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BusinessWeek features an interview with Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) in which Kerry lays out his rationale for why business executives shouldn’t be worried about his election.

Among his comments:

  • “In Congress, I carved out an economic portfolio that has been both thoughtful and visionary -- on technology and trade, on capital formation, on entrepreneurship. I decided to go to the Banking and the Commerce Committees, and now to the Finance Committee, in order to carve out a different kind of portfolio.”

  • I am going to bring Corporate America to the table -- not to lecture but to say: How do we make you more competitive? How do we get out of your way? Research-and- development tax credits? I'd make them permanent and larger. Manufacturing tax credits? That's a smart way to help.”

  • “I am 100% in favor of companies going abroad to do business -- I'd be an idiot not to understand that. In fact, my proposal on deferral of taxes on foreign investment has been geared to recognize the distinction between legitimate business [and tax avoidance].

    “But a sham transaction [to relocate a corporate headquarters overseas] is a sham transaction. We have these shifts purely for the purpose of tax avoidance, and to me that's avoiding your responsibility.”

  • (Regarding deficit reduction) “I am absolutely committed to it.... Why is Warren Buffett supporting me? Why is Barry Diller supporting me? Why [are] Steve Jobs and Lee Iacocca supporting me? It's because they know I can restore fiscal responsibility.”

KC's View:
What we can’t tell – and what may take some time to determine – is whether the Kerry campaign is serious about making an argument that mainstream American businesspeople should support the Democratic ticket. We doubt it…just as we doubt that Kerry is going to convince many of those folks to vote for him.

Still, it is interesting from an academic point of view to watch him try.