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'Let Me Apologize to You'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Did Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee dis one of her constituents at a town hall? Well, the congresswoman goes "On the Record" next. But first, watch this video, the Congresswoman talking on her cell phone while a cancer survivor asks her a question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRACY MILLER: It can't happen without encroaching on someone else's civil liberty, and if your conscience allows you to proceed in the direction (INAUDIBLE) simply because you think's is good for America, then...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take it seriously. Really. I mean, come on.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: (INAUDIBLE) if our conscience allows it, then (INAUDIBLE) good for America, then we're on the path to tyranny, and when does it stop?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: Moments ago, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee went "On the Record" to defend herself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Congresswoman, nice to see you.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, D - TEXAS: It is good to be with you, my friend, and thank you for having me this evening. It's a pleasure to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me give you a challenge. I want to challenge you to give short quick answers, because you and I don't have much time. I go lots of questions. Let me fire away, the first one. All I need is a name -- who were you talking to?

LEE: Oh, and let me correct that. It was not an Obama hotline. I was not talking. I was listening and trying to hear from a hot line that has been set up to help members get answers to what our constituents were asking.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Was that a conversation with a person? Is that what it was, or not?

LEE: It is a hotline. There is a human being on the end. Don't ask me what their name was, but they were doing a good job. But we were engaging in the town hall meeting.

My town hall meetings are with friends and neighbors, fellow Americans. We engage. I was not making a keynote speech. I was walking up and down the aisles. I could listen and I can hear.

And by the way, I just became a good friend of Ms. Miller. And I understand she was on your show. I didn't know that was the case, but we stay to the very end talking to her...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: You already lost this challenge of short, quick answers, so let me try again.

Can you understand -- I know that you can multitask. I know you have a million incoming things going on in your life but can you understand why that seemed profoundly rude? A woman is trying to ask a question, you're on the phone, whether you think it's a legitimate reason or not, she has a real question and it looks like you are just ignoring her.

LEE: Not profoundly rude, but I can certainly understand if offense was taken. It was not meant to be. And I hope that Tracy will come to my town hall meetings as I make my way through the month of August so that I can tell her that there was no offense. Sorry, Tracy, we can work through this.

And I hope that I can convince her to support HR.3200, because that is a fight that I am in, battling for my constituents to understand how much better this would be for their lives...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I got that, but here is a problem that you have. You have Senator Reid who referred to protestors or people who go to town hall meetings as "evil-mongers." You have the un-American. You've got you on the telephone like you really don't care.

And these American people are coming to you, asking you questions, and you look like you're all dissing them.

LEE: No. and I am so glad that you ask me that question -- not a dish in my mouth. And my words, not the words of anyone you just reported, and this has been an emotional time. You should have been at the town hall last night when everyone was shouting "Just say no."

But I, Shelia Jackson Lee, I remain steadfast, ready to hear, and trying to convince them. And the same thing happened on Tuesday, having it during the day so that families like the family we're speaking of could come.

I don't believe that we dissed them, not when you stayed as long as I stayed.

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: We have a tough job, we have people emotionally charged. And let me just say what I understand. I think people are fearful that we are trying to take something from them. I felt that last night.

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: No, I was [not] dissing them. I was getting information for them. No I don't think that was the case. But let me just tell you. You are kind enough to let me come on your show.

You had the young lady on your show. I did not see it, but if she took any offense, come to my town hall meeting so that I can sorry to you, so that you know that it was nothing intended. I heard everything you said.

I really believe she would fit well for a robust public option that would make a difference in her life, and I would like to convince her that that would be the case.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Let me explain something to you, because one of the problems is that you are not listening. And that's one of the criticisms, that you weren't listening. You were on the phone.

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: I am listening, go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: You say you are calling a hotline. And the way the American people are is that nobody is even bothering to read the bill. Why do you need to call a hotline? Why don't you come to this meeting well- prepared? Is this because the bill is incomprehensible?

Are you listening to the people? You are on the phone, insulting the protestors. That is why people are upset. They feel like you're not paying any attention. They get boisterous towards you -- maybe not towards you, but other member. That's a problem. It is like you all know so much better and they're simply trying to ask questions.

LEE: I am glad that you asked the whole list of questions.

No, I did read the bill. No, it is not being rude to try to get place and section and the correct language. I consider myself wil-read but I know that everyone knows that it is pretty good to go back and get the facts.

Let me speak for the all the other members, not speaking for them, but just saying this, we are out there. We may have comments about how we are being received or how volatile or nonvolatile, but people are out there.

Whether they are Democrats or Republicans, we're out. We are doing what we're supposed to do, and we are human. This was an informal town meeting as I have done over the times that I have served.

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: What I will say to you is that that film looked kind of strange. I have not seen it, but I have had people tell me.

VAN SUSTEREN: It looks really bad.

(CROSSTALK)

LEE: But I was gesturing to the audience. I was engaged. I was not ignoring them. It would be like if I was in the corner with my back to the audience on the phone. I was not. This is not the case of ignoring America. American, I am not ignoring you.

But what I will say to the very special lady who I cared about and state and talk to, any offense taken, I did not intend it. Let me apologize to you. Come to the town hall meeting again so that we can talk, because I truly believe a robust public option is just what she needs.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I have to go, but I will say one thing is I think that every member of Congress does hold those town hall meetings, they are at least appreciated, because not all of you are doing that. You're not all out there talking. So I think that is much appreciated.

And one sort of little tip -- maybe she would like to have a beer summit with you. You probably could smooth over some feathers, because that seems to work.

Congresswoman, thank you, and good luck.

LEE: Thank you. Can I have some grape juice, or soda, or orange juice. How about that? She has three children and I want to make sure they can come as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think that will work.

LEE: Thank you. Come on out, Tracy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)


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