Ed Gillespie, Republican National Committee Chairman

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, October 6, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Joining me now with his take on the recall effect on the GOP and other Grand Old Party issues, Ed Gillespie. He is the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Mr. Chairman, good to have you.


CAVUTO: Let’s touch on some of these California developments, first off, sir. On this issue of female voters, the so-called soccer moms who might not be going for Arnie that strong and might spell some protest for the president next year, what do you make of that?

GILLESPIE: Well, I think this is a unique situation in California, obviously. The recall vote is about a failure of leadership on the part of Gray Davis. I’m not sure, given the late nature of the charges here, that they’re going to have an effect on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prospects.

As you know, Neil, the RNC has allowed this to be a matter for California voters, as it appropriately is. We’ve not been involved, but as I watch it, it seems to me that clearly the momentum continues to be with the effort to recall Governor Davis.

CAVUTO: Ed, if that is the case and Schwarzenegger does become the next governor, can you see this president actively campaigning with him next year?

GILLESPIE: You know, Neil, the fact is that whether or not the recall goes forward, whether Gray Davis is still the governor, or Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor, the people of California are going to make their decision on president based on the candidates for president.

And, in fact, President Bush will be competitive in California in a way we haven’t seen a Republican nationally in some time, and I am confident that he can carry California in 2004, regardless of who’s in the governor’s mansion there.

CAVUTO: You know, many female voters, as you know, Ed, have been saying that this administration is out of sync with them on issues they care about, like the environment.

Joe Lieberman this weekend was saying that the administration’s clean air initiatives and the clear skies initiative, more to the point, were going to do more harm than good, and he particularly kind of went after this administration on that issue.


GILLESPIE: Not at all because Joe Lieberman was flat wrong factually, and one of the things that matters to voters -- and women voters tend to look at the facts and weigh whether or not what somebody is saying is accurate or not. Joe Lieberman was just flat-out wrong.

Let me tell you the real statistics here. Under the president’s clear skies initiatives, by the year 2020, there would be 14,000 fewer premature deaths as a result of air quality being poor and as a result of premature deaths from asthma-related or diseases related to the lungs. Eighteen-million more Americans would live in air quality that complies with national standards as a result of the clear skies initiative.

So the more people understand the facts, the more they learn the truth, the more they realize that whether Senator Lieberman or other Democratic candidates make these charges, they’re not accurate, and they’re just flat wrong.

CAVUTO: Are you going to aggressively next year counter that perception, because it is out there. I’m not telling you something you don’t know, that this administration is out of sync with the environment, that it wants to plow through Alaska, make it a parking lot and all that. I mean how are you going to counter that?

GILLESPIE: Again, by getting the facts out there. When you look at what the president’s done, not only the facts I mentioned on clear skies, the president’s healthy forest initiative, the president’s initiative when it comes to ANWR, the fact is it’s like a pinprick on the territory out there, and yet, at the same time, it does a lot in terms of reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil.

That’s why the people of Alaska are in favor of it, by the way, including the Democrats in Alaska. They know the facts, and so the more we can just get the facts out there, the better off we are.

CAVUTO: Ed Gillespie, thank you very much. Always good seeing you.

GILLESPIE: Thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: The Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie in Washington.

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