Is the NAACP Bent on Bush-bashing?; Britain's Drug Laws Go to Pot; All-Star Game Tie Outrages Fans
Aired July 10, 2002 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, is Al Sharpton a presidential candidate?
Britain goes soft on pot. Should U.S. laws change too?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not comparable with crack, heroin our ecstasy.
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ANNOUNCER: A tie game. A possible strike. A steroid controversy. Has baseball just struck out?
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is stupid! Major League Baseball has a black eye, anyway.
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ANNOUNCER: Ahead on CROSSFIRE.
From the George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE. Tonight, is it time to throw the bums out and find a new national pastime? Speaking of national pastimes, the British have just liberalized their marijuana laws. But don't light up yet. You'll need to be fully in control of your faculties for tonight's CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."
In Dallas, Texas today a self-proclaimed watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a shareholders' suit against the Halliburton company and its former CEO, Dick Cheney. Perhaps you've heard of him.
The suit alleges fraudulent accounting practices. So why is Judicial Watch, which -- pardon the pun -- tried to sue the pants off the Clinton administration -- why is it now targeting team Bush? The chairman, Larry Klayman, a man who once sued his own mother, points to what he calls the -- quote -- "dangerous intersection between politicians of all stripes, Democrat and Republican, tending to feed at the trough of business greed." He left out publicity- seeking attorneys.
The Cheney camp says -- quote -- "This is a case without merit." And, of course, it is.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: You know, there's also about 12 other lawsuits here. But the media don't stop to figure that out. And some of these plaintiffs feel like they have merit and I'm sure they'll work their way through there. But these things are pretty hard to prove.
CARLSON: But the idea of a conservative filing frivolous lawsuits, when that is usually, as you well know, the terrain of the left -- frivolity in general, and frivolous lawsuits in particular...
CARVILLE: That's why you all sued everybody else and tried to impeach somebody for something stupid like that.
CARLSON: That was a...
CARVILLE: The House of Representatives today voted to put something other than joysticks or swizzle sticks in the hands of airline pilots -- guns? The 310-113 vote would allow more than 70,000 commercial airline pilots to start packing heat in order to deter terrorists. It may deter passengers, too.
The Senate and the White House aren't sure pistol-packing pilots make the right poster boys for the friendly skies. So the bill may die in committee instead of on the shooting range. What do you think of that, Tucker?
CARLSON: The majority of airline pilots are veterans and know how to handle guns. They say they need the guns. The union says it needs the guns. I don't actually even understand the argument against the guns, except that...
CARVILLE: Let's try. There are some places -- I got guns out at my farm. But there are some places, the airlines might be one of them. You've got 70,000 pilots. Suppose maybe just three of them are nuts. Do you want to give three nuts a gun?
CARLSON: They're in control of commercial airlines. Presumably they've filtered out the nut cases before they give them the keys to the plane.
CARVILLE: America West, do you think those people who get on there drunk weren't crazy?
CARVILLE: It's a lot of filters with 70,000 people.
CARLSON: There's a difference, we hope.
The czars are gone and so is Stalin. But the streak of humourlessness characteristic of Russian leaders apparently remains. Just ask the two Russian college students who recently decided it would be a good idea to name their bar after Vladimir Putin, the current Russian president.
Putin, as the tavern was known, sold beer, drinks and cookies dedicated to the president. After less than three weeks, authorities arrived and strongly suggested the owners remove Putin's name. They did.
On the other hand, former President Boris Yeltsin, emerging from the vodka-inspired haze of retirement, immediately volunteered his name to any bar that would accept it, in return for free drinks for life.
CARVILLE: I thought Putin is pretty...
CARLSON: Remember when he jumped off the bridge into a river? I knew I liked him after that.
CARVILLE: Rudy Giuliani and Donna Hanover haven't agreed on much anything lately. But they agreed something today: a divorce settlement. Giuliani, who's reportedly expected to make $8 million in speaking fees this year, agreed to pay his ex-wife more than $6.8 million in legal fees.
As he left the courthouse, Rudy said he wants everything to work out for the best for Hanover and for their two children. Hanover didn't speak to reporters, but her attorney came out and declared that the settlement is -- quote -- "a spectacular win."
The Giulianis had been married for 18 years. The judge called the case a remarkable challenge because of the strong personalities involved. And, said the judge, "I hope I never see another one of you in my courtroom again."
All I say is I hope they have a happy life and I hope their children do well, in spite of their parents' differences.
CARLSON: And I hope I never hear another word about Rudy Giuliani's personal life. It detracts from the great things he's done, and it...
CARVILLE: That's one thing you Republicans hate, is to talk about people's personal lives.
CARLSON: I do, and I hate having...
CARLSON: I hate having them imposed on me, as a television viewer.
The Enron collapse has blossomed into more than a corporate scandal. Now it's a college course. This fall the University of California at Irvine will offer a class in business ethics, centered on the rise and fall of Enron. Whistle-blower Sharon Watkins will be a featured speaker.
The bulk of the course, however, will consist of role playing. Half the students will assume the role of the Clinton administration -- relaxing, playing golf and taking credit for a dangerously overheating economy as it inflates into a massive, unsustainable bubble.
The other half, known as the Bush team, will be charged with cleaning up the mess after the inevitable crash. Meanwhile, the first half will sneak out the back door and spend the rest of the semester collecting $100,000 speaking fees from multinational corporations.
CARVILLE: I want to say right now, Mr. President Clinton, that you and Ken Lay -- Ken Lay should not have supported Al Gore like that. Enron should not have given all that money to Al Gore and you. And you're right...
CARLSON: Enron did!
CARVILLE: Of course, George Bush didn't know Ken Lay. They wrote 350 letters to each other. I haven't written 350 letters in my life, man! What are you talking about?
CARLSON: James, the first time I ever saw Ken Lay was at a Gore event at the White House. True fact.
CARVILLE: True fact. Yeah, right.
CARLSON: It was a true fact.
CARVILLE: One thing about you Republicans is, you can't take responsibility of anything. It isn't just -- the attorney didn't file the thing on time with the SEC. It was Clinton that did it.
CARVILLE: This guy has had people picking up after him all of his life. You know, you are so lucky that a Republican administration was selected by the Supreme Court with a $5.6 trillion surplus that President Clinton left. And they ought to take the blame for going through the entire surplus...
CARLSON: For eight years, President Clinton coddled the greed heads who overheated this economy as the bubble got bigger and bigger.
CARVILLE: It was Clinton's SEC people that tried to put the regulations in. It was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that you people fight.
CARVILLE: If President Bush's speech on business ethics had been a Broadway play, it would have probably closed tonight. The reviews were that bad. Here's a sample from the "New York Times." "Disappointingly devoid of tough proposals."
The "Wall Street Journal," "an exercise in defensive politics."
But the most devastating reviews came from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. During Bush's speech, the Dow dropped 50 points. By the close of business yesterday, it had fallen 178 points. By the close of business today, the Dow had lost another 280 points more, at 8,813.
Believe it or not, according to the "Washington Post," the president's aides were hoping the speech would spark a market rally. With all due respect, Mr. President, if you want to do something to help the market, shut your mouth.
CARLSON: You know what, James? Not only is that unfair, you know that's unfair. The market fell on low earnings yesterday, not because...
CARVILLE: Do you think if the market would have gone up 460 points, that you wouldn't be sitting there saying the president took command and the market is responding to these things?
CARLSON: Actually, I wouldn't because I don't think any fair person can point to a single discreet event and say, that is absolutely responsible for a market jack.
CARVILLE: Why were the president's aides spinning to the press that this was going to cause the market to go up?
CARLSON: That was obviously not a smart thing to do.
CARVILLE: His aides said it was going to go up. Then he ought to get new aides.
CARLSON: Is that right? He ought to get some new aides?
CARVILLE: Remember when Michael Jackson was hot? Nowadays he's just angry, especially at his own label, the Sony record company. So Jacko is leading a crusade for better treatment of the blacks by all of the major record companies. And he has an ally in the Reverend Al Sharpton, who joins us from New York. (APPLAUSE)
CARLSON: Al Sharpton, my favorite Democratic presidential candidate, good evening. Thanks for joining us.
REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: How are you?
CARLSON: Terrific. And I am so glad you have a new cause. This is better than Tawana Brawley by a long shot. But I have to say, you're taking a lot of criticism, and Michael Jackson is, too, for this claim that racism has hurt him.
I want to read you a quote from a writer named Teray (ph). He writes for "Rolling Stone," knows a lot about music and the industry. Here's what he says. "For this guy, Michael Jackson, to have made hundreds of millions of dollars -- perhaps more money in the record business than anybody ever -- to come out and charge racism defangs the word racism, when we have boys in Inglewood being practically lynched by their chain."
Now, that's true, isn't it? I mean, there is racism in the world. Michael Jackson is not a victim of it.
SHARPTON: First of all, you're talking to somebody who's on their way to Inglewood, and who's dealing with racism in the industry. So I think that a lot of the writers and commentators, I've never seen them speak up about racism either.
I have heard from Michael Jackson around the Abner Louima case and other cases of police brutality. I don't think that's fair. But the issue is not Michael Jackson. I think that the music industry has an opportunity to refute the charges.
What we've said in this National Action Network summit, is that if you go across the board and look at the billions of dollars the industry makes in urban areas and areas of color, we do not see the contracts to minority businesses. We do not see the executives, as we used to see 20 years ago, that could sign deals.
Of the four majors, there's never been a president of color of any one of the four major record companies. So rather than castigate Jackson, they should answer the charges.
CARLSON: And, of course, they have answered the charges, calling it ludicrous. And that was one of the kinder terms.
But let me ask you this, then...
SHARPTON: But what are their answers? I missed that, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, here's one of the answers. Out of the 100 top- selling records in America today, 50 of them are performed by black artists. Now, black Americans make up about 12 percent of the population. That's a widely disproportionate larger number. Actually, black artists appear to be benefiting. SHARPTON: I know you're right wing, but I thought you could hear out of both ears. I said record contracts, record companies, the business contract, I said executives at the top. You're telling me who has a contract to be employees to sing. That doesn't answer the charge at all.
CARLSON: Look, Reverend Al, Michael Jackson made more money in the last 10 years than any record producer or record executive in the history of the United States. How is he the victim of racism?
SHARPTON: First of all, I don't think that that is the contention that he made or we made. Secondly, I think he's also generated more money than any record producer in the history of the business.
You act as if Michael Jackson, the largest-selling record artist of all time, shouldn't have got paid. They didn't give him a donation. They didn't go to Gary, Indiana, and say, let's give this guy some money. He earned the money because he is the biggest selling artist.
Having said that, if Michael Jackson can experience what he feels is wrong, imagine the little guy, white or black, that gets in one of these contracts. That's why we're fighting. We're saying if this could happen to Jackson, then a guy in middle America has no chance of fairness.
We want to correct it for everybody. Jackson just puts a spotlight on it. But clearly, Jackson can fight his own cause with lawyers. What about the little guy? That's why we're trying to address this to the industry.
And again, you have not been able to answer any of it because there are no answers. They cannot explain why all artists, black and white, get in these contracts that are not fair, which lock them away from owning their masters. And they can't certainly deal with the diversity that they have really not risen to the occasion of fairness in the record industry when it comes to people of color.
CARVILLE: I find it hard to believe that the recording industry would do anything -- I think that they love profits more than there's sort of racism involved, just from the way these people operate. And I think Michael Jackson is a weird guy.
But I do know, growing up in Louisiana and loving music as a young guy, that there's a historic amount of racism in the industry. I'm correct on that, right, Reverend Sharpton?
SHARPTON: And that's exactly what we're saying. You know, not just Michael Jackson. We had artists there at the summit. One of the daughters of Otis Blackwell, who wrote many of Elvis Presley's hits. This is not about one person. I think we must commend Michael for helping to bring it out.
CARVILLE: I don't think it makes me a racist. I think he's the weirdest guy I've seen in my life. But that's actually my own opinion, you know?
SHARPTON: Let me put it this way. If he's weird, Sony Records invested millions of dollars behind him. They didn't think he was so weird.
SHARPTON: And both Republican and Democratic presidents have brought him to the White House. They didn't think he was weird. In fact, he was the biggest fund-raiser they had this year.
CARVILLE: I understand. I said he's weird. That doesn't mean people shouldn't buy his records. I just think he's a weird guy. But forget that for a second.
Is your charge that the record industry treats black recording artists worse than white recording artists? Or do they treat all recording artists worse?
SHARPTON: I think that the record industry treats all recording artists as indentured servants. I think that they also have business practices that are bad for blacks. I think we have two issues here, both that need to be dealt with.
CARLSON: Well, let me ask you, if they need to be dealt with now, presumably they've needed to be dealt with for a long time. And that's the subject of this quote -- I want you to listen to this -- from Karol Boolay (ph) at "Billboard" magazine. Again, another pretty acute observer of the industry.
She says: "So this is a new policy of racism at Sony. You said Michael sold millions of records before this point. Were they racist then? They seem to have promoted Michael in the past. He's the king of pop. You don't get there without help."
In other words, look, his record tanked, OK? They put tens of millions into the record. They didn't get the money back. He's mad about it. There's a dispute. But if they have been racist for the last 30 years, why hasn't he said word one about that?
SHARPTON: That's like saying that, you know, you've been in the back of the bus so long, why mess it up now? Doesn't matter when someone raises the issue. It matters whether the issue is right. And again, Tucker, I've asked you three times, show me the business contract.
We've been on this for days now. Not one record company has said, here's our business practices. Here are the vendors we deal with in the minority community. Here's the fairness of contracts for blacks and whites. It's very easy to answer.
Rather than do that, they castigate Michael Jackson, who they promoted. I didn't put $60 million behind him. They did. CARLSON: Just for the record, nobody is defending the details of record contracts, which I'm sure are abusive, as many contracts are. The question is, are they racist?
OK, we're going to have to take a quick break. Mr. Sharpton, major Democratic presidential candidate, we will return to you in just a minute. We'll ask Mr. Sharpton about the NAACP's top priority these days: Bush bashing.
Later, lighting up a joint in Britain will still get you a ticket, but not a trip to jail. Does that mean a lightened attitude? We'll ask the head of the DEA.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. If you think it's been a long time since Michael Jackson was relevant -- and it has -- consider the NAACP.
At their convention this week, members of the nation's oldest civil rights organization indulge in a frenzy of name-calling, most of it aimed at the Bush administration. That's the next topic of our discussion with Al Sharpton, who joins us from New York City.
CARVILLE: Reverend Sharpton, as Governor Bush refused to attend a funeral of James Byrd, the man who was tragically hauled behind a pickup truck and was murdered, what was the reaction of the black community in Texas to Governor Bush's failure to show respect by attending the Byrd funeral?
SHARPTON: I think that it was the height of insensitivity. I attended and spoke at that funeral. And frankly, I was very surprised that then Governor Bush would not come and show how the state was outraged. Here was a man who was dragged through the streets of Jasper, Texas, his torso found a mile away from the rest of his body. And one of the most horrific hate crimes of our lifetime. And the governor couldn't break his schedule to come and personally console the family and send a signal that that would not be tolerated.
CARVILLE: Were people outraged by his failure to show the respect to this family and to black Texans, at this outrageous crime?
SHARPTON: They were outraged. They were very vocal about it. They were very hurt about it. And I think that it sent a signal that was not good for the state of Texas or the country. I think in some things, we must come together.
CARLSON: I wonder at the fact that you've turned it into a political circus, that you leveraged this man's death for your own political ends. I wonder if that had anything to do with his decision not to attend the funeral.
SHARPTON: How is protesting a racial murder -- what political end? I'm not running for office of...
CARLSON: I'll tell you, Mr. Sharpton, because there's not a single person in America who wasn't appalled by that hate crime. And that's what it was and the governor of Texas said it at the time. But for you to swoop in from Brooklyn to get political capital out of this man's death is pretty appalling. Don't you think it's understandable that a governor wouldn't want to participate in a circus like that?
SHARPTON: I think that you should do your research. I came in at the invitation of the family, who asked me to speak. They also invited the governor. The fact that I could come in from Brooklyn and respond to their invitation, and the governor couldn't come in from another part of Texas, shows more about his politics than mine.
CARLSON: Let me ask you about something more current. Just the other day at the NAACP meeting, Jesse Jackson was there. You know him. You've supplanted him as America's foremost civil rights activist. He had this to say, and this is part of the reason you have supplanted him.
He actually said this. I'm quoting now. "Today we face the most threatening combination to civil rights in 50 years," he said, referring to the president and the attorney general.
Now, 50 years ago was 1952. That was two years before Brown versus Board of Education. Segregation was the law of the land. There were many atrocities to come in 1952. That's crazy. I mean...
SHARPTON: First of all, you're confusing racial incidents with racial and justice policies. There is unquestionably policies that have eroded the civil rights and civil liberties of Americans. And I think Reverend Jackson is absolutely correct. I don't think anybody has supplanted him, but we'll deal with that on another show.
I think that what he said speaks to the truth of what has happened under this administration. The erosion of civil rights, the sanitizing of the policy of racial profiling, the appointments of people that would be fighting affirmative action, is an absolute threat of policy.
CARVILLE: Let me ask you something. After Senator John Ashcroft's despicable treatment of Judge Ronnie White, which provoked one of the largest black turnouts in Missouri history, can you think of any reason why black America should have any faith that this Justice Department will enforce civil right laws, protect the interests of black people?
SHARPTON: Well, not only was Senator Ashcroft's treatment of White, his denial of racial profiling in his own home state of Missouri. And I think that if you look at the record and deal with the consistent pattern of insensitivity that we've seen from Bush and Ashcroft, and then the policy since they've been in office, I think that the statements of the NAACP were accurate and on point.
CARVILLE: Thank you for answering my very tough questions, Reverend Sharpton.
CARLSON: I must say, I wish we had more time for the demagoguery. It is amusing, if nothing else. But unfortunately, we're out of time.
CARLSON: Good luck on your campaign.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
CARLSON: Still to come, if it's good enough for London, is it good enough for Las Vegas? We'll look at the push to liberalize marijuana laws.
Later, why can't Major League baseball get to first base anymore?
And later still, James Carville takes a swing at our quote of the day. It comes from a White House insider who apparently got it wrong. Be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. Our quote of the day concerns a political attack ad aimed at the White House. It also seems to have sparked something of a mystery. Who is behind it?
We showed you the ad yesterday. It attempts, in a pretty ham- handed way, to tie the Bush administration to the ongoing corporate accounting scandals. Here's a mercifully quick reminder.
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ANNOUNCER: Remember the saying about foxes guarding the hen house? Well, guess what's happening in Washington?
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CARLSON: So, who did that? White House spokeswoman Anne Womack had no doubt. She gets the quote of the day for telling "The New York Times" -- quote -- "Given the source of the ads, given that they come from James Carville, they represent the most partisan of partisan attacks," end quote.
Everybody seemed to believe James Carville had something to do with the ad, which makes sense. Even this network reported he was involved. And earlier today, our competitor, the FOX News Channel, picked up on the story and made hay with it, asking CNN for a statement. Well, we didn't give one until now. Let's give that statement and perhaps a new quote of the day, from James Carville.
You are aligned with the forces of darkness. Did you have anything to do with this? CARVILLE: Let me give FOX News -- let me give Mr. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and Mr. O'Reilly and the whole crowd over there a statement. I'm a liberal Democrat. I'm a partisan. Get it straight, OK?
CARLSON: You are looking crazier than ever, I have to say.
CARVILLE: Unfortunately, I can't take credit for this. I think the ad was both appropriate and accurate. I didn't know it was running. I had nothing to do with the production of it. I know the people at American Family Voices. I don't have any affiliation with them, other than I talk to them all the time. I've been to a fund- raiser for them and I've been to a press conference.
(UNINTELLIGIBLE) this White House doesn't get anything right, why should you.
CARLSON: So what you're saying is, while you, in a general sense, work for evil, you didn't in this specific case do this evil thing?
CARVILLE: I'm saying in a specific sense, is I work so people can get ahead at this administration that was illegally put in there by five Supreme Court justices. And as we are we are watching them sit by and do nothing, while people are losing money...
CARVILLE: Of course I'd do it. Believe me, if I did it, I would have been proud of myself.
CARLSON: But you were busy doing something else evil, so you didn't have time to do this.
CARVILLE: I wouldn't expect this White House to get anything right, because they haven't gotten anything right since they've been in office.
CARLSON: But don't you think it makes sense that when something bad happens in Washington, that immediately people think James Carville? I mean, it's not -- I mean, it does make some sense.
CARVILLE: I think anytime that someone is trying to accurately portray this administration, that this president engaged in Enron-type accounting and business, that this president is accused of and has not been exonerated by the SEC for insider trading, that this president's company was bought only because his father was president. I'll say all those things publicly. I'll say it to the whole FOX network.
CARLSON: And if I understood what you were saying, I suspect I'd be offended. But I don't, so I'm not. Coming up, Allen Iverson may be facing more than a full-court press. CNN's Connie Chung will have the details next, in a news update.
And then, pull out your roach clips and head to the voting booth. You won't believe what's on Nevada's ballot.
Also tonight, taking a swing at baseball. Be right back.
(INTERRUPTED FOR NEWS ALERT)
CARVILLE: Connie, in the Inglewood thing, I've seen the tape. Do we know what happened before this? What the police claim happened prior to this tape?
CONNIE CHUNG, CNN ANCHOR: Well, according to a sheriff's deputy spokesperson, they claim that the police officers who were on the scene claim that the young man, the teenager, lunged at them and also did not follow orders in the beginning, when he returned back to the car after getting potato chips.
He was asked to do several things, you know, move back and then step into the squad car and he did none of those things. His family claims that he -- since he is disabled a bit in terms of auditory and in speech, with the speech impediment -- he did not and does not often understand what people are saying immediately. It takes him awhile.
CARLSON: OK. Connie Chung in New York.
CHUNG: So that's basically the conflict.
CARLSON: That sounds -- fascinating story. Thank you for covering it. We'll see you at the top of the hour. Connie Chung in New York. Thanks.
Still to come, we'll ask CNN's Jeff Greenfield about an obscure baseball rule. How many self-inflicted black eyes are necessary before the game itself is out?
But next, is it time to declare a defeat on the war on drugs? England has, Nevada may. What about you? We'll find out. We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in beautiful Foggy Bottom in Washington, D.C.
Put this in your pipe and smoke it, or maybe even inhale it.
Dateline, London. English authorities are relaxing their country's marijuana laws. In most cases police would simply confiscate the drug and issue a warning. Dateline, Nevada. This November votes will see a ballot proposal out on adults that possess up to three ounces of marijuana. There's a war against drugs going to pot.
Joining us from Fresno, California is Asa Hutchinson, head of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
CARLSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) thanks for joining us.
Part of the rationale, as I understand it, or as it was explained yesterday by the British home secretary, is that look, England, Britain has a significant drug problem, a lot of heroin addicts, problems with cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy.
The idea is why waste our time going after pot smokers when we could be using and should be using our resources to go after users and abusers of hard drugs.
ASA HUTCHINSON, DEA ADMINISTRATOR: That's right. That is their way they express it. But the fact is that they are still remaining a tough policy on these other drugs, but the question is, whether you want to increase marijuana use or not, even David Blunkett, the home secretary, says we warned people these are harmful drugs, they're dangerous, stay off of them.
Well, if that's the case, then why would you want to send the signal that there's less risk in marijuana and it's OK? And so I think it's a wrong step to minimize the punishments there, because as young people see less risk in using marijuana, marijuana use will increase, and it is still a harmful drug.
So I think the correct policy is let's don't move that direction, because what we're doing is effective in reducing young people and adults in using these harmful drugs.
CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you're leading now the war on drugs. How goes it with the war? Are we winning this thing, or tying it, or losing it? What's the score out there?
HUTCHINSON: Well, that's one of the great myths of this generation, that there's not any success or antidrugs efforts. The fact is that over the last 20 years we've reduced overall drug use by 50 percent. That's 9 million fewer drug users today than there were 20 years ago.
Cocaine use down 75 percent. And whenever you look at the fact that 95 percent of Americans do not use illegal drugs, I would say that this is a successful approach to a very difficult social problem, and that we should not abandon this type of successful strategy.
CARLSON: But not all drug use, as you said, is the same. I mean, shooting heroin is much different from smoking marijuana. One is much worse than the other for you and for society. So in a world with finite resources, law enforcement resources for one, why not focus them all on the most damaging drugs?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I mean, that's a good point, Tucker, and we all are subject to limited resources. I'm out here fighting methamphetamine. We're concerned about cocaine and heroin. So we all set our priorities.
And we understand that if law enforcement has limited resources, they can't go after and arrest everyone. That's fine. We set our priorities. But to send a signal that, well, let's reduce the penalties for marijuana, when we're already not arresting them and putting them in jail, sends the signal that marijuana use is not risky.
Young people get confused. They say, hey, it must be all right. It's going to go up. And so if you want to increase marijuana use, harmful drug use, then that's the signal to do, by decreasing the penalties for it.
CARVILLE: Well, look. Let's be honest. Our last two presidents have used marijuana. I've used marijuana before. I don't want to speak for Tucker, but I suspect he has and a lot of other people. How big a mistake is that that we did something like that? How big of an error did make? Should I feel guilty about this?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I don't think the job is making people feel guilty. I think that we should discourage marijuana use, experimentation, educate that it's wrong. In fact, more teens are in treatment for marijuana use than any other drug, 225,000 Americans are in treatment for marijuana use. So I think that we should discourage the use but understand that people do make mistakes and they should not be penalized forever.
And so, you know, Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged that but he still has a tough drug policy, and I don't see that as inconsistent. We make mistakes. We don't penalize everyone forever. We are a forgiving society, we move on.
CARLSON: Well, you -- it almost, it sounds to me, maybe I'm mishearing -- making the case not for liberalization but for dramatically lessening the penalties, as Nevada is considering, as England has done. I mean, you just said that for marijuana smoking, generally people don't get arrested. So why not just codify that? Why not just make that the law, that you don't get arrested, and isn't that a reflection of what happens anyway? That's what you're saying.
HUTCHINSON: Well, let me make it clear. I think it's a wrong step for Britain to take. I think it's the wrong step for any state to move to legalize or to decriminalize these harmful substances. The objective is to illustrate the risk associated with it. It is illegal because it is harmful, and that's what discourages use. What I'm saying is that obviously it's another myth that we're locking up all the users and they're filling up our prisons.
That's not the case. You still have to work pretty hard to get into prison for drug use today. We're referring people to treatment programs so they can get over their addiction problems whenever they are an addict, but it's guided into crime problems, so we're targeting our resources on the trafficker, on the violent offenders and on the serious problems that we have, but let's send the signal it is illegal conduct. We ought to discourage that behavior and usage.
CARLSON: OK. Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, now director of the Drug Enforcement Agency, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
HUTCHINSON: Thank you.
CARLSON: One of our viewers has fired back a thought on pot possession. We'll get to that in a bit.
But on deck, the game was a tie, the fans were fit to be tied as the tide turned against our national pastime.
Pronounce it. Watch it. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. This afternoon Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig defended his decision to end last night's All-Star game with a 7-7 tie in the 11th inning.
Selig said he wanted to do what was in the fan's interest, but both teams had used up all their players. Considering the games overpaid temperamental players, the allegations of steroid use, and the possibility of a strike this fall, perhaps baseball has used up all the fans' goodwill.
Do we need a new pastime? Who's on first? What's on second? I don't know's on third, and CROSSFIRE baseball analyst -- newly minted today -- Jeff Greenfield is in New York.
CARVILLE: Jeff, let's turn to what happened last night and we'll get into more serious things. The commissioner called the game. Couldn't he have said, "Suspend the rules and let people come back in and let these guys keep playing?" This is not soccer. Hell, they don't go to a baseball game to see a tie.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: I think that they were profoundly shocked by the notion that a baseball game might go more than nine innings. It seemed not to have occurred anybody that if you use every player by nine innings, what are you going to do if it goes 10? My earliest All-Star memory was Stan Musial breaking up the 1955 All-Star game with a 12th inning home run.
Sure, but that would have required the kind of creativity and the kind of original thinking that baseball hasn't shown much of, which is why it's in part of the mess we're in. It also, if I may have a tip of the hat to the right wing of your panel, it's what's wrong with affirmative action. Every team has to be represented and everybody has to play.
CARLSON: But there's another explanation that some people -- though I, of course, like your last one -- that some people are floating around.
Marc Fisher from the "Washington Post" wrote today an analysis, an outraged analysis of last night's game. Here's part of it.
"With the two teams fresh out of pitchers, neither manager wanted to risk straining the arms of the millionaire athletes they had on the mound for a game that had gone into extra innings. Never mind 42,000 had paid $125 to be there or that millions had stayed up deep into the night to watch it on television. Who could possibly care about them?"
The idea is these people are too rich, completely out of touch with their fans. Is that true?
GREENFIELD: Well, it may be true in another dimension, but I'll tell you, the idea, even if the rules had permitted it, of bringing a pitcher who had thrown a couple innings back on the mound, that wouldn't have worked.
Look, we've seen regular season games after the pennant races have been decided where, as a lark, the managers put a shortstop on the mound and pitched an inning or two, but they'd used up all their players, and nobody had thought to say, you know, for an All-Star game, maybe it wouldn't be the worst in the world to kind of bend the rules, even in the middle of the 12th inning, and say, OK, I'd love to see Barry Bonds throw a baseball, you know? I'd love to see Derek Jeter throw a pitch, sure.
CARVILLE: I agree with you. Marc Fisher doesn't know anything about baseball. Let me -- let me go to something else here, Jeff. As you know, in labor management disputes, my sympathies generally reside with labor.
In this dispute coming up in baseball, I kind of think management has a pretty good point here. Am I losing my philosophical underpinnings here, going crazy or something? Who's got a good point here?
GREENFIELD: Well, perish the thought, James, because I don't know what the Democratic party would do if you lost your bearings. But this -- look, this is a case where, as somebody once said, it's hard not to root for injuries to both sides, because you've got players who make tens of millions of dollars a year and complain when they break a hang nail, and you've got owners - Edward Bennett Williams once said after he was in baseball, "I always thought you had to be smart to be rich, and then I met the guys who owned baseball teams."
So the equities are on neither side. But this much you have to say. Unless some way is found to change the imbalance, where a team like the New York Yankees can go out and buy almost everybody it wants, while a team like Montreal or Milwaukee or Pittsburgh, because of the small size of the market, is financially paralyzed, baseball is going to be in a fix.
And here, if I may tip my hat to the left wing, we need a little more socialism. We need what -- the National Football League splits its television revenues absolutely evenly. Green Bay can compete with New York, regardless of the size of the population.
But you also must have a situation where the owners have got to stop dreaming that they can go back to the way it was until the 1970s, when they owned a player for life and could take the most valuable player in the league and cut that player $10,000, because the player didn't have any place else to go.
CARLSON: But Jeff, I question the idea that this is even a union in the first place. I mean, it's more like a rich guy cartel. They're not part of the labor movement. If the concession sellers, for instance, go on strike, the baseball players don't refuse to play for fear of betraying their fellow working man, fellow union members. They're not really a union, are they?
GREENFIELD: No, they are. And I think you just have to look to the way it was before the reserve clause was knocked out by an arbitrator in 1975 and the baseball players actually got some power. In that situation, you were locked into your team for life.
What's different here, and what's hard for people to sympathize with, and I understand that, is when we think of labor members we think of old songs like, "Which Side Are You On?", songs that James Carville sings to his children to get them to go to sleep. "The Banks Are Made of Marble." I know all those songs, I was raised on them.
And when a guy is making $15 million, $16 million a year for working seven months a year, it's kind of hard to see him as the honest son of labor. But you are in a situation -- the fundamental question is not whether or not the players should make a lot of money. They should, because they have a skill that is unique.
I'll tell you, Tucker, if you and I went out to Yankee Stadium and tried to substitute for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, the only reason fans would come is to see people really get hurt. Those guys deserve their money. The question is whether they have to make an accommodation so that, as in pro basketball and other sports, there is a salary cap -- I mean, $10 million, $13 million a year probably is OK, and a situation where the owners have some kind of equality in competing for talent.
But as a union, yes, I think the players were right to organize a union, and I think that if you ask where should the money go to pay for these extraordinary skills, should it go to the owners because their daddies were rich, or should it go to the players, I'm still with the players on that one.
CARVILLE: I'm for the players, but a guy -- baseball fans all over the country on this steroid thing saying, "A guy makes $12 million a year. Is it really asking him too much to piss in a cup?" I mean, are the people crazy when they say that, or am I crazy?
GREENFIELD: James, I'm not sure that the first part of that sentence is connected to the second.
CARVILLE: Well, of course it is. You make all this money and they want to see that you are drug free if you play baseball, and baseball fans like myself, we want to see what people can actually do without being drug-induced. Are we crazy?
GREENFIELD: No, James, don't keep asking me if I think you're crazy. You might get the wrong answer here. But the more fundamental point is this. Look, there are people who make a lot less money than ball players who you want to make sure aren't on drugs like, say, airline pilots.
CARVILLE: I agree.
GREENFIELD: But this relates to yet a different point. Baseball is facing a whole lot of dilemmas. Part of it is the imbalance in the cities. Part of it is that fans no longer see these folks as heroes, for a whole lot of reasons.
I mean, a lot of athletes wind up more, you know, in the tabloids and in the sheets of the criminal court proceedings than they do on the back of bubble gum cards.
I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying to baseball players, "We really want to know that this is a product of your skill and your conditioning, not your pharmaceutical selection talent."
So -- but that's not because they make $12 million a year. That's just because they, you know, of a much broader point. I want to -- I think maybe we need to test, oh, I don't know, political analysts on television to make sure...
CARLSON: This is where you're moving into dangerous territory.
CARVILLE: I'll tell you, you give me as much money as a baseball player, I'll pee anywhere you want me to. I guarantee it.
CARLSON: Jeff, I wish we could continue with the debate about James Carville's sanity, but we can't. We are out of time. CROSSFIRE's baseball analyst Jeff Greenfield from New York, thank you.
GREENFIELD: Take care.
CARLSON: Next up, James and I step up to the plate and let you "Fireback" at us. One viewer makes a threat of violence against one of us. You'll have to stay tuned to find out who it is. We'll be right back.
CARSON: Welcome back. It's time for "Fireback," the time in the show we hand the program over to you, or at least ask you to write e- mails. You do. Here are some.
First up, Charles Shaw from Chicago, Illinois writes, "Doff your caps to Britain for finally having the courage to be the first major Western power to stand up and make sensible policy regarding this relatively harmless substance." That is ludicrous, the idea that Britain is a major Western power. Luxembourg with castles. I mean, come on, major Western power.
It's a nice place to visit, but I mean...
CARVILLE: ...Afghanistan. Ask the Argentines if they ain't a major problem. Kicked them pretty good down there in the Falklands.
CARLSON: Beating Argentina does not make you major.
CARVILLE: "I would like to see our president go after corporations like he went after Osama, but he needs to actually bring the corporations to justice!"
Deborah McCart, Sarasota, Florida.
Deborah, I suspect -- and I'll just say this right now -- I think the president has already has gotten Osama. I think he's actually dead and I think we'll find that out. That's just a -- just a hunch I have.
I don't think that the president understands anything about what's going on in corporate America today because he has always had somebody pick up and clean up after him.
CARLSON: Wait, are you saying that Osama bin Laden has been killed but the president is keeping it a secret for some sort of...
CARVILLE: No, I don't think we know for sure. No, no, no, I don't want to say that. I mean, I don't think they know for sure, and I agree. I think he's acting prudently by not saying it until he can actually prove it.
CARVILLE: I actually approve of that with the president.
CARLSON: Tim Vanderpool from Kentucky writes, "Can someone please take that tie off Tucker's neck and put it over his mouth so he doesn't interrupt everyone else when they are trying to speak?"
In other words, gag a man in the name of free speech. That's kind of a classic liberal position, isn't it?
CARVILLE: Just gag a man in the interest of sanity.
CARLSON: That's right! Free speech is if I disagree with you, then shut up.
CARVILLE: All right. Let's see what we got to say here. It's about free speech.
"James Carville is the quintessential pitbull liberal." That's right, I am. Thank you, I'm proud of that. "His incessant interruptions of well documented and thought out ideas..."
CARLSON: Those are mine.
CARVILLE: ..."with inane rhetoric border on 'I know you are but what I am I?'"
Perry Reid, Toronto.
You're a Canadian.
CARLSON: I can't disagree with that as much as I'd like to.
And questions. Yes, sir.
JOSHUA: Hey, James and Tucker. Thanks. My name's Joshua Mike (ph) from Louisville, Kentucky, and I was wondering if you think Congress should pass a law for baseball players having mandatory drug testing if the owners and players don't come to a mutual agreement?
CARLSON: No, come on. I think I'm pretty much against mandatory drug testing except for people who fly commercial airliners.
But no, you know, it may be a messed up system now. Wait until Congress gets a hold of it.
CARVILLE: I'm for it for truck drivers. I -- it's a good question. I think that they ought to do it.
I want to clean something up. Marc Fisher, I called him an idiot. That was a little strong. However, if he was suggesting that they take pitchers that had already had pitched and make them pitch, I think he's just dead wrong and doesn't understand baseball. But if he was suggesting that they take third baseman or center fielders and make them go out there and pitch like we do in a pick-up game, when these people make all this money and people paid, then he's right.
So Marc, I don't know you. I take it back. You're not an idiot.
CARLSON: That's very responsible for you, James. The first time tonight. Yes, another question?
VICKY: My name is Vicky from Los Angeles, California. And James Carville, I have a question for you. What makes you and the Democrats think you are better advocates for the African-American community, when Republicans have fought longer and harder for slaves, and Abraham Lincoln even freed them in the 1860s?
CARVILLE: I agree that Abraham Lincoln did free the slaves in 1860s. If you go back and you look at the civil rights legislation, if you look at what presidents have stood by this, if you look at what presidents have caused more -- have brought about more access, if you look at Bill Clinton's appointments, you can see it's not even a comparable record. And to assume that you'd have to assume that African-Americans as a whole are very stupid people, because about 92 percent of them vote Democratic, and they do it for a very good reason, that they're smart and know they know the Democratic party is liberal.
CARLSON: Yes, OK, and on to the next. Let me just point out that Democrats created and sustained Jim Crow. Unfortunately we are out of time. I wanted to get to that question but unfortunately we had to correct the historical record.
CARVILLE: From the left, I'm James Carville. Good night for CROSSFIRE.
CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night for another edition of CROSSFIRE. "CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins immediately after a CNN "News Alert."
See you tomorrow night.
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