This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 5, 2004, that was edited for clarity.
Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: If the Democratic candidates are trying to score points talking about a stumbling economy, they’re wasting their time. So says my next guest, who just so happens to have accurately predicted the good economic numbers we are seeing right now. I’m talking about the commerce secretary of the United States and one of the president’s most- trusted advisers, Don Evans. Secretary, good to see you. Thank you for coming.
DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Thank you, Neil, good to be with you, happy new year to you.
CAVUTO: To you as well, sir. You know, the Democrats are saying that this recovery isn’t what it appears to be, that a lot of average folks are still hurting and that’s what they’re going to be trumpeting. Is it working?
EVANS: Well, Neil, I think the numbers speak for themselves. I mean, you’ve got an economy now that grew at 8.2 percent in the third quarter. Most blue chip economists now are projecting that it will grow at some 4.4 percent in 2004.
The economy is clearly picking up steam. We are focused on jobs, is really what this administration is continuing to focus on, though, we want to continue to improve the conditions for job creation in our economy. We have been encouraged by recent job numbers. Initial employment claims came down to some 335,000, the last report. So that is a good indication. In fact it is the lowest number we have seen since the president took office.
And so Democrats can say what they wish. The numbers speak for themselves, the economy is picking up steam, construction numbers came out today, they were very, very strong.
EVANS: Auto sales remain strong. We’re going to keep our focus on jobs and creating more job security for all Americans.
CAVUTO: You know, a lot of the strength we have been seeing from a lot of the Fortune 500 companies, as you are aware, Secretary, they are benefiting from a weaker dollar abroad. And there seems to be this sort of cabal that thinks you and the president like that weaker dollar. Do you?
EVANS: Neil, you know I don’t talk about the dollar. Never have and never will. But...
CAVUTO: See, I always figure if I rephrase it a couple of times, you might.
EVANS: Right, no.
EVANS: Not going to happen. Not going to happen.
But corporate America, in fact, the stock market is reflecting that businesses across America are doing much better. That’s also a good indication for job creation. Profits were over $1 trillion in the third quarter, that’s the highest level ever for corporate profits in our history. That leads to more job creation, more job security.
I think it is also important, Neil, to always point out in terms of how the American worker and family is benefiting, disposable income was up in the first nine months of the year, some 6.3 percent. So, not is only job security continuing to improve and job creation is improving, but disposable income is also increasing.
CAVUTO: You know, Secretary, there are a lot of people on Wall Street -- we just had a financial segment a little while ago where Wall Street welcomes a Dean Democratic nomination, Howard Dean getting that, because it should be a walk for the president, or so this largely Republican bastion thinks. Do you think Wall Street and maybe some in your own administration are getting overconfident that it is Dean and you could smash him like a bug?
EVANS: Well, I’m sure the president is not overconfident, I’m sure I’m not overconfident. I think this is going to be a very close campaign, but we’re going to continue throughout the course of the year to stay focused on job creation and continuing to improve this economy.
The president’s record clearly speaks for itself. I mean, you see what’s happening on job creation, what is happening to this economy. This country is more secure now than it was before, and so, the president’s record speaks for itself. But, no, we’re not taking anything for granted, I assure you.
CAVUTO: All right, Secretary Evans, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.
EVANS: Thank you, Neil, great to be with you.
CAVUTO: Don Evans, the commerce secretary of the United States.
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