MA: It probably would be quite a bit more. Assuming you win and get to the Senate, what's the first big piece of legislation you think the Senate needs to work on in the next sessions, assuming Democrats keep control (which I think is a fair assumption at this point)?
RC: Yes, I think that would be a fair assumption, or I certainly hope it will be.
MA: So what if the Senate majority leader, whoever it might be, goes to you and says, "What's your priority"?
RC: It depends on what's happening at the time. Right now, if I were in the Senate today, my priority would be jobs and the economy. Jobs and the economy just have to be first in my opinion. There are other things that I would like to do assuming that Congress gets some of these targeted things through and there are quite a number of things that I would like to get done. I guess then I would like to see some overhaul of the tax system, some injection of fairness. I would like to see hedge fund managers taxed on their income just like the people that work for me. I would like to see stopping subsidies to big oil to the tune of $36.5 billion, redirect that to green energy and green jobs.
MA: Would you be willing to put all subsidies on the table?
RC: Sure, absolutely. And in fact, I have already publicly stated that I think that agriculture subsidies should be limited to a total of $250,000 and I would like to direct them explicitly and specifically at independent problems. And farmers who are using conservation methodologies and farmers who are growing local food for local schools, and things like that. I think that somehow that's in the 2008 farm bill. The limitation is there. But dead people are getting the subsidies.
MA: Do you anticipate getting the resources that high profile Senate candidates tend to get from their party? Or are you aware that you need to cross a certain threshold in the poll in order for ...
RC: Well, I should have crossed it by now.
MA: Well, I mean, you definitely have ...
RC: We're the closest challenger in the nation.
MA: And there's no question that people are taking notice.
RC: I am a realist. And I recognize that there are lots of endangered incumbents, and there's Barbara Boxer -- her race costs 3, 4, 5 times what mine does. And now, Patty Murray ... I'm very much a realist about that. And I don't know the answer. What I do know is that the race has attracted sufficient attention, that 527's have already been in. They're on the air -- two of them are on the air right now. And I am a truly progressive candidate. And I'm expecting that kind of assistance because I might be one of the few true progressives in this cycle who's not afraid. Fearless.
MA: Has Grassley agreed to debate yet?
RC: No, but I'm certainly hoping that he will. And we are going to accept every invitation that we get to debate.