This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, January 15, 2003, 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: Are we so focused on Iraq and North Korea these days that we're letting homeland security slide like I mentioned on these whole plane issues here. Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones joins us from the House Ways and Means Committee. She says, yes, that it's a big worry.
Congresswoman Jones, thanks for coming.
REP. STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES, D-OHIO, WAYS AND MEANS CMTE.: Thank you for having me, Neil. Glad to be with you.
CAVUTO: First off, what do you think, Congresswoman on this whole plane brouhaha?
JONES: Well, it's another step in a process we're coming to as a country that traditionally had open borders. I anticipate and I think that the TSA has done a good job so far. I'm confident they will be able to handle the cargo piece.
CAVUTO: All right. Now let's talk more to the issue that concerns. You think we're so focused on getting the bad guys over there, that we're not paying attention to what they could be doing over here; right?
JONES: I don't think we have done a good assessment that if we decide to hit the bad guys over there, are we going to be ready to respond to what they decide do to with us. I think President Bush owes to the American public to say what he plans to do to tell us what the human capital loss will be, what is the financial cost of going to war, and what has he done to prepare us when they get ready to hit us back.
CAVUTO: But there's no way he would know that; right?
JONES: Understand that he has people around him who have been involved in wars over the years. And they have made an estimate of what it is going to cost. And they can estimate how many people they're going to put in and what is likely to happen. There's no way he knows automatically. But that's a fear we have, that here we hit them and then they hit us. We weren't prepared for 9/11, could we be prepared for whatever could come thereafter?
CAVUTO: So you're saying, Congresswoman, that it's a given in your book that when we hit them over here, we're going to get hit over here. Where do you think is a likely target?
JONES: I have no idea. And I don't even want to speculate. But I'm just suggesting that good preparedness would say to us that we need to know or have an indication of where that might be. The other problem that we're facing as a country is there are so many issues that are being ignored here in this country, the fact our children don't have dollars for education, the fact our senior citizens don't have a prescription drug benefit, the fact that 41 million in this country don't have health care coverage, the fact that at the time the president said, leave no child behind, he has now not funded a program that was the linchpin of his administration. These are all issues that I believe are important to the American public, and that ought to be addressed at the same time we're talking about spending billions, not millions, but billions of dollars going to war in Iraq.
CAVUTO: Congresswoman, would you grant, ma'am, that the threat from Saddam Hussein, especially if it is proven that he was through second and third channels funding a lot of these terrorist groups and their nefarious operations, that this is a bit more pressing concerns than some of things you just mentioned?
JONES: Oh, absolutely. If you go to the American public and you look at all of the polling that's been done, a lot of the American people are saying the threat of Saddam Hussein has diminished. I'm worried about the economics of this country.
CAVUTO: But how do you know it is diminished? How do you know it's diminished?
JONES: I mean, the polling has said so.
CAVUTO: No. I'm not talking about polls I'm talking about the very real threat that's out there, whether people are saying that or not.
JONES: Well, OK. I question whether it is very real threat or whether the administration has turned it into a threat.
CAVUTO: So you don't support going into Iraq?
JONES: I do not support going into Iraq.
CAVUTO: Do you think that there's justification for our building up our presence?
JONES: Perhaps building up a presence, but not going in. And if you read today's papers, all you have to do is look at the people who we think are going to support us, I believe today France was talking about not being prepared to go to war without going back to the UN. Germany was talking about that. I believe England is talking about that. I believe the countries that are right there, where we're going to fight, are saying, wait a minute, let's not go to war yet, let's take a look and see what can we do to resolve this.
CAVUTO: Congresswoman, this won't be the first time, ma'am, that we have run into rejection and objection from some of our closest allies. Ultimately many of whom rally around us anyway when they realize their bacon is on the frying plan, too right?
JONES: Absolutely. It's not the first time that we have been in rejection. But it is the first where we started about making the preemptive strike. And that is something new and different for these United States. And if that is what we're going to do, we need to be assured that our preemptive strike is justified.
CAVUTO: All right. Congresswoman, thank you very much. Very nice seeing you.
JONES: Nice to see you also, Neil. Thanks for having me.
CAVUTO: Thank you. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones joining us to from Ohio.
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