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Drilling in ANWAR; Will Kerry Run; Why Do Women Get Paid Less than Men?

Aired April 16, 2002 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE: On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the crossfire tonight -- from energy issues to ambitions for the Oval Office, the subject is power politics, as Senators John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchison enter the Crossfire.

We head to the front lines of the gender wars and look inside the wallets of men and women at work. Is something wrong here?

There's no bobbing and weaving when the bow-tie brawler and longhorn lefty go at it -- ahead on CROSSFIRE.

From the George Washington University, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE, coming to you live from the George Washington University here in downtown Washington, D.C. where the temperature here today climbed into the 90s.

Looks like the political scene is unseasonably warm as well. In case you did not know, today is equal pay day. The issue: Why aren't women paid the same as men, and is it time for Congress to pass the 79-year-old equal rights amendment?

But, first, power politics. We put our guests in the "Crossfire" and debate the president's energy bill, which is before the United States Senate today. And we'll ask some tough questions about whether the Bush Administration played a role in the short-lived coup in Venezuela. Did the White House give a green light to topple a democratically elected president?

Also, Colin Powell's efforts to broker a cease-fire in the Middle East. Is there a glimmer of hope, or is he just on mission impossible?

Welcome our guests, Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.


Thanks for coming. Welcome to crossfire. How are you? Welcome. Have a seat.

Senator Kerry, thanks for joining us. There's an energy crisis in this country as you know. There is also a great deal of oil within American borders in Alaska and ANWAR. Democrats say don't drill there. We have other ideas. What are those ideas? We posed that very question to Senator Harry Reed of Nevada the other night on CROSSFIRE. This was his answer.


SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: Of course we have answers. Why don't we do something with alternative energy, wind. Why don't we do something with solar? Why don't we do something with geothermal?

CARLSON: Wind and solar?


Wind and solar. That was the answer. Why don't we do something with wind and solar. I remember that was a slogan from the 1970s. I remember it pretty clearly, that was 30 years ago. I don't think we are a whole lot closer to running America on wind and solar. Are you really going to go to the voters in 2002 with that message: Go wind and solar, no ANWAR?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No, not for transportation. I think what he's talking about is the general energy mix of the country. For instance, you could have a much stronger renewable energy portfolio for the production of electricity.

There you can do some additional things with wind. But with respect to transportation, the key truth is in the science of the statistics. America with ANWR, with all of the oil we have in the Gulf of Mexico, we only have 3 percent of all the oil reserves of the world. Every year we use 25 percent of the oil reserves of the world. The simple fact is that a lot of Republicans don't want to acknowledge the United States now uses about 55 percent, 56 percent of dependency on foreign oil, and even with ANWAR, Tucker, the best you'd get is maybe a 2 percentage point reduction in the dependency on foreign oil.

So here is the bottom line: We don't have enough oil. You can't drill your way out of this problem. You have to invent your way out of this problem and that means hydrogen fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, alternatives, and we have to go down that road because we don't have enough oil.

CARLSON: Nobody disagrees with you, senator. For 200 years America has invented its way out of problem after problem and no doubt it will invent its way out of this.

KERRY: But we are not trying, Tucker.

CARLSON: They're not trying? We're not trying to think of alternatives to fossil fuels? KERRY: We're thinking about them. We're not pushing the curve in the same way as we did when President Kennedy challenged America to go to the moon. He didn't know we could do it in 10 years, but he challenged us.

When you took the entrepreneurial energy of our country and the creative energy of our country and pushed it in a direction, we achieved the goal. We did the same thing with the clean air act and we did it cheaper because nobody could factor in the exponential of all the additional technology.

Detroit right now, today -- Ford Motor Company is already advertising an SUV next year with all the room and all the power of a current SUV that's hybrid. It gets twice the mileage. We have the technology to reduce our dependency on oil, and if we push the curve on the creation of new engines of the future we can actually be independent.

But the phony, fraudulent, completely artificial argument of Republicans, that something that doesn't even come on to full production until the year 2020 is going to somehow have an impact on national security today is false. The only impact on national security of our country is to be independent from oil altogether, and that's to push the technology curve into the new transportation combustion engines of the future.

BEGALA: Senator Hutchison, let me bring you into this. Thank you, first, for coming on, a fellow Texan. In our state, of course, they produce an awful lot of energy as Senator Kerry points out. We can't produce enough to live on without importing. And so there was a move in the Senate a few weeks ago to force corporate America, the big car companies to make their cars more fuel efficient, and the scientists told us that actually would save more energy than every drop we could possibly get seven or ten years from now out of the Alaska wilderness.

Now you and your party opposed that, even though I know you are committed to greater energy dependence. I have tried to square the circle, and it seems to me the only rationale for a party for drilling in Alaska but against fuel efficiency is that you are following what big oil wants, aren't you?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: I don't see how you can say it was my party that obliterated those CAFE standards when it was a 62-32 vote. It was obliterated.

BEGALA: First, CAFE is a fuel efficiency standard.

HUTCHISON: It was eleven amendment for heaven's sakes, so let's just say it was quite bi-partisan.

BEGALA: Every single Republican, I believe, voted against those fuel economy standards.

HUTCHISON: It was 62-32. That was the mainstream of the Senate like it's the mainstream of America. KERRY: 62-38 -- 100 Senators.

HUTCHISON: ... it was veto-proof, let's say that. So it was a very clear bipartisan super majority is what it was. So let's just say that people want safe cars; 1.5 percent of the car sales are in the top 10 fuel efficient cars in this country. People want safe cars. They want cars that they can transport their families, that are safe and big enough to transport their families.

BEGALA: You don't see any inconsistency -- again, I see the consistency of saying, whatever bill oil wants, Republicans are going to do. Yes, maybe they've bought off a few members of my party, but every single senator in the Republican Party is right there with big oil.

HUTCHISON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it's Republican when it was 62 -- I'll give you 38. But let me just say this, we are not in the same situation that we were on September 10 of last year. We are in a war. For us to sit here and say that 20 percent of our oil supply has just been cut off by Iraq because they said outright that they are going to cut off...

BEGALA: That's 4 percent of our oil, in fairness, 4 percent comes from Iraq.

HUTCHISON: Of American needs, it's 20 percent. You put Iraq, Saudi Arabia, from the Middle East, you are talking 20 percent.

BEGALA: Right. Not -- only Iraq. I'm sorry to bother you with statistics, but it's important. Iraq could cut us off tomorrow as Dr. Condi Rice said, they can choke on their oil, we don't need Iraq's oil. She was right, the president's national security adviser.

HUTCHISON: If we don't take that as a wake-up call, we are irresponsible. We must be self-sufficient in our country for our needs. Now does that mean that we...

KERRY: But we don't get self-sufficient with ANWAR -- we don't get self-sufficient.

HUTCHISON: ... that we don't get alternative sources of fuel, no. Of course we want to do the research. Of course we want to be far-thinking. Yes, we do. But the idea that we would sit here and let countries in the Middle East decide if our economy is going to be stable, if we are going to be able to prosecute this war on terrorism is outrageous.

Of course we're not going to sit here and allow that to happen. We're going to look for our own sources, we are going to have jobs created in America. We're talking about hundreds of thousands of jobs, and we're talking about drilling in an area where there is not one tree. There is not one tree. I keep seeing on the TV screen wilderness...

CARLSON: Are there in fact trees there, Senator Kerry?

KERRY: Trees aren't the issue nor are the caribou. The fundamental issue...

HUTCHISON: There are no trees where we are going to drill.

KERRY: The fundamental issue is energy. Let me point something out. You're not going to get one drop of oil out of ANWAR until possibly 2010. That's 10 years from now.

HUTCHISON: That's not true.

KERRY: Yes it is true. Don't throw the war around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How soon would we get it?

HUTCHISON: In a year. If we start now.

BEGALA: The executive from Exxon Mobil testified, senator, that it be 6 to 8 years and I think that he was spinning us. It will be 7 to 10 at the minimum. That's what Exxon says.

KERRY: Right now today as we...

HUTCHISON: It will take one year to get started and to start bringing in the oil that will...

KERRY: As we sit here today there are 8,000 leases already owned and approved in the Gulf of Mexico that the oil companies could drill tomorrow morning and they don't do it because there isn't enough...

HUTCHISON: That's not true. They don't do it because we don't even have the technology yet.

KERRY: The price of oil is not high enough.

CARLSON: To say we're not going to get oil for 10 years or 6 years or 5 years, I mean, the point is there is oil, it's American oil, it belongs to us and it will make a difference. Estimates, that doubt that you agree with, say it equals 30 years of the imports from Saudi Arabia. It's still oil.

KERRY: Tucker, it doesn't make a difference to the long-run needs of our nation because of that 3 percent versus 25 percent equation.

CARLSON: Nobody is saying it is going to solve the fundamental crisis but for the time being, why not take it if it's there?

KERRY: No, for the time being, for the time being given the oil you have in the Gulf of Mexico...

HUTCHISON: America should take control of our own destiny.

KERRY: I agree. We should take control our own destiny, and the only way to take control is to...

HUTCHISON: ... bread and butter of our destiny...

KERRY: Can I finish my sentence?

HUTCHISON: No, because you didn't let me finish mine. And I just want to make sure that...

KERRY: I thought that you'd ceded the floor to me.

HUTCHISON: ... it's helping America first. We must look to ourselves and not to foreign countries who would do us ill. That's the bottom line.

CARLSON: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: The bottom line is that unless the United States of America recognizes our use curve is going up and up and up and we have a very limited pot of oil.

We can't by drilling in ANWAR solve the long-term problem in the country. So why not get about the business now of solving the long- term business of the country by becoming truly independent of oil itself.

Then, you know, even if you did ANWAR, you're still going to be importing 58 percent of America's oil from the Middle East. I want America to be independent so no terrorist, no cartel can bully us around. We grow it here at home with ethanol, with hydrogen fuel cells, with the technology of the future. And that is the only way America will be secure and independent.

CARLSON: Senator Kerry, we are going to have to give you the last word just for the moment. We'll be right back.

Coming up on CROSSFIRE, at least one of our guests, we'll let you guess which one, may be running for president. We'll ask him if, when and why? Also, the CROSSFIRE quote of the day: Here's hint number one; he's an Ivy League professor, a rap artist, and now a name caller. Who is he? We will tell you. CROSSFIRE will be right back.


CARLSON: Welcome back. Our guests are still with us in the Crossfire. The issue, as it often is: Politics. Are Democrats in the Senate short-circuiting Bush's agenda? Is one of our guests running for president? We will find out. Please welcome back Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Senator Kerry, you may be running for president. Gore supporters, both of them, are saying, wait a second, Al Gore served as vice president for eight years, fought this very bitter election. Some Democrats, both of them, I said, believe he actually won. Shouldn't he have (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? Shouldn't other Democrats just stand back and let him have it? He earned it.

KERRY: Well, first of all, I haven't made any decision, Tucker, and I think you know that. I'm running for re-election this year in Massachusetts. I haven't made any decision...

CARLSON: But you are not technically opposed by a Republican yet.

KERRY: Not only not technically, but not really.

CARLSON: Good, just wanted to get that straight.

KERRY: But I'm holding my breath. It's not done yet and we'll see where we are. You know, you respect the process and you prepare for whatever eventuality and that's exactly what I am doing. I think it is healthy to have a party that has different people with different ideas and can test any kind of office.

CARLSON: But Gore, as a man, you has -- you must admit, he spent eight years. Don't you think people should -- not just you, but Edwards and Lieberman and all the rest who are thinking about it, shouldn't they just stand back and let him have it? He earned it.

KERRY: No, I think we should think about it when the right time comes, but I'm not going to make my decision based on anybody else's plans or decision. I'm going to do it based on my sense of where the country is, what the priorities are and whether or not I think I can contribute constructively to a debate about it.

BEGALA: Swing and a miss buy Carlson, but a nice effort, Tucker.

Senator Hutchison, let me ask you about back home, our beloved Texas, where, I'll say on the record what I said during the break. I'm glad you are not running for governor because you probably would have won. It would scare the life out of me, you are a good politician.

But the person who is running actually, to be your colleague in the Senate, this guy named Cornan (ph) , the Democratic nominee is Ron Kirk, the mayor of Dallas, very talented, able man. Used to work for Senator Lloyd Bentson here in Washington. He's an African-American. Tony Sanchez, my party's nominee for Governor is Hispanic, Mexican- American, prompting Cornan's campaign spokesman to say, and I quote, "this is a racial quota system." Is that the Republican strategy, race baiting?

HUTCHISON: Oh, absolutely not.

BEGALA: You disavow that comment then.

HUTCHISON: I think people of our state are going to look at stands on the issues and what the issues are. I think the Senate issues are very different from the state issues and I think the Senate race is going to be a very good one, but I think John Cornin is going to be here trying to help President Bush get his agenda through, get a few judge nominees confirmed, get our tax cut made permanent. He's going to be here.

BEGALA: I really want to focus on this comment though, because it turns out man who said that used to work for you.

HUTCHISON: Umm-hmm. BEGALA: His name is David Beckwith (ph) . If he were working for you today, and he made a statement like that about two very accomplished men who won difficult primaries, and earned their place on the ticket, don't you think that is racist? Don't you think they ought to fire him? Should he be the spokesman for a prominent Republican in your state?

HUTCHISON: I think you are taking it one step too far. John Cornin had a very strong press conference. He said this was a mis- statement, David Beckwith says it was a mis-statement. Nothing was meant by it and I think John Cornin did the right thing to disavow it. Ron Kirk took him at his word and it's over. I don't think you really need to be continuing to talk about it.

CARLSON: It's the best thing that ever happened to the Democrats in that state, statements like that.


CARLSON: Quickly, Senator Kerry, very few Democrats and only one potential presidential candidate that I know of, Howard Dean of Vermont, have actually come out and said we should repeal the Bush tax cut. Get a lot of political mileage out of criticizing it, but nobody has the courage to say repeal it. Are you for repealing it?

KERRY: It's not a question of courage. It's a question of whether or not that's even an issue right now. And it's not an issue right now. We passed appropriately a tax cut as a stimulus, some $40 billion. Many of us thought it should have even maybe been a little bit larger this last year and focused more on a lot of people who didn't get a tax break, the 29 million Americans who got zero tax break because they pay their taxes through the payroll tax. They didn't get a break, but they pay taxes like every other American. They don't earn enough to pay the income tax.

I think they should have gotten a break. That said, the next tax cut doesn't take effect until 2004. If we can grow the economy enough between now and then, if we have sensible policies in place and make good choices, who knows what our choices will be. So it's simply not a ripe issue right now. And I'm not in favor of turning around today and repealing it. I would say to you that everything ought to be on the table right now, everything. All our...

BEGALA: Senator, I'm sorry to cut you off. We're going to have to go now. I want to thank Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. Sorry to cut you off. The producer is telling me that we are out of time.

And so, coming up next, the one and only CROSSFIRE "News Alert." Want to read all about it? Well, don't expect much help from the White House.

And the CROSSFIRE "Quote of the Day." Here's hint No. 2, he's an Ivy League scholar who has taken some major league shots at the president of Harvard. CROSSFIRE returns in a moment.


CARLSON: Now it's time for the stories you didn't find on your doorstep this morning. It's time for the CROSSFIRE "News Alert."

In our news from the fringe this evening, an update on Ross Perot's Reform party. The political movement that went from a viable party to merely amusing in the course of a single election cycle is a little smaller tonight. More than half the members of the party's executive committee have resigned amid charges and countercharges of disorganization, financial mismanagement and, quote, "dictatorial behavior."

In all, six committee members have left, a move that implies the formation of at least six new political parties. The exodus didn't surprise long-time observers of the Reform party, which, in the last election, couldn't agree on a single presidential candidate, and so fielded two, one of them an evangelist for Transcendental Meditation. As for Perot, he was unavailable for comment, though friends said he strongly suspects a plot.

BEGALA: "The Washington Post" today reports that the White House routinely alters official transcripts of President Bush's remarks. Bush's call for 4,000 years of community service magically became a more accurate 4,000 hours and protesters criticizing Bush for his role in the Enron debacle simply disappeared from the official record. And when Bush said the United States and Japan have been allies for, quote, "a century and a half", the transcript was trimmed to just a half-century, much to the gratitude of survivors of the Bataan death march. And, said one Bush aide, what do you want us to do, admit he's a goofball? Actually, he didn't say that, but then again he might have simply been erased from the record.

CARLSON: And in science news, researchers at the University of California-Berkeley have found that a common herbicide, atrazine, turns boy frogs into girl frogs. The scientists discovered that only a tiny amount of the chemical, much less than the federal government currently allows in the water supply, causes male frogs to grow female sex organs. It can also, they said, quote, "curtail their croaks," leaving the frogs virtually speechless. The findings were greeted by an alarm by environmentalists who noted the potential for devastation, even extinction, among frog species. But they were greeted with a glee by thousands of 12-year-old boys who noted the potential for some very cool backyard science experiments.

BEGALA: OK. Time for our CROSSFIRE "Quote of the Day." It comes from a scholar at the center of a tug-of-war between Harvard and Princeton. Afro-American studies professor Cornell West is leaving Harvard for Princeton. He says the decision was made after what he claims was a series of missteps by Harvard's new president, Larry Summers, including what West says was Summer's questioning of his scholarship.

According to the "New York Times," West's response, quote, "Larry Summers strikes me as the Ariel Sharon of higher education." A spokesman for Summers said it would not be fruitful to respond, showing that Larry Summers is a class act. CARLSON: You know, as Andrew Sullivan pointed out today, if Larry Summers is the Ariel Sharon, that makes Cornell West the Yasser Arafat, which I think is just about right. He's a phony. And Summers was mad because he never showed up for class.

BEGALA: Anyway, when CROSSFIRE returns, Tucker and his fellow conservatives are outraged over a U.S. Supreme Court decision involving child pornography. Details in the CNN "News Alert."

And it's equal payday. We'll put our guests in the CROSSFIRE and debate the issues of why women aren't paid the same as men. We'll be right back.



BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Consider this. Here we are, deep into the 21st century, but a large wage gap between men and women still exists in the workplace, despite 40 years of laws banning discrimination based on gender.

Rallies are being held across the country today to mark Equal Payday. The sponsor, the National Committee on Pay Equity says the aim of today's events is to seek ways to end the wage inequity. According to the United States Census Bureau, men made almost $10,000 more than women in the year 2000. And according to a recent current study by Congressman Carolyn Maloney and Congressman John Dingell, the wage gap between executive men and women is not correcting itself over time.

We're going to look closer now at the issues behind pay equity and the Equal Rights Amendment. Please welcome our guests, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Malonely of New York and Nancy Pfotenhauer, the president of the Independent Women's Forum. Thank you very much. Carolyn, thank you. Nice to see you.


CARLSON: All right, congresswoman. Now here's my question. This is a pretty simple question. Doubtless, you'll have a simple answer. If it's true that equally qualified women are paid less than men of the same qualification, then why wouldn't businesses hire exclusively women? I mean it would make sense. You pay less, you profit more. It's the market.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Well, because they just want to discriminate all the time. They just want to discriminate in hiring -- in who they hire. The fact that...

CARLSON: Against their own interests, you mean?

MALONEY: It's the old boys' club. The fact is, and the numbers speak for themselves, 73 cents to the dollar. Equal Payday is the day that women have to work a year and 3.5 months to get the same pay that their male colleagues make for the same job. It's unfair, and -- let me ask you. Would you like to work 3.5 months longer for the same job and get paid 73 cents to the dollar?

CARLSON: You know that that's not -- that's a totally phony statistic.


BEGALA: First off -- I'd love to bring you in. Mrs. Pfotenhauer, let me not be too familiar here. In fact, there's a rich history of people practicing discrimination against their interests, i.e. Josh Gibson may be the greatest home run hitter in all time, was never allowed to play Major League because he's black. Those owners discriminated against a whole class of people all the time in baseball. I'm sure it happens in the workplace.

In fact, let me give you a sense of some of the history on this. Take a look at these statistics. Back in 1963, I'm sure you're familiar with this, the pay gap between men and women was 59 cents. The latest data that we have from today is 73 cents. Well, my goodness...


BEGALA: That's progress. From the Census Bureau.

PFOTENHAUER: No, it's not from the Census Bureau.

BEGALA: Actually, we got this from NOW. Let me...


BEGALA: At this pace, you'll achieve full quality in the year 2080. So let's just be calm and...


PFOTENHAUER: That's a total, false construct. First of all, equal pay for equal work is something I think both the congresswoman and I fully support. It has been the law of the land since the early 1960s.

Anybody who practices discrimination on an individual basis should be prosecuted to the fullest. We all support that. What I take issue with, and what the Independent Women's Forum takes issue with, are these so-called studies, not academic research, not peer reviewed that are so methodilogically flawed, as to be misleading that report to represent a huge gap in pay between similarly qualified men and women.

BEGALA: Oh, so there's no gap.


BEGALA: Everything's just fine, right?

PFOTENHAUER: Paul, let's go back here. Let's look at the actual studies that are peer reviewed, where you can replicate the analysis and decide whether it withstands scrutiny. What you find out is that if you look at men and women, and you adjust for basic things, things that Statistics 101 students would have to adjust for, age, experience, continuous years in the workforce, and position in the company.

And what you find out is there is no wage gap. The recent study that's come out that purports that it's by the way...

BEGALA: So we're just victims of mass hysteria and self- delusion.

PFOTENHAUER: No, no, what it is is, if you see differences in relative compensation because of choices that people make. If you want to have a conversation about that, we can.

MALONEY: Basic choice does not make up for 27 cents. And if you'll go to my website...

PFOTENHAUER: That's a good sound byte.

MALONEY: website, and you can look at my website. There are seven different studies, all showing that women are discriminated against...

PFOTENHAUER: Are they all from the National Organization for Women?

MALONEY: No, they're not.


MALONEY: They're from the National Academy of Sciences. They're from...

PFOTENHAUER: No, the National Academy of Sciences just came out with a study that showed that...


CARLSON: One at a time.

MALONEY: Well, if you don't want to look at statistics, then look at real paychecks and real lawsuits, where women have gone into court and won many, many times...

CARLSON: Well, then let me ask you...

MALONEY: ...wage discrimination suits. And Tucker, there have been many reports and settlements from the Department of Labor, where companies have discriminated against women.

CARLSON: But Congresswoman, let me just ask you a very simple question.

MALONEY: And the pension gap is even greater than the wage gap. CARLSON: I'm sure it is.

MALONEY: It's unfair. Let me ask the audience. How many of you would like to work for 73 cents on the dollar with your male counterpart?

PFOTENHAUER: That is a totally false construct.

MALONEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and pass Equal Rights Amendment and get on...

CARLSON: Let me just interrupt you there just for one moment here, congresswoman, if you don't mind.

MALONEY: Numbers don't lie.

CARLSON: You will admit...

PFOTENHAUER: Well then, why don't you look at the numbers that have been peer reviewed?

CARLSON: OK, let me ask you this question. Nancy Pfotenhauer brings up an interesting question.

PFOTENHAUER: Cornell University.

CARLSON: Isn't it true that women work in different ways than men, by and large? Women have the option, often do take time off to have children. Women work in different types of jobs. The 25 most dangerous jobs in America are almost exclusively male. These are no female underwater welders or commercial fishermen, truly. These are high-paying jobs. They're dangerous jobs.

BEGALA: The huge underwater welding community is what's driving the wage gap?

CARLSON: The question remains unanswered. I wish you would answer it. You act as if men and women take the same sorts of jobs in the same way, so they don't, do they?

PFOTENHAUER: Why don't we actually look at research, not political spin? And if you look at studies put forward by Cornell University, these are not politicians with a bill on the floor of the House. These are academicians and scholars who have to face boards and review. And college campuses tend to be liberal, not conservative., that's all I have to say.

CARLSON: OK, and you have a 1-800 number coming up soon, but we're going to have to take a quick break. Our guests rejoin us for more on equal pay and equal rights, more websites, too, when CROSSFIRE continues.

Also, did the Bush administration meddle in the coup that briefly and happily ousted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez? Paul and I will both confirm and deny that rumor when we return in "round 6." We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're discussing pay equity and the Equal Rights Amendment. If you remember that, our guests, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York and Nancy Pfotenhauer, the president of the Independent Women's Forum.

Paul Begala?

BEGALA: Nancy let me put the old ERA 79-proposal whose time had come 79 years ago. We put it on the screen for our audience again. I know you know the operative section. Section 1 says "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race?" What's wrong with that?

PFOTENHAUER: On account of race or did you say on account of gender?

BEGALA: I'm sorry, account of sex.

PFOTENHAUER: Gender. Actually, the equal protection clause of the Constitution or the 14th Amendment to the Constitution is perfectly fine. The only difference is when you discuss it within the context of race, where differences are purely superficial, and it would be totally incorrect to imply merit or ability based on skin color. The difference is...

BEGALA: So you think that there should be a stricter test?

PFOTENHAUER: If i can finish this...

BEGALA: For racial discrimination and gender?

PFOTENHAUER: Is that there are differences between the sexes. They're rare. I mean, I believe that women are equal to men in many areas, and superior in some.

BEGALA: But what's the downside of having ERA?

PFOTENHAUER: But when the differences exist, they tend to matter. The downside of the ERA, actually I don't see one of much right now, primarily because the Supreme Court has already implemented it. So I view it as window dressing or largely symbolic.

Now since I disagree with Congresswoman Maloney on most of her policy issues, I'm happy to have her spend her time trying to get that done. I just think it tends to be largely symbolic. The problem with what the Supreme Court has done is that they have eroded the whole ethic of self-governance in our states in order to...

BEGALA: By stealing the election, they did that. I'm not sure how they did it...

CARLSON: Ms. Maloney, before we degenerate. I've saved -- I'm -- good for you, Paul. Keep chanting that mantra. Congresswoman Maloney... BEGALA: Thieves in black robes.

CARLSON: We get to the bottom basic line (UNINTELLIGIBLE), saved for last. According to the 2000 Census, the average American woman has a higher net worth than the average American man. It's incontrovertible. If women are so discriminated against in the workplace, how could this happen? By magic?

MALONEY: The bottom line is that there are 2 to 1 women in poverty. A lot of that is tied to what they -- when they become elderly. The 73 cents to the $1, their pensions are more discriminatory than even their wages.

CARLSON: But they're richer.

MALONEY: So let's just go ahead and pass the quality amendment.

CARLSON: No, but congresswoman, you haven't answered my question. The Census says that they're richer on average than men. How did that happen? I don't understand.

MALONEY: Some women may inherit money or through their husbands, but the majority of women are not. The majority of women are stuck in the pink ghetto. The majority of women...

PFOTENHAUER: That is so not true.

MALONEY: ...are discriminated against in their pay.

PFOTENHAUER: That is independent...

BEGALA: Men die younger. That's why. If you take all -- working women...

PFOTENHAUER: Independent studies...

BEGALA: Men die younger, it's an actuarial fact.

CARLSON: No, no, no. That women only get money by having their husbands die?

Paul, you may not know this, but in 2002, women can work.

PFOTENHAUER: Why are we talking...


PFOTENHAUER: ..wait a second. Why are we talking about the success story that we've got here? Women, right now, earn the majority of undergraduate degrees. We earn the majority of Masters degrees. We outperform men in high school and college.

Within the next generation, we are expected to earn the majority of PH.Ds. Education is one of the primary drivers of income. The other is continuous years in the workforce. If we want to talk about the decisions that are made societally for women to take time out, that's an interesting conversation. But it cannot...

BEGALA: Shouldn't it be (UNINTELLIGIBLE). In fact, Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was on this set earlier tonight, has a proposal to help women who want to stay home.

PFOTENHAUER: I'm happy to discuss that. It's a different discussion. What the congresswoman is implying, though, is that somehow the fact that women take time out of the workforce and make less money is tantamount to...

BEGALA: Often held against them.

PFOTENHAUER: That is half the story and it's not worthy of you. The rest of it is that the implication is that there is wholesale discrimination behind their lower earnings. And it's not. It's because they made the decision to take time out.

BEGALA: Yes, and please answer that question.

MALONEY: John Dingel and I just issued a report recently, based on Census data that showed between the years of '95 and 2000, managers, this is women managers, literally lost ground in many fields. In all of the fields, women were paid less. But in seven of the 10 categories that we looked at, and it was 10 categories that employ 72 percent of the women. And 73 percent of the women managers, women have lost ground. So I feel that...

CARLSON: These are the magic statistics.

MALONEY: This is a time that we should go back to basics and pass the Equal Rights Amendment by 2020. 100 years after women got the right to vote, let's have equal standing and standing in the Constitution.

BEGALA: Congresswoman Maloney, that'll have to be the last word. I'm sorry. They're telling me that we have to go now. Congresswoman Maloney and Nancy Pfotenhauer from the Independent Women's Forum. Thank you both very much for joining us.

And coming up later on CROSSFIRE, it's going to be your chance to fire back at us. Also, "round 6" where Tucker and I go at it over the possible linke between the Bush administration and the mess in Venezuela. We'll be right back.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We call it "round 6" because, cleverly enough, it's the sixth segment of our program, for those of you scoring at home. Tucker and I go one on one, no guest. And in the case of Tucker Carlson, no facts whatsoever.

Tonight's topic, the aborted coup in Venezuela. "The New York Times" reported today that senior members of the Bush administration met with and encouraged the leaders of the coup that briefly ousted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. White House today claimed that rather than encouraging the coup plotters, Bush officials stressed that the United States would not support a coup and that Venezuela's problems had to be solved through the democratic process.

Tucker, I like Ari Fleischer. Ari Fleischer's a friend of mine. Ari Fleischer is lying. "The New York Times" has two solid sources that say our government, dubiously elected president that we have, was trying to overthrow a freely elected president in Latin America.

CARLSON: Settle down, Oliver Stone. For one thing, look...

BEGALA: It's a fact...

CARLSON: I know it's a huge conspiracy. I hope that the Bush administration did meet with the people hoping to overthrow Chavez, who is an appalling president, who's allied that country with Cuba and Syria and Iraq. He's not legitimate, maybe duly elected.


CARLSON: But he's not legitimate. Yasser Arafat was democratically elected. Did you know that?

BEGALA: Yes, I did know that.

CARLSON: Stalin was democratically elected, but that does not make them legitimate leaders. And he is not a legitimate leader.

BEGALA: So legitimate leaders are for you to pass on. In fact, here's what the White House says about this in today's "New York Times." Taking your line or taking your marching orders straight from the White House. Take a look at this.

CARLSON: I'm talking about -- I don't take my marching orders from the White House, as you well know.

BEGALA: Well, you ought not. That's good. Chavez, they say "he was democratically elected," but "legitimacy is something that's conferred not just a majority." The voters, however, spoken by people who didn't get elected by a majority of the voters. It's outrageous.

CARLSON: Whoa, the United States government has a right, an obligation to express a preference about who is running countries in its hemisphere.

BEGALA: It's not a preference.

CARLSON: We sent no arms. We sent no support. They come to the United States and say look we may -- as the superpower, as the head of the hemisphere, you ought to know that we may overthrow the government of this country. And we say -- I'd have hoped we said, "I hope you do." Because he's appalling.

Do you know that his soldiers shot 100 people two days ago. They killed 14 of them. And I can't believe you would defend Hugo Chavez. This is...

BEGALA: Hugo Chavez is a big joke and a clown.

CARLSON: This is a new low. Then why are you defending him?

BEGALA: But he's democratically elected. Something more important is at stake here.


BEGALA: America's commitment to democracy, frayed though it is with Bush.

CARLSON: Oh, is that true? You must be committed to Yasser Arafat then. You're not, though. On this show, you're like, oh, Yasser Arafat, off with his head. He was democratically elected.

BEGALA: This is nonsense.

CARLSON: That's totally true.

Straight ahead on CROSSFIRE, the chance of a lifetime to fire back at us. But be careful, we fire back, and we will. Right back.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. It's time for our fire back segment. Every night, we invite you to send us e-mail. Every night, many of you do. We read them and respond. Let's begin.

First up, to me, "If Al Gore was smart, he would hire Tucker Carlson to be on his campaign committee. After listening to Carlson, I'm ready for a re-elect Gore in 2004 bumper sticker. If Carlson is that afraid of Gore, there must be something there."

I'm afraid of Gore. I'm afraid of having to cover Gore, which is what's going to happen if he's run again. There's going to be revolt among reporters having to hang around that again.

BEGALA: Well, the reporters themselves are pretty revolting, too, Tucker.

OK, here's -- this is from the Parkins family. "You guys cost us $600 because we can't not watch CROSSFIRE while having dinner, so we had to buy another TV set for the dining room." Well Parkins, you know, they're going to be out another $600 when they throw their shoe through the TV screen when they watch Tucker on the air.

CARLSON: CROSSFIRE, the show that costs you money. And up next, this to me. "Tucker, do us all a favor by removing the bow tie and wear a turtleneck. It will make you look cool." I don't think so, Adrian Seabrook. Here, Bobby, have some cat food. It'll make you look cool. I'm not going to bite. I'd look like Bill Moyers. And there's no chance of that.

BEGALA: Oh, you'd look handsome devil there. "Paul has about as much charismatic effect as the Dell computer kid." Eric White of Altamonte.

CARLSON: I like the Dell computer kid.

BEGALA: Hey, Mr. Stevens. I think Al Gore's great.

CARLSON: I like it.

BEGALA: That son of a gun sells a lot of computers for Michael Dell.

CARLSON: And it's time to audience questions. Sir, you have a question?

JOHN: Yes, I have a question for Paul. My name is John. I go to the American University. Don't you think that Al Gore should have chosen John Kerry to be his running mate in 2000, considering it would have been two vets against none, and then maybe Kerry would have had some experience maybe for the 2004 election on (UNINTELLIGIBLE) campaign?

BEGALA: Kerry was on the short list. You saw tonight, he's a terrifically talented guy. I can't gainsay Gore's choice of Lieberman though, because I think Lieberman campaigned better than any of the other three people running, better than Bush or Cheney or even Al Gore. So it's always a tough call, but maybe a good choice.

CARLSON: Shoulda, woulda, coulda, that guy couldn't have got elected with Elvis as a running mate. Nothing would've happened.

BEGALA: He got elected. He just didn't get inaugurated.

CARLSON: Right. Keep going, Paul.

BEGALA: When are you going to learn?

CARLSON: It works really well. Yes?

BEGALA: Tell us your name and your town?

DAVE ADAMS: I'm Dave Adams from Hanley, Connecticut. And I was wondering, should men also receive paternity leave?

BEGALA: Absolutely.

CARLSON: Of course not.

BEGALA: And in fact, if we had an ERA, you'd also have an equal chance to get custody of your children, God forbid you had a divorce with a custody case. So yes, ERA is good for us, too.

CARLSON: Which means it's just another opportunity for another group of Americans to whime paternity leave.

BEGALA: No. So that they can have an equal chance to spend time... CARLSON: To answer your question. I have three children. Most employers I've ever had allows you time off. You don't need it formalized in the law or in your contract.

BEGALA: The underwater welders don't give you a minute off.

CARLSON: That's exactly right.

BEGALA: Yes, question from you?

CHRISTY RUGG: My name is Christy Rugg and I live in the District. And I was wondering since yesterday was April 15, how do you both feel about taxation without representation?

BEGALA: Ah, good for you.

CARLSON: Well, bitter under most circumstances. I mean, when tax -- (UNINTELLIGIBILE) takes place, it spurs revolutions. In the case of the District of Columbia, I think it's totally appropriate and fair. Having lived here a long time, I think this is not a city you'd want represented in Congress at all. It's shown no ability to govern itself. There are potholes that swallow entire cars. Crime is out of control. Do really want...

BEGALA: You know what? D.C. has roughly as many people as Utah or Wyoming, which has plenty of representation. No, it's nuts. It's the last colony. Of course, people of D.C. should have rights.

CARLSON: It's a federal city, that's spelled out in the Constitution.

BEGALA: So was slavery. We changed that.

CARLSON: It was not spelled out in the Constitution. That's wrong.


CARLSON: That's not true. You American history buffs out there know. Yes, sir you have a question?

TONY: My name's Tony in Virginia. I have a question for Tucker. Powell seems to, so far in the latest news, hasn't really reached any decisive resolutions in the Middle East. Who do you think should be next to take over, what country or who's going to take over to actually resolve the matter?

CARLSON: That's an excellent question, to which I don't have an answer. He had many forces arrayed against him, didn't get a lot of help from Sharon, didn't expect much. Matter of fact, and hasn't gotten and been sniped at by Democrats since the moment he left.

So it's tough to imagine him getting anywhere. And it's...

BEGALA: Interestingly, if you were watching CNN earlier tonight, you saw a live report from Andrea Koppel, who pointed out that in fact Powell's being sniped at also by the White House, including Dick Cheney's staff. So they're undermining this poor guy at every turn. And my heart goes out to him.

CARLSON: They sent him, but they undermined. This is more Oliver Stone talk.

BEGALA: Yes. Andrea Koppel, who's a real reporter. Yes, ma'am? Tell us your name and your question?

ALISON FREEDMAN: Yes, my name is Alison Freedman. I'm from Newton, Massachusetts. And my question is, we've heard about a possible presidential run for Senator Kerry. And I was wondering if there are any women you think would run in 2004?

BEGALA: I probably should ask Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who's a very formidable politician, but I don't think her party would ever nominate her. She's pro-choice on the abortion issue. And I think it makes it impossible.

As far as women in the Democratic party...

CARLSON: I think the obvious, what you mean, is Hillary Rodham Clinton. And to which I say...

BEGALA: God, would she be great.

CARLSON: for president.

BEGALA: On this we agree.

CARLSON: It'll be a marvelous campaign, plus you'll lose.

BEGALA: She would be a terrific president. And she'd drive Tucker crazy. Run, Hillary. One quick note before we go, though. You can chat with Tucker and me on an AOL chat, starting about five minutes for you AOL users. Key word "AOL live." And from the left, I'm Paul Begala. Good-night for CROSSIRE.

CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night for yet another edition of CROSSFIRE. See you there.


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