This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," November 7, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Get-tough-on-illegals Mayor Lou Barletta just winning reelection by a landslide in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, a sign cracking down on illegals won't hurt GOP presidential candidates in '08.
Well, let's ask him.
Mayor, welcome. Congratulations.
LOUIS BARLETTA, MAYOR OF HAZLETON, PENNSYLVANIA: Thank, Neil. We're glad to be here with you today.
CAVUTO: You were under enormous heat for your get-tough policies, some of whom were saying that you were circumventing Uncle Sam. You said, Uncle Sam was dropping the ball. And away you went. And away the voters went for you.
A signal, you think?
BARLETTA: I think it is. I think it is obvious that the country is looking for leaders who are not afraid to stand up for the American people, both in the primary, where I won with 85 percent of the vote on the Republican side, and also beat the Democrat, the former mayor of Hazleton, on a write-in campaign by a 2-1 margin, and, in this election, won by 90 percent, with 90 percent of the vote.
I think it is very clear what the American people want.
CAVUTO: You know, I have already heard people saying, run this guy for Senate. Have they been talking to you?
BARLETTA: Well, you know, I am very happy being the mayor of Hazleton right now. And I realize that we need to continue this fight all the way to the Supreme Court. It's that important.
And I think our action, our leadership in Hazleton has caused other mayors and — and elected officials around the country to take a step forward and not be afraid to stand up for what the will of the people are. And I think that is what we will see in the presidential election next year.
CAVUTO: All right.
Mayor, as you know, Senator Hillary Clinton ran into a buzz saw last week on this very issue, when she then grudgingly, later, said she agreed with the New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's plan to offer driver licenses to illegals.
Is this an issue that bites the Democrats?
BARLETTA: I think it does very much. And it will — I think it will be very transparent when the — when we get to the general election, with the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. The American people want action. The federal government has failed us, which has caused cities like Hazleton to have to stand up and defend ourselves.
I truly believe that the country is looking for leaders who will do just that, stand up for the will of the American people. And illegal immigration is at the top of that list.
CAVUTO: Well, it was certainly a defining issue in your race, Mayor. But it was also a defining issue in the 2006 midterm campaign. And Republicans were — were shot down. And many said that, maybe nationally, this was not the big issue some thought, or — or a lot of key Republicans would have survived. And they did not.
What do you say?
BARLETTA: Well, I disagree. I believe it is at the top of the list. I believe the average American can now see how illegal immigration is affecting them, when a city like Hazleton — it's in northeastern Pennsylvania — has to stand up and defend itself, when it's is affecting our health care, our education system, our ability to provide municipal services, when it's causing a burden on — on the taxpayers.
Action needs to be taken. And, again, we need that to start in Washington. And — and that is what the American people are looking for. And I think my election — I think how the people are responding to that message is a clear indication of what the American people are expecting.
CAVUTO: I'm curious. And I don't know this, Mayor. Maybe you do. What was your percentage of the Hispanic vote?
BARLETTA: I am not certain. I am not certain.
But, you know, Neil, what is — what is amazing — and it does not get reported as much as it should — that a large portion of that Hispanic population actually supports what I am doing, those that are in the country legally, that want their tax dollars to be spent on them, that want their children to have the education that they should be getting, and not have some of the money and resources diverted to those who are — are in the classroom who would not be. They see the difference.
CAVUTO: Well, I agree. We have had them here, Mayor. And, apparently, you are right about that.
Mayor, again, congratulations. We will be following your career very, very closely.
BARLETTA: Thank you.
CAVUTO: Mayor Lou Barletta, who a lot of people are saying, go, baby, go, for even higher office. We shall see.
Mayor, again, thank you.
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