Interview with Representative Tim Scott

Interview with Representative Tim Scott

By John King, USA - January 12, 2012

KING: A big announcement from the president today and one that's certain to have a quick impact out on the campaign trail.

The president officially notifying the House speaker, John Boehner, the United States Treasury close to hitting its debt limit and that more borrowing soon will be required.

The debt is a huge issue for House Republicans like South Carolina's Tim Scott. He joins us tonight live in his state.

Congressman, I will get to the presidential primary in just a minute.

But this was part of the deal that was cooked. The president had to ask twice for this. This is asking for the second installment. He will get the money. He will get to raise the debt limit. But what are we going to hear in the debate about that proposal?

REP. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, there's no question that when you think about the $1.2 trillion that the president's requesting, the obligation of the super committee producing results did not happen.

So, as I did on the debt ceiling, I said no then. I will say no now. But I think you're right. The bottom line is that he will probably get the increase. But we have started questioning ourselves on, how can we consistently move forward knowing that we're borrowing 42 cents on the dollar and this debt deal did not produce any savings for the American people? That's a problem.

KING: And so you raise how important this is. It will be a debate in Congress. The president will get his money. Is it getting as much attention on the campaign trail?

You're in South Carolina tonight. Nine days from now, Republicans in your state have the choice. They could either give Mitt Romney a 3-0 record, which make him pretty impossible to stop, or they could say, not so fast. And a lot of the conversation has been about other issues.

I want you to listen to Speaker Gingrich during a television interview this morning, saying, why is the establishment coming after me for raising questions about Mitt Romney?


GINGRICH: Saying I have two great credentials, my governorship, which you're not allowed to talk about, because it's really pretty liberal, and the work I did at Bain Capital, which you're not allowed to talk about because that's an attack on -- if you talk about my record, that's an attack on free enterprise.

That's baloney.


KING: You have not been kind to Newt Gingrich or Rick Perry for raising Bain Capital. The state Senator Jim DeMint has said they're helping Democrats. And a lot of his people have drifted over toward Romney in recent days.

Why is that not fair game? Is Mitt Romney's record not fair game?

SCOTT: I think Mitt Romney's record is, without any question, fair game.

Here's the question. Should we, as Republicans, as conservatives, who believe that capitalism is a foundation to a good economy, attack the principles that undergird capitalism? We believe that, when you're looking at Bain Capital as a whole, you're talking about a company that created jobs for Domino's Pizza, Sports Authority and Staples.

So when you look at a balanced -- if you have a balanced perspective on Bain Capital, you find a different picture. But more important than defending Romney or defending Bain Capital, what I think you hear, at least as an undertone, and it's going to grow louder, is that we believe that capitalism is the mantra of the day and anything that creeps towards socialism is a problem.

So that contrast is in the prime picture today. It is in the frame of the conversation about who will be the next president and what they represent philosophically.

KING: You became a national figure, sir, and a member of the leadership in the Congress because of the Tea Party movement and your involvement in it in the last cycle.

I want you to listen here to Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express. I pressed last night on this program, saying, if you look at the campaign so far, Romney wins Iowa, Romney wins New Hampshire. He's hardly a Tea Party darling. Will the Tea Party be heard from? Let's listen.


AMY KREMER, CHAIR, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: The Tea Party movement is saying not so fast. You cannot just shove these candidates down our throats and expect us to take it. You know, we're going to be involved in this process. We're going to have a say in the matter. And I think we're going to be influential in what happens next week.


KING: Should the Tea Party in South Carolina stop Mitt Romney?

SCOTT: Well, there's no question that each voter should have an opportunity to vote their conscience.

And the Tea Party represents many of us who believe that we are taxed enough already. We believe in free markets. The question is, is there one candidate that represents the anti-Romney? And the answer seems to be no.

When you have Rick Perry, when you have Mr. Santorum, when you have Newt Gingrich all working on the social conservative platform very heavily in South Carolina, you see that there is a bit of a divide on the social conservative side. And all four candidates are absolutely going after the businessman.

So I think it's going to be very difficult for any of us to find one candidate that becomes the anti-Romney candidate in the next nine days. But the question we should ask ourselves is, who is the next visionary leader of America? How do we have the aspiration and inspire Americans to reach their highest level?

We need a president that does so. That's what we're looking for in this primary process.

KING: Congressman, appreciate your time tonight. We will see you in South Carolina early next week.

SCOTT: Absolutely. 

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