This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," June 1, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: All right, now, something tells me my next guest no fan of bailing out unions. Already, he’s against card check.
I’m talking Florida Republican senatorial Marco Rubio joining me right now in this exclusive chat.
Marco, you have heard the arguments for and against getting state coffers in balance. What do you think of what New York Governor David Paterson is trying to do?
MARCO RUBIO R-FLA. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, let me begin by saying that, unfortunately, I think the first solution in America today any time we run into a problem is, what can the government do to get us out of it?
These are pensions that were run by multiple companies. You’re talking about situations that involve these unions. And, sometimes, these funds haven’t been managed well. And now you’re asking government to bail you out, at both the federal and the state level.
So, the automatic default solution to every problem cannot continue, to me, let’s have the government step in. I mean, at some point, we’re running out of money. I mean, where do we get the money to fund all these things? We’re leaving it all for our children. We’re funding it all through deficit spending.
CAVUTO: Well, Marco, there are two ways you can get the money. You can hike taxes, as they have been trying to do in New Jersey and New York, to little avail; you could try to cut either benefits or state workers, as they might be looking in New York. Hard to say. Where would you lean?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, I don’t think — you — even — I believe we have to freeze discretionary spending at the federal level, and not grow it any further. But that’s not enough.
America has to deal with a burgeoning debt problem. And that has to begin with entitlement reform. And I have talked about that repeatedly on the campaign trail. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, those programs have to be reformed, or they will bankrupt our country.
CAVUTO: When I heard your comments on entitlement programs, you got in a heap of heat for that, because you said that those 55 and over, they would be OK. Forty and under, guys like yourself — I think you’re 38 or 39, ridiculously young — that’s — that’s another issue — but that they’re going to have to look at adjustments, either pushing the retirement age back and all that.
Then I thought of folks like me in the vast middle, let’s say between 40 and 54, who are looking at that and saying, uh-oh, maybe he’s going after me.
What do you say?
Well, first of all, those programs are not going to be around for anybody if we don’t reform them and we don’t start doing that now. So, what I’m talking about are reasonable reforms that are phased in over a long period of time, not overnight.
But, ultimately, these programs have to be reformed, or they will bankrupt our country. And that’s what we’re talking about here.
CAVUTO: Well, what is — what is reform, pushing the retirement age back, curtailing benefits on richer beneficiaries? What?
RUBIO: It’s a combination of — of moving back the retirement age over a period of time, slowly, to adjust to life expectancy changes. It’s indexing the benefit in a way that makes sense, so it doesn’t bankrupt our country. It’s all sorts of things. These are the things we need to working on talking about right now in a serious way.
CAVUTO: Marco, Charlie Crist, your former Republican opponent, now a third-party opponent, says that you’re — you’re sounding more like a Republican than someone who is interested in helping the state.
This is from the governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHARLIE CRIST I-FLA.: On the far-right side or the far-left of the Democratic Party, people are more concerned who are in those elements about the party doing well, rather than the people doing well. We have got to get back to doing what’s right for the people of our country and, in my case, the people of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: What do you make of that?
RUBIO: What’s right for the people of the United States and the people of Florida is not to let our children and grandchildren inherit a bankrupt country, a nation that can’t spend — that’s — continues to spend money it doesn’t have, and fund the operations of government through debt spending.
That’s what’s right for the future of our country. And I’m the only candidate in this race that’s talking about this in a serious way.
CAVUTO: No, I will give you credit. In your state, where one out of seven folks collect Social Security — that’s a pretty bold thing to do in that state — what’s the reaction you’ve been getting, because your opponents, I think, Kendrick Meek on the other side has been saying maybe a commission is in order to look into this, not you.
RUBIO: Well, first of all, Congressman Meek thinks what we need to do is impanel another commission to study this. That’s the last — that’s the last thing we need in Washington, is another commission.
Charlie Crist’s solution is to grant amnesty to 14 million people that are in this country illegally. Neither one is a serious solution to a very serious problem, a problem that, if left unaddressed, will bankrupt the United States, unfortunately, within our children’s lifetime.
CAVUTO: Do you sense, though, that maybe Governor Crist has latched onto an issue that will resonate in your state and that could backfire on you?
RUBIO: Well, I think what will backfire on us is if we don’t fix these issues.
Look, I’m running because of what I believe in. My candidacy is designed on the hope of giving people in Florida an alternative on the ballot, giving them someone they can vote for this election cycle that takes these challenges seriously. And that’s what I’m campaigning on. And that’s the choice I’m trying to give people in this election.
CAVUTO: Marco, your quick thoughts on, not only your governor, but how the president has handled this Gulf oil spill?
RUBIO: Well, it’s unfortunate, first of all, that our technologies have not advanced enough to deal with issues like this. And I think we’re dealing with the sad consequences of it.
I think the White House, as weeks go by, we’re going to learn more and more about what was done wrong in this regard. But this is — understand, this is a party and — and folks in this administration who spent a lot of time attacking the Bush administration’s reaction to Katrina, which is an unforeseen thing.
This one happened, and nothing happened for weeks thereafter. And, so, I think, as time goes on, we’re going to learn more and more about what should have been done. And — and let’s wait for that to start coming out a little bit more.
CAVUTO: I know you have got to skedaddle here, but Florida’s attorney general was left out of this Eric Holder powwow with A.G.s and legal types on — on looking at criminal actions against those who — who brought the spill on. What did you make of that?
RUBIO: Well, I hope it’s not a partisan thing, and I hope it’s not electoral politics coming into play. The truth is, Florida has a huge stake at play in what is happening in the Gulf region. It impacts tourism in our state.
And — and so, we’re — we’re — we’re deeply involved and care a lot about it. And I hope General McCollum is included in future conversations.