CROWLEY: Joining me from her home state of Texas, Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Senator, thanks so much for being here. I wanted to start off with a little bit of politics. As you know, the Republicans are having a primary race and one of the things that happens when you run in a primary is that you say things about fellow Republicans, you then are asked about later.
So you ran against Governor Rick Perry for the Republican nomination for governor in Texas. You said he was soft on immigration. You said that you were the real conservative in the race and not him, and that he was basically a good old boy, backroom politics. Does any of that change now that you’re looking at the presidential race? You’ve said this is a man you can support, but does that criticism still hold?
HUTCHISON: Well, I’m not going to backtrack on anything I said. I tried to give Texas a choice. I didn’t think he was going to run for re-election. That’s what I had been told. So I wasn’t challenging him, but it was a very tough race and he was pretty brutal on my record, and I took on his record. And so that’s the way politics is and it does come back. But I thought that we needed a choice in Texas. And I certainly feel the same way about the United States.
CROWLEY: There is a poll out in Texas about the Republican presidential primary race which essentially shows that Herman Cain is tied with Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, the sitting governor of Texas, in the presidential primary race there. Does that surprise you?
HUTCHISON: Well, you know, I think that if you ask Texans about this race, it’s more mixed than it was, for instance, when George W. Bush was running. And…
CROWLEY: Why is that?
HUTCHISON: I guess — well, I think when you’ve been in office for a long time, you have a record and that record is fair game. And I think that some of the things in his record have certainly not been helpful. And certainly the Trans-Texas Corridor was something that I had talked about and it was running over private property rights. And I think that that’s something that has stuck with the farm bureau and people who own land.
So I think those are some of the things that you just — you have a record, just like I have a record. And any senator who is running has had votes that are controversial. And I think that you have to make choices and you do make choices, you make people mad, that’s part of the political process. And so I think that it’s just different and it is what it is.
CROWLEY: Let me ask you about Herman Cain specifically. Is anything that you’ve heard publicly over the past week disturbed you or made you think, I’m not sure Herman Cain is the best answer for the Republican Party in 2012?
HUTCHISON: Not at all. I just don’t see anonymous sources as fair against a candidate. I think if someone has a real concern, they should come out and say it. But nothing that I’ve heard, in the press that I have read is other than off-color remarks which, you know, I think that he paid a price for that, as maybe he should, but I don’t sense that there is something, so far that has come out, other than from anonymous sources that he spoke badly.
And so I don’t think that — I kind of think that this is a presidential campaign thing where his, you know, opponents are coming forward and trying to dredge things up. But unless there’s something that’s really sexual harassment, which I would stand firmly against, and say that would be a problem.
But until something comes out that’s concrete, I think it is politics as usual.
CROWLEY: OK. Let me turn you to somewhat politics as usual up on Capitol Hill, where we have 33 senators who have written the super committee and said, listen, rewrite the tax code with no net tax increase. Does that letter not doom the super committee to failure given what the Democrats want and this is supposed to be a compromise?
HUTCHISON: No, I don’t think it dooms it to failure. I think if we are going to realistically get our budget house in order, we’ve got to cut spending, we have to have a fairer tax code, one in which it is lower and promotes growth in business, but does catch people who aren’t paying taxes right now who should be paying taxes.
You get revenue increase by increasing the growth in our business sector, our private sector. You increase growth in the private sector and you’ll get new revenue, because people will be working and paying taxes rather than having to be on unemployment.
CROWLEY: Which has been the Republican position for some time now, but the super committee is supposed to come up with a compromise. And if 33 senators, and we know there’s probably more than that, are going to say, listen, you know, fix the tax code, don’t raise taxes, and keep it net revenue neutral, it just seems to me that there is not — to a lot of people it seems that there is not a compromise there. So what is the point of the super committee?
HUTCHISON: Well, I think you’re saying revenue neutral means no added revenue. I don’t think anyone is saying that. Republicans are saying we want new revenue to come from growth in the economy. And growth in the economy requires that we don’t increase taxes, that in some cases, like corporate side and even individual small businesses, we want to lower taxes.
We want people to be hired. We want jobs to be created by people having more of the money that they’re earning to plow back into the business. That means that we’re going to have a fairer tax code which will bring in revenue through growth in the economy.
CROWLEY: Senator, if the super committee does not come to any kind of agreement, there will be across-the-board cuts split evenly between domestic spending, with some programs protected, and defense spending. Are you willing to live with that? Is that all right with you?
HUTCHISON: I don’t like it. I do not like it, 1.2 trillion…
CROWLEY: Would you try to change it?
HUTCHISON: That would be $600 billion in cuts in our military when we are in a conflict and we’ve got our troops in harm’s way. I don’t like that at all. And the reason that we need for the super committee to succeed is to keep that from happening.
CROWLEY: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, thank you so much for joining us this morning. I appreciate it.
HUTCHISON: Thank you, Candy.
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