This partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, September 27, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
And now some insights from Fred Barnes, executive editor of "The Weekly Standard," Mort Kondracke, executive editor of "Roll Call," and Jeff Birnbaum, Washington bureau chief of "Fortune" magazine -- Fox News contributors all.
And let's listen for a second to a little of our president this day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: One of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry. It's to tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have absolutely every confidence in the airlines, confidence in this one and confidence in others. So if this is symbolic in any way, I hope it just sends a message that it is safe to fly. And we got to get back to our lives as Americans. We have got to get on with our lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUME: Well, the president seems confident enough that his father will fly. And it was Boston to Houston for him. And so far as we know, he made it safely.
So the stress on this, as was evident by the events here on this very day, was such that one must conclude that the administration is more than a little worried about people being willing to fly, not only because of their safety, but because of the economic consequences if they don't.
JEFF BIRNBAUM, "FORTUNE": Well, the economic consequences are huge.
What has happened, without us really noticing, in the last decade or so, is that air travel has become mass transportation. And a lot of Americans, not just the rich, as it once was, not just business executives, as it once was, but everybody has made it a habit of flying until after September 11. And the economic consequences have been gigantic.
The hospitality industry -- that is, hotels and restaurants -- have been cut in half, in some cases cut by two-thirds, in major destinations like Las Vegas, New York, major vacation spots and big cities. And the result has been a really catastrophic effect on the economy overall and on certain industries in particular. For example, the hotel and restaurant workers union has lost one-half to one-third of all their employees, laid off completely. And they don't really know when they're coming back.
So it is really important for people to get back in the skies in order to revive some very basic parts of our economy.
HUME: And, in the meantime, for that part of the economy and others, work is under way on some kind of stimulus package from Congress. Now, we have much lowered interest rates in place, a tax cut ready to take further effect.
What more is being planned, Mort?
MORT KONDRACKE, "ROLL CALL": Well, there is going to be, some time, negotiation between the White House and the congressional leadership in a serious way about a package.
And the president has said -- as Fred, I believe was first to report -- that the administration has pledged that it won't try to pass anything that doesn't have bipartisan agreement. So the Republicans want corporate tax cuts, basically, in the form of accelerated depreciation or expensing, lowered corporate income taxes. And the Democrats want something that will be put in the hands of consumers as quickly as possible, perhaps a payroll tax credit of some sort.
HUME: Social Security taxes.
KONDRACKE: Right. Exactly.
Maybe increased unemployment benefits, maybe some sort of -- if they can figure out to avoid fraud -- earned income tax credit boost to put money in the hands of poorer people, who are more likely to spend the money.
HUME: So are we headed for a knockdown, drag-out fight between the two parties over their tax ideology, Fred?
FRED BARNES, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": No, I don't think so.
I think they are each going to accept something they don't like. The other thing Republicans are for -- it's not just corporate tax breaks -- they're for advancing the individual rate reductions that are in the Bush tax cut that was enacted some months ago. You remember how those are -- they all don't go into effect until something like 2005 or '06. This would bring them up -- make them go into effect sooner and affect everybody very well.
Look, Bush wants to reach a deal with Tom Daschle, who he hugged after his speech last week, and Dick Gephardt, who he also hugged, will agree with. I don't think they are going to have that hard of a time reaching agreement among the leaders. They may have a harder time in selling it to their members. But they will succeed. And we're going to have a stimulus package. And it is needed. I think the most crucial thing that needs to be in it is a capital gains tax cut.
It wasn't just the hospitality and aviation industry that was hurt by these terrorist attacks. The financial industry was already in trouble and has practically been destroyed by these attacks. This would help encourage people to buy stocks. If you had a capital gains tax cut that only applied to stocks your purchase after September 11, it would encourage people to buy.
HUME: Now, Jeff, there was talk at one point earlier about some kind of a -- before this happened -- about a temporary cut in those capital gains taxes. Obviously, what is being talked about now is something that would be more permanent.
There was a remarkable story in "The New York Times" on Wednesday, lead story, that said that Alan Greenspan had come out against a capital gains tax. Now, that story remained exclusive to "The New York Times," which makes one wonder about it.
This is an area you cover. What did you find out?
BIRNBAUM: Well, I did some checking and discovered that Alan Greenspan, in fact, when he was asked about capital gains tax cuts said: I know you all understand that I favor eliminating capital gains taxes.
BIRNBAUM: Completely -- as part of a larger rewrite of the tax code, but then went on to say that, as part of this short-term stimulus, it might not be the best way to go. That was his position.
HUME: All right.
KONDRACKE: That story also...
KONDRACKE: ... reported he was against any corporate tax cuts. That's flatly false.
HUME: All right, we are going to talk a little bit more about the Reverend Jackson and his diplomatic ambitions and who invited whom -- be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACKSON: I will not make a hasty decision on this. I don't feel any need to decide today, tomorrow, the next day.
POWELL: He is free to travel. I don't know what purpose would be served right now, since the position of the United States and the international community is quite clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HUME: Every national crisis, it seems, has its Jesse Jackson moment. We appear to be in it now.
HUME: The question is: How long will it last?
Jeff, what do you think?
BIRNBAUM: It may last a while, because he may go. And so we'll have to keep track of who he brings back, whether it's Osama bin Laden. It's my guess it probably won't be.
BIRNBAUM: I don't think he is going to go save Osama bin Laden. But if he is able to get some American workers who are being held by the Taliban, that would be a good thing, but not really consequential in this instance.
It is strange, indeed, that the Taliban has not made these two women relief workers into high-profile hostages the way Saddam Hussein briefly did with a pilot -- or maybe it was British boy. I forget. The pilot was in Syria -- a different Jesse Jackson rescue.
But the fact of the matter is, is that, in both cases, Jesse Jackson got them out, and then we did what we wanted to do, especially in Iraq. We got some American...
HUME: That pilot got out without Jesse Jackson.
BARNES: Yes, look, this is a country -- a group, this Taliban, that we're at war with. And Jesse Jackson says he wants to go over there, and he can deal with them, and he will protect the dignity and integrity of both sides. What dignity and integrity does the Taliban have?
HUME: By the way, well, they have dignity and integrity -- Fred, you may believe, when you hear what I am about to say to you, that they have some dignity and integrity, because they have reported that, when they first got this offer from Jackson, that they had never heard of him.
BARNES: Well, there's a lot to be said for that. But, of course, they're disputing it. I don't know how credible they are, but probably pretty credible in this, as a matter of fact. But they said it was Jackson's idea. He called them. They didn't call him.
HUME: He says they called him.
HUME: As a panel, we have to take a position on what we believe here. And it is not a -- it may not be an easy choice for some of you.
BARNES: It will be easy for me.
HUME: Do you believe Jesse Jackson or the Taliban on who invited whom?
BIRNBAUM: I go with the Taliban on this one.
KONDRACKE: Jesse Jackson was asked by the parents of these relief workers to get involved in this thing. They're desperate to get their -- and so Jesse made the first call. Therefore, he is lying about who made the first call.
BARNES: Three for three for the Taliban.
BIRNBAUM: We all go with the Taliban.
BIRNBAUM: That's almost unpatriotic.
HUME: Five seconds, Fred.
BARNES: He's mucking in an area where he shouldn't. We're at war. This isn't a time for Jackson.
HUME: That's all the time we have for the panel.
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