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In the Crossfire

Is Bush stonewalling?

(CNN) On Monday, the markets fell to what would have been one of the year's biggest down days before a late rally pulled the Dow Jones industrial average from a steep drop of 439 points to a loss of just 45.34 for the day. Much has been made of what's behind the up-and-down activity of Wall Street. Are Democrats making too much out of the Bush administration's ties to the business community or are there legitimate concerns about conflicts of interest? "Crossfire" hosts Robert Novak and Paul Begala go one-on-one over these issues.

NOVAK: Paul, it is so pathetic that you Democrats, the only thing you can bring against the president is this 10-year-old proposition that has no substance to it whatever. The thing that should worry you as an American and it worries me is this bipartisan hysteria on Capitol Hill, this witch-hunt against corporate business. That is the real threat to the economy.

BEGALA: (Republican Congressman ) Roy Blunt made some news tonight saying that they wanted to go farther than the very tough Democratic bill. If that's true, if the Republicans want to join the Democrats being for reform, that is great.

NOVAK: Well, I hope it is not true.

BEGALA: But it won't be credible until Bush comes clean. There is no reason not to release all the records of when he was investigated for insider trading and phony accounting gimmicks.

NOVAK: Can you consider any issue outside of an attack on George W. Bush?

BEGALA: It's not an attack. In fact, it's -- let him release it.

NOVAK: It's a yes or no question.

BEGALA: As long as he is lying to us -- and stonewalling us the way those Fifth Amendment corporate executives do -- I'm going to continue to press him to come clean to the American people. Yes, sir, I plead guilty.

NOVAK: I'll tell you that if you compare the president of the United States to those Fifth Amendment corporate executives...

BEGALA: What has he done that's different?

NOVAK: Wait a minute. Let me finish what I'm saying -- then you are going to have as much trouble trying to elect him as you did electing Albert Gore last time.

BEGALA: I didn't work for Gore. I worked for Clinton. And he beat the last Bush like a bad piece of meat, like we're going to beat this next Bush. You watch. I guarantee.




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