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CNN CROSSFIRE

Who Should Investigate Enron?; Interview With Governor of New Jersey

Aired January 11, 2002 - 19:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: Tonight, who should investigate Enron? Is it really time already to consider a special consul?

And if it's Friday, it must be time for a new New Jersey governor. We'll talk to governor No. 4 about his upcoming three-and- a-half day administration.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington: CROSSFIRE. On the left, Bill Press; on the right, Robert Novak. In the CROSSFIRE, Democratic strategist, Tony Coelho, former Gore campaign manager, and Republican strategist, Cliff May, former communications director for the Republican National Committee. And later, in Princeton, New Jersey, acting Governor Richard Codey.

NOVAK: Good evening. Welcome to CROSSFIRE. There is nothing Washington likes better than a big, juicy scandal. In this political capital, imagine such a scandal in the catastrophic collapse of a huge corporation, the energy giant, Enron. The Justice Department has just launched a criminal investigation of the Houston-based firm.

But Congress is eager to get into the act. The famous Senate Permanent Investigation Subcommittee, now under Democratic control, sent out 51 subpoenas today for information about Enron. The Republican-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee has called the Arthur Andersen committee -- auditors to turn over their records.

Not enough -- not nearly enough, say the scandal mongers. Today's "New York Times" said subjunctively and anonymously -- quote -- "Questions were being raised about whether a criminal inquiry into Enron's collapse should be led by a special counsel rather than by the Justice Department" -- end quote.

Is this prudent governmental oversight, or just Democratic get even time for Whitewater and Clinton impeachment -- Bill Press.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Cliff May, it's good that the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation. The question is: Is that enough?

Let's look at what we've got here. You've got the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history. We've got Arthur Andersen, Enron's accounting firm, admitting they destroyed a significant number of documents. We don't know how many yet. We've got the attorney general, his chief of staff, the entire Houston office of the Justice Department recusing themselves because of different ties to Enron. We've got multiple contacts, connections in the White House between people in the White House and Enron. And then, you've got the fact, we heard today, that Enron is on a telephone call to at least -- on the telephone to at least two members of the Cabinet in the days before they collapsed.

If you add all of that up, isn't this -- I mean, if there were ever a time for a special counsel, Cliff May, this is it, isn't it?

CLIFF MAY, FMR. RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I don't think so, but let's talk about this. You've got the Justice Department investigating. The Securities and Exchange Commission will investigate. Congress will investigate. And that's a good thing. This is a big bankruptcy of a huge corporation. That's important. And it does appear that the members from this organization went to the government and said, bail us out. Give us some help. Nobody from the government gave this company any help. That's why they collapsed.

Look, my friend Lanny Davis said very clearly, and I like his honesty on this, there's not one shred of evidence that any of this in any way goes to the government. This is about a private corporation in the marketplace failing.

By the way, Enron executives also had plenty of relations with Democrats. The CEO of Enron, Ken Lay, was a golfing partner with Clinton. He gave campaign contributions to Gore and to Clinton. They would have to recuse themselves. We should investigate a company, but what you shouldn't do, Bill, because you're better than this, is make believe this is a government scandal, because that makes people cynical for no reason. This is not a government scandal. Show me any allegation, any evidence of it.

PRESS: We don't know whether it's a government scandal or not.

MAY: That's the problem.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: We don't know if it's a CNN scandal. There is not a shred...

MAY: Wait, sir...

PRESS: ... of evidence

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: I heard your answer, but let's be serious. I mean, you guys called for an independent counsel against Mike Espy (ph), because he got free football tickets? You called for an independent counsel...

MAY: OK.

PRESS: ... for Henry Cisneros, because of how much money... MAY: All right.

PRESS: ... he was giving to his mistress?

MAY: I hear you. I hear you.

PRESS: He spent eight years on an independent counsel...

MAY: OK. I hear you!

PRESS: ... investigating Whitewater and...

MAY: I hear you.

PRESS: ... you refuse it for the biggest bankruptcy...

MAY: I hear you. I hear you.

PRESS: ... in U.S. history and all these thousands of people that lost their jobs and pension plans?

MAY: Now, Bill, I hear you. This is payback for...

PRESS: Get serious!

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: ... payback for the past eight years.

PRESS: No, no!

MAY: If Bill Clinton had been investigated by the KBG, you'd be saying that Vladimir Putin should investigate.

PRESS: No, when did the standard change, is my question.

MAY: All right.

PRESS: When did the standard change?

MAY: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: So...

MAY: Now, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have asked this question. I'll give you some evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me (ph) tons of it.

NOVAK: Tony Cuomo... TONY COELHO, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Yes.

NOVAK: ... I saw you sitting there smugly off camera, your arms folded in that position, saying oh boy, it's payback time. We're going to get the Republicans now.

But let me give you a little sobering information. Today, the assistant secretary of the Treasury, Peter Fischer, said that on November 8, he received a call from a gentleman from the Citigroup, named Robert Rubin, former secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton administration, the revered, sir, former secretary of the Treasury. He urged...

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: ... investment banker and done lots of other things for Clinton.

NOVAK: Yes. Yes. He urged Fischer to place a call to rating agencies to encourage them to work with Enron's bankers to see if they couldn't get a downgrade. Fischer said it didn't think it advisable.

COELHO: Investigate it. Who cares?

NOVAK: Rubin said that was a reasonable position. Fischer made no comment. He never has made a comment of Enron. Would your investigation that you're slobbering over include Robert Rubin?

COELHO: Listen, I'm not...

NOVAK: Yes or no.

COELHO: ... slobbering over anything. Yes, it would. Absolutely with no reservation. Let me tell you what's going on here, Bob. You guys can throw this up in the air as much as you want. But let me tell you what's going on. There are thousands of people who have lost their pensions. I know the case of a guy who had to sell his house because of what's going to happen. He also had two kids in college, and those kids' college career is now in trouble. This is real. This is not something that we can just pass off. There are people who had their whole life savings in this company, and they have lost it all.

And let me tell you what I think the violation is. The White House, oh so aggressively says that we had got these calls, and we didn't do anything about it. That's the problem. Do you know what? Under the law, they had privileged information two weeks ahead. Do you know what their obligation to do was to call the chief of staff to the president, or to call the president. They should have called the president or other chiefs. But who they really had an obligation to was the Department of Labor, because the Department of Labor has a fiduciary responsibility over pension funds. And for two weeks, they had privileged information. That needs to be investigated.

NOVAK: Let's back up. Now, while the former secretary of the Treasury was urging special treatment for Enron, the Enron people, Kenneth Lay, had called the present secretary of the Treasury, Paul O'Neill. And let's see what Mr. O'Neill's reaction was to it -- let's listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL O'NEILL, SECRETARY TREASURY: As the secretary of the Treasury with the responsibility for the U.S. capital markets and our position in world capital markets, I get calls every day from the big players in the world. Enron was the biggest trader of energy in the world. And so I was not surprised at all that I would get a call saying, hey, we've got a problem over here, and you should know about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK: And he didn't do anything about it?

COELHO: That's the problem.

NOVAK: But the point is, if he had tried to get special treatment for them, as Bob Rubin did...

COELHO: No, no, no, no.

NOVAK: ... then you'd need an independent counsel.

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Mr. Novak, you are misinterpreting what I said. He doesn't need special treatment for the company. What he needed to do was to call the Department of Labor, Elaine Chao, and say, look, there's a company I've been told -- I have information they're about to go bankrupt. We have a fiduciary responsibility under the ERISA laws to look at this. You need to look at it. No, no special favors, Bob, just to take care of the little people.

NOVAK: And...

COELHO: And I know -- I know you and the Republicans have trouble taking care of the little people, but that's who I'm concerned about.

NOVAK: Well, you're not a little person, Mr. Coelho.

COELHO: No, I have a beach house and I have lots of things.

NOVAK: All right. All right.

COELHO: It isn't me that I'm concerned about. I'm concerned about the little people...

NOVAK: OK.

COELHO: ... who lost everything.

PRESS: First of all, I think this whole thing is -- I don't know how they expect anybody to believe this nonsense. I know this is a Republican talking point. It's the biggest energy company, so obviously we talk to them. Let me ask you this: Paul O'Neill gets a call from George Bush's best friend. Don Evans, also from Houston, gets a call from George Bush's best friend. And you don't think -- you think they really don't tell anybody at the White House? Do you expect us to believe that for one second?

MAY: You guys need to get your story straight. You're complaining that they got special favors.

PRESS: Now, wait!

MAY: You're complaining that they didn't.

PRESS: Now, just answer the question.

MAY: Because Clinton...

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: The -- no, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: Just answer the question.

COELHO: I'm not talking to anything about special favors. You want to keep construing. They needed to call the Department of Labor, and they don't give any special favors.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: Let's take one question at a time. Do you really expect anybody to believe, knowing how close Ken Lay is with the president, that they're not going to tell anybody in the White House?

MAY: I don't know, and you only have to ask. Look, again, Ken Lay played golf with Bill Clinton.

PRESS: Oh.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: He was close (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

PRESS: Wait.

MAY: Over 25 percent of their campaign contributions...

PRESS: Wait.

MAY: .. went to Democrats.

PRESS: Wait, let me...

MAY: What is the charge? (CROSSTALK)

PRESS: Now, let's...

MAY: What's the allegation?

PRESS: .... first of all...

MAY: I know what you're saying.

PRESS: All right.

MAY: What's your allegation?

PRESS: First of all, let me just say this. You've been in office for a year, you know. You're going to stand on your own feet and stop attacking Bill Clinton with (UNINTELLIGIBLE), OK?

MAY: I'm not. I'm just saying...

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: I'm not attacking Bill Clinton by no means. I think he's all right.

PRESS: All right.

MAY: It's nice that he plays golf with Ken Lay.

PRESS: Now...

MAY: I am saying that the titans of industry know people in high office, but guess what in this case, they didn't get what they wanted.

PRESS: Now I want to get to Tony's point. Two weeks before Enron collapses, with all these people out there, with their 401k's in jeopardy, with their jobs in jeopardy, with these investors they have, they don't own the stock, even though Ken Lay and his guys are selling their stock to make a bundle. Paul O'Neill, Peter Fischer, Ken -- maybe Don Evans, we don't know for sure, find out about this. And we certainly know they know Enron is in trouble. And they don't call the Department of Labor? They don't call anybody else to warn them? They do nothing to save the people who lost their shirt. Didn't they have an obligation?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they had an obligation to provide somebody with that information.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: Look, the SEC and the Justice Department can do just fine looking at what happened in this corporate collapse and figuring out what happened and what should have been done, if something should have been done. PRESS: All right.

MAY: In the marketplace, people get hurt.

PRESS: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is all about. It's not under justice, and it's not under the SEC. It's under the Department of Labor.

NOVAK: Tony -- Tony...

(CROSSTALK)

COEHLO: I understand that. That's where the little people (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

NOVAK: Tony Coehlo, you are taking what you consider. You may be right and you may be wrong. I don't know. An air of omission and turning it into an act of corruption. Now, I want to...

COEHLO: I'm not turning it into an act of corruption.

NOVAK: ... I just -- just a minute. I just want to put...

COEHLO: I just said they had an obligation to do it, and they didn't do it. It may be a violation of the law. We just don't know.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Cliff mentioned Lenny Davis, a former Clinton special counsel, who was -- there was nobody who was a better defender of Bill Clinton than Lanny Davis. And I'd like to just put on the screen what he said. He said: "I don't think there is any shred of evidence that the White House has any connection to what went wrong with Enron. Democrats should not go down the road of focusing on innuendo."

You know, I am disappointed in you, because I...

COELHO: I'm not focusing on (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Bob.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is a senior figure in the Democratic party, you could take a responsible position.

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: I do take it. I am not talking about George Bush. I happen to be somebody who admires him, and he and his father both. I am talking about his appointments to Cabinet positions who were derelict in not doing their job and not notifying either the chief of staff or the Department of Labor to immediately go into this, to protect these little people out there.

NOVAK: All right.

COELHO: They are not the people that the Republican party, I guess, is interested, Bob.

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: And I'm interested in...

NOVAK: Oh, there will be a funeral...

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: ... these people who have lost all of their retirement and everything else.

NOVAK: That's just sheer politics.

COELHO: That's not politics.

NOVAK: I asked today.

COELHO: It's real people with real jobs, real retirement funds, real losses...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: All right, let me...

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: Yes, I am (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: Thirty seconds, guys.

NOVAK: Today, I interviewed Larry Lindsey, the president's chief economic advisor on a program on "NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS" that will run on Saturday, 5:30 p.m. Eastern. And I asked him, Do you think the government has a responsibility for these little people? And I'd like you to listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE LINDSEY, DIR. NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The president is instructing us to look at changes in the rules that might be needed, to accompany (ph) that, why the Justice Department is engaging an investigation, the Labor Department is engaging an investigation with regard to pensions where it is responsible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK: So they don't need a special counsel. They are investigating it.

COELHO: Well, he gave you the answer right there. The Department of Labor has an obligation to investigate. I'm telling you, you want a special counsel to clear this up. Ashcroft got $50,000....

PRESS: OK.

COELHO: ... from Enron. It is a big sum for his Senate campaign.

PRESS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the former Enron consultant speaking. Cliff May, thank you very much for joining us.

MAY: Thank you.

PRESS: Tony Coelho...

COELHO: Thank you, Bill.

PRESS; ... thank you for joining us.

And we're going to take a break and when we come back, we're going to go through the revolving doors in the state of New Jersey. At midnight tonight, New Jersey gets its fourth governor in a week. What does he hope to accomplish in his 72 hours. We'll ask the governor for a day -- coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOVAK: Would you believe what they're doing in New Jersey? Attempting to outdo Argentina, who just had five presidents in two weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESS: What can you expect from a state where the biggest event of the year is the Miss America contest?

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that New Jersey that most of the politicians in New Jersey were for sale.

PRESS: Here's what gets me. They knew there was going to be a gap. Why didn't they just pass a little law and fix it?

NOVAK: Well, think of that. They have two less governors and less problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESS: Ouch! Those acid comments, you may recall, we made Monday night after learning that because of some fluke in the law, residents of New Jersey would suffer no fewer than five governors in eight days before new Governor Jim McCreevy takes over next Tuesday.

Well, now it's Friday, three governors down, two more to go. How is New Jersey surviving? Let's find out from governor No. 4. That would be Governor Dick Codey, who takes over at midnight tonight, but has already been sworn in. Figure that out -- Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Governor Codey, a new governor always, in this country, usually has an agenda, a vision for the future. What is your agenda for your tenure as governor of New Jersey?

RICHARD CODEY, NEW JERSEY ACTING GOVERNOR: Well, I'm going to start tomorrow morning. I'm going to have breakfast at a state mental hospital with about 200 patients. I want the people of New Jersey to know where my heart is. I've been a big advocate on behalf of people with mental illness. So that's how I'm going to start my tenure as governor in this state.

NOVAK: Governor, wouldn't it have been a lot easier for the state of New Jersey for its reputation if you had just had a little law, as Bill Press suggested, extending...

CODEY: Now...

NOVAK: ... extending your governor, Di Francesco, until Jim McGreevy took over?

CODEY: We can't do that. It's against the Constitution. Any change in the Constitution has to go to the voters. It's a rather unusual situation, as you know. Governor Whitman left to go down to Washington. We have no lieutenant governor, but the president of the Senate then becomes governor. He chose not to run for reelection to the Senate or for governor. The new legislature gets sworn in the week before the new governor. Therefore, the new president of the Senate takes over. However, for the first time in our state's history, the Senate is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. So we have two presidents of the Senate, one a Republican and a Democrat and myself. So we decided to split up the days to three-and-a half days each.

NOVAK: All right, so...

CODEY: I know the residents need a scorecard at times. But I think that they're going to survive it.

PRESS: I was just going to ask you if you gave the residents a scorecard. Now, Governor, I grew up in Delaware. You know, Delaware is such a tiny state. We always used to look up to New Jersey as kind of a big sister across the Delaware River there. But I don't know if we will any longer after this. I mean, it reminds me -- I guess what I asking is, did you like deliberately go out of your way to imitate Argentina?

CODEY: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: Five presidents.

CODEY: Five presidents. I figure if Argentina can get five presidents in two weeks, we can have five governors in one week.

PRESS: Well, I figure...

CODEY: We're as good as a country. PRESS: I think you have made it. Well, Governor, I want to know, you know, I used to work for a governor out in California, Governor Jerry Brown. A lot of perks came along with being governor, you know? You have a Governor's Mansion. Of course, Jerry wouldn't live in it. But you've got stationery. You've got a state car. You've got state drivers.

CODEY: Absolutely.

PRESS: So tell us about -- tell us about are you going to take full advantage of these perks? Are you going to move into the mansion?

CODEY: Well, for one night, my teenage boys insisted on it. But everything else is being paid for by myself and Governor Bennett as well. The pens they were signing bills into law. We paid for them. The official stationery, we've paid for that. The one reception that I'm going to have here at the Governor's Mansion, I am paying for myself. So it's at no cost to the taxpayers, because we are in a $2 billion deficit here in the state of New Jersey. We felt we would be better off doing that -- no question about it.

NOVAK: Governor, you're in the Governor's Mansion in Princeton, right now I understand?

CODEY: Yes.

NOVAK: And you're going to have a party. Now, I watch television. I watch "The Sopranos," so I know a lot about New Jersey.

CODEY: By the way, "The Sopranos" live in my district.

NOVAK: Yes.

CODEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

NOVAK: I just want to know, who is going to clean up the damage from your reception after you have all of your boys and your district come in...

CODEY: Now, wait a minute.

NOVAK: ... come into the mansion and have the party? Are you going to pay for it, or are the taxpayers going to pay for it?

CODEY: Now, is that a slur on Democrats that we don't know how to act? That we're the Beverly Hillbillies coming down here to the Governor's Mansion?

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: ... Democrats, Governor.

CODEY: No, I think the mansion will survive my two teenage boys and our reception as well.

NOVAK: Governor...

CODEY: And if I have to clean it up myself, I will.

NOVAK: Explain this to me. We have 50 states in this great union. I don't think any state gets as much abuse as New Jersey. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) make fun of it. I make fun of it. You probably added by this whole...

CODEY: Well, then why does everybody...

NOVAK: Why do people make fun of New Jersey?

CODEY: I don't know why, because everybody wants to move here, even people who live or work in New York. They want to live in New Jersey. We have more and more people every year who want to live here, and our per capita income is probably the best in the country without question. I am proud of my state. It's a great state. I love it here.

PRESS: Will you be able to sign any -- do you have all the powers of governor, sir? Can you sign -- you can sign legislation?

CODEY: Absolutely. I can do whatever I want. I am the governor. Now, the one thing, you know, every governor -- former governor gets an official portrait.

PRESS: All right. Yes.

CODEY: And it hangs in the governor's office. But they told me that my portrait is going to be paint by number.

PRESS: All right. Well, you know, Governor...

CODEY: And the one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to ask Bill Clinton for advice on pardons.

PRESS: Good move.

CODEY: I don't want to get in any trouble.

PRESS: The first good move, and you haven't even officially taken over yet. Now, Governor, we've heard all week long from residents of New Jersey, some of whom have agreed with us, some of whom have, you know, taken us to test for our comments about...

CODEY: That's probably my family.

PRESS: ... about the Garden State. I'm going -- we want to read a couple of them for you and get you to respond. This one comes from Tim Scherer up in Fair Haven, New Jersey, who says: "Hey, guys, I live in New Jersey and agree with you 100 percent. I believe this is the most politically corrupt state in the nation, and now a bunch of governors at taxpayers' expense. No wonder we are the laughing stock of the other 49 states." Wow! Ouch! How do you respond to that?

CODEY: Well, let me say to him, when my administration ends on Tuesday, there will be no scandals and no new taxes.

PRESS: Good platform.

NOVAK: But I'll tell you this, Governor Codey, the residents of New Jersey are suspicious, rightly so. And we got this email from a New Jersey voter named Fred Schlobonm. And he said: "My hope is that the extra three governors will not be"...

CODEY: An unemployed voter.

NOVAK: ... "will not be eligible for gubernatorial retirement pay, further socking it to the already overburdened taxpayers in New Jersey." So I give you a straight question, sir.

CODEY: OK.

NOVAK: Are you going to take extra -- a governor's retirement pay?

CODEY: No, I already turned that down.

NOVAK: They offered it?

CODEY: That's two for two so far. Come on, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) while I'm ahead.

PRESS: This is...

CODEY: What's the next one?

PRESS: This might be an honest governor here we got.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: All right. This guy -- now this shows that New Jersey residents, Governor, I think have a little bit of maybe a mean steak to them. This comes from Ellen Rosh somewhere in the state. It doesn't say what town she lives in. Ellen writes in: "We enjoy your show, but found your comments about New Jersey extremely mean spirited. Try traveling through South Carolina without becoming deadly ill from the food its restaurants near the main highway has to offer."

To which I ask you, Governor, having grown up in Delaware and going up that New Jersey turnpike many times, have you ever sampled the fine cuisine along the New Jersey turnpike? And don't you think that the residents of New Jersey might do that before they attack South Carolina.

CODEY: Yes, but wait a minute. Any state that has game cocks as its nickname we shouldn't need to talk about them. Am I right?

PRESS: Well, the Garden State?

CODEY: Hey, there's nothing wrong with the Garden State. We have great food here, great farms, great beaches, great mountains. Come on up and visit us.

PRESS: And you certainly grow a lot of governors, we know that.

CODEY: We certainly do, without question. And we're proud of all of them. I'm 76, and that's the spirit.

NOVAK: I'm sure your voters do consider it the garden spot of America, and thank you for being on with us. We really appreciate it.

CODEY: It's been my pleasure.

NOVAK: Have a good tenure as governor, and thank you very much.

CODEY: Thank you, gentlemen.

NOVAK: When we come back, FIRE BACK. Your chance to FIRE BACK emails at us. And you won't believe what one viewer had to say about Bill Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PRESS: OK, it's Friday night. We've been firing at you all week. It's your chance to FIRE BACK at us. This first email to me comes from Greg Fahey, who writes: "Be careful about your comments about the Redskins being offensive and insensitive. Considering your position on gun rights, shouldn't the name CROSSFIRE be construed as insensitive to gun violence victims?"

Well, Greg, you know what? I think you have a point. I hadn't thought about that before. I think it's very important that we be sensitive also, and so I'll tell you what. Starting Monday night, no matte what Bob Novak calls this show, I'm going to start calling it "hugs and kisses."

NOVAK: How about "patty cakes?" I'll tell you...

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: Patty cakes would work too.

NOVAK: OK. The next email is from Ray Ranzau, who says: "Bob Novak should be ashamed for suggesting that generation aviation is A- OK and that nothing else needs to be done. Why should the private planes be exempt for more regulations that could prevent another tragedy?" Because, Ray, it's not a problem. Can't you big government people not fix the roof when it's not leaking?

PRESS: Yes, ask the Bank of America in Tampa if it's a problem. All right, here we go. This is Larry Sturchio, another one for me, who says: "Bill, even if Bush was in bed with Enron, he still has many levels -- he is still many levels above the Clintons, hubby and wife, in the ethics morals department. George has at least 20 more supposed scandals to go before Bill Press can call for impeachment."

Well, I would point out, Larry, that No. 1, George Bush is just getting started, so you, give him a chance. Give him some time. No. 2, that Enron, even what we know about it so far, makes Whitewater look like peanuts. And three, nobody is talking about impeachment yet. But if it ever does get to the point of calling for impeachment, I would never call for impeachment for a consensual act of oral sex.

NOVAK: Gee, I thought we were beyond that. Anyway...

PRESS: He raised it. I didn't.

NOVAK: Yes, but you jumped in. D. Anderson writes: "If a special prosecutor was good enough to dog Clinton and his sex life at a cost to the taxpayers of around 60 million, then why isn't a special prosecutor good enough to investigate the ruined lives of thousands of people?" I guess that's a special prosecutor for Enron. Let's get a special prosecutor for homeless people, and let's get a special prosecutor (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like people like Bill Press and have ruined their lives with their liberal dogma and their advocacy of big government.

PRESS: If you do all the rest, do one for Enron too, and I'll go with you. OK. From the left, folks, we want to hear your email to Crossfire@cnn.com. I am Bill Press -- goodnight for CROSSFIRE and have a great weekend.

NOVAK: From the right, I am Robert Novak -- join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

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