Democratic Mayor of Atlanta on Tea Party

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," April 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Coming to you from beautiful Atlanta, Georgia, where a crowd continues to gather for an event that is formally about 90 minutes off here.

We have been trying to introduce you to everyone, Democrats and Republicans and independents, those with a little money, those with a lot of money. And now we’re going for a big cheese. We’re going to the mayor of this fine city.

Kasim Reed joins us. He’s the Democratic mayor of Atlanta. And he has fiscal problems to develop, just elected, and he has a whole host of issues that he’s trying to get on top of.

Mayor, very good for you to take the time.

KASIM REED D-MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GA.: Welcome to Atlanta, Neil.

CAVUTO: It’s a beautiful city. I’m trying to get into the Varsity to get the — the hamburger.

REED: You have got to make it. You have got to make it. And you got to get the...


CAVUTO: I will. I will. Can you — your motorcade can get me in there, right?

REED: We can definitely help.


CAVUTO: What do you make of this movement?

REED: Well, you know, I think that it’s people expressing themselves.

When I — the only thing that I become concerned about is the tone. We can have a robust debate in Atlanta. We can have a robust debate in the country. I just think it’s important on all sides of debate to make sure that we...


REED: ... the tone.

CAVUTO: But you don’t buy a lot of what they’re saying?

REED: Oh, you know, I don’t agree with all of it, but I certainly respect the right of people to share their opinions in this society that we have.

And that’s really where I am today. We welcome all opinions in Atlanta. And we welcome you here. So, I think, you know, I have listened to their arguments, but I have my — my positions as well.

CAVUTO: All right.

The reason why I mention it, there are many in your party, Mayor, who have criticized tea partiers, either calling them Astroturf or fringe. Is that wise? What do you think?

REED: No, well, I’m not going to characterize people. I look at folks as individuals. I judge people one by one. I don’t judge people in groups.

What I care about is what I said from the very beginning. I think it’s important that we maintain an appropriate tone as we discuss the vital issues of the day. And what I have been hearing are people that are expressing their views. And I’m going to be respectful of this group, as I would be of other groups, as long as we maintain the appropriate tone and treat each other well.

CAVUTO: All right. And you have already built a reputation for that. You’re here, which says something.

REED: Yes.

CAVUTO: Could I get your thoughts on how they feel about President Obama? Many of them say he took spending, which was going crazy in the final year or two of the Bush administration, and put it on steroids. And they think that he’s just conquering every industry.

What do you think of that?

REED: Yes, I don’t agree with them. I think the president brought the country back from the precipice of a great depression. I think that the spending was necessary and required. I think it was authorized in a bipartisan way.

I do believe that we have to...

CAVUTO: Well, not — not really bipartisan. The health care thing didn’t get through...

REED: Yes, well, no, I’m not talking about health care. But we — if we’re talking about the $787 billion stimulus package, that was passed in a bipartisan way. And I know that health care was tough.

CAVUTO: Well, a lot more Democrats, though, right?

REED: Yes. Well, it was passed in a bipartisan — on the 787. Now, I’m not talking about health care, but that was passed in a bipartisan way. And I do believe that the health...


CAVUTO: Do you think we need more spending, Mayor, I mean, that — that to keep this going, we need more?

REED: No. To be honest, I think that we have reached a point where it’s time for us to start focusing on reducing the deficit.


REED: So, I agree with that notion.

But I do believe that we were on the precipice of a financial collapse, and extraordinary action was needed.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, you’re — very nice of you and very gracious of you to join us today.

REED: Well, thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: You have been a wonderful host. We appreciate that — the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed.

Now, you heard him say he’s going to get me into this food place.

REED: No question.

CAVUTO: We’re going to hold you to that, Mayor.

REED: No question. You have got to get hot dogs, got to get the...


CAVUTO: Absolutely. Thank you, sir, very, very much.

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