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Is Justice Served With Cameras in Courtrooms?; Should Clinton Get Involved in Middle East Peace Process?

Aired April 19, 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 his arrest at an upscale home to the trip along L.A.'s freeways, the arrest of actor Robert Blake eerily mirrors the case of O.J. Simpson. Is justice served when the cameras zoom in? Former President Clinton has a lot of contacts in the Middle East. Should he play a role in the search for peace? That's just one of the political topics we'll take up with our party animals, as the Raging Cajun and the Bow-tied Brawler enter the ring for our very own version of the Friday night fights -- ahead on CROSSFIRE.

From the George Washington University: James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C.

Tonight, the week in politics: A D.C. Mayor is slammed for being disloyal. New York's governor is slammed for being too quiet. Yet another person, one of many, accuses a New Jersey senator of criminal behavior. And a former president offers to bring peace to the Middle East. And there's more.

But first, does the phrase "O.J.-fueled media frenzy" ring a few bells? Actor Robert Blake is under arrest tonight in Los Angeles for the shooting death of his wife. Blake, the former star of the television series "Baretta," once played a killer in the film "In Cold Blood." On Monday, prosecutors are expected to charge it was more than a role. The media have already begun to swarm. Helicopters, camera crews, virtually everyone in Los Angeles with a microphone and blow-dried hair is already covering the case.

Will it get bigger from here? Should the trial be televised? And is it even possible for Hollywood celebrities to get a fair trial? We'll debate it tonight on CROSSFIRE.

Please welcome our guests: from Miami, defense attorney Jayne Weintraub; and in Los Angeles, defense attorney Gloria Allred.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Ms. Weintraub, welcome to CROSSFIRE. What I'm struggling with here is, I find myself a little bit of the question of: What's the biggest problem here, ignorance or apathy? I don't know much about this and I don't much give a damn. But, apparently, the public does. Would you kind of try to take me along why this thing is so compelling, and every time I turn on my TV, I'm hearing about this case?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think there are two reasons that are involved, Mr. Carville.

I think that the first reason is because the public loves a celebrity being caught doing something. And the LAPD can't get it right. And they want a do-over. And I think that's what you've been seeing.

CARVILLE: But Robert Blake strikes me as kind of a half-assed celebrity to start with.


CARVILLE: It's not like Tom Cruise got caught or something like that.

WEINTRAUB: I'm sure that will be part of his defense: that he certainly didn't need



WEINTRAUB: ... and could have just walked away.

CARLSON: But, Gloria Allred, answer James' question there. Why is this important? Why she should we in Washington -- who, after all, run the world -- we can declare war -- why should we care about this trial in L.A.?

GLORIA ALLRED, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, if the issue of gender violence is important, and whether or not a husband killed his wife, whether or not a celebrity gets special treatment or the same treatment as anybody else would get is important, then it is important to everybody. And I think that it is.

And a lot of us, of course, will never forget. Unfortunately, we can't forget what happened in the Brown murder case involving Mr. Orenthal James Simpson. A lot of people felt that there was not a just result in the criminal case. And this has a lot of similarities to it. And they'd like to see a just result here.

CARLSON: Well, first of all, I want to thank you. I knew, if anyone could do it, Gloria Allred, you could bring politics into this.

But isn't that the problem, that it is -- I know exactly what this trial is going to be like. It has not even begun yet. Let me show you. Let me remind you exactly what the Robert Blake trial is going to be like. This is what it's going to be like right here. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNIE COCHRAN, ATTORNEY FOR O.J. SIMPSON: Let me show you something. This is a knit cap. I am going to put this knit cap on. Now, you've been seeing me for a year. If I put this knit cap on, who am i? If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.


CARLSON: Now, Harland Braun today, the lawyer for Blake, actually said -- this is a quote -- "The real killers are out there." It's like everyone is playing the script from seven years ago, no?

ALLRED: And I think that's a big mistake, frankly, on Mr. Braun's part. I know Harland. I have a lot of respect for him. But to suggest that the real killer is still out there, it just resonates so much with what O.J. Simpson seems to have been saying, that the real killer is still out there. I mean, is the real killer out there, perhaps, the killer of Bonny? Is he on the golf course, along with O.J. Simpson? Where is this real killer?

WEINTRAUB: Gloria, you say...

ALLRED: It is a typical defense tactic, by the way, to try to suggest that somebody else did it, that some other dude did it.


CARVILLE: Hold on just a second. The guy's entitled to a trial.

But let's go to a question here, because this is going to come up. Is my understanding of California law correct that it's discretionary to have cameras in the courtroom?

ALLRED: It is discretionary.

WEINTRAUB: It's my understanding that it is discretionary whether or not cameras will be in the courtroom.

And I certainly hope that, like the Yates judge, exercises their discretion, his or her discretion, and has respect for the robe and the integrity of the system and keeps the cameras out.


ALLRED: I think the cameras are in the courtroom, because I think the public has a right to know what goes on in its court system. Taxpayers fund the system. And they need to know what the strengths and the weaknesses of the system are.

CARLSON: You know what the public finds out, Gloria Allred, when cameras are introduced into the courtroom? The public finds out that even judges are not immune from playing to the camera.

Judge Ito, I'll remind you, redecorated his courtroom with flowers. He actually sent birthday wishes to a viewer one time from his courtroom. He was clearly getting a prolonged swoon on television. And it affected the case.

CARVILLE: I think Ms. Allred is right and I think they should -- I think we found out -- more Americans found out more about how our judicial works or doesn't work.


WEINTRAUB: Oh, you don't think that what happened in O.J. really happens?

CARVILLE: ... flowers in the thing, huh?

CARLSON: Yes, they were ugly flowers, too.


WEINTRAUB: That just doesn't happen in court. I try capital cases all the time. You don't see a media circus in a high-profile case where the judge can control the courtroom.

With Judge Ito, he didn't control the courtroom. I certainly hope that the judge who gets this case will control the courtroom better, because it's human nature to play to the cameras, the judge, the lawyers, the jurors, everybody. And it doesn't belong in a courtroom where somebody's life or perhaps death is at stake.

CARVILLE: But, Ms. Allred, doesn't the public pay for this trial? Doesn't the public pay -- there was a one-year investigation the public paid for. Why shouldn't the public get a chance to see the outcome and see how it works? I don't know


ALLRED: I think the public should have a right to see what it's paying for. I think it can be conducted with dignity. There's been a great deal of discussion in the judiciary since the case involving Mr. Simpson as to whether there should be cameras in the courtroom and, if there are, what are the rules.

I think that it would be done differently this time if in fact there were cameras permitted.

CARLSON: Gloria Allred, let me just ask you one thing.

Many things in our society are paid for by the people. There are a lot of public hospitals in this country and the quality of the medical care is of great concern to the taxpaying public. But we don't allow cameras in the operating room, or in the exam room when someone goes in for an exam, so the public can find out where its tax dollars are going.

WEINTRAUB: The lawyers would like to see that.

ALLRED: Well, there's a big difference there, because the difference there is that a patient has a right to privacy. And here in a courtroom, everything is on the public record, so there is no issue of privacy.

CARVILLE: Very good. That's why you're a great lawyer, Ms. Allred.

ALLRED: Thank you.

CARVILLE: There's no right to privacy. People have a right to know.


CARLSON: James Carville is saying there's no right to privacy?

CARVILLE: There's no right to privacy in a criminal defendant's trial. The Constitution gives you a right to a public trial. It's in the Constitution, Tucker.

WEINTRAUB: A public trial means that there's open access to the courtroom. That's what the public trial means. That's what the amendment in the Constitution says.


CARVILLE: You know what's going to happen is, is there's going to be 200 reporters in there and the public is going to be looking at these sketch artists. Remember these things that we used to see? Why the hell not let the public have a look at it?


ALLRED: Wait a minute, because there's a mistake here. It's not only the defendant has the right to a public trial. The public has the right to a public trial. So, even if a defendant wanted to close the courtroom to the public, he or she wouldn't have that right, because we have a right to know. Now, the question is...


ALLRED: ... if you can't fit in more of the people, can we fit them in through the mass media?

WEINTRAUB: The reason the cameras shouldn't be in the courtroom is because you're not responsible enough to evaluate the evidence. Only the jurors have the responsibility to do that. Only the jurors should have the right to evaluate the evidence. And what you guys do...

CARVILLE: To follow that logic, we shouldn't watch a Senate debate or a House debate because only the congressmen and the senators can evaluate the merits or not of the bill.


WEINTRAUB: No, no, you don't even know what the evidence is. And Gloria is already convicting the guy without seeing the first bit of evidence. And the media has already taken this and is starting to run. That's the problem.


ALLRED: I haven't said he's guilty, but I do have an opinion.

CARLSON: May I ask you a question? Hold on for a second.

I know you do. And I want to solicit this one.

You're not going to sit there and argue that a camera in the courtroom in no way affects a judge's behavior, having watched Judge Ito? It does affect a judge's behavior, does it not?

CARVILLE: It affected Judge Ito's behavior. That doesn't mean it affects every judge's behavior.

CARLSON: Gloria Allred, does it affect a judge's behavior? Can it? And, if it does, why is it worth it? If it changes the outcome of a trial, potentially, why have it?

ALLRED: Well, I think it can affect everyone's behavior. It can affect the judge's behavior, the witnesses' behavior, everyone's behavior. It is very seductive. It is very addictive.

But I think that the judge can be wise enough to guard against that and know that he or she is being watched by everyone.

WEINTRAUB: How do you tell a judge, "Excuse me, don't let your ego get in the way"?

ALLRED: And I don't think it's going to be Simpson redo.

WEINTRAUB: What was last night's chase with the white car?


CARVILLE: Can I ask you a question? You're on camera tonight. Is that affecting your behavior or are you saying what you think? Is the fact that you're on camera affecting your behavior or are you saying what you think?


WEINTRAUB: I'm saying what I think, but it's affecting my behavior because I keep looking to see what I look like.


ALLRED: But Court TV is in the courtroom in many trials throughout this country all the time. We see trials being conducted successfully in a dignified manner. I think the Simpson case was -- it did get out of control at certain times. But I think it can be done right.

CARVILLE: I defy anybody to watch Court TV for more than 120 consecutive seconds without falling to sleep. CARLSON: I know for a fact that Gloria Allred does not talk this way at home when there's no cameras. So I think you're making a case right there.

ALLRED: You'd be surprised. You haven't been in my home.


CARLSON: I may be surprised.,

We're going to take a quick break. And when CROSSFIRE returns: more cross-examination in the Robert Blake case and the CROSSFIRE "Quote of the Day." Hint No. 1: He praises a leader some say has just insulted him. Who is he?

We'll be back in a minute.


CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

We're talking about actor Robert Blake's arrest in the murder of his wife, Bonny Lee.

Our guests: defense attorney Gloria Allred joining us from Los Angeles; and in Miami, defense attorney Jayne Weintraub.

CARLSON: Now, Gloria Allred, if you want to understand the flavor of this case, here is the only fact you need to know.

Some of the key evidence in it, now in possession of the police, comes from "The National Enquirer," literally, tape recordings that "The National Enquirer" turned over. Now, I'm no celebrity suck-up, but it is true, isn't it, that it is hard for someone as well known as Robert Blake to get a fair trial in a place like L.A.?

ALLRED: Well, I wonder whether the people of California can get a fair trial against a celebrity defendant. That is also a big issue.

And, by the way, that is not the only evidence, the tape recordings, apparently, that "The National Enquirer" has. It was indicated last night by the Los Angeles Police Department that they have examined over 900 items of evidence, that they've interviewed over 150 witnesses.


WEINTRAUB: Oh, Gloria, what does that mean? These witnesses might have had nothing to say.


CARLSON: Ladies, please.


CARLSON: Actually, hey, Jayne Weintraub, I'll answer your question. I'll tell you what it means, actually, Gloria Allred.

In an ordinary murder case, the LAPD are not going to spend a year gathering evidence, interviewing hundreds of witnesses. They did that because this guy is a celebrity. He was on "The Little Rascals" or something at one point. They felt obligated to because they knew people like you were going to be talking about it on TV. He's getting a rougher time because he's famous, no?

ALLRED: No, I don't believe they did that for that reason.

I think they did that because we have a terrific police chief, Chief Bernie Parks. We have a new district attorney, Steve Cooley. We had Gil Garcetti in the O.J. Simpson case. And Steve Cooley is a professional prosecutor. He's a career prosecutor. He has spent practically his entire life, career life as a deputy district attorney.

WEINTRAUB: It's all politics.


ALLRED: I want to tell you, he's thorough. He is not going to put on a trial unless he's examined all of the evidence. And that's really why


CARVILLE: Ms. Allred, I'll tell you one thing. As a former lawyer, I like the way that you suck up to that judicial establishment.


CARVILLE: I wrote a book about sucking up. And you did it. You can just name all the great judges and DAs and stuff. If I get in trouble in L.A., I want to you represent me, because we can plea- bargain good, I guarantee you that.


WEINTRAUB: And that's what you would get with Gloria, because everybody is obviously guilty.

That's preposterous. Don't you understand what's happening here, people? You've already put such a spin on it through the media. They say that they have a mountain of evidence. But the reality is, they haven't released one iota of evidence. They haven't told us if there is any...

CARLSON: Free Robert Blake.

WEINTRAUB: ... physical evidence whatsoever connecting Robert Blake to this murder. Why do you think they haven't said that?


WEINTRAUB: They don't have any.

CARLSON: We're going to interrupt you, just briefly, to take an audience question and go directly to the people.

Sir, representing the people.

EARL HARLEY (ph), RESIDENT OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: My name is Earl Harley (ph). I am from Washington, D.C.

My question is: Do you think that Bonny's sordid past should be made a part of the public record?

CARLSON: Jayne Weintraub, what do you think?

WEINTRAUB: I think that, unfortunately, it's part of the defense, not that she is on trial because of her sordid past or that she deserved to die, because she didn't.

The reason that it's important and the reason it becomes relevant, Tucker, is because there might be other people, based on her lifestyle and the way she lived and who she lived it with, and her drugs and her prostituting, there were lots of other people that might have wanted to kill this gal.

Look, she didn't even want to say that Blake was the father. She was so busy trying to get her 15 minutes of fame sleeping with every guy in Hollywood, believe me, she has gotten everybody else mad at her.

ALLRED: This is the kind of victim bashing...

CARVILLE: That's no reason to get killed, OK? Or


CARVILLE: ... would have been dead a long time ago.


ALLRED: And bashing the murder victim to me is just really so offensive. As you know, I represented the family of Nicole Brown Simpson during the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson. And I want to disclose that I do represent the ex-wife of Robert Blake as well and have for many years.

CARVILLE: You don't like Robert Blake, do you?

ALLRED: It isn't a matter of like.

CARVILLE: I'm not bashing you. Do you like the man or not?

ALLRED: You know, I don't have a feeling of like or dislike. I do have a feeling that I want to see justice.

CARLSON: Gloria Allred, please answer this. Does his ex-wife think he's capable of killing somebody? ALLRED: We're not commenting on what she thinks.

CARLSON: Oh, go ahead and comment. You can.


CARVILLE: We're on CROSSFIRE. We comment on everything here.

ALLRED: Let me just say that she does have feelings for the family of the murder victim and for the hellish year that they must have undergone. And she hopes the truth will come out.

CARVILLE: You are very skeptical about the state's case in this. Why? What should they be looking for? Why do you think the state has a weak case?

WEINTRAUB: I think that the state has a weak case, because if they have a stronger case, they would have said what the evidence is. I think they have a weak case because they don't come forward and say what they have as real evidence. They say: "We have a strong circumstantial case. We have mountains of evidence. We have 30,000 pieces of paper."

Well, they might be saying interviewed such as this: "Interviewed such and such a witness. He had nothing to say of any relevance" -- next page. And Gloria Allred is sitting there saying: "Well, they have all these thousands pages of evidence. It must be real." That's the whole problem here.

CARLSON: Well, you know what the beauty the case is? We're going to have a long time to discuss it. And I hope we do it with you.

CARVILLE: You all are great guests.


CARLSON: Jayne Weintraub, Gloria Allred, thank you both very much. We appreciate it. Robert Blake thanks you, too.

Coming up: the CROSSFIRE "News Alert." We'll tell you why the folks at Abercrombie & Fitch are falling all over themselves apologizing for this T-shirt -- and our "Quote of the Day." Here's hint No. 2: amid war and the search for peace, this leader's amazing compliment paid to another leader.

We'll be right back.


CARLSON: Welcome back.

You've read the papers, but you don't really know what happened, not until you see our CROSSFIRE "News Alert."

In San Francisco, California the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing company has been forced to apologize after complaints about a new line of T-shirts that caricatures Asians. One T-shirt complete with a smiling, slant-eyed man in a conical hat advertises -- quote -- "Wong brothers laundry service: Two Wongs can make it white." Another shirt features the slogan: "Abercrombie & Fitch Buddha bash. Get your Buddha on the floor."

A spokesman for Abercrombie & Fitch says the company is -- quote -- "very, very, very sorry for causing offense." Quote: "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt," he explained. Critics noted that a similar defense also failed to work for the Aunt Jemima syrup company.


CARVILLE: I'm glad that they are very, very, very, very sorry as opposed to just very sorry.

CARLSON: I agree.

CARVILLE: You might call this next one the Illinois liquor tax war. Three years ago, the legislature approved an increase in the state liquor tax, the tax used to finance a $12 billion -- damn, they drink a lot of John Barleycorn, huh? -- pet construction program Republican Governor George Ryan had. Yesterday, a judge struck down a tax increase, saying the legislature blatantly ignored the state constitution. The ruling is another in a series challenging the validity of legislation passed in Governor Ryan's first year in office. Good news for all bar-goers in the land of Lincoln, though: Ryan has decided not to seek a second term.

CARLSON: Yay for liquor.

And in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, 25-year-old Teresa Keller (ph) has been released after 11 days in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. In September of 2000, Keller borrowed three books from the local public library. She did not return them. After six months, the library filed a criminal complaint against her. When Keller ignored repeated requests to come to court, a judge put her in jail. She isn't likely ever to be overdue again.


CARLSON: The judge, meanwhile, has moved on to new causes. In his crosshairs: people who talk with their mouths full, laugh obnoxiously during movies, and sneeze without saying, "Excuse me."


CARVILLE: And now time for the unique CROSSFIRE "Quote of the Day." It's from President Bush, praising Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The comment comes from Israel forces still in the West Bank as the violence and killing continue. Here's what the president said yesterday -- quote -- "I do believe Ariel Sharon is a man of peace."

And then he had this to say.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Israel started withdrawing quickly after our call from smaller cities on the West Bank. History will show that they've responded.


CARVILLE: Well, calling Ariel Sharon a man of peace is like calling Patton and Napoleon a man of mean. But the president doesn't know the difference between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. That's just a mistake. Saying that they pulled out in response to his call just is a flat lie.

CARLSON: Wait. Wait.

CARVILLE: Now, the real tragedy was not this. The tragedy is that we have got a White House press corps that don't know whether to wind their butts or scratch their watches. And they sit there and take this stuff down when they all know it's wrong. And they're scared that this administration...

CARLSON: Everybody.

CARVILLE: It's dead wrong.

CARLSON: Everybody in America knows that Ariel Sharon flipped the president the bird, essentially, by not pulling out. The president gets up and says: "Thank you, sir. May I have another." I agree with you. Absolutely right.

The crime here is, what do Democrats in Congress do? They don't say a word against Ariel Sharon at all, at all. In fact, they sit on the sidelines and do what they always do. And what's that? Whine. They whine.

CARVILLE: The problem here is, is that the president stands up and says this. They got a bunch of kids over there covering this administration that are scared to death, because they know what happens is, is Karen Hughes -- who is a friend of mine -- is a dominatrix of this press corps. And if they say something bad, they're not going to get any access and they're all scared.

CARLSON: Unfortunately, we're going to have -- I'll respond to that when we return.

When CROSSFIRE returns: He's in an L.A. jail tonight in connection with the killing of his wife: the latest on Robert Blake in the CNN "News Alert." Also, the former president wants a role, if can you believe it, in trying to bring peace to the Middle East. We'll debate that. I'll win. And other political news in the CROSSFIRE with our guests.

Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CARVILLE: Now the week in politics. Mudslinging in the governor's race in New York. A charge of disloyalty fired at Democratic Mayor Tony Williams in Washington. Also, President George Bush and President Bill Clinton. Is there room for both to work in peace in the Middle East? Much, much more as we go to our guests in CROSSFIRE. Please give a warm welcome to Democratic political strategist Bob Beckel and Cliff May, former communications director of the Republican National Committee.



CARLSON: OK, here, let me cross you. Hold on. Now, we have some good news, bad news. Bad news obviously this week Middle East in flames, good news Andrew Cuomo blew up his gubernatorial campaign. He did that by basically accusing the current governor, George Pataki, for not being manly enough on 9-11, saying that Giuliani was the leader and he was somehow a wussy for not being more involved. Aren't there some thins, I think I'll agree, that absolutely ought to be above politics, one of them the tragedy of September 11, and making political hey out of it is unacceptable?

BOB BECKEL, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I didn't think there was any politics involved in the mayor's race, did you, having to do with 9-11?

CARLSON: No, but it is ugly.

BECKEL: Well, it's ugly and it's a mistake. I mean, Cuomo's a smart politician. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mistakes like that. Would he like to have it back? Yeah. Will it impact on the race in November? No. And the fact of the matter of is, you know, with all due respect to you, I don't want to politicize 9-11 and break your heart and have you cry up here, Tucker, but the fact of the matter is, the fact of the matter is, Giuliani jumped right in and you know Pataki is riding this 9-11 as far as he can possibly ride it. Before that, he was low in the polls. I don't think...

CARLSON: So you admit Cuomo's a creep. Good for you.

CARVILLE: You would agree that we should not politicize 9-11?

CLIFF MAY, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: I think that any politician who does that is just committing hari-kari.

CARVILLE: But also, what do you say about Karl Rove going before the Republicans saying they were going to use 9-11 and the war on terrorism to get Bush re-elected?

MAY: No, you're distorting what he said.

CARVILLE: I'm not distorting what he said.

MAY: The fact of the matter is, when there's a national security crisis, over time Republicans benefit. Now, Democrats can do something about that, what you need to do -- and James, you can do it -- reestablish the Scoop Jackson wing of the Democratic Party.

CARVILLE: Why did Rove say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they were going to politicize it?

MAY: He didn't say that.


CARVILLE: He said we're going to run on the war on terrorism. Now, why is it that you can't say anything? Let me ask you something. Do you think a good American should criticize the president in the conduct of his foreign policy?

MAY: Very carefully and not in a way that's partisan.


CARVILLE: Let me say something right now. He looked like a fool in the Middle East, sending the secretary of state over there, cutting him off, getting dissed by the Israelis, getting dissed by the Egyptians, and then coming on TV and saying that they responded to him. Is there any justification of him saying that? Does that make me a bad American?

MAY: No, but other things probably do.


MAY: By the way, that's not at all what happened. What happened in the Middle East...

CARVILLE: Hosni Mubarak didn't diss us?


MAY: ... just one second. We do have a problem, you're right, that the Arab nations, not one of them, picked up a coddle, not one of them responded and said, yes, we're going to fight terrorism. We have a problem with all those nations because of that.

BECKEL: We have got a problem in the Middle East because George Bush let it sit by itself for over a year. He wants to go into Iraq so bad, he should have taken care of what was going on between Israel and the Palestinians.

MAY: Take care? Every politician...


BECKEL: You know, I hate to say it, but you're being a wonk. It's a tough work-out. But I'm a politician. And I'll tell you something, Karl Rove, you know, in the darkest periods of night is very, very happy that they're building an entire strategy on 9-11. Where was this guy before 9-11? He was 48 percent in the polls. Where would he be now without 9-11? Probably 32.

CARLSON: Not to switch subjects, and I hate to keep beating you over the head with things you can't defend.


BECKEL: I got to pick up my crying towel and go home, Tucker. You got me scared to death.

CARLSON: Buckle your seat belt. Here we go. The GAO report just released about what happened when the Clintons exited the White House, and what happened with the executive branch -- stole door knobs, ripped a presidential seal off the wall, cut phone lines, sprayed graffiti on the wall, wrecked 75 keyboards. There's no defending that behavior. That is a metaphor for what they did to the executive branch itself.

BECKEL: You know, I'll tell you something, Tucker, without -- the Clintons are the gift that keeps on giving to you, guys.

CARLSON: No, but answer the question. You can't defend...

BECKEL: I'll answer the question. You spent $200,000...


BECKEL: Wait a second. When I left the White House in 1980, I know I left probably about that much damage myself behind, but the idea that you're going to run this baby out...

CARLSON: Did you steal door knobs? No, but did you steal door knobs?

CARVILLE: Are you serious? Are you serious? You're going to tell me they spent $200,000, and the report said that it had cost $14,000 to have...


CARVILLE: Five thousand people worked at the White House. You would go to my house and there's $14,000 of damage and my kids are writing crayons on the wall, and the dog peeing on the rug.


CARVILLE: Ladies and gentlemen, you have what this administration is worried about, $200,000 to say there were 5,000 people that had a work order for $14,000. This is the biggest pile of bunk, and this is why they're going to lose in 2004.


BECKEL: You've been on Air Force One.


BECKEL: Did you take anything with you when you left?

CARLSON: No. BECKEL: Oh, nothing? Not the toilet paper?

CARLSON: No, and I didn't rip the seal off the wall.


MAY: It was the GAO, and Bush said not to do it. Bush said, I don't want an investigation.

CARVILLE: He spent an hour sitting with the GAO in the middle of the war on terrorism trying to gin this stuff up.

MAY: That is not true.


You can't do that. People will think this is real.

CARVILLE: Ladies and gentlemen, you spent $200,000 on this kind of garbage. They spend $70 million to come out and say Clinton had sex and lied about it. Wow!


CARLSON: I'll give you the Clinton investigations. You say it's a waste of money. I'll even grant you that. Of course, it was wonderfully well spent.

How about an investigation that's worth funding and that's the ethics investigation into Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey. Now he has been accused of many wrongdoings. He's accused of another one the other day in court by a woman named Audrey Yu (ph), who says that in the trial of her boss, this guy Chang (ph), she got a call, a telephone call from the senator himself saying lie to investigators. Don't say a single word. Now you could trace those calls if you wanted to. The ethics committee could. Shouldn't they, to get to the bottom of this to find out if he committed crimes?

BECKEL: I know Chang, and I wouldn't turn my back on him any faster than I'd turn my back on you. The point of it is this guy has been investigated for two years. They have tried to indict him. They have not been able to indict him.

And one of the things about you Republicans, you don't mind when Ollie North tramples over the Constitution or Ronald Reagan approves selling arms to the Ayatollah, but, boy, if there's a "W" missing from the computer, damn, this world will fall apart.

CARLSON: Robert, I'm not talking about a "W", I'm talking about felonies here.

BECKEL: No, no. This is what we call judicial system. If you can get this guy indicted, get him indicted or shut up.

CARLSON: It's before the ethics committee right now.

BECKEL: Fine. Fine.

CARLSON: And they're investigating it. Shouldn't they find out if these -- this is a credible allegation. It's a specific allegation. And shouldn't they figure out if it's true or not?


CARVILLE: When the allegation was made, the U.S. attorney investigated Senator Torricelli, did not indict him. They had to tell the prosecutors that, didn't he or you and I were together in New Jersey when you were covering me. That's how far back we go.

MAY: That's how far back we go.

CARVILLE: This is living proof that there's no liberal press conspiracy because he used to work for the "New York Times."

MAY: I was the only one and I'm not there now.

CARLSON: Bob Beckel, let me try one last one, I know you can't defend this.

BECKEL: Don't count on it.

CARLSON: And this is Tony Williams, the mayor of the District of Columbia. The other day, he goes out to a fundraiser for Connie Morella, a very liberal Republican from the Maryland suburbs, the only Republican to vote against the tax cut permanent, basically a Democrat.

He goes to the fundraiser and Terry McAuliffe flies into a Stalinist fury, basically says Democrats ought not to break bread with Republicans. They shouldn't be helping each other. They shouldn't even be friends, and he is a disloyal Democrat for helping Connie Morella. That's outrageous, isn't it?

BECKEL: No, it's certainly not outrageous. Stalin -- you guys can't give that one up either, can you? They like that Cold War.


MAY: You've forgiven Stalin. I don't.

BECKEL: The fact of the matter is no Democrat worth his salt ought to go raise money for a Republican. I have never -- when I was a kid, my father said you pull a Democratic lever, all good things will happen, cars, women, money. You pull a Republican lever, you're going to die. I've never pulled one in my life and I never would.

CARLSON: But that was during the Depression, Bob. Things are different now. And isn't that very much a 19th century view of partisanship? They're on one team, we're on the other.

BECKEL: You're asking me about the 19th century? I'm trying to get you out of the 18th century.

CARLSON: Well, Mr. History Buff, tell me, isn't this an outdated way of looking at the world?


CARVILLE: Take these Republicans, if they don't vote one way, they take them, they discipline them, they do anything they can. I think Democrats need more of this kind of discipline. I think they need more of this kind of toughness.

CARLSON: Cliff May, this is outdated, is it not?

MAY: It's not just outdated, it's also this: Inside the Beltway, people are like you. They think there's Democrats, there's Republicans and never the twain shall meet. Out there in America, people want people, the politicians here to do their jobs and not just squabble. And so if the mayor of this city, which has Republicans and Democrats, wants to hold a fundraiser for Connie Morella, who has been a friend of the District, God bless him and Terry McAuliffe should shut his mouth.

BECKEL: Cliff, you know, I love the hell out of you, and we do a lot of TV together. But I'll tell you something, when you start talking about outside the Beltway, your policy institute, I've done 183 campaigns in my life in 49 states. I think I know a little bit of something of what's going on outside the Beltway. And what is going on outside there is something that you guys lose at your brie parties at night and talking to one another around all these restaurants. And look at Tucker. Here's a good example. This guy still proves Richard Daly (ph) is alive and well and kicking.

CARVILLE: If people want everybody to agree and get along and everything, why the hell are they watching CROSSFIRE?

MAY: And why agree on anything?


CARLSON: You need to look at the future, you're saying. Then why, the former president, who is no longer president -- if you see him you ought to tell him that -- Clinton, bored, restless, wandering around the house, all of a sudden want to inject himself into the current crisis in the Middle East. I'm not blaming him for it. Many have, I'm not. But don't you think it's time for him to go running around and give his little speeches, go to New Zealand or whatever, and just stay out of the current crisis?

BECKEL: Let me tell you this. I think Bill Clinton knows probably right now in his sleep 10 times more about the Middle East than George Bush ever will.


CARVILLE: If President Bush asked him to try to help that he would. It looks like they need all the help they can get right now, hoss. I mean, they ought to send an amoeba over there, that could do a better job than...


MAY: You guys are going over next week. You can't lose on that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARVILLE: Is he going next week?


CARVILLE: Who is he going to talk to?

BECKEL: I don't know.

CARLSON: He'll douse the plans, as he always does.

CARVILLE: He would be for no peace agreement that doesn't rhyme.

MAY: You're a practical man. You know what's going on in the Middle East. What's going on in the Middle East is we have got Yasser Arafat who wants -- his ambition is still, still, as it always was, to destroy Israel and use terrorism to do it. That's the problem. The problem has nothing to do with politics here in this country. And what Sharon is doing is useful because he's killing terrorists, which we have to do.

CARVILLE: Sharon is doing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so that whatever he's doing, he's doing. But the idea that he responded to President Bush's call is ludicrous on its face. And if we didn't have a bunch of nincompoops covering this White House, the American public would know what was going on. You can't trust this press corps for nothing because they are scared to death.


CARLSON: Cliff May, Bob Beckel, thank you both very much. We appreciate it. Any peace agreement that doesn't rhyme.

Coming up later on CROSSFIRE, your chance to fire back at us, an opportunity for us, needless to say, to fire back at you. And "Round 6", Carville and I go at each other over the Supreme Court's decision this week on virtual child porn. One of us defends it. We'll be right back.


CARVILLE: Time now for "Round 6." And we'll have the bell here. No guests, no gloves. Just Carlson, pretty boy Carlson and me going head to head over the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday striking down a federal ban on virtual child porn.

Tucker, I read a guy, Steve Chapman, in the "Chicago Tribune" on an airplane who said that this is the same intent of banning beer if you want to ban root beer. What's the problem with this computer- generated stuff?

CARLSON: Well, I have to say defending child -- that's almost as hard as defending Clinton. And I must say, you get points for being game enough to do it.

CARVILLE: I'm not defending it...

CARLSON: Look, the argument they're making, that the justice department was making, Ashcroft was making was that...

CARVILLE: Who covered up the justice...

CARLSON: They're making the argument that, look, it's impossible to bust child pornographers if you have virtual porn, because the pornographer can just say it's not real, it's a computer-generated picture.

CARVILLE: But they ought to be able to tell with computers. My point is, I'm against child porn, every rational person -- I mean, every person would be. But I would rather, if these people are hard- wired, and this is a terrible, awful, criminal, evil affliction that they have, I would much rather watch a computer-generated image of a child than an actual child. If by generating the cartoon or whatever the hell this thing does saves them from a child, why wouldn't you want that?

CARLSON: Well, first of all, everybody is not against child pornography, as it turns out. The ACLU, having ran out of Nazis to defend -- it's absolutely true -- is on the side of -- is on the side of -- in fact, this case came before the...


CARLSON: Pornographers brought this case before the Supreme Court. That's how it got there.

CARVILLE: But again, child porn was illegal before this case got here. Don't tell -- what they said if these computer-generated images. My point is if it saves children from being molested or children from having their actual image on there, why -- if it's got to be a cartoon character, what the hell.

CARLSON: I think you can make the argument -- that's an interesting argument, I'll give you that, but you could make the argument that those images themselves are so corrosive that they hurt society just being there. And in our society, you can have sex with anyone you want, animals, household appliances, but not children. And that's the key distinction. We won't have images of them.

CARVILLE: You can have it with that -- you can't have it in some places, men and men can't have sex together, and Georgia being one of them, that you right-wingers held up. You love to get in everybody's bedroom.

CARLSON: I absolutely would not, but I do think...


CARVILLE: I am so against child pornography, I think it's so repulsive, so awful... CARLSON: That you're for it.

CARVILLE: No. That if in fact you could save one child from this by letting these people, these really sick, weird, criminal people look at a computer-generated thing, then fine.

CARLSON: I think the consensus is it makes them sicker and weirder, and it makes creepy people even creepier.

CARVILLE: I don't think that's the consensus. I think most people have said if might not make them sicker, but it maybe gives them something to do, and leave regular kids alone.

CARLSON: Well, we're going to find out, because it's going to be legal.

CARVILLE: OK, we got to get out of here. When we come back, your a chance to fire back at us, and you can count on us to fire back at you!

ANNOUNCER: If you'd like to fire back at CROSSFIRE, e-mail us at Make sure to include your name and home town.


CARVILLE: Welcome back.

CARLSON: Every night we ask you to send us e-mail. Every night you oblige. Here's what happens next. It's our "Fireback" segment. Our first tonight from Chris Beery of Anandale, Virginia. "Tucker 'Bow Tie Brawler' Carlson, Corporal Cueball, Paul 'Lonestar Lefty' Begala and the Prince of Darkness, what we've got here is the WWF of political punditry. I've got to admit I'm hooked."

Chris, I hope you'll also admit that it's the nicknames that did it.

CARVILLE: How can you not be hooked, man? We had Robert Blake, liquor, kiddie porn, missing door knobs. Wow. OK.

OK. "Give'em hell, big Jim. Republicans can't stand to answer hard questions because they only have simple-minded answers." Gene W. DeVaux of Greenwood, Missouri. Gene, that's because they're all simple-minded people.

CARLSON: Yeah, that's absolutely right.

CARVILLE: That's why they have simple-minded answers.

CARLSON: Good point, Gene. OK.

From Richard Trujillo: "Keep Bob and Tucker ringing the time-out bell; it's the only sound they make that makes sense." Richard, if that's the only part of our show that you understand, I'll keep doing it. CARVILLE: All right. Here we go. "I love the new format, but I have one question. Can I take Tucker's bow tie, untie it and use it to buff up Corporal Cueball's head? Maybe then we'll be able to buff him up the right way!" Jai Patel.

Look at that, Tucker.


CARLSON: Don't even insult that guy. Stuff like that makes me nervous.

We have a question from the audience.

CARVILLE: We got to go to the audience.

AMANDA: Hi, guys. My name is Amanda, from San Diego, California. James, Tucker, you guys are awesome. Love you. Why, thank you. My question is, do you think that Bush will lose credibility or respect if Clinton is allowed to help with the problems in the Middle East?

CARVILLE: I don't think that he's going to ask former President Clinton to help. I think this crowd is -- thinks -- I can't imagine why they wouldn't want to bring somebody in. If not President Clinton, maybe former Senator George Mitchell or somebody, but they need to reevaluate this thing. There's no doubt that the secretary of state's trip was a disaster. They've been dissed everywhere in the Middle East, and now they're trying to put some spin on it that doesn't make any sense.

CARLSON: Yeah. So what they really need to do -- there's an obvious solution just waiting right around the corner, right up on Massachusetts Avenue, his name is Bill Clinton. No, I don't think anybody's going to do that, thank heaven.

Yes, sir.

MARK: I'm Mark from Washington, D.C.. Earlier this year, George Bush stated that he wanted Osama bin Laden dead or alive. This week, he indicated that getting bin Laden is not part of the mission. Is George Bush back pedaling?

CARVILLE: I would say that -- I'm not going to criticize the administration for, quote, "not getting bin Laden." I remember there's a story about them not going into Tora Bora. I think our troops have done a very good job here.

What's happened here is that he's a pretty tough character to, quote, "get," unquote. But as long as we're destroying these cells or destroying the ammunition and stuff like that, then that's fine. And I suspect that one day we will get him.

CARLSON: I hate to agree with you, and getting him was always part of the larger mission. CARVILLE: Right. And I think he was just trying -- in defense -- I'm not into defending Bush very often, but on this question I think he was trying to...

CARLSON: Good for you, James, that's awfully big of you.


CARLSON: Yes, ma'am, you have a question.

LYNN RUBINO: Yes, Lynn Rubino (ph), from West Lebanon, New Hampshire. This is for James Carville. When is someone among the Democrats going to stand up and talk about Bush and all his failures on the domestic and foreign policy fronts?

CARVILLE: Well, I think that we saw a pretty good -- they're multitude. And some Democrat needs to ask him where's the $5.6 trillion that was left in the kitty. But they're so worried about the $14,000 to the White House and they stole 5.6 trillion in the country...


CARLSON: They were stealing the door knobs, James. You're missing the story entirely.


CARVILLE: From the left, I'm James Carville. Good night for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: From the far opposite of the left, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again Monday night for another edition of CROSSFIRE. Have a terrific weekend.


Clinton Get Involved in Middle East Peace Process?>



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