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CNN CROSSFIRE

Bush Holds Economic Conference; Hatfill Says FBI and Media Ruined His Life; Reality TV Shows Draw Comparisons with Roman Bloodsport

Aired August 13, 2002 - 19:00   ET

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


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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The people here are the people who really make America work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Money talks, W. listens. Did anyone hear anything new?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corporations today are very complex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We must set high standards for education.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thank you very much for the tax cut that we have. But sir, we need another one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: He was tried and convicted in the press, but he never did anything wrong. Tonight we'll ask Richard Jewell's attorney: Doesn't the government ever learn?

It got Ozzy and Anna, and soon even more. Really, now, is that entertainment?

Ahead on CROSSFIRE.

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

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE.

Tonight, a group of self-delusional right-wingers and in a heavily armed compound in Waco, Texas surrounded by federal agents. Branch Davidians? No, the Brush economic summit.

And, speaking of time-wasters, we're tuning into reality TV. Danny Bonaduce from "The Partridge Family" fame will explain why the critics are wrong, and why it really is just great entertainment.

But first our daily version of reality TV featuring real politicians. Here comes the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Declaring that the foundations of the American economy are strong, President Bush today presided over an economic summit in Waco, Texas. The meeting featured people from all walks of life, especially if you do a lot of walking with lobbyists, CEOs, and major Bush campaign donors.

Those who oppose the president's economic policies, and anyone else who actually might tell the president the truth -- that his policies have failed -- were excluded from the meeting.

Bush was so pleased by the pep rally, he's considering future summits on what a good dancer he is, and how his public speaking style is reminiscent of Winston Churchill.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Clever line but, in fact, the meeting, as you know, was packed with Democrats and labor leaders and people who actually make things and create the economy. Paul, Ralph Nader was not there, sorry.

The actor whose character and, perhaps, career went down with the Titanic has a new cause. Perhaps it's the seaweed in his hair, but Leonardo DiCaprio has gone bright green. He's trying to convert President Bush. In a statement declaring the U.S. to be the world's biggest polluter, DiCaprio urges President Bush to make amends by attending the upcoming Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. DiCaprio also wants the Bush administration to enact the Clinton-era international climate treaty called the Kyoto Protocol.

If the Titanic looked bad when they finally found it, wait until you see what that would do to the U.S. economy.

And it's true, it would. And I don't know why Democrats support it. They wouldn't vote for it, but they yap about it...

BEGALA: Leonardo DiCaprio is probably a talented actor, but he's very naive about politics. If you want Bush to listen to you, you don't give a thoughtful statement about public policy, you write him a check, he gives (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

The "Washington Post," always quick to report the obvious, declares today that congressional Republicans are running away from President Bush's proposal to privatize Social Security like the devil runs from holy water.

While the "Post" notes that such supporters of privatization as Republican Congressman George Gekas of Pennsylvania and Chip Pickering of Mississippi are now born-again defenders of FDR's masterpiece.

But the "Post" missed one prominent Republican who's standing steadfast in support of privatizing Social Security, Lindsey Graham, running for the Senate in South Carolina is telling the state newspaper, his privatization plan could cost $2 trillion. Keep on calling for privatizing Social Security Lindsey and soon you, too, will know the joys of working in the private sector.

CARLSON: But you know what makes it just sadly amusing and what a thrill, Paul, is Lindsey Graham is going to win, as you know. And if he loses...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... well, he's going to win. You watch.

BEGALA: Wait, wait, you'll eat what?

CARLSON: I'll eat this script.

A couple of months ago Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia made an astounding accusation: The terrorist attacks of September 11, she claimed, were orchestrated by none other than President George W. Bush, who murdered 3,000 Americans in order to generate profits for his friends in the oil industry. That's what she said.

In the days following McKinney's slander, Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt did not demand that she leave the party. Her fellow Democrats said virtually nothing.

Now, perhaps, they will. The "Washington Post" reports this morning that McKinney has received thousands in campaign donations from anti-Semites and supporters of terrorism, including a number of individuals under investigation by the Justice Department for funding al Qaeda.

A spokesman for the American Muslim Council defends McKinney, saying that the congresswoman has been, quote, "unfairly targeted by the Jews."

America waits to see if McKinney's fellow Democrats agree.

Do you agree, Paul?

BEGALA: No.

McKinney's fellow Democrats have mounted a very serious primary against her. A woman named Diane (sic) Majette who is a judge in Georgia. She's going to win. Cynthia McKinney will lose that primary. You say this script, and you will see. Cynthia McKinney is going to lose.

Well, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, they weren't. But when John Sununu and Bob Smith squared off in their New Hampshire Republican primary last night, there was a similar difference in stature. Perhaps recalling how Honest Abe towered over the little giant, some clever advance (ph) person taped together two phone books behind Sununu's podium.

Bob Smith, you see, has a build somewhat resembling Andre the Giant. And Sununu, on the other hand, while not exactly Mini-Me, is not a very tall man.

Sadly for Sununu, though, the plan fell apart when Smith arrived on the set first and claimed the podium with the phone book.

The winner faces Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a woman of true stature.

CARLSON: I'd love to attack the phoniness, Paul; but as someone who works in television, I can't.

In news from the progressive front tonight, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York has decided to intrude even more forcefully into the private lives of the people he governs. Having announced his plan to ban smoking in all restaurants and bars, Bloomberg is now mulling whether to make smoking illegal on beaches and in parks -- in other words, outdoors, where the only person hurt by cigarette smoking is the one who does it.

The idea is likely to become law, of course. And, of course, it's only the beginning. Other Bloomberg-supported legislation would prohibit not simply smoking, but the dangerous act of thinking about smoking, or of any other unhealthy or unfashionable thing.

"Purity of thought," declared Mayor Bloomberg, "is the next horizon in public health."

And no doubt it is.

BEGALA: And I need to make a quick correction. We actually showed a piece of videotape of former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, former White House chief of staff. It is his son, much better looking, but still not much taller, who is running in New Hampshire, and who soon will lose in New Hampshire.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: He did try to stand on phone books, but it was the wrong Sununu.

CARLSON: From corporate leaders to small business owners, and from academics to regular employees and even housewives, the people on the front lines of the U.S. economy told President Bush today about their problems. Better yet, they offered suggestions about fixing them. The president listened. Democrats, no surprise, had their ears closed, and skepticism running even before the session opened.

In the CROSSFIRE tonight, two members of Congress from New York: Democrat Robert Menendez and Republican Peter King.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us.

Congressman King, it seems to me the so-called economic summit today was really a TV show, but not reality TV, because the reality is there are many thoughtful critics of the president's failed economic plan; none of them were invited.

Isn't there something vaguely Stalinist about using taxpayer's money to gather people together to tell the beloved leader about how brilliant he is and how good his policies are?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Paul, even for you "Stalinist" goes pretty far.

No, not at all. This was an attempt by the president to focus attention on the economy.

Actually, I was listening to Lanny Davis (ph) today on television. He said the Democrats are going to make a mistake if they continue to attack President Bush in this personal way.

The fact is...

BEGALA: It's not personal, his policies are rotten, sir.

I'm sorry to interrupt you. He's a lovely man, but he's got terrible economic policies.

KING: On the one hand you're saying he's a Stalinist, on the other hand you're saying you're saying you're not attacking him personally. Come on, Paul.

Here's the point I'm going to make. That actually was a fairly good cross-section. You had, I think, more than 40 people there had contributed to the Democratic campaigns. You had labor leaders from the carpenters, like Doug McCarron. You had operating engineers. You had Teamsters. You had the head of the Seafarers' Union.

And the main purpose of it was to get a mainstream approach to have the issues raised. And I think this economic debate can go on, obviously, throughout the fall and into next year.

We do have problems that have to be confronted. Many of these problems were inherited from the previous administration. But the fact is, the president is focusing attention.

And I think the Democrats should come up with their own plan, we can have debate when we go into this year's election. I look forward to that, rather than trying to ridicule what the president is doing, while the Democrats really are proposing very little.

BEGALA: Well, one thing Democrats, actually, and Republicans proposed was an emergency spending bill that -- part of which affects your state greatly. Your senator, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, included funding in their to track the health of firefighters and other emergency workers from September 11 in the recovery efforts.

The president today said he wouldn't designate those funds, and apparently the health tracking will not get to those folks in your state. Is that something that you support?

KING: First of all, Paul, the president has already given 21 -- I think it's $20.8 billion -- over $21 billion has gone into New York. The money you're talking about as far as tracking the health couldn't be obligated before the end of this fiscal year anyway. I'm confident that will be included in next year's budget. The money could not even be used if it was given now.

The fact is, the president has continually kept his word to New York City, to New York State. In the end, $21 billion has gone in. And everything that has been asked for has been given.

This was something that was put in as part of a grab bag of items. And what the president is saying is, just because you have one, two or three good items in an overall package, there's a lot of the bad things in it, he's not going to sign it.

So I give him credit for that. He's taken a tough stand. But let's be fair to what he's done with New York: $21 billion is an awful lot of money, and Senator Clinton should realize that.

CARLSON: Mr. Menendez, thanks for joining us. Why don't -- you, doubtless, read this quote in the "New York Times." We're going to put it up on the screen for our viewers, however.

It comes from comes from Sun Sohn, who's an economist at Wells Fargo. Here's what he said: "If the politicians start lobbing grenades at each other, that's going to hurt confidence, not help confidence. It would be much better if they went home and took a vacation for the rest of August."

Now, this is a nonpartisan guy -- this is just an economist -- does not have a partisan ax to grind.

But it raises the questions -- Democrats have obviously pinned their midterm hopes on talking down the economy. Mr. Gephardt has virtually said that.

Doesn't it come at a pretty high price for the rest of America, though, to constantly shake consumer confidence in the prospects of the economy?

REP. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW YORK: Well Tucker, we don't believe that our victory depends upon speaking down the economy. On the contrary, we're concerned about this economy. And that's why certainly at this summit, we should have had people from all different walks of life, including leadership of both parties in the Congress which are essential to stimulating this economy at this summit, particularly those who had the budgetary committees and taxation committees.

Listen, when the president closed the summit and said it was a great show, I think he made a Freudian slip, because what America needs is not a dog and pony show. It needs substance. It needs some real answers. And obviously, you know, the president basically lined up for the most part individuals who have the same view as he does. It's just as one-sided as his economic policy. Tax cuts that are geared to the wealthiest people, pink slips for over a million workers since this president took office. That's not the type of economic policy we believe makes a lot of sense.

CARLSON: Wait, Mr. Menendez, I expect you to be a little more fair than that. I mean, there are no members of Congress, no leaders of either party came. This was essentially a non-political event to which, as you know, many Democrats were invited, including labor leaders. But you dodged my original question, which is this, to some extent, the economy and its performance depends on perception, the public's perception of its long-term prospects. And don't Democrats who have been talking down those prospects do the public a grave disservice by doing so? (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MENENDEZ: Tucker, there's a difference. We're not talking down the prospects. We're being honest with Americans. Look, the congressional budget office just listed the deficit last Friday, $157 billion in this fiscal year. Goldman Sachs is saying that the president's budgetary projections are several hundred billion dollars too rosy.

The reality is is that we can hide our head in the sand or we can have some tough, honest talk about where this economy is, what is necessary to stimulate it. It should have been a forum in which all parties were invited to the table and everything was placed on the table, that nothing should have been sacrosanct, but not basically to hear a chorus of those voices who have the same economic thought as you do. That doesn't help this nation. It doesn't stimulate the economy. It doesn't get us back on track. That's what we Democrats want to do.

BEGALA: Congressman King, I want to read you -- we've got only about a minute before we have to go to commercial -- but I want to read you a quick statement from a man named Bruce Bartlett, who apparently is an economic adviser to former President Bush, no liberal he, who told the "Washington Times" today that this economic forum, quote, "may help break the monotony of an otherwise dreary morning in the dog days of August. But the likelihood that anything worthwhile will be achieved is close to zero. It is just a complete waste of the president's time and it will accomplish absolutely nothing."

Here at least we have an honest Republican economist, don't we?

KING: Actually, I would disagree with Mr. Bartlett. I agree with a lot of things he says, but not with that. But the reality is, I just feel with my good friend, Bob Menendez, you did have Democrats here. Again, you had a number of people contributing to the Democrats. You had Franklin Grains (ph), who was your former budget director. We had a number of labor leaders who were there. And I think it was a good idea to not have politicians there. We spent the last several months debating each other. I think it's important for us to be backing the people, you know, at the grassroots, getting input.

You have the president meeting with corporate and labor leaders, getting input from them. We'll be back after Labor Day, we can carry on this debate. I think it's very healthy not to have a whole series of politicians on both sides debating one another. I think it was important to have the president do what he did. I also disagree with Bob as far as the economy. I mean, the fact is last month...

BEGALA: I'm sorry to cut you off. Congressman King, we're going to take a quick break. I want Congressman Menendez to stay with us too, and I'm going to come back to you on that topic, because when we come back, I'm going to ask these guys why W. didn't invite any members of Congress to this little show and tell today.

Later, it's real and real entertaining. So, what's wrong with reality TV?

And our "Quote of the Day" comes from a man who is having second thoughts about the people who work for him. Too bad it didn't happen 10 or 15 years ago. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

You know, W. invited some of his closest friends and contributors to Waco, but no members of Congress attended his economic forum today. So we invited a couple of members of Congress of our own, Democratic Representative Robert Menendez, Republican Peter King. He's joining us from New York. Thank you.

CARLSON: Mr. Menendez, Paul -- you heard Paul Begala make reference to the supplemental emergency supplemental spending that the president is blocking, $5.1 billion. Paul said it's going to hurt the firemen of New York. I want to read you a couple of items contained in this and see if you can possibly tell me how they relate to homeland security.

In it, there's $11 million for economic assistance to New England fisheries. There's money to build a fire station, Hollister, California. My favorite, $2 million to the Smithsonian for their worm collection. It strikes me as an abuse of trust on the part of Congress to throw this kind of ludicrous pork into a homeland security bill. Why should the president sign something like this?

MENENDEZ: Well, Tucker, he should put it all on the table, including some of his proposals as well. See, the president can't just pick and choose as he wishes. He has to work with Congress. And my good friend Peter King may suggest that it's all a bunch of politicians. But I look at our role as public servants. We're casting major votes on economic consequences in this country, on budgetary issues, on appropriations...

CARLSON: On worm collections too, yes.

MENENDEZ: So, therefore, the bottom line is is let's put it all back on the table. Let's put it all, every item back on the table. Let's also put on the $2 trillion of tax cuts, the $2 trillion that the president's budget takes out of Social Security over the next decade, the $5 trillion that's been squandered that this president inherited. Let's talk about the million people who are unemployed since this president took office. And let's put it all on the table, and then we can have an honest debate. But I agree with you too. That money for any worm collection doesn't belong in a homeland security bill. But so do not a whole host of things that the president has sought and wants. So, therefore, we have to put it all on the table. And that's an honest debate.

BEGALA: Congressman King, I was watching the footage of the president with his economic team sitting there. And I thought about Casey Stengel looking at the 1960 Mets, you remember, he said, can anybody here play this game?

The Bush economic team has been a disappointment. And not just to liberals like me. Let me play you a piece of videotape. You'll have to listen to it, our audience will see it, of Stephen Moore, one of the most conservative economists in the country. He's the head of a group called the Club For Growth, which runs advertisements in support of Republican candidates around the country. Here's what he has had to say about the president's economic team.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN MOORE, CLUB FOR GROWTH: There's nobody of the stature of a Robert Rubin, and Paul O'Neill just has not filled the bill. You know, if you're losing the game, you have to change the quarterback.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: Your response?

KING: First of all, I would disagree with Mr. Moore. In fact, Mr. Moore's main criticism of President Bush is that he hasn't cut taxes enough.

Let me just say a few things though in answer to Bob Menendez. First of all, the stock market decline began in March of 2000. The recession began before President Bush took office. They were starting to say before last month, we had the highest increase in personal incomes in more than two years. Car sales were up. Retail sales were up. Yes, there are problems with the stock market. They're being caused primarily by corporate corruption, which also began in the last decade.

But let me tell you, I'll surprise you, Paul. I'm not blaming Bill Clinton for that. The last eight years were pretty good years. It was a cycle and we're about to hit a downturn. I'm not blaming Bill Clinton. I think it's wrong though for the Democrats to say there's over a million people out of work because of President Bush. The fact is it was President Bush's tax cuts, as Alan Greenspan has said, which ought to bring us back from the recession that began during the Clinton administration.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: If they're going badly, it's Clinton failed.

CARLSON: Settle down, Paul. Mr. Menendez, very quickly, in 20 seconds, why hasn't the Democratic leadership in the Senate passed a budget and how can they accuse the president of fiscal responsibility having not even passed budget restraints for themselves?

MENENDEZ: Both leadership has called upon the president to have a bipartisan summit in which we start all over again with the budget. Look, it's the Republican budget that passed and that budget basically has these huge, deep tax cuts that, in fact, American families understand that when their revenue falls in their individual family income, you don't keep spending. You don't keep, you know, borrowing into the future. You try to make some difficult adjustments. That's what we asked the president to do, have a bipartisan summit, let's put it all on the table, your tax cuts, spending, and then we can be able to adjust this economy and stimulate it in a way that all Americans can benefit from.

CARLSON: Unfortunately, we're out of time. Mr. Menendez, Mr. King, both in New York, thanks very much for joining us.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: It's been 40 years since television was called a vast wasteland. These days, the vast part isn't only the waist. We'll ask how much worse can it get?

Also, defending a client who is going through the Richard Jewell treatment.

And, our "Quote of the Day" is from a man who says he should have laid down the law to subordinates instead of trusting them. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back.

Another Catholic priest faces arraignment tomorrow in Massachusetts. Paul Hurley is accused of sexually assaulting a 15- year-old boy. Meanwhile, Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law says church files on accused pedophile priest Paul Shanley, including complaints dating all the way back to 1966. But Cardinal Law claims he never sought those records before promoting Shanley in 1985.

In newly released tapes of the Cardinal's June deposition, Cardinal Law claims he didn't learn of the abuse allegations against Shanley until 1993. Law says he took action then, but didn't tell the people at Shanley's church. What the cardinal says next is our "Quote of the Day."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARDINAL BERNARD LAW, BOSTON: Looking back on it now, I think that it was a mistake in our approach, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: In other words, mistakes were made, Paul. BEGALA: One of the most beautiful prayers in the Catholic church is the act of contrition, when in confession we say, "bless me father for I have sinned." Cardinal Law today said it's somebody else's fault. He's a disgrace. He should go.

CARLSON: Well, I'm an Episcopalian, so I don't want to weigh in on matters not my business. But I think he ought to be in prison. And I hope he gets there.

BEGALA: I agree.

CARLSON: Coming up, a slight mismatch. CNN's Connie Chung will tell why a couple of senators want to call on the Air Force to fight mosquitoes.

Then, just when you thought television couldn't stoop lower, reality does in fact bites.

But next, the reality of being accused of a crime you didn't commit. Is there life after exoneration? We'll ask Richard Jewell's lawyer. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

CARLSON: Former Army scientist Steven Hatfill says he did not mail the anthrax letters last year. And he's not been charged. But Hatfill complains he's been he's been the subject of a government character assassination through outrageous official statements and leaks to the press.

If that's sounds familiar, perhaps it's because much the same thing happened to Richard Jewell, the security guard who went from hero to suspect after the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. Once Jewell's reputation had been thoroughly dragged though the mud, authorities decided someone else planted the bomb.

Is there a lesson here? No doubt several. Jewell's attorney Lin Wood joins us from Atlanta.

BEGALA: Mr. Wood, thank you for joining us, sir.

(APPLAUSE)

I know you're not representing Dr. Hatfill, but do you think this is another Richard Jewell case?

LIN WOOD, RICHARD JEWELL'S ATTORNEY: That's not a yes or no answer. In order to look at Hatfill, his situation compared to Richard's you really have to look at, I think, three issues. One, what did Richard Jewell do in connection with the Olympic park bombing? What did the media do to Richard Jewell? And what did the FBI do to Richard Jewell?

If I might remind your viewers, Richard Jewell was the security guard who first spotted the unattended package that we learned contained the bomb. He did so, and in doing so, authorities were able to evacuate a number of people away from the direct vicinity of the blast.

And Richard singlehandedly went through a five story tower and evacuated individuals from that tower at a time where he knew that it was likely a bomb in package. He put his own life at risk, and in doing so he saved the lives of over 100 innocent people.

So if we stop there, Dr. Hatfill, with all due respect to him, is not like Richard Jewell. But you guys don't ask me to come on the show to talk about Richard Jewell, the hero. I'm asked to talk about Richard Jewell because he's become the poster boy for the falsely accused in terms of what the media did to Richard, led by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and contributed to by the FBI.

I look at the coverage of Dr. Hatfill and I'm going to tell you candidly that I think the media has shown some significant restraint in its coverage. I think the media learned a less about how to deal with the private individuals who have not been charged with any crime. And I think they're much most cautious in the Hatfill case than they ever were with Richard Jewell.

So that's not the same. But then I look over at the FBI's handling of Dr. Hatfill, and I see striking similarities, disturbing similarities because once again we've got a public investigation of an individual not charged with any crime in front of TV cameras and with statements from anonymous sources in the government and the FBI. That's a problem.

BEGALA: Now to back up, to back up, Mr. Wood...

WOOD: Sure.

BEGALA: ... you said you think the press has shown more restraint. Then maybe because Richard Jewell and I believe led by you, you sued a number or, or threatened lawsuits at least, reached settlements with a number of media organizations.

How much in the end did Richard Jewell make from that?

WOOD: Well, not enough to restore his reputation and take away from him what was rightfully his. The amount of those settlements has been confidential. But I know you're not suggesting that there should not be accountability on the part of the media for wrongdoing...

CARLSON: I'm asking a pretty simple question. You haven't answered it. There were reports that it was upwards of $2 million. Is that true?

WOOD: Well, the media settlements -- the settlements with the media, the defendants insisted that those settlement amounts be confidential. So I'm not at liberty to answer your question.

But I think it's important to know that there's not enough money available to restore to Richard Jewell what was wrongfully taken from him by the media and that is the legitimate status of an American hero.

But again, you're not suggesting, I'm sure, there should not be accountability for wrongdoing. And that's...

CARLSON: Well, let me tell you what I am suggesting...

WOOD: ... the problem with the FBI. There is not accountability because you can't sue the government successfully like you can the media.

BEGALA: Well, actually, let me ask you that. Last night we had an FBI, former FBI agent on. And I asked him if they had been -- if the FBI had been held accountable. And he assured me that they had been.

I don't remember any heads rolling. I worked for President Clinton. I regret that he didn't fire Louis Freeh, the head of the FBI, when Richard Jewell was wrongly accused. Did anybody in the FBI or the Justice Department suffer any repercussions from what happened to your client, Richard Jewell?

WOOD: Yes, the wrong people did. Three field agents were penalized by the FBI in connection with a ruse interview that I believe was orchestrated out of Washington, D.C.

But the people in Washington that were in the Justice Department that leaked information about Richard Jewell from the search warrant affidavits to the Washington Post, nobody ever looked into those leaks. Nobody every examined then Director Louis Freeh's involvement in the ruse interview where Richard was told that he was helping the FBI make a video tape training film on how to deal with suspicious packages. And they actually tried to trick in to giving up his Miranda rights.

There was not accountability and any one that tells you to the contrary is not telling you the truth.

That's the problem with the FBI. No one really wants to hold them accountable. There was a hearing that Richard and his lawyers attended with me in July of 1997. And one of the subcommittees of House Judiciary committee. And let me tell you it was a photo op. They weren't there to talk to Richard and to us about what had happened and what went wrong with the FBI to fix it. They were there to get on the evening news talking to Richard Jewell.

So there is no accountability, and you're got going to get change and you're going to have potential Hatfills...

CARLSON: Wait a second...

WOOD: ... and Jewells in the future.

CARLSON: Now, Mr. Wood, I agree with you on the substance of everything you're saying, but let's, you know, let's be real here.

I mean Richard Jewell was a security guard nobody had ever heard of. And now he's quite rich. So I mean, it doesn't necessarily make up for the loss of the reputation that he never had, but it is...

WOOD: But...

CARLSON: ... it is some compensation, I think, don't you.

WOOD: Listen, number one you're wrong about Richard being rich, because Richard is still battling the worst of his accusers, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. To date...

CARLSON: For more money presumably...

WOOD: ... oh, no to date, that newspapers has spent upwards of $5 million fighting Richard Jewell in court...

CARLSON: Well, how much is he asking for?

WOOD: Enough to punish the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" and make sure ...

CARLSON: Well, how much. Why don't you tell us how much.

WOOD: Well, let's see, their insurance coverage is $50 million, so before you can send a message...

CARLSON: OK, then, I mean, please.

WOOD: ... before you can send a message to that newspaper to never do to another individual what they did to Richard Jewell, I guess you've got to get into their pocketbook and beyond their insurance.

CARLSON: And I guess you'll be getting quite a bit of that? How much of that will you get, if they win?

WOOD: I'll you what, for the work I've put in over the last six years dealing with fellows in the media, in battling those battles, I won't get enough...

(LAUGHTER)

... when all is said and done.

CARLSON: Well, I hope you don't get a dime.

(APPLAUSE)

WOOD: You've got the best lawyers in New York fighting...

BEGALA: Mr. Wood, let me play a piece of videotape from Dr. Hatfill who had quite an impressive press conference or press statement I should say, Sunday from his lawyer's office in Alexandria, Virginia.

Let me let you listen...

WOOD: Sure. BEGALA: ... to it and get your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. STEVEN HATFILL, FORMER ARMY SCIENTIST: The FBI agents promised me that the search would be quiet, private and very low key. It did not turn out that way. Within minutes of my signing the release to have my residence and property searched, television cameras, satellite TV trucks, overhead helicopters were all swarming around my apartment block.

END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: Where in the world do you think the media could have gotten that? Did they -- people always like to say in the government when these things like -- "Well, it could have been the other side."

I worked for Bill Clinton. Ken Starr used to say, "Well, it could be the Clinton people who are releasing all of this trash on Clinton."

Guess what, it wasn't. This is the FBI once again doing the same thing to somebody who may be innocent, who may be guilty. I haven't the slightest idea, but I know this, he's being tried in the public press the same way Richard Jewell was.

I guess the FBI hasn't learned their lesson...

WOOD: He is -- they have not learned their lesson...

BEGALA: ... have they?

WOOD: ... and I don't know who leaked this information about the search of his apartment. I don't know who gave to apparently one of the other networks information from his computer hard drive. I mean, obviously common sense and logic seems to tell us that it came from within government, from within the FBI.

But like you, I don't know whether Dr. Hatfill is innocent or guilty. But I do know that he is entitled to a presumption of innocence. And I do know that while we allow the media to inform us about news events, and we give you the privilege, I guess, of entertaining us, we should never allow you in conjunction with the government to decide questions of guilt or innocence about private citizens who have never been charged with a crime.

That's not the way our system of justice is designed to work. That's a system of injustice and that's what happened to Richard Jewell.

BEGALA: Lin Wood, attorney at law, Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you very much for joining us, sir.

WOOD: Thanks a lot.

CARLSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). BEGALA: Still ahead, your chance to fire back at us and comment on W.'s economic summit. But before we get to the summit, we're taking you to the depths. We'll put Ozzy, Anna Nicole and Liza and all of the reality TV gang in the CROSSFIRE next.

Stay with us.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University here in beautiful downtown Washington, D.C.

Well, we're about a month away from the new fall TV shows on the network. But we've already gotten a taste of what's coming thanks to the big splash made by "The Osbournes" and the even bigger splash -- I mean, enormous splash -- made by Anna Nicole Smith. Well, you get the point. Reality shows are now the hottest thing in television and that's what CROSSFIRE, of course, has been for years, hot and real.

But to put this new twist on reality TV in perspective, we're joined from Los Angeles by Danny Bonaduce, co-host of "The Other Half." He also hosts a syndicated radio program called the "Jamie & Danny Show," and, multi-media star, he wrote the book "Random Acts of Badness." Here in Washington is a woman never been accused of a random act of badness, Andrea Lafferty, the executive director of the Traditional Family Values Coalition. Thank you, Andrea, Danny.

CARLSON: Danny, thanks for joining us. Happy birthday, by the way.

DANNY BONADUCE, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, thank you very much. Me and Fidel Castro, interestingly enough.

CARLSON: Fantastic, refer to yourself in the third person. I hope you will. I want to read you some of the reviews of the Anna Nicole Smith show, see if you agree. One calls this show proof that Western civilization has finally thrown in the towel. Another describes it as like a trip to the vomitorium. Another describes her as bizarre, bewildered, self-centered and icky, very icky. And my favorite, describes this show as a train wreck with breasts. Are those fair criticisms?

BONADUCE: Yes, they're fair. But you leave something out. We don't watch television as much as television watches us. These shows are on television because we deserve them, and for no other reason. I turned on the "Anna Nicole Smith Show" and I was horrified, and, therefore, I will never watch again. On the other hand, people keep telling me television is so bad that one day they will offer me live executions. Well, I say, when? I have my remote ready. And the only thing I want better more than live executions is the live execution of Anna Nicole Smith.

BEGALA: Oh, my. CARLSON: But I wonder, Danny, I mean, as a multimedia guy, I mean, you know how this stuff works. These are all knockoffs from "The Osbournes." And I'm wondering, I mean, it's clearly a trend. I'm wondering if it's going to wind up as game shows did a couple of years ago, reaching a quick apogee and then burning out. Can this go on?

BONADUCE: I believe that it will go on until people -- what is happening because when I watch Anna Nicole Smith, I don't believe her. I believe the Osbournes. If I wanted to watch fat, drunk ladies on TV, Roseanne would still be popular. I don't think it's going to go -- and you can't make something popular. If my hobbies made something popular, there would be the 24-hour baci channel, and that's not the way it goes anymore.

BEGALA: Right. Andrea, go ahead.

ANDREA LAFFERTY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRADITIONAL VALUES COALITION: And the truth is Hollywood is lazy. It's like college cafeteria food. They find one thing that kids like and they feed it to you over and over and over. Hollywood has decided that some of these shows are popular and they're giving it to us over and over. We don't necessarily -- I don't believe we deserve it. I wanted to watch something else last night on TV and there was just this garbage. I'm waiting for "CSI" to come back.

BEGALA: Well, let me actually give you a dissenting view from the right. Not just like Danny and me who think this stuff is just great fun if people want to watch it. Dan Quayle, our former vice president of the United States, a great commentator on traditional values, had this to say about "The Osbournes." Now, this is the guy who bites the head off of live bats.

BONADUCE: Oh, once.

BEGALA: Just once, that's right. You know, you bite one bat's head off and it just hounds you for years. Dan Quayle said: "'The Osbournes' is a little bit different than our household. But underneath the craziness are some good messages."

(CROSSTALK)

LAFFERTY: I absolutely -- I agree. I agree with Dan Quayle...

BEGALA: Really?

LAFFERTY: ... and the reason is is because...

BEGALA: So, you like "The Osbournes?"

LAFFERTY: ... Ozzy Osbourne is the best poster child for why you shouldn't do drugs. The guy's brain -- his brain is fried. You can't understand a word he says. So, in reality, it is a good show. I can talk about...

BEGALA: I can't understand a word Bush says and he's our president. So, we shouldn't be trashing Ozzy Osbourne.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

BONADUCE: You know what? Here's what I've got to say about that. One thing is that CROSSFIRE is in fact the best of reality television. But "The Osbournes" is, in fact...

BEGALA: Well, thank you.

BONADUCE: You're welcome and I mean it sincerely. But "The Osbournes" is in fact reality television. So, what you're telling me is that you're for reality television as long as it's your reality. And at the top of to show, you compared my president to Stalin. And I think bending your reality to popular belief is a little bit Stalin on your part.

CARLSON: Well then, let me put a finer point on the problem I have with reality television. I want to play you a clip of Anna Nicole Smith and her lawyer who apparently accompanies her everywhere, the ultimate post-modern statement, on "LARRY KING" recently.

BONADUCE: Oh, my God. This is a horror show.

CARLSON: Oh, it really isn't. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Why did you agree to this, Howard. I mean, are you also the agent?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No...

ANNA NICOLE SMITH: He's me. They don't come to my dentist's office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Go to my dentist's office? Isn't that ultimately what it's about, people's lives are boring. They're essentially banal. I mean, it's not that interesting, right?

BONADUCE: The trick is they've always said there's 8 million stories in the naked city. The trick is nobody knows how to tell one. But there are two viewpoints on everything. I truly admire the show CROSSFIRE, but if I wanted to be a hard-liner and say, well, here's what CROSSFIRE is, really if you think about it, CROSSFIRE is named after an incident that normally takes innocent lives, CROSSFIRE. What you do is you get two people of some notoriety with vastly different opinions on things, you hope that we fight it out, therefore creating nothing more than intellectual celebrity boxing. And don't get me wrong, I'm proud to have been on both.

BEGALA: God bless it, you're right. Danny, now wait a second...

(APPLAUSE)

You, in fact, Danny Bonaduce participated in celebrity boxing, using his fisticuffs where Tucker and I would use verbs.

BONADUCE: And, you know what, Paul, and if you disagree with me, I'll beat you down worse than that Brady kid.

BEGALA: Come, you want a piece of me, Bonaduce? Come on.

No, but actually, Fox network aired the show where Danny beat the crap out of Greg Brady. It was great.

BONADUCE: Yes, it was.

BEGALA: They air the worst -- Fox airs the sleaziest stuff. They aired this, it's called "Playmate, Girl Next Door: The Search For a Playboy Playmate." "How to Marry a Millionaire," a contest where some woman sold her bridal night to some guy.

BONADUCE: Darva Conger.

BEGALA: Why isn't our conservatives criticizing the Fox network. Could it be because Rupert Murdoch who owns it is one of the great patrons of the far right.

LAFFERTY: My understanding is that he only owns a small portion of the entertainment part. We're grateful for the conservative portion of his empire with the news. But let's come back to the reality TV and discussion about that, because I think it's important to point out that this is not real. It's not real. They cut, they paste, they edit. What we see on TV is not the full gamut of what you'd see, whether it's MTV, "Survivor."

BONADUCE: So, you want more?

LAFFERTY: No, I want real TV. I'm just saying that it's not real. Reality TV is supposed to be real.

CARLSON: Is that true, Danny? Is Anna Nicole Smith actually slim and intelligent in real life?

BONADUCE: No. I'll tell you that Anna Nicole -- I really do have to say Anna Nicole Smith is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse, if you can find a horse big enough to carry her. That is not the point though. The point is I'm a big admirer of Fox. I'm in development with Andy Lassiter (ph) at Fox to do a reality show called "The Group" where we follow six people in serious need of mental attention, with a licensed psychiatrist, who tries to help a drug addict, an alcoholic and a sex addict and a man with OCD.

And if, in fact, we can help them in the end of the show, well, then, the show is about hope. But if the drug addict goes to take drugs, we will not interfere. We will broadcast reality...

(CROSSTALK)

LAFFERTY: You've been talking the whole time, Dan. You've been...

BONADUCE: Our show also not reality television, our show is reality.

BEGALA: Andrea, "The Group" sounds like "The Bob Newhart Show," right?

BONADUCE: It is "The Bob Newhart Show." Exactly! It's "The Bob Newhart Show" come to life.

LAFFERTY: I think American people are looking for decent programming. I mean, you turn on the TV, you can't find a decent show to watch anymore.

(CROSSTALK)

And again, the networks are lazy. Why don't they put writers to work to put positive stuff, interesting stuff on the air instead of this kind of garbage?

CARLSON: Danny Bonaduce, In 10 seconds how are you going to cure the sex addict on your show?

BONADUCE: Well, I will tell you that if it happens during sweeps, I will sleep with them.

CARLSON: That is the spirit, and there is a man dedicated to his craft.

BEGALA: The answer is make him watch the "Anna Nicole Smith Show." That will shut him down for life. See that thing in a negligee.

CARLSON: Danny Bonaduce in Los Angeles, thanks so much for joining us. Andrea Lafferty in Washington, thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

Next in "Fireback," one of our viewers mocks reality television, as if that's even possible. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to our final and most vibrant segment, "Fireback." Let's go to the e-mail bag.

Gary from Calgary, Canada writes, "America's reality TV is no different than the gladiator reality shows of ancient Rome. They're degrading, disgusting, and highly entertaining."

Kind of like the Clinton administration.

BEGALA: Oh!

Chuck Gardner of Charlotte, North Carolina writes, "Does Paul O'Neill have a clue when he said the economic summit was an opportunity for official Washington to hear from the everyday worker on the street? Looking at the attendees of the summit, he must have been talking about Easy Street."

Well, you're exactly right about that, Chuck.

CARLSON: I don't know where Easy Street is. OK.

BEGALA: Wherever Bush is living, that's it, man.

CARLSON: Dan Lehigh of Santa Barbara, writes, "Tucker, in CROSSFIRE promos you say we mock what we fear. You must fear Al Gore quite a bit. And guess what...you should."

Well, Dan, I fear Al Gore like I fear a sunny day. I hope that guy runs.

BEGALA: Yes, yes, he beat Bush.

(CROSSTALK)

Get over it. He beat bush. He got half a million more votes than Bush. Had they not rigged the deal...

CARLSON: Oh, he's president now?

BEGALA: He ought to be. He was legitimately elected.

"President Bush said today, quote, 'This country has gone through tough times before, and we're going to do it again.' He's right. It seems like we go through tough times whenever a Bush is in office."

Stephen Randolph, Tampa, Florida, the scene of the crime. Is he ever right.

CARLSON: More deep commentary from our viewers.

BEGALA: Yes, sir. What's your name and your hometown? I like that shirt, by the way.

JAMES: Thanks a lot. I'm James Thorpe (ph) from Salt Lake City, Utah. I was just wondering how Anna Nicole Smith and reality TV can be put in the same category, when her breasts and who knows what else are anything but real?

BEGALA: Excellent point.

CARLSON: Actually, those are completely real.

BEGALA: They're real in the sense that -- oh, man, did you rock him. They're real in the sense that they exist.

CARLSON: That's exactly right. And they're hers in the sense that Jim Traficant's hair belonged to him.

BEGALA: Just because a part of your body is inorganic doesn't mean it's not real. CARLSON: Exactly. Yes, sir.

ROB: Rob Swanson (ph), Arlington, Virginia. If people are willing to prostitute themselves for their 15 minutes of fame, we don't have to watch it. If you don't like it, turn off your TV.

BEGALA: Very good point.

CARLSON: Yes, people say that, and that's -- strictly speaking -- true, but I think it does have a coarsening effect on the culture when you do turn on the tube and there's Anna Nicole Smith, you know, whacked out on Valium, with her dog. You know, I don't think it's good for the country.

BEGALA: You know, they have these little things that come with TVs now called remote. And at the top is a red button. It says power. You have the power. Turn it off if you don't like it.

Yes, sir.

MATT: Matt Hargers (ph) from Provo, Utah (ph). It's easy to criticize the president's economic summit when the Democrats aren't proposing anything of their own. Why don't you let those who actually influence the economy propose things instead of just constantly raising problems about it?

CARLSON: Because you can't get elected by doing positive things if you're a Democrat. You have to frighten -- you have to tell old people you're going to be eating cat food unless you vote for us.

BEGALA: Here's what happened. President Bush inherited the strongest economy in history, and he reversed all of President Clinton's policies, and now the economy stinks. You give him a Lamborghini, he throws it in reverse, and he's surprised it goes backwards.

CARLSON: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

And one last question, yes.

JONATHAN: Hi, my name is Jonathan Herbert (ph). I'm from Charlottesville, Virginia. My question is, is Mr. Hatfill a scapegoat for an inept FBI?

CARLSON: It certainly seems like he is. I mean, I certainly hope he's guilty after all of this. I mean, they've run him out of two jobs, it looks like.

BEGALA: Right. Guilty or innocent, I think the FBI has performed abysmally here. Because even if he's guilty, they ought not be leaking it and therefore giving him a chance to cover his tracks. He certainly looked like he was protesting his innocence very strongly on Sunday, and shame on the FBI for leaking this.

CARLSON: And for what it's worth, it's hard to believe that a guilty man would be bold enough -- a man responsible for five deaths, who actually sent anthrax -- would be bold enough to get up on live television and explain how he didn't do it.

BEGALA: From the left, happy birthday to Danny Bonaduce and to John. I am Paul Begala. Good night for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: From the right, I am Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

"CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins immediately after a CNN "News Alert."

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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