As the candidate himself shills for last-minute votes in next week’s Iowa caucuses, noted conservative businessman and two-time presidential candidate Steve Forbes is in the Granite State this week to stump for Texas Governor Rick Perry.
“I think that he is the best candidate for President,” said Forbes of Perry, “In Texas he promoted economic growth, and the chief issue in America today is how we get America moving forward.”
Forbes continued, “I think he’s got the most positive, pro-growth message out there, including a flat tax, regulatory reform, making the dollar stable again, and reining in spending. He’s put real proposals on the table, and he’s demonstrated in Texas the ability to get things done.”
Forbes detailed how he first got to know the Texan nearly a decade ago during his first term as governor and ushered in large-scale legal reforms that Forbes credits with dramatically lessening the trial lawyers’ influence in the state.
Speaking to NH Journal shortly after his arrival in the state on Wednesday, Forbes had stops scheduled later that day to address the Milford Rotary Club at its regularly weekly meeting and speak at a forum hosted by the Derry Republican Town Committee, and was scheduled to speak at a NH House Business Caucus Breakfast in Concord the following day. Then, “Come Sunday, on New Year’s Day, while most people are nursing hangovers I’ll be nursing my way through TSA on my way to Iowa,” Forbes said with a chuckle.
No stranger to the First-in-the-Nation campaign trail, Forbes nevertheless remarks on the numerous differences he’s observed while taking the temperature of voters on the ground: “The current climate is very different from what it was in ‘96 and 2000,” he says, “I haven’t seen this kind of malaise – not just in New Hampshire but nationwide – since the late 1970s.”
That being said, Forbes sees a clear path to recovery for the nation’s economy. “I think if we institute policy based on sound fiscal principles this economy will come roaring back. I feel the energy out there; there’s a lot of entrepreneurship waiting for the right environment to blossom.” He notes that in his capacity as publisher of Forbes Magazine, he frequently has the opportunity to sit down with entrepreneurs and innovators, and is optimistic about America’s continued capacity for economic leadership.
Forbes chiefly places the blame for the stagnant economy at the door of the White House, noting that Bush may bear some of the responsibility for the downturn but reserving his harshest critique for President Obama, who Forbes says has failed to listen to the recommendations of his own deficit commission.
“This is the worst recovery, the slowest recovery, the most unstable recovery, the most severe downturn that we’ve had in 75 years,” says Forbes, “The basic strengths of the economy are still there, but we’ve got to repeal Obamacare and start over, we’ve got to re-stabilize the dollar, we’ve got to simplify the tax code.”
As far as Forbes is concerned, it’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to the economy. Continuing his earlier likening of the current fiscal climate to the “malaise” of the Carter administration, Forbes predicts a similar recovery: “In the 70s Reagan did it, and I think Perry can do it this time.”
Perry, for his part, is trumpeting the support of an economic authority like Forbes. “Steve Forbes is a well-known fiscal conservative, and provided strong support and advice throughout the process of drafting my economic and jobs plans,” said Perry in a statement released by his campaign; “I am honored to have Steve’s endorsement of my candidacy for president.”