July 24th, 2012

Bill Gates on the U.S. economy: “There’s signs of growth. There are good things going on.”

CNN lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer sat down with Microsoft founder Bill Gates to discuss the AIDS epidemic, his thoughts on Microsoft, the state of the U.S. economy and more. Parts of this interview aired today in the 6 p.m. ET hour of CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. Highlights of the interview are after the jump. Gates said, “Well, I think the — the product cycle that Microsoft is in is very exciting.  Windows 8 surfaced, the quality of Bing and, you know, I think that’s what it’s all about is — is making great technical products.  And, you know, and people — people will be thrilled when they see what the company has been up to,” when asked about the state of Microsoft by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Please credit all usage of the information to CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Highlights of the Full Interview
THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED

BLITZER:  How important is this that this Global AIDS Conference is here in the nation’s capital, back in the United States for the first time in a long time?

GATES:  Well, I think there are several great things about this.  The United States has come forward with the resources that are funding the research, funding the delivery of these drugs.  Almost half of that is the generosity of the United States.

The United States still has somewhat of an AIDS problem itself.  So it’s very fitting that — that experts are getting together here and figuring out where we go now.

BLITZER:  When you say some of the AIDS problem, there’s still a big AIDS problem in the United States, as far as I can tell, right here in the District of Columbia, there’s a big AIDS problem.

GATES:  That’s right.  The big numbers are in Africa, but it’s very disappointing that we have not been able to end the epidemic, even in our own country.

BLITZER:  One big reason that the Conference is finally taking place again in the United States is because President Obama lifted the ban on HIV people getting visas to come back into the United States.  That was a significant move he made in 2009.

GATES:  Yes.  I think President Bush started things in that direction and — and President Obama completed that.  And so there’s no longer that — that ban.  And that’s part of the reason the Conference can be here.

BLITZER:  A few questions on the economy right now. Do you agree with Warren Buffet, your good friend, that things seem to be moving in the right direction or are you more pessimistic about the state of the U.S. economy right now.

GATES:  Well, definitely, there’s — there’s signs of growth.  There are good things going on.  The European uncertainty and the — the federal budget uncertainty probably weigh on people.  And it would be great to get those resolved.

But otherwise, you see — you see some good signs.

BLITZER:  Are you supporting President Obama in his reelection?

GATES:  At — because of my role in the foundation, I’m not, you know, out doing political campaigning.  You know, I’m a — a regular voter.  You know, there’s a lot of key issues I think are important — education, foreign aid.

But, you know, I’m not choosing to re— to spend my time, except to speak out about those issues.

In the last campaign, both candidates talked about raising foreign aid.  I — I hope this time both candidates are — are good on that.  We haven’t — we’re not sure yet.

BLITZER:  I asked the question because you did attend an Obama fundraiser back in February, which says — says to me that you’re — you’re supporting him, unless you’ve changed your mind since then.

GATES:  Well, he’s done a very good job on foreign aid.  He’s done a very good job on education.  And it will be interesting to see what the Republican platform has in those areas.

BLITZER:  Mr. Gates, a quick question on Microsoft. Steve Ballmer, he’s in charge, as you know, obviously.

GATES:  Right.

BLITZER:  All this criticism of Microsoft lately, what do you think of that?

GATES:  Well, I think the — the product cycle that Microsoft is in is very exciting.  Windows 8 surfaced, the quality of Bing and, you know, I think that’s what it’s all about is — is making great technical products.  And, you know, and people — people will be thrilled when they see what the company has been up to.

BLITZER:  You think it’s moving in the right direction?

GATES:  I see some great works

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