This is a Red November Initiative Post!
What follows is the transcript of the Lou Dobbs interview with Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona. The Democrat challenger Jim Pederson, like Gabrielle Giffords was too afraid to talk about the immigration issue. This choice in this race, without a doubt, is Jon Kyl.
DOBBS: Border security is a top issue in this hotly contested U.S. Senate race in midterm congressional races, but particularly so in Arizona. In Arizona, incumbent Republican Senator Jon Kyl against his Democratic opponent Jim Pederson. Senator Kyl is the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. The powerful Republican senator fought aggressively for passage of a 700-mile border fence. He co-wrote legislation outlawing mortar tunnels. His opponent is labeling him, however, soft on border security. Senator Kyl joins us tonight from Phoenix, Arizona. Senator, good to have you with us.
SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Thank evening, Lou. Thank you.
DOBBS: I want to be very clear with everyone. We invited your opponent, Mr. Pederson to join us here. He declined, and we regret that. I'm sure that the folks in Arizona watching this broadcast -- we all regret it. You are right now being accused by Mr. Pederson of being soft on border security. He says that you talk tough, but not getting anything done. How do you respond?
KYL: Well, I think you know better, Lou. First of all, as you said, I did fight for this border fence, both on the bill that just passed, as well as a previous bill that we had. I fought hard for the funding to make sure that we can build the fence as well as all of these vehicle barriers and the other things we need to prevent illegal entry into the country. As you know, I chair the Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee where we've held numerous hearings on the issue, some of which have resulted in legislation, such as the making it illegal to build a tunnel under the border. Believe it or not, that hadn't been illegal before, so now that's going to be a crime. As a matter of fact, in just my first term in the Senate, I sponsored the legislation that doubled the number of Border Patrol agents at that time. And of course, we've been working ever since then to get more agents on the border.
DOBBS: Senator, your colleague and friend, however, Senator John Cornyn of Texas saying, you know, we funded it, we passed that border fence, but he doesn't think anything much will be done with it. He was certainly downplaying its effectiveness. He was downplaying its importance, which is kind of surprising to some folks. But with all the consternation in the Republican Senate, all that's going on in this country, almost anything could happen. How do you feel? Is it going to be effective? Is it going to get done? And is the Republican Party willing to overrun its president and say we're going to get this done first and foremost?
KYL: Well, I think you've seen by the fact that the House and Senate passed the legislation -- and there were a lot of people on the Democratic side who were up for election this year that voted for it -- I think they know where the American people stand. The president signed the legislation, and proof of the fact that we're actually going to get it done is the president signed today here in Arizona the bill that begins the funding for it. Now, that's funding for just one year of activity, but we're going to get a great start on that this year. And I talked to Secretary Chertoff just four or five days ago who said that he believes he can build the first 371 miles of the fence within a three- year period of time. So and I think Congress will appropriate the money for that, no question.
DOBBS: All right. And will the Republican leadership, particularly in the Senate, tell the president and everybody who wants to talk about comprehensive immigration reform, i.e. amnesty, to stick it until we do secure our borders and ports?
KYL: We might use different terminology than that, but the bottom line is, I think the message has gotten through pretty loud and clear that we're going to start with border security, and that starts with building more fencing. That's what we've accomplished this year, and again, that's in response to what the people wanted. And I think that counts for a lot.
DOBBS: The people also want -- they want to see I think in this country, it's pretty clear, they want to see this middle class, who's under outright assault by public policies, whether it be free trade, whether it be manufacturing policies and taxation policies. Is this Congress, in your judgment, with this administration, has it got anything to brag about in terms of jobs for working Americans? We've seen wages actually decline over the last six years. We're watching a ruling out of the Bush administration with three of its representatives on the Labor Relations Board working against the interests of millions of workers, in point of fact. How are you going to approach that issue in your campaign there in Arizona?
KYL: First of all, according to the Treasury Department, wages have increased in the last six years. And when you add into that benefits, the increase is the largest in many, many years. And I think you do need to add benefits like health insurance when you're talking about the compensation for our middle classes, as you put it. Here is an important thing, Lou. You know that the tax rate relief that the Bush administration proposed and Congress adopted has done a lot to not only stimulate economic growth and job creation, but it's been good for families. And here's the proof. If people like my Democratic opponent prevailed and those tax increases fell off the table, we didn't extend them, the average American family, average income, two kids, two parents would see their tax bill increase by 58 percent.
DOBBS: And we're going to have to leave it there because we're out of time. I would like to debate with you about wages and that Treasury Department report compared to the Census Bureau data, as well as...
KYL: We'll get together again.
DOBBS: ... the Commerce Department. We thank you for being here.
KYL: You bet.
DOBBS: We regret that your opponent couldn't join us. I hope for the sake of the citizens of Arizona that he joins you in a strong debate there in the state of Arizona. Thanks for being here, Senator Kyl.
KYL: You bet.
DOBBS: A reminder now to vote on our poll. Is border and port security a priority in your decision as to whom you will vote for in the midterm elections? Yes or no? Please cast your votes at LouDobbs.com. We're very much interested in your response to this question, and we'll have the results coming here in just a few moments. Just ahead, the Foley scandal has sent shock waves through the GOP. We'll be talking with our political analysts about how this will affect who wins the Congress in November and a great deal more. Please stay with us.