said you aren't a fan of Medicare for All. And as you noted, you were governor of a state known for Romneycare, considered the model for Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. So first, let's just get you on the record. Is it correct to say you oppose a single payer system and would rather stick with the Affordable Care Act? Is that correct?

Deval Patrick:
That's a false choice. I think the next thing we should do is a public option. If that public option is Medicare, that's totally fine with me. But the reason I go there, is because I think there is a value in having the creative tension between private insurance, which you better believe is going to be trying to figure out how to develop some product to compete for all the people who would move to that low cost or no cost public option. And that's good because it it it puts pressure on system costs to come down. And I think having the pressure on Medicare to innovate is a good thing, too, because frankly, if you are eligible for Medicare and you can, most people will buy a supplemental policy on top of that, because in the private market, right, because Medicare doesn't get the job done. So I think that's the way to get the best of both, pressure in the private insurance industry to reduce system costs and therefore price to consumers and some pressure on the public side to step up its game.

Laura Knoy:
So is that sort of Medicare for All who want it like Pete Buttigieg says?

Deval Patrick:
Well, I don't have a slogan. You know, I'm open to any, any design of that public option that could, that could work. And we may well get to fully publicly funded insurance one day. Most most of the countries that do so also retain some version of private insurance. But that tends to be only for the rich.

Laura Knoy:
You served on the boards, Governor Patrick, of a telemedicine company and a pharmaceutical firm, American Well Corporation and Global Blood Therapeutics, respectively. How does that involvement with the private sector in health care shape your views on the nation's health care challenges?

Deval Patrick:
Yeah, actually, I got a couple of insights, these were since I've left since office, but American Well is a telehealth company that is developing a strategy for delivering low cost health care, frankly, to anyone. But I think about that as a solution to some of the needs in rural communities, in small towns and so on. Again, policy doesn't live for most people in silos. It works when it's interconnected with other policies. So, for example, we can have low cost health care delivered by telehealth, but not if you don't have access to broadband right now.

Laura Knoy:
That's an issue for New Hampshire.

Deval Patrick:
It's an issue all over America. And it's not about you know, it's not about being able to watch great TV anymore. It's about being able to access the global economy, to access healthcare needs, educational needs as well. So I think we have to be active on multiple fronts. In the case of GBT.

Laura Knoy:
Global Blood Therapeutics.

Deval Patrick:
Yes, indeed. I'm sorry. Global Blood Therapeutics is a company that has developed a therapy for sickle cell, which is one of the diseases that has been ignored, frankly, by public health investments over a long period of time. And on the way to developing that therapy, apparently has developed, if not a cure, at least a way to assure that it is a chronic disease and not a killer.

Laura Knoy:
Sickle cell, by the way, correct me if I'm wrong, Governor Patrick, more affects African-Americans, right? So is that why it's been ignored?

Deval Patrick:
Exactly. That's the only good explanation.

Laura Knoy:
So you said policy shouldn't exist in silos, talking about, you know, having some private involvement, some public involvement. But as you know, Governor Patrick, a sizable chunk of the Democratic electorate is very critical of the impact the for profit sector has had thus far in American health care. They point to unaffordable medicine, you know, pushing opioids on the public. What's your message going to be to those voters who say the profit motive has not been good for American health care and it should just butt out?

Deval Patrick:
Well, they're right about a lot of that. There's no doubt about it, you know, the pressure to, or if it's pressure, is that the right word, the instinct for charging so much for certain drugs and that, you know, there's no explanation for the creep who bought the insulin company and jacked up, once it was generic and jacked up the price to a point that was completely unreasonable for anybody. But for a giant drug discovery, what we've done over time is, is drain public resources from investing in basic science. And that research paid for by all of us, is until the point of commercialization was one of the ways that drug prices were moderated in the past. So that when it was time to commercialize, the investment by that private entity was a fraction of what it has to be today. The other thing we do is that we have concentrated all that investment in the United States, and the recovery of that investment in the United States, instead of spread it over the global market, which is where it belongs. So I think part of the answer is the ability to, of government to source from multiple markets where prices vary. That has been prohibited for a long time in the United States, as you know. And the other is to put the government back in the business of funding basic research so that we go further on the path of commercialization with all of us sharing that burden instead of just private investors.

Laura Knoy:
Your chance to get some questions in for Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick, a former two term governor of Massachusetts. One or two more questions, Governor Patrick, please, about your work in the private sector, your work at Bain Capital. The company took some heat from President Obama, a good friend of yours when he was running.

Deval Patrick:
I was co-chair of that campaign.

Laura Knoy:
So he said pretty successfully that, look, this company buys and sells businesses for profit at the expense of workers. It doesn't care about people. It doesn't care about its employees. Now, this is before your time at Bain, but you have defended your work there, basically saying your role was a force for good. So, how so?

Deval Patrick:
Well, so I went to Bain Capital to start a new business, to invest in businesses for social and environmental good. And the reason I did that is because I wanted to prove that this notion of having to trade financial return for social responsibility was a false choice. So we invested in companies like one that diverted green waste from landfills, which would otherwise break down and create methane, a greenhouse gas, and instead recycle it and sold it back as a composted soil and groundcover. We invested in a company that was delivering high quality dental services to poor kids, which is a big, big gap in our health care system and a very inconsistently addressed one and doing it in very dignified, very cost effective way that could scale actually kind of fun way. A company called Rodeo Dental. We invested in a company that was building... And by the way, these are not startups. These are smaller companies that are trying to scale. And we invested in a wonderful company that was creating tech hubs up to 150 in cities and towns, small cities and towns whose downtown had been hollowed out and using those tech hubs as a lower cost alternative to offshoring, the outsourcing that big companies do of their tech needs and helping to catalyze the revitalization of downtowns, places like Mobile, Alabama, Fort Wayne, Indiana and so forth. So, terrific companies, very mission-oriented, who, just like any other company, need capital to scale and being able to demonstrate at scale that you don't have to trade return for impact. Measurable positive impact. Raises some unavoidable questions for business generally. And I'm really, really proud of that work.

Laura Knoy:
So one more question on this. Because of your background, not just at Bain, where you described what you did, but you also worked at Coca-Cola and Texaco, served on those corporate boards that I mentioned, in healthcare. Given that background, Governor Patrick, what's your view on calls from many Democratic candidates to raise corporate taxes, to increase regulation on corporations and so forth? There's a very strong anti-corporate message from some of these candidates.

Deval Patrick:
I'm not sure that's anti-corporate. First of all, taxes should go up.

Laura Knoy:
So you think corporations should pay more?

Deval Patrick:
Of course. Of course. The consensus in the business community was 25 percent as a competitive rate. It was the administration that decided to go to 21 and then they didn't finish the work, which is to eliminate all the loopholes that enable some of the most profitable countries in the world to pay zero in taxes. And the loopholes, remember, are argued as a way to give so-called relief to companies who are paying an uncompetitive rate. Well, if you move the rate to what is competitive, you don't need the loophole anymore. And the revenue picture changes dramatically.

Laura Knoy:
So agreeing with the other Democrats there, that corporations should be subject to more taxes, more regulation.

Deval Patrick:
Of course. I mean, I think, look, most of the corporations I've worked in and you mentioned Coca-Cola and Texaco, where I was employed to fix broken hiring and promotion systems and make them fair. Make them you institutionalize that phrase. I'm very proud of the work there as well, that most corporations just want to know what the rules are and they want the rules to be to be consistent. Not all, but most. And business has a lot to answer for, a lot to answer for. The capitalism we have practiced in the United States in the last 40 or so years is a very short term, very shareholder focused, if you will, extractive kind of capitalism. I'm painting with a broad brush, but there's a lot of evidence of this. And this notion that we should have a long-term view of value is not, to the point I was making earlier about my own business, not inconsistent in the least with return to shareholders, but it means paying attention in real time to the interests of stakeholders, of employees, of community members and the environment. That's how it ought to be. And frankly, it's the short termism of business that has leaked into the way we govern ourselves, right? We govern ourselves from election cycle to election cycle or news cycle to news cycle and not from generation to generation. And that has got to change. That's why I ran for governor in the first place. And that's that's how I tried to govern.

Laura Knoy:
I want to ask you about a major challenge that anyone who is elected president will face. And I think you know where I'm going, Governor Patrick, that's foreign policy. A time of global turmoil, extreme tensions in the Middle East after the killing of Iran's top general by American airstrikes, then the Iraqi parliament, as you know, Governor Patrick voted to say that. American troops should leave. If you were president, would you say, OK, Iraq, we're going home?

Deval Patrick:
I'd love to be able to say that, and certainly I'd want to say that if I felt that we were leaving stability and security behind. I don't have enough information to give you a definitive answer on that question. But from a distance, it does not seem like we're leaving stability and security behind. You know, we have a.. I think, first of all, America has the right and has to reserve the right to protect its interests anywhere, anytime. But I think that right has to be bound by certain norms, international norms, by law and by forethought. And I think one of the reasons I've been so concerned about the events of the last several days is that we have a leader today who has shown absolutely no interest in those boundaries, doesn't seem to be interested in thinking a step or two or three ahead about what the consequences of his actions will be on our own interests, on our own men and women in the military or our allies, for that matter. And so I think you can expect a different kind of leadership from me. You can expect that we will build and rebuild our relationships with allies, current ones and new ones. And that just as I used to say to business people, when I would take them on trade missions, that you have to make friends before you make money, you have to make friends before you are secure as well.

Laura Knoy:
Let's take a call. Governor Patrick, Bruce is calling from Bristol. Welcome, Bruce. You're on the air.

Deval Patrick:
Hi, Bruce.

Caller:
Good morning, good morning, Governor. Quick question. I'm aware of your initiatives to try to bring Palestinians and Israelis together through entrepreneurial activities. Could you talk a little bit about that and how you think that solving the Gaza situation might bring peace to the larger region?

Deval Patrick:
Thank you for that question. So Bruce is referring to something called Our Generation Speaks, Laura, which is an initiative started by a former Israeli, a young former Israeli military officer who was at school at Brandeis, whom I met near the end of my time as governor, and he'd grown up in a very conservative community. He had a cartoon view, if you will, of Palestinians.

Laura Knoy:
What does that mean?

Deval Patrick:
Well, it means he had a one-dimensional view. He didn't know Palestinians. He had the picture that was painted for him by popular culture, by the media or by the military. And he found in the course of his surveillance work, I remember him describing it. He said, you know, they're just like me. They were living lives just like me. They were trying to figure out what was for dinner, just like me. And he said increasingly he was concerned that his generation needed to build what he described as an infrastructure of hope. And so he came to me with the idea, he was then a student at Brandeis, he came to me with the idea of creating an initiative that brought young Israeli and young Palestinian entrepreneurs together in a competitive summer at Brandeis, where they would work on business ideas. They would cull them down and then have teams of both Israelis and Palestinians on those new businesses.

Laura Knoy:
It kind of speaks to the experience that you've talked to me about so far this hour, which is bringing some of that private sector sensibility or knowledge or experience to these public sector problems.

Deval Patrick:
Well, look, it's about building bridges. It's about giving people opportunities to know each other. And then they go back and launch these companies in the region. And I will tell you that when we, I was the founding chair of the advisory board, we took the board across, two or three years ago. I think we were in our third cohort at that point. And in the debrief, when, after we had everybody after we had everybody together in Bethlehem, we were asking ourselves whether the measure of success with the success of the ventures or the success of the relationships. And I think a lot of us came away thinking it's the power of these relationships that in the end will produce a reason to hope.

Laura Knoy:
Thank you very much for that call. And I did want to ask you something, Governor Patrick. We referenced earlier your position in this race, the other candidates, the debate stage. And as you know, diversity has been a major theme in this Democratic primary. And for a time, the party congratulated itself and said, hey, America, look at this great diverse slate of candidates. Now, again, as you know, two candidates of color have dropped out: Kamala Harris and Julian Castro. Senator Cory Booker did not qualify for the last debate. And it looks like now at this point, he and Andrew Yang will not qualify for next week's debate. How do you view this pretty dramatic decline in diversity in terms of who is on that stage?

Deval Patrick:
Well, I think that I want to separate the debate from the field, because they're both concerning. The debates are, you know, that's a ... I don't know if you've watched them.

Laura Knoy:
I want to watch every single one.

Deval Patrick:
I want to qualify. But I'm not sure I want to go, because as a ...

Laura Knoy:
Now, hang on. You want to qualify, but I'm not sure you want to go?

Deval Patrick:
Yeah. I mean, have you seen them? Just as a means to communicate constructively with voters about what your positions are? It's been subpar. Let me put it that way. But I want to qualify because it's one of those winnowing things that we that we do. It does not reflect the diversity of the field. And that's kind of the point, I think, the point of your of your question. The field is more diverse than those on the debate stage. I'm not sure, by the way, that the polls reflect where people are in the race. It's a very wide open race and lots and lots of of undecideds. They outnumber almost every other candidate. But I think, you know, it is worth examining the format as well as the qualifications for being in the debate, if, in fact, all this talent, much of it diverse, isn't seen on a nationally televised platform. That is not who we say we are as a party and that is certainly not what the country is becoming.

Laura Knoy:
Well, how much of a role do you think, Governor Patrick, money has played in this? Some are saying, hey, why is Tom Steyer up there, who's never held office? But he's a billionaire. Then you've got Kamala Harris, served as A.G. for the country's largest state. You know, a woman in the U.S. Senate, a woman of color in the U.S. Senate. That's noteworthy. She's not there. So what's the role of money in this? What do you think?

Deval Patrick:
Well, I think that the money is a is a distorting feature of our politics generally. And I think, you know, one of the things I have come to learn is how money early invested, and I think the term is, is people purchasing small dollar donors. You actually there's an amount of money you spend in order to get the small dollar donors. It's a diminishing return. But if you spend a lot of it early. So my point is it has distorted the way some of the campaigns have have run themselves, what they've raised and how they spent what they raise in order to to be on the debate stage. And, you know, there's something. I'm sure it was well-intended. I'm sure all of these criteria were were intended to make a very big field narrower as we got close to voting. But I'm not sure it's actually, if it served its intended purpose or may have cost us more than it was worth in the end.

Laura Knoy:
Real quickly, Governor Patrick and I apologize we have to let you go. But I did want your thoughts on the New Hampshire primary, how you've been experiencing it. You know, Michael Bloomberg is saying, forget you, New Hampshire, but you're embracing it.

Deval Patrick:
I am. I mean, I love New Hampshire and I love the primary here. It's very intimate. And I've been to I don't know how many house parties or smaller forums, just meetings with groups of interested voters and voters expect that of you. And they engage. They are informed. They have met other candidates. They want to know not just where your positions are, but who you are. And I've enjoyed it enormously.

Laura Knoy:
Where are you heading to next today?

Deval Patrick:
I'm headed to Dover for a forum on open democracy. I'll be down in the Portsmouth area today and then back again on Monday.

Laura Knoy:
OK. It was really nice to meet you. Thank you for coming on. That's Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts.