CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript - Budget and Taxes

Interview

By:  Pete King
Date: March 12, 2013
Location: Unknown

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BURNETT: All right, so Paul Ryan walked the only road he's ever known, while the president is at least reaching out to his Republican foes with some very nice dinners and fancy wines.

Ryan's fellow Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, he serves on the House Financial Services Committee. Good to see you, sir.

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Erin, how are you?

BURNETT: President Obama obviously has been making a bit of an effort. Is Paul Ryan doing the same?

KING: Surely he is. I think first of all, putting a budget out there. Republicans have their marker there. The president is coming to meet with us tomorrow and I'm hopeful. This is not going to change overnight, but I think we can have a constructive dialogue and debate.

Hopefully the Democrats come out with their budget. The Senate Democrats will come up with their budget. The president will come out with his and all that has to be very positive. But especially the president coming tomorrow can be -- it can signal a new relationship.

Now there's more to politics, there's more to government than people disliking each other and getting together, but it is a good first step. To me, I'm satisfied the president is coming and I think he can be very helpful.

BURNETT: All right, so Paul Ryan -- I want to get to the bottom of this. He says he'll support $4.6 trillion in spending cuts the next ten years. But when I get to what he's going to do, I get a little confused. He's going to cut taxes for everyone and get two tax brackets above 10 and 25 percent. Those are his goals.

Then Medicare is going to change, going to become government subsidize private health care plan for people under 55. And it eliminates the federal Medicaid program and the states get lump sum grants. If you're cutting taxes by that much, it sounds like -- well, it sounds like you're cutting those other things dramatically, too.

KING: Well, again, Paul lays it out in there. To me, this is a very good blueprint to go forward on. I also support tax cuts. I do think that ultimately, tax cuts do generate more revenue. I come from the Jack Kemp School of the Republican Party, which does believe in tax cuts.

But again, this is our plan on the table. The president should come forward with his and we'll go forward from there. This is what this is about. This isn't divided government and if Paul realizes that, the Republican leadership realizes that, we're going with what we feel is our best case.

And he's asking the president to come forward with his. The fact that he's coming in tomorrow, we can go over some of those issues with him and it will be a good first step.

BURNETT: So he's coming in. You know, what's kind of amazing about that, some of your fellow Republicans just like you have said he's doing a good job. John McCain had dinner with the president, called his comments sincere. Lindsey graham was at the dinner, too, called it serious.

I want to play for you now what Senator Tom Coburn said about the president on Sunday on "Meet the Press."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: He is moving in the right direction. I'm proud of him for doing it and I think it's a great thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Now that's a Republican coming out and supporting the president. I mean, this sounds like it's more than just rhetoric. It's more than just a visit. I mean, do you agree that this is a significant move and outreach by the president?

KING: It is especially since he has not really reached out that much over the last several years. I'm not trying to condemn him here. This is a dramatic change by the president meeting with all the Republicans. I think the last time he did this was in 2009 when he was first elected, that first week or two that he was in office.

So I think it's significant. And it's not the be all and end all, but it's a positive step and he is the president of the United States. He's entitled to respect, entitled to presume that he's being sincere. He's entitled to that. I think it can be a good start.

Republicans want to show that we can govern in the Congress and get things done. And you have Paul Ryan's budget, you have the president's. So I'm much more optimistic than I was a month or so ago, having said that, it's still a long way to go. I've been in politics for a long time.

BURNETT: All right, but then this gets me to a poor part of Paul Ryan's budget, which doesn't seem to be even remotely close to compromise, that is that Obamacare is going to get repealed. Even Chris Wallace on Fox News was a little bit shocked by that. Here's the exchange on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Are you saying that as part of your budget, you would assume the repeal of Obamacare?

RYAN: Yes.

WALLACE: Well, that's not going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: All right, he said it pretty firmly. That is the truth, Congressman. It's not going to happen.

KING: Well, the fact is -- it is opposition Obamacare, should be repealed. The president obviously wants Obamacare retained in total. When you get to the total, that's what negotiations are all about.

BURNETT: All right, but let me ask you this because this is interesting. Eight Republican governors have stopped fighting Obamacare altogether. They've accepted the president's Medicaid extension among them, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, which is currently the frontrunner for the 2016 nomination, and Chris Christie spoke about this decision recently. Here he is.

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GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I am no fan of the affordable care act. I think it's wrong for New Jersey and I think it's wrong for America. I fought against it and believe in the long run it will not achieve what it promises. However, it is now the law of the land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: So I guess, forget the fact for a second that the political thing to say is maybe even worse than I was against it before I was for it, but the positions working 69 percent of New Jersey voters say he's handling it right. Isn't this proof that for your party, it's time to abandon the Obamacare bogeyman, let that one go?

KING: First of all, Chris Christie -- I have great respect for Chris Christie. I think he'd be a great president. He's representing New Jersey with what he feels is best for New Jersey. Paul Ryan has to represent the views of all the Republicans -- the majority of Republicans in Congress.

But again, I think once you get to the table and there's negotiations going on, you take it from there. Paul is bringing his position to the table. The president will bring his. Let's see where it's going to go. There's no need to concede anything up front.

BURNETT: All right, the final question, some interesting video we saw of you this week in the boxing ring. And you got to have -- you landed some pretty good shots. Here you are. You did land some really good shots. There we go, getting in the ring.

This is good and I'm impressed. You don't have any bruises or anything from this. When you got in there, though, and started fighting, who were you imagining punching? You know, that you deal with every day.

KING: Well, I would say maybe reporters. I'll leave it at that.

BURNETT: Maybe me.

KING: No, not you, not you, Erin. No, seriously. There are a few people I had in mind. I was trying to stay alive. I wasn't really thinking of inflicting the damage, doing that I landed a few shots along the way.

BURNETT: Well, it looks pretty good there. Thanks so much. Appreciate it. Good to see you, Congressman.

KING: Thank you, Erin. Appreciate it.

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