Can Lynn Swann Win One for the GOP?

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," June 6, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, one guy the Republicans certainly have their very high hopes for is former Pittsburgh Steeler and Hall of Famer Lynn Swann. While an underdog in the Pennsylvania race for governor thus far, Swann is among a handful very prominent African-Americans running for high office on the GOP ticket. But can Swann beat Ed Rendell, the current governor and very popular former head of the DNC?

With us now, Lynn Swann. Good to have you.


CAVUTO: Well, you're a rock star here.


CAVUTO: When you came in, you got more attention than any of our guests have gotten.

SWANN: Well, name recognition has its — you know, has its value...


SWANN: ...has its positives.

CAVUTO: I was told, at a lot of your rallies, Lynn, that's what — you get a lot of curious Democrats who wouldn't necessarily be politically pulling for you, but they're interested to see a celebrity.

SWANN: Well, I think there is some curiosity. And — and there is some interest in — in looking at the other party, and certainly some interest because of what I have done in the past, you know, playing for the Steelers, 28 years in broadcasting at ABC Sports. Don't want to second- change that long career. But I...

CAVUTO: Yes. ABC is a network, right?

SWANN: Yes. Yes. It's, you know...



SWANN: ... sports and things like that.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you, though, you — you could have chosen — an easier route for African-Americans, political candidates especially, is to become a Democrat. You chose not to. Why?

SWANN: Well, first of all, it's a choice.

I mean, what — what's freedom in this country if you — if you don't have real choice? And to — to say that I could have had an easier road as a Democrat running for an office, you know, where is it that African- American Democrats have been able to run successfully with party backing for governor?

We have had one governor in the history of this country — country who is an African-American governor, Wilder in Virginia, once, once only. So, you look at...

CAVUTO: But why is it 90 percent of African-Americans — maybe 89 percent — in the last election voted for John Kerry?

SWANN: Well, I — I think, you know, there's — you know, there is history, in terms of why most African-Americans, or the majority of African-Americans, are Democrats, in terms of other issues and policies in — in the '50s and the '60s. But...

CAVUTO: What do you tell them when they — you have to explain, I'm with the Republicans?

SWANN: Well, I think it's — I think it's — it's just a straightforward issue.

We have choices. And my beliefs and where I am, I have chosen to be a Republican. I am black. I'm a black man who happens to be a Republican. And, so, we need to have that choice. We need to have the options to be able to move forward.

You know, I think, certainly, you know, education is a fundamental tool for all of us to be able to grow and prosper and to achieve our dreams. Part of that also for our community is to have financial power, to obtain wealth, and to have political influence as a group. You can't do that if you are on one side of the aisle constantly. I think we have to certainly be represented by both Republicans and Democrats. And I have chosen to be a Republican.

CAVUTO: Do you think the president's poll numbers hurt you?

SWANN: Well, I think, certainly, people will look to that to see what happens. I think we focus on the race in Pennsylvania and the issues that are important to Pennsylvanians.

We talk about property tax, where, over the last 30 years, Pennsylvanians have wanted property tax reform. And there's been promises of property tax reform. I have offered new reform in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We look at economic growth and job development. We are on the bottom rung of the 50 states when it comes to job growth. And we need to do better than that.

And, so, I offered the plan back in October that talked about more than $1 billion worth of tax relief for job creators, a historic reduction in tax rates in Pennsylvania. And that was back in October.

So, I think I have plans and ideas that will allow Pennsylvania to be more competitive and to grow and to be better. And I think that's going to be our focus.

CAVUTO: You going to debate Rendell?

SWANN: Absolutely. I mean, we need to talk about the issues.

CAVUTO: Has he said he will debate you?

SWANN: Well, we haven't really talked to each other about it, but I'm certain we will.


Well, you could always try — you know, try an arm-wrestling match or something.


CAVUTO: All right.

Lynn Swann, very good seeing you. We will see how the election unfolds.

SWANN: Thank you.

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