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CNN CROSSFIRE

What Is Bush's Timeline on Political War Over Iraq?; Is British Monarchy Irrelevant?; Couple Files $5 Million Lawsuit Over Lost Cat

Aired August 30, 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, Iraq says it's sure the U.S. will strike. The vice president sure sounds ready. Soon Congress will be weighing in. So what is the Bush administration's timeline in the political war over Iraq?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the beginning of a rollout public relations strategy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The headlines only tell part of the story. With Diana gone, has the royal family become irrelevant? Is it time to dethrone the British monarchy?

Plus, a tale of cat lovers and cat haters you won't believe. Tonight on CROSSFIRE. From the George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE. Tonight, the poster kitty for frivolous lawsuits. Speaking of frivolity, is British monarchy a royal waste? But first, the serious, non-frivolous part of our program, the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Minnesota's national embarrassment is about to step onto the world stage. Governor Jesse Ventura is planning a trade promotion trip next month to, of all places, Cuba. There, he'll pretend that Fidel Castro is not a megalomaniacal tyrant, that the Cuban people are not oppressed, that the state of Cuba does not promote international terrorism. He'll do it all in an effort to promote the financial interests of his friends in agro business. Jesse Ventura, man of the people, Yankee stay home.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Just like Dick Cheney at Halliburton when he did business in Iraq.

CARLSON: I don't think he traveled to Iraq and hung out with Saddam Hussein. That's ridiculous.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: There's nothing wrong with a little bare-knuckle hardball politics as long as it's for the right cause. But the White House aides are talking about going all out for Appeals Court nominee Priscilla Owen, whose nomination is in trouble in the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to the "Wall Street Journal," committee Democrats who'll vote against Owen's nomination may find themselves barred from riding with the president in Air Force One and their constituents won't get tours of the White House. Heck, I'd take it as a point of pride to refuse to let me into the Bush White House or aboard the state jet. Why don't they have such dedication for such important problems like prescription drugs, for Medicare and Social Security reform?

CARLSON: But wait a second, you're calling the Republicans frivolous, but it's the Democrats who can be bought with a ride on the president's plane. Have you been on the president's plane, by the way?

CARVILLE: I've been on the president's plane.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I've been in the White House, I've been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- you know what, Democrats, it's not worth sacrificing your principles...

CARLSON: You know, but they will.

CARVILLE: ... to keep this woman...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I think these guys on the Judiciary Committee are going to do the right thing and not going to be bought off.

CARLSON: They'll be bought off.

Almost all the terrorists who attacked the United States last September came from one country, that of course is Saudi Arabia. For the Saudi government, this presents a public relations challenge. Now, the Saudi royal family has a solution: A gift to the families of those killed on September 11. The problem is, the gift is a horse -- it's a race horse with the unfortunate name War Emblem. War Emblem is an accomplished horse, but the real value is in his genes. A spokesman for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association says War Emblem could generate tens of thousands of dollars, quote, "per mating."

Every time the horse has sex, the victims' families would make money. In other words, Saudi Arabia produces a generation of terrorists who slaughter thousands of innocent Americans, as an apology gift, the government sends horse sperm. It wasn't immediately clear if the offer was a joke.

CARVILLE: I just wish they'd figure out a way to pay people to have $10,000 to have sex, and we'd all be fine.

In Colorado, conservative state lawmakers are bellyaching about a college program on the anniversary of September 11 that features a debate on problems in the Middle East. One of the guest speakers will be Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a spokesperson for Yasser Arafat and a frequent guest here on CROSSFIRE. The conservatives are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that the appearance isn't appropriate, but so far the college has stood up to their demands that she'd be disinvited.

I'd be the first to admit she's said some intemperate and controversial things in the past, but isn't this the problem with the whole Middle East process, nobody's willing to listen to one another? If people don't want to hear the perspective of a Palestinian woman who's considered a moderate, how can we ever get anywhere?

CARLSON: Give peace a chance, James. I mean, I agree she's far more moderate and reasonable than a lot of people. She's a secular spokeswoman, for one thing. But it's not just conservatives who are against it. There are liberals who are against it, because it's the anniversary of 9/11, and maybe she can speak another time.

CARVILLE: Well, I don't know why -- she doesn't have a thing to do with 9-11, and I think a lot of the problem is, if we were able to get some peace in the Israeli-Palestinian -- get the process started, I think it would ratchet down the...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Nobody disagrees with that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: It's the people who supported terrorism probably shouldn't speak on that day.

Now, a follow-up on last night's debate on whether the rest of America uses unfair stereotypes to portray hillbillies. A new study has found that most pollution in Appalachia is home grown. For years, residents of a number of rural Southern states contended that the haze in their skies must have blown in from manufacturing plants in the Midwest. Not so, concludes the 10-year long study. Appalachian smog, it turns out, is made in Appalachia. According to scientists, most of the pollution comes from banjo factories, wood-fired moonshine stills, and 1937 Dodge pickup trucks held together with baling wire. The study also notes the strongly negative environmental impact of shotgun pellets fired at stop signs. So they caused their own mess out there in Appalachia.

CARVILLE: Yeah, right, I'm sure, you know, all of that open pit strip mining that they do and acid rain that's falling on those poor people, it's all their fault. You know, the poorer people are and the less opportunity they have, the more you right-wingers like to gang up on them. There are many very fine people that live in Appalachia. They're hard working, decent people...

CARLSON: Who voted for George W. Bush.

CARVILLE: I don't care who they voted for. They're decent, fine, hard working, decent people and you ought to stop making fun of them.

CARLSON: I'm not making fun of them! They ought to stop...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: As you know doubt heard, the Major League Baseball strike has been called off and the season has been saved. I can tell you the reasons that the players are known to settle. According to my friend Tim Bronson (ph), who is the father of Helen, Kellan (ph) and Charlotte (ph) and is also of Major League Baseball, told me that reason was is that Danny Meyer (ph) and Richard Koreni (ph) from Blue Smoke -- probably the best barbecue restaurant in the United States -- sent over ribs in the middle of the negotiation -- true story -- and that they all sat down, had some ribs and some sides and a couple of brews, and bingo, they settled that strike.

And I tell you all the people at home, if you're having a fight at home, or you're arguing with somebody, you can't get any work, get some ribs, get a couple of cold ones, get some side dishes, you can do what the baseball players and owners did, you can settle it right there.

CARLSON: I agree with you, James, except I want you to pledge right here and now. Now that you've touted that restaurant on television, you'll never take a free meal from Blue Smoke.

CARVILLE: I don't have to pay when I have a meal there, because they're my dear friends, and they don't pay when they come to my house either. And they're good friends. And you know what?

CARLSON: What?

CARVILLE: I like to pimp for my friends. So get over it.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: At least you admit it. August is almost over, the president and Congress are coming back to work, and everyone is asking the same questions. Will it be long, methodical and drawn out, or a short blitzkrieg that achieves the desired results? No, we're not talking about the war with Iraq, but the political war of words about whether to have a war with Iraq. In the CROSSFIRE tonight, Democratic consultant Steve McMahon and Republican strategist Cliff May.

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Cliff, I guess my question is, if you look at the bungling and ineptitude and the in-fighting and the fact that this administration has blown $7 trillion in surplus and everything else, that they can't get the whole administration together, why would any rational person vote for a Republican in November anyway?

CLIFF MAY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Is that your question?

CARVILLE: Yeah, that's my question. I mean, it just seems to me to be such an irrational thing for somebody to do. CARLSON: It's a brilliant question, you've got to admit.

MAY: It's a brilliant and such a moderate question from -- look, James, I'm not going to sit here and in two seconds give the whole round -- first of all, we've got a war on terrorism that this administration is doing a good job on with a lot of Democratic support. Second, we've got an administration that understands something about how to grow the economy, how to create jobs and how to protect American interests.

Look, the United States electorate is pretty much split right now. It's going to be a tough election for the Democrats, tough election for the Republicans. A lot of it is going to be district by district and state by state. People are going to look and say, do I like my representative, do I like my senator, or don't i? And I think you and I both know that's the way it is. I know you've never seen any reason to vote for a Republican whatsoever in your entire life, even though you happened to marry one.

CARVILLE: Exactly. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Let me go -- let me show you -- let's go to the board up here and let me show you something, Cliff. The ground troops in Iraq. This administration has been so inept in selling it to the American people -- in December, 70 to 22 favored it. Now it's 51 to 40. As we say in the trade, the trend ain't our friend. What can they do to get this back? An American to American, tell me, they're listening to you, tell them how to get this thing back.

MAY: One thing that would be great to have Democrats involved in this debate in any way whatsoever. The Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: And I think there's any number of reasons, too. For one thing, we've had a war going on with Saddam Hussein since 1991. He's broken the terms of his surrender. He cannot be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction that he will use against us. That is a reason that we should want -- if -- I think, look, I don't think anybody really wants to go to war, but if we have to go to war with Saddam Hussein, don't we want to do it before, not after...

CARVILLE: You think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) don't want to go to war?

MAY: He thinks it's necessary to do, and if we're going to do it, we should do it before and not after he has weapons of -- do you not want to go -- do you want to make nice with him, is that your idea?

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: You know what they need to do to start moving this trend is they need to start talking to the Republicans, because they've got a problem in their own party. I mean, their secretary of state doesn't support the war.

MAY: We're having the debate over this, and the Democrats are saying, I'm glad you're having a debate, I wish we could get involved in it too, but...

CARLSON: Here's that -- I want to outline the debate that the Democrats have participated in. I want to frame it. And I think it will help you when I do.

MCMAHON: Thank you very much.

CARLSON: The debate has been in the last two weeks, will the president take his case to the Congress? Because the Congress, of course, balances out the executive, et cetera, et cetera. And Democrats have been outraged that the president is not planning on bringing it to Congress. Then comes Jerry Nadler of New York with this quote. "I think they've got to get congressional authorization, and if they ask for it, by the way, they will get it."

MCMAHON: There you go.

CARLSON: That's exactly right. So he lets the cat out of the bag. In fact, they don't have the guts to deny him authorization, so this whole ludicrous debate about whether he asks for it...

(CROSSTALK)

Well, we're going to find out.

MCMAHON: This is a testable proposition. This is a testable proposition.

(CROSSTALK)

I think the president should call home and talk to his father instead of having his father send his emissaries to write Op-Ed pieces to tell junior that he shouldn't be going to war without building a coalition within his own party.

CARLSON: Do you have any evidence for what you just said?

MCMAHON: Within his party, within his own administration. I mean, George W. Bush hasn't even gotten consensus at the State Department, let alone...

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: ...coalition, for leadership by consensus that I don't understand.

MCMAHON: Do you think President Bush -- President Bush I was wrong to get a coalition...

MAY: It was a great thing to do but if he didn't...

(CROSSTALK)

Look, if in 1938 Franklin Roosevelt had said we need to secure regime change in Germany, I believe that's important, there's not one nation in the world that would have gone with him, but he would have been right. In 1981 -- thank you very much. One more example.

In 1981, the Israelis bombed Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor. Not one nation in the world said that was a good to do. They had no help with that. Everybody denounced them. They were right, and as a result we didn't have to fight a nuclear war with Hussein in 1991.

(CROSSTALK)

MCMAHON: If Roosevelt had done that, his party would have stood with him. President Bush's problem isn't with the Democrats, it's with his own administration.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Tell me, just outline for me as a Democratic thinker, outline the Democratic position on what we ought to do about Iraq, without reference to the current president. I want you to say what the United States should do in Iraq, because I haven't heard a single Democrat explain it.

MCMAHON: The first thing the United States ought to do is the president ought to make his case to the American people. The president ought to ask Congress...

MAY: What's the Democratic position on this issue?

MCMAHON: The president ought to ask Congress to stand with him and take a vote.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Tell me what the president -- explain to me the president's position on Iraq, because he said he hadn't made up his mind yet.

MAY: OK, we've agreed that the Democrats don't have a position. I hope they'll formulate one soon. What the president has said...

CARVILLE: He don't have one.

MAY: No, he's going to secure regime change with Iraq on his timetable in his good time.

CARVILLE: That's my position. That's my position.

MAY: If he could have a coalition, he will have one. If he can't...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Boy, that's a brilliant policy.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: The policy of the United States government, as you know, including the State Department -- well, let me outline the policy!

(CROSSTALK)

For someone who doesn't read the paper here, let me fill you in. Here are the cliffnotes.

The federal government's position is that we are going to take Saddam Hussein out. That's the official position. What's the Democratic position?

MCMAHON: Well, the Democratic position is there's a constitutional provision which requires the president to go to the Congress to declare war.

MAY: Eh? What's the position on Iraq?

MCMAHON: There's a Gulf on Tonkin Resolution which permits him to go in for a period of time, then go to Congress. The bottom line is...

CARLSON: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was in 1964 for Vietnam.

MCMAHON: But the Republicans are trying to say that something passed in 1991 with respect to a different war...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Bush don't have a position, so we have nothing to argue about. If I knew his position, I could react to it.

CARLSON: I just told you! Regime change!

CARVILLE: We'll pursue regime change on our good time. OK, fine. Well, for that, let me show you something. Let's look at the board here. Let's go to the board, and talk about different people in the administration.

Now Colin Powell is supposed to be secretary of state. Let's look at what the American people think of him. Oh, 78 percent like him, Rumsfeld 51, Cheney 49, Ashcroft 42.

MCMAHON: There you go.

CARVILLE: So Powell, according to every press report, is fighting this thing tooth and nail. What can the administration do to say get the secretary of state to agree with, say, the vice president on this?

MAY: You know, when you've got strong, intelligent, important figures in an administration, as this president does around him, people like Rumsfeld and Powell, sure, they have some discussions and disagreement.

At the end of the day, they're not disciplined enough, not least Powell, to be on board, and he is. If you heard Richard Boucher the other day, the state department's spokesman, he was very clear. We're going to secure regime change in Iraq because we're not going to let Saddam have nuclear weapons and support terrorists.

Because look, we have a war against terrorists and also against those who sponsor terrorists, and Saddam Hussein is one of those.

CARVILLE: Look, we're all for that.

(CROSSTALK)

What Rumsfeld and Cheney said -- actually, Gephardt has been more hawkish -- we're saying is they want to go have a unilateral war. Look at what -- let me show you another quote that was in the paper about what the Powell people said about -- "The Powell confidant said Powell and others in the State Department were blindsided by Cheney's speech on Monday, and were just as surprised as anyone else."

Now, the idea that -- why do Americans have confidence when the secretary of state doesn't know what the vice president is saying about going to war?

MAY: I cannot believe there -- if you listened to Cheney's speech, everything he said has been said before. He said it well, he articulated it well.

CARVILLE: I think he has brilliant staff work.

CARLSON: Unfortunately -- I will agree with that -- we are out of time for this moment. We'll be right back. We'll take a commercial break. Coming up, we'll ask our guest where is President Bush? Why does he have the vice president out there making the case against Iraq? Is that legitimate or not?

Later, they may know how to smile and wave, but are the royals good for anything else? Maybe Britain should get rid of them, send them to Luxembourg.

And our "Quote of the Day" comes from a man who may soon owe James Carville a large sum of money, and it's not his bookie. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: ...to the French?

MCMAHON: No, of course not, but you know what? It needs to go to Congress first. It needs to go to the American people. President Bush left a month ago to go on a working vacation. As far as I can tell, the only work he's done is raise money for Republicans.

This guy -- while his administration fights -- while Colin Powell is trying to figure out what the vice president is doing, while Tom Delay and Dick Cheney are out making the case for war, the president is sitting down in Crawford, leaving occasionally to go on fundraisers. Now, I don't think that's what he was elected to do.

CARLSON: I can't believe that someone as sophisticated as you is buying into a bumper sticker... MCMAHON: Name one country that supports this president's mission in Iraq.

CARLSON: Yes, let me name a number of countries. I would say with some confidence that this administration has made agreements, secret agreements...

(CROSSTALK)

For good reason. You really ought to read the newspaper more -- with the countries contiguous to Iraq. I don't think there's any question about it.

MAY: Can we try this game from another point of view?

(CROSSTALK)

MCMAHON: ...Europe, what would you say about those people? Where are they?

CARLSON: Again, I would say, why do you care so much what France thinks?

MCMAHON: I think it's interesting that it was so wonderful that President Bush No. 1 built this wonderful coalition to back Saddam Hussein down, and President Bush No. 2 can't seem to figure out why that was a good idea.

CARLSON: You're a Bush fan now?

CARLSON: Can we elevate this thing above secret agreements? (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: There's nothing above a secret agreement, come on.

MAY: Well, we're talking about the Neville Chamberlain School of Foreign Policy over here.

CARVILLE: No, we're not. This...

MAY: Imagine if one year ago, one year ago, Bill Clinton or George Bush had said, you know what, we've got to crush al Qaeda one year ago...

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: Listen to me, listen to me now -- and we have to secure regime change in Afghanistan. Not one nation in the world would have gone along, but it would have been the right thing to do. And by the way, did Clinton go to Congress to get permission to send cruise missiles to Afghanistan and Sudan? Did he go to Congress before he went into Bosnia and Kosovo? No, he did not.

CARVILLE: I'm going to tell you, when they're going to invade Iraq is if when the unemployment rate goes to 6.24 (ph) percent. That's exactly when it's going to happen. (CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: That's my prediction.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: That would be your recommendation if you were in power.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I wish you'd answer my question. This is important. The vice president says that Saddam Hussein is trying to put together a nuclear weapon. A, do you believe that that's true? B, do you think that's a menace to the United States?

MCMAHON: I think it may be true...

CARLSON: But you don't really care.

MCMAHON: No. If John Kennedy in 1961 could use what was rather arcane intelligence capabilities to determine that they were doing that in Cuba, why can't we in 2002 with the most sophisticated intelligence operations...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... said if you cut taxes, we'd have a surplus.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: If Saddam Hussein was building a nuclear weapon in 1981, which we know he was, because they bombed the plant, and since then...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You're saying the vice president is lying about this? Why would he lie about it?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: All I'm saying, is present the evidence to the world. This is it. Just like Adlai Stevenson did in the U.N., it was before you were born, he said, right here...

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: ... call our spies back from Iraq and have them testify. Then we can send them back again, I'm sure it won't hurt them a bit.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... before I could produce the satellite photos, we've run out of time. We want to go to commercial break. Thank you both very much for joining us, Cliff May, Steve McMahon, thank you.

Coming up, they spend lots of money, produce occasional scandals -- more than occasional, actually -- and take junkets to far ends of the globe. We Americans let Congress get away with it, but is that any excuse to keep the British monarchy in business?

And next, our quote of the day proves that if you can't beat them or join them, just swipe their ideas, even if the idea came from James Carville. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back. Yesterday, we talked about CBS Television's new reality show based on "Beverly Hillbillies" -- looking for some real hillbillies to bring to Beverly Hills, stick in a mansion, and follow around with cameras. During our debate, James Carville suggested doing the opposite -- putting a slick Beverly Hills producer in a house with sagging porches and outdoor appliances plus a job in the coal mine. Maybe even his house. It seems someone was listening. Today, Fox TV announced a new reality show based on "Green Acres," where the city folk go country. Executive producer John Murray's vision is our quote of the day. Quote: "I see a limo with a U-Hall attached. There's going to be wonderful humor in the show, as there is with anyone who's a fish out of water."

You think -- you know, you're from the deepest, darkest bayou, is that...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: If fish gets out of water, just kind of flops around. But it sounds like -- you know, sounds like just reality stuff, it ought to be good. Let them go out there, see how the world works, earn an honest living and maybe they'll learn something.

CARLSON: Do you think getting a paycheck from a television executive is an honest living?

CARVILLE: Hell, yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: That's the spirit, James!

CARVILLE: Damn right I do.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... yeah, I'll turn it down, but right now, I'll take it with both hands. If they pay me twice, I won't tell them. Talk to you later about it.

CARLSON: Coming up, the latest chapter in a custody battle turned missing child case in California.

Later, is it time to tell the royals to take a hike?

Also, flying cats and one heck of a lawsuit. Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a great second half. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Coming up, five million reasons not to take your pet with you on the next airplane trip.

But next, the royal household: Is it time for Britain's monarchs to join the proletariat? Are they already there? We'll debate it. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Just before Egypt's last king was kicked out of office in 1952, he remarked that the way things were going, only five kings would be left in the world, hearts, spades, clubs, diamonds, and England's. Half a century later, maybe that should be four kings, unless the prospect of King Chuck really turns you on.

Joining us from London is freelance journalist and former London "Daily Express" reporter, Christopher Sylvester. And with us on this side of the pond is Julian Borger; he's "The Guardian" newspaper's United States correspondent.

(APPLAUSE)

TUCKER: Mr. Sylvester, thanks for joining us. I know it's late there. I know you've probably had a long boozy dinner, so we doubly appreciate it. I want to read you a quote from January Jonathan Freedland at "The Guardian", this sort of sums up my suspicions about the monarchy.

He says, "Imagine getting on a jet and hearing the pilot say, `I do not, in fact, have a pilot's license. But my father had quite a good record.' "

Isn't true that meritocracy, as in the United States, elevates the best to the top, whereas a monarchy elevates people with pronounced genetic problems?

(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

CHRISTOPHER SYLVESTER, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: That is certainly true. That is certainly true. But that does not invalidate the institution of the monarchy. The whole point of the monarchy is that it operates in a world that is slightly different from the world in which the rest of us operate. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I think that is precisely the reason why people still actually have a resonance with the monarchy, still revere a monarchy. They don't necessarily want it to be like a meritocracy or a democracy. They want it to operate according to different rules. And I think there's nothing wrong with that. CARLSON: Except, I can see that point, except this monarchy appears to be operating by the very same rules. Everybody's screwed up and drunk, and getting divorced, and has embarrassing relationships, and drug problems, and winds up on the front page of all your newspapers. I mean, they're very much like ordinary messed up people, not just royal messed up people.

SYLVESTER: Yes, but the difference between the English monarchy, and let us say, an American president is that we get to keep them. They're here for the long-term. And whether we like it or not, with their deficiencies and their virtues, they are a part of our lives throughout our lives, throughout our lives, as long as we retain a monarchy.

And I think that is one of the great virtues of having a monarchy, that we don't simply chop and change all the time. You could say, you could argue that this is a deficiency, that we should be able -- you know that the people of Britain should be able to eject them if we so wished. But, so happens, that thus far we haven't chosen to do so. And there is no indication, despite what the other guests on the program may wish to project to the audience, there is no indication that there is a desire to eject the British monarchy from its current position.

CARVILLE: My question is, you have the Windsor Woman, over there, she seems harmless enough to me. And if, I go to London office there, I kind of like it. It's a nice palace and everything, they give her an apartment in there, and let her go around. What's the problem with that?

JULIAN BORGER, U.S. CORRESPONDENT, "THE GUARDIAN": I've got nothing against her personally but I just don't see why we should be paying $50 million a year to one of the richest women on the planet, one of the richest people on the planet, whose wealth is really obscene, in terms of what the average Briton makes. I don't understand why we continue to pay for something like that.

CARVILLE: You know, if they pared back what they paid her or something and just kind of let them go around and open up buildings or go to funerals or whatever the hell they do, it would be fine with you?

BORGER: No, not altogether because I think there's a principle involved here. I mean, if you look at the United States. What's the underlying principle, under your society? It's the Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal, with certain inalienable rights. What's our underlying principle? The Royal Family, it means that if you were born into a certain family, you get to keep a lot of money, and we pay you more every year. That's not a very inspiring principle on which to build a nation.

CARVILLE: But they don't have any power. And to Americans they're kind of entertaining. They're kind of Euro trash, they're all out there humping each other, and they're kind of entertaining.

BORGER: So why are we paying them to do it? CARVILLE: That's your problem. But they're entertaining enough people.

CARLSON: Mr. Sylvester, one of the things that makes me a little nervous about the British monarchy is how seriously it's taken by people within England. To give you one example, among many, Francis Kidd, who I learned today is the mother of the late Princess Diana, gave an interview. It came out today, said that when her daughter died, she was not allowed, ordered by the government, not to tell anybody for an hour during which time "heads of state" were told.

I'm thinking here, if Britney Spears were killed in an car accident would President Bush say to her parents, you can't tell anybody until I call Vladimir Putin? No. I mean, does that -- do you see what I mean?

SYLVESTER: You're absolutely right.

CARLSON: OK?

SYLVESTER: No it doesn't make me uncomfortable at all. I'm certainly not -- God, I don't mind about that at all. And when I hear Mr. Borger, you know, whining on about the fact that the Royal Family happens to be rich, and is given a civil list (ph) allowance in order to run its operations, I have to say I'm utterly cynical about his position.

Because the fact is that although the Royal Family of Great Britain has inherited, and will continue so inherit a substantial fortune, there is a very limited way in which it can dispose of that fortune. It can't simply sort of fritter it away on all sorts of luxuries. I mean, it has luxuries, endless luxuries anyway.

But it's not as if this money is simply sort of being irresponsibly kind of frittered away. It is -- most of it is embodied in institutions and buildings and things that are part of the national fabric. And indeed employ a large number of people.

(CROSSTALK)

SYLVESTER: So I simply find the argument that the monarchy is expensive or costly or extravagant utterly ridiculous.

CARLSON: So, Mr. Borger, the argument appears to be, they have more money than they can spend. So it's not bad to give them more, because they can't really spend it?

BORGER: That's right. And because they're luxuries are absolutely necessary for the rest of the country to enjoy.

SYLVESTER: No, no, they are given money --

CARVILLE: You know, I come from Louisiana. And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you all is called carnival. Basically, it's all a bunch of inbred people, that they name a king, and they get to ride in a parade and they have no power and it's kind of harmless. That's the way they all look to me, just an inbred people who sit around and have no power and it's kind of a harmless thing.

Throw me something, mister. Hey, show me your -- your whatever.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: I don't want to see the Queen's, but I mean, they're just kind of harmless people over there. And it's nice to go and see something a little different. They've got the, you know, the Beefeaters, or whatever the hell they've got.

BORGER: And they'll still be different, even after they no longer have this role as head of state and this role under which we are subjects, and not citizens. There's an important psychological difference, in if you are a subject, not a citizen.

SYLVESTER: Oh, he's talking nonsense. I mean, Mr. Borger, is talking nonsense.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Well, Mr. Sylvester, I don't -- beat up -- OK, well, I just want you to respond to one thing --

SYLVESTER: Let me tell you something, Mr. Borger has made a statement.

(CROSSTALK)

The fact is, his newspaper, his newspaper has got it wrong from the beginning. He represents a liberal left newspaper, which advances a republican argument. And the fact is that they called it wrong on the Golden Jubilee this year. They predicted the Golden Jubilee would be a flop, that the monarchy was a dead letter, a busted flush. And I'm afraid the British people proved them wrong.

And whatever he wants to say on this program, the fact is that the British people wants to keep its monarchy, it likes it monarchy. It appreciates the voluntary work that various members of the Royal Family do. And notwithstanding, the various criticisms that people may have of some of the individual characters within the Royal Family, the institution is strong and secure and much prized by the British people. And there's nothing that Mr. Borger can say that will gainsay that remark.

CARLSON: Now, Mr. Borger, we're almost out of time. Tell us, do the British people prefer the monarchy to "The Guardian", your newspaper?

BORGER: Uh -- well, we have 400,000 readers. And that's a fairly popular paper. Yes, that's all I can say.

CARVILLE: I'm glad you all made it personal and vicious.

CARLSON: That is a ringing defense.

Mr. Sylvester, in London, and Mr. Borger, here. Thank you both very much for joining us.

(APPLAUSE)

Still to come, your chance to fire back at us. Some of our comments about Southerners seem to have rekindled a civil war. We'll tell you what they were.

But next, a kitty worth millions, possibly $5 million, to be exact. It's an amazing, remarkable revolting story. You'll want to stick around. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Millions of people fly every day, but other creatures share the friendly skies as well. Air Canada, for example, flies some 28,000 animals every year. Last year, Fu the cat was scheduled to fly Air Canada between Toronto and San Francisco. The cat carrier arrived with a hole, a broken door, and no cat to be found. But the 15-year-old kitty's legacy lives on in the $5 million lawsuit filed by Andrew Wysotski and Lori Learmont, who join us tonight from San Francisco.

Thank you both for joining us.

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Ms. Learmont, earlier, before we came on, you asked us to give you a chance to tell your side of the story, and so I want to do that. In 60 seconds or so, tell us your side of the story, please.

LORI LEARMONT, CAT OWNER: Andrew would love to tell it.

ANDREW WYSOTSKI, CAT OWNER: Very basically, we filed a hefty lawsuit for one reason and one reason only, and that's to make a change in the industry, which is long overdue. Every single year, at least 5,000 pets are lost or killed by the airline industry.

And when we arrived, we had no idea about this. So we care to warn other people because we wish we were warned. When we arrived in San Francisco we found one cage, which was all smashed up like this and empty. So that's what Fu was in. Another cage we had our animal was still inside. She could have escaped but didn't. Out of all the rivets holding it together, only two are left.

And this isn't some kind of isolated incident, it's just a routine, it's going to happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. So we filed the lawsuit, which is fairly substantial, in order to make a change and draw public awareness to it. And to force the airlines, basically, to financially pressure them to take animals more seriously and treat them better than simple luggage.

CARLSON: OK, well, I mean, I'm completely on your side in one sense. I love animals. My house is filled with them. And I don't put them on airplanes, ever, I drive because I'm worried about something like this happening. So I feel for you. But here's the criticism that's going to be leveled against you, that I'll level against you. And that is you're not from the United States, you come to the United States and file a frivolous lawsuit, thereby tying up our court system and making it more difficult for real lawsuits to move forward. And also making people cynical about this whole thing; people look and say $5 million for a cat? And dismiss it. And it hurts your own cause by doing it. What do you say?

WYSOTSKI: It's not about the money, at all. It's not frivolous in our minds. There's going to be people that are not pet owners. That are not going to be the least bit sympathetic and have no concept of what that put somebody through. Somebody else that owns an animal for 14 years, which to us is a family member. There's no amount of money that you could put on her head that is somehow going to improve things. Money means nothing to my animal. And this is going on day by day. But...

CARVILLE: But, Andrew, would you pledge that any money you receive, as a result of this, that you turn over to the SPCA or something like that?

WYSOTSKI: Exactly. Please follow up on what we do with the money. And then you'll know where our hearts are. We're animal lovers. We've never sued anybody. We've only helped animals. We've been involved in so many animal causes. It's not about the money.

But unless a substantial amount of money is involved the airlines aren't going to change. Nothing is going to happen, and people aren't going to hear about it. And it's going to -- it may happen to your pet next.

CARLSON: Well, I respectfully disagree with you that it takes a large monetary award for the airlines to change. I think most Americans you'll find, here, love animals and are upset, terrified, that their animals would be hurt on an airplane.

But let me ask you this, I read on your Web site, which I went to today, that you hired a psychic to find your cat. Tell me about that.

WYSOTSKI: Oh, we were basically desperate.

LEARMONT: We were desperate.

WYSOTSKI: Yes, it's anything, anybody that could help, we welcomed it.

LEARMONT: We tried everything. We didn't know what to do. You don't know what the pain and suffering -- what you can do to change the thing, so...

WYSOTSKI: Sometimes you have a dream that gives you a clue -- or anything. We welcome all help.

CARVILLE: You know, we get a lot of guests on this show and something tells me that you're genuine people. I may not agree with you, but I think that you're motivated for the best of reasons.

LEARMONT: Thank you. Because that's true.

CARVILLE: I do, but I go back to Tuckers' point here. And I think that you're animal lovers. I think you're -- I don't think you're motivated by money. I actually think you will turn whatever proceeds over to the SPCA. But going back to Tucker's point, does this really -- in my bed there will be one wife, two children, four cats, and four dogs.

WYSOTSKI: Exactly.

CARVILLE: OK? But, in about two hours, one husband will get up and go sleep in another bed because there's too many people in there. And that doesn't count for the two turtles and two hamsters and the new rabbit that we have to get, plus the two more horses. But -- the average American, I got to tell you, looks at this. And all they hear is a 15-year-old cat and $5 million. Tell them why they should look at your lawsuit any differently.

WYSOTSKI: And I'm not going to ask people to understand what it's like to have a bond with an animal. I mean, they are -- don't have children. So to us, it's the next best thing that we're going to experience in our life. Our life does revolve around them. When we're looking through pictures, we have -- for every picture of us, we have about five of our animals. They are our life and --

LEARMONT: You can't put a price on our animals.

WYSOTSKI: Exactly.

LEARMONT: We can't. We just love them so much.

CARLSON: OK, well, unfortunately, we're out of time. But I hope that your attorney, I assume that your attorney is going to take the same pledge, not to cash in on the death of your beloved cat Fu. And I hope you'll hole him to it.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

WYSOTSKI: Can we...

LEARMONT: Can we say -- its about our Web site?

WYSOTSKI: One change, the only thing is -- we want people to --

CARLSON: No, I'm afraid we can't let you promote your web. We'd love to, but it was nice to have you on. Thanks very much. Sorry about Fu.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: The missing cat story, has at least one more life, thanks to a viewer who fires back next. That is next. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back. Time for our "Fireback" segment, you critique us. We'll go to the e-mail bag. First up? First up? First up? OK, I'll read it.

It's from Scott Tullos, from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes in, "I guess Tucker Carlson is correct about the South being full of ignorant, backward rednecks."

Talking about our show last night.

"That explains why year after year, we vote Republican."

Scott, you may have noticed that my politics are essentially redneck. And I love the South. And I didn't mean to imply otherwise.

CARVILLE: You're getting more and more Democrats down there, thank god.

"I'd like to enlighten you a bit on our southern folk. We are an unpretentious people, which some may take for the lack of education. In reality, we are just too busy enjoying life to waste time impressing others. Try it sometime, you might like it." Kara Rogers, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Kara, she's talking about you Tucker. I want to show just what we did to you to show that you if you had Southern values and Southern ways, what you'd look like.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: I want some of that moonshine, Ma!

CARLSON: That was actually taken in my back yard, over Labor Day weekend.

CARVILLE: There it is.

CALRSON: That's a very handsome picture.

OK, Phil Klassen (ph), of Dallas, Texas, writes, "A $5 million cat? Does it lay golden kittens? Get real -- I am not sure if these people just want the publicity or just wanted to make a mockery of the courts."

CARLSON: I must say, that is just about as nice as I've ever been to anybody on this show. They were kind of defenseless Canadians, I just couldn't be mean to them.

CARVILLE: Yeah? Canadians are nice people. I think these people are well motivated, I just don't think what they're doing is helpful to their cause.

CARLSON: I do think they're well motivated.

CARVILLE: "Maybe if George Bush had spent more hours studying his economics homework, he would have learned how not to blow through a $6 trillion surplus in just over a year." Steve Bairos, Hudson, Massachusetts.

CARLSON: Blah, blah...

CARVILLE: Actually, Steve, it was $7 trillion, not $6, but what the hell?

CARLSON: Put it on a bumper sticker, pal.

Yes, ma'am, question from the audience?

QUESTION: Donna Wheeland (ph), Richmond, Virginia. Just want to make a comment, without the British Royals, what would the paparazzi do?

CARLSON: That is a great question.

CARVILLE: That's a great question.

CARLSON: And really, if there's one thing this world needs, it's a way to keep employed unwashed Italian photographers. So, I think it's really important that they still exist.

(AUDIENCE LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: And I think you ought to be committed for showing concern for unwashed Italian photographers.

CARLSON: For the paparazzi community, thank you very much.

CARVILLE: People worry about a lot of things, we worry about the paparazzi.

CARLSON: Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Hi, I'm Ken, from Falls Church, Virginia. After tonight's show, I've really learned that with our new foreign policy, that after we effect a regime change in Iraq, we should definitely go after that dictator in London.

CARVILLE: Yes!

CARLSON: I actually think the threat of the British monarchy is understated.

CARVILLE: The Windsors.

CARLSON: That's absolutely right.

CARVILLE: That's a violent -- that big-eared boy, there?

CARLSON: I think you mean Prince Charles.

CARVILLE: Prince Charles, and what's that woman, Camilla? I think they ought to enter her in a horse race. CARLSON: Very fast. Do you have a question?

QUESTION: Dr. Freddie Saulzer (ph) from Long Island, New York. Talk about a coalition: Hey, they can't get the four of you guys to agree on something. As a world leader, which we are, we have to lead by example, not make sure that everybody wants to go along with us. Lead by example.

CARLSON: Amen! Who cares what France thinks, I totally agree.

CARVILLE: Just as soon as he makes up his mind, we'll have an example, won't we.

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

CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again, Monday for another edition of CROSSFIRE. Connie Chung Tonight, begins immediately after CNN News Alert.

Have a terrific Labor Day. We'll see you soon.

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



British Monarchy Irrelevant?; Couple Files $5 Million Lawsuit Over Lost Cat>


 
 
 
 


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