May 14th, 2012

Outgoing World Bank president hedges on questions of future plans to advise Romney campaign

On the Sunday, May 13 edition of CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS, host Fareed Zakaria interviewed outgoing World Bank president Robert Zoellick about global poverty, his views on the global economic crisis, and his future plans.

While Zoellick declined to comment on speculation that he may be under consideration for a cabinet role in a potential Romney Administration, he seems to indicate an interest in continuing to help solve America’s economic and foreign policy challenges in a future political capacity.  He also identifies America’s budget challenges as its primary domestic and foreign policy challenge.  Here is the related exchange:

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, “FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”:  It’s no secret, Bob, that many people think if Mitt Romney were elected president, he would turn to you, perhaps, to be secretary of State, perhaps secretary of Treasury. You’re an unusual figure in that you could plausibly take both jobs or either job. You couldn’t take both. Will you get more active in advising Governor Romney once…once you leave this job?

ROBERT ZOELLICK, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK:  Well, I think it’s important not to be presumptuous. And so I appreciate you — the compliment that you posed, but in this job, I haven’t been able to be engaged in politics. So that question will have to wait until I leave on June 30th.  Historically, I’ve tried to be of help, but I’ve always tried to work across the aisle. When I was trade representative and as World Bank president, I’ve been pleased to try to work with Republicans and Democrats, because I’m of the school that you can make the American constitutional system work. And, frankly, I think some of the issues that we face on the economic side will be the core foreign policy issues. And just to give you one that’s sort of stuck in my mind, the Bob Carr, the new Australian foreign minister, came to the United States recently, a good friend of America, a very successful premier in New South Wales.  I asked him what was his main message and he said the United States is one budget deal away from restoring its global preeminence.  But on the other hand, be aware, there’s people out there saying if you don’t, turn to us, because the United States’ time has passed. So this is a, I think, a time in our history where the connection of the economic issues with our foreign policy standing is as strong as I’ve ever seen it.

The full transcript for this interview, and the entire program, may be found here.

CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS airs Sundays on CNN/U.S. at 10:00am and 1:00pm.  It airs on CNN/International at 8:00am and 3:00pm.  All times Eastern.