Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 25, 2003, 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: The president chose Tuesday to spell out his case for Iraq, not only with the world, but with financial journalists, nine of them from around this country, yours truly included. Now among the issues the president wanted to reverberate today is that it is crucial to think in terms of a two-pronged attack: what we do with Iraq and what we do with the economy. He says that that is what the big issue is for most investors. One of things holding them back is not knowing what will happen with Iraq. The president making very clear, I'm keeping my eye on both issues. And it is clear to see that the prosperous economy is still there, but a lot of people have their doubts. The president also making it very clear that he thinks that once we get past the Iraq impasse, the economy itself will improve and individuals and businesses will start spending.

Will they? A lot depends, of course, on Iraq. And a man who has already stated that he is dead set against going to war there, Dennis Kucinich, the Ohio congressman, and now a likely presidential candidate, who joins us from the House Gallery.

Congressman, welcome.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, D-OHIO: Thank you very much, Neil.

CAVUTO: Let me get your take, first of all, on the president saying that we can address both at the same time, a war with Iraq and this tax cut?

KUCINICH: Well, first the all, the war is not in the budget. The tax cut is. The tax cut has not produced any stimulus to the economy. It's accelerating wealth to the top. The economic activity in this country is reflected in a consumer loss of confidence. I think consumer confidence is at a 9 1/2-year low. You have people holding back on spending for big purchases. There's a lack of confidence because there's fear in this country, people are afraid. The market has reflected that, you know, at 7888, you have a market which is sluggish, a market which the investor is already saying, hey, we don't know if we want to start investing because this country is going to war. It leaves uncertainty. The president's economics, Lawrence Lindsey, said it was going to cost at least 200 billion. Professor Nordhaus of Yale said up to over a trillion dollars.

CAVUTO: But Congressman, could you argue, sir, that once we do get past the uncertainty, as the president and a lot of other people insist, individuals and businesses would have one less reason to be so hesitant.

KUCINICH: Well, it's not only about the uncertainty. Of course, the markets react negatively to any uncertainty. But it's more than that. Let's take Professor Nordhaus' analysis. He's talking about the cost of war being not only the invasion, but that the cost of war includes the occupation, the reconstruction. There's a lot of money that's going into this war. Take the cost of war Including $26 billion to Turkey and other countries whose support we're trying to get.

CAVUTO: But Congressman, what is the cost of doing nothing? That was what the president was arguing today. What is the cost of simply doing nothing?

KUCINICH: Well, the cost of containment is already impacted in the United States security budget. The cost of the United Nations' action for inspections is already included in their budget. I think that inspections and containment are the key here. An attack on Iraq will make America less safe. You think the markets are in trouble now, once America attacks Iraq, you have the condition that The New York Times wrote about the other day, which are these lone terrorists, who have no connection to Al Qaeda, who then present a threat to the American people. I think that we.

CAVUTO: Well, you're not saying, Congressman, that because we fear reprisals, we don't do anything?

KUCINICH: Absolutely not. But we have to realize there's a cause and effect relationship here, that an attack on Iraq will make this country not more safe, but less safe, that we can contain Saddam Hussein. And it is particularly important to note that there's been no credible connection between Iraq and Sept. 11, Iraq and Al Qaeda's role in Sept. 11, Iraq and the anthrax attacks. We have to be very careful here that we don't let America's great power, it's deterrent power, cause us to launch ourselves into wars which will become very expensive, which will damage our economy greatly and will inhibit our ability to have an economic recovery.

CAVUTO: Let me follow that up, sir, if you don't mind. You have already staked your ground as being clearly against the war. You have been recognized, fairly or not, as a fringe candidate who's going to try to stake out this more liberal kind of stake with the party. Do you, though, risk causing serious rifts for some of the more established presidential candidates, and that this becomes a divisive for Democrats in general?

KUCINICH: Well, keep in mind that this fringe candidate helped organize 126 Democrats, two-thirds of the Democratic caucus, to vote against the war. This fringe candidate led the effort against NAFTA. And frankly, there are many people in our constituency who would want to see NAFTA canceled. And I said I'd do that. This fringe candidate is for guaranteed universal health care and a guaranteed Social Security. So I think that's a message that people all over this country want to hear. I'm no more fringe than FDR was in 1932. And we need that kind of transformational change in this economy. People are.

CAVUTO: Wait a minute, are you likening yourself to FDR?

KUCINICH: I'm saying that the kind of change that I want to bring is the same kind of change that FDR brought in 1932. I'm saying that that's my model in this campaign.


KUCINICH: FDR in 1932.

CAVUTO: OK, Dennis Kucinich, thank you very much, appreciate it, Congressman.

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