RFK Jr. on Obama's Environmental Agenda, Clinton's Confirmation, Caroline Kennedy's Political Future

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," January 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, Hillary Clinton is the next secretary of state, overwhelmingly approved in the United States Senate.

There had been a dustup, you might recall, over whether her husband's ties, the Clinton Foundation's ties, to some foreign donors would represent a conflict of interests for her. The senator, now secretary of state-designate, had indicated they would go through hoops to make sure that such conflicts never arise. And, apparently, that was enough to satisfy the overwhelming number of senators, who felt that she deserved to be the secretary of state.

Very quick reaction from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is actually here on environmental issues. But this news popped up.

Video: Watch Cavuto's interview

Your quick reaction to this.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: You know, I think Obama has himself a really good secretary of state. If you saw her at the confirmation, she was prepared. She is smart. She is quick. She is thoughtful.

And she is — we know and you know that she is diplomatic personally. So, I think — I don't think he could have gotten a better choice.

CAVUTO: Do you think that this whole Gitmo thing about eventually closing it puts her in a box? She had one view on this subject, Robert, against it — against Gitmo, but not against closing it — I think that was the ending campaign position — and now a president, a boss who says...


KENNEDY: No, she is going to do what her boss wants her to do.


KENNEDY: And I think, in the long run — I saw the piece you had on before this about some of the technical problems it's going to cause.

But, you know, Neil, I travel all over the world, and it has given this country such a black eye, that it's a — really, it's a public relations catastrophe for us. And the quicker we close it, the better.

CAVUTO: But all these countries who criticize, it's weird. They don't want the prisoners either.

KENNEDY: It's not only the countries. It's the people. It is just what it has come to symbolize, that this is a place where Americans torture people.

CAVUTO: Yes, but where do these people go, then?

KENNEDY: And that's what it is always now going to symbolize, because we crossed a line that we had never crossed in our history before. After World War II...


CAVUTO: Well, someone crossed the line with us, right?

KENNEDY: After World War II, we executed Japanese officers for water- boarding Americans. So, this is a place — we never tortured people. George Washington, during the Revolution, refused to torture British soldiers, even though they were torturing us, our soldiers, right here in New York Harbor.

Abraham Lincoln, actually, when he was confronted with the idea of torturing people, he was so horrified that he created a commission that developed the humane standards for fair treatment of prisoners of war. And that later became the Geneva Conventions.


CAVUTO: Understood. But you don't think this would be a divisive issue between the secretary of state and the new president?

KENNEDY: No, I think absolutely that everybody I think who — will understand.



KENNEDY: Anybody who has to deal with foreign governments and foreign populations is going to understand that this has got to go.

CAVUTO: Understood.

While I have got you here, then, your cousin Caroline front-runner for that supposed Senate seat that is opening up, what do you think of that?

KENNEDY: I hope she gets it. There's an electorate of one. So, it's all up to David Paterson.

CAVUTO: What do you think of the criticism she got?

KENNEDY: We're in New York, Neil. Everybody gets criticized in New York.


CAVUTO: Well, why not you? You have experience.

KENNEDY: I couldn't do it. As we discussed before, I have six kids, and it's a lot mouths to feed. They all want to eat, and they all want to go to school.


CAVUTO: I thought you were a Kennedy. You had money coming out the yin-yang. No?

KENNEDY: Well, I have always had to make my own money.


CAVUTO: All right, let's talk a little bit about the environmental stuff, the reason why I got you here in the beginning. You were very gracious to take these other questions.

The environmental push — the administration has made it clear that, while it's trying to freeze salaries for those members in the administration making $100,000 or more, it is still very much on track to spend a lot of green going green. Should it?


We need an industry that is going to bring us out of this depression. The quickest way that we can restore the economy in this country is to get off of foreign oil. Two months ago, we were spending $700 billion a year. We're borrowing $1 billion a day from countries that don't like us.


CAVUTO: Well, how do you know going green will make the world right?

KENNEDY: That it will make the world what?

CAVUTO: Right, that that is the right strategy or technology?


KENNEDY: Oh, we have to do — if we get off of foreign oil, everybody say, OK, we gave $700 billion to Citibank. It's going to take generations to pay it back. It's not going to take generations. It's going to take one year with no foreign oil. We pay the whole thing back. It's going to generate huge dividends for our economy.

CAVUTO: What if we made a hunch on an investment bet here, essentially what the government is doing, and it turns out to be a bad bet?

KENNEDY: It's not an investment bet. It's creating an infrastructure that will allow the free market economy to function and the lower-cost producers of energy to get into the marketplace. They can't do that now, Neil.


CAVUTO: But, Robert, what if the free market looks at it and says, it's not our cup of tea; we're not going to do it?

KENNEDY: No, the marketplace is already out there. People are clamoring to hook up — look at T. Boone Pickens. I am involved with green-tech firms like VanishPoint (ph). They are clamoring to build wind and solar.

The problem is, we don't have a grid that can carry that energy, that can transport the electrons. What we need to do is create a national grid that is a smart grid that can deploy — store and deploy energy. It will cost $150 billion to do that.

Once you do that, we have free energy in this country forever. We never have to go over to Saudi Arabia. We don't have to get in $4.5 trillion wars. We don't have to spend $100 billion a year protecting pipelines...


CAVUTO: Do you think that this commitment to go green is going to wipe out our dependence on oil?

KENNEDY: Oh, yes. Of course it is.

CAVUTO: How soon?

KENNEDY: As soon as we want it to.

Israel is doing it in three years be. If Israel can do it, we can do it, too. All we have to do, we — listen, in 1979, we had no — we built an ARPANET in this country, an Internet grid, essentially. A year, 1980, I — there were fewer than 500 P.C.s in this country, and IBM said it was a dead-end technology.

Well, because we built the marketplace, the grid, where everybody could hook up, everybody in this country has P.C.s today, and the world has been transformed.

All we need to do is build a national grid that can reach the big wind areas. You know, the Midwest of this country is the Saudi Arabia of wind. We have enough wind just in North Dakota, Montana, and Texas to provide all the energy needs of our country.

CAVUTO: There is a ton of the wind just in D.C.

KENNEDY: Well, a lot of hot air.

CAVUTO: Right. Right.

How is your uncle doing, Uncle Ted?

KENNEDY: He's good. He got out of the hospital this morning, and he is on his way to Florida.

CAVUTO: What happened?

KENNEDY: He had a seizure that the doctors say is connected with fatigue.

And, obviously, he — it is connected with the tumor in his brain. It is the same kind of seizure that he had initially that alerted us that he did have this problem.

But he has fully recovered. Last night, he was joking, he was talking, and completely lucid all night. And, today, he left for Florida.

CAVUTO: Good. I'm glad.

Robert, always good seeing you.

KENNEDY: Thanks for having me.

CAVUTO: Very good seeing you.

KENNEDY: Good to see you.

CAVUTO: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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