Newt Gingrich, Former House Speaker

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, March 4, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Is the president's economic message then getting through? Let's ask former House Speaker and now I'm very happy to say FOX contributor Newt Gingrich.

Newt, what do you think, is it getting through?

NEWT GINGRICH, FMR. HOUSE SPEAKER, FOX CONTRIBUTOR: Neil, I don't think there is any question that more and more people are looking at particularly the repeal of the taxation of dividends, and beginning to call their senators, call their House members. If you notice, people like Senator Grassley, the chairman of the Finance Committee in the Senate, a very important member, who was very skeptical back in January, and now is much more favorable to idea of repealing the double taxation of dividends.  I think as more people are reminded that it is their personal money, it is their interest, they get to keep the money, for their family, I think you will see even more phone calls coming in to both Republicans and Democrats.

CAVUTO: You know, it is interesting, it depends obviously on with whom you chat, Newt, but, it does seem a feeling that the president might get his way on speeding up those income tax rate reductions, maybe he'll have a tougher sell with upper income folks than he will with the dividend tax cuts. Where do you think this all goes?

GINGRICH: Look, I think it is always easier for Washington to pass a short term stimulus and try to get something simple done. But the president showed great courage in coming out for the repeal of the double taxation of dividends. There is no question that it would help the economy over time dramatically, in a significant way. It would lead to better behavior by corporate CEOs, who would then be much more accountable to stockholders about getting money back to them. And I my hunch is by end of the year you will see a repeal. I think the president has a winning hand. I think once the war in Iraq is over, if the war does occur, I think at that point, you will see the president turn and really focus intensely on the Congress, on the American people. And this an issue where millions of people, including an awful lot of senior citizens, a majority of the dividends go to senior citizens. I think that will have impact on the Washington officials.

CAVUTO: Well, you know, it is interesting, I talked too lot of those pretty high up Washington officials over the last week or so, Newt, and the strategy among Republicans seems to be something like this: that the war goes the president's way, if indeed it comes to war, as you said, and that his poll ratings rocket up. And he uses that essentially as currency to push through this package. That is a big assumption, a big if. Is it smart?

GINGRICH: Well, I think, you know, President Bush honestly deeply believes that Saddam Hussein is a danger to every American. And so I think President Bush is now committed to a path that Saddam is either going to leave peacefully or by American and British and other military action.

CAVUTO: Yeah. But what I'm saying there, really, is that he uses the surge in popularity. I'm being very crass here, but to the point. And then uses that to sell a still controversial tax package.

GINGRICH: Well, I think it's more than popularity, it is authority.  I think if we have a successful campaign, if we have done the job we need to do, if oil prices then start back down, the president will be in a very strong position to turn to the Congress. Remember that he played a major role in returning the Republicans to a majority status the Senate. I think every one of those freshmen members in the Senate Republicans believe that President Bush was a key to their victory. He really helped Speaker Hastert keep control of the House. So I think that there will be a bias to help the president once they turn back to domestic policy and lay the base.  And frankly from a Republican perspective, they have to get the economy growing, and they have to go into 2004 with some significant momentum economically. And looking at the current economic numbers, you would be far better off to risk overstimulation and dealing with inflation in 2005, than you would be to pass nothing and run the risk of this economy still not being in very good shape in 2004.

CAVUTO: Newt, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

GINGRICH: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Newt Gingrich in Washington.

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