Republican Presidential candidate and former New York Governor George Pataki (R) spoke at George Mason University’s Arlington, Va. campus last Tuesday as a part of the school’s political leader circuit.
“The American people are completely disgusted with Washington,” Pataki said, shortly after arriving at the campus from a rain-covered Amtrak ride from New York.
Pataki, who sits at .3 percent of the vote according to a Real Clear Politics poll Tuesday, said he understands the phenomenon of why the three presidential candidates leading in many polls – Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina– but believes at the end of the day, people will want someone with political history.
Pataki, who was governor of New York during September 11, 2001, spoke about an array of issues posed by the well-attended town hall.
Partisanship “starts at the top” according to Pataki. He criticized President Barack Obama as not willing to sit down and negotiate government solutions, especially with Republican leaders.
On foreign policy, Pataki talked about Russia and the Syrian refugee crisis. He pinpointed Obama and Putin’s relationship saying, “He [Putin] acts. Obama talks.” He added, “We need to use restraint, but show strength.”
Pataki was quick to point out he is “not a Lindsay Graham guy,” a reference to the South Carolina senator’s obsession with fighting ISIS. Pataki — a strong domestic actor in America — said of his own credentials, he has foreign policy “exposure” and “a philosophy.”
One of the most popular talking points involved higher education, something close those in attendance. Pataki mentioned five points: The federal government shouldn’t profit off of student loans; the federal government has put enormous reporting regulations on university they insist upon, but no agency will ever look at; there is a strong need to focus on faculty and students instead of administration, calling this a “best practice”; the importance of continued distance learning programs; and a thought to ban universities from paying people from giving speeches. He said the value of education is important. “We have a skills gap because of a disconnection between the education system and employment opportunities.”
Critical of the tax code, Pataki called it “gobbledygook.”
On energy, Pataki said he believes in climate change, something that separates him from many Republican counterparts. He called for a reduction in greenhouse gases. He also supports fracking in creating jobs and stimulating local economies. “We should be exploiting American resources in an environmentally sound way.” He added the U.S. must create technologies today the rest of the world can adopt to reduce greenhouse gases.
For those thinking to write Pataki off as a candidate, he offered this bit of motivation he uses everyday. “It’s only the future of the world.” His thoughts of motivation are leading the country to a better path. “That better get your juices flowing. It does mine.”