CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Barbara Boxer
Date: Oct. 23, 2012
Location: Unknown

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Senator Barbara Boxer is a Democrat of California and Senator, we appreciate your taking the time. I know you're out on the campaign trail, fighting for the president today. Let me just ask you this question --

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: And --

BURNETT: -- though about and start with these issues --

BOXER: And Congresswoman --

BURNETT: -- defense.

BOXER: And Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. I wanted to make sure you knew I was also out in Nevada campaigning for Shelley Berkley --

BURNETT: Yes.

BOXER: -- who we're trying to make a senator from the House. First, I have to say the president did put the wars back on budget. So it is true that George W. had them off budget. They're on budget, so that criticism is wrong. Let me tell you how I respond to everything you said and I listened to it intently.

BURNETT: Yes.

BOXER: I've run 11 successful elections for myself. They're hard. They're difficult. But it is true at the end you still have those undecideds. And even though President Obama, as you point out, has talked about these ideas -- for example, one you didn't mention is taking away tax breaks for companies who ship jobs overseas. The reason he wants to put this together is because they're still undecided, and the Republicans are complaining where's the beef, where's the plan. So he put it together in a book and I think that's a smart idea for those who are undecided.

BURNETT: Right and I mean -- I see your point. As David Axelrod said, there aren't many of them, but if this is going to help them make up their mind it makes sense for the president.

BOXER: Yes.

BURNETT: But what about this question?

BOXER: Yes.

BURNETT: He says in the glossy half the money saved from ending the wars is going to go to reducing the deficit. The other half to putting Americans back to work --

BOXER: Yes.

BURNETT: -- rebuilding roads. But it's borrowed money. Once it's not spent, he would have to borrow money to do those other things.

BOXER: Well, I'm just going to take issue with you. The money for the wars, when President Obama took office he stopped the sham and those went on budget. So they're actually savings here. So, yes, you know, it just -- it just -- it really makes sense if you think about it. We're spending so many billions abroad --

BURNETT: Well, I understand they're in the budget. They're in the budget --

BOXER: He wants to bring --

BURNETT: Right.

BOXER: Yes.

BURNETT: But in the budget --

BOXER: So my point is --

BURNETT: -- doesn't mean on the budget. You know what I'm saying?

BOXER: It doesn't -- I don't think -- well, let me just tell you what I know. What I know is we've been spending a lot of money rebuilding other countries and the president is right. It is time to rebuild our country. I'm the chairman of a committee. I'm very fortunate. I hope I keep the gavel that is in charge of building the roads and the bridges and the water systems and the sewer systems. We are so far away from doing what we need to do. You're -- you know the economy. You have to have a strong infrastructure to have a strong economy. You have to move people. You have to move goods. And you have to move them efficiently. The president is right to do that, so I don't know why people, yourself included would have a problem with this notion of bringing the money back and spending it here in America.

BURNETT: Right.

BOXER: I think it's smart. I'm for it --

BURNETT: I don't have a problem with it at all. I'm just saying --

BOXER: Good.

BURNETT: I'm just saying is he saying that he's going to be borrowing the money to do that, right? Because he's saying money that --

BOXER: No, he's not.

BURNETT: -- wars are ending, they're not going to be spending, and when they were in the wars we were borrowing it. So he's saying I'm going to spend half of it on ending -- on the deficit and half of it on rebuilding the roads. So if you want to rebuild the roads --

BOXER: Well you could say that --

BURNETT: -- I guess that a lot of people applaud that. Would you support borrowing the money?

BOXER: No. No, you could say that every single thing we do is borrowed. That makes no sense at all. The fact is the wars are on the budget. They are budgeted. Instead of budgeting for the wars, we're saying we're going to take half of that money, reduce the deficit, take the other half and invest it in our people, in education, in job training, in building roads and bridges and highways. And yes, we're going to ask the people at the top to pay a fair share like they did under Bill Clinton when we created 23 million jobs and balanced the budget. So I'm really glad he put together this book. And I think it's important for those people who haven't really followed everything and who are inundated with these negative commercials from every side they can actually take a look at this and see what the president wants to do in the next four years.

BURNETT: And let me ask you this of the overall -- the number and let's take the four trillion --

BOXER: Sure.

BURNETT: -- just because that's the number he put out there.

BOXER: Yes.

BURNETT: You know obviously, when he took office, he said he was going to cut the deficit in half. The economy did not help him and that's a big part of the reason why he didn't and that's fair to notice. But when you look at -- obviously, we've been running trillion-dollar deficits since then. Even if you keep our debt firm where it is right now and it doesn't grow and of course it is growing, but at 16 trillion, his four trillion is only a quarter of that. So now he's saying from going -- saying he's going to cut it in half, we're only cutting it in a quarter off, a much bigger number. Is that right? I mean do you support that?

BOXER: Well let me talk about -- let me talk about what the president says. The president has a plan to cut $4 trillion and you're absolutely right in your other comments. A trillion has been cut and believe me that was painful. I had to vote for those cuts. A lot of them broke my heart. But he has shown that he is willing to do that. And he has laid out a very clear plan to get to the other three trillion. Now, if you look at Mitt Romney, he wants to spend two trillion more on the military than the military wants to spend. He wants to give tax breaks to the people at the very top, billionaires, millionaires, you name it. He doesn't want to take away tax breaks from people who ship jobs overseas. So he has no plan whatsoever, so one could argue that the president's $4 trillion plan will be tough to do. I believe he will do it. He's a man of his word. When he says something he does it.

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