11/09/2012 01:39 EST | Updated 01/09/2013 05:12 EST

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi Shares His Thoughts on Obama, Romney And U.S. Election


As Naheed Nenshi ramps up his own election campaign, he told a youth gathering on Thursday he was turned off by the politics surrounding the recent U.S. election, a contest in which he accused both candidates of "shirking the issues."

Nenshi opened up the floor to junior high and high school students following the Mayor's Youth Council meeting at City Hall Thursday night, encouraging the kids to "Ask me anything. Seriously. You have the mayor in the room. Ask me anything."

"What are your thoughts on the outcome of the U.S. election?" enquired one young lady.

"I never really got engaged," Neshi replied, adding, "I thought maybe it was because I was too busy, but I think it was because I was turned off (by) the politics."

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Describing himself to the youth in the room as a "huge fan of rhetoric," Nenshi explained that he was disappointed to see the issues skewed and manipulated until they barely resembled politics at all.

"The conversations happening were not about the politics. They were about Big Bird and binders full of women. I think I was expecting more from this election."

"It seemed to me both candidates were shirking the issues."

While Nenshi did not disclose his feelings on the victory or defeat of either candidate, he admits he was moved by Obama's acceptance speech - the kind of speech he felt hadn't heard from the President in a long time.

"I felt like I was listening to the Barack Obama of 2008. During that speech I thought to myself 'Where has he been since then?'"

Nenshi also admitted he wishes Romney had been able to present himself more positively to the public.

"I think Mitt Romney's a decent guy and I don't think we saw a lot of that during the election."

As far as Romney's concession remarks? Nenshi said he had hoped to see stronger words from the defeated Republican, especially to those who may have been a distraction to his party's message.

"I was really hoping Romney was going to come on stage and say 'The only way we (the Republicans) will gain power again is if I say 'Screw you' to the Tea Party.'"

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