Rep. Rangel on his debt ceiling position in 2004 vs. now

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 16, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: After the Senate, the House is set to vote on a deal to raise the debt ceiling, therefore, increasing the nation's borrowing limit.

To Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel, who supports it.

Congressman, welcome back. Good to see you again, sir.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL , D-N.Y.: Good to be back.

VARNEY: You are all in favor of this. You want to go out there and borrow another trillion dollars or whatever the number is. Make your case. Why are you so much in favor of borrowing all that money?

RANGEL: I feel like the country has been on death row, and the Tea Party has given us a reprieve from the governor's office.

So we're not out of danger yet. And we have kicked the can down the road. And I'm happy. I love this country. I love all the Americans that really appreciate good government. And, more importantly, for those people who loaned us money, I don't think it's a profile in courage that now our president will say, we will pay you back. That's what it is all about.


I hope you have not forgotten, but, back in 2004, you were talking about raising the debt limit and, at that point, you were not in favor of it. Let me remind -- I am going to play to tape. This is you back in 2004, sir.


RANGEL: The request sounds like a drunk going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting saying, just give me one more drink and I won't do it again.

You can't help yourself with spending. You think you have a credit card with no limit on it.

And then when you ask, well, where are you going to get the money, don't worry about it. We will increase the debt ceiling. We will just borrow some more money. And who are you borrowing the money from? The Japanese and the Chinese. What kind of patriotism is that?



VARNEY: I see you smiling, Congressman, because you know...


RANGEL: That sounds...


RANGEL: That sounds like one smart legislator to me.


VARNEY: Well, wait a minute.


RANGEL: But I can tell you...


VARNEY: Why was it -- why was it OK to raise the debt -- why was it - - why were you against raising a lot more money back then when the debt, by the way, was way under $10 trillion, but you are all for raising a lot -- the debt ceiling when the debt is now $17 trillion? What changed?

RANGEL: That's a very, very good question. You might even ask Senator Obama why he opposed the debt ceiling.

But let me make it perfectly clear. When you are negotiating, as I was then and as President Obama was when he was in the Senate, you are not saying that you are going to jeopardize the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

There is nobody that talked the way the language that you hear on the Republican side of the House. Sure, politically...


VARNEY: You know, Congressman, back in 2004, you were against raising the debt ceiling. At that point, we were in danger of going over that debt ceiling, and abandoning the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury, just like we are now. But you have completely done a full circle.

RANGEL: Well, if you -- no, no, no. If you found anybody that understands how politics work here, the question someone should have asked me is that, are you prepared to have the United States government to default because Rangel, you have your private agenda? And I would say, please back off, because there is nothing I can think of that what I -- cause jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States of America.

Now, with every hand of debt ceiling, of course, the opposition raises questions. But we never had the motion, we never thought that we would just be happy that the government was closing down. No, no, no. There is something in the water today that didn't exist when I resisted increasing the debt ceiling, and you know it.

VARNEY: I think -- oh, I think it's a Republican in the White House then vs. a Democrat in the White House now.


VARNEY: But I don't know.


RANGEL: Well, that makes -- that makes a difference.

VARNEY: It's good to see you again, sir. It's good to see you.

RANGEL: But there's never been a Republican president that I would be prepared to have the country default because of the debt ceiling.

VARNEY: OK. OK. Congressman, it is good to see you.

RANGEL: Thank you.

VARNEY: And you have got a great smile, sir.

RANGEL: Good to be back.


VARNEY: Thanks very much.

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