CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Talks to Press
Aired October 31, 2002 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We take you live now to south Florida, Aventura, Florida, that is Governor Jeb Bush, a campaign appearance with former New York Mayor Giuliani. They're talking about the Haitian refugees.
Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
GOVERNOR JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: ... this country. In order to protect our open immigration system, which is, I think, something that is worth fighting for. And I've been a strong advocate of being sure that we don't close our borders off. We need to make sure that we don't have mass migration coming into south Florida.
I have no problems with the position that I have taken. I think it is the common-sense, reasonable position. And I'll tell you something else: to turn this into a political issue five days out I think it will backfire, if that's the efforts of the other side.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) to ask your brother to...
BUSH: Well, I talked to my brother but this policy over the last six months. I've talked to Condoleezza Rice about it. I've talked to other people of the National Security Council.
QUESTION: Let me ask you, if you're successful next Tuesday and the Class Size Amendment passes, can you explain the Floridians would there be any across-the-board cuts? Under a Jeb Bush administration, how would you pay for that?
BUSH: That's why I'm working hard, Steve, to make sure that people vote no on this Class Size Initiative, because I don't want to have across-the-board cuts or increases in taxes.
Mr. McBride, his embrace of this, is part of the problem. If he supports it, he should be able to say which tax he's going to raise, rather than say I'm going to have across-the-board cuts, because it is unrealistic -- unrealistic to suggest that we're going to close a third of our prisons. It's unrealistic to suggest that we would lay off a third of our probation officers. That's just not going to happen.
And you know, it doesn't matter who's going to be governor. That's not going to happen. So his embrace of this will require higher taxes. And I'm fighting -- and in fact, we're making some progress, Steve, I think, if you look at the recent polling. Now people are starting to say, well, if the price tag is $27 billion for this and all of our taxes are going to go up or we're going to have cuts in other programs, maybe there's a better way to lower class sizes. Maybe the Bush plan is the better way, where we focus on the lower grades.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) ... Mason-Dixon Poll now shows for the fourth time that support for Amendment Nine is below 50 percent. Do you think that you've had a big impact on that (OFF-MIKE)
BUSH: Well, my mother wouldn't me to brag about this, and I'm not going to, but I do -- since I'm the only one that has the courage to suggest that this is bad policy, even though lower-class sizes is a very worthy objective, and there has not been an organized campaign per se against this, I think maybe they started doing TV ads today or yesterday.
Clearly, making this an issue in the governor's race has had an impact on making sure people understand what the price of this is. And I hope they consider it, continue to consider it, because it would have -- apart from the costs and the threats to public safety and the environment and other areas where we have a great record that I'm very proud of, it also has the impact of hurting our economy, because we would have to raise taxes, and diminishing teacher quality.
If the whole point of this is to improve education, we don't have enough teachers that are qualified in the fields that they would be teaching in -- it would be like asking an elementary school teacher to teach middle school math, or an ESE teacher in high school to teach elementary school kids.
We don't have the cadre of teachers in the fields that would allow for anything but diminishment of teacher quality, which is exactly what happened, and the only place this has been done, on a minor scale, in California, the only research that they did, after this voluntary program was done, K-3, was they found that there was diminished teacher quality there.
We don't want -- I know that people want lower class sizes, but I also know they don't want to have unqualified teachers teaching their children.
QUESTION: Governor, by bringing in Mayor Giuliani and your brother this weekend, and other figures as well, do you fear at all a Democratic backlash because you are nationalizing this election in many respects?
BUSH: Rudy Giuliani is beloved, and my brother is not so unbeloved.
When Terry McAuliffe -- is that his name, McAuliffe or McAuliffe -- the guy that runs the Democratic National Committee, when he started saying, about three weeks ago, that I was their number of one target, I was going down, all this trash-talking and that they would put whatever it took in terms of resources into the state, I didn't -- I'm happy Rudy Giuliani's here -- and he was planning to come before that -- but it only made it clearer that to have someone of his stature -- I guess, what I'm telling you is I'd rather have one Rudy Giuliani than 20 Terry whatever his names is -- McAuliffes? I'm proud that's he's here campaigning, and I'm proud that my brother will come on Saturday. And I'm happy my mom came, too.
KAGAN: We've been listening to Florida Governor Jeb Bush at a campaign stop in Aventura, Florida. As you can see, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani coming down there to offer his support in what is a very tight race for governor, as the governor is challenged by Bill McBride for the Democrats.
You heard the governor for the second day in a row at a campaign stop, having to answer some tough questions about the Haitian refugees, since it was about two days ago that almost -- or more than 200 Haitians washed up on the shore of Key Biscayne, Florida. A lot of people in south Florida wanting them to have the type of opportunity that Cubans have when they arrive in south Florida. However, most of these people who you see jumping from the boat into the water who did make it ashore will probably be shipped back, right back to Haiti.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com