U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet On Clinton, Iran, Healthcare And Energy (Transcript)

October 18, 2016
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet at the CPR studios Friday Oct. 14, 2016 (HV)(Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet at the CPR studios Friday Oct. 14, 2016.

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is running to keep his U.S. Senate seat. He was appointed in 2009 and then won a six-year term. He is challenged by Republican Darryl Glenn, Libertarian Lily Tang Williams and Green Party candidate Arn Menconi. Before Bennet joined the Senate he was superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

He spoke to Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner in an in-depth interview about the "dysfunction" in Congress and why he wants to run again, Hillary Clinton's trustworthiness, the Iran nuclear deal, healthcare, energy and trade.

On Washington D.C.: “The land of the flickering lights:”

"The statement is literally true. We have no appropriations process any more, we don’t go through the regular order any more, and so in order to have people have the time to come home and campaign, instead of for example having hearings to confirm a Supreme Court justice, we pass not a budget, not an appropriation, we pass one more continuing resolution to literally keep the lights on of the federal government until we get back in the lame duck session."

On why he's running for a second term:

"I might have the chance to help lead us out of this dysfunction because from my point of view it’s just not acceptable that it’s become the land of flickering lights, and if you’re lucky enough to have the chance to help make things better and restore these democratic institutions I think you’ve got an obligation to do it and I think you shouldn’t complain about it."

His examples of key accomplishments:

"Reform of the Food and Drug Administration to be able to get life-saving therapies faster to patients. That was work I did with Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina. The estimates were one or two drugs a year would be approved --  50 drugs have been approved in the last four years as a result of that; changes we’ve made to the Elementary and Secondary School Act, which used to be called No Child Left Behind; and the work I did on immigration as (one of) the Gang of Eight."

Hillary Clinton’s emails and Wall Street speeches:

"She’s apologized for having had the private server. A lot of the emails have come out because of the investigative proceedings they’ve had. We know now (from Wikileaks) what the sum and substance of the speeches are that she gave to the banks, and I don't think there are a lot of surprises there. But on the whole I think people ought to be more forthcoming rather than less when they’re running for one of these political offices ... including all of us."

On immigration reform: