Rep. Smith: New Jersey will come back

New Jersey congressman on recovery effort in his state


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 31, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": All right, well, I will leave it to political pundits to weigh the odd sighting of the president of the United States with Chris Christie in the background, a man who could have been a running mate for Mitt Romney, a man who said he really didn`t give a damn about politics at this time, just protecting folks in his state.

You know what? In crises, folks, I have to tell you here, it really isn`t about who is red or who is blue. New Jersey needs a lot of green, needs a lot help, and Chris Christie doing his job as governor, trying to make sure that New Jersey does get the help.

So people can read anything they want into the political tea leaves. He is doing what he has to do. And the president is doing what he has to do. So people can bicker over their roles, but at times of need -- and this is a time of need -- you should let all that crap go on the side.

All right, Rick Leventhal in Manasquan again, who I rudely interrupted, on what he is seeing in the post-Sandy mess.

How does it look there now, Rick?

RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This town one of many along the coast, Neil, that was torn up.

And while the president and the governor were touring some of these areas, Congressman Chris Smith was getting his own firsthand look at his congressional district.

You have seen what we have seen. It`s really bad here. The president says he is going to try and get help to the people that need it. How about that. How are you going to help make that happen?

REP. CHRIS SMITH, R-N.J.: Well, we are still in a mode of trying to make sure that the people who have been displaced are protected.

And one of the biggest next steps will be interim housing. You cannot come back to these homes. They have been devastated. Some of them are even dangerous. There are still gas leaks.

LEVENTHAL: Yes. A lot of houses were pushed off their foundations.

SMITH: Pushed of...


LEVENTHAL: Broke gas lines.

SMITH: And the gas lines, as you smelled, as I did, are still -- you can smell it.


SMITH: So, there is real danger still lurking.

And the power lines that are down obviously still pose a significant threat. So much work has to be done within the next several days, but then the rebuilding has to occur.


One of the things -- I don't mean to interrupt, but we are seeing bulldozers and front-end loaders behind you moving sand off of some of these roads. We also saw boats on a bridge leading here. And we saw boats on train tracks that have to be moved. SMITH: Right. You're absolutely right.

Every single shore community has boats where they ought not to be, on the roads, certainly on train tracks, as you saw at Point Pleasant. So much has to be done in terms of cleanup. The volunteers, the Office of Emergency Management and the first-responders have been absolutely superb. They are the real heroes.

The lawmakers, from the president to the governor, we are all doing our bit, but the real people on the ground are the mayors. And they are certainly the people who are the first-responders.

LEVENTHAL: You have been a congressman for 34 years. And you have represented these people for more than three decades. And I cannot imagine what is going through your mind and what -- the kind of things you are hearing from these people. Your district is completely torn to shreds.

SMITH: Devastated.

Yesterday in Belmar, a man came up, and he said, I have lost everything, but I'm alive.

We had other people saying similar things. There is that sense of, we will come back. But we have to realize that winter is coming. And it's cold out here. It's getting colder even now.


SMITH: And as winter comes, we are going to see people who are truly displaced, and we have got to find shelter for them.

LEVENTHAL: All right, congressman, we appreciate you taking the time to be with us.

SMITH: Thank you.

LEVENTHAL: Neil, we have seen so much devastation. And the work has not even begun yet.

As you can see, they are trying to clear the roads to make way for crews that can come in and start just closing gas leaks and trying to get the power on, so that some people maybe soon can come back to their homes and try to figure out how much they have lost and how to recover.


You know, Rick, you got me thinking. We've been talking about gas leaks and now bulldozers coming in. I'm not Johnny Rocket here, but I -- that could be a dangerous situation.

What are they doing just to be on top of that?

LEVENTHAL: Well, they have roadblocks set up.

And they will not let people back into these communities in many cases even to survey the damages and see their homes, because it's just not safe to come in here because of the gas leaks, because of the lines down and because of the roads that are blocked. It's just not safe. So, they are encouraging people to stay away.

One other thing I want to make note of here, Neil, they went door-to-door to warn people get out, mandatory evacuations. And they made people sign waivers who decided to stay behind. After the storm, they went door- to-door to everyone who signed a waiver. Some people weren't home. They are looking for those people.


LEVENTHAL: So if you signed a waiver and you have not gotten in touch with the town, you have got to let them know you are OK.

CAVUTO: Rick, thank you very, very much.

So, a lot of these communities trying to come back, trading back today at the corner of Wall and Broad. They're trying to get business back, but in the middle all of this and political debates, keep in mind, folks, 59 people are not coming back. They are dead. For their families, this is it.

Content and Programming Copyright 2012 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright CQ-2012 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.