Tom McClintock, California Gubernatorial Candidate

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This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 22, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: As the arguments continue in San Francisco over whether to proceed with the date of the recall, we turn to a guy who is near the leader in many polls. He’s California State Senator Tom McClintock (search) who joins us now from Sacramento.

Senator, thank you for joining us.


CAVUTO: If we ultimately look at the October 7 election, you’ve been moving up very quickly in the latest polls. Do you think that Mr. Schwarzenegger then should drop out of the race?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, I think the voters will sort that out very nicely as we get toward the final days of the campaign. Obviously, all the momentum in this campaign’s been on my side. If that continues into the final part of the race, we’ll win it on Election Day. That’s why they call it a race.

CAVUTO: So you’re not in the camp that says, for the good of the party, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s the leader right now, other prominent Republicans have dropped out, so should you?

MCCLINTOCK: No, I think we ought to have a campaign first and then let the voters decide who gets to win it.

CAVUTO: Wouldn’t it be better if he’s still ahead in the polls -- and you’re right it is tightening up -- wouldn’t you prefer at least a Republican winning that race than Bustamante benefiting from you guys splitting the vote.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, of course I would, and that’s why I trust it to the voters to make those decisions as Election Day approaches.

CAVUTO: All right. From your vantage point, what can you do assuming you are elected?

MCCLINTOCK: Oh, a very great deal. Within moments of taking the oath of office, I’ll sign an executive order to rescind the governor’s tripling of the car tax, I’ll then act to void the $42 billion of outrageously overpriced electricity contracts that he locked us into that costing us the highest electricity prices in the continental United States, and then I’ll call a special session of the state legislature to replace our workers’ compensation law with Arizona’s and bring our workers’ comp costs down by two-thirds.

CAVUTO: But how would that, sir, ease this $38-billion budget deficit?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, it’s a $4.2-billion tax reduction, it’s bringing our electricity prices back under control, and it’s reducing our workers’ comp costs by two-thirds, which, by the way, we lose an enormous burden from businesses and, thereby, increases our tax revenues, it also means $2.5 billion of direct cost savings to state and local governments.

CAVUTO: Senator, we’re obviously hearing and watching right now what’s going on in San Francisco with this hearing. The arguments, as you know, to postpone the election until March is because of all of these punch-ballot issues in so many counties, Los Angeles County among them, that have to be addressed in order for it to be a fair election. Would there be any harm from your vantage point to postponing it to March if you corrected all of that?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, of course, enormous harm in putting off a constitutionally called election. I realize all of the conventional wisdom is that my campaign would benefit from that delay. But it cannot be allowed to happen. The damage that would do to our democratic institutions would be awesome.

CAVUTO: I’m sorry, sir. How would your campaign benefit from the delay? The prevailing wisdom is just opposite.

MCCLINTOCK: Well, actually, what all the analysts have said is that, you know, because I am continuing the momentum, putting off the election until March would help us, but that would hurt democracy enormously.

CAVUTO: Wait a minute. It would help Governor Davis, right, because that would come at a time of a March Democratic primary anyway. You’d get a lot of Democratic voters, and even if you were the number one alternative, those Democratic voters would most likely stick it to the recall, right?

MCCLINTOCK: But, Neil, my point is wherever you stand on the recall, wherever you stand on the replacement candidates, this is a direct threat, a direct challenge to our most basic Democratic freedom. The right to have constitutionally called elections on schedule. Now we’ve had elections on schedule even in the midst of civil and world wars.

The pretext that this court has used is transparently political. Punch-card ballots were used 11 months ago to reelect Gray Davis. They will be used again next month for a regularly called municipal elections across California in November.

For them to single out this one election that they simply don’t like politically and get away with it would do enormous damage and create a constitutional crisis for our generation far more severe than anything that we have seen in our lifetime.

CAVUTO: Senator, real quickly, when’s the last time you talked to Arnold Schwarzenegger?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, on the radio when I invited him to debate me in front of the Republican state convention about two weeks ago.

CAVUTO: All right. Any intention the two of you are going to have any debate of any sort, of any consequence, any time soon?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, we are scheduled to be at a televised debate on October -- pardon me -- on September the 24th, this coming Wednesday here in Sacramento.

CAVUTO: But that’s the one-shot deal for him, no more, right?

MCCLINTOCK: Well, for him, yes, although there are a number of additional candidate debates that are scheduled across California that all of the other major candidates have accepted.

CAVUTO: OK. Tom McClintock, thank you very much. Appreciate it, sir.

MCCLINTOCK: Neil, thanks for having me.

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