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Campaign Conversations with Scott Thuman: Pool & Politics with Tom Steyer

steyer playing pool.jpg
Campaign Conversations with Scott Thuman: Pool & Politics with Tom Steyer (Photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

WASHINGTON (SBG) – In our efforts to let you hear from and get to know all of the candidates running for the White House, we’ve started a series called “Campaign Conversations.” In them, our Chief Political Correspondent Scott Thuman gets those who are hoping to earn your vote, to open up.

Here now, is the revealing conversation over a game of pool with democratic presidential hopeful, Tom Steyer.

In a pool room, near Columbus, Ohio it’s time to rack them, break and break down what makes Tom Steyer tick--the activist, billionaire and self-described outsider, running for president.

He’s not used to losing at much.

Steyer: (after a rare miss) “Oh, you rat! You dirty scoundrel.”

Thuman: “Good. I needed a pause. Let’s talk politics for a minute.”

Steyer: “Please.”

Having taken on the tobacco industry, oil companies and utilities, now his sights are set on politics.

Thuman: “Did you feel that there was going to be this pretty big challenge just introducing yourself to the American public?”

Steyer: “I mean, most people don’t know who I am.”

Thuman: “It’s not that you hadn’t been part of the political scene. A lot of people would say that you were kind of the forefather of this impeachment process.”

Steyer: “I definitely started need to impeach two years ago.”

Thuman: “I’ve got some lighting round questions for you.” “What do you think about the proposal to take back guns, assault weapons? Are you in favor?”

Steyer: “No. What I proposed was a voluntary buyback.”

Thuman: “Should there be Medicare for all?”

Steyer: “I’m a public option person. I’m not for Medicare for all.”

Thuman: “Decriminalizing illegal crossings at the border?”

Steyer: “I believe that we can control our borders without criminalizing the people that come over.”

As for term limits:

Steyer: “I talked about 12-year term limits for congress people and senators.” “If I do a town hall anywhere in America and I say 12-year term limits, applause.”

Thuman: “And if you say it in Washington?”

Steyer: “Hiss. Hiss, boo.” (laughter)

Scott: “You’re obviously very passionate about the climate. What’s one thing that the average person could do today all across the country, that would make you happy?”

Steyer: “Vote for me--and I’m not kidding and I’ll tell you why. I’m by far the most aggressive person about climate.”

Steyer claims he’s not competitive but shows creativity while taking a behind the back shot, joking “I think I need traction now.”

Thinking outside the box, can be key to success he explains, and goals are meant to be met. He’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and hiked roughly 10 of California’s 15 mountains with summits of at least 14-thousand feet.

It’s a drive that helped him create one of the world’s largest hedge funds and earn a fortune.

Thuman: “Some people would be surprised that an actual billionaire would be promoting a wealth tax.” “You should be paying more?”

Steyer: “Definitely.”

Thuman: “Are the rich too rich?”

Steyer: “Definitely. Look, I’m not opposed to people making money, but we should have a much more progressive tax structure.”

Thuman: “What about the complaints from some of your competition, who say you’re buying your way in. You’ve heard it from Bernie Sanders who said he’s sick of millionaires trying to buy political power.”

Steyer: “I think we have a huge problem which is this corporate takeover of our government, if people say to me, see a big problem, you go after it with all your time, with all your heart and soul and all your money, that’s not the worst thing that’s ever been said about somebody. I can live with that in fact I put everything I have into trying to solve the biggest problems in America.”

Thuman: “Including some of your own money?”

Steyer: “Yeah. Absolutely.”

As for his win here on the pool table:

Thuman: “You said you had not played in how long?”

Steyer: “Decades.”

Thuman: “Decades?” (looks at camera, smiling)

That he certainly didn’t buy. He just plain beat me.

Steyer: “You know, Scott is so competitive.”

He then gave high-fives around the room and a gentleman’s handshake, of someone who is used to winning and with hopes of doing so, this election cycle too.

Sinclair is reaching out to all of the candidates and you’ll see more of these conversations each week.

Editor's Note: You can find the link and behind-the-scenes moments from the interviews by following Scott on Twitter at @ScottThuman