This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," September 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Now to Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, independent Democrat, big McCain supporter.
Senator Lieberman, what do you make of — of Senator McCain suspending his campaign, urging Barack Obama to do the same?
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Well, Neil, this is, in a nutshell, why I support John McCain for president.
This is the John McCain I have come to know here as a senator for 20 years. Whenever there's a crisis, whenever things are not coming together, whenever it gets to be partisan, but something has to be done for the country, he's almost always at the center of bringing it together and making it happen.
He's a leader. And — and this is a gutsy act of leadership, get off the campaign trail, stop talking about the economic crisis, come back and make it happen.
And, right now, I see both an urgent need for us to act as soon as we can, but not the votes to make it happen. Harry Reid said to me last...
CAVUTO: Well, obviously, this hasn't been — maybe no one told the people at Ole Miss who are going to host this event, sir. They're saying, right now, that the Obama-McCain debate is going ahead as planned, on Friday, even though we got indications from the McCain folks that was not the case.
I mean, do you know what is the case? Because I'm, frankly, confused.
LIEBERMAN: I — I — Neil, I don't know the details of that.
I think John McCain's focus, here, is to come back to Washington and work with Republicans and Democrats to get an agreement that both rescues our economy from a disaster, perhaps a depression, and yet does it an a way that doesn't give a blank check to either the Treasury Department or Wall Street.
And, right now, the votes are not there for that package, but we need urgently need it. And John McCain's leadership is what can make this happen.
I will tell you this. Harry Reid said to me last night, "We can't and we will not pass this package without Republican support."
Speaker Pelosi announced that she will not do this on her own with Democrats. It needs Republican support.
John McCain is the one person who can bring Republicans and Democrats together, here, in the national interest. So, you know, I think a debate on foreign policy Friday night is important, but not as important as saving America from economic disaster.
CAVUTO: So, you would switch — all right. If — if there were a debate, you would maybe switch it to domestic policy?
LIEBERMAN: I will tell you the truth, I don't — nobody has talked to me about this.
LIEBERMAN: I don't know what the McCain campaign is doing — McCain campaign is doing.
But I would say it's more important for John McCain and Barack Obama to be here in Washington as part of a solution to this economic crisis...
LIEBERMAN: ... than being at a debate about any subject.
And, you know, if all goes well, we could get this done by this weekend, and then the debate can happen Sunday, Monday, whatever, some time next week, and at Ole Miss, because they deserve it.
CAVUTO: All right. Yes, Ole Miss will hopefully get it done, one way or the other.
Senator, you said you talked to Harry Reid. I'm happy to hear that, because I thought he had hired food-tasters, but...
CAVUTO: So, that's good, that you guys are still talking.
LIEBERMAN: Well, I — we just talked. I didn't eat the food, now.
CAVUTO: You didn't taste anything.
CAVUTO: And I know he's saying that he needs Republican supporters, but, apparently, he has since made a reference to this McCain move to go back to Washington and said the debate should go on, not these type of "political stunts."
What do you make of that?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I don't think it's a political stunt.
I think Harry Reid has said, and Nancy Pelosi has said — and they're right — they're not going to pass this without Republican support. And John McCain is the person who can get Republican support for an economic rescue for America.
So, I would think they would welcome him back.
CAVUTO: I'm sorry, Senator, just to be clear here, what happened over — it seems to me, particularly the last 24 hours, where this thing looked from, like, a grudgingly passable deal to no deal — you know, I heard a lot of senators, a lot of representatives, of both parties, Senator, saying, I don't love this. It's not my cup of tea, but I will swallow hard and deal with it, to, today, no, dead end.
I think what's happened is that the American people, who are anxious about their life savings, their jobs, are now angry about a $700 billion blank-check bailout to Wall Street, which is the way they see it. And they're calling members of Congress...
CAVUTO: Do you see it — do you see it that way?
LIEBERMAN: Here's the way I see it.
We have got to rescue our economy. It's going to cost us money. But we've got to adopt some of the conditions that Senator McCain has said we have to have. We have got to limit executive compensation at these Wall Street firms. We have got to have oversight. We have — we have got to make sure that we get some ownership stake for taxpayers in the companies we help bail out, so, when they come back, it will be the taxpayers that benefit, not just the CEOs of those companies.
We can put this together, and we have got to put it together. Senator McCain has said very clearly that there is no excuse for inaction. This has to happen, or else we could be facing a depression, people losing their life savings, their jobs, you know, unable to buy a car because they can't get a loan.
I mean, this is the kind...
CAVUTO: All right.
LIEBERMAN: ... of economic disaster that we have not seen in our time. And we can stop it.
LIEBERMAN: So, John McCain and Barack Obama need to be here in Washington.
CAVUTO: All right, two pieces of news broken, here, with you, Senator Lieberman, what Senator McCain's up to, and the fact that you and Harry Reid talked on the telephone.
CAVUTO: So, that's interesting.
LIEBERMAN: Well, it was actually face-to-face on the Senate floor.
CAVUTO: Oh, it was face-to-face?
LIEBERMAN: I want to give you the full picture.
CAVUTO: Oh, all right. So, there were no cream pies or anything like that?
LIEBERMAN: No cream pies.
CAVUTO: All right.
LIEBERMAN: But, again, I did not eat. I want to make that clear.
CAVUTO: Senator Joe Lieberman, thank you very much.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you.
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