IF YOU GO
WHAT: Steve Forbes at Barrick Lecture Series
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: UNLV campus
COST: Tickets, which are free but limited to two per person, are available at the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office
Multimillionaire publisher and former GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes will be at UNLV today to deliver a speech about politics and the economy.
He’ll take the stage at 7:30 p.m. as part of the university’s Barrick Lecture Series.
Forbes, who heads a global media empire and ran twice unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, spoke to the Sun on Tuesday about his predictions for the 2012 election and his outlook for Las Vegas’ economy.
How do you see the upcoming elections playing out?
I see Republicans doing well despite the tough contest. Mitt Romney will win, and President (Barack) Obama will once again discover the adage, “It’s the economy.” Republicans will also win the Senate.
I originally endorsed Gov. (Rick) Perry. I liked that he was in favor of the flat tax, and he did some good tort reform in Texas. I also like Ron Paul’s take on the federal reserve. Romney has been made stronger through the process. He’s got more substance today than when he took to the trail a year ago.
Having run for president yourself, do you have any advice for the candidates?
The key thing, and they know this, is that the White House is going to run a very negative campaign because it’s hard to run on an economy like this. Romney has to project substantive proposals with a Reagan-like air of upbeat optimism.
What role do you think Nevada will play in the presidential race?
It’s a swing state. You picked up an extra electoral vote. So it is a state in play.
You will see the candidates coming in. Romney will be in Nevada more than he will be California.
What do you think the near-term future of the Las Vegas economy is?
There will be some uptick. At least the president isn’t making it a mortal sin anymore to have a convention in Las Vegas.
The key thing for Nevada is truly a much better U.S. economy. When things pick up nationally, you get more business get-togethers and more tourism. Plus, if people think the United States is in an upswing, it attracts more people from overseas.
The economy is doing better, but it’s similar to a car on a superhighway. Last year, we were going 20 mph. This year, we’re going 30 or 40. But we should be going 75.
In terms of housing, the last three years have demonstrated the need to watch out when the government tries to help. Government intervention hurt more than it helped.
How influential will media be in this election?
The mainstream media will be sympathetic to President Obama, but there’s a whole lively world in the blogosphere, and that’s not going to be captured in traditional surveys or news clips. But a lot of people dialogue that way, and it will play an increasingly important role.
How often do you come to Las Vegas? What do you enjoy doing here?
I come several times a year, not for tourism but for business. I hope to do it as a vacation destination maybe later in the summer.