Fox News "Your World" - Transcript
FOX NEWS CHANNEL "YOUR WORLD" INTERVIEW WITH UTAH GOVERNOR JON HUNTSMAN (R)
INTERVIEWER: NEIL CAVUTO
SUBJECT: STATES ACCEPTING STIMULUS CASH
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MR. CAVUTO: Governor Bobby Jindal to deliver the GOP response to the president's address tonight. He's not hot on taking that stimulus cash, my next guest is, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., also a Republican.
Governor, what do you make of his position, I was against this, and I'm not going to take this?
GOV. HUNTSMAN: Well, Neil, first of all, thanks for having me on. This is literally and figuratively a 1 percent issue. And if you're looking at 1 percent of the entire package on which to base a decision, you know, you can debate the pros and cons. And it's a good thing as a matter of fact that within the Republican Party and beyond this is being debated. But to my mind, this debate has been had. It's been voted upon. The dollars are being sent to the states. In fact, we're going to take receipt of some tomorrow. And we're doing our darnedest out here trying to manage and balance budgets and provide backfill.
MR. CAVUTO: Were you against the stimulus, Governor?
GOV. HUNTSMAN: Well, if I were in Congress, I probably would not have voted in favor because it didn't have enough stimulus and probably wasn't big enough to begin with. But it is where it is, and I'm not going to quibble with a 1 or 2 percent of the entire package. We're trying to make our states run. We're going to take receipt of it, and we're going to try to actually focus some of the unallocated money on our own stimulus ideas in our states that might create some of the industries of tomorrow.
MR. CAVUTO: But what if you're stuck with a Trojan horse? I mean, I think Jindal's argument against taking this is you take the government's money, you play by the government's rules, and the government's rules in this case are a lot of entitlement-related spending, and then you're snookered in.
GOV. HUNTSMAN: It's a pretty simple thing. If you don't want to take it, then you don't take it. The fact of the matter is we as governors are taking grants from the federal government and financial flows from the federal government all the time. We manage accounts and we manage programs that have a relationship with the federal government on a day-to-day basis. That's just kind of the nature of where we are. So I guess what I was trying to get at, the bigger picture here is not necessarily this stimulus package. It really is, what are we going to do as a party to really begin to articulate the big, bold and bodacious ideas that we must stand for and put before the American people in terms of successful models?
MR. CAVUTO: Your counterpart is saying the bigger idea is to refuse this thing. And I'm wondering if we might be seeing a preview of the 2012 Republican Party fight -- you, Governor Jindal.
GOV. HUNTSMAN: Bobby is a good friend. He's a brilliant guy, and he's going to do a terrific job tonight. And all I'm telling you is we're dealing with the stimulus money realistically and pragmatically. The bigger issue -- and all Republican governors are going to be part of this discussion, and that's the good news, because we as as a party must become the party of meritocracy. We must start focusing on the ideas that are coming out of these incubators of democracy called the states, whether it's health care, whether it's energy, whether it's the environment, whether it's economic development, and incentivizing our entrepreneurs which, at the end of the day, we've got to remember ultimately will pull us out of the hole we're in.
The good ideas are going to come out of the states. And so it's a great thing to have governors out there focusing on these problems we face as Americans, coming up with solutions, putting them forward ultimately to be analyzed and critiqued. And if something is accepted, you know, you're going to see the future of the Republican Party come out of that ultimately.
MR. CAVUTO: We shall see. Governor, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.
GOV. HUNTSMAN: Thank you, Neil. It's a pleasure.