After his speech today on the state Capitol's steps, reporters asked Mike McWherter about his latest swipe at Bill Haslam, his proposal to give tax breaks to job-creating businesses and more. Here's the Q&A:
Q: We all know you gave a million dollars to your campaign. How much will you report on your next disclosure?
McWherter: That was not why I gave a million dollars to my campaign and truthfully I have not looked at the numbers. We will disclose, obviously, because we will comply with the law. But I don't want to quote you a number and it be wrong, so I really don't know the answer to that question.
Q: How can the state afford to give tax breaks to businesses?
McWherter: We are a consumption-based economy here in Tennessee. The more people we get back to work, the more revenue we'll have, and that revenue will pay for that tax break. I'm confident those numbers will work.
Q: When can we expect you to put ads on TV?
McWherter: Truly, I have not got a plan for putting ads on TV yet. I would imagine that I would probably go on the air the week after the primary once we know who the Republican nominee is. But I might go on before that.
Q: Why'd you criticize Haslam in your speech?
McWherter: I believe in truth in advertising. Even the other Republicans have been critical of Mayor Haslam's ads about creating jobs that really were not created. They were bought. And they weren't all in Tennessee. I think that's misleading. For somebody who has created jobs and I understand how to create jobs, I want to make sure that my message to Tennesseans is always truthful. That's part of being in this campaign is to hold everybody accountable and make sure they are telling the truth.
Q: Are you anticipating Haslam will be your opponent?
McWherter: I really don't know who's going to be the opponent on the Republican side. All three of the candidates remaining have got their pockets of respective support. I can't tell you who the Republican nominee is going to be. I'm just going to be running against all three of them for the time being.
Q: Do you have a preference?
McWherter: No, I really don't. I'm going to run my campaign, and my campaign's going to be a bout jobs and talking to Tennesseans, and we'll see who the Republicans decide they want to nominate to take me on.
Q: How much personal money will you put into your campaign?
McWherter: We'll have to wait and see. I will make that determination as we go forward. But I can assure you of this. I'm going to do whatever it takes in terms of shoe leather and tire tread and fund-raising to win this election because it's important who the next governor of Tennessee is. The next governor has to be somebody with the skills and the background who understands how to build this economy and how to create jobs and most importantly how to maintain jobs here in Tennessee, and I believe I am the best qualified by far to fulfill that role.