You Decide 2004: Terror and Taxes

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto", March 3, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, fair and balanced now. You heard what a top Democrat had to say about the presidential race.

Right now, let’s hear what a top Republican has to say. I’m talking about the former treasury secretary of these United States for the president’s father, George Bush Sr., Nicholas Brady.

Secretary, always good to have you.


CAVUTO: All right, essentially, Alan Patricof was saying, it’s Kerry’s race to lose, that he is a formidable campaigner, he’s no Michael Dukakis, and he is going to clean the president’s clock. What say you?

BRADY: Well, I mean, I don’t know whether he is Michael Dukakis or not, but we’ve had six months of attacks by the opposition and really very little from the president.

Now Kerry is head-to-head with the president. And I don’t think for a minute that this race is a shoo-in for Kerry. I think George Bush will win.

CAVUTO: All right, now, tax cuts are going to be a big theme, I think, in this election. And one of the things that Kerry wants to do is rescind the tax cut for the upper-income folks, the $200,000-and-over folks. How is the president going to handle that?

BRADY: Well, I don’t know precisely.

But if I were advising him, I would turn to Senator Kerry and say, job creation is what we have before us, is the main issue in this country, and are you here to tell me that cutting -- I mean raising capital gains taxes is going to create more jobs? Why so? It is going to do just the reverse.

I mean, a cut in the capital gains tax is largely responsible for the increase in the economy we have seen in the last nine months.

CAVUTO: But what if he turns it around and says, all right, Mr. President, I don’t see this stellar growth in jobs that you are talking about?

BRADY: Well, the truth of the matter is, right now, the last five months has produced an increase in jobs. And I think that the information I have heard about this next month is good, too. So I don’t think he’ll have that box to stand on. I really don’t.

CAVUTO: Does it matter to you or to Republicans who the running mate for the Democrat would be? Let’s say John Edwards got that job. Would it make it a more prohibitive ticket?

BRADY: Well, the statistic I have always heard is that the most any vice president ever helped a president is something about 2 percent. Most of them don’t help much at all. So I don’t really think so, but it might help a little bit, but it’s not going to make the difference.

CAVUTO: As a former...

BRADY: Kerry is the guy that has got to stand up.


CAVUTO: He’s -- right. It’s the top guy.

BRADY: Sure.

CAVUTO: As a former treasury secretary, you have got to be looking at the numbers right now. They have been steadily improving. Jobs is a bit of a lag right now. How much of an issue will jobs be come November?

BRADY: I think jobs will be an issue. And I don’t think there is any question about it. But I think the trend is going to be very good. It has already started to be good.

And this idea of increasing the capital gains tax, I don’t think you are going to hear as much of that in the general election, as you did in the primaries.

CAVUTO: This is really kind of a psychological set of questions, but I want to ask you anyway. They say that Kerry is very sensitive to criticism. He kind of freaks out when he gets criticism, kind of gets his dander up, maybe acts Italian, I don’t know. Do you think that that is what the Republicans will try to exploit to try to get his goat?

BRADY: I don’t really think they’ll concentrate on that, Neil. They’ll concentrate on his record. As the president has said, he’s been on both sides of every question in his voting in the Senate. There is not an issue that he has had to take a position on that he hasn’t changed his mind on.

And so I think you’ll get what you have seen so far. You were here then. Now you are over here. What do you think, Senator Kerry? Which issue is correct? Why did you change your mind? Presidents don’t get a chance to change their mind. They make their mind up. They pick a program. They go.

CAVUTO: How do you think Wall Street will be looking in November?

BRADY: Well, I don’t know.

I don’t hear -- as you can hear, Alan Patricof was here, so you get people on both sides, Neil. I don’t think that is going to -- I don’t think the public in general cares much about what Wall Street feels about this election. They are worried about jobs, and they are worried about Iraq, and I think this president is really qualified to carry on.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised, real quickly, the polls are as tight as they are?

BRADY: Sure, in the sense that -- but not really, I should say, because you have had six months of criticism. Now let’s see how -- what happens when Senator Kerry gets into focus.

CAVUTO: All right, Nicholas Brady, the former treasury secretary of these United States.

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