Deval Patrick, who announced Thursday he is running for president, said on “CBS This Morning” he changed his mind about entering the 2020 race because he sees an opportunity “for big ideas.” The former Massachusetts governor called the current field of Democrats “really talented,” but questioned if they could “pull the nation together.”
“We seem to be migrating to, on the one camp, sort of nostalgia — let’s just get rid, if you will, of the incumbent president and we can go back to doing what we used to do,” he said. “Or, you know, it’s our way, our big idea, or no way. And neither of those, it seems to me, seizes the moment to pull the nation together.”
Patrick, 63, said on “CBS This Morning” in June, that it would be hard to “break though” the field of Democrats “without being a celebrity or sensationalist.” However, on Thursday, he said “you can’t know if you can break through if you don’t get out there and try.” Making his announcement less than three months before the Iowa caucus, he said his life experiences help him relate to struggling Americans today.
“The anger and anxiety that I hear about and I read about and I see and I witness and listen to in all kind of corners of the country today is familiar to me for the same reasons, having grown up on the South Side of Chicago, the sense that the economy just kind of gets up and kicks you to the curb,” he said.
“I’ve been waiting for a moment like this my whole life,” he said. “I don’t mean a moment to run for president but a moment when the appetite for big ideas is big enough for the size of the challenges we face in America.”
When pressed about his stance on certain issues, Patrick said he doesn’t support Medicare For All “in the terms we’ve been talking about,” but supports a public health care option. He said he supports eliminating or vastly reducing student debt, and he thinks taxes should increase for “the most prosperous and the most fortunate” citizens.
“I think a wealth tax is — makes a lot of sense directionally. My idea would be a much, much simpler tax system for everyone where we eliminate all or most of the deductions and we smooth out and simplify the system we have,” he said.
Patrick said he spoke with former President Barack Obama prior to his announcement and both agree that “we need to reach for the best of America.”
“Not just the best of our party and not just the best of our supporters, but the best of America,” Patrick said. “And that’s going to come from a whole lot of people who have checked out and have felt, I think, rightly left out and left back. And what we want to do is bring them back in.”
Patrick has been a CBS News political contributor since September, but in light of his decision, he will no longer serve in that role.
Patrick served as Massachusetts governor from 2007 to 2015 and was the U.S. assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division under former President Bill Clinton. He also has held corporate roles, including his most recent position as a managing director at Bain Capital, a private equity firm.