This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 6, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Wall Street has been closely watching the results of Tuesday's elections for a number of reasons, one of them, of course, to see who will chair various committees in the Senate. Wall Street closely watches and listens to my next guest, Arizona Senator John McCain, who may be headed back to the chairmanship of the very crucial Senate Commerce Committee, maybe among others. Senator McCain joins us live from Phoenix.
Senator, good to have you, thanks for coming.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Hi, Neil.
CAVUTO: Let's talk a little bit about that post, the commerce post. I know it is very early, sir, but are you interested in that?
MCCAIN: Well, I am happy to return to the chairmanship. I have been ranking member of the Commerce Committee while the Democrats had the majority. But Senator Hollings and I have worked together closely for many years. And although there are obviously some differences in priorities and agenda, we pretty well work together on the Commerce Committee on a bipartisan basis.
CAVUTO: All right. You are known for your kind of unpredictable tendencies, Senator, I know one observer had said, no matter who wins control of the Senate, there will be a white-haired maverick in charge of the Commerce Committee. What was that person saying?
MCCAIN: Well, I think he may have been saying that we always have an interesting agenda. You know, the wonderful thing about the Commerce Committee for the benefit of those who don't know much about the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of the Senate, it has enormous breath of responsibility, everything from aviation, to telecommunications, to the Olympics, to rail, all forms of transportation. So it has a very broad agenda. Marines fisheries, you know that is very important here in Arizona. But it has a very broad jurisdiction, so you are like, I've forgotten who the guy told me, he said, you're like a mosquito in a nudist colony, you have a lot of choices.
CAVUTO: Let's talk a little bit about the choices you have right now, you're taking over that committee. Michael Powell over at the FCC has been a very big deregulator, in other words, allow more mergers, allow companies to coalesce and come together. Of course, he didn't feel the same way about EchoStar and DirecTV. But are you still in sync with him on those crucial issues?
MCCAIN: I think pretty much so. I had some differences of opinion on some specific issues. But I admire the job that Michael Powell has done. And I admire him of a man of great integrity. That is why if we have differences, those differences are honest. But we will exercise our oversight responsibilities of the FCC. One of the things that needs to be done is a reauthorization of Federal Communications Commission. And I think a reauthorization series of hearings would be good for the Congress, and good for the American people and good for the commission.
CAVUTO: Senator, if my memory serves me right, you were the first Republican I think to call for Harvey Pitt's resignation. And of course last night as you know, in the middle of the election returns coming in, he resigned. Are you happy?
MCCAIN: Well, not happy, because I obviously feel badly for a person who is for all intents and purposes, been disgraced. But I just felt then and I feel now that I am sure there are other ways that Mr. Pitt can serve the country. He was just not suited for that job, because, the major problem that Wall Street has today, in my opinion, is investor confidence. And in order to regain investor confidence you have to have a person there heading the SEC that has unimpeachable qualifications. And there were clearly questions about whether Mr. Pitt would do the job.
CAVUTO: Would Rudy Giuliani have those qualifications?
MCCAIN: Oh, sure, but I doubt if Rudy is that much of a masochist.
CAVUTO: How about Frank Zarb, the former NASD chairman?
MCCAIN: I think he would be fine from what I know of him. I think there is a large number of highly qualified individuals, men and women that we could put in that job. And I hope that the president does that sooner rather than later. And I think a well-qualified person will have very rapid confirmation from the Senate, because we know how critical this position is, particularly now.
CAVUTO: Sir, what about William Webster, who has tentatively been picked to head the accounting oversight board, should he step down as well?
MCCAIN: You know, he is a man that I have respected over the years enormously, all us have who have been in Washington for a long time. His previous work for the government has been magnificent. We think the world of him. But I just think that probably with the controversy that now surrounds all of this entire issue that Mr. Webster, as he said himself not long ago, that if there is too much controversy, whatever is best for the country I am sure he will do.
CAVUTO: Do you get a sense, Senator, that the president's coattails I guess two years after the fact are much longer and more substantial than anyone thought? and that at this stage, he is a shoe-in for reelection?
MCCAIN: The political successes have very short half-lives in America. But there is no doubt that the president did something really historical, he put it all on the line, and he won, and his coattails plus other factors, but primarily the president's personal involvement and commitment, had a major impact on those elections. And I think that is going to last for a while. But, you know, things can change very rapidly in American politics. But the fact is he did something that made history. And that is what we all in public service want to do. And I know he is very proud of himself and we are proud of him.
CAVUTO: Does it make you less likely to ever consider the presidency again?
MCCAIN: I don't envision a scenario where I would run, but my old friend Morris Udall, who as a House member once said, if you are a United States Senator, unless you're under indictment or detoxification, you automatically consider yourself a candidate for president of the United States.
CAVUTO: All right, Senator, a real pleasure, thank you very much.
MCCAIN: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: Senator John McCain, from Phoenix.
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