Secret Court Stymies Justice Department; Creationists Square off with Evolutionists; Should Bush Be Telling Americans to Exercise?
Aired August 24, 2002 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Past successes and mistakes could take the teeth out of the Patriot Act.
Opening classrooms that close minds? Critics say Creationists are finding a way to monkey with science class.
And the runner in chief says America needs to hit the road. Is everybody ready to run?
Ahead on CROSSFIRE.
From the George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, CROSSFIRE: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. Tonight, playing word games in science class. Also the commander in chief says "I want you to buy some running shoes." But before we tie one on, line up for the start of the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE Political Alert.
Can you figure out who's missing from this picture? Here's a hint. President George W. Bush is visiting California. Here's another hint. California is holding election for governor, but look all you want you won't see Republican nominee William Simon at this presidential rally. Perhaps that that's Mr. Bush's stump speech includes a slap at corporate greed and fraud. And a jury hit the Simon family's investment firm with a $78 million judgment in a fraud case. Oops!
So the president and Simon are only doing low-key fund-raisers like this one, instead of big public rallies and hoping the rest of us won't notice how awkward it is. Sorry, Mr. President. We noticed.
It's kind of like air brushing people out, that old Soviet thing.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, CROSSFIRE: Yes, but you know a lot of people, even former President Clinton had embarrassing family members. I just don't think it's fair to hold them accountable for what the family members do. Family company did it.
CARLSON: No, no evidence that is true, at all. Speaking of Bill Clinton, he is scheduled a triumphant return to Arkansas next week. There are some questions as to whether anyone will show up. The former president will be the headline speaker to rally for the state's Democrat candidates.
However, US Senate nominee Mark Pryor managed to find an unavoidable scheduling conflict, if you can imagine. He won't be attending.
Pryor's opponent Republican Senator Tim Hutchison has let it be known he'll be proud to appear alongside President Bush at a fund- raiser three days later. This is poignant, his father, Senator Pryor, very close friend.
CARVILLE: But they have a debate before, the guys were paying attention, they said you never show up two days after debate. How hard that is?
CARLSON: You know, that's not true. He's embarrassed.
CARVILLE: Florida's brand spanking new child welfare chief, Jerry Regier, has quite a paper trail behind him. Last week Regier denied he was co-author of a 1989 essay that condones spanking that results in welts and bruises. But now he says he is the sole author of a 1988 magazine article that calls for "manly discipline and clear roles for fathers and mothers." In the article, Regier says husbands must have authorities over their wives. Listen, Mary.
And women ought to be helpmates, who should bear, nurture children and not work outside the home. Whoa! That's one right wing commandment my family doesn't subscribe to. You know, this is not wicked or evil, Tucker. It's just silly. That's all it...
CARLSON: You know what, James? If his family subscribes to that, that's good for them.
CARVILLE: Look, if my wife wants to subscribe to me being the head and master in my house, I'm all for it.
CARLSON: Good luck! You keep trying. I wish you good luck, James!
CARVILLE: There's one head and master in the Matalin/Carville house and it ain't the Carville side, I'll promise you that!
CARLSON: OK. Thanks for sharing.
Next month, this country will mark the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks. So will Amazon.com by hawking a book entitled, "September 11, 2001: The Big Lie". Written in French and for the French and only recently translated, the book claims that the U.S. government destroyed the World Trade Centers with remote controlled airplanes. The Pentagon, it claims, was hit not by American Flight 77, but with an American missile fired by generals working at the Pentagon. The book's author says he came to this conclusion not on interviews, but based on research conducted over the Internet. Not surprisingly that was enough for book buyers who kept that book on the country's best-seller list for weeks. And apparently it was also enough for Amazon.com, which has decided to make money off of it.
When you think unfettered corporate greed pursued at the expense of the public good, you think Enron, maybe you should think Amazon.
CARVILLE: I think we ought to do a show, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ought to do one on France.
CARLSON: Amen! I'll take it.
CARVILLE: I'll take it. I'll be the person who takes the French defensively (ph). I won't defend this book but I'll but I'll defend...
CARLSON: You say -- you defend the book.
CARVILLE: I'll take a lot of crap. I like the restaurants over there.
CARLSON: Me, too.
CARVILLE: They're good. And their trains are fast.
I hate to keep picking on Florida, but here goes. What the hell? But if a woman wants to give up a baby for adoption and doesn't want to identify the father, Florida's new law requires her to go to a newspaper and publish the details of every sexual encounter she had around the time the baby was conceived. The idea is that if the baby's father reads and recognizes the lurid details he can come forward and demand custody.
In reality, a court had to say that the law shouldn't apply to rape victims. Wow!
As a result of the law, more women are choosing abortion instead of adoption. The "National Post" says even the Reverend Jerry Falwell calls it a bad law. Reverend, for once, I'm in complete agreement with you. This is just the stupidest. This guy in Florida, this guy, Finney (ph)?
CARLSON: I mean look, nothing...
CARVILLE: The Florida legislature gets the award of being the dumbest collective legislative body in the history of democracy.
CARLSON: Nothing that promotes abortion is good, obviously. But the idea that you ought to identify who the child's father is - I don't think anyone would disagree with that. CARVILLE: But I think if a woman wants to put a child up for adoption, we ought to do everything we can to have an adoption, and we ought not make women reveal their sexual - you know what it is? It's the right wing.
CARLSON: Hey, James...
CARVILLE: Ya'll love to delve into people's sex lives!
CARLSON: Asked why his daughter was defeated in the Georgia Democratic primary on Tuesday, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's father had a one-word answer - "Jews." Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Democrat from Texas and chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, agrees.
In an interview with the "New York Times" the other day, she lashed out at Jews for giving money to McKinney's opponent. "To have a non-African American, from around the country, putting millions into a race to unseat one of our leaders for expressing her right of free speech, it's definitely a problem," explained the congresswoman. In other words, voters should only support politicians of the same color. That is Mrs. Johnson's position. Thankfully, since the fall of apartheid in South Africa, very few others agree.
I hope you don't agree, either.
CARVILLE: I would point out that the woman who defeated Ms. McKinney is an African-American woman.
CARLSON: Of course, exactly!
CARVILLE: Of course, now - the Democratic Party -- let me tell you, I don't know...
CARLSON: Why is the Democratic Party (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the Jewish conspiracy theory?
CARVILLE: ...think that the Jews of America have been very loyal supporters of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party needs to put an end to this. We ought to talk about the real enemy. And that's the fact that we have these deficits that are out of control, America's position in the world is deteriorating.
CARLSON: Right, James.
CARVILLE: And that's what we need to be talking about.
CARLSON: Just kick the anti-Semites out of your party, first of all.
CARLSON: Richard Nixon's ghost just blind-sided Attorney General John Ashcroft with an assist from some federal judges. Those judges sit on a special secret court set up after the Nixon era that reviews government requests for wire-tapping in domestic spying.
The court is refusing to grant Ashcroft's Justice Department broad new surveillance powers to go after terrorists. The judges cite FBI and Justice Department mistakes and misrepresentations and misuse of the law committed by the Clinton administration.
In the CROSSFIRE tonight, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. And here Washington, Julian Epstein, a former Democratic chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.
JAY SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL, AMERICAN CNTR. LAW & JUSTICE: How you doing?
CARVILLE: Jay, I'm going to do something a little differently. I'm going to ask you to take about 45 seconds and explain to our audience what happened today. And then we'll give Julian a chance to comment the same way. To see if at least we can start and explain what's going on here.
SEKULOW: This was actually a court order from what's called the FISA court, which is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts. It was actually issued in May. It was made public.
This is a court that operates very much behind the scenes. It's the one that approves of search warrants, wiretaps for foreign intelligence gathering. What happened was this particular court, concerned over what they called 75 documented cases during the Janet Reno Justice Department, mistakes that were made, data that wasn't correct given to the court.
They said because of those past mistakes they're not willing to give this Department of Justice, under John Ashcroft, the authority that he's asked for under the U.S. Patriot Act, the act which was passed with wide bipartisan support.
The effect is that the court's ruling has limited, significantly, the ability of the intelligence gathering groups, which are generally the agents, and the prosecutors from sharing information. And James, as you'll remember, one of the big concerns immediately after September 11th was the lack of information sharing. This court, because of mistakes -- not by John Ashcroft, but by Janet Reno -- has said, I'm sorry, we're not going to give you that authority. And that's, in my view, truly unfortunate.
CARVILLE: Let me - I asked for an explanation, I got a political speech. So, strike this man out. JULIAN EPSTEIN, FRMR. DEM. CHIEF COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY CMTE: Well, I just...
CARLSON: But no political speeches, please.
EPSTEIN: I'll try not to. I think Jay is a good lawyer, but I think it's not a quite honest portrayal about what happened. It is true that the courts said that under Louie Freeh and both the Clinton administration -- and I believe the Bush administration as well -- that the FBI misrepresented information when they applied for these warrants for terrorist related investigations.
But the decision had nothing to do with that. What the court said here -- and this is seven members of the court, unanimously -- a very pro-national security court, headed by Royce Lamberth (ph), a very conservative judge. Said, look, here's the deal that's set up, legally.
When it comes to terrorism, we're going to relax lots of the laws that would normally require probable cause of a crime. We're going to say that we're going to relax all of those laws so that you can easily get a warrant to go into somebody's house, to wiretap somebody's phone, to go into somebody's computer, because we're dealing with terrorism.
Democrats and Republican -- it's a law that was created in 1978 under the Carter administration. Democrats and Republicans marched in lockstep in October, after the September 11th attack, to make that law even more liberal. Nobody disagrees with that.
So this case is nothing to do with terrorism. What the court says, is that the non-terrorism-related cases, civilian law enforcement does not get the benefit of using these relaxed standards. If it's terrorism, yes.
EPSTEIN: If it's non-terrorism...
CARLSON: Julian, of course, you're burying the lead and you're burying the essence of the story.
EPSTEIN: What is the lead?
CARLSON: The lead is that this court found 75 instances, every one of which -- you trying to say well, we all do it -- but every one of those instance occurred during the Clinton administration, under the Clinton Justice Department, of -- in cases of falsifying documents or putting incorrect information on applications for surveillance.
EPSTEIN: Tucker, have you read this decision?
CARLSON: There is no way around that.
EPSTEIN: Have you read the decision?
CARLSON: Let me, let me -- yes, I have read parts of it.
EPSTEIN: You just, you - well, if you read the decision, you wouldn't say that.
CARLSON: Oh, really?
EPSTEIN: Let me tell you what the decision said.
CARLSON: You can scream all you want and throw your little temper tantrum.
EPSTEIN: No, but Tucker, but Tucker...
CARLSON: But you're not addressing what I just said. I wish you would.
EPSTEIN: Tucker, you know, because it's frustrating when you come out and you present something and as if it's true, and you clearly have not read the decision. Let me tell you what the decision says. What the decision says, is yes, absolutely Louie Freeh, under both administrations misrepresented information.
CARLSON: Will you just stop spouting for a second.
CARVILLE: Let him answer the question.
EPSTEIN: Tucker clearly doesn't want to hear the answer. But the decision was based not on those misrepresentations. The decision was based on proposed revisions.
CARLSON: That's not true.
EPSTEIN: Tucker, honestly, you really don't - you come on TV and you have no idea what you're talking about.
CARLSON: You have no idea what you're talking about! You're not even telling the truth!
SEKULOW: Let me clarify something here.
EPSTEIN: If you read -- the decision is very clear. In fact, just let me finish the point, if I may, for one second.
CARLSON: I wish you would. You're taking a long time here.
EPSTEIN: The decision is very clear. It is based on the 2002 revisions to the guidelines proposed by Attorney General Ashcroft that says civilian law enforcement can take -- in non-terrorist related cases --can get all the benefits...
CARLSON: You haven't answered the question.
EPSTEIN: You are not listening to the answer.
SEKULOW: Julian, let's look at what happened. Come on, if you talk about the court opinion, let's talk about what it said.
SEKULOW: First of all, the 75 incidents that were talked about were all under the Clinton/Reno administration, when Janet Reno was the attorney general. In fact --
EPSTEIN: That's the third time that has been said now.
SEKULOW: But it's correct. And you've said that...
EPSTEIN: But that doesn't have to do with the decision.
SEKULOW: It was under Bush. They were not.
It does have to do with the decision. The court said that because of these prior acts, we're not comfortable giving this Federal Bureau of Investigation...
EPSTEIN: You're being dishonest.
SEKULOW: I'm looking at it.
EPSTEIN: No, you're not.
SEKULOW: The Federal Bureau of Investigation that information.
EPSTEIN: No, you are not. You are just being dishonest, Jay.
SEKULOW: No, that's not...
CARLSON: No, that's not expecting (ph) people to be dishonest.
SEKULOW: Everybody who disagrees with you is dishonest?
EPSTEIN: I can tell you - the court is not even ambiguous about it.
SEKULOW: Then why did they talk about the 75...
EPSTEIN: The court says...
SEKULOW: Hold it, Julian. Why did they talk about...
CARLSON: Unfortunately, we're just going to have to take a quick commercial break, we have run out of time. But we'll be back in a second.
In a minute, we'll ask our guests is the Ashcroft Justice Department out of control or just doing its job? Julian will accuse more people of lying. We'll debate it.
Later, is it time for all of us to lace up our running shoes and follow the president. And our quote of the day comes from a man who is trying -- probably in vain - to keep the news media from embarrassing itself. We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.
Federal court recently put the kibosh on the Justice Department plans to spy on terrorism suspects. The judges say the department and the FBI have a history of misusing the law and misleading the court.
In the CROSSFIRE, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center For Law and Justice, and Julian Epstein, former Democratic chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.
Jay, let's go back to you. Mr. Epstein says this didn't have anything to do with it. And that the court said that the Justice Department under Ashcroft was trying to overreach on the war on terrorism to actually to actually use that to spy on civilians. Tell us why he's wrong.
SEKULOW: I'll tell you why he's wrong. And it's exactly what you just said. In the opening and introduction back into this segment. You said that the past mistakes of Janet Reno's Department of Justice - and by the way, these were all reported by September of 2000, before George Bush was even president -- that these mistakes served as the basis for saying to this Department of Justice, look, based on these prior mistakes, we're not going to let you get this information the way you have requested.
The concern here is, legally, is that you now have a lack of capability of sharing the information which was one of the problems that we had post-September is 11th. That was one of the errors, this ability to share communication. That's why the Justice Department has appealed this.
By the way, under John Ashcroft all of these problems that existed under Janet Reno were corrected by April. And the former chief judge of this very court said that John Ashcroft and the Department of Justice has done a very good job of following through with the process and going forward.
CARVILLE: Actually, I have to tell you, you're a year off. It was March of 2001, not March of 2000.
SEKULOW: No, the mistakes --
CARVILLE: ...pin everything on the Clinton administration...
SEKULOW: The problems were the mistakes of September of 2000, is when the errors were corrected.
CARLSON: I want to ask you a question, Julian. Hold on. I want you to respond to some of what Mr. Sekulow said. This is "The Washington Post" editorial today. Part of it, I don't think you'll accuse them of lying, like you did Jay. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
Here it says, "Attorney John Ashcroft is not blamed for these transgression. Most or all of the misstatements appear to have taken place during the prior administration, and the court notes that the department and bureau wrote new rules last year to ensure the accuracy of FISA applications. The judges, moreover, appear to have not complaints abut the quality of the applications since Sept. 11."
That seems like pretty good news for the Justice Department. How it is not?
EPSTEIN: You're reading of that editorial and what Jay just spoke about have almost nothing to do with each other.
CARLSON: Then why don't you address the editorial then?
EPSTEIN: Let me try to explain why. Let me explain. OK. It is true that many of the misrepresentations came under the Louie Freeh FBI --
CARLSON: Stop being so partisan (ph), Janet Reno was the attorney general, please. Come, on.
EPSTEIN: Tucker, do me a favor! Stop getting your knickers in a know and allow me to answer the question. OK? OK.
EPSTEIN: So, it is true that most of them occurred under the Louie Freeh tenure in the Justice Department. Some occurred, as "The Post" points out under the Bush administration.
CARLSON: It doesn't point that out.
EPSTEIN: It says "most." You want to put it back up, Tucker?
It says most, OK? Jesus, Tucker, are you afraid of the answer?
SEKULOW: Look, the opinion says they were under Janet Reno.
EPSTEIN: Let me answer the question.
SEKULOW: The opinion says it was Janet Reno.
EPSTEIN: Tucker, if I can answer the question now, if I may, Jay.
The decision here, while it said that the transgressions that occurred under Louie Freeh, under both administrations were bad, the decision again says, very clearly if you read it, Tucker. You might want to try doing it before the show some time...
CARLSON: Just answer the question.
EPSTEIN: The decision says that the proposed guidelines, 2002 guidelines, Mr. Ashcroft, which basically say that in non-terrorism related cases, in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism, you don't get the benefit of going in to wiretap somebody's phone, search somebody's home, search somebody's computer, unless you have probable cause.
Now, Jay talks about this is going to interfere with the ability to share information on terrorism cases? That's is totally wrong. The court goes through in painstaking detail that if there is a terrorist related case...
SEKULOW: Julian, you must be you must be reading a different opinion.
EPSTEIN: I'm trying to make a point.
SEKULOW: The opinion doesn't say that. While the Patriot Act, it was changed, some of the degree in which there has to be -- verses a primary focus or sole purpose - of an investigation being terrorism related. And it changed that under the Patriot Act which received wide bipartisan support, to say that it has to be a significant aspect.
The Justice Department has taken the appeal, in this particular case, because of their concern that it impacts exactly what the concern has been. The ability to share information, terrorism related, between the prosecutors and the line investigators, the FBI agents.
That's why they're...
EPSTEIN: Let me pull out the opinion. I can tell you there are in a number of places, what the court says, Jay - what the court says, Jay, is if this is a terrorism related case and there's an overlap between the counterintelligence side of the FBI and the civilian side. Absolutely, the standard is always been that you can share information. The there's a terrorism aspect to the case; nobody will argue that the normal procedures ought to occur. What the court is saying here, and it says it so cleanly, so clearly, that I don't understand how anyone could misinterpret this, is that only in non- terrorism cases. And the standard is a very favorable one, to the government, as the case points out -- only those cases.
CARVILLE: We have 30 seconds left. SEKULOW: If that was the case - listen, if that was the case, why would the Justice Department appeal the ruling? It's because of the narrowing of the Patriot Act that they're concerned.
EPSTEIN: Because the Justice Department, in a way, and in a lot of cases, when it's come to names of people that were being detained, that may not be connected to terrorism. When it comes to the ability of people to get counsel that may not be connect to terrorism, the Justice Department is overreaching.
SEKULOW: Read the Constitution. No court said that.
EPSTEIN: I'm all for it when it comes to terrorism. I'm not for it when it comes to non-terrorism cases.
SEKULOW: Well, I'll tell you something, I think this Justice Department has done it exactly by the book. And one thing I do want to correct here, that Julian consistently says, and this is that somehow John Ashcroft and George Bush's administration were involved in these prior acts. It is unequivocal in the opinion that it is not the case. So let's get that off the table.
SEKULOW: This was Janet Reno as attorney general.
CARLSON: Jay Sekulow and Julian Epstein.
CARVILLE: One of the great lawyers ever in the history of Washington, Jay Sekulow, Julian Epstein, thank you.
CARLSON: It was a ton of fun. Come back soon.
Still to come, we'll ponder the mysteries of where human beings came from? Then we'll ask whether it's better to run to get where you're going. President Bush seems to think you should.
But first our quote of the day comes from someone with more than a passing interest in the White House press corp.
Be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back. If you have been anywhere near a radio, television or newspaper during the past month, doubtless you've noticed the press is fixated on Iraq. Is U.S. going to attack? IS the Bush administration wracked with disagreement, and so on, you've seen it here on CROSSFIRE.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the president thinks the press' obsession with Iraq is just silly. Fleischer gets our quote of the day for telling reporters aboard Air Force One, "The press yesterday and the day before reached an absurd point of self- inflicted silliness...A self-inflicted point of silliness that goes beyond the usual August hype." Can you die from self-inflicted silliness, James, that's my question to you?
CARVILLE: It's very odd that a war is silliness. I'll tell you the truth, I mean, most people would disagree with that. If this administration, that sends Tom Delay out to say something; it's this administration that send Condoleezza Rice. It's this administration where this president called it the axis of evil. It's this president that said he's going make up his mind?
You know what? The press is always obsessed on wars. They go this kind of thing, Mr. President. They think war is a big deal!
CARLSON: Well, actually...
CARVILLE: I don't know why they'd get that.
CARLSON: Well, for someone who sat here night after night doing war shows, I couldn't agree more. I think this stems from the meeting down at the president's ranch, recently, where National Security Adviser types were talking about missile defense and the press was convinced they were really talking about Iraq.
CARLSON: And I don't think they really were talking about Iraq.
CARVILLE: But why did they send Tom Delay the day before the meeting, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) decidedly with a White House approved statement.
CARLSON: It's not clear that they sent -
CARVILLE: I mean, the press -- you know what?
Of course, they did. He said -- they went and they said the White House gave him a statement, the White House approved it. The point here is, if you want to talk what is silly, it is silly to say that the press is obsessed with a war. Of course, the press is obsessed with a war. That's their job.
CARLSON: Well, we aren't.
CARVILLE: Getting shot at is a big ass deal!
CARLSON: Thank you, James. How succinct!
Coming up in a CNN News Alert, the people who fight forest fires seem to have lost something that's rather important. Connie Chung has details in a minute.
Later, is someone trying to sneak a Trojan horse not to mention a little Genesis, maybe some Leviticus, into science class? And then, get ready to run! President Bush says there are no excuses. Oh, yeah? We can think of a few. We'll share them with you. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you, as we always do, from the George Washington University here in downtown Washington, D.C.
Once upon a time, General Sherman marched through Cobb County, Georgia. The way some people are screaming, an even worst fate is in the offing. Last night the suburban Atlanta school board unanimously voted to consider opening up science classes to so-called "disputed views" about the origin of life. Opponents say they're seeking a balance of views. Critics say it's just a sneaky way of letting people who take the Bible literally teach creationism.
Just who is monkeying with science?
Joining us from San Francisco is Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. With us here in Washington is Peter Sprigg, the senior director of culture studies at the Family Research Council.
CARVILLE: Let's just start off: How long ago did life begin here on earth?
PETER SPRIGG, SR. DIR., CULTURE STUDIES, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, I'm not a scientist, but...
CARVILLE: How do you think?
SCOTT: I don't know the answer to that question, James, but...
EUGENIE SCOTT, EXEC. DIR., NATL. CENTER FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION: 3.8 billions years ago.
SPRIGG: Yes, she knows the answer to that.
CARVILLE: I'm just asking you -- you must have an opinion. You're a person. Do you believe in creationism?
SPRIGG: I believe that science classes should teach all available theories that are based on the scientific method. And I think there are critics -- criticisms of evolutionary theory which are equally valid, scientifically, from a scientific perspective.
And so it's very strange to me that people like -- who use names like the American Civil Liberties Union would actually be trying to deliberately stifle academic freedoms, stifle the...
CARVILLE: Hold on a second, I'm asking you your opinion -- ma'am, of the 100 leading scientists in the United States, how many would you say think that creationism is a fact?
SCOTT: I think you would have -- well, I don't know how many of them would think creationism is a fact, but I don't think any of them think creationism is a science.
And my -- your other guest and I would agree that what should be taught in science class is science. And unfortunately creation science or any form of creationism is not science. They are all religious views.
CARLSON: Ms. Scott -- hold on. That's not -- in some ways, that's not really the question. I mean, the question is: Shall we admit the truth that evolution is a theory? It's the theory of evolution, not the law of evolution. And what's wrong with admitting that?
SCOTT: Well, in science, a theory is an explanation. Of course evolution is a theory, just like gravitation.
But what we should be...
CARLSON: Wait, I thought gravity was a law. The law of gravity, right...
SCOTT: No, gravity...
CARLSON: ... or is this so far over my head I don't know what you're talking about? I thought it was a law.
SCOTT: Well, I'll tell you what, if you drop something, it's going to fall. That's an observation: unsupported things fall. But you explain that observation with the theory of gravity, which is that the mass of what whatever it is you dropped, a pencil or a pen or something, is attracted by the mass...
CARLSON: Well you are blowing my mind...
SCOTT: That's not an observation.
CARLSON: ... law of gravity. Honestly, is it not the law, it's really a theory of gravity?
SCOTT: It's a theory of gravity. But remember, a theory is an explanation.
SPRIGG: ... should point out, Scott, though, that theories of origins and theories that are testable in terms of current experimentation are somewhat different in a scientific perspective. We can't experimentally confirm evolution.
SCOTT: Sure we can.
CARVILLE: Let me go back to the creationist. They say the earth is 5,000 years old. They say. That's their theory that you want to give equal weight to. That's nuts. That's completely nuts.
SPRIGG: You know what...
CARVILLE: It's not wicked, it's not evil, it's just nuts to say the earth is 5,000 years old.
SPRIGG: There's nothing...
CARVILLE: It's just nuts.
CARLSON: But the guy didn't say...
CARVILLE: You want to give equal weight to people who say the earth is 5,000 years old.
SPRIGG: No, but Cobb County said nothing about this.
I'll show you this. This was the headline in the "New York Times": "Georgia school board requires balance of evolution and Bible."
This headline is a lie. Cobb County policy says nothing about the Bible. It says nothing about creationism. It only says that there should be alternative theories discussed. That seems to me the essence of the scientific method.
I don't know how anybody could argue with that, unless they have a hysterical anti-religious bias.
CARLSON: ... hysterical love of science?
CARVILLE: ... and what the fundamentalists say, the earth is 5,000 years old. What I say: That's nuts.
CARLSON: James, nobody is saying...
CARLSON: Ms. Scott, but what about this? Why aren't you -- why are you so closed-minded about this?
SCOTT: Gentlemen, what's wrong with teaching creationisms, plural, because there's not just one, gentlemen. There's many, many views of creation. The way the Catholics look at it is different from the way the Baptists look at it, which is different from the way the Episcopalians look at it, and the Jews look at it completely differently, and the Hindus look at it differently yet.
So what's wrong with teaching about...
SPRIGG: ... but we're talking about science.
SCOTT: Bingo. What's wrong with teaching creationisms outside of science? I'm all for that.
My opponents on this issue don't want to have creationisms taught comparatively, they wanted it to be presented as empirical truth and science. But it's not science, and...
SPRIGG: No, that's exactly what this policy from Cobb County says, is they want it to be treated comparably.
IN fact, it's astonishing to me, your literature on your Web site talks about defining the word theory. It talks about not referring to evolution as a fact, and that's exactly what the Cobb County school board is saying, and they're being attacked for saying practically the same thing you say on your Web site.
SCOTT: But how are you using the word "theory"? I think you're using the word "theory" like...
SPRIGG: Well actually Ms. Scott, you know, I looked it up before I came here and in the Oxford English Dictionary, hardly a right-wing fundamentalist publication, and the very first definition it used as an example, theory of evolution.
I don't see why it's considered so unscientific to refer to evolution as a theory.
SCOTT: No problem, but that's a red herring. We are not talking about whether evolution is a theory or not. Evolution is an explanation.
CARLSON: Let me ask you a question.
SCOTT: What are we talking about is whether creationism, a religious idea, should be presented as science. They simply are not.
SPRIGG: We are not talking about religious ideas. We are not. CARLSON: I just want to sort of underscore the point that evolution, for all its merits and compelling arguments, there is no actual proof. I want to put up on the screen...
SCOTT: Why would you say that? What an odd statement!
CARLSON: ... because what I want to up what I think it's the closest to proof that evolution is true. Now, this is as close as we get. We look at that, and it seems obvious that there's been some sort of evolution, slight, admittedly, but beyond that, really none.
CARVILLE: That proves it. There it is.
CARLSON: We are out of time. We've evolved to a commercial. Mr. Sprigg, thank you so much for joining us. Ms. Scott, thank you.
Still ahead, our viewers weigh in on the last night's debate over the state of Delaware and shock jocks. But next, is it time to hit the road? President Bush says he'll feel better if you do. We'll see if our guests agree. We'll be right back.
CARVILLE: Welcome back. Last night, we gave President Bush the quote of the day. He told "Runners World" magazine that he's serious about exercise and everyone should be, too. No excuses. But then we got into a big disagreement about whether the president, an avid jogger who can do three miles in 20 minutes, is pushing the rest of us too hard. The question still has some legs to it. So joining us from Houston, Texas, is the city's fitness czar and former Mr. Universe, Lee Labrada. And here in Washington is David Boaz of the Cato Institute.
CARLSON: Lee Labrada, thanks for joining us. One of our favorite guests. I want to put on the screen the actual quote that James has alluded to from the president of the United States, one I've spent my life supporting and defending. He says: "No excuses. If the president of the United States can make the time, anyone can."
Now, this -- I'm not attacking exercise, I think it's marvelous. I'm as pro-exercise as anybody in the world, but this gets to what bothers me. There's an elitism here. You never see poor people jogging. Why? Because they don't have time. So the president of the United States -- if I can do it, you -- you know, there's no excuse, this is the most important thing in your day. But in fact, a lot of people have more important things, like working a second job or taking care of their kids. Isn't there an elitism in this?
LEE LABRADA, HOUSTON FITNESS CZAR: I don't think the president is being elitist at all. In fact, I think he's leading from the front, if anything. He's setting a proper example for the rest of us. And that is that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
CARVILLE: Let me ask you something. The former first president, the former first lady, Mrs. Barbara Bush, was -- encouraged people to read. Now, more rich people read than poor people. So is it elitism for the first lady of the United States saying that people ought to read and encourage literacy?
CARLSON: That's a dumb point!
CARVILLE: No, it's not. It's not any more dumb than your point.
DAVID BOAZ, CATO INSTITUTE: I think the Bushes ought to get their advice straight. We can't do everything. We can't read, we can't exercise, we can't do all the things they would like us to do. And that's something people have to think about. The president says, if I can do it, anybody can. I'm guessing that after eight hours at work, the president doesn't have to go pick up the laundry, water the lawn, drive the kids to soccer. Of course the president has time that the rest of us don't have.
But the important thing is, it's great for the president to set a good example, it's great for him to do the right thing. But we don't need a national nanny telling us all, don't drink, don't smoke, exercise more, recycle. We don't need that from the federal government.
CARLSON: And I think that's an excellent point, Lee Labrada. I mean, do we really need to be scolded by our politicians? Holy smokes, we're at war. A lot of things to worry about in this world. Do we really need nannies standing over us telling us how to spend our free time?
LABRADA: Well, I really don't think it's about a politician scolding the rest of us. What I think it's about is about setting an example and putting out a very important message that is that we have to take care of our health if we are to improve our general level of fitness. And it's right there in the preamble to the Constitution of the United States that part of the role of government is to promote the general welfare. This falls under promoting the general welfare.
CARLSON: But wait a second. The guys who wrote the Constitution, the founders, were overweight, they all had gout. They drank too much (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Not one of these guys had ever been on a stairmaster. They led vibrant, vigorous lives and created the most important political document in human history. It sort of cuts against the argument you have to be fit to be smart, doesn't it?
LABRADA: But wasn't it Franklin who said that an apple a day keeps a doctor away? You know, I think that there were people that were aware of...
LABRADA: ... the need for good health back then. But bottom line is, is that we know better nowadays, and it's important to get the message out to people. It's not about elitism, it's actually about egalitarianism. It's about setting an example that others can follow and having equal access for all.
(CROSSTALK) BOAZ: ... the president jogging, but the hundreds of millions of dollars, we don't need that.
CARVILLE: I'll tell you what -- I rather -- I'll tell you what. It makes imminent more sense for the federal government to spend hundreds of millions of dollars encouraging people to exercise than it does to give money to grow tobacco. I mean, if you want to be really ridiculous here...
BOAZ: I agree, they should stop that too.
CARLSON: Why don't we stop both?
CARVILLE: But, again, what is the problem with the federal government encouraging people to embrace a healthy lifestyle?
BOAZ: The problem is that these founders that we were talking about a minute ago set up a government of limited powers. And the most important thing the government is supposed to do is national security. And at the very moment that the terrorists were flying airplanes into the World Trade Center, this president was sitting in a classroom in Florida surrounded by little kids reading to them. That is the job of their parents and their teachers. The president's job is to protect us from foreign assault, and if he focused on that instead of tell us to jog and reading to our kids, then maybe we'd have a more secure nation.
LABRADA: I think it's the president's role to lead by example, and that's exactly what he's doing. And something that is very important is for us to realize that this is not a mandated program. This is a voluntary program.
CARLSON: Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah, Lee Labrada?
CARLSON: It's interesting you said that, in "Runner's World" magazine the president is quoted as saying -- this is a direct quote, "I expect the White House staff to be on time," famous for that, "and sharp, and to exercise."
LABRADA: And that's his staff. That's his prerogative to do that.
CARLSON: But wait a second. In the rest of the workaday world, if you show up with, you know, rings in your face and tattoos all over yourself, your employer can't say, hey, freak, you're fired. No way, you're protected by the ACLU. Is it at a point that you have to exercise to keep your job?
BOAZ: It might very well. You know, they start out saying, it's just a should, and then they say, OK, it's a must.
(CROSSTALK) CARVILLE: Let me clear something up here. Actually, as opposed to all of you guys, my wife works at the White House. They encourage it. I'm glad that they do. She's the best looking 49-year-old woman on the face of the earth...
CARVILLE: ...and one of the reasons she is is because she exercises. And I am proud of that, and I'm glad that this president, who I disagree with, gives her a chance to do that.
CARLSON: Well, unfortunately, on that happy domestic note, James' good looking wife, we are out of time. Lee Labrada, thanks so much for joining us.
LABRADA: Thank you.
CARLSON: David Boaz, from Cato, thank you for joining us from Washington.
BOAZ: Thank you. Thank you.
CARLSON: Some of you at home ran to your computers and fired back opinions on the subject of exercise. We'll get there in a minute.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We've saved the best for last. It's our "Fire Back" segment. We get e-mails every day. Here are some. Marguerite Payne of Seattle, Washington writes about a show we did last night on the state of Delaware -- "Is it the worst in the nation?" was the debate. "Delaware," she writes, "is not nearly as big an embarrassment to the U.S. as is Washington, D.C., which has per capita more out-of-touch hot air politicians than the rest of the country put together."
That is absolutely right, Marguerite, but I have never gotten in a traffic jam like in Washington like I have in Delaware. I think it's a nice city.
CARVILLE: I like it here. I also like Seattle, Washington, too. It's also a very nice city.
CARLSON: You're in an affable mood this evening, James!
CARVILLE: I really am, Tucker. I am, I am.
"I agree with President Bush, and I promise to exercise for an hour every day. In return, will he promise to sit down with a vocabulary book for one hour every day?"
Dorothy Nethery, Millville, California. Actually, I would settle for any book one hour a year. But what the heck?
CARLSON: James, he knows the words. He doesn't always get them out correctly.
CARVILLE: I can't criticize him for that.
CARLSON: Yes, that was the implication. I'm glad you picked up on it. Laura Myers of Oklahoma City writes, "Butt out! I don't think we need the government yet again to tell us how to live. I think the role should be to offer guidelines and information, but let the people decide if they want to be fat, lazy, slim, smoke or not, whatever."
Amen, Laura Myers! Oklahoma City libertarian. I could not agree more. Butt out, pal!
CARVILLE: Butt out? No, all the president was saying is people should exercise. It's good for. There's not a law saying you got to, and I'm totally with him on this.
CARLSON: There will be.
CARVILLE: "I'm a huge fan of the "Opie & Anthony Show" and CROSSFIRE. There's nothing that I have heard on either show that offends me as much as the garbage I hear on FOX. Ryan Lawrence, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Actually, Ryan, you're confusing garbage with hot air, but what the heck, it's close enough. You know, when it gets -- from Louisiana on a good hot August day, the hot air can give a good stench.
CARLSON: Yes, there are no bloviaters (ph) in Louisiana. That's the thing. And to our audience...
CARVILLE: Aren't they cows?
CARLSON: Speaking of vocabulary. yes, sir, you have a question?
JOSEPH GOLINA: Hi, good evening. My name is Joseph Golina (ph) and I'm from Brooklyn, New York. Rumor has it that Hillary may indeed seek the presidential nomination for the 2004 elections. Mr. Carville, would you support Hillary if she does do this, and would you work on her campaign?
CARVILLE: Yes. Yes.
CARLSON: And let me just answer that by saying he doesn't mean either one of them. That's grotesque. There's no Democrat in America who wants to see Hillary Clinton to run for president. Al Gore deserves it. James tells us every night that he is in fact the real president. Al Gore, run again, it's yours to lose!
CARVILLE: 2008, she'll be my candidate.
CARLSON: Next question, yes?
JOE MORATOLO: Hi. My name is Joe Moratolo (ph) and I'm from Eastchester, New York. Shouldn't the past administration be held more responsible than the Justice Department in regards to failing to catch the 9/11 terrorists. President Clinton abused his own authority and obstructed justice in the U.S. government.
CARLSON: Well, we learned today the Justice Department found 75 examples of statements that were misleading or untrue by the Clinton Justice Department. I think that's big news. I hope it's on the front page of every paper tomorrow.
CARVILLE: Son, you got to go somewhere besides talk radio for your information. It's already been documented that the Clinton Administration in "Newsweek," in the "Washington Post" and everywhere else, the Clinton Administration was much more conscientious about fighting terrorism than the Bush Administration was prior to September 11.
CARLSON: You can say it. Doesn't make it true. Yes, sir?
CARVILLE: Everybody else says it, not just me.
BRANDON BRISCOE: Hi, I'm Brandon Briscoe (ph) from New Orleans, Louisiana. I applaud President Bush for his dedication to exercise and for the example that he sets, but I wish he would show as much leadership on more pressing issues like the violence in the Middle East or the slumping economy.
CARVILLE: Well, that requires -- exercise requires some physical exertion. That requires mental thought, of which he's certainly bereft of.
From the left, I'm James Carville. Good night for CROSSFIRE.
CARLSON: And that was ludicrous. But I'm still Tucker Carlson. Join us again Monday night for another edition of CROSSFIRE. "CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins immediately after a CNN "News Alert." Have a great weekend.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
Square off with Evolutionists; Should Bush Be Telling Americans to Exercise?>