Sen. Menendez on Beijing Olympics

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," April 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, word today that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not be attending the opening ceremony of those Beijing Summer Games.

Today, members of Congress are urging President Bush to do the same. He says he is still going, though.

The latest among them, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

Senator, good to have you.

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: Good to be with you, Neil.

Click here to watch Neil's interview with Robert Menendez

CAVUTO: Are we jumping the gun a little bit? We have known about China and how it treats Tibet for some time. We know that this would be a controversial issue, even them getting the Olympics. And now, all of a sudden, we see some protests, and we're saying, everybody, skip the opening ceremonies. It seems like we're jumping the gun, right?

MENENDEZ: I don't think so, Neil.

In fact, China was awarded the Olympic Games with a clear understanding that it would work to significantly improve its human rights record. And it clearly has not.

And what we're saying to President Bush is, as the leader of the free world, that, in fact, not going to the opening ceremonies would make the most definitive statement about China's human rights records. And, ultimately, I think that the prime minister of England is making the right move. I hope President Bush will do the same.

CAVUTO: You know, Senator, I just want to be clear. The president had said he still intends to go to the Olympic Games. He did not specify whether that would be the opening ceremonies. So, what if he goes to the Games, but not for that opening ceremony?

MENENDEZ: I think the opening ceremony is the — is the critical moment.

We are certainly not advocates of boycotting the Games. But I think the president can send a powerful message by not going to the opening ceremony, which is the moment in which the world's attention is riveted on the Olympic Games. And it is in line — it is in line with the Olympic charter and its principles of Olympism, that says any discrimination against a country or individual based upon race, religion, gender, or politics is totally incompatible with the Olympic movement.

That is in the principles of the Olympic charter. I think that we should clearly send a strong message that we believe in that principle of the Olympic charter.

CAVUTO: All right.

Senator Menendez, very good seeing you again. Thank you for coming.

MENENDEZ: Good seeing you, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.


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