Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 25, 2002, 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: Arizona Senator John McCain has long been critical of Saudi Arabia and the country's reported friendship, now given the added fuel of this princess and what she meant to do with that moulah. From Phoenix, Arizona, joining us now Senator John McCain.

Senator, good to see you.


CAVUTO: What you make of this whole Saudi situation?

MCCAIN: Well, I don't think it is in any way likely that the wife of the Saudi ambassador would be intentionally funding a terrorist organization, that is just not within the realm of imagination. But the problem here is that the Saudis have made a Faustian bargain with the radical Islamic fundamentalists. They continue to fund the radical organizations, the madrasses that take these kids off the street and teach them to hate America. They have been playing this game for a long time. And they are going to have to pay the price. These kind of bargains at some point have to pay up.

CAVUTO: How do you pay up?

MCCAIN: Well, I think they risk being overthrown. I also think that their relationship with the United States is tenuous or will become tenuous at best.

CAVUTO: So what do we do to convey that?

MCCAIN: I think we ought to advocate a strongly as possible democratization, respect for the rights of women, the same thing we are demanding in Iraq and we're demanding in Afghanistan. I think we ought to say that we fully expect the process of democratization that's similar to that taking place in some of the smaller countries in the area. And look, 15 of the 19 terrorists of September 11 were Saudi citizens, they've never apologized for that. They whisked the family of Usama bin Laden out of the United States. For months they refuse to even give us the manifest of passengers and Saudi Arabian planes that came into this country.

CAVUTO: So you don't trust them?

MCCAIN: Of course not. Of course I don't trust them. And this equivocation on Iraq, remember 11 years ago, we basically saved them from an invasion by Saddam Hussein. Now, there is no clear answer as to whether we will be allowed to use their bases or their airspace in the event of another conflict in Iraq. So...

CAVUTO: Could I switch gears, Senator.

MCCAIN: Go ahead, sure.

CAVUTO: This conflict or argument you have been having with Rush Limbaugh, what is the deal there?

MCCAIN: I am not having any argument with him. I was asked about Senator Daschle's comments about Mr. Limbaugh. I said, look, I think he is an entertainer. I think he's a fine entertainer. I view him like I do a circus clown. And that got some immediate reaction. And I want to tell you, Neil, I regret that statement because my office has been flooded with angry phone calls from circus clowns all over America. They resent that comparison and so I would like to extend my apologize to Bozo, Chuckles and Krusty.

CAVUTO: You don't like him, why don't you like him?

MCCAIN: I don't dislike him. I think he's an entertainer.

CAVUTO: Because he just picks on you on the show?

MCCAIN: Nah, listen. I don't pay any attention to it. I don't dislike him at all. I think he is a entertainer. He provides a great deal of entertainment, and as I say, I apologize to circus clowns all over America.

CAVUTO: Well, in all seriousness, Senator, a lot of Republicans interpret the kind of response that you get on when they talk about on Rush Limbaugh's show, that you are not really a true, loyal Republican. And that is why he picks on you, what do you say to that?

MCCAIN: Listen, everybody is entitled to their opinions. I'm a tough guy. I've been criticized by a lot of people, and I've been praised by a number of people too. I keep doing my job, and frankly, I can't pay much attention to that kind of criticism. And as I say, talk show is good for America, talk radio and talk television is very good for America. And the liberals now are complaining that they do not have a counter voice. And I say to the liberals, get yourself a Rush Limbaugh, get yourself somebody who advocates...

CAVUTO: If you were at a dinner, say, and you bumped into Rush Limbaugh, you wouldn't slug him, would you? What would you do?

MCCAIN: I would say, hey, how are you doing? Good to see you.

CAVUTO: Really?

MCCAIN: I don't have any personal animosity towards...

CAVUTO: But you wouldn't mention the clown thing again, would you?

MCCAIN: I would say I do view you not as a circus clown, but like a circus clown, you're an entertainer. But I won't do that anymore because I've...

CAVUTO: But if took offense to that?

MCCAIN: Well, frankly, I won't do it anymore because I've offended the circus clowns.

CAVUTO: You've made it abundantly clear, Senator, how you feel about both clowns and Rush Limbaugh. Good seeing you.


MCCAIN: We have got to have fun, Neil.

CAVUTO: I see, I see. Sir, thank you very much.

MCCAIN: Thanks.

CAVUTO: Senator John McCain in Phoenix, Arizona.

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