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Public Statements

FOX News "FOX News Sunday" - Transcript

Interview

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WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, let's put up what the political experts are saying now about the Senate. The RealClearPolitics average of recent polls has a Republican pickup of seven seats. The Cook Political Report projects a GOP pickup of seven to nine seats. Again, Republicans need a net gain of 10 seats to take control.

Will Democrats hold on to the Senate? And even if they do, if Republicans, while still in the minority, end up with 47 seats, 48 seats, given all the gridlock we've had the last two years, will anything get done over the next two in the Senate?

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, D-MO.: Oh, I think that's hard to say, especially because some of the candidates that appear poised to win for the Republican Party are very extreme.

I'm a moderate. I hang out in the middle. I vote against my party with some regularity and try to compromise. It doesn't appear right now that the Republican Party is welcoming moderates any more.

So, I think that independent voters need to take a hard look in these elections and realize that what we may be getting to is the kind of gridlock that, frankly, is not something that's desirable in terms of good policy in this country.

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MCCASKILL: I will tell you that we have worked very hard at the center, whether it's tax breaks for small businesses, which the Republicans tried to block -- keep in mind, Chris, that we have passed a net of $300 billion in tax cuts in the last 18 months.

That stimulus that the Republicans love to put down -- almost 40 percent of that was tax cuts for middle America, for working people. We have passed tax cut after tax cut. And most of those have been over Republicans' objections.

There has been so much politics being played that the policy has been left kind of at the side. And I'm hoping that if this election produces anything, it will be the ability to come together. I'm worried because of these extreme candidates that appear to be on the verge of winning in some states.

WALLACE: Well, but...

MCCASKILL: And I'm also worried...

WALLACE: ... Senator McCaskill...

MCCASKILL: ... how serious...

WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, you're talking all about the Republicans needing to move to the center and being too extreme. There are an awful lot of Americans -- and according to the polls, most Americans -- who feel that about the Democrats.

Are Democrats -- are the -- is the president -- are the White House -- are they going to move more to the center?

MCCASKILL: I think that there has always been a willingness to compromise. I was in the room with, you know, more than a dozen Republicans trying to negotiate the stimulus. Most of them decided the politics of the situation meant they should walk away, even if it wasn't responsible in terms of what our country needed right then.

We're in an economic morass. This is a long hangover from some bad economic policies of the past, from a lack of regulation of the financial sector.

And Senator Cornyn has said that he wants to repeal the financial regulation bill. Now, keep in mind, this bill stops taxpayer bailouts. Now, I can't imagine -- I have not had any average Missourians come up to me and say "Boy, you really need to repeal that -- making that financial sector accountable." That is not something that the people of this country want.

WALLACE: Senator Cornyn, do you see any...

MCCASKILL: They want to us have commonsense regulations.

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WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, the compromise that seems to be out there is a temporary extension of all the tax cuts for not -- for a year or two, particularly until this economy begins to really reverse itself. Is that something that you could support?

MCCASKILL: I -- I'm always open to compromise, Chris. I will go to the mat for the middle class. No one wants any tax increases for the middle class. As I said earlier, we've cut taxes by over $300 billion in the last 18 months.

And everyone understands that we've got to be very careful in this economy to not stymie any job growth. That's why we've worked so hard for small businesses. And I'm open to compromise for the top 3 percent. It's not 50 percent of the taxpayers. It's 3 percent of the taxpayers that would be impacted by the very top bracket. But I will say this, Chris, we've got to look at spending, we've got to look at entitlements, and we've got to look at all of the corporate welfare that's out there as we address our deficit problem.

And I'm not sure how serious these guys are about the deficit. Some of the proposals they're talking about -- it goes back to what happened, frankly, during Ronald Reagan when we didn't balance the budget and George Bush when we didn't balance the budget.

We've got to be honest with the American people. And I don't know how serious you can be about cutting down spending if you're still asking for -- I mean, I think Senator Cornyn...

WALLACE: But -- well, wait a minute.

MCCASKILL: ... was part of asking for over...

WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, I...

MCCASKILL: ... $300 million in earmarks.

WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, I can't let this go. I mean, we just heard that the country had $1.3 trillion deficit in the last year. And I mean, should Democrats be preaching about being serious about the deficit?

MCCASKILL: I can't speak for all Democrats. I can speak for this one who has worked, as Senator Cornyn said, with Senator Sessions to try to bring down spending, as a senator who doesn't earmark.

They won't even pledge that they'll quit earmarking, the Republicans. Now, how serious -- I mean, independent voters need to take a hard look at that. If they won't even say they'll stop earmarking in this kind of spending problem that we're facing, I just think there's a lot of politics being played, Chris.

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MCCASKILL: Well, I certainly think that that's a tough race. I mean, when you're the leader of the party in power during very tough economic times, you pay a high price for that.

But on the other hand, when you've got Republicans in Nevada, you know, that hold office saying, "We cannot be for Sharron Angle," Republicans endorsing Harry Reid, I've never seen anything like it, where the Republicans that know Sharron Angle in Nevada are saying, "No, no, we can't send that to Washington. We can't send her to Washington."

So I think that's a -- that's going to be a fight to the end. I think Harry is the kind of guy that if you really spend time with him, you realize he's a nice guy who's had a really tough job. And I'm hoping the people of Nevada realize that he has always kept their interests foremost in his mind.

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MCCASKILL: Well, I obviously think that Missouri is not over like some people have been saying that hang out in Washington. I'm here on the ground. And I think independent voters know that Roy Blunt is part of the Washington establishment. He's not part of the solution.

WALLACE: Is that your upset special?

MCCASKILL: But there's also both -- and I think Kentucky is really a state where, in spite Senator McConnell doing his very best to get the non-extreme candidate nominated, the extreme candidate won. And I think that the people of Kentucky know that Jack Conway is commonsense and he's a moderate. And I look forward to him being part of our moderate caucus in the Democratic Party.

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