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Wolf Blitzer Previews new Show, Interview with CheneyAired December 18, 2000 - 2:18 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: All through this day, as we've been showing you the scenes from state capitals around the country, as electors cast their ballots, the work of selecting members of this new administration has gone on.
In charge of that, Vice President-elect Dick Cheney, who sat down today for a conversation with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Wolf joins us now from Washington to give us a sense of what that chat included.
Wolf, nice to see you again.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much, Stephen.
Dick Cheney was busy. He was meeting with potential members of a new Bush administration, Bush administration Cabinet members, sub- Cabinet members, of course, spending some time with President-elect George W. Bush himself.
But in between time over at the Madison Hotel I did sit down with him for an interview that will air later tonight on our new program "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." And we discussed at length the entire issue of the $1.3 trillion tax cut proposal, which was at the center of the Bush campaign's arguments over these past many months. Some Democrats, many Democrats, and even some Republicans, are thinking that is simply too ambitious. But at least for now, listen to this excerpt, Dick Cheney is holding firm to that full sweeping 10-year across-the-board tax cut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think the economic outlook makes tax reform, tax cuts more important than ever. If anything, I think it is probably a stronger case to be made today for an across- the-board tax cut, a reduction on rates, than was true even six months ago. Because it does look as though the economy has slowed significantly.
BLITZER: Budget surplus projections are going to be accurate, they are going to hold up?
CHENEY: Well, they will be there for a while certainly, we anticipate $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years, based on the structure that is already in place. Most likely scenario, even if we have recession is that it is relative short term, doesn't affect the long-term 10-year projections. So you got to make sure you have got your time frame straight here.
The fact of the matter is that it does look like the economy is going to slow. It is slowing already. A lot of evidence of that out there, and therefore, it is probably more important than it has ever been to modify a tax policy accordingly.
So we will continue to push very hard for that tax change.
BLITZER: And you stand by what President-elect Bush said in "Time" magazine, who said he really he doesn't want to compromise on that?
CHENEY: Absolutely, I mean, it is important I think to stay true to our principles, which we will do. Now, he recognizes that we will submit out recommendations, Congress will do its thing. But we think a big across-the-board proposal, such as the one we put forward, is the right way to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And Vice President-elect Dick Cheney also made clear that he is going to be very actively involved in dealing with Congress in this new Bush administration. He, of course, becomes president of the Senate after January 20th. There's a 50/50 tie in the Senate between the Democrats and the Republicans.
And he also pointed out one thing, Stephen, that while you are seeing a lot of Dick Cheney right now, once the new Cabinet comes into place. General Colin Powell become secretary of state, there is a new treasury secretary, a new defense secretary, his visibility probably will be lowered somewhat.
But for now, in effect, he's the only game in town -- Stephen.
FRAZIER: Wolf, did you steer your conversation with the vice president-elect at all towards some of the apparent bumpiness in this transition process? You know, they invited Louisiana Sen. John Breaux to talk about, we presume, to sort of dance a little bit about a position in the Cabinet. He said no. He would rather stay where he was.
Now I understand from our earlier conversation that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge may have also declined.
BLITZER: There was no indication that any job -- specific job had been offered to the Pennsylvania governor, Tom Ridge. Although Dick Cheney did make clear that Governor Ridge has withdrawn his name for consideration as defense secretary, or any other position for that matter, insisting he wants to remain as Pennsylvania's governor, serve out his term; family considerations in Harrisburg.
So there may be a little bumpiness, but there always is. I wouldn't read too much into that. John Breaux went down to Texas to meet with President-elect Bush. But a lot of people never really thought that Breaux was going to give up his Senate seat because that would have ended the 50/50 tie, a Republican governor in Louisiana would have named a Republican to replace him, and an enormous amount of pressure on Breaux not to go forward with a position in the Bush administration -- Stephen.
FRAZIER: Wolf, before we leave you, let's move past tonight's interview please, and just some talk more about your program, and what you're intents for it are?
BLITZER: Well, one of the things we want to do is we want to get outside. And the name of the program is "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." I made my reputation at CNN reporting the news, going out on assignment, going on location. And we hope to do that every night at 8:00. Be where the news is, get outside of the studio, very often -- not all the time, weather-permitting sometimes -- but be where the news is, where the action is. Report the news, hard news, but also at the same time go one-on-one with newsmakers. And we are going to run this two- part interview with Dick Cheney tonight and tomorrow night.
Then we hope we will make sure that those who watch us and watch Greta Van Susteren at 8:30 right after us will have a solid hour of good news and analysis.
FRAZIER: Well, Wolf, congratulations on the launch of that new program. We will look forward to the debut. Just a reminder to our viewers tonight that you can see the entire interview with the next vice president beginning tonight at 8:00 Eastern; again, part II, tomorrow night, as you just heard. The new program "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" debuting on CNN.
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