NECN EXCLUSIVE: Alison King interviews President Barack Obama at the White House

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March 19, 2014, 10:15 pm
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(NECN: Alison King, Washington, D.C.) - President Barack Obama granted NECN an exclusive interview on topics ranging from the upcoming Boston Marathon bombing anniversary to the political future of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

President Obama says his administration has been in close contact with the city and some of the survivors who have visited the White House. He also stressed security for the April 21 Boston Marathon.

"What has been inspiring is just the strength and resilience of Boston in the aftermath. Now our main interaction right now is just making sure that we are preparing for the next marathon and I just want to assure everybody that at every level the federal agencies, law-enforcement are working closely with Boston authorities and we are going to be planning to make sure that this is the best marathon ever, but that it's also safe and we're going to want to make sure that people are also informed about the "See Something, Say Something" campaign that make sure that we've got eyes and ears out throughout the marathon," he says.

Many in Massachusetts are wondering about the political future of President Obama's friend, Governor Deval Patrick, who is in his eighth and final year as governor of the Bay State.

"Deval would make a great president or vice president, but I think based on me talking to him, it sounds like he'd like to take a little bit of a break. He's still a relatively young man, he's done a great job for the state of Massachusetts and when you look at everything he's been able to accomplish and the strength of economic growth and job creation, the reforms that have taken place around education and improvements in transportation, Deval has done a great job and I think signals that he could be very successful at the federal level as well," President Obama says.

A big political story in New England right now is Scott Brown forming an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Senate against Democrat Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire. President Obama is obviously on Shaheen's side, but isn't Brown the kind of moderate Republican Obama desperately needs in the Senate?

"I will wait until Mr. Brown actually makes a formal announcement before I talk about politics in New Hampshire, much in less Massachusetts, but Jeanne Shaheen has been a terrific senator, just like she was a great governor," the president says, adding, "I'd be happy if Scott Brown wants to move down to Texas. You know, we could always use some moderate Republicans in other parts of the country. New Hampshire's already got it covered with a great senator."

Elizabeth Warren has become a rallying figure for many liberals in the Democratic Party. Where does President Obama see the future of the Democratic Party - toward the liberal-leaning stance of Elizabeth Warren or the more moderate figures such as Hillary Clinton?

On the future of the Democratic Party. Should it go the way of the liberal leaning Elizabeth Warren for the more moderate Hillary Clinton?  

"You know, I'm a big believer that so many of these labels are in the past, and I want a Democratic Party that's fighting for working families. And Elizabeth Warren does that, Jeanne Shaheen does that, and making sure that the minimum wage is passed does that. We are arguing for $10.10 minimum wage nationally and we're already seeing individual states put this in place. It makes a huge difference for 28 million Americans if we get this past. They would get a raise. We know that it would put more money in their pockets.  Businesses would actually benefit because they would have less turnover, greater loyalty from their workers, fewer distractions because they've got a little more resources to pay the bills," Obama says. "What we haven't seen are wages and incomes move up the same way the stock market and corporate profits have, and I think whether you're talking about Elizabeth Warren, Jeanne Shaheen or Barack Obama, what we all believe in is making sure that equal pay for equal work is the law, that minimum wage increases are the law and that's part of what's going to be at stake in this upcoming midterm election."


Photo: Chuck Kennedy/White House

Tags: barack Obama, Scott Brown, Washington DC, Deval Patrick, Alison King, Boston Marathon, Jeanne Shaheen, Elizabeth Warren, Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, federal minimum wage
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