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CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript

Interview

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM KAINE (D), VA SENATE CANDIDATE: I would be open to a proposal that would have some minimum tax level for everyone.

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BURNETT: And now here is what the other candidate said after the debate to reporters. I'll quote him, quote, "I don't think everyone ought to be paying income taxes."

All right. If you used simple logic, conventional wisdom and assume the guy who wants to tax everyone is a Republican and the guy who wants to give some people a pass is a Democrat you would be wrong. Tim Kaine, the man you're going to see on your left, he's the Democrat, the guy on your right, he's the Republican -- left and right on your screen -- but hard to tell from their remarks.

But even the thing is, if you don't live in Virginia, this race is still crucial to you, and here is why. Control of the U.S. Senate could hang in the balance. Republicans need to get four seats to take control. There are only five states considered tossups and Virginia is one of them.

Tim Kaine is a Democratic Senate candidate from Virginia, also former governor of Virginia, and former Democratic National Committee chair.

Good to see you, sir. Appreciate it.

KAINE: Hey, Erin. Good to be back.

BURNETT: We probably -- we probably had some people stumped there. But now, this is interesting because I know you said I'm going to be open to a minimum tax, not that you're trying to go for that or plan for that.

KAINE: Yes.

BURNETT: But you're open to putting that on the negotiating table.

KAINE: Sure, I'd be open to it. Look, I'm going to go into the Senate and I'm going to be open to good faith proposals of all kinds. My opponent took the Grover Norquist pledge where he takes all revenue off the table.

But I pointed out immediately in that clip that you got to remember that there's kind of a lie being perpetrated that 47 percent of the people, you know, don't pay taxes, and it's just not true. The poor pay very high tax rates. I used to be the mayor of Richmond, and if you look at the total tax burden of a middle class or poor family, they're paying a higher tax rate than Mitt Romney is, and I pointed that out very pointedly to the audience.

BURNETT: Well, they --

KAINE: And that is something that would, you know, that really you got to consider.

BURNETT: I guess what I'm curious about is you do believe that broadening the base then as a concept, i.e., more teem to pay federal tax than are paying it now is a good thing.

KAINE: Yes. I think everybody agrees we have to broaden the base. Now, when I was governor because of our economic circumstance during the tough recession, I raised the threshold so that low-income working people, tens of thousands of them, did not have to pay state income tax during a tough time.

But you can look -- you broaden the base because there are small businesses that pay federal corporate income tax and a lot of large businesses that don't. Yesterday I put my own proposal on the table, which is heavily focused on the Bush tax cut --

BURNETT: Right, which I want to ask you about. I want to ask you about.

But I have to say just hearing you, look, you're say something that is sort of -- I'm going to say in the middle. There's plenty of Republicans that would agree with what you're saying, about broadening the base and closing loopholes.

KAINE: Yes.

BURNETT: Actually one of them appears to be Mitt Romney. Hold on that for a second.

This Bush tax cuts going away for people who make over half a million a year.

KAINE: Yes.

BURNETT: That's your proposal.

KAINE: Yes, it is.

BURNETT: The president has said over $250,000 and he'd veto anything else.

KAINE: Yes.

BURNETT: What do you think is the mistake he's making in going -- putting the cutoff half a million dollars lower than you are?

KAINE: Sure. Erin, my position is now a year old. You know, when I was party chair I could see the positions hardening in both parties. Republicans, make them all permanent. Democrats, repeal them over $250,000, and the positions are hardened.

Over the summer, you saw the Senate pass their version. The House passed the Republican version. Each knew that the version was going nowhere when it crossed over.

Now is the time for a compromise. So if you find a compromise and you say, OK, let's let the tax cuts expire over 500k, it's better for small businesses in the sub chapter S class. And, second, it produces $500 billion of revenue over the next 10 years that you can then use to deal with the deficit and avoid the need for the kind of devastating sequester cuts that will hurt Medicare, defense, and other key priorities.

BURNETT: All right. All of that makes sense, but I want to hone in on this issue of you differ with the president on this. He's campaigning in the state.

KAINE: Yes, we --

BURNETT: I know you get along with him but you weren't by his side.

KAINE: Yes.

BURNETT: You're different than he is on some policies.

KAINE: I am. I mean, look, I am a strong supporter of the president. I want him to get re-elected and I do a lot of campaigning with him, but we don't agree on everything. I mean, that's not unusual for Democrats.

And this difference of opinion I wouldn't say it's a theological one. It's kind of a practical one.

BURNETT: And where else do you differ from him? Obviously you differ on the Bush tax cuts. What are the other two areas you mentioned?

KAINE: Sort of the two that have come up in the campaign are right at the beginning of the campaign when the president put the United States behind the military NATO action in Libya, I thought the rationale was a good rationale. But in the Senate, Erin, I'm going to be a stickler about making Congress vote on things like that.

I think if Congress won't go on the board when we put military people and personnel and assets into the field in a war situation, why even have a Congress? And so, I think the president should have gotten a vote in Congress, and I actually think Congress was sort of complicit in it because, frankly, what they like to do is not have a vote --

BURNETT: And then be able to blame the president when it goes wrong.

KAINE: Yes. And when it goes right, of course, we were with you all the time.

But I'm going to really insist Congress vote.

The second one where we differed is earlier in the year when the president announced under the Affordable Care Act that there was mandated contraception coverage, I really support that. I think that's great. That's important preventative health.

But I didn't think the religious employer exemption that the president and his team crafted was broad enough. I thought it was a good faith effort, but I didn't think it was broad enough.

So, I spoke up publicly. I said I think they need to fix it and make it broader. They did to my satisfaction, not to everybody's satisfaction, but the adjustment they made after I publicly spoke out, I didn't mind pointing out where I had a difference and I was glad they fixed it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Well, now a manhunt on tonight for a terrorist

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