WHEN: Tuesday, December 18th at 7:00PM ET
WHERE: "Kudlow & Company"
The following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain on CNBC's "Kudlow & Company." All references must be sourced to CNBC.
In the interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, McCain discusses where he stands in the polls and his reaction to his endorsements by key newspapers in Iowa and New Hampshire, his economic plan, trade policy with China, the Federal budget and Congressional spending and immigration, among other topics.
Senator JOHN McCAIN: I believe that free markets should play, and I would phase out agricultural subsidies, including cotton subsidies in my own state, and particularly sugar subsidies, which really distort the market because American consumers pay more for every product that has sugar in it. So I would have to say in Iowa, some of my positions get mixed reviews. But I'm very grateful to have the--very appreciative of having the endorsement of The Des Moines Register. I was--I was very grateful for that.
LARRY KUDLOW, host:
Let me ask you--there's a couple of things here. First of all, on the spending restraint, there's a bill coming out now, this omnibus spending bill, which has moved a bit in President Bush's direction. But Senator Tom Coburn and Senator Jim DeMint, two spending hard-liners who I think are allies of yours in the Senate...
Sen. McCAIN: Yes.
KUDLOW: ...they are recommending that the president veto this omnibus bill because there are 9,000 earmarks summing to $8 billion. Are you going to vote against this bill? Would that be a marker in the sand for your campaign?
Sen. McCAIN: Yes. Yes. Yes, it would. I appreciate Senator Coburn, Senator DeMint and others, and I could not be more grateful. But I want to tell you, I was fighting this fight long before they came to the Senate. I fought against the earmarks and the pork barrel spending. I saved the taxpayers $2 billion on a bogus Air Force tanker deal, and one of the leading appropriators used to call me "The Sheriff." And I have a proven record of fighting against pork barrel spending practices and also for unfund--programs with unfunded liability associated with them. I voted against the Medicare prescription drug bill because it was a trillion dollars in unfunded liability. Plus, it was badly distorted as to who really needed it, as you know. But--so I have a record and I would hope that the investor class would recognize that I'll get our fiscal house in order. I know how it works. I know where the bodies are buried and I know how to motivate them.