Last week, I sat down with South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott, days after he launched an exploratory committee looking into a potential run for president. Here's what stood out to me:
1. Scott is willing to sign a federal ban on abortion
And not only is he willing to sign a federal ban, Scott wants to stake out the most conservative position on reproductive rights, without necessarily detailing what week-marker he would back.
"I'm not going to talk about six or five or seven or ten [weeks]," Scott told NBC News, referring to states passing legislation banning abortion after a certain number of weeks.
"I'm just saying that whatever the most conservative legislation is that can come through Congress [is what I would sign]," he added.
2. The recent federal case on abortion pills doesn't concern Scott
Overall, he said, he is not concerned about judges making decisions about medically-sound drugs approved by the federal government.
Asked about the possible precedent it might set for courts, not doctors and agencies, to decide about drugs like mifepristone, Scott said he believes “that the judiciary will make a good decision in the end.”
3. He's not taking the Trump bait
At least not yet. Scott didn't detail why Trump shouldn’t be the nominee again and refused to engage on Trump’s possible shortcomings, even regarding Trump’s recent praise of dictators like Putin, Kim, and Xi.
"We’re talking about what I want to do, and you’re talking about what others want to do. So I want to keep talking about what I can control and not what others control," Scott said when pushed on Trump's foreign policy remarks.
4. Scott often speaks in broad strokes
He isn’t ready to dig into details yet.
From education — “too often today we’re trying to indoctrinate kids on what they should believe” — to gun violence — “I wish we could find common ground; I think it’s out there to be found” — Scott didn’t articulate specific campaign policies during his sit down with us, instead discussing his broader approach to various issues.
5. Integrity and character are what he hopes will define him
When it’s all said and done, Scott hopes voters finish the sentence “Tim Scott is…” like this: “a man of integrity, a man of character, and my next president.”