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Who Is Gaining Political Capital While the Economy Plunders?; Are All New State Laws Really Necessary?

Aired January 4, 2002 - 19:30   ET



SEN TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: So not only did the tax cut fail to prevent a recession, as its supporters said it would, it probably made the recession worse.

REP J.C. WATTS (R), OKLAHOMA: I'm going to have to send Tom a memo and tell him that he does a great infomercial. We do need an economic security/stimulus package.


BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Let the blame game begin. Which party can turn economic losses into political gain? Plus, ringing in the new year with new laws. Lots of new state laws go into effect this week. Are they all really necessary?

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, CROSSFIRE. On the left, Bill Press. On the right, Tucker Carlson. In the CROSSFIRE, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn. And in Miami, Republican strategist Mike Murphy. And later in Los Angeles, radio talk show host Gloria Allred. And in Abington, Maryland, talk show host G. Gordon Liddy.

PRESS: It's CROSSFIRE. Thanks for joining us.

Today's only January 4, but campaign 2002's already under way. And the big issue is the economy. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle kicked the season off today, blaming Republicans for a laggard economy and saying the big Bush tax cut only made it worse.

But this weekend, President Bush will fire back, traveling to California and Oregon to accuse Democrats, led by Tom Daschle, of prolonging the recession by refusing to pass an economic stimulus package. As both parties try to turn the economy to political advantage, which one do you believe?

Two political consultants will wrangle over that one. And then we'll tackle a bunch of new state laws taking effect this week, some good, some bad, some downright loony. On now to politics 2002. The economy, stupid -- Tucker.


PRESS: There was a pause there.


CARLSON: And on to Peter Fenn. Peter Fenn, welcome. Yes, exactly.

Now you know who was the real beneficiary of Daschle's speech today was Al Gore, because this means Gore can run for president again. Do you know why? Because it turns out Daschle is not ready for prime-time. Your party cannot feel this guy's a presidential candidate in 2004. He was pathetic. And now on to what he said.


CARLSON: He was pathetic. He was squeaky. He was ridiculous.

FENN: Are we into name calling here or what? Go ahead, why was he pathetic?

CARLSON: Just truth telling, Peter Fenn.

FENN: Why was he pathetic, because he told the truth? Why?

CARLSON: Let me say this, I'll tell you one thing he did. He unfairly, ludicrously, without supporting it blamed the president for this recession. That's an outrageous slur and there's no evidence for it.

FENN: Tucker, I will tell you that one of the things that he said, and I thought it was brilliant, he said first of all that he thought that the work that the president and the administration has done in Afghanistan has been superb. The post September 11 has been superb.

CARLSON: The poll test.

FENN: No, no, no, no. You know, he was very complimentary of the president. But he went on to say look, you need a comprehensive policy to solve this economic crisis. We are in a recession. We have the worst unemployment since we've had in one year since 1982, which was the only year that out did the great Depression. And we have to do something about that.

And you know, the Republicans have one idea. It's like a new years, you know, when you wear these glasses, these funny glasses and they'd say 2002 across? They wear funny glasses that say tax cut.

CARLSON: Well, I'm glad you brought that up.

FENN: Tax cut, tax cut.

CARLSON: I'm glad you brought that up, Peter Fenn.

FENN: It is the only solution.

CARLSON: Oh really? FENN: The trouble is with their tax cuts is it goes to the wrong people.


FENN: Unlike our tax cuts and our efforts to stimulate the economy.

CARLSON: Well, thanks for setting up the trap.

FENN: Is that a good lead in?

CARLSON: Let's watch as you fall into it.


CARLSON: Daschle said the real problem with our economy is these tax cuts. The war hurt. The tax cuts are responsible for the recession. Why don't Democrats make some effort to repeal them, I wonder? I'll tell you why, because they know the public wouldn't like it. Because like every other issue they poll tested, public supports tax cuts. That's why they don't have the brass to try and get them repealed.

FENN: If you look at what the plan is for the Bush crowd now, and it's scary.

CARLSON: The Democrats...

FENN: No, no, no. They're going to try to accelerate these tax cuts. And you know, the interesting thing, I did a little research on this. If you're a family, you make under $75,000 a year, up to $75,000, do you know how much of this accelerated tax cut you are going to get? 7.4 percent. If you make $384,000 a year and over, you're going to get 55 percent of that tax cut.

CARLSON: Then why don't you do something about it?

FENN: We have a tax cut plan, which is different from this one, which does, by the way, accelerate the -- give accelerated depreciation and gives special tax breaks, if you create jobs. Very important.

PRESS: Mr. Murphy is raring to go here.

Michael Murphy, good evening.


PRESS: First of all, I have to tell you, we all discussed ahead of time how wild your dress would be down in Miami, tonight. You surpass all of our expectations.

MURPHY: Hey, it's only cable, you know?

PRESS: All right. Now look, Mike Murphy, this seems to me to be a no brainer, OK? We had, under Bill Clinton, eight years of boom. Under George Bush now, 12 months of bust. The unemployment rate a year ago, right at the end of the Clinton administration, was four percent. Today it's 5.8 percent. 8.3 million Americans out of work after 12 months. If this isn't George Bush's recession, whose is it?

MURPHY: Oh yes, let's vote Democratic and double all those bad numbers. I mean, the Democrats have the idea, which is to take all your money.


MURPHY: Daschle should have saved the speech for the New Hampshire Young Democrats Club, because it was ridiculous. If he really thinks the problem with the economy is the Bush tax cut, then here's what he needs to do. Call the Senate in and vote for repeal. Let's get on the record. Let's have the vote. And then let's take it to the people. It's that simple.

What Daschle wants to do is use the rhetoric of attacking the tax cut, without having the guts to stand up for repealing it. It's the kind of double talk that I think people are very tired of. We all know tax cuts create jobs. That's the Democrats', you know, fear. They just don't accept that basic point of economics.

PRESS: Wait. Yes, tax cuts create jobs. That's why we had the biggest tax cut this year and we have 8.3 million Americans out of work. Hello, Michael.

Let me ask you this thing. You avoided the question, so I'll ask it a different way. Will you name me the name of the president, one of the last two, Michael, OK, who eliminated the deficit, balanced the budget, and created surpluses? And then name me the more recent president who got us back to deficit spending and destroyed the surplus? Names, please?

MURPHY: Bill, unfortunately, the first requirement for Democrat spin is to fail high school arithmetic. The bottom line is economics.

PRESS: Just name the names.

MURPHY: No, I'm not going fall for a phony (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Come on. What, was I born yesterday? I've been on the show before.


MURPHY: Look, what this is really all about is a philosophical difference.

PRESS: You can't tell the truth.

MURPHY: It's also about a difference of courage. If Daschle thinks the tax cut is horrible, try to repeal it. Let the American people decide in the mid-term elections. The fact is, what's causing this recession is a lot...

FENN: Mike, I'll make a prediction for you.


FENN: Here's my prediction. This tax cut that's supposed to go out 10 years will not last. Now they won't repeal it in the next few months, just because you and I know the votes aren't there. You know, you've got a practically 50/50 Senate. You've got six votes in the House difference. And you got a president that would veto anything.

MURPHY: Peter, Peter.

FENN: So let me tell you.

MURPHY: How many Democrats are going to call for repeal?

FENN: Let me tell you, no, let me just finish this. No, because you know what?

MURPHY: That's the question.

FENN: No, the whole point is that this effort...

MURPHY: Right.

FENN: get this economy going again is going to take more than tax cuts for the rich. It's going to take more...

MURPHY: Yes, it's going to take Daschle's socialism. That's the last thing we need.

FENN: ...than a stimulus package. What we need is a good comprehensive policy which takes care of health care, which takes care of prescription drugs.


CARLSON: Now Peter...

MURPHY: Let me ask you a question, Peter. Stop filibustering for a second. Let me ask you.

FENN: Go ahead, I'm ready.

MURPHY: How many of your clients are going to now stand up for repealing this tax cut? You're either for it or against it. Why won't they...

FENN: You know what they're going to say?

MURPHY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Democrats of principle?

FENN: Some will say they should repeal it. Some won't.

MURPHY: Right.

FENN: But most are smart enough to know that there's going to be no repeal. But what they will say, Mike, is that you have got to change the economic policy. The same old Republican ideological straight jacket and economic policy isn't working.


PRESS: Well, let's move on. Move on.


PRESS: Hold on.

CARLSON: I've got a question for you.

FENN: Yes?

CARLSON: I want to know what your clients are going to stay about Homestead Mining. Perhaps you've heard of it? It was on the front page of "The New York Times" yesterday. It's a Canadian company. Been mining gold in South Dakota for 125 years. They want to close the gold mine.

And you know what? There's some environmental damage, up to a billion dollars' worth. Well, Tom Daschle decided, he sponsored a bill, ushered it through the Senate, that would make the federal government responsible for the environmental damage of Homestead Mining. It's outrageous. You can't defend it, but try.

FENN: Listen, you guys are the one who always want the federal government to pay for other things.


FENN: Listen, one thing Tom Daschle does and has always done is he stood up for his state. He's helped the state. And you know, I don't begrudge him that one bit. But you know what? What Tom Daschle is doing now is he's being very gutsy. He's going out front and he's saying look, I'm going to put myself out here. I'm going to call for a new economic policy, a more comprehensive policy.

CARLSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but hold on. This is Tom Daschle, the same one who's preventing drilling in ANWR because of its environmental impact. He's the leader of the Democratic party in the Senate, supported by environmental groups. Very simple question. Why is he absolving of liability, a mining company for environmental damage?

FENN: When you have him on your show, I'm sure he'll answer it very well. I don't know the specifics of South Dakota mining...


CARLSON: I get it.

FENN: I will be honest with you. I don't know the specifics of this.

PRESS: There is something called a Superfund, which has been around for a long time.


MURPHY: Which the Republicans don't like.

PRESS: Mike Murphy, I'm going to ask you to put on your political consultant hat there, take your Mariachi hat off.


PRESS: And look at the president's trip. Now this Sunday, the president is going to California. I'd like to remind you, he lost California in 2000 by 1.3 -- he's going tomorrow I'm sorry. He lost by 1.3 million votes. And let's take a quick look at California's line up. Out of 52 members of Congress, 32 are Democrats. Out of 40 state senators, 26 are Democrats. Out of 80 assembly people, 50 are Democrats. Out of 10 state wide elected officials, 9 are Democrats. Clearly, Democrats have a lock on California. Isn't the president wasting his time?

MURPHY: No, no, no. It's happy hunting ground. You've got Governor Gray, turn out the lights, Davis there. And I think Dick Riordan, the mayor of Los Angeles, is going to beat him and we're going to pick up the most governorship other than New York in the country. So I think it's a good place for the president with his message. I think the Democrats are worried we're going to grow in California.

PRESS: First of all, Riordan doesn't have a chance, but I'm glad you mentioned...

MURPHY: Oh, wait a minute. Somebody record that.

PRESS: Dick -- I'll say it again. Dick Riordan, by the way, as you know, is pro-choice and pro-environment. Just what George Bush is not. In other words, aren't you then admitting, by talking about Riordan that the only way any Republican could win in California is to be the exact opposite of George Bush? Again I ask you, isn't Bush wasting his time?

MURPHY: That's was a good try, but the fact is we're a big, intellectually vigorous party. And we have room for moderates and conservatives. And our moderate is going to beat your ultra liberal out in California.

FENN: Let me just say this to Mike. Mike, if I were George Bush and trying to protect governors and elect Republican governors, I'd get my butt to Massachusetts, to Michigan, to Wisconsin, to New York, to Pennsylvania...

CARLSON: Wait, hold on.

FENN: those places where Democrats will be picking up seats in the next election.

CARLSON: Hold on, really quickly. In the 30 seconds we have left, you don't have any candidates. Daschle's not a viable candidate for 2004. John Edwards is...

FENN: Oh no, oh, of course not.

CARLSON: Isn't it -- no, seriously. Prognosticate for us for a minute.

FENN: Are you kidding?

CARLSON: Who is going to emerge from this sort of mediocre pack? Is it time to bring back Mike Dukakis?

FENN: It's so early. It's so early.

CARLSON: Not that early.

FENN: No, listen. We've got a whole lot of good folks out there. You've got John Kerry. You've got Edward Junior. Naming off good folks.

MURPHY: Yes, the wrecking crew.

FENN: I think this question about the 2002 elections and the 2004 elections are going to be about the economy. They're going to be about which party can best handle the economy. And the Johnny one notes are the GOP, who says it's tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts -- aren't going to be able to make it because folks are going to see through this mirage here. It ain't going to fly.

MURPHY: As opposed to your answer, which is send it to Washington or let Ted Kennedy send it. I'm ready for that debate.


CARLSON: That's exactly...


MURPHY: Democratic vacuum cleaner. Sucking it up.

CARLSON: Summing up as always. Pete, thank you very much in Florida.

PRESS: Back to the beach, Murphy.

CARLSON: Peter Fenn, thank you very much.

FENN: My pleasure.

CARLSON: And next, stop what you're doing. It may be illegal. Many, many new laws. Some having to do with fish came into effect January 1st. We'll debate their effect, whether they should be laws in the first place. We'll be right back.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Plan on driving with a cell phone in New Mexico? A loaded paint ball gun in Pennsylvania? Buying cheap smokes in Washington state? Think again. In each case, someone said there ought to be a law. And now there is.

On January 1st, a tsunami of new legislation came into effect around the country, which means that some formerly legal activities are now prohibited and some formerly prohibited activities are now legal.

And we have a sparkling CROSSFIRE. Joining us tonight, two of talk radio's brightest and least neutral lights in Los Angeles California, Gloria Allred. And from the throbbing heart of Abington, Maryland, G. Gordon Liddy -- Bill Press.

PRESS: Mr. Liddy, I want to start with you in the state of Florida. They actually passed a bill reforming their election process. From now on in the state of Florida, they'll be no more punch cards, no more dangling, hanging or pregnant chads. And all recounts will be done by hand, because they have learned you can't trust machines.

Now Gordon, I don't want to reargue who won that election, but wouldn't you have to admit that passage of this law proves that that election in 2000 was flawed and that George Bush did not win it fair and square?

G. GORDON LIDDY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Certainly, I would not agree with your conclusion. I would certainly agree that the mechanics of the job down there were apparently beyond the capability of many Florida voters. So if they can do it more simply, I think that's fine.

PRESS: Gloria?

CARLSON: Isn't that right, Gloria? You can't -- I mean the laws can't make voters smarter. And that's the basis problem, is it not?

GLORIA ALLRED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I mean, I think it's clear that the Supreme Court selected President Bush to be President Bush. And if there had been a statewide recount, there's no question that Al Gore would be president. But I'm glad that there are reforms and perhaps there should be reforms in each and every state in the union, because if that same analysis had been applied to every state, then the outcome might have been different.

PRESS: Amen.

CARLSON: OK, now in Washington state, cigarette taxes have gone up. They're now the highest in the nation, $1.42 per pack. Pretty fashionable thing to do, raise cigarette taxes. The idea, Gloria Allred, is that smokers get sick, they incur health care costs, and they ought to pay for them. Think of this. That's true of course that they do get sick. But women over 50 actually as a group, I think, account for the highest health care cost of any group. So why shouldn't women over 50 pay some sort of added surcharge just for living, because their existence costs the rest of us a lot in health care costs?

ALLRED: You know, women over 50, Tucker, have been generally the last hired and the first fired, and often have been forced into low paying sex segregated jobs. I think they've suffered enough economically in our society. They're at the bottom end often of Social Security. Often, they're living in poverty. No, I'm not in favor of punishing...

CARLSON: Well, so are smokers. They tend to be poorer.


CARLSON: Wait, hold on. Smokers tend to be, you know, minimum wage workers. I mean, they're the people who can least afford a tax increase. They can pay more, but women over 50, many of whom are affluent, can't?

ALLRED: Well, you know, I think it's a good idea to tax smokers. And I'm sure that smokers are not too happy about it, but the addiction of smoking does cost the public money. It does result in increased health care costs. It does result in early deaths. And I think it's time to pass the cost along to those who force the public to incur that cost. And that's the smokers themselves. I would prefer if they would stop smoking. I think we ought to help them do that.

PRESS: Well, speaking of smoking -- go ahead.

LIDDY: What's going to happen, folks, is the good folks up there in Washington who smoke are going to buy their cigarettes on Indian reservations and military reservations and not pay the tax any way.

PRESS: Well, you may be right. Speaking of smoking in the neighboring state of Oregon, probably the cleanest and the healthiest state of all, 50 -- they passed a law now says, joining other states of course, that there's no more smoking in the workplace with the exception, of course, of bars.

My question to you is, if I'm dumb enough to smoke, why shouldn't I have to go outside and smoke rather than polluting my fellow workers? It's a good law, right?

ALLRED: I think it's a great law.

PRESS: No, this is -- Gloria just a second. First, Gordon Liddy and then you.


PRESS: Gordon?

LIDDY: OK. Look, I'm not a smoker. And I think smoking is a disgusting habit. But by the same token, I don't subscribe to the belief that secondhand smoke causes cancer. I would just as soon that somebody not smoke around me. And if somebody did, I would ask them to please stop.

So I'm coming at this really from a philosophical point of view. I think we've got too many laws on the books now. You know, the next thing we're going to have is a prohibition against impure thoughts on a steamboat landing. I just think we ought to let people alone.

CARLSON: Actually, I think that's already a law in Massachusetts, as far as I know.

I'm wondering, Gloria Allred though, if I own a business and I smoke or say I just like smokers, shouldn't it be up to me who I want to employ? Say I want smoking in business. It's my business, not yours. Shouldn't I be able to decide that?

ALLRED: No I don't think you should, Tucker.


ALLRED: I mean, the idea that perhaps you might like to have smoke in your workplace, contaminated air, what if you want contaminated water? Should you be able to have that? What if you want to be able to have fire hazards there? Should you believe you be able to have that?

No, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has a right and I think indeed has a duty to regulate conditions for workers in the workplace. And I don't think that individual workers are able to fight that battle alone. They need the protection of the law, so they have a clean and a safe, and a healthy workplace.

CARLSON: Oh, I'm glad you are saying that because...

LIDDY: How about the fact that when you go into the men's room or Gloria, when do you into the ladies' room, restaurant or some place like that.

ALLRED: Yes, I haven't been in the men's room recently, although I have liberated a few on occasion.

LIDDY: OK. Well, when do you, you'll see a sign saying "employees, wash your hands after using the lavatory" and so forth. Well, you know, some of them don't. And I think we ought to have another law. And that penalizes people. Let's say a fine of $100 every time they don't brush their teeth or wash their hands, and so forth. I mean, at some point, it gets to be ridiculous.

ALLRED: Well, maybe would you like someone who hasn't washed his hands making your sandwich in a restaurant. I wouldn't. And I think it's a good idea that they know and that they're reminded that they have a duty to wash their hands before they go into the workplace.

CARLSON: OK, Gordon -- and doubtless in the liberated men's room...


OK, now Gloria Allred, Gordon Liddy makes a good point, which is at some point, these laws become ludicrous. Let me give you an example of one that has. In Pennsylvania, it's now illegal to drive with a loaded paintball gun in your car. This is a kind of law that pleases me, because it points you up, it shows the world the lunatic extremism of the gun control people. I'm sure you count yourself among them. You can't defend this law.

ALLRED: Well, and I'm not going to ask G. Gordon Liddy whether he used a paintball gun and drove with it during Watergate. I won't ask you that, G. Gordon. But I will say this, that apparently there are some people who have unfortunately had their homes vandalized by people driving by with paintball guns and then spraying paint on their house. So I can sympathize with them.

What would be the purpose of having a loaded paintball gun in your car while you're driving, except perhaps to take it out and shoot paint on somebody else's home? I think it's a good law. I can see arguments against it.

PRESS: Mr. Liddy?

LIDDY: Well, I would say this. What about a law against driving with a can of paint in your car, because you know, you could always open up the can of paint and throw it on somebody's property? I mean, it just is absurd.


LIDDY: I don't think there's been terribly many drive-by paintball shootings.


ALLRED: Apparently there have been some.

PRESS: It's a little harder to hit the side of a house with a can of paint from -- if you're driving by in your car, than it is with a paint gun. But let's move on to the state of Alaska.

Here's one that you and might agree on, Mr. Liddy, which is up in Alaska, they've formed a new kind of state lottery. In this lottery, you buy a ticket and then you guess how many red salmon are going to be caught during the fishing season. And all the proceeds of the lottery go to school scholarships. Wouldn't you have to say this is probably the most creative form of gambling in the entire 50 states?

LIDDY: It sounds like it to me. I don't have any problem with it. I mean, here in Maryland, you know, we've got these things where the odds against you are 60 gazillion to one. And the suckers buy the tickets all the time.


LIDDY: But if you want to take a chance and try to guess how many salmon are going to pass through a funnel or something of that sort, fine. I don't have any problem with that.

ALLRED: Yes, and I won't say anything like it's kind of a fishy scheme.

PRESS: No, please don't.

ALLRED: But if I want a dead honest, I don't care.

CARLSON: Now Gloria, very quickly, you're in favor of making almost everything illegal. What do you think about the ban on cell phones in New Mexico? Isn't it true that eating in the car causes more accidents? Why not make that illegal, too?

ALLRED: Well, you know, I think it's a good idea to say that people shouldn't be on their cell phones, at least on the handheld cell phones while they're driving. I admit that I'm guilty of it. But you know, we could have a law that says you can only use your speaker phone while you're driving. Don't use the handheld cell phone. And I think that that would solve some of the safety problems.

CARLSON: And don't get arrested.

LIDDY: Do you have any idea how many teenage pregnancies occur from sex in an automobile? I think we ought to ban that.

ALLRED: I don't know if you're speaking from personal experience.

PRESS: While driving? I don't want to know.

Gloria Allred, G. Gordon Liddy, we're out of time. Thank you very much.

ALLRED: Thank you.

PRESS: There are other state laws. We'll get to those another time. Thanks so much for joining us.

And folks, it is Friday. That means fire back Friday. You will not believe what Linda had to say about Tucker. But you'll find out when we come back.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. It's time for our Friday fire back segment. You send us grouchy e-mails. We try to account for our behavior.

Our first comes from Linda Miller who writes to me, "Try and stop calling your male guests who keep speaking over the top of each other, 'ladies, ladies.' You offend the progressive intelligent women who watch your show."

I wouldn't want to offend progressive women. And I have to say that with the exception of Gloria Allred, most women don't filibuster, but it's interesting. It gets the attention of male guests when you call them ladies or something attention getting.

How about it, with that, Mrs. Press?

PRESS: Yes. And I'll insult you in turn.

Here's one from Karen who's from upstate, New York. Big territory. "Bill, I almost always agree with you, but you are really wrong on this one. The pilot did exactly the right thing. And anyone who believes a government ID cannot be forged is living in a fantasy."

Of course, Karen, the more we hear about this, I'm sorry to say, the more we realize that the pilot in fact was wrong. And I think the final proof of it is that after the pilot kicked whom he thought was a phony Secret Service agent off his plane, he did not call the White House or the Secret Service to say, "Hey, there's somebody running around with a gun and a badge and ID and papers, who's claiming to be a Secret Service agent." The pilot should just apologize. Move on.

CARLSON: Why should he apologize? The guy had a loaded handgun. As an advocate of gun control, I'd imagine you'd sympathize with him.

PRESS: Wrong, wrong. And through the president's Secret Service agent...

CARLSON: Wrong, wrong, wrong.

PRESS: ... of the plane.

CARLSON: OK, well, he was right to do that. OK, last night, we noted the passing of the former presidential dog, Buddy, who was hit by a car yesterday. I noted it with sadness. We got an e-mail in response.

This comes from Tony Roll from California. He writes, "Buddy was with Bill Clinton in the White House during the events from Monica Lewinsky to the fund-raising scandals, to Clinton's impeachment. His death an accident? No way. Buddy knew too much."

Well, I'm glad you pointed that out, Tony. But he was spotted sniffing around Fort Marcy Park here in Washington, relieving himself on the grassy knoll. There may be more to the story than we know. Actually, I take that all back. I think that Buddy may have been the solitary, the one and only innocent bystander in the Clinton administration, the only one who did nothing wrong. We mourn his passing even more because of that.

PRESS: Well, I just have to say to that, that the Clinton haters will stop at nothing, not even the president's dog. Dan Burton, of course, will have an investigation.

But Tucker, there was one more e-mail I wanted to show you. This is a very special e-mail that came in today. Maybe we could see it on the screen. This e-mail came from two good friends of mine, of course. No, that's not it.

I guess we're going to -- yes, there it is. Two good friends of mine, Tucker. George and Laura.

CARLSON: Oh, my God!

PRESS: I want you to know there they are. They invited me over for Christmas. They tried, Tucker. They wined, me, they dined me, they tried to win me over.

CARLSON: And you love them. You love them.

PRESS: No, I just want you to know...

CARLSON: You are easily won over.

PRESS: Let me finish, it didn't work. I'm not going to be soft on Bush this year, no matter what he did.

CARLSON: That's not what you told me.

PRESS: From the left, I'm Bill Press, good night for CROSSFIRE. Thanks for the fire back.

CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Have a wonderful weekend and join us next week for five more CROSSFIRES. See you then.




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