CNBC Transcript: Larry Kudlow Tells CNBC’s “Power Lunch” He Is Not Running For Senate

WHEN: Today, Tuesday, February 16th

WHERE: CNBC's "Power Lunch"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET) today. Following is a link to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000494412.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

MICHELLE CARUSO-CABRERA: WELCOME BACK TO POWER LUNCH. WITH US NOW IS CNBC SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR LARRY KUDLOW WITH A MUCH ANTICIPATED ANNOUNCEMENT. LARRY.

LARRY KUDLOW: THANK YOU MICHELLE. THANK YOU TYLER I APPRECIATE IT. SO SHORTEST WAY I CAN DO IT, LAST SUMMER, A LOT OF REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS IN CONNECTICUT AND WASHINGTON, SENATORS AND FRIENDS OF MINE URGED ME TO RUN FOR THE SENATE IN CONNECTICUT. AND JUDY AND I LOOKED AT THIS THING, EXPLORING EVERY ANGLE REALLY FOR ABOUT SEVEN MONTHS TALKING TO FRIENDS IN AND OUT OF POLITICS BY THE WAY. EVERYBODY WAS VERY HELPFUL. AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE DECIDED AGAINST IT, THAT THE BEST COURSE FOR ME WAS TO DO EXACTLY WHAT I'M DOING, WHICH I LOVE. I MEAN, THAT WAS THE BOTTOM, BOTTOM LINE. YOU KNOW? CNBC IS LIKE EXTENDED FAMILY TO ME. I LOVE BEING A BROADCASTER. YOU ALL TAUGHT METO BE AN ANCHOR. I'M NOW COMMENTATING, I'M GETTING EXTENDED COVERAGE FOR THE ELECTIONS. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT SO MUCH I DON'T WANT TO GIVE IT UP. AND I WANT TO ADD JUST TO THAT I LOVE DOING THE RADIO SHOW ON SATURDAYS. WE BUILD THAT THING FROM ONE STATION IN NEW YORK TO ALMOST 180 STATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY. I DON'T WANT TO GIVE THAT UP. I JUST LOVE IT TOO MUCH.

CARUSO-CABRERA: YOU KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE VERY DISAPPOINTED. I HAVE BEEN AT EVENTS WITH YOU WHERE MANY HAVE COME UP TO YOU AND SAID LARRY, PLEASE RUN, WILLING TO WRITE YOU CHECKS ON THE SPOT. THEY ARE GOING TO BE VERY DISAPPOINTED. ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED? SOME PART OF YOU WANTED TO DO THIS?

KUDLOW: PART OF ME DID. AND I WILL TELL YOU OVER THE COURSE OF THIS THERE WERE TIMES I'D WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND I'D SAY YES, YES, BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE THE DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY. IT IS NOT EXACTLY BREAKING NEWS. I AM A REAGAN REPUBLICAN, I BELIEVE IN FREE MARKET CAPITALISM I BELIEVE IN ECONOMIC GROWTH. I DON'T LIKE WHAT'S GOING ON IN CONNECTICUT OR WHAT'S GOING ON IN WASHINGTON. HAVING SAID THAT, THIS BROADCASTING AND THE RADIO GIVES ME PLATFORMS.

MATHISEN: YOU HAVE A PLATFORM.

KUDLOW: SO I CAN DISCUSS THAT.

MATHISEN: YEAH. CAN YOU ENVISION A PLACE FOR YOU IN WASHINGTON UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES? IN, LET'S SAY, AN ADMINISTRATION THAT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WORKING FOR?

KUDLOW: IT'S ALWAYS POSSIBLE. ALWAYS POSSIBLE. I DON'T WANT TO OPEN OR SHUT ANY DOORS.

MATHISEN: I'M NOT ASKING YOU TO CAMPAIGN FOR A JOB BUT I COULD SEE YOU IN SOME JOB IN D.C., NOT THAT WE WOULDN'T LIKE TO SEE YOU --

KUDLOW: IT'S FUNNY. I'VE BEEN AN ADVISOR ON THE ECONOMY FOR A NUMBER OF PEOPLE. OF COURSE I WORKED FOR REAGAN AND BEEN AN ADVISER TO CANDIDATES SINCE THEN. BEING IN POLITICS FULLTIME IS DIFFERENT. I'VE NEVER RUN FOR ANYTHING BEFORE. SO TYLER, I WOULDN'T RULE IT OUT. IT WILL BE WHAT IT WILL BE.

MATHISEN; THE NICE PART OF THOSE JOBS, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE WAY YOU CAN AFFECT POLICY, THAT'S NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO A LOT OF FUND-RAISING WHICH YOU DO HAVE TO DO IF YOU ARE RUNNING FOR OFFICE CERTAINLY RUNNING FOR SENATE IN A STATE LIKE CONNECTICUT.

KUDLOW: YOU KNOW IT'S AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS --

MATHISEN: DO YOU THINK BLUMENTHAL IS VULNERABLE.

KUDLOW: YES, I DO ACTUALLY I THINK HE IS VULNERABLE. AGAIN BECAUSE I THINK CONNECTICUT HAS GONE IN THE WRONG ECONOMIC DIRECTION. THE STATE IS A MESS. I THINK THE DEMOCRATS ARE VULNERABLE. BUT WE WILL SEE I DON'T WANT TO GET INTO HORSE RACES. I JUST WANT TO ADD ONE OTHER THING. YOU TWO KNOW ME VERY VERY WELL FOR MANY MANY YEARS. LOT OF MY LIFE IS INVOLVED IN THE 12-STEP PROGRAM AND THE CHURCH. AND IT'S PART OF MY RETURN TO FAITH. AND IT HAS SUSTAINED ME. AND I DON'T WANT TO EVEN THINK ABOUT EITHER GIVING THAT UP OR INTERFERING WITH IT. IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO ME. I MEAN, INCLUDING THIS NETWORK, WHICH GAVE ME A SECOND CHANCE MANY YEARS AGO AFTER MY CRASH AND BURN -- IT'S WHY I THINK OF IT AS FAMILY. I JUST -- I SAY TO MYSELF, THIS IS GREAT. I AM BLESSED. STAY WITH IT.

MATHISEN: THIS WORKS. AND YOU KNOW, AND I WILL SAY SOMETHING ON THE AIR THAT I HAVE NOT SAID BEFORE, YOU HAVE BEEN AN INCREDIBLE FRIEND TO ME TO AND TO MY OLDER SON.

KUDLOW: THANK YOU.

MATHISEN: WHO IS IN A SIMILAR PROGRAM. I WAS WITH HIM THIS WEEKEND. AND I SAID TO HIM, DON'T DO ANYTHING THAT WILL DISRUPT THE MOMENTUM, THE PROGRESS THAT YOU HAVE. NOTHING TO DISTRACT YOU FROM THAT. AND I THINK THAT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT MESSAGE.

KUDLOW: THAT'S A GREAT MESSAGE, TYLER. AND YOU KNOW, I SHARE THAT MESSAGE.

MATHISEN: YOU DO. YOU DO.

KUDLOW: YOU SIT BACK. JUDY AND I -- I DON'T KNOW WHEN IT WAS, MAYBE A FEW WEEKS AGO -- I'M NOT SURE. WE JUST SORT OF LOOKED AT EVERYTHING, SAID LOOK, YOU LOVE THIS, YOU LOVE TV, RADIO, YOU LOVE YOUR CHURCH WORK. YOU LOVE YOUR AA WORK. WHY MESS WITH IT? YOU LOVE IT. IT'S NOT LIKE I'M UNHAPPY. IM VERY HAPPY I'M BLESSED TO HAVE THIS. AND THAT WAS THE DRIVING REASON BEHIND THAT. HONESTLY.

CARUSO-CABRERA: AND POLITICS SUCKS, LARRY. BRUTAL, DIRTY. I MEAN, HOUSE OF CARDS IS POPULAR FOR A REASON. CAN I SWITCH TO POLITICS BECAUSE OF THE DEATH OF ANTONIN SCALIA OVER THE WEEKEND.

KUDLOW: I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY AS SOMEONE THAT WAS HONORED TO WRITE THE INTRO TO YOUR GREAT BOOK –

CARUSO-CABRERA: YES. I WAS SO HAPPY YOU DID IT.

KUDLOW: FREE MARKET CAPITALISM IS THE BEST PATH TO PROSPERITY. ANYWAY, GO AHEAD. ANYTHING YOU WANT.

CARUSO-CABRERA: SO ANTONIN SCALIA IS DEAD. THERE IS A BATTLE WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THEY SHOULD EVEN HEAR – GIVE A HEARING TO WHOEVER PRESIDENT OBAMA WOULD LIKE TO NOMINATE. AND THERE IS TALK OF TRYING TO PREVENT ANYBODY TAKING THAT SEAT THAT POSITION FOR NEARLY A YEAR. THE DEMOCRATS SAY THAT WILL HELP THE REPUBLICANS LOSE SEATS IN CONGRESS IF THEY TAKE THAT STANCE. THEY CALL IT OBSTRUCTIONIST. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT AS POLITICAL MOVE?

KUDLOW: YOU KNOW, HERE'S MY TAKE. THE PRESIDENT HAS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO NOMINATE A JUSTICE, NUMBER ONE. THE SENATE HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO CONFIRM, ADVISE AND CONSENT. THAT'S NUMBER TWO. I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY JUST DON'T GO THROUGH THE PROCESS. IN OTHER WORDS, PRESIDENT OBAMA NOMINATES SOMEBODY NEXT WEEK OR WHENEVER. I THINK THE SENATE SHOULD HOLD HEARINGS, SHOULD TAKE IT UP, AND THEN IF THEY DON'T LIKE WHOEVER IT IS. TOO LIBERAL –

MATHISEN: THEY REJECT THEM.

KUDLOW: THAT THEY REJECT THEM.

MATHISEN: WOULDN'T BE THE FIRST TIME.

KUDLOW: IT'S REJECTED. SO, I WOULD PLAY OUT THE PROCESS. I WOULDN'T THWART THE PROCESS, BUT YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A LOT OF ANGLES HERE. I MEAN, YOU DON'T KNOW IF THERE IS GOING TO BE A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT NEXT YEAR. YOU DON'T KNOW IF THERE IS GOING TO BE A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS. YOU DON'T KNOW.

MATHISEN: MICHELLE, YOU USE THE PHRASE. THERE'S A DEBATE WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ABOUT WHETHER THEY SHOULD EVEN ENTERTAIN THAT. IS THERE A DEBATE? I HAVEN'T HEARD ANYBODY IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TAKE THE OTHER SIDE THAT SAYS YEAH, HE SHOULD GO AHEAD AND NOMINATE.

CARUSO-CABRERA: I'M THINKING EVEN LIKE RAND PAUL HAS GONE SO FAR AS TO SAY HE DOESN'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO NOMINATE.

KUDLOW: NO, THAT'S CRAZY.

CARUSO-CABRERA: I MEAN IT IS REALLY JUST –

KUDLOW: I WOULDN'T TAKE THAT POSTURE. I WOULD GO THROUGH THE NORMAL PROCESS. AND IF THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY OF THE SENATE BELIEVES THAT OBAMA'S NOMINEE IS TOO LIBERAL, THEN YOU REJECT HIM. IT'S REAL SIMPLE. BUT YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER –

MATHISEN: AND THERE IS NO SURE THING THAT A REPUBLICAN NOMINEE IS GOING TO WIN THE ELECTION.

KUDLOW: SEE, THAT'S WHAT MAKES THIS SO INTERESTING. RIGHT. YOU DON'T KNOW THAT.

MATHISEN: OR THAT THE REPUBLICANS WILL HOLD THE SENATE, THOUGH THAT SEEMS LIKELY. ER-ISH.

KUDLOW: MAY BE TOUGH. I DON'T KNOW. THEY WON'T DO AS WELL IN CONNECTICUT AS THEY MIGHT HAVE. BUT IT MAY BE TOUGH. BUT I WOULD JUST TELL THE PUBLIC WE ARE GOING TO GO BY THE RULES. TO ME THAT'S ALWAYS THE BEST WAY.

CARUSO-CABRERA: AND COULD OBAMA BE INCENTIVIZED TO BRING SOMEBODY WHO IS MORE TO THE CENTER? FOR THE PRECISE REASON THAT IT COULD BE A REPUBLICAN WHO WINS AND HE WANTS TO MAKE SURE HE GETS SOMEBODY IN THERE NOW AND UNDER HIS POWER.

MATHISEN: EXACTLY. A MODERATE, THE GUY WHO IS ON THE – SRINIVASAN –

CARUSO-CABRERA: YEAH, THAT GUY.

MATHISEN: WHO WOULD BE A FAIRLY MODERATE BUSINESS ORIENTED GUY BY MY READING.

KUDLOW: YOU KNOW, SO MANY OF US HAVE HOPE THAT MR. OBAMA WOULD HAVE LISTENED TO THE ELECTION RETURNS IN 2014 AND EVEN 2010 AND GONE CENTRIST. HASN'T HAPPENED. SO TO YOUR SCENARIO, IT'S POSSIBLE. I'M NOT PARTICULARLY – I DON'T EXPECT THAT TO HAPPEN. I'M JUST SAYING GOP SHOULD PLAY BY THE RULES. THAT'S ALL. AND I HAVEN'T HEARD OTHERWISE FROM SENATOR McCONNELL. SO WE'LL SEE HOW THAT PLAYS OUT. SCALIA, YOU KNOW, I MET HIM, HAD A COUPLE DINNERS WITH HIM A WHILE BACK. BRILLIANT GUY. I MEAN, I'M NOT A JURIST, BUT A VERY FUNNY GUY. WONDERFUL WIT.

MATHISEN: PEOPLE WHO WERE OPPOSED TO HIM PHILOSOPHICALLY LOVED HIM. LOVED HANGING OUT WITH HIM. HE WAS SELF DEPRECATING, HE WAS FUN, HE WAS A BRILLIANT WRITER. YOU READ SOME OF HIS OPINIONS. THEY ARE WORTH READING FOR THE INTELLECTUAL RIGOR.

KUDLOW: PLAIN SPOKEN, TOO.

MATHISEN: PLAIN SPOKEN GUY. PEOPLE LOVED HIM.

KUDLOW: YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY – HE IN MANY WAYS WAS THE BACKBONE OF CONSERVATIVE THINKING THESE PAST 30 SOME ODD YEARS. AND IT HAS BEEN A TREMENDOUS, TREMENDOUS THING. AND HE DOESN'T ALWAYS AGREE WITH THE GOP POLITICAL POSITION, BUT HE SPEAKS HIS MIND. WE NEED TO FIND SOMEBODY WHO IS A GREAT MAN, LIKE SCALIA, FILL THOSE SHOES. JUST RUN THROUGH THE PROCESS. IT'S GOING TO BE FINE. MEANWHILE, I LOOK FORWARD TO REPORTING ON IT, TO TALKING TO YOU GUYS ON IT. AND THE OTHER THING, I LOVE BEING IN IOWA. I LOVE BEING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE COVERING THIS.

CARUSO-CABRERA: MY HOME STATE.

KUDLOW: HONEST TO GOD, I LOVED IT. WE HAD DONALD TRUMP ON. WE HAD BUSH ON.

CARUSO-CABRERA: YOU DID A GREAT JOB.

KUDLOW: WE HAD KASICH. I JUST GOT TO TELL YOU, PERSONALLY, I LOVED DOING IT. AND YOU KNOW WHAT? WITH YOUR PERMISSION, I'M GOING TO KEEP DOING IT.

MATHISEN: WELL WE ARE GLAD YOU ARE GOING TO KEEP DOING IT.

CARUSO-CABRERA: I'M SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT.

KUDLOW: I'M GOING TO KEEP DOING IT.

MATHISEN: WE LIKE HAVING ANOTHER GUY WHO SPEAKS HIS MIND AROUND HERE. LARRY, THANKS. LARRY KUDLOW.

KUDLOW: THANKS.

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