Microsoft giant Bill Gates didn't like being questioned about his financial interests in supporting the Common Core education system when he sat down with a Washington Post journalist earlier this year. Not only did Gates avoid giving a full and complete answer, one of his handlers asked for the interviewer to move on to something else.
For PostTV, Lyndsey Layton framed a question to Gates about his business interest in backing these new education standards and how technology will help drive the Common Core. Layton implied that people's perceptions inexplicably link the Microsoft co-founder's technologically driven education system with his decades old computer/software business.
It was all too much for the billionaire who was completely frustrated by the question, causing him to fire back a defense of "philanthropy" over "self-interest." But before any real answers could surface, a voice off camera chimes in to encourage a change in the subject and move the interview in a different direction.
The transcript below begins at minute 14:30 mark in the video:
Layton: There are some people who, when they hear the speech that you just gave where you were talking about standardization and common standards will help drive innovation and help us tap into the online revolution in education in a way that this part of the economy has really been untouched; that it's important that if we have common standards, we can really open up the online, the benefits of the online revolution to education. There are people who hear that and think, 'That's what he's doing. He really supports this because he wants to encourage the technology industry because he's the co-founder of Microsoft. He's being driven by business interests here.' How would you respond to that?
Gates: Uh, you know, I think you're sticking to the political side of this thing.
Layton: I'm from the Washington Post. We're in Washington, D.C.
Gates: Do you think that passes muster?
Layton: I don't know. This is the first time we've met...
Gates: Okay, so give me the logic here.
Layton: The logic is...
Gates: You're saying that it's all a lot of self-interest?
Layton: No, that that's one of the driving forces behind your embrace of the Common Core.
Gates: Meaning what?
Layton: Meaning Microsoft and Pearson just signed a deal to put the Common Core curriculum on the surface. So, you've got a product, Microsoft has a product now that it's selling...
Gates: Yeah, we had the old Pearson stuff. There's no connection to Common Core and any Microsoft thing.
Layton: Okay. Well I just, I want to understand. But that's a, Bill, let me just tell you...
Gates: That's staying away from the substance, okay?
Layton: But it's a question when people learn that you are promoting the Common Core...
Gates: Do you seriously think that the reason I like the Common Core is for some self-interested reason? That's what you're saying.
Layton: No, no. I don't know that I believe that, and you don't seem...
Gates: You don't know. You don't know?
Layton: I don't think that I believe that.
[Voice off camera: Why don't we move on.]
Layton: Okay, that's kind of a pertinent question that a lot of people who don't know you, are wondering, and I would just like some response to. But, you're saying you don't want to talk about that, or you don't want to...
Gates: I'm saying, and I've, I hope I can make this clear, I believe in the Common Core because of its substance and what it will do to improve education, and that's the only reason I believe in the Common Core. And I have no, you know, this is giving money away. This is philanthropy. This is trying to make sure students have the kind of opportunity I had. You…there is nothing…it's so, almost...outrageous to say otherwise in my view.
Layton: Okay, got it.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is behind the funding and institution of Common Core standards in schools across the country. TruthRevolt has also revealed that the foundation has given a grant to NBCNews.com for its coverage of Common Core in education.