CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports - Transcript
BLITZER: Let's talk briefly about the budget. I assume you're upset, like a lot of Democrats, as far as the president's budget cuts are concerned. What are you going to do about it?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Well, I'm upset as an American. I think that we are in this huge deficit hole. We are dependent on foreign lenders, like the governments of China and others, to keep bailing us out every month. It's an unsustainable situation...
BLITZER: But the country's at war.
CLINTON: Well, this is the first time we've ever had a president take us to war and cut taxes at the same time. It doesn't add up and it's really undermining our long-term economic viability. The budget has a lot of specific problems with it that I think are not-you know, we're going to debate them and I don't think that eventually they will be enacted.
But the bigger question is we don't have Iraq in there. We don't have the real cost of Social Security in terms of the plan the president wants to present. You know, at some point, we've got to say, look, everybody, we have not repealed the laws of economics and arithmetic. This does not add up and we need to do a better job.
BLITZER: You disagree or you agree?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM ®, SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, there is going to be bipartisan buy-in to the idea that we need to control our spending like we did in 1997 when President Clinton was president. We had a balanced budget agreement. We were able to find a way to control the growth of spending. I hope we can do that. Some specific programs to be rejected by Republicans in terms of budget austerity.
But the idea of controlling spending-cutting taxes has helped the economy, I think. I think we can have some more tax cuts. But we can't borrow our way out of every problem. With Social Security I propose not borrowing all the money you need to fix Social Security, actually raising the cap on earnings, I know as a Republican that's heresy.
BLITZER: Sounds like a tax cut-a tax raise, an increase in taxes.
GRAHAM: Well, for some people, by raising the cap, they'll have to make a higher contribution to Social Security for the common good. What I'm trying to generate in this debate is that our problems are real for all demographics, Republican or Democrat. Our country is really in a bad way when it comes to budget matters.
Fiscal austerity with a compassionate heart, I think, is the key to this. Entitlement reform-two-thirds of the budget is entitlement spending, if we can fix Social Security in a bipartisan way, it gives us hope. If we fail here, I don't know what we do with Medicare.
BLITZER: We are out of time. One quick question. Just clarify briefly for us the abortion issue because some abortion...
BLITZER: Some abortion supporters-abortion rights supporters among women's groups were a little concerned by those recent comments you made. So just explain to our viewers what is your stance right now?
CLINTON: Well, I have tried to make clear over many, many years that I believe that this is a very difficult issue, morally and in every other way. I don't see how the government can enter into this matter and criminalize the behavior of women and their doctors. Therefore my hope is that we can find common ground, to deal with the underlying problem which happens to be unplanned, unwanted pregnancies.
The more we can work together to try to decrease those numbers, the less this will be a pressing issue in the hearts and minds of so many Americans.
BLITZER: But fundamentally you still support a women's right to have an abortion?
CLINTON: Absolutely. As I said in my speech in Albany, I've been to countries that forced women to have abortions and be sterilized, like China, where they had a one-child policy.
I've been to countries like Romania that forced women to bear children. They wanted every woman to have five children for the state. They used to physically examine women every month to make sure that if they were pregnant they would be followed by the secret police. And we ended up with orphans and abandoned children and a terrible AIDS crisis in the Rumanian orphanages.
I've been to Brazil, a place where abortion is illegal. And I've been to a hospital where half the women were thrilled because they were having babies and half were being treated because they had terrible, botched, illegal abortions.
So I know that in this world of ours there are many places where abortion is illegal and half the abortions in the world happen in those countries. This is a problem that needs to be dealt with from the beginning in helping young women and young men understand responsible decision-making, in providing good moral values and upbringing, hopefully religious-we underpin so that people know what is right and wrong.
I also believe in comprehensive sex education because I think that-although I favor and spoke years ago about abstinence, I think that it's the parents that-going to be in our saturated culture of consumerism, materialism and sex selling everything, a problem that we can't deal with in just one way.
So I think there is common ground here. And I would, for example, hope that the administration would rethink its decision about making it recommended to provide emergency contraception after a woman has been raped, because these are areas where I think people on all sides can find some common ground. And that's what I'm hoping to achieve.
BLITZER: You want to just weigh in briefly or...
GRAHAM: I'm proudly pro-life and I agree totally with her that our men and women in the Guard and reserve need full time health care now.
BLITZER: I think everybody will agree with you on that. Senator Graham, thanks very much.
GRAHAM: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Senator Clinton...
CLINTON: Thanks, thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: ... appreciate it very much. Good luck to both of you.
CLINTON: Thank you very much, Wolf.