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Doctor Richard Carmona this as Juan Williams thank you for joining us for this Fox News Latino exclusive.
Happy to be with you one.
Doctor Carmona you are running for the US senate seat in the state of Arizona.
And you're running as a Democrat.
People remember you as the surgeon general under President Bush a Republican what caused you to switch parties.
Well I was an independent when I was surgeon general want.
And always -- my job is really being nonpartisan and dealing with health and safety security issues of the nation.
But as I move forward to be considering.
Running for the US senate and I looked at where the Republican Party was on certain issues in my state like on women's health on immigration.
Some of the educational issues I really couldn't line with them they -- and fact this is -- the Democratic Party was more closely aligned with where my values were on key issues and our state.
Well in fact while you -- surgeon general.
You said you had some major disagreements with the Bush Administration.
Can you tell us some of those disagreements and of course that was reason that you did not serve a second term as surgeon general.
Well I can't really say that was the reason the fact is is that most surgeon generals -- a contemporary serve one term it's a four -- statutory term my serve that term.
And there's no expectation you'll be given a second term.
However there were differences that were expressed.
Where they were kind of I guess you'd be able to described in this politicization of science.
Whereas I saw my job as being able to.
-- port on the best science for the for the American people.
The politicians of course had different views on that now this is not unique to me because when I did testify at the congress this request.
Surgeon general Koop and surgeon general satcher also spoke and the fact is it should be no surprise to anybody that all surgeon general -- in battle positions because his attempts by both sides of the aisle to politicize those positions.
We're now you -- -- although were specific in saying that when it came just a very controversial topic stem sell research and then also secondhand smoke.
That the administration really wanted to -- you.
There were a number of issues that came up to where there were attempts to prevent us from speaking or modifying what we said.
And as I said surgeon general Koop and surgeon general satcher.
Said the same things during their term on stem cells on the abortion issue on abstinence only on the second hand smoke issue.
There -- certainly attempts to have -- modify what we said.
And two may be prevent us in some cases from talking about those things because the science directly contradicted.
What certain political elements wanted to say.
And again I saw my job as being a doctor of the people not to doctor over a that particular political party either Democrat or Republican.
So what do you want to say with regard to stem cell research.
Well I said what I thought was good in fact I thought President Bush was pretty fair on the stem cells the fact who became a very very divisive issue.
The fact is the president attempted to compromise and fund.
A certain number of stem cell lines but said he would not fund any new stem cell lines.
So I think in the spirit of democracy he attempted to compromise and gave everybody a little something.
But of course there were people that wanna happy with that even not on both sides even though there was an attempt to compromise.
The fact is I saw stem cells is a great scientific potential.
To better society from diseased in La.
Help people who have been injured and we -- just in our infancy then there's a lot of potential in the use of the stem cells.
So my position as it was -- as a physician and as a surgeon general of the United States.
Was always two on -- steady and energy and -- -- stem cells to be used nationally for the benefit of the American people.
Doctor Carmona it.
Did President Obama asked you to run for the Arizona senate -- No he did not in fact.
There were many people that came forward and asked me to run and I -- initially rejected it because I thought right.
Was done with my four years in Washington I was gainfully employed and doing a lot of things that -- had.
What public good as well as in science and education and business community.
But there was when he my colleagues who actually started to ask -- police firemen soldiers and I've grown up with and work with there my military service as a police officer.
And I started to consider it seriously and then people did speak to me but I spoke to people on both sides of the -- my Republican friends as well as my democratic friends.
And all of them encouraged me to run.
But it's clear that the president wanted you to run and ask you to run I just wanted to pick up on this and say.
Now Arizona has not had a Democrat in the senate in decades why do you think that you would be able to break -- at this point.
Well what I'm seeing here -- status I didn't intend it my whole life and I am very you know proud of my independence.
-- surgeon general I continue to be an independent because I saw myself -- serving people not a particular party.
And as I see the challenges and Arizona the divisive -- the very extreme rhetoric.
Sometimes malicious and hateful the blame game that goes on -- finger pointing and nothing gets resolved on behalf of the people.
I think that's my opportunity the fact is is that I -- good Republicans and good Democrats who are just sick of this system.
Many moderate Republicans -- are coming to me saying why don't have a home anymore this is not the party I knew.
So I think this an opportunity for.
You know reasonable civil minded people who are willing to entertain.
Discourse on complex situations.
In the spirit of democracy to solve those problems I think there's room for people like me.
I see citizens on both sides of the aisle rejecting the hyper partisanship now that results -- no benefit to our citizens.
But let's talk hardball politics for a second you look at the fund raising.
For you vs your opponent the Republican Jeff flake and you see that.
Hard line Republicans.
Have in fact given him about three times more money than you have been able to collect in terms donations for this campaign.
And again he Jeff flake.
It's someone who used to be fairly moderate on immigration he now takes a hard line stand and it appeals to that strong Republican base.
How do you deal -- hardline politics when you come from a up posture like yours where you say you're independent you're trying to reach out to moderates to people who were looking for someone who is solution oriented.
Well well first of all let's put the dollars in perspective.
I've raced well over two million dollars now and I'm only been in a race a little over six months.
Congressman flake has been in business as a politician for twelve years in six terms and before that -- a lobbyist.
So sure he has a little bit more money in the bank and he's been doing this as a profession for a long time.
I've been out in the real world solving people's problems doing these jobs working as a soldier working as a police officer working the border working as a dock on the border.
And immersed in these problems over -- -- century in my community in my state so -- a big difference between the two of us.
Are you -- supporter or opponent.
Of the new law in Arizona prompted by our governor brewer.
In SB 1070 what I can tell you is this a police officer for -- quarter century here in Arizona it doesn't give me any new tools to help to solve.
The broken immigration system that we have.
In fact most of the offer shares will tell you it really provides a distraction and fax creates divisive -- our communities where people don't trust you now because of that.
So we have the problem the ability to probable cost to stop anybody we want now who we think could be suspect in in a crime -- just not sure who they are.
So 107 he really didn't help and the most important thing is it doesn't solve the problem.
It creates a barrier it creates distrust and we still need to face the problem that we have a broken immigration system.
We have to secure the border and we have to embrace comprehensive immigration reform and -- Ten -- and help us do that.
Here's the next question how do you feel about President Obama -- decision.
To say that he's going to enact a new standard for deportation one that does not include.
Deporting young people who qualify -- the DREAM Act as in high school college or in the military.
Well you know that's president Obama's decision -- -- -- still stand firm on what I said we need comprehensive immigration reform.
The fact is it -- well -- let's introduce user -- -- do you support what the president did or not.
What I support is comprehensive immigration reform I think what the president did.
It's a reasonable step but it's pretty late we should have been much more aggressive in doing this before so I think it's a step in the right direction but again I want to make it clear.
This is a band aid on a broken system that needs comprehensive reform.
And let me just quickly ask given all of -- -- -- our interview about independents.
Moving towards solutions away from polarization.
Do you think the fact that SB 1070.
Started Arizona has spread around the country has created such tensions with the Latino community.
Do you think that Arizona is now unfairly labeled as -- a state with a lot of racist attitudes.
-- one I I don't know that they'll label with racist attitude I think they are looked at by other states and as I travel often I travel the country.
In the various hats and I -- here.
I often find myself you know trying to explain some of what seems to be.
Very unique decisions that have been -- -- here by our legislature.
People don't understand and then this very partisan rhetoric that's hurtful land and lacks compassion.
Often -- you know all I am not saying that it is.
As you as you put it.
Racially intended or that it's discriminatory.
But I think it short -- it doesn't take into account the big picture that we have to solve this problem.
The people that are here that are undocumented are here because for decades they have been crossing the border and working in our industries.
Some of the very people that are wanting us to solve this problem.
As quickly as possible are in fact.
Many of the Republican business owner -- I know many of the ranchers who this is interfering with your ability to run their businesses so this cuts across all of the political lines.
And it really requires a solution that's gonna benefit our citizens and Arizona and hopefully we can demonstrate best practices for the next rest of the nation.
As we solve this problem and Arizona.
And potentially your candidacy as they Latino running for the senate could help with that cause -- -- change Arizona's image to have you there.
Do you see it that way.
Well I certainly hope that I can -- at an air of civility.
I hope that it might presence will.
Start to generate more confidence in government as you know.
The public's confidence in government is at an all time low -- some polls showing 90% of the people are very unhappy with their leadership.
I think it's time we started focusing on that.
And returning trust of the people for their governance and the government and and hopefully I can contribute to that.
Doctor Richard Carmona thank you so much for joining us and is Fox News Latino exclusive we appreciate it thanks one pleasure to be with you.
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