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ABC "This Week" - Transcript

Interview

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Location: Unknown

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AMANPOUR: Linda McMahon may be a political novice, but she's a business pro, running as a successful CEO who created jobs and balanced the budget of a billion-dollar company.

MCMAHON: What I created over (inaudible)

AMANPOUR (on-screen): You talk a lot about reducing the size of government and reducing spending. What precisely would you tackle in order to reduce the massive trillion-dollar-plus budget deficit?

MCMAHON: The reason I've not been specific as to particular programs -- and I've dealt with it in terms of rolling back non- defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels -- because that was an approach that I took as a CEO. You look at, OK, how are you going to cut costs and cut expenses? You can look at a 10 percent cut across the board.

AMANPOUR: Everybody's busy trying to do the math right now on all the campaigns and regarding the budget deficit. The latest shows the Republicans can come up with something like $100 billion in cuts, which is a lot, but a pittance compared to the trillion...

MCMAHON: ... $1.3 trillion deficit...

AMANPOUR: Yes, exactly. MCMAHON: ... and over $13 billion debt. I get that.

AMANPOUR: Exactly. So the big issues that take up most of the spending are, obviously, defense -- some 20 percent... MCMAHON: Sure.

AMANPOUR: ... Social Security and Medicaid. Is that where you would cut?

MCMAHON: Let me just name a couple of other things, too. I just think we should freeze the federal hiring and freeze wages again, not going to make a big dent. However, I do believe we should take the balance of the stimulus money and pay down the debt.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Her lack of specifics is countered by her claim as an outsider who will impose her own term limit. (on-screen): So how much can you really change?

MCMAHON: All we can do is try. And I would only seek a second term if I really felt I'd been effective in a first term.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Battling to reach Washington, she's also having to overcome controversies over past allegations of a steroid- fueled wrestling ring and the promotion of sexist and violent behavior while she was managing the WWE. Criticism has come from Mothers Opposing McMahon, a group funded by Democrats. (on-screen): They say a vote for Linda McMahon is a slap in the face for Connecticut women, the whole issue of the women in the ring and the -- what they call degrading and demeaning behavior towards women. I mean, I'm a woman; you're a woman. What do you really think when you see some of that go on in the ring, the girl who was told to get on all fours, I think by your own husband, and bark like a dog? Are you comfortable with that?

MCMAHON: Well, WWE programming has changed from being TV-14 over the years, which -- that's the time you were talking about. It was called the Attitude Era -- into now being PG, rated by the networks as PG. I'm happy with the content today.

AMANPOUR: As a senator, if you could stop it, would you stop that kind of depiction against women on -- on the public airwaves? Would you at least lobby your campaign against it?

MCMAHON: I do believe in the First Amendment rights and content...

AMANPOUR: So you don't think there's anything wrong with it? MCMAHON: Well, content providers are clearly creating scenarios. From an entertainment point of view, I think that you either elect to go to a movie or you elect to watch a program, so I'm a strong proponent of First Amendment rights. At the same time at WWE, women really are powerful women, and the programming content, as I've said, has changed from TV-14 to TV-PG. I much prefer it today.

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