LOS ANGELES, CA (FOX 11) - With weeks to go before Election Day, the frontrunner to become California governor is comparing and contrasting himself with the current occupant of the office.
For the past eight years, Gavin Newsom has served as Lieutenant Governor to Governor Jerry Brown.
Newsom talked about his past, present, and future on “The Issue Is:” with host Elex Michaelson.
Michaelson suggested that Brown has often avoided TV interviews or many press events during his most recent term.
Newsom said he’d likely take a different approach.
“I’m not constitutionally capable of that. You’ll see a lot more of me. Which is probably not good politics,” he said.
Newsom continued. “He’s a master at his craft. I don’t dismiss or diminish his style but it’s a very different style. I don’t diminish his style but it’s a very different style than mine. I tend to try and set the agenda, I try to bring people along.”
Newsom vowed for more “intentionality” in dealing with big problems in the state.
“Right now there’s no housing plan in the state of California. There’s no goals, there’s no objectives., there’s no timelines,” he said.
Throughout the half hour interview, Newsom avoided direct attacks on his Republican opponent in the race, businessman John Cox.
“I’m not trying to personalize this. I respect John Cox,” the Democrat said about the Republican.
“I’m not attacking my opponent,” he told host Elex Michaelson during a taping of the FOX 11 prime-time political show “The Issue Is:”
A recent USC/L.A. Times poll showed Newsom leading Cox 54-31 percent. Newsom has consistently led in fundraising.
That cash advantage has helped him flood the airwaves with mostly positive, issue based ads. He’s also fought back against President Trump in his ads, but hasn’t even mentioned John Cox’s name.
When Michaelson told Newsom that Cox had called him “superficial,” Newsom responded by calling Cox “decent.”
In contrast, Newsom called President Trump “an embarrassment.”
Michaelson asked if the President may respond better to flattery than confrontation?
“He’s been assaulting our values on a consistent basis and sit there and say, ‘you’re a beautiful man,’ that’s nonsense. He’s a bully. As California, we don’t need to be intimidated,” said Newsom.
Newsom said it is “absurd” that the President suggested on Twitter that the Southern border be shut down.
Michaelson also pressed Newsom on several hot topics in California.
Newsom expressed support for the gas tax that most voters, according to recent polls, want to repeal. According to the Lieutenant Governor, that tax brings in $5 billion a year for infrastructure projects.
“Billions of dollars would be stripped away in the middle of projects that are happening as we speak. Thousands of jobs eliminated. Nothing offered as an alternative,” Newsom said.
Michaelson asked if there was somewhere else in the budget to find that money? “No. Period. Full stop.”
Newsom’s first TV ads in the General Election were all about educating kids 0-3. He’s proposing universal pre-K, which could cost the state tens of billions.
Newsom said it’s a worthy investment. “It’s not an achievement gap, it’s a readiness gap. People aren’t left behind. They start behind.”
In terms of housing, Newsom suggested that the only way to fix the affordability crisis is to “radically” change the tax code.
Does that mean repealing Proposition 13? “What I support is a conversation we need to have on radically changing our tax system to make it more competitive and address this fundamental fact that volatility is our enemy.”
What does tax reform look like? “It means putting everyone around the table. It means putting everything on the table,” he said.
Newsom also opened up about how he’s been shaped by his father’s idealism, mother’s hard work and pragmatism, his wife’s wisdom and kid’s love.
He smiled when Elex pressed him if he’s now a Dodgers fan, since his beloved San Francisco Giants have been eliminated for the season?
“I could be an equivocator! I could say what the audience wants me to say, but I’m holding the line.”
Michaelson responded with a smile, “I’m hearing ‘Go Giants!’”
Newsom was asked about the state of the race. Although he acknowledged the recent polls have been strong, he said “the last few weeks of voting, you sleep with one eye open.”
“The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson” airs every Friday at 10:30PM on FOX 11 Los Angeles.