msnbc | October 06, 2012
>>> representative michele bachmann lost the gop primary but this week she picked up a major endorsement from -- speaking in a radio interview afterwards she laid out the focus of her campaign.
>> this is the number one issue this year is the economy, job creation , how we can add more jobs and higher-paying jobs. i worked extremely hard in congress. you're right. i'm a former federal tax lawyer and a business owner . i get how jobs are created but i also understand how they're destroyed.
>> joining me now is her competitor, jim graves, the democratic nominee for minnesota's sixth congressional district . jim , thank you for joining me.
>> thank you for having me on. appreciate it.
>> you had no political experience, jim , until you began your campaign. i'm sure your constituents want to hear what makes you qualified to serve in congress?
>> i'm a business guy. i've created a lot of jobs. i understand the economy, budgets, how to get things done. obviously michele bachmann doesn't. so i'm prepared to go to congress and get things done, bring people together, make this economy work again and she doesn't.
>> you just heard the congresswoman, though. how does your plan for the economy differentiate from hers?
>> first and foremost we're not going to lower the minimum wage . that doesn't help anybody. what we need is good wage jobs. she's pledged to go to norquist and coke brothers. i'm pledging myself to the people of the sixth district. i know how to get a budget done. we need to be bipartisan about that, come together and talk reality. real solutions for the real problems. create good livable-wage jobs. i've created thousands of jobs my whole life. she hasn't created one job in the district, one net job in the six years she's been in congress. not one.
>> jim , a recent article in your local star tribune quoted several supporters of representative bachmann who heard you speak. they liked you. they're wondering right here the quote is "why aren't you a republican? you're a wealthy businessman. you're a libertarian leaning free market advocate. why are you running as a democrat?
>> first of all, the republican party has been taken by the far right, people like michele bachmann have taken the party way off to the fringe. what we need to do is find people who are centrist, who understand business, bring people together, know how to build jobs and living wage jobs and the demand. democrats get it better than she does. she's way off. i'm running for the people in the middle. i'm running for the centrists, the people that are on the ground that need jobs that need to get this economy going in the sixth district back on track.
>> she did say she believes the economy is the number one issue heading into this election and you'll probably agree with her. it's american voters's biggest concern this year. we're watching social issues leading. so headlines recently. what role do you think they're ultimately going to play in this race?
>> the people of the sixth district where i represent the people, they're pretty libertarian. they understand the difference of separation of church and state . they understand what we really need to do is get this country back on track and that's the economy. if we really want to be pro-family you want to give people livable-wage jobs so they can support their families, pay for their houses, have access to good health care and education. that's what the people want. they don't want to hear about all the fringe issues. they want to talk about reality. that's what i'm doing right now. she doesn't quite frankly.
>> jim , you just released an internal poll. it found you were trailing the congresswoman by just two points. i should mention her campaign has not released any of their own polls for us to compare with. but do you have the name recognition and the time to make up that two-point difference by election day ?
>> definitely, alex. we have gone from the 20% recognition up to now just under 60%. and as we've done that, we've got a 15% advantage in independent vote. that's where this election is going to take place, on that independent vote. so as we move forward people become nan with our standard, what we are going to do in congress. then they're coming in our direction completely. so we definitely will get that job. of course jimgraves.com. people are going on our web page all the time, checking us out and finding out they like us a lot.
>> jim , it was reported you met with the district's independent party to dissuade them from running a candidate this year. what do you think your campaign would be had there been a third-party candidate?
>> all the third- party people , tom horner was a gubernatorial candidate probably the most notorious leader in that up party, he's backing me because he understands i understand how to get this thing going on. those people are coming in my direction as they learn who i am and what i stand for. it's going to make a big difference. this is the first time michele bachmann is one-on-one against one candidate and nobody else to spoil this thing. it will be michele bachmann against jim graves and we look really good against michele bachmann .
>> any chance you're going to have a debate in the next few weeks?
>> we hope so. we've got one scheduled for october 30th . if she had her way she'd have the debate after the election because she doesn't want the truth to be told. she doesn't want to stand up and debate with me. she knows i understand the economy. i've created jobs. i'm a real business guy. and i've got it. she's been gone 90% of the time. people see that she's making pledges to jim norquist and the coke brothers. i'm making pledges to get people back to work.
>> jim graves we appreciate your time.