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Doha Time & Temperature

US polls to see close race
3/11/2008 1:51:18
Source ::: The Peninsula

DOHA • The US presidential elections in November will be hard-fought and closely- contested, a former California Governor said yesterday.

Gray Davis, (pictured) who is now a practising attorney with Loeb & Loeb, was here as a speaker at the 'Enriching the Middle East's Economic Future Conference', and told The Peninsula: “Whoever the Democratic nominee is, the elections will be very close. The new president will have to bring about political and economic change.”

The Democratic nominee will be either Hillary Clinton, Senator from New York and former First Lady or Barack Obama, Senator from Illinois. One of them will be going head-to-head with the Republican nominee, John McCain.

Davis said one of the issues facing the US is the weakening of the dollar. “Strengthening of the dollar will take five to seven years,” he said.

The former governor was all praise for Qatar as he said: “Qatar is thought of very well in the US. The Emir's decision to give $100m as aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina was highly appreciated. We are big fans of Qatar.”

Davis said he felt there should be balance between energy consumers and producers and each has their own problems to be dealt with. A big advocate of alternative and renewable energy sources, Davis expressed hope Qatar and other GCC states would invest in research to find substitutes for fossil fuels.

California, incidentally, has 13 universities which also specialise in research such as the entire University of California system, Caltech and Stanford. Davis and his wife Sharon, who works with Unicef in southern California, will be visiting Education City today.

"I have heard a lot about it," he said. There is even a possibility, perhaps distant, a California institute could set up a facility here.

Asked about the role of sovereign wealth funds, such as the Qatar Investment Authority, Davis said they had a role to play. "It would be appropriate for sovereign wealth funds to invest where they deem fit. But perhaps investment in vital security matters should be blocked," he said.

The 66-year-old Davis, a Democrat, served as California's governor from 1999 to 2003 and made a mark for the priority he accorded to education. He also made a bit of unwanted US history when he became the second governor to be ever recalled, making way for Republican Arnold Schwarzenneger.

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