This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 2, 2004, that was edited for clarity.
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STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: Mr. Card, those were very big employment gains in the month of March. Are you confident, though, that this is a trend and that it's got legs that will carry us through the rest of the year?
ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, all of the economic indicators are pointing in the right direction. And clearly, we've seen a growth of three-quarters of a million jobs since January, February, March, and that's terrific.
We're pleased with the numbers. We will not be satisfied until everyone who's looking for a job in America finds a job. But these are very significant numbers. It's directionally very correct, and we're building on the solid work that's been done by the president in helping to cut taxes and to create higher consumer confidence.
VARNEY: The Kerry campaign is still pounding away on the issue of Mr. Bush's watch losing 2.3, 2.5 million jobs so far. Are you confident that those jobs will be back in America by the election?
CARD: Well, we're not going to stop working until everyone who wants a job can find a job.
And you know, we were faced with a recession when we took office. We had a crisis in confidence with the attacks on September 11, and then corporate governance scandals. And we had to build up to go to war in Iraq.
So overcoming all of that and still having an economy that is poised to do very well. Again, the foundation is solid, and every economic indicator, almost without exception, is pointing in the direction of growth.
VARNEY: Outsourcing is clearly a very contentious issue at the moment. Does the administration have a plan in hand to combat the export of high tech jobs, service jobs, overseas?
CARD: Well, we know that American workers and American business people are the best in the world, and we'd like to be able to compete with the world. So we're not looking to the economic isolationism -- looking for economic isolationism. We want to compete with other around the world in open markets of opportunity.
But we think the best jobs in the world are right here in America, and we're going to do everything we can to create more of them.
VARNEY: Is outsourcing a bad thing? Or is it a good thing for the American economy?
CARD: Well, it may be a reality. If you're going to compete in the global economy, you're going to have to compete around the world. And we're going to make sure American workers have a place to work in this country so that we can be competitive with the world.
VARNEY: Gas prices, at $2 a gallon, that's another contentious issue which may play a role in this election. I take it you are jawboning the Saudis, so to speak, to do something about oil production?
CARD: Well, the president has been working on the diplomatic front with quiet diplomacy. And we're optimistic that some of those great suppliers around the world will not turn the spigots off and will open them up so that we can get more supply into the market.
We know there's a lot of demand around the world. The Chinese are increasing their demand for oil.
But the president is concerned with high energy costs. We wish that the Senate had passed the energy bill last year or the year before. We'd like to see an energy bill passed this year so we don't have to face high energy costs in the future.
But we're going to do everything we can to try to bring energy costs down. And I was pleased that the Saudis did indicate that they were going to keep their supplies coming and try to have targeted price in the $22-28 a barrel range with the targeted rate of $25 a barrel.
VARNEY: In your view, what's the biggest negative about the U.S. economy right now?
CARD: Well, I think that it continues to be -- that people are talking down the economy, one that's all -- headed in the right direction. I think consumers are starting to respond very well to the opportunities that have come, because they have more money in their pockets. The tax cuts are helping.
We also know that the rebuilding of confidence in our corporate leadership is helping to restore confidence in markets and in finding more investors. And we'd like to see that to continue.
We know that we cannot afford to shut ourselves off from the world. So we do not want to see economic isolationism. And we want to create a climate of growth. And the president's working hard to have a growth so that people at home will have more money to spend on their families and meet the needs of the, you know, kids going to school or people going to work or getting education.
VARNEY: How do we get the budget deficit down? It's likely to hit, what, $500 billion this fiscal year. How do you get that down?
CARD: By having good fiscal responsibility practiced by Congress. The president submitted a good, solid budget to Congress. And if they follow that budget, we'll reduce the deficit in half within five years.
He's also caused for us not to allow for excessive spending in bills like the highway bill. And he said if there is excessive spending in that bill, he'll veto the bill.
So I think we have to be fiscally responsible, recognizing that we have a war to win. And we are at war. And he'll do everything he can to win that war. He'll do everything he can to stimulate more economic activity. He does not want to see government grow just to grow.
VARNEY: I just want to return to that point about jobs. Your plan now is that we will, indeed, see two million new jobs created, recreated if you like, this year before the election or by the election?
CARD: Well, I'm not going to put a number to it, but I can tell you we're not going to be satisfied until everyone who's looking for a job has a job.
And that's why we're working so hard to lower the cost of energy, lower the cost of health care. We're looking to increase more opportunities for investment. We'd like the people to have more stake in what they are doing. So giving them their own money, keeping the tax rate low. And making sure that we don't isolate ourselves from the markets around the world so that we can produce things that can be sold in other places.
VARNEY: White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, thanks for joining us, sir.
CARD: Thank you, Stuart. Good to be with you.
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