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Capital Report

GLORIA BORGER, co-host:

Critics of Arnold Schwarzenegger say he's not conservative enough for California's Republican base. And some political watchers say conservative state Senator Tom McClintock made a strong performance at last night's political debate. Can McClintock beat Arnold's star power with his politics? Tom McClintock joins us tonight from Sacramento.

Thanks so much for being with us, Senator McClintock.

State Senator TOM McCLINTOCK (Republican, Candidate for California Governor): Thanks for having me.

BORGER: How about answering that question? If you did well for yourself last night, as people say you did, the better you do, some people are saying, the worse the party does because you're splitting those Republican voters and you're handing the election to Cruz Bustamante.

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: On the contrary, I'm the one who's picked up the Republican banner and is waving it proudly. I've taken a chapter from Ronald Reagan's book. He told us paint our positions in bold colors and not in pale pastels.

ALAN MURRAY, co-host:

And perhaps at the end of the day you'll show that you can get more supporters than Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the point is this; I think this is what Gloria was saying: At the end of the day doesn't one of you have to drop out of this race, or otherwise you risk splitting the Republican vote and letting Cruz Bustamante win the election?

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well, that's why we have campaigns, so people can sort through the backgrounds, the histories, the philosophies and the positions of all of the candidates and then make a decision. I like to...

MURRAY: But most campaigns have primaries and then elections. This one's a little bit different. You've got to make a decision before election date, whether you're both going to stay in there, because you're all going to be on the ballot. And it only takes a plurality to win.

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well...

MURRAY: If you're ahead of Arnold Schwarzenegger, do you think he should drop out of the race before Election Day?

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Oh, I'm not going to call for anybody to drop out of the race. My point is we ought to have a campaign first and then let the voters decide who wins it.

MURRAY: But I gotta just follow this up one more time. If there are more votes for Republicans, you and Arnold Schwarzenegger may get more votes, but if you split them between you, that could mean Cruz Bustamante wins. That's not what you're talking about, right? That's not the voters deciding.

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well, if it looks like that is going to happen, I am prepared at the appropriate time to accept Arnold Schwarzenegger's endorsement.

MURRAY: All right.

BORGER: And you want that sooner rather than later. I want to talk about some specifics now. You've done an awful lot of interviews, and I want to talk about one interview you did recently with Human Events magazine, in which you said that you intend to enforce all provisions of Prop 187. And that was a very controversial proposition in the state which said that illegal aliens are not entitled to public education. How would you intend to do that?

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well, first of all, Proposition 187 was not exactly what you would call controversial in California. It received nearly 60 percent of the vote in the election of 1994. The problem is when it was challenged in court, Governor Gray Davis refused to fulfill his constitutional role to defend the will of the people. So Proposition 187 had no defender, and it never had a fair day in court. I intend to see that Proposition 187 gets that fair and full hearing in court.

BORGER: And you would then enforce it, meaning that if you had children of illegal aliens in public education, you want them out of the public schools?

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well, I think we'll probably—first of all, as I said, Proposition 187 was much broader than that. It simply said that the taxpayers of California are not going to pay for services for people who are in this state and in this country illegally, in violation of our immigration laws. That's about $4 billion a year to the state Treasury. But worse than that, illegal immigration undermines the process of legal immigration that is a strength in our society.

MURRAY: You've made it very clear, clearer than any other candidate, that you will not raise any taxes and that you will cut quite a few taxes.

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Right.

MURRAY: You've also said you'll balance the budget. If you do those two things, aren't you then forced to cut into the education budget, which is where the bulk of California's money goes?

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well, the bulk of our education money doesn't go into the classroom. It goes into the bureaucracies. We're putting about $9,100 behind every public school student in our system. That's over $270,000 for every classroom in the state. Now I have two children in the public schools. There's nothing I care about more. And I can tell you from firsthand experience only a fraction of that $270,000 is actually getting into the classroom to educate them. The rest of it is being absorbed by layers of bureaucracy, and it's the bureaucracy I will go after. I would like to see...

MURRAY: So you can cut the money and get better education?

BORGER: And you can...

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Exactly right. I would like to see that money injected directly into the classroom and then require every level of bureaucracy over it to justify how much it's removing for its own support.

BORGER: But you also seem to be saying that you can do all of this by cutting waste, fraud and abuse. You know, I know at the federal level they tried that when Ronald Reagan was president; didn't seem to work very well. Why are you so convinced there's so much fat in California?

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well, because California is now spending a larger portion of people's earnings than at any time in history and delivering less with it. If you go back and look at the golden age of California government, back during the Pat Brown years when we were building highways faster than Detroit was building cars, we were bringing down the State Water Project, we had the finest public school system in the country, we had one of the finest university systems in the world—we were offering a free university education to every Californian who wanted one. If you go back and look at the actual numbers, you'll find that Pat Brown, to do all that, was spending in inflation-adjusted, per capita dollars, about $1,350 for every man, woman and child in this state—in inflation-adjusted dollars. Today we're spending over $3,000 for every person in the state and delivering precisely diddly squat.

And, again, you look at every part of the state budget, you can find lots of ways to reduce expenditures while improving costs. Simply conforming our worker's compensation law to Arizona's, in addition to the enormous burden that would lift from the shoulders of businesses...

MURRAY: Senator...

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: ...it would save about $2 ½ billion in direct costs sustaining local government.

MURRAY: Senator, I want to show you something that the Reverend Pat Robertson said the other day and get you to respond.

Reverend PAT ROBERTSON (Christian Coalition President): (From "Buchanan & Press"/MSNBC) I'm a bodybuilder. I do some pretty heavy weight lifting. So I think the weight lifters of the world need to unite. But I'll tell you what, those guys in California could use a big bruiser to knock some heads together. I mean, they're out of control out there. So what are they going to do? I mean, you're going to have Bustamante, who is sort of, you know, the governor, Gray Davis, light? They don't want any more of Gray Davis. Who are you going to put in? I think we don't have anybody else that's coming up on the radar. So the other alternative is just stay home.

MURRAY: That's the president of the Christian Coalition endorsing Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you can't convince him to go with your conservative policies, you got a problem, don't you?

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: Well, with all due respect to Pat Robertson, he's not a Californian. I've gone from an asterisk in the polls in the last several weeks to double digits. If that trend continues another week or so, I'll actually be in a statistical dead heat with Arnold Schwarzenegger probably by next week or the week after. I would suggest to Pat Robertson and particularly to all of Pat Robertson's followers that they take a closer look at the positions that Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken on a wide range of social issues. I think they'll be appalled by that statement.

BORGER: Well, state Senator Tom McClintock of California, Republican candidate for governor, thanks so much for being with us tonight.

State Sen. McCLINTOCK: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

MURRAY: And coming up next we'll look at more of the Democratic candidates' debate with our Capital Insiders: Susan Molinary and Hilary Rosen. And we'll ask them who won.

BORGER: And we'll see if they tell us. And, later, Britney Spears rocks Washington with a concert on the National Mall. We'll check back live with Eamon Javers. That and more when CAPITAL REPORT returns right here on CNBC.

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