Meet the Press   |  February 02, 2014

Sen. Scott Responds to Racial Remarks

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., visits Meet the Press to discuss recent remarks made about his race and to defend the GOP.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

joining me now is tim scott , republican of south carolina . this is his first sunday interview since being sworn in as senators in 2013 . he's one of two african-american senators is. the other cory booker . senator, welcome.

>> good morning.

>> i want to begin with controversy about you as an african-american senator from south carolina . you had to deal with comments from the head of the naacp in north carolina . he said the following, a ventriloquist can always find a good dummy. the extreme right wing finds a black guy to be senator and claims he's the first are black senator since reconstruction, then he goes to washington august and articue lates the agenda for the tea party . what do you think of that?

>> you can't respond to someone who's never taken the time to know me. he wasn't there when i was growing up in a single parent household . he wasn't there when i started my business working 85 hours a week. he wasn't there when i was running for congress against long odds. for him to have comments about me, i don't get it. number two, when you look at my opportunity agenda, you this i about what i'm focused on. i'm focused on something called the choice act where creating hope and opportunities for individuals and communities through education. i'm not sure what part of that agenda he doesn't like. perhaps he doesn't like the fact that we're focusing on kids with special needs and giving them more flexibility so they can find the education best for them. maybe he doesn't like my skills act that says that there are 4 million jobs today that go unfilled. here's an opportunity for us to bring more skills to the average person so that they can have not a debate about making it, but having a debate about real opportunity and real prosperity or maybe he doesn't like the fact that i believe that we can create hope and opportunities in our inner cities by making them centers of excellence and an engine of nick activity and 30sing for those kids who grew up in ways that i did.

>> colin powell on this program said there was a dark vein of intolerance within the republican party . do you believe that's the case?

>> i don't. the gop has become the great opportunity party . i look at how i became a republican and the messages that i heard and received very early on as a kid running for county council in my 20s. one of the things that changed my life was meeting amen tore, a conservative republican at the time. i didn't know, didn't care whether he was republican or democrat. but he took the time over four years to start talking to me about there's a way out of poverty that doesn't include athletics or entertainment. that you have an opportunity through thinking, through business ownership, having a job is a good thing. if you create jobs, you be better and your community gets better. and so the first blush i had with politics as a kid at 16 years old, 15 years old was a conservative guy who thought that the future could be very bright for a kid in a single parent household if he had the right tools, the right equipment. he didn't convince me on one side of the aisle or the other side of the aisle. he convinced me to look in the mirror and see the best and brightest future that i could create for myself.

>> one of the issues is that the republican party does appear divided. you're a conservative. affiliated with the tea party . speaker boehner has said this week he thinks the party should stop being the party of opposition and should be a party of ideas. here you have the president's state of the union and four different responses from the republicans about the state of the union . is that division or is that unity on the republican side ?

>> well, david, so often people look at the republican party and say we don't have multiple voices with different perspectives on the issue. the fact of the matter is when you saw after the state of the union is that there are many people in our party able to voice their concerns. the reason the party continues to grow is because we like the diversity of ideas. when we have that diversity of ideas, it helps us to build the best party for the future. certainly i'm a part of the conservative aspect of the party , and we have found very great success by partnering with folks who make our party better. so at the end of the day , what america needs is a party that is as diverse as the republican party . that is why account great opportunities for our future comes out of the gop.

>> so agenda items after the state of the union , is obamacare here to stay?

>> well, that's a great question. certainly i have voted at least three or four dozen times to eliminate obamacare. i've had no success. one of the things i hope we would have on the conversation about obamacare is we could look at a couple facets of the bill and find a way to restore hope and opportunity. if we think about the decimation of the 40-hour workweek as a part of obamacare, i took a bus ride throughout the city by cities in south carolina to figure out what real people were saying in their environments. and what i learned was that too many people are stuck now working 30 hours a week because obamacare eliminates a 40-hour workweek. if we had an opportunity to eliminate that aspect of obamacare, i think we could find more money in the take home paychecks of many americans. another aspect of obamacare that we should address very quickly is the medical device tax. here's another $29 billion leaving the pockets of small business owners which makes it more difficult to create jobs. as a small business owner myself, here's what you cannot keep asking us to do, pay higher taxes as we did january of last year, $630 billion of higher taxes, more regulations, obamacare takes another $800 billion out of the pocket oz of small business owners through higher taxes and more rev to yous and hire more people. we can't do all three. we can do two of the three.i'd like to see more jobs created in the private sector.

>> we're out of time. senator scott, thanks so much for being here. i appreciate your time.