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DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president and I have a great feeling about the state. With your help tomorrow, we're going to carry Colorado (search).
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, Vice President Dick Cheney (search) making a last minute campaign stop in the Rocky Mountain state today. The president won Colorado in 2000. He has a slight lead there right now. But if my next guest has his way, Senator Kerry is going to take the state tomorrow.
Joining us now, former Colorado senator, Democratic presidential candidate, Gary Hart.
Senator, thank you for joining us.
GARY HART, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great pleasure.
CAVUTO: First off, sir, on where your state stands on this apportionment issue. I know the polls seem to show most Coloradoans would be against starting that. Where do you think it stands?
HART: I think it will not succeed, primarily because it's being sponsored by interests outside of Colorado. It would have been a better test of the issue if groups inside Colorado had financed the initiative, but it came from outside. That by itself will probably mean doesn't succeed.
CAVUTO: All right. So, for the Bush folks who presently lead in your state, albeit not by much, but they lead, and I don't know what stock we can put in these polls, what do you think it means?
HART: Well, I was frankly mystified by the vice president's visit here today. If this is a strongly-leaning Bush state, it would seem to me the vice president should not be wasting his time here.
They must have some internal polls that show, in fact, this state is in play, and if that's the case, and John Kerry has a shot at Colorado, which I believe he does, then he could win this election pretty handily.
CAVUTO: What do you make of the mood of your state right now in this election?
HART: I don't think Coloradans are any different from anyone else. We are basically independent people. By and large, we make up our own mind about things.
But there is increasing concern, and I say this as a Coloradoan, not as a Democrat, about the mess in Iraq, and people talk about it that way, that they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel.
I think the impact of the huge deficits is now being felt by people, and there's again being basically conservative, fiscally responsible people here, they're saying, "What's going on here? We thought the Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility."
And issues of that sort, I think are beginning to bite.
CAVUTO: But Senator, here's one thing over which I'm confused. And that is the pace of the economic recovery, the unemployment rate, the number of jobs generated on a monthly basis, is very close, if not better than what it was in 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for re-election.
Yet this guy, the president is facing all hell. Why is that?
HART: Well, I don't know all hell. I think there were a lot of people very critical of Bill Clinton's first administration. They are now supporting President Bush, and people who were supporting Clinton are critical of the Bush performance.
It's not the degree of advancement from a recession, it's how deep did the recession go? And the Bush recession is at least as deep as that faced by the first Clinton administration
CAVUTO: Are you surprised though — and this is on both parties — that you hear very little talk about the effort to reign in government spending. Everyone wants tax cuts or no tax cuts, but I very rarely hear — and this could criticize Republicans, who dominate Capitol Hill — cut the spending?
HART: Well, I think that's true, but it's a truism that the Defense Department, the largest federal agency, is part of the government. And you cannot be serious about cutting spending unless you put the largest federal agency into that bargain.
And the Republican Party is not willing to do that, and the Democratic Party is by and large not willing to do that with a lot of domestic programs that they have sponsored in the past.
But you know, more importantly, and I think you would agree, than the annual budget deficit is the looming debt, cumulative debt and faced with the Baby Boom reliance on the Social Security programs, that's the one that has people beginning to be very deeply concerned.
CAVUTO: Senator, you're one of the smartest guys I know on just issues of fiscal policy. Seriously. And you know better than many, that whether you are talking the Reagan tax cuts in the 1980's or the president's tax cuts in the latest go-around, there's no mystery that they create a lot more revenues.
Where I think most people agree with you is that then the government takes all that money and spends it and then some. So isn't the problem not tax cuts, but the government's propensity to spend every nickel it gets and then some?
HART: I think there ought to be some way to get the political system — basically, the two parties — to come to some kind of general agreement on how much money both those parties between them agree to spend. And then raise the revenues to pay for it.
I don't think you can cut taxes until you have a revenue projection that comes somewhat close to paying for those bills. That's just basic fiscal responsibility.
The supply-siders have gone a bit berserk here. I think clearly in the Kennedy years and perhaps even in the Reagan years, some modest tax cuts make sense, but not every tax cut, every year.
CAVUTO: OK. Senator Gary Hart. Always good having you, Sir. Appreciate it.
HART: Great pleasure.
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