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Karl Rove Computer Disk Found; Is Soccer Finally Becoming Popular in the U.S.?; Padilla's Case Raises Civil Liberties Issues

Aired June 14, 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, Karl Rove's slipped computer disk give the White House a political headache.

They lost and went home. They lost and went home. They lost and get to go on to the next round. Is soccer a sport for losers?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately we lost, but we won.


ANNOUNCER: The French citizen gets a U.S. trial. The U.S. citizen gets military detention. Has justice gone too blind in John Ashcroft's Justice Department?

Tonight on CROSSFIRE.

From the George Washington University, Paul Begala and Robert Novak.

ROBERT NOVAK, HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. Tonight, why aren't all accused terrorists getting the same treatment? Also, a slight change in my opinion of soccer.

But we're starting with the political game playing here in Washington. Some Democrats are chortling over the discovery of a computer disk that belonged to President Bush's political high command, headed by senior adviser Karl Rove. It contains an analysis of the Republicans' strengths and weaknesses in the upcoming election. Political advisers do that. The disk turned up in Lafayette Park across from the White House and was found by a Democratic Senate staffer and some Democrats seem to think its existence is worst than the political excesses of the Clinton/Gore White House.

In the "Crossfire" tonight, Democratic strategist Victor Kamber and Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

PAUL BEGALA, HOST: Gentlemen, we thank you both for being here.

Frank, first before we get into the guts of these memos, which I think are just delicious and I you as a pollster will enjoy them as well. There's something wrong here though. During the campaign, Karl Rove and his political team had their debate materials stolen. Now that they're in the White House in a possession of sensitive secrets, they're losing their political secrets as well. Why shouldn't we trust these people with our national security secrets when they can't even keep their political secrets?

FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well honestly I don't understand why CROSSFIRE would BE focusing on something like a computer disk when you've got people in this audience right here, 21, 22, 23, if there ever were a draft, we've got a military conflict going on. We've got Americans dying. Why are we focused on this kind of political ...


BEGALA: Why did you ...


BEGALA: Why did you agree to come on?

NOVAK: All right, let's go on.

BEGALA: No, wait we called you up and we said ...


BEGALA: ... why don't you come on and talk about this, now don't insult us for talking about it.

LUNTZ: No, because I'm going to respond to your questions, but I think the higher priority is what's going on, and we be should focused on serious issues instead of focus on the fact that somebody lost a computer disk. Have you never lost a computer disk in your life?

BEGALA: Actually I don't use computer disks. I'm not a big computer guy.


NOVAK: Frank ...


NOVAK: ... tomorrow night we're going to do monetary policy on Saturday ...


NOVAK: Come by yes.

BEGALA: Let me ask you about one of the points made ...

LUNTZ: Sure. BEGALA: Ken Melman is the White House Political Director, an astute observers of the scene and a seasoned professional. He tells us that 25 Republican House seats are vulnerable and only 10 Democratic seats, he tells us that the president's popularity is - quote - "in decline, that's natural and expected and that two United States senators in the Republican Party are very vulnerable". This is bad news from the Republicans about the Republicans, isn't it?

LUNTZ: Do you see me shaking?

BEGALA: You ought to be.

VICTOR KAMBER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: They're not his clients. See that's the difference. I don't think he cares.


BEGALA: So is he -- is he wrong or are they in trouble?

LUNTZ: It's not an issue of being wrong or right. You know you would expect the political director for the White House be dealing in politics. It's natural. It's ...

KAMBER: Not on my taxpayer dollar.


BEGALA: I don't think it's politics ...


LUNTZ: If you represent ...


BEGALA: I'm interested in your ...


LUNTZ: ... if you want to represent what the Clinton administration ...


KAMBER: We're not Clinton. We're Bush now and Bush says he's going to be different. Forget it.

NOVAK: You know Vic I want to - I want to read to you what Ari Fleischer, you know Mr. Fleischer ...

KAMBER: I know who he is.

NOVAK: What he said about all this nonsense about what's going on, what an outrage it is, not on my tax dollar. We're going to put it up on the screen and what he said was, "I am shocked, shocked as Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs would be concerned in any way with political affairs. This is a shocking development".

Now wait, here is a question, if you ever listened to the Lyndon Johnson tapes, if you ever listened to the Richard Nixon tapes, if you ever listened to tapes nobody listens to, John F. Kennedy tapes, they're all talking politics, that's what they talk about in the White House ...

KAMBER: Bob I understand that and I agree, and I think - where Frank is that some of this is silly. The difference is it's this administration and this group that said we're going to be different than Mr. Nixon, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Kennedy and certainly Mr. Clinton. We're not going to do the politics in the White House. We're not going to sell the Lincoln Bedroom. We're not going to did this.

We're not going to do that and what do they do? Much the same. They use whether it's a disk for politics at our expense or whether they have Grover Marcus (ph) group collect names of Republicans versus Democrats, this administration is political and doing the same thing others have done. Is that is bad? That's a different question.

NOVAK: Let me - let me say -- let me hesitate to try to draw a distinction for a political strategist such as you are, but in the - in the Clinton administration when Dick Morris and President Clinton sat around, they said how are we going to run this '96 reelection campaign?

How are we going to put these issues out? That's what they always do. That wasn't the problem the other people had. The problem was when they bring in people into the Lincoln Bedroom, when they had these coffees, when they use it as a fund-raising device. Can you see that distinction?

KAMBER: I don't because I can go through what the Democrats, Republicans have done with their meetings, with various leadership, the selling of the meetings with the vice president, the selling of the meetings with the various secretaries of the Cabinet, the selling of the Congress.

Bob, the bottom line is, why Democrats are laughing at this, and making -- is in 1995, a Democrat lost some paperwork and Republicans chortled all over the place, say look at these Democrats incompetent, stupid, whatever, whatever because they lost their political. Democrats are just getting back and saying look at the Republicans, is Karl Rove and this White House, secret quiet, all of a sudden disks are on the street.

NOVAK: Do you think he's a pretty dumb guy (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

KAMBER: I think he's a pretty smart guy. And that's why I agree with his analysis by the way.

BEGALA: Let's look at the analysis. This is from Karl Rove's memo (UNINTELLIGIBLE) put it up there. The Republican strategy and this is where it begins. I've highlighted the first one -- focus on war and economy, focus on war. The first three words of his strategy - focus on war. Shame. Shame. Shame ... (CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: ... on Karl Rove for trying to politicize the war.

LUNTZ: That's not trying to politicize. What is the ...

BEGALA: It's a political strategy. Focus on the war.

LUNTZ: What's the number one question that Americans have today? Should we not be talking about the war? Should we be talking about the ratings? Should we be talking about the new fall lineup on Nickelodeon? The Americans want to talk about war, so why not talk about it? Talk about the solutions. Talk about the process. Talk about the threats. Wait a minute, Paul. You're the first one, and I watch this show, you're the first one to complain that the White House wasn't talking enough about what they know. Now you're complaining that they're talking about too much. Pick a side and stay with it.

BEGALA: Not talk about it, they say focus on it for political gain. Karl Rove ...


BEGALA: ... went to Austin Texas - yes it is.

LUNTZ: No it isn't.

BEGALA: Karl went to Austin ...

LUNTZ: Pull it back up again.

BEGALA: ... he went to Austin and he gave a speech to the Republican National Committee and he said we're going to take this to the voters. That is politicize the war, when every Democrat in Washington, except one for Berkeley, voted for the attack against Afghanistan.


BEGALA: They're trying ...


BEGALA: ... they are trying to politicize a war, which I think is shameful and I can't imagine how you can defend that.

LUNTZ: It's very easy to defend the fact that this White House is talking about terrorism, because that's what the American people want to talk about it. When they get on the plane they ...

BEGALA: Not talk about, they're campaigning on it, and I think ...

LUNTZ: Those are your words. You're the ...

(CROSSTALK) NOVAK: Vic Kamber, you're a sophisticated person. I think you're sophisticated enough to know that when you -- did you read this, all this material?

KAMBER: I've read some of it. I haven't read all of it.

NOVAK: Well it'd be nice for you to read it.


KAMBER: It's boring.

NOVAK: It is boring - it is boring, but what they have done is they have taken all of the easy Republican races like Bob Taft, Governor Bob Taft in Ohio, who's a cinch, and say that's -- he's in danger and then they take a Democratic incumbent like Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, who's a cinch and they say she's in danger. All of the races are close. Now I think you know what they're trying to do? They were showing this to contributors. They want the contributors to think all of these races -- it's a gimmick, isn't it?

KAMBER: Well again, partly what they're saying in one breath is we don't do polls and we don't run the government by polls and obviously they're using a memo that says yes we have polls all over the place to show this (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It is a gimmick. It certainly is a gimmick to raise money to scare the Republican fat cats into giving money to protect their incumbents. I don't doubt that ...


KAMBER: .. but I still go with what you said. Rove is smart. He wouldn't have a memo like this go out unless he didn't believe that their people are in trouble, and I think they are in trouble.


NOVAK: Let me -- you just - you just discounted yourself. They're not in trouble. And Mary - and on the other side of the coin, Mary Landrieu is not in trouble.

KAMBER: Bob Taft is not in trouble. Landrieu's not in ...


NOVAK: ... is not in trouble.

KAMBER: The two Democrats - the two Republicans they're talking about, Hutchinson in Arkansas and who was the other one?

BEGALA: Bob Smith in New Hampshire.


NOVAK: Bob Smith ...

(CROSSTALK) NOVAK: ... Bob Smith in New Hampshire is not even going to be nominated.

KAMBER: That's why he's in trouble, but the seat's going to go Democratic, it looks like.

BEGALA: Victor Kamber, Democratic strategist, Frank Luntz, Republican strategist, I want to thank you both for joining us.


BEGALA: Now let's have a show of hands from the audience. I thank you for clapping, but I want to get a poll here. How many of you all got up this morning at 7:30 a.m. to watch the U.S. men's soccer team? Can we get a shot of that (UNINTELLIGIBLE)? Not too many, huh?

OK, next on CROSSFIRE, can soccer actually be catching on here in the land of the Lakers, the Red Wings and real American football? Also our quote of the day, outrage over what the Catholic bishop settled on, on the matter of pedophile priests.


NOVAK: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. A couple of weeks ago, I didn't think I would care about the World Cup Soccer Tournament, but I admit I actually have paid some attention to the U.S. Soccer team. They won their first game, tied the second and are moving on to the next round even though they lost today, figure that out. That's soccer for you. It ain't the NBA. Does soccer have a chance in the U.S. after all?

To help us kick around the question, we're joined by Julie Foudy, captain of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team, 1999 World Cup champs.




BEGALA: Julie, thanks a lot for joining us.

FOUDY: I get my own seat, huh?

BEGALA: Absolutely. Today as Bob pointed out, the men lost but they advanced, why? What does this tell our children? I guess Bush lost and he advanced, so what the heck. Sorry.

FOUDY: I think, you know, it's three games in the first round, and so you have to look at it more as they accomplished their goal, which was to get through to the second round and it's round robin (ph) where each of the teams play each other.

So you know clearly they did very well beating Portugal in the first game, winning 3-2, which they weren't suppose to do so that was a big win and then tying South Korea in South Korea was another great point, which was the one that, you know, got them through.

So if it was reversed and they lose their first one, tied the second, and won the third, you know the coach would be applauded. So I think the team's happy. They accomplished their goal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the second round.

BEGALA: Well help me as someone who's not a soccer fan, believe me. What do I need -- first of all I ain't getting up at 7:30 a.m. in the morning to watch soccer.


BEGALA: I'll get up at 7:30 a.m. to fish, but not to watch soccer. What am I -- the whole tournament so far in three games, they've got like five goals, right, out of how many hours? What should - what should we be looking for? Give me soccer mania here.

FOUDY: Right. Well I think -- you know just like baseball, you're watching baseball and you have to understand a bit of the nuances, because that's what makes it so interesting and in soccer, the thing to watch for is -- I mean besides the fact that you have this great athletic ability in terms playing on this huge field.

You're having to cover all this space, the matchups and the different formations they play, because some like to play with four backs. Some like to play with three backs. Some like to play three forwards, two forwards and so it's more the nuances of that and how - it's like a chess match, how they're, you know, competing with each other on the field.

NOVAK: Julie, I -- Julie I wondered how Paul was going to bring -- he tries to attack George W. Bush in every segment, I didn't think he could do in it the soccer segment, but he -- but he managed to.

FOUDY: He managed to fit him in.

NOVAK: You know I don't -- I don't like soccer, but I do -- I do -- I do ...

FOUDY: Thank you for being honest ...

NOVAK: ... I do -- I do love the country, and I get excited when the U.S. is playing for a world championship in marbles, see. So I've gotten - (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I've gotten interested in this thing, so I did get up ...

FOUDY: You've been getting up, haven't you?

NOVAK: I got up -- the first game I watched and I don't know that much about soccer, but they looked lousy. I mean, do they -- do they have a chance against Mexico in the next round?

FOUDY: Actually, they have a very good chance.

NOVAK: What was wrong with them, do you think?

FOUDY: Today, you know, that first five minutes was wacky. You know they came out -- I think all they need was a point out of today's game and they came out and to their credit, to some degree, they were trying to attack still.

Some say they probably should have sat back, which is more traditional USA men's soccer in the past, but they came out and they attacked and Portugal -- Poland scored two counter attacks on them in the first five minutes and then you're - you know you're in this hole, so you're trying to then go forward even more and you give up another goal.

NOVAK: Julie, they scored the -- Poland scored right away and then the United States scored right after that ...

FOUDY: Yes ...


NOVAK: ... and I said to my wife, I said gee, it's like basketball and then this Chinese referee ...


NOVAK: ... said there was a foul and they ...


NOVAK: ... kept playing. I didn't see any foul.


FOUDY: I didn't see any foul. I'm with you on that one, Bob.

NOVAK: Well -- I mean -- they would have a riot if they did that in basketball, so you know you can't have that.

FOUDY: I know, and that was what changed the game too, because right after that they came back to score their second goal.

NOVAK: You think it was politics? You think it was Chinese ...

FOUDY: I think definitely, it was definitely politics. I think George Bush was involved for sure.

BEGALA: There is a guy named Steve Hummer who writes for "The Atlanta Constitution" ...


BEGALA: ... who I think spoke for a lot of my fellow Americans. I want to put what he wrote up on the board and ask you to respond to him. Give us soccer mania. He says to the fans ...

FOUDY: Yes. BEGALA: ... non fans rather like me, just be true to your apathy. There are a lot of Americans who like stockcar racing because they can't relate to anything else. It is the last refuge of the disillusioned fan and a lot of Americans claim to like soccer just to be different, to appear worldly and hip and vaguely European. These are the same people who drink Orangina and snack on Toblerone bars. That's what you're up against.

FOUDY: Who was that Steve?

BEGALA: Steve Hummer.

FOUDY: You guys are supposed to be supporting me out there. I'm alone up here. You can't be cheering on Steve.

NOVAK: Go ahead.

FOUDY: I think, you look around the world and you see it's like these people live and breathe this sport. And truly -- I mean that's the amazing thing about World Cup is you see the passion in the stands. I mean you see South Koreans and they're going crazy for this, and the thing I love about it is it only happens once every four years and you have teams - I mean I picked France to win the whole thing. They didn't even (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or get through to the second round and they won it last time, and so you never know what's going to happen.

NOVAK: Let me ask you this, my son played a lot of sports, played soccer from the time he was this high ...

FOUDY: And you still don't like it, Bob?

NOVAK: ... he was captain of his high school team and he never watches soccer. He watches ...


NOVAK: ... baseball. He watches football. There's a lot of kids who've played soccer their whole life ...

FOUDY: Right.

NOVAK: ... but then they watch baseball. Why is that?

FOUDY: Because -- I'm not going to say it.

BEGALA: Go on say it. Come on Julie, say it!

FOUDY: I don't know, that's the problem. That's the dilemma. You have all these kids that play it and then it doesn't translate into fans coming to games. And so, I have a lot of theories for it. I think right now the problem is we don't have an environment that is conducive to fans wanting to come in terms of we're playing in huge football stadiums that aren't real soccer friendly environment.

With our league, the Women's League, WUSA, we started to play in smaller venues, you know 10,000 seat stadium. So it's more like you get a -- an English soccer environment, where it's you know very into the game. You're close to the field. Right now they're playing in these big cavernous stadiums that aren't just enjoyable to come.

BEGALA: Well I will say the only time I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in soccer was when the women were playing.


BEGALA: They played a much more exciting ...


BEGALA: I like women, I guess. I confess. I'm heterosexual, but also, they play an exciting brand of soccer and I think one of the things you mentioned is really great teams can get knocked out. Isn't that one of the problems with soccer, that a really lame team can win because the field so is vast ...

FOUDY: Right.

BEGALA: ... and anything can happen.

FOUDY: Yes, well that's one of the frustrating things. You can -- you can totally dominate a game. You can have 35 shots to the other team having one and they end up winning 1-0. But it also is the beauty of it, because you know you only have a few chances sometimes in games, and if you don't put them away, then you don't go through, which you can see happened to a lot of teams in this World Cup.

BEGALA: Julie Foudy, soccer ambassador extraordinaire. Thank you for joining us tonight.

FOUDY: Thank you.

BEGALA: And coming up, has the Bush Justice Department spent too much time covering up naked statues and too little time (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

But next, we unveil our quote of the day, a man who helps victims of abusive priests reacts to what the Catholic bishops brand new policy.


BEGALA: America's Catholic bishops this afternoon adopted a new nationwide policy regarding priests who sexually abuse children. By a 239-14 vote the bishops settled on a plan that will not automatically defrock past or future child molesters. Instead they will be removed from their ministerial duties, some will be allowed to remain priests and could be sent to a monastery, which brings us to our quote of the day.

It comes from Mark Serrano of SNAP (ph), a survivor's network of those abused by priests. In his comment, this is akin to telling a street killer in the city we're sending you to the country. Bob, like you I'm a Catholic, and I cannot believe that our bishops have lost their moral voice.

NOVAK: I think that's unfair. I don't believe that these are street killers. They're molesters. They're terrible people. I think that they're not going to be able to serve mass. They're not going to be able to perform any priestly duties. They cannot wear the vestments. They cannot wear the clerical garb (ph). Being sent to a monastery for the rest of their life, I think that's a good thing rather than putting them in a prison cell.

BEGALA: Well I - you know what, if they commit a crime and this is a crime, they ought to go to prison. Now statue of limitations (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is a long time ago, then I guess they get away with their crime, but this is a serious crime and they keep talking about the church. The right used to say, I think with some validity, that the left engaged in too much psycho babble about crime and not in the clear morality and the immortality of the crime, and I think the right was correct.

NOVAK: I think ...

BEGALA: ... we should be consistent here and say it's a crime.

NOVAK: These people can never be priests again. I mean that was the problem, they were being circulated around the different dioceses before. That's ended now.

BEGALA: It's a big improvement ...


NOVAK: OK. Next in a CNN News Alert, more on the Texas arrest of a man who may be the drifter wanted in connection with the missing Utah girl.

Also, a politically inconvenient earthquake in Nevada.

And later in cases of terrorism, is justice blind or just confused?


NOVAK: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C. Now it's time for a look at those unusual and interesting stories that you might not find anywhere but in our CROSSFIRE news alert.

James P. Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union, warned the Democrats earlier this year when they opposed drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Now the bill comes due. The Teamsters are backing the election of Republican Governors Rick Perry in Texas and Bob Taft in Ohio, as well as Republican Senator Frank Murkowski for governor of Alaska. Hoffa also hints he'll back the president's brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, for reelection against former Attorney General Janet Reno. Hoffa calls her correctly "one of the poorest attorneys general ever." What about backing George W. Bush himself in 2000 (sic)? That's a possibility. Hoffa told "The Washington Times": "That's the price the Democrats may have to pay for embracing the garden clubs and dissing blue-collar labor."

BEGALA: Rick Perry will lose, you watch, my friend Tony Sanchez is going to beat him.

NOVAK: What about Jimmy Hoffa and the way you treated him?

BEGALA: The U.S. Geological Survey reports today that an earthquake registering 4.4 on the Richter scale struck Nevada early this morning, not far from the site of the Bush administration's proposed radioactive waste depository at Yucca Mountain. A quake measuring 5.6 struck near the site in 1992, and a total of 621 earthquakes have been recorded within 50 miles of the site in the last 25 years. There are 33 known earthquake faults in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain. One nuclear industry official told us tongue-in- cheek, give me a break, no place is perfect, and what's a few hundred earthquakes when you're talking about nuclear waste? It's only radioactive and deadly for a few thousand years. No, he didn't really say that, I made it up, but they may have as well said it.

NOVAK: They made it up, and the gambling industry made up this whole silly campaign against Yucca.


NOVAK: Some financial secrets of the Clinton family are now public knowledge, thanks to disclosure requirements imposed on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. It turns out that Hillary received a $2.85 million book advance, and Bill earned $9.2 million in speaking fees -- even more than James Carville. Yet they still owe at least $1.75 million in legal fees left over from their scandal defense.

Wait a minute. If they picked up $12 million in income, why don't they take care of less than $2 million in legal fees? Because the Clintons have no intention of ever paying those bills. They think they were entitled to free legal care. That's the mind-set of our former president and the junior senator from New York.

BEGALA: I'm glad you're bleeding for the wealthy lawyers of Washington, but the truth is, they paid $1.3 million out of their own pocket this year in legal costs. The fund that was raised spent seven million.

NOVAK: I'll give you...


BEGALA: And they pay every single month.


BEGALA: Every single month they're paying off those lawyers, and the right wingers who caused all that grief ought to be paying them. Liberal activist Ralph Nader stunned political Washington this week by showing up at a meeting of conservative strategists, hosted by Republican heavyweight Grover Norqvist. Nader was cheered heartily by the right-wingers for the role he played in siphoning off votes for Al Gore in the 2000 election, which allowed George W. Bush to claim the White House after a bitter Supreme Court battle.

Nader's anti-corporate message, though, seemed to find some supporters even on the far right. According to ABC News, conservative legend Phyllis Schlaffley (ph) said, quote, "I agree with the underlying message of Ralph. Do you want the GOP to be a corporate party, or do we want them to represent traditional Republican values?" Memo to Karl Rove: When Phyllis Schlaffley (ph) says you're too pro corporate, it's kind of like Mike Tyson saying you're nuts.


BEGALA: Still to come on CROSSFIRE, viewers' thoughts on why my friend Karl Rove lost that computer disk and what it really means about the Bush administration's priorities.

But next, law and order. Why isn't John Ashcroft's Justice Department treating terror suspects consistently?


NOVAK: Welcome back. The American Civil Liberties Union is expressing outrage that a former Boston cab driver, detained shortly after September 11, was held in solitary confinement for nine months without seeing a judge or a lawyer. A judge in Minnesota has ruled accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen, can act as his own attorney. Another 34 suspected terrorists arrived at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay this week, bringing its population to 468. And one-time Chicago gang member Jose Padilla, who was suspected of plotting to set off a dirty bomb is now in a Navy brig in Charleston.

Every one of these men and thousands more are suspected of being enemies of the United States. Is the U.S. Justice Department treating them fairly?

In the CROSSFIRE, former White House Counsel Lanny Davis and former Justice Department lawyer Victoria Toensing who also served as chief counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Welcome.

BEGALA: Victoria, help me out here. I am big supporter of the war on terrorism, but you are going to have to explain to me why a foreigner, Richard Reid, accused of being the shoe bomber, has full access to the American constitutional courts and all of our protections, why a foreigner, French Algerian, Zacarias Moussaoui, has full protection of the Constitution and the American court system, but an American, Jose Padilla, sits in a brig with no prospects of any due process the way the foreigners are getting. Why?

VICTORIA TOENSING, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: You are going to have to follow along with me, and that is because on September the 12th, our law endorsement had to change its priorities on a dime. We left, going into an investigation, so that we could punish the person, to prevention, and prevention trumps punishment every single day.

It's unheard of in the history of law enforcement. I spent 20 years in law enforcement. We've never had that kind of an objective. And so in a case like Richard Reid, the crime was already committed. In the situation of Walker Lindh, the crime was already committed. That's punishment.

But in the case of the dirty bomber, Al Muhajir, which is the name that he took, the Islam name that he took, not his American name that he used for years -- in that case, the crime is not already committed. The crime was to take place. We need to stop it and prevent it.

BEGALA: So, that's the distinction. If we think...

TOENSING: Absolutely.

BEGALA: I if we think somebody's about to do a bad thing, we can lock them up, without seeing a judge, without seeing a lawyer, even if they're an American citizen?

TOENSING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you have to have evidence...

BEGALA: Where do you present it?

TOENSING: Well, you're not going to present it in open court.

BEGALA: Certainly not.

TOENSING: Because that...

BEGALA: That would be free.

TOENSING: No, because that may not allow future terrorist attacks to be prevented.

NOVAK: You know, Lanny Davis, there are two kinds of people in America. There is the kind of people who are really glad that Jose Padilla is under lock and key and who are trying to find out something about his operation, and there is some people whose hearts bleed for him. Which group are you in?


NOVAK: Neither? Oh.

DAVIS: I think that in a time of war, which we're in, we do have to stretch beyond traditional civil liberties concepts and we have to be willing to go beyond what we're ordinarily accustomed to. And I have tried my best to defend what I think are the excesses of Attorney General Ashcroft and the Justice Department, but I think that Victoria, who is a great lawyer, her hesitancy in answering Paul's question... NOVAK: I don't think she hesitated a bit.

DAVIS: He asked her who decides on the charges, and the answer that she gave really to me is the essence of my concern. At some point, we all have to ask as Americans, if we're leaving it up to a secret proceeding and an executive branch officer deciding to declare somebody a combatant, with no presentation of evidence, no presentation of charges, no judge or jury, no right to appeal, are we ultimately becoming worse than the enemies that we're fighting against? And we've got to be concerned about that, even though I do concede we're at war.

NOVAK: But Mr. Davis, you know, you were almost a regular on CROSSFIRE during the Clinton administration. You used to sit there and defend Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.

DAVIS: Proudly. Proudly so.

NOVAK: Proudly, though sometimes I think you held your nose.

DAVIS: Proudly so.

NOVAK: But you (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And you did it for free, and I can understand. But how in the world can you come on this program and have concern that somehow or other we're violating this scumbag's freedom? Surely you don't think that that is inflicting -- because they're holding this guy who wanted to terrorize America and the nation's capital, you're surely not saying that that is impinging on your freedom or my freedom?

DAVIS: The honest answer is that I have to have trust that there are people with good faith and fairness, with constitutional checks, without due process, without a jury, who are going to make judgments on the evidence and try to find people who they genuinely believe are terrorists and detain them. But I don't have much faith in this attorney general who spends $14,000 or some amount of money, dollars, covering up a woman's breasts on a statue.


DAVIS: I didn't interrupt you, Victoria. And then even somebody like Bob Novak, who I don't like to agree with on almost anything, was offended that he rushed to the microphones in Moscow, hogging, I think, media publicity, whereas this is a serious issue that he ought to be very restrained before he trumpets the fact that we have somebody in detention, when it really wasn't helpful, as you pointed out in your column.

TOENSING: One day, the Democrats criticized -- they said, oh, my goodness, what did George Bush know, when did he know it, what did the FBI know, when did they know it, you didn't give us notice, you knew stuff, you had the Moussaoui situation, you didn't arrest him, you didn't search him. And then the next day, the Democrats criticized by saying, oh, my gosh, you're taking away the rights. We didn't want you to act. You should open up the hearings, you should tell the terrorists everything you know. DAVIS: I didn't say that.

TOENSING: Well, but that's -- wait a minute. A very important criticism has been that we are not getting notice of when a possible terrorist attack may take place, we want to know what's going on. And so when the attorney general comes forward and says, we arrested this man a month ago, we now had to move him, we wanted you to know, because this is the time we had to move him and this is the basis on which we did it, you now criticize him because you don't want him to tell? You want him to be quiet?

BEGALA: Victoria, in fact, I think one of the reasons that Ashcroft -- it was (UNINTELLIGIBLE), not liberals who said this, in fact, it was the Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and unnamed sources from the White House who said that he overstated the case.

TOENSING: No, he never said that. He said somebody -- a reporter asked him, he said, "did you think it was a plot?" Wolfowitz says, "well, I don't know if I'd call it a plot." Well, plot is a legal term, conspiracy is a legal term. Wolfowitz thinks in terms of guns and tanks, not in terms of legal subtleties.

BEGALA: Let me suggest -- I think not the legal subtleties that drove Mr. Ashcroft, but instead the political realities. "The New York Times," "Newsweek," others have reported that before September 11, General Ashcroft did not list terrorism as one of the top 12 even items on his agenda, and in fact on September 10, tragic irony, he turned down a request for 149 new counterterrorism agents, for 200 new intelligence analysts, 54 new translators.

Could this be that he is now overcompensating for what certainly critics think was perhaps too low a priority?

TOENSING: A lot of people that if you've asked them their priorities, except for people like me who worked in it throughout the 1980s and had to do these cases and make all the decisions that you're now talking about, because I've been there, making them -- he didn't know it and neither did a whole lot of people, including just about every person in Congress.

NOVAK: Well, let me call in another witness, Lanny Davis, all on this business about how political it was to announce this and it was supposed to deflect criticism. The witness I'm going to call in is one of the most partisan Democrats I know, more partisan than you, the deputy majority leader of the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois. And let's put on the screen what he said. He said: "I am not going to suggest that there is some other agenda here. He was in custody for a month, and I'm sure they were evaluating the evidence against him before they made their final decision. It's not unreasonable."

Can you agree that there was no -- with Dick Durbin that there was no political motivation in releasing the arrest when they did?

DAVIS: I'm not accusing the attorney general of that. I question, as you did, why he had to grandstand, which is what I think he did in Moscow, and rush to the television cameras, rather than having it be done in an orderly fashion.

I am suspicious about the Attorney General Ashcroft constantly rushing to the microphones, and it does appear to me often politicizing, as we have indicated in an earlier segment, that the war should not be politicized.


TOENSING: ... you want him to hide at the Justice Department like Janet Reno did because...

BEGALA: Victoria Toensing, that is going to have to be the last word. Lanny Davis, thank you also for joining us. Both, two excellent attorneys.

Next, in "Round 6," Bob and I will take off the gloves and go one-on-one. And then it's your turn. One of our viewers is shocked that Novak and I actually found something to agree on.


BEGALA: Welcome back. We call this segment "Round 6," because this is the round that Bob and I get to climb in the ring, no guests, no script.

Bob, I want to come back to this secret computer disk that was found in Lafayette Square, Karl Rove's secret political strategy, and ask you, what is behind this? This is the last thing on Karl Rove's strategy -- in this observation, let me put it up here on the screen, he quotes a hero of mine and a great friend of mine, one of the great Democrats in Congress, Charlie Rangel. He says: "Representative Charles Rangel (D), Harlem, drew cheers when he hailed Clinton as quote, 'the last elected president of the United States,' and said, quote, 'it is our job to say we're not getting over Florida."

Now, that's interesting to me in a couple of things. First, you always return to the scene of the crime, Florida, and second, why pick on Charlie Rangel and identify him as Harlem? He represents a part of New York. It's D-New York, it's the convention. Why do you think they did that?

NOVAK: I'll tell you why. Charlie Rangel is a friend of George W. Bush. He's been very helpful to him. And they wanted to show that if a friend could be as nasty as that, think what the Carvilles and the Begalas are going to say about him.

It isn't racist. Let me tell you something, I can tell you that Karl Rove thinks it's a disgrace that Republicans got 9 percent of the African-American vote in the last election, and he believes it's a moral obligation, a moral obligation to go after the black vote in America. I know you don't want the Republicans to.

And let me show you something else. 2002, Bush outreach, is growing the vote with Latinos, in the suburbs, especially women, Catholics and union members, and they want to improve with African- American members, and not just -- they know it's going to be a slow process, but they want to do better with African-American numbers. So don't accuse them of playing the race card.

BEGALA: I didn't accuse them of anything. I'm curious. I will accuse them of playing the race card in Texas right now. I just came back from the Texas Democratic Convention, when the Republicans met Senator Phil Gramm and others, gave speeches that appealed directly to racial division. He said the Democratic ticket is led by Tony Sanchez -- Tony Sanchez is a Mexican American. Ron Kirk, who is running for Senate, is an African-American, and Phil Gramm stood up and others in their party and called it "the racial quota ticket." Now, that's outrageous, isn't it?

NOVAK: Well, you're just playing the race card, because you don't -- you want to keep that 90 percent of the black vote, and you're desperate to keep it, because if Democrats didn't have that, they'd really be in trouble.

BEGALA: But the Republicans will never get it when they divide people on race the way that Phil Gramm did in Texas this week. Shame on him.


Next, fire back. A female athlete sounds off about the so-called level playing field.


NOVAK: Time for "fire back," when the viewers fire back at us. Rick, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Griffith, Indiana writes: "While our country was under constant threat of another terrorist attack, is having its environment destroyed and is enduring one of the worst recessions in history" -- that's baloney -- "this disk reveals what the Bush administration's top priority is -- the acquisition and consolidation of power for Republicans. Disgusting."

Rick, I knew that Carville and Begala wrote that for you, because in fact, all the Republicans are trying to do is win the next election.

BEGALA: By politicizing the war.

Virginia in Wisconsin writes: "Why is the Bush administration so worried about high, fat and fast food? What about the Tex-Mex BBQ pork ribs? Anyway, it will be too hard to get a burger up to our mouths when we're wearing gas masks now that he has repealed so many of our clean air laws." Very good point. Very good point.

NOVAK: All right.

This one is from Nancy Chase in Omaha, Nebraska. I worked there once. She says: "I'm a 15-year-old girl from Omaha, Nebraska. Women have never asked the sports department to give up male programs, but then again, these men are finding out what it's like to be second best."

Thank you, Nancy, you showed what this women's movement is about. It's to try to punish men, that's the whole thing.

BEGALA: I hope Nancy and everybody in Omaha goes to the College World Series in Omaha this weekend, where my Texas Longhorns will win the national championship in baseball. Those are men playing baseball.

NOVAK: OK, OK, thank you.

BEGALA: Here is our last e-mail tonight from David Grimm in Reston, Virginia. "As a regular CROSSFIRE fan, I watched in stunned disbelief as Novak and Begala actually agreed on something, while at the same time showing such ignorance. Their comments on soccer were so wrong, so short-sighted, so old boy American that they failed to note that soccer is the sport that kids play the most. They seem not to get what the rest of the world knows, that the game is as much about teamwork as scoring."

David Grimm, I say again, watch the College World Series, baseball, Texas will win.

NOVAK: Question?

JOHN HERB (ph): If the Democrats had lost a computer disk...

NOVAK: Your name.

HERB (ph): Sorry, John Herb (ph) from Alexandria.

It the Democrats had lost a computer disk, it would read "avoid talking about the war, taxes and Bush's popularity."

NOVAK: And smear George W. That's what it would say.

BEGALA: No, it would read, "run on Social Security, Medicare, prescription drugs, education, the things that Democrats do and Republicans are against." That's what it would say.

Yes, sir, what's your question or comment?

MATT BEGOWEN (ph): Matt Begowen (ph), Marvin (ph), Pennsylvania. Quick question. If soccer is such an inferior sport, as you say, why is it that soccer, not baseball, is the number one sport worldwide?

NOVAK: Because most of the people around the world are not as advanced as Americans are.


BEGALA: They use soccer to organize their riots and their drinking binges and stuff. It's a different thing. Yes, sir? What's your question or comment?

DAVID BARKER (ph): David Barker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We learned earlier that Karl Rove apparently thinks that the war on terrorism is good politics. But given the fact that Osama bin Laden and so many other prominent members of the al Qaeda network are still at large, do you think he's right?

BEGALA: Actually, I hope it's not a political issue. It is a good point that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) President Bush, I did a search of the White House database. In the last 90 days, has only referred to bin Laden twice. That's astonishing. It should be our highest priority, stop al Qaeda.

NOVAK: Do you know where he is, Paul?

BEGALA: Where bin Laden is?

NOVAK: Yeah.

BEGALA: You give me...


NOVAK: Go ahead.

RICHARD LEAVEY (ph): Richard Leavey, Manchester, Connecticut.

Given the fact that we're at war, why shouldn't Attorney General Ashcroft use war powers to prosecute terrorists?

NOVAK: That's a good point. I think he should. Don't you?

BEGALA: There has been no declaration of war, for one thing, and second, we ought to have somebody reviewing these charges.

NOVAK: There wasn't any declaration in Korea or Vietnam either.

BEGALA: There should have been. I just don't trust Ashcroft.

NOVAK: All right.

BEGALA: From the left, I'm Paul Begala. Good night for CROSSFIRE.

NOVAK: I don't trust Begala. From the right, I'm Robert Novak. Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.


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