'It's Time for a Change'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is going to get really ugly, really ugly. Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison made it official today she is running for governor of Texas.

The senator though is taking on Governor Rick Perry who is also a Republican. Now you can see how this could be rather awkward.

Senator Hutchison went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: You are taking on Governor Perry who is in your own party.

It looks like there will be blood on the floor in this race.

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, R - TEXAS: Yes, it does not have to be that way, but I think there are real differences in our approach, and what I would want to do for the future of Texas, and I have a record of voting for tax cuts and promoting tax cuts, and we are going to talk about his record of increasing taxes.

So I think that it is important that we do this. I am very committed to it and very excited about the response I am getting.

VAN SUSTEREN: Talking about response, though, right away -- you made your announcement today, and right out of the gate Governor Perry and his team come out swinging.

They call you the ultimate Washington insider. They say you violated, ignored, and flip-flopped on virtually every promise you made voters, that you championed the budget-busting $700 federal bailout. They came swinging at you already.

HUTCHISON: Of course. They have been swinging really since the first of the year. I just think it is time for a change. I think we need to change the tone of politics.

And, really, Greta, the Republican Party has been shrinking in the last 10 years under Governor Perry's. We're two away from losing the Texas House of Representatives. We are losing every major metropolitan area in Texas except one, and that is not a record that I want to continue.

VAN SUSTEREN: My guess is that as a fellow Republican that you probably voted for Governor Perry. So what has changed your mind?

HUTCHISON: First of all, he has not tried to build the Republican Party, and that is why it is deteriorated. He has not been a leader in cutting taxes and in trying to make sure that we keep a good business climate going forward.

He actually instituted a very big business tax, and our property taxes have gone up. I want to tackle that. I think we can. I think we can bring taxes down in Texas.

At the same time, I think that we must get better education and we must have a transportation system that is planning for the future and not a system of toll roads that is going to eat up all of the revenue that we have that I think we should be using more wisely.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is an awkward? Because I would imagine that you guys are sort of friends or that you have been hanging out in the same group. Is it at all awkward to challenge the sitting governor of your own party?

HUTCHISON: Well, I didn't expect him to run again. No one did. No one should be trying to run for governor for 14 years. That's too much control, it's too many appointments. He controls every agency, every board, every commission. And I didn't expect him to run to try to do 14 years, and neither did anyone else.

But I tried to help the party last time when I was considering running, because I thought that really he had had enough time. But I did not. I really did not want to hurt the party. I did not want the strife.

But this time, after getting out there and beginning to make the preparations to run, he jumped in, and there is no way that I feel that I should back off because, frankly, I think that he will take the party down, and I think it is time to rebuild the Republican Party.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, let me talk about the social conservatives in your party, because they're re has been a lot about that, that he'll get the social conservative. What's your position on right to life, pro-choice? I think he's trying to get you right between the eyes on that one.

HUTCHISON: Well, I think he is going for a social conservative base, but I think what he is doing, unfortunately, Greta, is trying to narrow the base, and he is, I think, using harsh rhetoric, and it is very off-putting to many mainstream Republicans. And I do not think that is necessary at all.

I have a 94 percent right-to-life lifetime reading. I think that shows that I do care about life, that I want to have more adoptions, that I want to have, certainly, reverence for life.

But to use harsh rhetoric that then says to people, "We do not want you to be Republican unless you are with us 100 percent on every issue." Well, you know, mothers and daughters are not the same on every issue, fathers and sons. We cannot build a party around 100 percent agreement. That's ridiculous. I want to build the party.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator -- good luck, senator, and I think this could be a fascinating race to watch. And like I said, I bet there will be blood on the floor on this one, and we'll all be watching.

HUTCHISON: There does not have to be.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's going to be. It will be an exciting race to watch, and we're going to be following it. Thank you, senator.

HUTCHISON: Thank you.


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