BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, let's turn to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder,who has endorsed Mitt Romney and Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, who this week was named cochair of President Obama's reelection campaign. Welcome to both of you.
And Governor Snyder, let me begin with you. You heard Rick Santorum there. He says that your candidate, Mitt Romney, is the candidate of government.
SNYDER: I think Governor Romney has done a great job in terms of his track record. If you looked at his background, I think we could really use someone with private-sector experience. It's about creating jobs. His experience as chief executive of a great state, Massachusetts. And then most importantly, his policies. If you look at it, he has good policies for job and economic growth. That's the real issue here, is jobs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is he going to win in Michigan?
SNYDER: I believe he will. If you look at where he's coming from the polls, now that he's had a chance to campaign in Michigan, he's come up well in the polls.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't expect you to weigh in on the Republican primary fight, but I wanted to ask you about something else that was in the news this week, and it matters to every American -- gas prices, high gas prices. I want to show this chart that shows the rise in gas prices since President Obama took office. It goes from about $1.85 a gallon to $3.59 and climbing right now. During the last campaign, President Obama hammered the Republicans on this issue. Is turnabout fair play now?
PATRICK: I think as long as we have this dependence on foreign oil, we're going to see these spikes. And this is a practical issue, not just a political one, and the president's emphasis on trying to break our dependence on foreign oil is incredibly important. We have more domestic production today in America and oil production than in I think 15 or 20 years. The president's emphasis on energy efficiency and clean and alternative energy is enormously important. And in Massachusetts, I can tell you, it's creating tremendous jobs right now.
So, we need to stay on that plan--
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, wrong to blame him on this.
PATRICK: I think it's right to credit him with taking the steps that have to be taken in the long time to break us from our dependence on foreign oil.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with that?
SNYDER: Again, I don't see the point in blaming. That's not our philosophy in Michigan at all (inaudible). My view is, is we need to have a discussion on the issues. And the big issue that everyone wants, if you talk to our citizens, is not looking at the past or current things, but it's where are the jobs are for the future, for today and for tomorrow?
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about on energy?
SNYDER: Energy, I mean, that is an important issue, and that's going to hold us back. The bigger question is what's going on here in Washington? With the deficit, the budget, those kind of challenges. Is we need people working together here, and that's why I was excited to have the primary come to Michigan. Michigan is a role model of success. We were at the bottom for a whole decade. And we balanced our budget. We're paying down our liabilities. We've got a lot of good things going. We're creating jobs in Michigan. And the one thing holding us back is, dysfunctionalty in Washington. So I just encourage Washington to get its act together and move forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's interesting you say that, because there is a big debate going on about the bailout from Washington for the auto industry, which is a big part of the comeback. I know you don't want to dwell on it too much, but you actually supported it, thought it was the right thing. Both Republican candidates, top Republican candidates now, are opposed to it. And that caused President Obama to weigh in on the Republican primary with this ad this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): When a million jobs were on the line, every Republican candidate turned their back, even said let Detroit go bankrupt. Now, a retooled, restructured industry is back because of the grit and sacrifice of Michigan workers.
OBAMA: Don't bet against the American worker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: This is a case where the federal government helped Michigan, isn't it?
SNYDER: Well, what I said very clearly is, the bailout of the auto industry is working. And I'm not going to go armchair quarterback it. I think there are alternative scenarios that could have worked also, but the point is, is that is history, and the important part is it was successful, we're moving along, creating jobs.
So the question shouldn't be dwelling on the auto bailout. It really is the question of what are the candidates really talking about to help someone find a job today and tomorrow? Michigan has improved a lot. We had 14 percent unemployment at the worst point. We're at 9.3, but that's too much. But we also have found, we have 76,000 open jobs in Michigan. And we designed programs to get people connected with those job opportunities. That's something at the federal level and working with other states, we could do much more. And so those are the kind of programs I wish people would be talking about. We're going to do them in Michigan, but I would rather partner with other states and the federal government to do it nationally.
PATRICK: May I just add here, George, that this is a thoughtful governor, who is a problem solver, and I think that's how we, most governors see ourselves, as problem solvers.
And in my case, and I think certainly in the president's case, it's not about government solving every problem in everybody's life, at the federal or the state level. It's about government helping people help themselves. And so being as bright-line as some of the candidates are today about government never participating is foolish. And in fact--
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- with your state, obviously, because of the debate over the Massachusetts health care plan and whether or not that really is something that President Obama used as a model for Obamacare.
PATRICK: Well, it has been enormously important and successful in Massachusetts. Over 98 percent of our residents have health insurance today, 99.8 percent of children. 90 percent of our residents have access to primary care today. It's added 1 percent to state spending. It has not been the budget buster that folks claim it has been outside of Massachusetts. It's very, very popular. More businesses are offering insurance to their employees today than before the reform went into -- went into effect. And we've moved on now to the next big chapter, which is a national issue, and that's around how to contain costs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is Michigan going to follow that model?
SNYDER: Well, the model I want to do for Michigan is the Travelocity/Orbitz kind of model, in terms of working with the private sector on better shopping choices. Because the part I liked, they ask people about health insurance, when they talk -- they get too tied up in the federal issues as opposed to stepping back to say, what's important and how do you buy your travel? When was the last time you called five airlines or five hotels? You haven't. And it works really well. So why shouldn't we look at an alternative like that for health insurance, where we create a marketplace with private people coming in, creating more competition, creating better shopping opportunities for people because it's a very complicated field. So that would be the Michigan variation that we think is really appropriate.
PATRICK: I would just say, there's a lot about what the governor just described that we're doing, in fact, in Massachusetts. This is very much a market-based solution. It's a hybrid solution, and that's exactly what the Affordable Care Act is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sounds like Washington could use the two of you there together. Bottom line, before we go, Governor Snyder says that Mitt Romney is going to win Michigan in the primary. Who wins it in the general election?
PATRICK: Oh, the president wins it in the general election. People understand this president is on their side. He cares about working people. He cares about a stronger economy and a stronger country and that we ought to turn to rather than on each other.
SNYDER: I think Governor Romney is a great candidate, and I think he would be a great president. You really have a case where you've got a state that if you talk to our citizens, it's about jobs and the kids and their future. And I think as the campaign focuses on that, as we get into the general election, I think we're going to see a good race, but I think Governor Romney is a great candidate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll see, Governors, thank you both very much.
SNYDER: Thank you.
PATRICK: Thank you.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT