DesJarlais talks personal, political battles as new term begins - WSMV News 4

DesJarlais talks personal, political battles as new term begins

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An embattled Tennessee congressman, who declined interview requests for months, spoke with Channel 4 News in his first television interview since scandal over his personal life surfaced.

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Jasper, was sworn in with fellow members of the House of Representatives to begin his second term in Congress on Thursday.

Even with opponents in his own party already lining up to challenge him in 2014, DesJarlais is confident he will see a third term.

"You picked up a primary challenger in (State Sen.) Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) who said you have deceived and betrayed your constituents. How do you respond to that?" asked Channel 4 reporter Cara Kumari.

"I think I probably speak for everybody that we're all a little campaign weary. I'm ready to focus on the job I was elected to do, and there will be plenty of time to talk campaigning in a year or so," DesJarlais said.

A divorce transcript released after the November 2012 election showed DesJarlais had sex with and prescribed drugs to a patient, pressured a mistress to have an abortion and supported his ex-wife's decision to have two abortions as well.

However, he has no plans to step aside.

"Do you plan to run again in 2014?," Kumari asked.

"Absolutely, we'll be all in" DesJarlais said.

DesJarlais said he plans to work during the upcoming term in Congress on repealing Obamacare and explained why he voted against the recent deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

"It's easy to explain why it was a bad deal for America, because there were no spending cuts," DesJarlais said.

Still, while he wants to concentrate on the work at hand, some feel DesJarlais has to re-earn the trust of his constituents.

"There's a lot of details that I'm sure the people will continue to look at and will continue to discuss, so we'll have a lot of opportunity to revisit this," DesJarlais said.

DesJarlais added he believes he still has the support from the constituents in his district.

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