“I think you have two people who are both very strong minded and both have a tendency to speak their mind, and I think you saw that today. … (As for their Twitter feud) that’s obviously the way of the world now,” Haslam said during a stop at the Eastman Road Food City. “That’s how people communicate. I prefer everybody sitting in a room and saying ‘Here’s the issue.’ My sense is the tendency of the president is to do social media and have that sit-down conversation later and talk. … My sense is they are both very much results-oriented people.”
Haslam, in his media availability with reporters, also answered the following questions:
Are you still good with your decision not to run for Bob Corker’s seat?
“I am. That’s not a decision I’ve looked back on at all. For me, it was the right one. I really want to take advantage of being governor for the next 15 months. No matter what you say, if you’re running for office, you’re distracted. My last year of being mayor (of Knoxville) I was running for governor. It was distracting to me being mayor.”
What do you think of Sen. Lamar Alexander’s legislation to extend cost sharing reduction payments in Obamacare?
“I think Lamar’s idea of ‘Let’s see if we can find support and actually make some headway in health care.’ … Obviously you’re going to have to do that bipartisan. … The Graham-Cassidy bill, I actually liked a lot, but couldn’t get enough votes to pass. This just feels like a first step so CSRs (cost sharing reductions) will get paid for in return. This would give us more flexibility in the way we do things.”
What are Tennessee’s chances to land the Amazon expansion?
“We would really love to land Amazon, but they have some parameters about it. They said it has to be in a metropolitan area of a million people, and they need some sort of public transit system. … In addition, the incentives it would take when 50,000 jobs are involved would be large.”
What do you think of the Virginia governor’s race?
“(Republican) Ed Gillespie has been a friend of mine for a long time, so I’m biased. I’m obviously supporting Ed. I did an event for him in Nashville. … I’d like to see him be the next governor.”
What will happen with next year’s budget, and what do you think of these 2018 GOP governor candidates calling for repeal of the 2017 gas tax hike?
“There’s probably nothing that will be that kind of contentious. … Last year we had the largest tax cut in history (with the Improve Act). We did a big investment in K-12 education and higher education. We have a lot less money to work with. … The budget will end up being the key issue in session. (The governor candidates) need to say what they would cut, what they’re not going to do in those 962 road projects. … People in your job should say, ‘Tell me what you’re going to do.’ ”