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In the Crossfire

Jerry Springer: Clinton would be great on TV

(CNN) - While primarily known for hosting transvestites and transsexuals on his talk show, Jerry Springer began his career in politics. The bad boy of tabloid TV stepped into the "Crossfire" with hosts Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

The question is: Would a show hosted by a very famous politician -- former President Bill Clinton -- be a success?

BEGALA: Once upon a time, none other than the very august Jeff Greenfield, prior to his CNN days, wrote this: "I don't think Jerry Springer goes home and pulls the wings off of flies, but that's exactly what he does on his show." Tonight Jerry Springer is on our show from Chicago.

Jerry, let me ask you, you know, Jeff Greenfield worked for Bobby Kennedy and so did you. How did that happen to come about? You began in politics as an aide to Bobby Kennedy?

SPRINGER: Well, he was way higher. I mean, he was in direct contact with the senator. So he was way above me. You know, and I was a kid, just literally getting out of law school. And so, but he's great. I mean, I think he's wonderful. You know, I disagree with his pulling the wings off the flies, but otherwise, I think he's a very wise man.

CARLSON: Now Jerry, there has been talk, as you're well aware, of the former President Bill Clinton doing a talk show. Sounds like it's not going to happen. But it was batted around. You know a lot about television. Do you think he's your rightful heir? Will he succeed?

SPRINGER: Well, if he would have done a show about politics, I think it'd be wonderful. It'd be incredible. It'd be more powerful than anything we've had on television. I mean, can you imagine him on television, an hour a day, talking about the issues of the day? It almost would be like a White House in exile. So you know, every -- the administration wouldn't want to have to be dealing with him. But in fact, they would have to, because he has this huge following. He'd be talking about the issues. You know, and then all of a sudden, everyone in the media would be asking the president to respond to him.

CARLSON: You know, that is scarier than attacking transvestites, I think.

SPRINGER: Yes, it could -- yes. So I think it would be an incredibly powerful show. So if he did it, and did that, that would be fine. Obviously, he's not going to do this other stuff, no.

BEGALA: Well, you know, I was one of the people -- several, who advised Governor Clinton back in '92 to go on "The Arsenio Hall Show" and talk about -- play the saxophone with my sunglasses on, but also talk about race.

SPRINGER: That was a great decision.




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