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Interviews

'Ben & Jerry's' founders explain their support for Sanders

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 1, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHARLES PAYNE, GUEST HOST:  Ben, Jerry, Bernie, the ice cream.

The co-founders of the iconic ice cream company and Bernie Sanders supporters will be giving out freebies in New York City.  

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE:  Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are with us.

Hey, guys.

JERRY GREENFIELD, CO-FOUNDER, BEN & JERRY`S:  Yes, we`re out here.  How are you doing?  

PAYNE:  We`re doing pretty good, Ben.  Save me...

(CROSSTALK)

GREENFIELD:  I`m the Jerry.  This is the Ben.    

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PAYNE:  Ben -- Ben and Jerry...

GREENFIELD:  So, we`re out here.

BEN COHEN, CO-FOUNDER, BEN & JERRY`S:  Yes, here we are.

PAYNE:  Listen, first of all, I want you to save me something out here. I`m not a Bernie Sanders guy, but save me an ice cream cone anyway.  I`m an American, so help me out.  

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN:  All right, we will save you a cone.  Every American deserves an ice cream cone.

PAYNE:  Here`s the interesting thing.  You guys...

GREENFIELD:  So, we`re serving ice cream.

PAYNE:  You guys are the epitome of the American dream.  You have built this hugely successful company.  It hires so many people.

And it feels like it runs counter to Bernie Sanders` argument that corporate America is mean, evil, and should be almost abolished, if not taxed into submission.

How does that work?  

COHEN:  That`s not at all what he is saying.  What Bernie is saying is that multinational corporations are paying off politicians to pass laws that benefit them, at the expense of all the working people in the country.  

GREENFIELD:  And what`s good for American workers is good for everyone.  

I mean, when you pay workers more, they spend the money.  They put it right back into the economy.  What Bernie is saying is that it`s great to do fine.  Business should just pay its fair share.  

PAYNE:  Well, you guys are...

COHEN:  It makes sense to us.  It makes sense to America.  And it`s good for America.

PAYNE:  You guys..

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE:  I love the enthusiasm, by the way.  

Now, you guys are upset with companies that, let`s say, sell products overseas and may build them overseas.  It`s OK to sell products outside of this country, no?  

COHEN:  Well, it is OK to sell products outside the country.

PAYNE:  Yes.  

GREENFIELD:  Yes.  Ben and Jerry`s, which we don`t run anymore, sells ice cream in about 30 countries.  

It makes in it probably four or five countries.  And I think the idea is to integrate your business into the community, so you`re helping everybody, you`re helping workers, you`re helping community, you`re sourcing fair trade ingredients, you`re sourcing non-GMO ingredients.  It is good for the planet.  It`s good for everybody.  

COHEN:  And what Ben & Jerry`s has demonstrated is that you can run a really profitable business based on the same principles that Bernie Sanders is advocating.  

PAYNE:  Although I will tell you...

CROWD:  Bernie!  Bernie!  Bernie!  Bernie!  Bernie!  

(LAUGHTER)

PAYNE:  You know, it`s very interesting, guys.

I don`t know if you`re familiar with the Container Store which runs the socially...

GREENFIELD:  A little bit, yes.

PAYNE:  You know, the conscious capitalism guys.  They went publicly recently.  The stock opened at $34.  It`s like 15 bucks, 12 bucks now.

I get what you`re saying, but I don`t know that that really works in a global competitive world.  You have got to be able to adjust as a corporation.  

By the way, before I let you go, if Bernie is not the nominee, will you support Hillary?  

GREENFIELD:  You know, we`re doing all we can to support Bernie.  I think he is the best guy.  All the polls show that he beats Hillary nationally now.  He beats all the Republican candidates more than -- he does.  

I think the easier answer is Bernie for president.  

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

GREENFIELD:  Yes, yes, yes!  Bernie!  Bernie!  Bernie!   

PAYNE:  Ben, let me ask you a quick question then.  If Bernie is not the candidate, would you support Donald Trump, who has similar views on trade?  

(LAUGHTER)

COHEN:  You know, that`s the one subject that I agree with Donald Trump on, that these trade agreements like the TPP and NAFTA were a real bad deal for American workers.  

GREENFIELD:  But the short answer is no.

COHEN:  No freaking way!

(LAUGHTER)

GREENFIELD:  We`re not voting for Donald Trump.  

PAYNE:  All right, guys, thanks a lot.  I will be -- I will meet you in Central Park in a few hours.  

END

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