This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, October 2, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The president gets his way on Iraq. So what happened to the Democrats who were ripping him a new one just 24 hours ago? Joining us now from Capitol Hill is Democratic Congressman of New York, Charlie Rangel, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Good to see you, Congressman. Thanks for coming.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL, D-N.Y.: Good to be back with you, Neil.
CAVUTO: Are the Democrats losing their mojo?
RANGEL: I don't know whether you can call it Democrats or Republicans when it comes to a question of war. I am convinced that most members would feel compelled to vote what they think in their conscience as the right thing to do. I know for one thing, though, that the political timing of having to make this decision has taken off of the table the conditions in our pension plans, Social Security, prescription drugs, the stock market. And to do this, right in the midst of the this campaigning before the election, I don't really think was the right thing to do.
CAVUTO: But you do realize the urgency of addressing this; right?
RANGEL: Let me make it abundantly clear that when the terror struck in New York City, I came down here and joined with my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, to give the president of the United States the authority to seek out and destroy the enemies of the United States and those that were involved in this cowardly terrorist act, no matter where they were. This act of war where we are delegating our authority to the president has not in any briefings connected this Saddam Hussein to this terrorist act, nor have they sought to have us to believe that we are in imminent danger.
CAVUTO: Does that mean, Congressman, that you would not vote for this resolution as it stands now, the one agreed upon today?
RANGEL: It means that I will be on the floor fighting the fact that I don't believe that members should give this constitutional authority to the president without any evidence at all that...
CAVUTO: So that's a no. Right now that's a no.
RANGEL: That happens to be a hell no!
CAVUTO: OK. All right. So what do you make of the fact, though, that some of the prominent leaders in your own party, including yourself, we have everyone from Bill Clinton to Jimmy Carter to Tom Daschle to Al Gore to Ted Kennedy raising hackles about this. It seems to fly in the face with polls out there among the American public that is for this. Are Democrats, yourself included, sir, afraid about getting on the wrong end this issue?
RANGEL: No. What I am saying is that in this great country of ours, we have 435 members of Congress, that represent over 600,000 people, and they have to really be in touch with those people. Quite frankly, I don't see or hear the drumbeats coming from the constituents. I hear it from the White House. But there's no one that truly believes that we have to take out Saddam Hussein, prior to the United Nations saying that they are a threat to the civilized world or to us.
CAVUTO: But what do you make Congressman, of Congressman Bonior and McDermott who are out in Baghdad essentially questioning the honesty of this president?
RANGEL: I don't think my constituents would want me to do the same thing. If I had gone to Baghdad, I would have hoped that I would have brought back a heck after lot more than they did. And that is that Saddam Hussein would request to come before a joint committee of the Congress and to the state in no uncertain terms as to why we shouldn't invade. And what he.
CAVUTO: So you think what they did goes so far as to be un-American?
RANGEL: Oh, heck, no. I think it's American.
CAVUTO: Was it unpatriotic?
RANGEL: I think it is un-American and unpatriotic to say that anyone wants to condition the act of any member of Congress. I don't expect that I would be the most popular member in the United States Congress, but I don't want to be judged by the Congress, my predecessor, Adam Clayton Powell, was. I would prefer to be judged by the American people in my congressional district. And that was so decided by the United States Supreme Court.
CAVUTO: All right, Congressman Rangel, always a pressure, sir. I appreciate it.
RANGEL: Good to be back with you, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Charlie Rangel in the House Gallery in Washington.
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