Rep. Clyburn: I'm focused on investments in our future

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": We've got Congressman James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina.

One thing I have loved about the congressman over these years, he comes on and he takes any and all questions, he will shoot them down and he will dismiss them, but he will take them.

Congressman, good to have you.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN, D-S.C.: Thanks for having me.

CAVUTO: What did you think of my bonding moment with the governor?


CAVUTO: I think he likes me. I think he likes me.


CLYBURN: I think so. He is a great guy. I love him.


CAVUTO: One thing that impressed me about what he said last night -- obviously he brought down the house last night -- it's a point you raised, congressman, far from running away from spending Democrats now are trying to address its better virtues. What do you make of that approach?

CLYBURN: Because a lot of spending or investments -- and I do believe that's part of what government is all about is keeping us safe and secure. It keeps us secure when we fund our troops to do what needs to be done to keep the country secure.

It's by keeping us safe in our streets, in our homes, and that's what police are all about, keeping us safe.


CAVUTO: What about...


CAVUTO: ... taxpayers then, Congressman? We are $16 trillion in debt and no one mentions it.

CLYBURN: The fact of the matter is, whatever we do, we're working under debt. We have to do that.

But we cannot do it if everyone is feeling fearful of whether or not the streets are safe to walk on. Whether or not their house will catch on fire and no one would be there to put the fire out. Firemen are important. Police are important. We must take care of our men and women in uniform. All of that is the government. My first job in government was a public school teacher. I enjoyed teaching in the public schools of Charleston, South Carolina, but that is a government job. And if we don't have teachers for our children, we cannot have a good solid...


CAVUTO: Your point's well-taken. But here's what gets kind of scary to me. And maybe I feel like I am living in an alternate universe, Congressman.

When there is this video that runs in here, government is the only thing that we all belong to. No, it's not.

CLYBURN: I don't know who's running that.

CAVUTO: That ran in a video that ran in this very room.

CLYBURN: Well, it's not the only thing that I belong to. I belong to the human race.

CAVUTO: But do you think people are aware in this room that the debt exists, that the numbers have been weakening, that the job growth is subpar, that this recovery -- and it's not exclusively the Democrats' fault -- Republicans contributed as well. But it's like it's not mentioned, like this alternate universe where it doesn't exist.

CLYBURN: I think I've heard people mention the debt and the deficit. I'm very concerned about that. I was on the Biden group. I was on the so-called Super Committee.

CAVUTO: That they have mentioned it here? I might have missed it, sir.


CLYBURN: Yes. I think I have heard people talk about debt and deficits.

CAVUTO: It could have been while I was eating.

CLYBURN: It could have been. It could have been. And maybe I'm just hearing things, but that is what I heard.

CAVUTO: But now what are you going to say? This is your chance to clarify these remarks. Would you bring up that debt? What would you do?

CLYBURN: I'm not focused on debt or deficits right now. I'm focused on our investments in the future. I'm focused on...


CAVUTO: What does that say? You are a huge bigwig here. You're a big deal in Congress and you are saying it's not a priority on my list.

CLYBURN: Well, no, I'm not saying that.

CAVUTO: You said you're not going to mention the debt.

CLYBURN: No. I'm saying...

CAVUTO: You are going to mention the debt?

CLYBURN: No. I'm not saying that. I have no idea what I'm going to say, if I were to speak tomorrow night. Now that things are...


CAVUTO: So you might not even get the chance?

CLYBURN: I may not. But I'm planning on speaking tomorrow night. And I will talk about...


CAVUTO: They do not want to blow you off. That would be a bad move.

They're not going to do that.

CLYBURN: They won't be blowing me off. It could be that the weather, the winds may...


CAVUTO: You're in here. You're inside.

CLYBURN: No, no, I'm talking about the weather.


CLYBURN: ... the stadium with about 70,000 people.

CAVUTO: Well, that's off. That's not happening.

CLYBURN: That's not happening.

CAVUTO: Right.

CLYBURN: So I am now trying to take care of the 7,000 people down in South Carolina that I prepared for.

CAVUTO: What was the real reason for that, sir? Was it the weather? Was it the fear? Or, cynically, I wonder if they had trouble putting fannies in those seats?

CLYBURN: Well, I'll tell you what.

I had -- in South Carolina, we had 7,000 tickets and we got rid of 7,000 tickets and had 3,000 people on waiting list.

CAVUTO: Really? OK.

CLYBURN: So, it may be. I'm told there were 19,000 people on the waiting list overall.

But it would be very easy. We could fill up that stadium with people from Columbia, South Carolina. We do it for football games.

CAVUTO: Yeah, you do. You absolutely do.

CLYBURN: Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Congressman, it's a real pleasure. This is almost as bonding of a moment as the governor.


CLYBURN: Oh, sure. We ought to do this more often.

CAVUTO: Absolutely. You're a class act.

Congressman, thank you very much.

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