Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, March 21, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: No one though that John McCain would get this far. Campaign finance reform, once thought a pipe dream, now set to become law. A 60-40 vote in the Senate yesterday assured that. With us now, the man who many say made that, Arizona Senator John McCain. Senator, good to have you.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thanks, Neil. Could I just add Russ Feingold, Chris Shays, Marty Meehan and literally millions of other Americans were — share in the credit for what is — what some people thought would never happen.

CAVUTO: Yes, then Enron happened. Did Enron change everything?

MCCAIN: Enron happened, the Buddhist temple happened, the coffees, the Lincoln bedroom, the selling of pardons, all of those things happened to arouse more and more Americans to believe that a million-dollar check is not something that's appropriate in American political campaigns.

CAVUTO: You know, Senator, speaking of Enron, a lot of the way that money was funneled to candidates in organizations under that system would be still be allowed under your system.

MCCAIN: Not really, Neil. We have banned all corporate and union money. We reinstated a law in corporate contributions that was passed 1907 and banning union contributions...

CAVUTO: But bundled money like Enron did, by collecting from employees and all, that can continue, right?

MCCAIN: You can do that, yes. And you can contribute $2,000. I am not saying you should not be able to contribute to a campaign. By the way, $1,000 in 1974 is around $3,000 now. We have raised it to $2,000. And you can give, quote, "soft money" to parties for building. But they cannot party building and get out the vote. They can't use them for a broadcast ad.

Most of the money in the soft money are run to purchase advertising, usually television, but some radio. And they're almost always attack ads. You will see that disappear.

CAVUTO: But don't you fear that you just create another beast or another vehicle, that maybe these bundlers and, you know, the pioneers that President Bush had to raise money in Texas, that was better than $100 million, that that would continue and that you would just find new influence-meisters?

MCCAIN: Here's what I think will happen. You have cycles of corruption and reform throughout American political history. In 1974, they enacted the post-Watergate reforms. Campaigns were clean. There was no such thing as soft money, not a thing, until 1988, when somebody found a loophole in the law and got the FEC, the Federal Election Commission, to agree with it; '96, it got worse. So even the laws that are still on the books are totally circumvented. So if we can last 15 years with pretty clean campaigns, I will be happy.

CAVUTO: Where are you going to be at this White House ceremony?

MCCAIN: Well, it is not so important where I am. It's people like Fred Wortheimer and Scott Harshburger and Anne McBride and after all of the people...

CAVUTO: But you are going to it, right?

MCCAIN: Oh, I would go if I'm asked, yes.

CAVUTO: Have you been asked yet?

MCCAIN: No. I do not think that the White House has made a decision as to how that is going to happen.

CAVUTO: But it is supposed to be as soon as the president gets back, isn't it?

MCCAIN: I don't know. I have not heard. But look, if they are going to have that, I would love to be there. But if not, look, the law is passed and now we move on.

CAVUTO: It is not a sure thing though, right? I mean, Mitch McConnell is now going to get this dream legal team to fight it in the courts, all the way to the Supreme Court. So it is not a done deal?

MCCAIN: Well, the bill is severable. In other words, if you find one part of this unconstitutional, the rest of it stands. But, look, he is going to need...

CAVUTO: So he can't pick it apart?

MCCAIN: He is going to need that team because we think we have a solid constitutional position. He is going to need that team.

CAVUTO: Was there bad blood caused by this for you post all of this with Republicans in particular?

MCCAIN: Sure, sure.

CAVUTO: Irreparably destroyed?

MCCAIN: No, because you move on to other issues and they always need your vote and all that. But, yes, I lost friends during this situation.

CAVUTO: Do you regret that?

MCCAIN: I feel badly about it, but I wasn't sent by the people of Arizona to make friends. I was sent by the people of Arizona to do what I think is best for them and the rest of the country. And so, look, there was honorable and principled opposition. I respect that opposition and I look forward to doing other battles, including against this obscene pork- barrel spending, which is rampant.

CAVUTO: Senator John McCain, thank you.

MCCAIN: Thanks.

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