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CNN CROSSFIRE

Supreme Court Asked to Hear on New Jersey's Ballot Battle; Negotiations in Senate Over Use of Force Resolution in Iraq Appear Stalled

Aired October 3, 2002 - 19:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE: On the left James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right: Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE: Doing the Iraq split on Capitol Hill.

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: We have different ways of dealing with it.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I believe that we've got to take very great care.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: It's bipartisan and enough is enough.

ANNOUNCER : Dumping New Jersey on the U.S. Supreme Court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democratic Party insiders now are corrupting the entire process.

ANNOUNCER: We'll ask New Jersey's democratic governor what he thinks.

Plus, Mayor Bloomberg tells New York City, Shh, or else.

Tonight on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE. "Human Events" editor Terry Jeffrey is our special guest this evening. He's sitting in on the right.

TERRY JEFFREY, GUEST CO-HOST: Good to be here, Paul.

BEGALA: Terry, thanks for joining us.

Tonight, the sounds of silence in New York. Also, the sounds of debate over war in Iraq on Capitol Hill. But first, it's our chance to make a joyful sound. Bang the drum for the best political briefing in television, the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

JEFFREY: The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to jump into New Jersey's ballot battle. Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee was courteous enough to deliver the petition for New Jersey Republican nominee Doug Forrester. Forrester is challenging yesterday's outrageous ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Those justices ignored a clear state law and allow the Democratic Party to replace Forrester's one-time opponent, disgraced Senator Torricelli, on the November's election ballot. Forrester's temporary opponent, opportunist and 78-year-old former Senator Frank Lautenberg, today surveyed his old Capitol Hill stomping ground to (ph) Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Did Senator Daschle condemn this obviously illegal attempt to undermine the letter and spirit of the law? Nope, of course not. Just as he never criticized Bob Torricelli.

BEGALA: I got a deal for you. I think what we ought to do is let the voters decide. I think Frank Lautenberg should go back. The right wants this guy who has been overcharging for prescription drugs. Just let the voters decide.

JEFFREY: We'll see.

BEGALA: Well negotiations in the Senate over use of force resolution in Iraq appear to be stalled. A bipartisan group led by Republican Senators Chuck Hagel and Richard Lugar, along with Democrat Joe Biden, want a greater emphasis on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as a trigger for war. They also want a clearer plan for rebuilding and stabilizing a post-war Iraq and assurances that a war on Iraq will not detract from the war against al Qaeda.

The Bush White House, on the other hand, wants to be able to use force not only if Iraq blocks weapons inspections, but also if Iraq violates other U.N. resolutions or, of course, if the economy continues to tank.

JEFFREY: Paul, there's no doubt after the agreement yesterday with the bipartisan leadership of the House of Representatives, the Senate is going to pass a resolution that says the same thing and the president is going to get what he wants.

BEGALA: You wait and see.

JEFFREY: The Democrats may not like it, but the Reverend Al Sharpton is going to be a thorn in their sides for the 2004 election. Sharpton has let it be known he will step down as president of the National Action Network early next year. You got to love the reason he's leaving the civil rights organization he founded.

Quoting Sharpton's spokesman, "he'll be stepping down to pursue exploratory efforts for a potential run in 2004." I can see the pictures of Al Sharpton now tramping through the farm fields of Iowa, Al Sharpton in the snows of New Hampshire, and Al Sharpton stealing the thunder from Al Gore at the churches and colleges of South Carolina.

All I've got to say is: Go, Al, go.

BEGALA: And all I've got to tell you is three words, Terry: In your dreams.

On the economic front, the "New York Times" reports today that consumer confidence is declining. Today's "Wall Street Journal" reports that a survey of CEOs suggest weak economic performance in 2004 and that home prices are rising so much faster than incomes that Americans are being priced out of the American dream of home ownership.

President Bush, of course, promised an economic recovery package for us at his Waco economic summit this summer. He hasn't delivered one, but he would like you to know again today that Saddam Hussein is an evil, evil man.

JEFFREY: And the democratic response to this, of course, Paul is that they want to raise taxes on middle class Americans, as they always do.

A team of 20 ex-prosecutors and ex-FBI agents have studied the teamsters union and concluded the once corrupt union, formerly a hotbed of mobsters and Democratic Party contributors, has been largely purged of organized crime. The former prosecutor who oversaw the effort declared, "The difference between now and the 1980s is absolutely dramatic. There's a 180-degree difference. In terms of attitude toward corruption, you couldn't have a more dramatic difference."

Perhaps not. Coincidentally, the now clean teamsters are free to speak their mind and become the union most supportive of President Bush. And as Ronald Reagan taught us, when a Republican president starts winning union support, Democrats are doomed.

BEGALA: I love when Republicans praise the union. It only happens, of course, when...

JEFFREY: Rank and file, Paul. They're our guys.

BEGALA: "Sports Illustrated" has ranked America's college sports programs. The alma maters of our nation's leaders, however, don't fare very well. Our president, George W. Bush, went to Yale. His Bulldogs are ranked 95th.

Vice President Cheney's Wyoming Cowboys: 180th. Ole Miss, where Trent Lott was a cheerleader, is 83rd, and Dick Gephardt's Northwestern Wildcats are 89th. South Dakota State's Jackrabbits, the proud home of Tom Daschle, didn't even make the rankings at all.

But one school stands out above them all. Peering down from the Olympian heights of near perfection, it is, of course, the Harvard of the hill country, Cambridge on the Colorado, my beloved Longhorns, the University of Texas at Austin. Hook them Horns.

(CROSSTALK)

JEFFREY: I'll go for the Longhorns in football, at least.

BEGALA: Excellent. Me too. We agree on one thing. It's the only thing tonight, though.

Well the Republicans today asked the United States Supreme Court once again to do their partisan bidding. The same justices who put second place candidate George W. Bush in the White House are now being asked to put second rate New Jersey Republican Doug Forrester in the Senate without an opponent.

The Republicans want the court to keep former Senator Frank Lautenberg's name off the ballot and leave Robert Torricelli's name on, even though Torricelli has dropped out of the race.

Joining us from Trenton to talk about when, if ever, the New Jersey Senate race will move from the courthouse to the campaign trail, New Jersey's governor, the honorable Jim McGreevey. Governor, thank you for joining us, sir.

GOV. JIM MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY: You're welcome. Good to be with you. I really appreciate your objective introduction of the news, though.

JEFFREY: Thanks for joining us, Governor McGreevey.

Now that the Democrats have established the principle that a democratic Senate candidate, once he's hopelessly behind and doomed to failure, can be removed from the ballot, I want to know if Senator Frank Lautenberg ends up being 30 points behind in the polls two weeks from now, do you think he should drop out and the Democrats should be allowed to put yet another candidate on the ballot?

MCGREEVEY: Well, Terry, I reject your premise. He's probably going to be 12 points up, so that won't be necessary.

JEFFREY: But why not in principle should the Democrats be able to keep changing candidates until they get one who looks like he can win?

MCGREEVEY: Let me just say, I think the question before the court was that since 1952, the New Jersey Supreme Court has always erred on the side of providing for a competitive election. This is profoundly different than Florida.

In Florida, the question was which ballots do we count looking at the conflicts. The question here is very different. Senator Torricelli has stepped down. We have 30 days remaining. Clearly, we have the ability in this age of technology to reprint ballots within a 24 or 48-hour period, and to send them out.

And so the courts stated, as a matter of equity, the voters should be entitled to a contested election between the two major national parties. We have the capacity to reprint the ballots and let the Democratic Party to incur the costs for reprinting those ballots.

So I think this was a rational, equitable decision. Again, unanimous decision, 7-0. And I think the court was correct on the merits to err on the side. If we're going to have an election, you need two candidates.

BEGALA: Governor McGreevey -- actually you remember this -- back about 14 years ago, when Frank Lautenberg ran in his first re-election campaign, I was his press secretary. So I got to know him pretty well.

And you know you're not supposed to say this in public, but he hates Bob Torricelli and Torricelli hates him. And I'm just curious what did Torricelli say when you told him it was going to be Lautenberg. I've never seen the top of man's head explode, and I'm just kind of curious what it was like in that meeting when you told Torricelli that Lautenberg was going to replace him.

MCGREEVEY: Well I think Bob understood the importance for democratic control of the Senate. He made a tough personal decision after 20 years of service in Congress to withdraw from the race. And I think Bob understands, in terms of supporting Senator Daschle's re- election as majority leader, the need to have a democratic senator from New Jersey. And as such, Bob's on board.

BEGALA: And I have to say, I admire your leadership as governor in helping to bring about this change and have a candidate who is clean of any taint of corruption. But I need to ask you, can you press it further and convey upon Senator Torricelli to shift his campaign funds which were raised for this election to the candidate in this election, who is Frank Lautenberg?

MCGREEVEY: Well, ultimately, I think, Paul, that's going to be a matter of discussion between Senator Daschle, between Senator Torricelli and Senator Lautenberg, as well as Senator Corzine, who's new chair of the Democratic Senate Finance Campaign Committee. But as to the election, I mean the irony was that Doug Forrester repeatedly asked Bob Torricelli to step down. The irony is that Bob Torricelli did just that.

Obviously, Doug Forrester happens to be a very decent guy. Did not expect that he would win the election by fiat. And the state Supreme Court said elections are about contests, and we need to have an individual representing the Democratic Party. We can clearly do it within the time frame. And as such, I think they made a very right and reasonable decision.

JEFFREY: Governor McGreevey, you seem to have just set as the standard here for ballot access in New Jersey that as long as the state has the technical ability to reprint the ballots and put somebody else's name on it, the Democrats can keep changing their candidates.

Can you cite for me any moral or ethical principle that you believe in that would prevent Senator Lautenberg from dropping out and being replaced by another candidate if he's seems to be losing three weeks from now?

MCGREEVEY: Well, I think, Terry, at that point the court would consider that unreasonable, and I had the opportunity to...

JEFFREY: But why is it reasonable now?

MCGREEVEY: Because the court...

JEFFREY: Why is it reasonable now if it would be unreasonable in three weeks?

MCGREEVEY: Well the reason it's reasonable now is because you have one instance, it's a full 30 days, and that's the responsibility of the courts, to make a reasoned, equitable decision. Clearly, if the Democratic Party were to come back again, the court would say this is a multiple circumstance. We have a short, limited amount of time.

And I think the court made a reasoned, balanced decision. And so, you know, the state statute says you can do anything before 51 days. The state statue is silent as to what happens after the 51 days, and that's the precise role of the courts to determine equitable solution.

JEFFREY: The state legislature said 51 days and you didn't like the law. But let me ask you a different question, which is, that isn't it a question of fairness for all the people who contributed to Forrester's campaign, and all that money was invested in building a case against Senator Torricelli, that now their campaign has been completely crushed and destroyed in terms of the investment up to this point by you guys sweeping aside your state ballot access law and by fiat putting a new guy on the ballot? How is that fair?

MCGREEVEY: Well I would hope that the Forrester campaign is more about being anti--Torricelli. And that goes to the crux of the matter. This should be an opportunity for Doug Forrester to talk about the issues, rebuilding our economy, environmental issues, the right to choose. So many issues that are critical to New Jersey.

Elections should be that battleground of ideas and have that vigorous debate. And unfortunately, you know, Mr. Forrester (UNINTELLIGIBLE) through the United States attorney general, through the district court, whether through the United States Supreme Court, is making every effort to deny the citizens of the state of New Jersey the right to vote in a contested election.

JEFFREY: But it's your party that went to court and it's your party that withdrew its candidate.

MCGREEVEY: But it was also the state Supreme Court on a question of -- it was a state issue, where the court said essential to a democracy is a contested election. And to have a contested election, you need two strong candidates. And when they reviewed the pragmatic considerations, we clearly can reprint the ballots. The Democratic Party will required to pay for those.

And in the case of absentees, we know who they are. Obviously, absentee voters request a ballot. We can resubmit to them another ballot, color-coded, and so we can address the pragmatic considerations and fulfill the mandate of an election, and that is to have a contest.

BEGALA: Governor, thank you for that thought. I want you to hold it and hold on for a just a minute. We're going to be right back. And when we come back, we're going to ask if the party of 99-year-old Senator Strom Thurmond would dare to make an issue out of Frank Lautenberg's age.

And later, Congress takes up war and peace, and it ain't Leo Tolstoy. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

During a 1984 presidential debate, Ronald Reagan demolished Walter Mondale's inclination to play the age card with his famous quip that he wouldn't use Mondale's youth and inexperience against him. Now, would the party of a 99-year-old senator, Strom Thurmond, dare to use the age issue against 78-year-old Frank Lautenberg? I doubt it?

In the CROSSFIRE tonight, Governor of New Jersey himself, Jim McGreevey, a Democrat. Thank you, Governor, for joining us.

Let me ask you, though, the "New York Times" today reports there are indications the GOP might seek to make an issue of Lautenberg's age. Do you think they will and, if they do, do you think they will succeed?

MCGREEVEY: No. I don't think they'll. I mean Senator Lautenberg 78-years-old, he's robust, he's strong, and I think that would be an ill-suited argument.

(CROSSTALK)

MCGREEVEY: You know there's no truth to that outstanding paternity suit.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Just for the record, that was a joke, right, Governor?

MCGREEVEY: Yes.

BEGALA: OK. Just got to check sometimes with our party, you know?

MCGREEVEY: You guys are tough.

JEFFREY: Governor McGreevey, in July, when Senator Bob Torricelli was candidate of your party, the Senate Ethics Committee cited him for incongruities between his testimony and the evidence in the ethics committee. Last Thursday, a memo was released written by prosecutors who had been investigating his case and they thought they had evidence to corroborate charges by David Chang that he had given gifts to Torricelli in exchange for favors Torricelli did when he was a senator for Mr. Chang.

Were you proud that your party nominated Torricelli? And were you proud of his candidacy?

MCGREEVEY: Terry, you've got to understand that Frank Lautenberg is now the candidate. You sound like Doug Forrester.

JEFFREY: Answer my question. Simply yes or no question, Governor. Were you proud of the Democratic Party for nominating Bob Torricelli, and were you proud of his campaign?

MCGREEVEY: I think Senator Bob Torricelli has a long record of legislative accomplishments in the United States Senate. He's a friend of mine, and I wish him well in his future life.

JEFFREY: So you were proud of his behavior?

MCGREEVEY: Well, part of it is, is this isn't about gratuitously beating up Bob Torricelli. This is about focusing in on a Senate election, control of the Senate, the issues that are important to working families.

And when you have in the New Jersey State Supreme Court, in fact, seven justices, six of which were appointed by former Governor Whitman, two former attorney generals of governor Whitman now sitting on the New Jersey State Supreme Court...

BEGALA: How many of those Supreme Court justices -- I'm sorry to interrupt you. How many of those Supreme Court justices were from Whitman? Because the Republicans in Washington are all saying it was rigged by the powerful democratic governor.

MCGREEVEY: I know, but -- I'm actually pretty moderate. But the point is there's a...

JEFFREY: We're talking about Whitman.

MCGREEVEY: All right. But I mean the point here is this is no longer about Bob Torricelli. And despite Doug Forrester's best efforts, the citizens of the state of New Jersey are entitled to an election. And Doug Forrester is a decent guy, he shares very different views than Senator Lautenberg on some of the critical issues.

Let's give the citizens what democracy is about, and that's an election. Doug Forrester should be talking to the issues, debating. This is a great opportunity for him to set forth his platform, an array of issues and ideas before the citizens of the state of New Jersey, and stop the legal antics and let's get to the purpose of what an election is all about. And that is to contrast those views and allow citizens to vote so they have representation in the United States Senate.

BEGALA: Governor Jim McGreevey, we can see now how you got elected. We'll hope for my party's sake that Frank Lautenberg is as good as you. Thank you for joining us, Governor McGreevey.

MCGREEVEY: Thank you very much.

BEGALA: Still to come, Mayor Bloomberg's latest attempt to make New York a little more civilized.

But next, questions of war and peace and, unavoidably, the upcoming elections. Stay with us for Capitol Hill (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and all of its side shows. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

On Capitol Hill today there's a sense that both history and political power hang in the balance as Congress begins to debate a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Bedfellows are indeed strange, as house democratic leader, Dick Gephardt, has signed on with the president. And the alternative resolution being opposed by Mr. Bush is co-sponsored by two leading members of his own party: Senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

In the CROSSFIRE tonight, Vermont Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders and Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us.

BEGALA: Senator Allen, if I may -- first, thank you both for joining us. I know you're busy and you have important debates on Capitol Hill. Also, I caught your act last night. You did a terrific and gracious job raising money for handicapped kids who have Spina Bifida last night. Even though I'm a Democrat and you're a Republican, I salute your grace. It's a hard thing to do.

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN (R), VIRGINIA: It sure is. Thank you.

BEGALA: You did another hard thing about a year ago. You appeared on CNN's Capitol Gang, and I'm going to do the unkind thing of throwing your words back at you. Bob Novak, who couldn't be here tonight, asked you some tough questions about al Qaeda, who had attacked your state at the Pentagon, versus going to war with Iraq. And this is what you said a year ago on the Capitol Gang.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: Does the United States attack Iraq in the absence of clear evidence that Saddam Hussein was complicit in the terrorist attacks of September 11? That's a tremendous question. I don't think he should. There's a lot of people, a lot of senators that think he should.

ALLEN: Remember, again, the focus here is the attacks of September 11. That's the case that's being built. It's clear evidence to virtually everyone that Osama bin Laden is involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: I couldn't agree with you more a year ago. I hope you're staying to that focus today. It is, as we would have said in Clinton land, it's al Qaeda stupid. Let's go after al Qaeda first and take care of Iraq later, right?

ALLEN: Well I think al Qaeda and the Taliban still are our focus. Although, you do have to recognize we do get more evidence. We've learned more over these periods of months. We've had briefings and maybe others have, as well. As far as the biological weapons stockpiles that Saddam Hussein has been keeping and improving, as well as the delivery systems, not only for biological, but chemical weapons.

And so, there are al Qaeda actually in Iraq. I don't think there's evidence that Iraq was complicit in 9/11, but they do support terrorists. And since that interview there, we have certainly seen that, as far as terrorist activities in Israel, that Saddam Hussein will pay 20, $25,000 to families who will send sons and daughters for the suicide bombings.

JEFFREY: Congressman, in his very powerful speech at the U.N., making his case for why we have to take Saddam out if he won't disarm and agree to several other provisions, the president noted that every single one of the U.N. resolutions that Saddam Hussein agreed to, to win a cease fire at the end of Desert Storm, he subsequently violated. Do you agree with that, that he's violated all of those resolutions?

REP. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Yes.

JEFFREY: OK. Do you think the United States can afford to allow him to completely flout those resolutions and get away with it?

SANDERS: Well, but you see you missed the important point here. The United Nations is the institution in this world that should demand that Saddam Hussein conform to their own resolutions. Wait a minute. Let me finish.

What you are saying is the United States, in opposition to the United Nations, should enforce United Nations' resolutions. If it's so important, the United Nations should do it and the United States should work with the United Nations.

JEFFREY: Well, Congressman, when you were elected to Congress, did you not take an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America?

SANDERS: Absolutely. Very proudly.

JEFFREY: And doesn't that oath require you to defend our country against foreign threats, no matter what the United Nations does?

SANDERS: What my oath of office is about is to defend the United States, not create chaos in the world, leading to more terrorism in this country, international anarchy, and setting a precedent so that China can then invade Taiwan because the United States did it. Russia can invade the Georgia republic.

We have the Catholic Church telling us this is wrong. You have Nelson Mandela, one of the outstanding leaders of the developing world, saying this is wrong. I think we should work with the United Nations, get our inspectors in there, and get rid of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction through the U.N.

BEGALA: And, Senator, let me come back to this question of who is the threat to the United States. There's no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy. And President Bush has figured that out, and god bless him for figuring that out. But we've known that for a long time. He's been in a box, he's been contained ever since his father was president.

But al Qaeda is something different. I say again, you represent a state, one of only three that was directly attacked by al Qaeda. It may well be that there are al Qaeda cells in your state of Virginia, where I live, as well. And while they're here, while they're overseas, aren't you concerned that a war against Iraq, which most of the world does oppose, will make it impossible for us to get the support around the world that we need to round up al Qaeda the way our friends in Pakistan and Yemen are doing with us today?

ALLEN: Well we do have to continue the war on terrorism. And obviously the key focus in who we care the most about is al Qaeda. And that needs to be pursued. But it's not as if that's the only thing the United States can look at.

We're looking at terrorism elsewhere. With Saddam Hussein building up his stockpiles of biological weapons, chemical weapons, the delivery systems, the missile capabilities, he also could transfer that biological or chemical weapons to terrorists. And, it could go whether -- say al Qaeda or any others who may be his allies or friends to do his bidding now. So, it's not as if this is a single-front war; it's a multi-front war.

There's intelligence information that we need to garner. We have to intercept financial assistance to these groups, and it's a worldwide war. I understand the concerns. No one wants to go to war. In fact, the whole premise here is that, gosh, the United States is going alone.

We're working with the United Nations, and very patiently, in trying to get the United Nations to enforce their own resolutions. And hopefully, we'll get weapons inspectors in there. But in the event that once those weapons inspectors start getting on the trail, on the scent of chemical or biological weapons, and Saddam runs them out, then what are we going to do? Sit there and...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: We need to take a break.

When we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Sanders is going to take up this point when we come back. I'm sorry to do that to you, Congressman. But you know we have to earn a living here.

And when we continue our debate in a couple of minutes, we're going to take Congressman Sanders side of this. And then we'll have an update, first, actually, on hurricane Lili. Connie Chung will bring that to us in a CNN "News Alert."

And later, a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who will make you want to shout. Except it might get you fined if you do it in New York. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Iraq's vice president today raised the possibility that our president and Saddam Hussein might want to settle the differences with a duel. Sadly, for the sick and twisted producers of reality television shows, the White House called the offer an irresponsible statement that doesn't even justify a serious response. Well we're trying to put Iraq in the CROSSFIRE tonight with Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia and Vermont Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders.

Gentlemen, thank you for staying with us. When we broke, Congressman Sanders, I promised you a chance to reply to Senator Allen's remarks that we can both fight Iraq and al Qaeda at the same at this time.

SANDERS: Well, let me just quote from Brent Scowcroft -- who is, as you know, the former security adviser for the first President Bush. And he said, I quote, "An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize the global counter-terrorist campaign we undertaken."

And this was President Bush I's adviser, and he's right. The fact of the matter is our allies now in that region -- Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt. Those countries say, Don't do it. It would chaos in the region. The truth of the matter is -- in my view -- the happiest guy in the world would be Osama bin Laden if the United States waged an unilateral invasion of Iraq. Because he would have more recruits for terrorism against this country than he could ever use.

ALLEN: But we're not going to go in unilaterally.

SANDERS: Who are we going in with?

ALLEN: All right, so far we have Britain, Portugal...

SANDERS: Portugal, well that's good.

ALLEN: ... Spain, Italy, Bulgaria. Well no, and we're...

SANDERS: Bulgaria. All right! That's...

ALLEN: Well you know what? Bulgaria -- look on a map. Obviously, Turkey's important. But for tactical airstrikes, we already have -- and in the Middle East area -- we have Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia -- may not fight in it, but will allow us to use their bases -- Egypt. And I think... SANDERS: No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

ALLEN: What the president is doing is building a case to enforce the resolutions before the U.N. Security Council...

(CROSSTALK)

SANDERS: The president is saying -- the president is saying, Look, if the United Nations wants to come along, that's great, but we are going to do it and we'll pick up a few people along the way.

JEFFREY: Because he believes it's in the vital interest, sir. And here's why. Back in April of 1993, when the former President Bush went to Kuwait, Saddam Hussein sent a Toyota Land Cruiser packed with 80 kilograms of plastic explosives that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright -- Paul Begala's friend -- told the United Nations would have devastated four square city blocks of downtown Kuwait. It would have killed everybody within 400 yards. Was that not an act of war against the United States?

SANDERS: That was an awful and terrible that thing he did.

JEFFREY: Should not Saddam been deposed simply for that act?

SANDERS: Deposed? By whom?

JEFFREY: Yes, removed by the United States...

SANDERS: By an American invasion at that point? No. China forced down -- nearly crashed their plane into an American plane and Saudi Arabian women can't drive an automobile. There are a lot of serious problems in this world. You don't want to make them worse.

JEFFREY: Let me clarify that, sir. You're saying that if he had succeeded in devastating four square city blocks, perhaps killing thousands of people, decapitating the Kuwaiti political leadership, assassinating President Bush -- that that does not qualify for removal from power?

SANDERS: Well I didn't say that. If that had had happened, there might have been a response. But he did not succeed in doing...

(CROSSTALK)

ALLEN: Did you support in '91 action against Iraq for invading Kuwait?

SANDERS: I supported sending troops there to make sure they didn't invade Saudi Arabia. Did I support the war? No I did not.

BEGALA: Let me ask you about the post-war Iraq. If in fact there's war -- I do think there's going to be one...

ALLEN: This is going to be a tough question. BEGALA: This is -- it's an -- it's the toughest question because if we're going to go in there -- and I do think it's unwise at this time -- we're going to win, we're going to take over that country and we're either going to have to have an army of occupation -- billions of dollars and thousands of troops, our children taking control of Iraq -- or we're going to walk away. Leave it to the tender mercies of the next Taliban and be a failed state the way that Afghanistan was when we walked away then. Which are we going to do?

ALLEN: Well, this is why I think the president is wisely trying to get as many allies as possible. He is trying to get the United Nations to join with us -- have been very, very patient. If you look at the resolutions that we'll be voting on, it is encouraging in supporting the efforts to get the U.N. Security Council.

I think for military logistical reasons you need as many allies as possible for the tactical airstrikes and so forth. Also, to make sure that Saddam cannot turn this into an Arab-Israeli war -- and also after -- let's assume in the goal in my view disarmament -- but in the midst of that, will probably a regime change -- you do want to have other countries working with us from that region to make sure they have a more stable and also respectful human rights government.

SANDERS: But you are willing to support an American invasion, perhaps with some allies, despite the opposition of the United Nations.

ALLEN: What we need to do, I think, a lot of this is negotiating. We need to show unity of purpose in foreign policy here in this country. That helps to get others to join us in the U.N., especially the Security Council. That is undoubtably going to lead to weapons inspectors going in. I don't see President Bush going in militarily when there's weapons inspectors on the ground.

SANDERS: But you have given him the authority to do that. I think...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: ... that's going to have to be the last word. Congressman Bernie Sanders, the Independent of Vermont, thank you for joining us. Senator George Allen, Republican of Virginia, thank you both very much for enlightening a civil debate. Good job.

Can a city that never sleeps at least learn to keep quiet once in a while? We'll shall see in a minute. Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared war on noise pollution in the Big Apple.

Then in our "Quote of the Day," we reveal the real inspiration for one of television's most award winning and popular dramas. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University here in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington D.C.

New York is, of course, one of the world's great cities and the Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of that city, is doing what he can to try to make it even better. What he's trying to do is protect the health of bartenders, for example, and waitresses by banning smoking in the Big Apple's bars and restaurants and now, he's going after a problem that's sparked 93,000 calls to his city complaint hotline so far this year alone.

Mayor Bloomberg has declared war on noise. To debate Operation Silent Night, we're joined from the city that never sleeps, because of those dog gone car alarms keep going off, by former New York public advocate Mark Green. His new book is due out in a few days. I've already read it, it's great. It's called "Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy."

And in another world class city, Big D, Dallas, Texas, Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host with the Salem Radio Network.

JEFFREY: Guys, thank you both.

MIKE GALLAGHER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hi, Paul. Hi, Terry.

JEFFREY: Hi, how are you doing?

Mr. Green, isn't the fact that New York City officials are now talking about sending out undercover cops with sound meters to bust people for making a little bit too much noise a testimony to what an outstanding job Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani did in cleaning up that city of yours?

MARK GREEN, PUBLIC ADVOCATE: I have no idea how Giuliani got into your question, but your premise is wrong.

If they were sending police with hand held detectors to silence a little noise, it wouldn't make sense. But, while -- if you want pure peace and quiet, you might have to go to Bernie Sanders' Vermont.

Excessive note, 100 decibel construction work at night or car alarms that go off all night, keeping the elderly and students up, affecting their health is a problem in this city.

We're not looking for silence, please, this is New York. But, it's a health problem. It's a quality of life problem and finally, you who believe in the market should be respectful if the market of voters and constituents responding to a hotline said the No. 1 complaint in the city now is noise, I think it's appropriate for the mayor to respond.

BEGALA: Mike Gallagher, you used to work in broadcast out of New York City and even as a Democrat, I agree with Terry Jeffrey that Mayor Giuliani did a good job on crime. He embraced a theory called "broken windows," one that President Clinton had embraced and that helped bring down crime nationally. Here's what Rudy Giuliani said about that theory and I think it applies perfectly to what Mayor Bloomberg is trying to do.

He said, "Small things matter. Respect breeds respect for the law and one another. When a window building is broken and no one repairs it, that sends a subtle message that it's acceptable to destroy property."

Isn't it the same thing with these low end noise violations?

GALLAGHER: No, of course it's not, because Rudy Giuliani recognized that those broken window examples had to do with imitating squeegee men who wanted to strong-arm people at ATMs.

Crime, prostitution, things that really matter.

Mark green, I am so surprised at you. You're the quintessential New Yorker, I mean you're a limousine liberal New Yorker, but you are the quintessential New Yorker and you know that this is a city that revels in the explosion of sight, of sound, of taste, of smell.

You can't make New York any quieter than it is all right -- already right now. To have the morality police run around and try to get everybody to be quiet, come on, you can't pull that off and you know it.

GREEN: Thank you for calling me a quintessential New Yorker. My wife would like to see the limousine and Mike, send it over.

GALLAGHER: I've seen it.

GREEN: Look, I respect the Libertarian philosophy. I may not share it in every instance -- which is: you should be free to express yourself, but I can't punch you in the nose.

If you're living next to a disorderly disco which is permitting 100 decibel music into 4:00 in the morning, that is not a small violation.

GALLAGHER: Mark...

GREEN: It ruins your quality of life.

GALLAGHER: Mark, that goes back to...

GREEN: Your numerous examples are self serving.

GALLAGHER: That goes back to the days of 21 and nightclubs. Come on, Mark. You know the horn-honking and loud nightclubs and sirens and car alarms, that's all part of the fabric that's New York City.

This is an example of more intrusion into our lives. Bloomberg is desperately trying to, I guess, divert attention from the $5 billion budget gap that the City of New York faces. He ought to focus on important things, not how much noise somebody is making down the street at 1:00 in the morning. New Yorkers know it's a loud city. They don't care.

GREEN: Mike, you're tempting me.

Obviously, Bloomberg may have a hard case to make when CROSSFIRE invites on the person who ran against him to defend him.

And I don't disagree -- by the way, I don't disagree that our over $5 billion deficit, rebuilding after 9/11, our larger issues. Actually, like people in your home city, we can chew and walk and talk at the same time.

And so, if -- obviously you don't live in a city of 364 square miles and 8 million people, it can't be silent, but excessive noise can be deterred.

GALLAGHER: We live -- my wife and kids and I lived in -- right in Manhattan. We lived right -- Upper East Side, Chelsea, we were New Yorkers and...

GREEN: And you left because of the noise?

GALLAGHER: No, no. I left because it was too quiet, too silent. It was too silent.

GREEN: He went to Texas, Mark. I can't ever fault a man for going to Texas.

GALLAGHER: There you go.

JEFFREY: Mr. Green, I have a question for you. I don't understand why liberals yell and scream when Attorney General John Ashcroft takes some guy's who's illegally from a nation that has al Qaeda operatives living in it, and they detain him for violating our immigration law and they say that's a violation of civil liberties.

Then, they want to send the sound police after some guy making a little bit of noise in Manhattan. Isn't that a little bit disproportionate enforcement of the law?

GREEN: Pat Buchanan would be proud of your question, bringing apples and oranges together.

No. 1, on a separate subject. When an attorney general who's supposed to enforce the law keeps 1,100 people without being able to speak to a lawyer in prison, some of whom are innocent of anything --

GALLAGHER: Oh please, .

GREEN: That's a civil liberties violation -- hold it. Hold it.

GALLAGHER: Please.

GREEN: Your opinion and my opinion is interesting. Courts have ruled against the attorney general. When the attorney general violates the law according to courts, that's not good.

JEFFREY: Be quiet, al Qaeda.

GREEN: I'm sorry?

GALLAGHER: Yes, that's right. Al Qaeda's making too much noise. They're banging their pots too long.

GREEN: Let me stipulate: al Qaeda is worse than a noisy discotheque, but you can actually discourage the kind of noise that ruins property values and ruins quality of life.

GALLAGHER: Terry, what a great point you make.

BEGALA: Mark green gets the last word tonight.

I'm very sorry to do that to you, Mike, but we're going to have both of you back on, believe me.

Terrific job. Even -- not too much noise. It was a very sound debate.

Mark Green, former public advocate of New York and the author of "Selling Out," a terrific new book.

And Mike Gallagher, of Salem Radio Networks Thank you all both.

BEGALA: Still to come, your chance to "Fireback" at us.

In some of tonight's e-mails, we're only the middlemen. The real target is New Jersey.

You may not realize it also, but you're watching one of the most inspiring shows on television.

We will give you the proof next in our "Quote of the Day."

Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back.

You know, "The West Wing" is one of the most popular and honored shows on television, and for good reason: It depicts good people trying their best to serve our country it what's got to be the most interesting, challenging and inspiring office building in the whole world. It is, quite simply, in my estimation, the best show on TV.

But where do they come up with the inspiration for the adventures of President Josiah Bartlett and his staff?

Well, last night, "West Wing's" creator and writer, Aaron Sorkin, appeared on "The Charlie Rose Show."

When you hear his answer, you won't have to ask why we made it our "Quote of the Day."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLIE ROSE: Do you know politics?

AARON SORKIN, "WEST WING" CREATOR/WRITER: No, no. I don't know it at all.

ROSE: Do you watch politics? I mean, have you ever seen C-SPAN?

SORKIN: Oh, sure, sure. And I watch -- there are shows that I think are terrific, like CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BEGALA: Oh my goodness!

JEFFREY: Hey, listen: I have a confession to make. Every Wednesday night I sit down, I watch "West Wing," and I do it so I get angry enough to get up in the morning and edit "Human Events."

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: But I think the appeal is not that it's liberals, that it's people.

JEFFREY: It's excellent TV. I like it. It's a good show.

BEGALA: We agree on that.

Well, next in "Fireback," a testimonial from one of our viewers who likes only one thing better than CROSSFIRE. We'll tell you what it is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Ready, aim, "Fireback." You fire at us.

Here's our first e-mail, from Art Pepper. Dr. Pepper of Las Vegas, Nevada writes: "Here we go again. Once more the Republicans have to take the Dems by the hand and take them to the Supreme Court for a lesson in the law."

Well, it'd be nicer if they took them to the ballot box and tried to win fair and square, Art. Nut, you know.

JEFFREY: Actually, pal, I think that's what's going to happen. The Republicans are going to get their vote out November 5 and beat whatever Democrat happens to be on the ballot that day.

BEGALA: That, at least, would be fair.

JEFFREY: OK, James Yang of Westerville, Ohio said: "Senator Robert Torricelli is the one who denied New Jersey voters the choice by dropping out of the race."

Right on. BEGALA: Well, they still have a choice, though. A one-party vote is for Castro, not for New Jersey, right?

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Conservatives -- we should agree on that, as a liberal, I agree.

Harold Ramsey in Sunbury, Ohio writes: "I really love this program. I strive to watch it whenever NASCAR isn't racing. Way to go Paul!"

Outstanding. My favorite driver on NASCAR: Awesome Bill from Dawsonville, Bill Elliott.

JEFFREY: You're on the way to a wipeout, Paul.

And then we have Jim Creech from Sarasota, Florida: "Why didn't Torricelli continue to fight? Isn't that the Democratic way? Or is it fight until you think you can't win and then just quit?"

BEGALA: That's a tough -- Bob Torricelli is not a quitter, and by his nature, it's a very difficult thing for him to do. He put his party and his ideology and his passion ahead of his personal ambition. I admire that.

JEFFREY: Once again the Democrats pick power over principle.

BEGALA: Yes, sir, your question or comment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I'm Grant Meehan (ph) from Denver, Colorado.

New York City has always been known as the city that never sleeps. Won't Bloomberg's new law take away the Big Apple's flavor ?

BEGALA: You know, I think, no. It's also got to be a place where you can live and you can actually work and get a night's sleep. And I think this -- it also goes to quality of life. This low-end criminality actually does breed worse and worse crime. And Giuliani and Bill Clinton showed us that in their war on crime.

JEFFREY: You know, I think it's a mistake to try and enforce a law that people don't believe in, like trying to make people stop smoking. It will breed contempt for the law in New York, where I think there's already enough contempt for the law, to tell you the truth.

BEGALA: Yes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Blair Barbero (ph) from Orlando, Florida.

Isn't the right to appear on a ballot generally earned by an individual, not a political party? If so, haven't the Democrats in New Jersey completely, unfairly and, perhaps, illegally circumvented that principle? JEFFREY: Well, I think that every state has a right to set its own laws to determine how someone is going to get on the ballot.

In fact, New Jersey had a clear law. The Democrats clearly violated it. They didn't care about the law

BEGALA: And in point of fact, I hate to do this, but I am a lawyer, and I'm going to play one on TV: The parties decide whose names, not individuals. It actually is a right owned by the party.

And the supreme court in that state ruled seven to nothing, most of those justices appointed by the Republican governor before Jim McGreevey.

Quickly, we've got a few more seconds left. What's your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Bill Johnson (ph) from South Carolina.

I don't think it's a matter of age, as the issue with Senator Thurmond and Lautenberg, it's a matter of experience.

BEGALA: Good for you. And a man from South Carolina -- Strom Thurmond would win even if he was running this year, wouldn't he?

JEFFREY: It's a matter of the quality of the man. The greatest president of the 20th century was also the oldest: Ronald Reagan. I'd vote for Ronald Reagan any day.

BEGALA: So the Republicans should get off this age discrimination.

Thank you Terry Jeffrey.

From the left, I am Paul Begala, good night for CROSSFIRE.

JEFFREY: From the right, this is Terry Jeffrey.

Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

"CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins right now.

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



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