August 8: Republican California State Senator Tom McClintock Explains Why He Is The Best Man To Replace Gray Davis

This is a partial transcript of Special Report with Brit Hume, August 8, that has been edited for clarity. Click here to order the complete transcript.

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TONY SNOW, GUEST HOST: It's going to be a wild and wooly couple of days when it comes to the situation in California. FOX News has just learned that Peter Yubaroff will, in fact, announce his candidacy to become California governor. GOP strategist Dan Schner has passed on that word.

Now, Yubaroff says he would only serve out the remainder of Gray Davis' (search) term and would have advisers from both Democratic (search) and Republican (search) parties. He would run as an Independent but appear on the Republican side of the ballot. There not be a public announcement, we're told, but instead a statement that should be released within the next few hours.

Meanwhile, California Republican state Senator Tom McClintock has formally declared his candidacy. He did it Tuesday and he does want to replace California Governor Gray Davis and joins us now from our bureau in Los Angeles.

McClintock Senator, you're one of three named Republicans now who appears to be running: you, Bill Simon, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And obviously everybody thinks Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lock, at least from the Republican side. Why are you different from him and why would you make a better governor?

TOM MCCLINTOCK, R-Calif., STATE SENATOR: Well, what separates me from all the other candidates is 20 years in the public policy arena in Sacramento, fighting for precisely those reforms that the public is now realizing are absolutely essential, if we're going to restore the state's finances and restore the state's economy and its public works.

SNOW: Well, in other words, you are going to try to cut on spending and taxes.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, not try. Not try, do. Lets me give you an example. Within minutes of taking the Oath of Office, I'll be signing the executive orders rescinding Davis' tripling of the car tax. If he can claim that he has the authority to raise that tax by fiat, then I can claim exactly the same authority to lower it right back down by fiat.

SNOW: Well, I understand that and that would be popular among Republicans. I'm not sure that it would be any different than what your Republican competitors, however, would have in mind.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, actually, I'm the one who first introduced the measures to abolish California's car tax. When Gray Davis tripled the tax, I filed the initiative to abolish that tax completely. We began the signature gathering process on August the 12. Just with the executive authority of the governor, I can reduce that tax by the same amount that the current governor increased it and I will do that in the first minutes of the new administration.

SNOW: Now, look, Arnold Schwarzenegger (search), well known. Everybody knows him. Some people, obviously your constituents, your colleagues in Sacramento know you. But again, the obvious questions to folks watching around the country is why does Tom McClintock think he can get more votes than Arnold Schwarzenegger?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, Tony, I was the top Republican vote getter in the elections last year, running down ticket for state controller, I received 103,000 votes more now than our nominee for governor. So I know that I'm bringing into this campaign a very solid core base of support. I was outspent in that election by a five to one margin. So I know the core base of support will be there.

And what's going on in California is somewhat unique. It is one of the great strengths of a Democracy that when it finds itself in crisis, you find an awful lot of common citizens rising to the occasion, sensing a common danger, putting aside their own domestic cares and pleasures and taking an active role in political involvement, many for the first time in their lives.

This is a very serious public policy discussion going on in California, despite all the glitz and glamour that you see in the national media. This is about the future of this state. It is an historic turning point. It's the first time in 92 years that we've had the recall in the state Constitution that a governor has been subjected to that recall. There's something very historic going on here in California and I don't think that the national press really fully appreciates the grassroots nature of this policy discussion.

SNOW: Well, but part of the problem is that they think elected officials, you're one of them, have betrayed them. They haven't listened to them. They've raised taxes, as you just pointed out, the governor by fiat, tripling the car tax. They've spent like crazy. They have covered up what's going on in the budget. At least that's the allegation against Gray Davis. And there may be resentment of everybody in the political class, including you. How do you avoid that?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, Tony, I've been in the minority of the state legislature, sometimes a lone voice fighting against exactly those tax increases and runaway budgets that you've mentioned. Now, Winston Churchill (search) was in the Parliament for many years while they were embarked upon a ruinous policy of appeasement, he was a lone voice then. I've been a lone voice in the legislature now. What is happening is I'm now being joined by millions of Californians.

SNOW: Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger should drop out?

MCCLINTOCK: Oh, no; on the contrary. First of all, I think that this has to be a political discussion that involves all parts of the political spectrum. This is a very, very important thing that's going on here and everybody needs to be represented. Also, I think Arnold Schwarzenegger brings a national spotlight to focus on California's public policy debate.

SNOW: Well, if that's the case, why wouldn't you drop out and let him carry the ball?

MCCLINTOCK: Because I think I represent a very different approach to state government than he does. I want to begin the reforms that are necessary to…well, just to give you an example. We have…we are now spending the largest portion of people's earnings than at any time in history and delivering nothing. I, for years, have been proposing a series of reforms, classroom-based budgeting, for example. Prepaid refundable tax credits to replace our bureaucratized health system. A large range of reforms, including contracting out for services that will save the state $9 billion according to the Reason Foundation.

These are reforms that I have been fighting for many, many years. And now, I think, the political climate has arrived where we can actually get them enacted. And I believe these are reforms that we've not heard anything from Arnold Schwarzenegger on.

SNOW: All right.

MCCLINTOCK: Not to say…look, you know, I'm sure he could teach me a great deal about movie making. I can teach him a great deal about fiscal reform. We don't have time to train a new governor.

SNOW: And we're out of time. Tom McClintock, thanks.

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