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Who's Been Naughty and Nice?

Aired December 25, 2000 - 7:30 p.m. ET


BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Santa has already made his list and checked it twice. Now it is our turn. Tonight: Our list of who's been naughty, and who's been nice.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, CROSSFIRE. On the left, Bill Press; on the right, Mary Matalin; in the CROSSFIRE, Democratic strategist Kiki McLean and Cliff May, communications director for the Republican National Committee.

PRESS: Good evening, Merry Christmas, and welcome to CROSSFIRE, where Santa is taking a well-deserved nap, but we, Santa's elves, are still busy tonight, looking back over the past year, making a list, checking it twice, and trying to nail down who has been naughty or nice, so we can give them the jeers or the cheers they deserve.

The problem is, like beauty, naughty and nice are the eyes of the beholder. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, for example, tops my naughty list, but Mary thinks she is one of the nicest people on Earth.

And turnabout is fair play, I will bet Mary has that insufferable James Baker on her nice list, but he would get nothing from me but a stocking filled with coal. And so, in the true Christmas spirit of rewarding good deeds and punishing bad ones, we ask: Christmas mirror on the wall, who have been the naughtiest and nicest ones of all this year? Mary.

MATALIN: Scrooge.

PRESS: I'm only half Scrooge.

MATALIN: Grinch, Kiki, let's start with naughty.


MATALIN: This is a nice naughty thing because it's naughty in every sense of the word. The Gore-Tipper lip lock, look, you are a newlywed, you managed to get married in the middle of this campaign, yet I bet even with your brand new husband, you don't make out like two teens in the back seat, like, let's take another look. Go baby go.

This is where I look up, and that is what I aspire to. Yet again, I find an example in the Gores for great behavior. I actually think it's nice that they showed a kiss can really be more than a kiss. In the end, they...

MATALIN: A political act.

MCLEAN: They took America with them. But let's talk about the real naughty of this campaign, for the kinds of things your mother and your grandmother would shame you, and make sure there was coal in your stocking: George Bush and Dick Cheney, and why? Because they couldn't pay attention to the old adage: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. It's a big-time naughty to George Bush and Dick Cheney, when they had their personal feelings made known over an open microphone about a particular "New York Times" reporter during the campaign.

MATALIN: Kiki, this is one of my favorite highlights of the campaign. I never felt prouder.

MCLEAN: You are a mother. You would shame your own children for that kind of behavior.

MATALIN: I say to my children. There is children behavior. There is adult behavior. Adults are allowed to do that.

MCLEAN: With an open microphone in front of 3,000 people.

MATALIN: As if they knew that. Let's take another look because I loved it so much. This is my Christmas present to myself. I want to see it again.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's Adam Clymer, a major league a------.



MATALIN: Did you hear that eruption of applause when he said it?

MCLEAN: Here is the best part. Mary looks up and says George W. Bush doesn't know he had that open microphone on him. The man has been the governor of Texas for six years, and he is running for president of the United States, and he doesn't know enough not to make a comment like that on an open mike.

MATALIN: As a communications guru, you have never worked with anybody, who something went out inadvertently...

MCLEAN: I always walk into a room and scream open microphone.

PRESS: All I wonder is, what G.W. would have said if he had looked out and seen me standing in the crowd.

MATALIN: Big time.

MCLEAN: Big time might have been the holiday version of it for you Bill.

PRESS: It is more fun to start with a naughty, and I will tell you, the naughtiest person, Cliff May, for me this year has been -- I called her Katherine the Great, the secretary of state of Florida, who before this election was just concerned with taking trips and giving tourist tours of the state Capitol. She puts out a press release before the election saying to the networks: Don't rush into calling this election, make sure to take the time that we know who won and who lost. And yet the votes aren't even counted, and she is trying to force it down everybody's throat for George W. Bush.

You know, the puppet, the only question was, we knew Governor Bush was pulling the strings, but which Governor Bush? It really didn't matter, one of them had to be. You have got to admit.

CLIFF MAY, COMMUNICATIONS DIR., RNC: No, actually, she was on my nice list. What she did was she was defending the law, she was upholding the law, and doing her job, and she got Borked and beaten up like crazy by Democrats for it. And at the same time, by the way, the networks get on naughty list because we lost 15,000 people who would have otherwise gone to the polls in Florida because all the networks announced too early. You have got to admit.

PRESS: It sounds to me like what you are saying is that some of the people in Palm Beach were too dumb to know how to vote, and some of people in the other sides of Florida were too dumb to know to vote, or when to vote. I mean, you can't win in Florida with these people.

MAY: Let me give you one other one, Terry McAuliffe. He has been a fund-raiser...

PRESS: He is on your nice list?

MAY: He is on my naughty list. He has been a fund-raiser extraordinaire, but rather shady. And now he is going to take over the Democratic Party. Is there not in the Democratic Party, one woman, one African-American, one Hispanic-American who deserves to be considered for party chairman. It has got to be a Clinton...

MCLEAN: They all deserve to be considered. The committee will consider them, and the fact of matter is that Terry McAuliffe has been a great friend of this party, a great supporter of this party. He has stood behind Democratic candidates up and down the line. He has worked the hours. He has cared about the staffing.

MAY: How about Donna Brazile, has she not worked hard enough?

MCLEAN: Does this mean that because Jim Nicholson, or another white male, will be chair of the RNC, that there us no one of diverse color or ethnicity that is viable in the Republican Party?

MAY: You are always giving us a hard time with this. You guys got to do it too.

PRESS: May I suggest that you are the last person on Earth that the Democratic National Committee is going to look to for suggestions as to who should be the DNC chair, I mean, don't take that personally, but it just happens to be true.

MAY: I know.

PRESS: In Terry McAuliffe's office, there is a great picture of Terry, maybe 10 years ago, in a pit wresting with an alligator.

MCLEAN: He was 22 years old.

PRESS: You know what that's...

MATALIN: That is the Prerequisite for becoming chairman...

PRESS: That's the kind of guy that the Democrats want as national chair. He will do anything to win.

MAY: That's true.

PRESS: Watch out for 2002.

MAY: He said, by the way, he wouldn't give the Republicans a honeymoon. Like he would give anything to a Republican.

MCLEAN: No, I think he said he would give the Republicans the same kind of honeymoon they gave Democrats. Did you want to define what kind of honeymoon it was we got.

MATALIN: I think Terry's biggest requirement, job qualification for that job, is that he is mortgage a guarantor for the Clintons and their Chappaqua house, soon to be on the market.

PRESS: Best fund-raiser we ever had.

MCLEAN: He is not just a fund-raiser. Terry McAuliffe is also a heck of a supporter of this party at every levy. I was on the Gephardt campaign with him in 1988. He is a terrific husband, He is a terrific father to his kids. And he is somebody who believes.

MATALIN: And he is a great schmoozer. He is a great guy. But we want to stir up some trouble any ways because you would do it to us, and you know you would.

Let's talk about some real, awesome, unparalleled talent and grit, James Baker, Margaret Tutweiler, the legal team, the political team they assembled overnight.

MAY: Ted Olson went into the lion's den against David Boies and against Larry Tribe, and he beat them both, nine-zip the first time; 7-2 the second time.

MCLEAN: You want to call Jim Baker nice? You want to the Grinch...

MATALIN: I want to call him awesome. Get over it, Kiki. I mean, get over it!

MCLEAN: I'm going to give you one back, this is on a platter fro you.

MATALIN: This is not a vote. This is not a vote, OK, you want to manufacture a vote.

MCLEAN: I'm going to give you one, in the spirit of the season, with the theme of the show, I am going to give you one. A nice for Pat Buchanan for actually admitting that over 3600 votes that were attributed to him probably did belong to Al Gore. And for once, Pat just came up and admitted it.

MATALIN: I think Pat was very confused by what we all agree was a confusing ballot.

MCLEAN: Santa was shocked, but happy to add him to the list this year.

MATALIN: Very confused Pat Buchanan.

PRESS: I want to give you a nice one too. I want to give you a nice one because, for once, the federal government did something that we could all be proud of. There was a kid who was kidnapped, taken away from his father, and the federal government went in, actually on the Saturday before Easter, and took that little boy away from his kidnapers in Miami, and restored him to his father; Janet Reno saved Elian Gonzalez. They are back together now, where they belong, in their homeland. Bravo to Janet Reno.

MAY: She is on nice list.

MATALIN: She is on the top.

MATALIN: Anybody who wrestles with alligators gets on his list. I guess that is what it is.

PRESS: I guess so.

MAY: Think about his mother, who took him here, and lost her life to get him to freedom. And people like yourself and Janet Reno said: Nah, send him back to communism. It is OK. Anybody taken a look lately to see how he is living back there?

PRESS: No, she just said, if his is mother is dead, he belongs with his father. That is what any court in this country would say. And his father happened to say. You know what: We have a nice home, we have great family, and that's where we want to raise him. And it is the father's choice.

MAY: If a mother had taken somebody out of Eastern Europe, over the Berlin Wall, I don't think you would send him, back but...

MCLEAN: You have to get over this one.

MAY: Kiki, get over it.

I will give you another nice, and a surprising one: Madonna, she got married. See what happens, you get to a certain age, you get married.

MATALIN: Certain age?

You get conservative, and you become a Republican because, you know...

MCLEAN: Don't spend your dying years waiting for this one.

MAY: My dying years?

PRESS: Believe it or not, I have nothing bad to say about Madonna.

MATALIN: She even Christened her kid the day before her wedding.

MCLEAN: The big secret out of this whole moment is the fact that Cliff May is actually a huge Madonna fan and has been tracking her. He is one the fans that is obviously tracking her progress.

MAY: I will give you an actress that I am upset about, though, who is on my naughty list: Sara Jessica Parker. She is upset that Bush is in office because he is going to cut programs, and her family needs the government to help. Now, anybody who can afford -- help me with this -- Manola Blanic (ph) shoes shouldn't need the government to help her family.

MATALIN: You can't wear them.

PRESS: I admire her a lot. She is young. She is politically active. I don't care whether they become active Democrats or active Republicans. What I can't stand are these Hollywood celebrities who make all the money, and then go off to Hawaii or somewhere off to Malibu, and don't get involved at all. She is there. She ought to be there.


MCLEAN: You don't know what her personal responsibilities are to her family and what should does.

MATALIN: We do know she makes $50 million a year.

MCLEAN: We also know that she is somebody who has taken an active roll in public life on public policy. And good for her because when more people are active...


MATALIN: ... Bush was going to cut programs that her family...

MCLEAN: It's my worry too.

PRESS: And mine.

MATALIN: What specific program is Bush going to cut that her family, who presumably has access to her $50 million... MCLEAN: I can just remember what the Reagan years were like for me when Social Security got cut and my father died, and I didn't get to go to college with any Social Security help.

MAY: She is a multimillionaire actress. She shouldn't need the tax payers to take care of her family.

MCLEAN: You don't know that that is what is going on with her family. You don't know that she isn't providing other assistance there.

Let me offer you another thing.

PRESS: We have to take a break first.

MATALIN: We are going to break, ho, ho, ho. I'm so engaged in this chitter chatter of the Christmas season, which will continue after this break. Stay with us on CROSSFIRE.


MATALIN: Welcome back to a special holiday CROSSFIRE. We wish all season's best to all you good little boys and girls out there. Back here, we are reviewing who and what was naughty and nice in this extraordinary year with a very good boy and girl, communications gurus Cliff May, from the Republican National Communications, and Democratic strategist Kiki McLean, that is your new married name?

MCLEAN: That is my new married named.

MATALIN: Kiki Moore McLean?

MCLEAN: Seven months later, it is still working. Of course, when you spend three of it on the road.

MATALIN: That's a good way to kick off a new marriage.

PRESS: I want to start with a naughty again because I will tell you who is my naughty list, probably not yours: Ralph Nader. I'm mean here is -- all I have to say is, looking back, thank you Ralph Nader for John Ashcroft, thank you Ralph Nader for George W. Bush. Thank you Ralph Nader for a new Supreme Court that is going to be so far right that Roe v. Wade is probably going to go bye-bye. And Ralph said, it doesn't make any difference who appoints whom to the Supreme Court.

MAY: I think he gets on my nice list just for that. But the important thing is, now you see what happens. We had Ross Perot in two elections and that split the vote on the right. You had him get 2 percent of the vote on the left. A little competition on the left...

PRESS: You deserved Ross Perot, we didn't deserve Ralph Nader.

MCLEAN: Let's also talk about how these two elections were. I mean, Ross Perot had nowhere near the impact of that last election that we had, and this one with Nader, in terms of where the numbers came down, where the Electoral College and the popular vote came down.

MAY: He took a lot of votes from us. Seventy percent Nader voters in this election voted for the Republican.

How about Hillary Clinton? On my naughty list, of course. Here she is with an $8 million book deal. I would like to go back and see the tapes of what you had to say about Newt Gingrich on his $4 million book deal. And she is buying a house in Georgetown. Guess what? Where is she's going to spend her time? Not in New York, New York, but being a social butterfly here. Naughty?

PRESS: Not at all. Let me tell you something, Hillary rules. This is the woman that nobody said could win. Everybody said, all you have to do is mention Hillary, and we will send you millions of dollars. She crushed the Rick Lazio. She is going to be a great senator. And watch out. I said. leave some boxes in the attic Hillary because you are going to be moving back before you know it.

MAY: The point is not that Hillary rules, but for Hillary and Bill, there are no rules.

MCLEAN: Smart lady succeed is what's that means, and that is $10 million legal bill.

MATALIN: Let's close it off on this double standard. When it is your smart ladies, it's OK; when it's our men, it's not OK. That's not the kind of feminism.

MCLEAN: There is big difference about what Newt Gingrich was writing about versus what Hillary Clinton is writing about.

MAY: He wasn't writing porn, he was writing public policy. She is writing...


MATALIN: More than made up what was the original asking price.

MAY: What is bad for the goose...

MATALIN: Let's move on, and I want to move off of this into something related to politics. "Saturday Night Live" big nice, big winner, not only was it some great comedy, some of the best since its inception, but it made the chattering classes, of which we are all members in good standing who were predicting a constitutional crisis, kind of put us in perspective and in our place.

MCLEAN: They had a great season no doubt about it. And you know what, they got double the fodder with what they had to do. And we just kept adding characters to it every day. I mean this was like a movie with a series of sequels and numbers twos and number threes that just kept coming. It was just by week, not by year. And in the end, it made more people participate, but I'm not sure if it was in the best way for us. But in terms of entertainment value, I am with you. I will actually agree with you on that one. MATALIN: On a serious note, comedy, in the way in which comedy now has infiltrated the political arena, has gotten a younger audience, and how ever you get them into politics, that's a winner.

MCLEAN: I was a big thing in 1992 to break out of the news media and into the mainstream media. It was the kiss on "Oprah" this year. I went with Sen. Lieberman to do "Conan" this year. Not something I planned on doing on a presidential campaign before.

Let me give you a nice back out of the entertainment, and this caused a lot of talk among chattering classes across the board, and that was back at Cliff's Hollywood, his favorite place: Jennifer Lopez. I am going to give her a nice for what she did for the toupee tape industry this year, when she wore a dress that had more tape than fabric to the Academy Awards, and probably drove more news cycles for a week than the recount ever would have dreamed of doing.

MATALIN: I would agree with you that she was nice just for what she did personally for my husband.

MAY: Can we just say.

MCLEAN: I'm not going there.

MATALIN: On a fantasy level.

MAY: With Jennifer Lopez, sometimes naughty is nice.

PRESS; Two nice ones for you, a Democrat and a Republican -- back to politics fro a second. Two men I think this year that rose to the occasion, and both of them left a great impression and have great futures ahead of them: John McCain for the primaries and Joe Lieberman in the general; class acts both of them. Relatively unknown on the national scene until this campaign, and I think they are both superstars.

MAY: At Christmas time, be Christian enough to say, and Dick Cheney, who was a grown up, he is a mature guy.

PRESS: Do you agree about McCain and Lieberman?

MAY: I do. And I will add one more nice to the list, and that is Tom DeLay, who is out meeting with -- let me finish...

MCLEAN: How to kill the spirit of moment.

MAY: Meeting with Blue Dog Democrats in an effort at bipartisanship. And you know what, the word bipartisanship in Washington today is the synonym for nice.

PRESS: I have to say Dick Cheney, I will agree you, after all he is going to be running the country, so I have to be nice to him. Number two, Tom DeLay -- I mean give me a break -- the hammer. There is one guy who is the antithesis of bipartisanship.

MCLEAN: The mention of man's name took out all the smell of ginger bread from this room; the visions of sugar plums are gone; you have killed it. It's May, it is 103 degrees outside, and you have ruined it.


MATALIN: Politics of personal destruction.

MCLEAN: That's one Texan on another Texan, let me point that out.

PRESS: Mary, you get another one.

MCLEAN: She going to do it. Go ahead I'm listening.

MATALIN: I think that, contrary to popular opinion, I think that democracy was well served. It was nice for social studies teacher, nice for children this year. When my 5-year-old comes home and says: You know why this is a great country? Because I'm free and my vote counts. That was a recap of the year that will live with that generation forever. That is the best gift we can give them, appreciation for their vote and their democracy.

PRESS: We all had a great civics lesson, we just not all happy with the end of the lesson.

But speaking of the end of, we are there folks. Thanks for joining us on this Christmas Day. Cliff, thanks. Kiki, I can't rather your new married name. You will always be Kiki Moore to me.

MCLEAN: And happy to be to you.

PRESS: And Mary and I will be back and wrap it up with a glass of eggnog and some Mary closing comments.


PRESS: It may be more fun to be naughty, but let's be nice just here at the end.

I have to tell you one person we didn't get to is Jack Germond, the political columnist, a great friend of mine. I think he is one of most astute observers of the political scene, certainly one of the smartest, and one of the most fun. And you know what, and he knew when he had had enough, and this week he said he is just not going to write any more columns. I salute him. He is a great guy. We will miss him.

MATALIN: One of the original boys on the bus, and from an era in which politicians and politics were covered with the reverence and the honor that they deserve. I miss those kind of reporters in general.

PRESS: Absolutely.

MATALIN: But the way in which politicians behave, which is not always evident, was evident in the concluding speeches of both of these raw, competitive fighters, George Bush, Albert Gore, gave great concluding speeches, an inspiration to all, and something to hang on for everybody.

PRESS: They are both the best speeches either one of them gave.

MATALIN: And you have been nice for some periods of this year, I want to say.

PRESS: From the left, I'm Bill Press. Merry Christmas. We will be back with more CROSSFIRE" for the rest of the year and next year.

MATALIN: From the right, I'm Mary Matalin. Have a wonderful holiday season. Don't do anything under that mistletoe that we wouldn't do.



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