This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," January 26, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Shot down before he even gets a chance to pipe up.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.
And nevermind Scott Brown got elected senator railing against spending, Senators he will soon be joining today slapping down a task force to get a handle on the spending, mixing a measure that would have allowed Congress to punt on tough deficit-busting decisions, and instead let a group of select academics and lawmakers and Obama administration officials offer some recommendations, and this just a day before the president plans to present a freeze on federal spending in his State of the Union address tomorrow. We will be in Washington for that. But it's a freeze with very much big exceptions, like Social Security and Medicare. Does it sound weird?
Well, it does to Meg Whitman as well. The former eBay boss says she knows a thing or two about scoring some good deals, and, for taxpayers, these ain't good deals, which is she's running for California governor and now has a new book that pretty much states her case, "The Power of Many: Values For Success in Business and in Life." Meg, good to see you.
MEG WHITMAN,R-CALIF. GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Nice to see you. Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: So, you can't pick and choose across-the-board cuts, I guess, right? They have to be across-the-board?
WHITMAN: Yes, I think they have to be across-the-board. We have an enormous deficit. And you have got to look at every single department, every single line item in order to get this back into shape. And I think that would be pretty self-evident.
CAVUTO: What did you think — and it was a lot of Republicans who rejected the idea of this commission. And it was a bit of a shell game here, but at least it would have absolved them of any onus in coming down with ideas, right?
WHITMAN: Yes, but I think the American people want Congress to be accountable. They want the president to be accountable.
CAVUTO: But they're not.
WHITMAN: And I think we have got to find a way for the president and Congress to lead on getting the costs down at the federal government.
Here's some bad news. We have a government we can no longer afford and we better face up to the reality and we better start trying to figure out how we are going to get it back line with what we can afford.
CAVUTO: You apply a lot of these businesswoman principle. We should just state, for the people who don't you, you're the highest paid female CEO in history. So, you stand out in that regard. I know you don't like that, but it's attached to you. It's quite a success.
But you point out in your book the largest point is this. Don't just know the cost of everything. Analyze the value of everything. You extend it to government obviously here. And we're not looking at that, right?
CAVUTO: We're just leaving large blocks off the table and we're not getting anywhere.
WHITMAN: And it doesn't make any sense to do that, right?
There is so much bureaucracy. There have programs that have been layered upon program after program. No one is looking at a return on investment. No one is looking at why are we spending this money.
And I was interested to see an article the other day you probably read that the current administration has the smallest percentage of people who have worked in business of any administration in the last 20 years.
CAVUTO: Well, the whole — if you think about the whole economic team, they really don't have any...
CAVUTO: They're academics. I don't know...
WHITMAN: And if you have never met a payroll and you have never — you don't understand the conditions that are required to create jobs, I think it is a huge issue.
And it's not the government's job to actually create the jobs. It's the government's job to create the conditions that small businesses and entrepreneurs can grow and thrive in. So, let's focus.
If I was the president, I would be focusing on deficit reduction, obviously getting spending under control, but I would be focusing on jobs, which, as I travel around California, that seems to be the number-one issue.
CAVUTO: Now, you had said early on, Meg, that this multi-approach that the administration took was just — whatever value there was in addressing health care just was muddied in just this blitzkrieg of programs, right? What would you have done?
WHITMAN: Well, I'm a big believer in focus, especially given the times in which we live and how complicated things have become.
Let's do three things at 100 percent, as opposed to try to 10 things at 50 percent. And in California, what I want to focus is on creating and keeping jobs in California, cutting government spending, not reducing the rate of increase, actually cutting government spending.
CAVUTO: Every governor that comes in says that. If you were so fortunate to get in, I'm sure you would want to stick to that. But time and again, Republican and Democrat, they all said it. They can't do it.
WHITMAN: Yes, but we have to do it this time.
CAVUTO: Well, I know that. You have to do it nationally, but we don't.
WHITMAN: Well, but we're going to have to, because...
CAVUTO: Look at what we did today. We have got to get this under control. The president proposes this spending, leaves huge swathes of entitlement programs off.
WHITMAN: In California — and I can't speak as well for the country - - but, in California, this is all about leadership, creating a clear vision of what we're going to do, a clear focus area, and getting people to focus on three things. And if you are off doing lots of different things — and I will tell you firsthand, in politics, the gravitational pull to try to please everyone is enormous. And you have just to have discipline and leadership, saying, these are the three things we're going to get done, and then you have got to lead through it.