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"Squawk Box" Speaks with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (Transcript Included)

Squawk Box
Squawk Box

WHEN: Wednesday, December 19 at 7:30AM ET
WHERE:Squawk Box

The following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on CNBC's "Squawk Box." All references must be sourced to CNBC.

In the interview Bloomberg discusses his trip to China, whether he plans to run for President, whether there is enough room for three business networks, his take on the Presidential race so far and Morgan Stanley, among other topics.

KERNEN: BACK FROM THE WORLD STAGE, MAYOR BLOOMBERG JOINS US THIS MORNING ON "SQUAWK BOX." GOOD MORNING, MAYOR. THANK YOU FOR APPEARING ON THE WORLD'S LEADER IN BUSINESS NEWS.

BLOOMBERG: THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. I HAVE A LITTLE CONFLICT THERE.

KERNEN: WE'LL TALK ABOUT THAT LATER. TELL US SOME OF THE THINGS YOU TOLD THE CHINESE AND DID YOU TELL THEM SOME OF THESE THINGS AS THE MAYOR OF OUR BIGGEST CITY OR AS SORT OF A STATESMAN FROM THE UNITED STATES?

BLOOMBERG: WELL, WE HAVE 450,000 CHINESE LIVING IN THIS CITY, A LOT OF THEM COME FROM THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, RESPECT.IT'S ALSO A VERY BIG MARKET FOR NEW YORK. WE COMPETE AND WE'RE PARTNERS WITH THEM AND SELL TO THEM AND BUY FROM THEM, ALL DIFFERENT LEVELS, WHETHER IT'S FINANCIAL PRODUCTS OR MANUFACTURED GOODS. SO THERE'S A BIG INTEREST IN BOTH WAYS. WHAT I TRIED TO SAY TO THEM IN A NICE WAY, LOOK, WE HAVE FOUND INTE -- PROTECTING INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IMPORTANT FOR DEVELOPMENT HERE. WE WANT TO PROTECT OUR INNOVATORS. I WOULD, IF I WERE THEM, TRY TO DO THE SAME THING. WE FOUND HUMAN RIGHTS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT IN DEVELOPING OUR SOCIETY, AND IF I WERE THEM, I WOULD TRY TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS. WE FOUND OPEN BORDERS AND FREE TRADE AND LETTING CURRENCIES FLOAT, ALL OF THOSE THINGS IMPORTANT TO US. IF I WERE THEM, I WOULD DO IT. YOU CAN'T GO TO SOMEBODY ELSE'S COUNTRY AND LECTURE ON WHAT WE THINK THEY SHOULD DO. BUT WE CAN TELL THEM WHAT HISTORY SHOWS IS GOOD FOR CAPITALISM AND FOR DEMOCRACY AND FOR COUNTRIES LIKE OURS, AND IF THEY WANT TO BE COMPETITIVE DOWNTHE ROAD, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO MANY OF THE SAME THINGS. SO YOU SAY ALL THESE THINGS,

KERNEN: YOU WAIT FOR IT TO GET TRANSLATED, TYPICALLY.WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE? WAS IT -- DO THEY NOD AND SAY, YEAH, YOU'RE RIGHT?DO THEY JUST SORT OF LOOK QUIZZICALLY AT YOU? DID YOU MAKE ANY HEADWAY?

BLOOMBERG: THEIR RESPONSE IS NOT RIGHT IN THE MEETING WHERE YOU SAY, HEY, YOU'RE RIGHT, THE PONS IS LATER ON WHEN YOU HEAR FROM THE OFFICIALS IN THE GOVERNMENT, WHAT THEY TOOK HOME, BACK TO THEIR COMMITTEES, ANALYZED IT, WHETHER THEY AGREE WITH IT AND WHETHER THEY'LL DO SOME THINGS AND I THINK THE RESPONSE FROM MY FRIENDS IN CHINA WAS NOTHING BUT POSITIVE. CHINA IS AN ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITYTO AMERICA. SOME SEE THEM AS COMPETITORS THREATENING TO OUR BUSINESSES AND WANT PROTECTIONISM BUT MOST AMERICAN COMPANIES WANT THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO SELL THERE.AMERICAN EXPORTS TO CHINA ARE GROWING AT FIVE TIMES THE RATE OF OUR EXPORTS TO THE EU.SO THIS IS AN ENORMOUS POTENTIALFOR AMERICA.

KERNEN: WHAT WAS YOUR PRIORITY? IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WAS MORE BUSINESS-RELATED THAN POLLUTION OR PERHAPS PIRACY, THINGS LIKE THAT.

BLOOMBERG: I DID GIVE A SPEESH ABOUT POLLUTION AND GREENHOUSE GASES IN CHINA, ALTHOUGH THAT'S WHAT THE MAIN FOCUS WAS WHEN I WENT TO BALI. IN CHINA WE TALKED ABOUT FREEDOM AND PROTECTIONISM, HOW THOSE THINGS -- ONE'S GREAT AND ONE ISNOT THE RIGHT WAY TO GO. SOCIETIES THAT HAVE TRIED IT, IT HASN'T WORKED. AMERICA HAS FOUND THAT WE CAN COMPETE AND THAT BY HAVING THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST COME HERE, THAT'S GOOD FOR OUR ECONOMY. THAT'S GOOD FOR CREATING JOBS HERE, GOOD FOR OUR FUTURE.IF I WERE THEM, THAT'S WHAT I WOULD DO. IT'S AN AMAZING COUNTRY.THEY HAVE 600 MILLION PEOPLE THAT LIVE ON A DOLLAR OR LESS A DAY.THEY ALSO HAVE 600 MILLION PEOPLE THAT ARE JOINING THE PART OF THE WORLD WHERE THEY HAVE THEIR OWN APARTMENTS, ELECTRICITY, BATHROOMS, AUTOMOBILE AND TRAVEL AND ACCESS TO NEWS AND THAT SORT OF THING. SO IT'S A SOCIETY IN CHANGE, BUT IT'S 1.4 BILLION PEOPLE, WHICH ITHINK IS A PHENOMENAL OPPORTUNITY FOR AMERICA TO GO AND TO DEAL WITH THEM. WHAT'S MORE, THEY ARE A WORLD POWER.WE AS A COUNTRY NEED TO DEAL WITH THEM.

KERNEN: NOT THAT YOU NEEDED TO RAISE ANY MONEY IF YOU DECIDED TO RUN,BUT LET'S SAY THAT YOU DID DECIDE SOMETHING DOWN THE ROAD.YOU KNOW YOU'RE TALKING TO THE HIGHEST DEMO AUDIENCE PROBABLY ON THE PLANET. THIS WOULD ABE GREAT TIME TO GIVE US A WINK OR A NOD. YOU SAW "THE POST" YESTERDAY, THEY DON'T WRITE THINGS THAT AREN'T TRUE, DO THEY?

BLOOMBERG: LET ME TAKE THAT UNDER ADVISEMENT AND GET BACK TO YOU.

KERNEN: IT SAYS RIGHT HERE, FRIENDS AND ADVISERS SAY MR. BLOOMBERG HASN'T RULED OUT A RUN AGAINST ANY OF THE LEADING CANDIDATES. ARE THESE REALLY FRIENDS AND ADVISERS? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

BLOOMBERG: I HAVE NO IDEA. YOU'LL HAVE TO ASK THE REPORTER THAT WROTE IT WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE ANY NAMES IN IT, IT'S BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE UNWILLING TO GO ON THE RECORD BECAUSE IT PROBABLY ISN'T TRUE. IN MY CASE, I'VE GOT 753 DAYS LEFT TO GO IN MY TERM, BUT WHO'S COUNTING. WITH A PHENOMENAL OPPORTUNITY. I HAVE THE GREATEST JOB IN THE WORLD. AND I PLAN TO STAY HERE AND FILL IT OUT THROUGH DECEMBER 31, '09 AND THEN PROBABLY GO INTO THE WORLD OF PHILANTHROPY.

KERNEN: THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE BEING PRESIDENT? I'M STILL TRYING TO PARS YOUR WORDS HERE.

BLOOMBERG: I DO WORK FOR A DOLLAR A YEAR FOR THE CITIES SO YOU COULD ARGUE THAT PHILANTHROPY.

KERNEN: SIINCE WE NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TIME I HAVE TO ASK YOU A COUPLE OTHER THINGS.DO YOU THINK THERE IS ROOM FOR THREE BUSINESS NETWORKS?

BLOOMBERG: WELL, I THINK THERE'S ROOM FOR BLOOMBERG. AFTER THAT I GUESS YOU'LL HAVE TO GO FIGHT IT OUT WITH WHOEVER THAT OTHER BUSINESS NETWORK IS. I FORGET THEIR NAME. I KNOW.

KERNEN: BUT IT WOULD JUST SEEM TO ME THAT YOU'VE NEVER ALIGNED WITH CNBC. YOU HAVE GREAT CONTENT. YOU SAW A LOT OF BOXES WITH YOUR TV NETWORK. I MEAN, WHY NOT ALIGN WITH -- WHY HASN'T THAT --

BLOOMBERG: I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY CNBC MIGHT WANT TO HAVE SOME OF THE QUALITY NEWS AND PEOPLE THAT BLOOMBERG HAS.AND YOU SHOULD GO TALK TO THEM. I DON'T RUN THE COMPANY ANYMORE. I RUN THE CITY.

KERNEN: WE DO HAVE A FEW HERE. ALL RIGHT. MR. MAYOR, AS FAR AS THE RACE IS GOING AT THIS POINT, JUST HANDICAP BOTH SIDES FOR US, IF YOU WOULD. I KNOW THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A ADDITION AN AXE TO GRIND ON EITHER. WHAT ARE YOU, UNAFFILIATED? YOU'RE NOT AN INDEPENDENT.

BLOOMBERG: I'M NOT A MEMBER OF ANY PARTY. LOOK, I THINK WHAT YOU'RE SEEING IS DEMOCRACY AT ITS BEST. THERE'S A HALF A DOZEN CANDIDATES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE AND THE PUBLIC REALLY HAS A CHOICE. WHAT THE PUBLIC DOESN'T HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO, AND WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO, IS TO HOLD THE CANDIDATES' FEET TO THE FIRE AND GET CONCRETE ANSWERS ABOUT WHAT THEY WOULD DO ABOUT PUBLIC EDUCATION, CRIME IN THE STREETS, DRUGS, WHAT THEY WOULD DO ABOUT REBUILDING OUR RELATIONSHIPS OVERSEAS AND TRADE AND ENERGY AND ALL OF THESE DIFFERENT THINGS. WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, WHO'S GOING TO PAY FOR HEALTH CARE. YOU WANT CONCRETE ANSWERS OF WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU GOT ELECTED.AND THEN IF WE COULD GET THOSE KIND OF ANSWERS, THEN THAT WOULDBE THE PERFECT DEMOCRACY.

REGAN: MAYOR BLOOMBERG, IT'S TRISH REGAN HERE. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GROWING INCREASINGLY FED UP WITH PARTIES. I MEAN, IT'S INTERESTING THAT YOU'RE NOT AFFILIATED WITH EITHER ONE.I MEAN, WHEN YOU LOOK AT FOLKS THAT ARE FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE, THEY'RE FRUSTRATED THAT MIKE HUCKABEE, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU KNOW, SOMEONE WHO'S GOT AN EVANGELICALBACKGROUND IS DOING SO WELL IN IOWA.WHAT IS THE FUTURE -- I MEAN, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THESE TWO PARTIES AND THEY SEEM TO MOVE SOFAR TO THE RIGHT OR SO FAR TO THE LEFT, HOW CAN, AS A POLITICAL SYSTEM, WE ADVANCE SO WE'RE REALLY GETTING AT THE HEART OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO PEOPLE? THINGS LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY THAT YOU MENTIONED.

BLOOMBERG: I THINK THE ISSUES ARE ARE IMPORTANT RATHER THAN PARTY LOYALTY. I'VE THOUGHT THAT FOR A LONG TIME AND BEEN PREACHING ABOUT IT.THE PART SONNISM IN WASHINGTON IS NOT GOOD. WE HAVE TO GET SOMEBODY IN THE WHITE HOUSE THAT CAN TAKE PEOPLEFROM BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE, GET THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST, PULL THEM TOGETHER AND GET THEM TO FOCUS ON THE ISSUES RATHER THAN JUST PROTECTING A FEW VOTES IN SOME PLACE THAT DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THEMSELVES OR THE ISSUES THAT THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO ADDRESS. AND MAYBE THE PUBLIC IS WAKING UP TO THAT AND SAYING, COME ON, WE HAVE TO GET ON WITH THIS. WE WANT TO LEAVE OUR KIDS A BETTER WORLD. WE FACE SERIOUS ISSUES LIKE GLOBAL WARMING, LIKE THE WAR OVERSEAS, LIKE TRADE ISSUES THATWE'RE -- NOT EVERYBODY HAS BEEN INCLUDED. WE HAVE A COUNTRY THAT'S THE MOST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD BUT WESTILL HAVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS HERE. PEOPLE WHO AREN'T GETTING THE KIND OF EDUCATION THEY NEED TO SHARE IN THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM. PEOPLE WHO HAVE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS --

KERNEN: I HAVE A DREAM. I HAVE A DREAM. MR. MAYOR, YOU'RE SOUNDING GOOD. I'M TELLING YOU, YOU'RE WASTING YOUR POTENTIAL.THAT WAS GREAT!

BLOOMBERG: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. BUT I HAVE -- LOOK, I HAVE A JOB WORKING FOR 8.2 MILLION PEOPLE.

SHACTMAN: HERE'S ANOTHER QUESTION. QUICKLY, YOU TALK ABOUT THIS DEMOCRACY WORKING AT ITS BEST BUT WE HAVE TO HOLD THEIR FEET TO THE FIRE AND GET REAL ANSWERS. GIVE YOUR TAKE ON THE DIALOGUE BECAUSE I SEE A LOT OF SAFE PLAYS AND A LOT OF PEOPLE NOT PROMISING ANYTHING.

BLOOMBERG: I THINK THE DIE SLOG A DISGRACE.IN ALL FAIRNESS, THE PRESS DESERVES A LOT OF THE BLAME, TOO.ASKING SOMEBODY YES OR NO, SHOW OF HANDS ON IMPORTANT ISSUES WHERE YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO TELL US HOW YOU'RE GOING TO BRING WORLD PEACE, I MEAN, IT'S NOT JUST POSSIBLE TO DO.MAYBE THE CANDIDATES SHOULD GET OUT OF DEBATES AND WALK OUT AND SAY, THIS IS NOT A FORMAT WHERE I CAN TELL THE PEOPLE ANYTHING INTELLIGENT.IT'S AN INSULT TO THE PUBLIC. WE SHOULD INSIST THEY ANSWER A STRING OF QUESTIONS THOUGHTFULLY, WITH TIME, WITH THEIR ADVISERS, AND THEN YOU CANMAKE A DECISION WHICH GUY OR WOMAN YOU WANT.I'D LIKE --

KERNEN: I WISH WE HAD A HALF HOUR WITH YOU BECAUSE, I MEAN, MORGAN STANLEY, DID YOU SEE THESE NUMBERS, MAYOR?NOW CLOSE TO $10 MILLION IN MORTGAGE-RELATED WRITEDOWNS.YOU PROBABLY HAVE SEEN BOTH SIDES ARGUING ABOUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE SUBPRIME SITUATION FROM HERE ON OUT, MUCH LESS WHATIT'S GOING TO DO TO THE NEW YORKCITY ECONOMY.

BLOOMBERG: WELL, NUMBER ONE, MORGAN STANLEY IS RUN BY ONE OF THE BEST EXECUTIVES ON WALL STREET.JOHN MACK IS A GREAT GUY, CORPORATE CITIZEN, A FRIEND OF MINE, AND I SHOULD DISCLOSE, I HAVE A SON-IN-LAW WORKING FOR MORGAN STANLEY.YOU KNOW, THIS IS A WONDERFUL COMPANY.AND THEY'VE GONE THROUGH SOME VERY TOUGH TIMES, AS HAVE ALL OF THE OTHER COMPANIES ON WALL STREET AND AROUND THE WORLD WALLSTREET. I THINK WHAT YOU'RE SEEING HERE IS THERE'S PRESSURE TO COMPETE.EVERYBODY'S ON THE BANDWAGON, THEY KNOW IT'S GOING TO END POORLY.BUT, LOOK, THE PUBLIC AND THE ANALYSTS AND THE PRESS RELENTLESSLY DEMAND RESULTS SO THEY GET CAUGHT UP IN WHETHER IT'S THE INTERNET BUBBLE OR THE SUBPRIME BUBBLE, WE SHOULD SIT BACK AND SAY, THE RETURNS ARE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, LET'S WALK AWAY.IT'S EASY FOR ME TO SAY AND I DON'T RUN ONE OF THESE COMPANIES. AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE FACT THAT ALL OF THEM HAVE PRETTY MUCH GOTTEN IN TROUBLE TELLS YOU THAT THERE'S A SYSTEMATIC PROBLEM HERE, AND INCIDENTALLY, A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED HERE WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE, SORT OF URGING EVERYBODY TO MAKESURE MORTGAGES ARE AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE. AND I HAPPEN TO AGREE THAT THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM IS OWNING YOUR OWN HOME.AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED. INCIDENTALLY, YOU KNOW, TALK ABOUT CHINA, 70% OF THE PEOPLE IN CHINA OWN THEIR OWN HOMES. IT'S A MUCH GREATER HOMEOWNER SHIP RATE THAN HERE.HERE WE HAVE A LOT OF RENTALS.

KERNEN: MR. MAYOR, WE ENJOYED IT. THANK YOU.

BLOOMBERG: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

KERNEN: HOPE YOU COME BACK SOON.

BLOOMBERG: INVITE ME AND I WILL.

KERNEN: MAYOR BLOOMBERG, HAVE A GREAT DAY.




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