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During ASU Visit, Howard Schultz Defends Possible Third Party Presidential Bid

Howard Schultz visited Arizona State University on Wednesday evening.
Will Stone - KJZZ News
Howard Schultz visited Arizona State University on Wednesday evening.

Arizona is already getting a taste of the 2020 presidential race.

On Wednesday, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz visited Arizona State University to discuss his new book and why he may run for president.

Schultz talked up his new book, which reflects on his childhood — growing up in subsidized housing in Brooklyn — and how he went on to build a global coffee empire.

Speaking with ASU president Michael Crow, Schultz discussed the broken state of politics and criticized President Donald Trump for his tweets and handling of the economy.

Schultz also doubled down on the idea of running as an Independent.

“If I were to run for president as a Democrat, I feel that I would have to be disingenuous and say things I don’t believe are true,” Schultz told the audience. “The Democratic Party has moved so far to the left.”

As examples, Schultz cited “free college” and "Medicare-for-all."

The billionaire also pushed back against criticism that he could be a “spoiler” who siphons votes away from Democrats, causing Trump to get re-elected.

“I want to work very hard to do everything I can to remove him from office,” Schultz said. “In the last 30 years, most presidential elections have been decided by about eight to 10 battleground states. Should I run for president as an Independent, all 50 states would matter.”

KJZZ's Will Stone was there at the event and joined The Show to talk about what he heard.

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Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.