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CNN CROSSFIRE

Election Races Remain Tight; Interview with Mo Rocca

Aired November 1, 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: it's the last weekend before the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALTER MONDALE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think somebody had to carry Paul's torch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: And from the newest candidate to the first family, everybody's jumping.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've got a lot of hurdles that we've got to cross here in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNER: Will Florida get it right this time? Is New Jersey ready for attack ads featuring the accused snipers? And are the voters thinking the economy or war?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The demands of the world will be met or action will be unavoidable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: All politics, all the time. It's unavoidable.

Tonight on CROSSFIRE.

From the George Washington University: James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

And it's crunch time for political candidates from coast to coast. Tonight, higher ups from both national parties will handicap the most interesting races. Also right here on CROSSFIRE, "Comedy Central's" Mo Rocca reveals his political affiliation. Prepare to be shocked.

But right now, prepare to be informed. Here comes the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

You can ignore that big halo around Republican Senate candidate Norm Coleman's head. It's a fake. Coleman wants you to believe he talked the Republican National Committee out of running an attack ad aimed at his new opponent, Walter Mondale. The press has gone for the story hook, line and sinker.

Actually, the whole thing has been cooked up to get people talking without having to show the ad, and to make Norman Coleman look like a saint for telling party leaders not to run it. Sorry guys, we see through it and all of the rest of your pack of fakery.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: I love -- this is actually -- this is impressive reasoning even for you. This is like saying, arrest that man, he didn't rob the liquor store. He didn't put the ad on the air and you're attacking him.

CARVILLE: No they set him up. They set up the whole thing trying to make him look good. Here was a man who was a Democrat and endorsed Bill Clinton and Paul Wellstone in 1996 (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He ain't worth talking about. Go on, do your next thing.

CARLSON: You just attacked him.

CARVILLE: Well of course I did.

CARLSON: OK. We'll figure out that in the next segment.

One sure way to tell it's the home stretch of the campaign is to look at who is on the road -- everyone. President Bush and Vice President Cheney have full schedules this weekend, and so does First Lady Laura Bush. Even former President Bill Clinton has taken a short break from raising money for himself to return to politics. The only problem, almost no one is desperate to be seen with him in public. On Sunday, Mr. Clinton heads to Arkansas, a state where he was born, served 12 years as governor, and would presumably still have some support. But does he still have support in Arkansas?

Democrat Mark Prior (ph), locked in a tight race for Senate, has not said whether he will meet with the former president. We called the Prior (ph) campaign and were told they couldn't tell us because they only make their schedule 24 hours in advance. And they added Mr. Prior (ph) wanted to spend more time with his family.

CARVILLE: And I'll see President Clinton in Florida. And I'm campaigning with him down there on Sunday. So I guess Florida is not in the United States, because y'all are going to lose out. So you hate Florida and California too.

CARLSON: Wanna bet?

CARVILLE: "The Washington Post" and "Boston Globe" have finally confirmed the suspicion a lot of us here in Washington have had and a lot of people in the press have refused to believe, that straight- talking Texan, George W. Bush, can really be involved as something as nefarious as insider trading. The papers showed that back in 1990 lawyers who were on the board of members of Harken, including Bush, not to sell their stock (UNINTELLIGIBLE), that the new bad news was coming. Exhibiting some (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for laws and rules he displayed later, but during the part of recount Bush sold anyway. This happened when his daddy was president.

He said the SEC cleared him, and that warning came from the lawyers. Conveniently and quietly came out later. Will they reopen the case now? Are you kidding?

SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt has been sitting on all things related to Harken. And with his ample posterior, anything Pitt sits on ain't ever going to see the light of day.

CARLSON: I love this. Now do you think that Harvey Pitt was on the grassy knoll or beneath (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the sewer system?

CARVILLE: I think he's got his fat butt sitting on that Harken file so no one can see it. I think those lawyers told Bush -- I know they did -- if you sell, it's insider trading. He thought he was exempt from the rules. He sold the stock and then he did not turn over the letter from the lawyers to the SEC until after the investigation was over. And I'm telling you that from the facts we know now, it appears we have someone guilty of insider trading sitting in the White House.

CARLSON: So what I hear you saying is that you don't like Harvey Pitt's rear end. That makes me nervous. You're critiquing men's rear ends.

CARVILLE: And I don't like Camilla Parker Bowles' face.

CARLSON: Huh?

Walter Mondale -- let's just appreciate that for a minute. Excuse me. Walter Mondale, Frank Launtenberg, the Democratic Party has officially returned to the 70s, the decade of Seals & Croft, velour clothing and George McGovern-tinged politics.

As part of that strategy, Democrats in Massachusetts this week dusted off yet another old relic of the bad old days, reactionary feminism. It all began Tuesday night, when Shannon O'Brien, the Democratic candidate for governor, snapped at her Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, during a televised debate. Romney responded by saying he found her remarks "unbecoming," which they were at least.. O'Brien cried sexism, charging that Romney's use of the word "unbecoming" made him part of the oppressive capitalist patriarchy.

Hillary Clinton, a politician for whom the 70s never died, jumped in to agree. She accused Romney of using the word "unbecoming" to dehumanize not simply Shannon O'Brien, but all female politicians; indeed, all women. It was a serious charge and it might have been taken seriously if the rest of America had understood what it meant. But unfortunately, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is no longer around to explain. CARVILLE: Now let me get this straight. Do you know what year Strom Thurmond ran for president? He's a Republican member of the current United States Senate.

CARLSON: 1948.

CARVILLE: 1948. So we're back to the 70s, you're back to the 40s. There you go.

Now you're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you, but it's all true. 78-year-old William Webster is being handed the toughest job in Washington, reforming the accounting industry. Let's see now. From my Louisiana reckoning, that makes him four years older than Walter Mondale, whose age the Republicans won't shut up about.

Anyhow, Webster's age isn't the problem. His problem is that, until recently, he's headed the audit committee of a company that is now accused of fraud. Webster disclosed this information to SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt. And what did Pitt do? He sat on it, which Harvey Pitt is very good at doing.

So now have the Democrats responded (UNINTELLIGIBLE) failure to act, nothing but a few lame calls for Pitt to resign. They ought to be filibustering the Senate at the top of their lungs until these guys go.

CARLSON : A story you won't believe. That's a story I don't understand. And I don't know what Camilla Parker Bowles has to do with it, but I don't think you're going to win an election on that.

CARVILLE: I'll say that her face is not quite as bad as Harvey Pitt's butt. But anyway...

CARLSON: And you don't have to date either one, thank heaven.

Kentucky Governor Paul Patton held a press conference this week in which he explained that he will not reimburse the state for charges he incurred while having an extramarital affair with a nursing home operator. Earlier this fall, Patton tearfully promised to repay taxpayers for the cost of the state troopers who drove him to see his girlfriend, then waited outside while he provided constituent services.

Now, Governor Patton has changed his mind. Paying for his own affairs, he explained, would harm the government of the state of Kentucky. As he put it -- and this is an exact quote -- "I don't want to start any precedent that would improperly limit the activities of any governor in the future." Just pay it back. I mean why can't he pay it back?

CARVILLE: Hey look, Harvey Pitt ought to go and Paul Patton ought to deal with whatever he does back in Kentucky.

CARLSON: And we're back to Camilla Parker Bowles. It had to happen, and of course it did. We'll tell you what "it" is in a minute. Next, top deputies of both political parties react to the alleged sniper's premiere appearance in a political ad.

Later, the politics of humor. Mo Rocca, our cultural correspondent, live from "The Daily Show" answers your questions, all the questions America has been waiting to know. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: With only one weekend left until Election Day, a lot of candidates will be losing sleep and probably losing their voices. And if Republicans were like Pinocchio, their noses would be a lot longer, too. Here to talk about the home stretch of the 2002 campaign, are Ann Lewis, she's a former counsel to President Clinton and is now national Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (UNINTELLIGIBLE). With her is Republican National Committee Deputy Chairman Jack Oliver.

Ms. Lewis, Mr. Oliver, welcome to CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: Now, Ann Lewis, a lot of people have been saying, and not all of them Republicans, that Walter Mondale, delightful person, though he may be -- by many counts a delightful person -- really does represent another age, really does represent the politics of the past. I was shocked today to learn that Walter Mondale himself agrees.

I want to read you a quote. This is from The Associated Press. He uttered these words 13 years ago. "A lot of people I worked for have been dead for a long time. And at some point, even Mondale has to get out. One of the requirements of a healthy party is that it renews itself." Notice the reference to himself in the third person like Fidel.

But he admits he's part of the past.

ANN LEWIS, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Let me see if I get this right. The party that has reelected Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms all these years is now sort of looking at Walter Mondale.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: ... who is more in touch with the American people and the values we got? But you know what it says about the Democratic Party? It says that we've got statesmen on the bench. You should be so lucky as to have people ready to step in when a tragedy occurs the way Walter Mondale has, who has his stature, who has his record of effectiveness and is ready to go to work for the people of Minnesota.

CARLSON: Ann, no offense, but I don't think you remember the Carter-Mondale administration. Let me give you some of the highlights. Gasoline rationing, double-digit inflation, home mortgages at 18 percent, grain embargo, double the Social Security payroll tax, there was a hostage crisis, the pet rock was popular and people thought nuclear freeze was a good idea.

It was a disaster. And he was an architect of it. Can you believe this?

LEWIS: Let me see if I've got this right. He's responsible for the pet rock? But you know what he can do? He can say to the people of Minnesota, to use a language that he's heard before, are you better off than you were two years ago?

He's going to look at a state in which unemployment's going up. We're looking at a country in which the economy is going in the wrong direction.

CARLSON: Wellstone was the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

LEWIS: That's right. No, he was not then, he was vice president. You want to talk about the economy and the direction we're going in the economy? Walter Mondale is going to say if you want to change economic policy, we have to change the Congress. If you want to vote no confidence in the economic policy of this administration, you've got to reelect Democratic senators because we are the only people in Washington who are speaking up.

Now if you want to let Harvey Pitt going along running riot, go ahead and get the Republicans.

(CROSSTALK)

JACK OLIVER, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: The question is not are you better off than you were two years ago today. The question is are you better off than you were 26 years ago. And that's a question that needs to be asked.

Look, this is an important campaign in Minnesota. We have a great candidate who is all about the future, Norm Coleman. And we feel great about him.

CARVILLE: Name me three things that Norm Coleman has stood constantly for throughout his political career.

OLIVER: Norm Coleman has stood constantly for improving the lives of people in Minnesota by cutting taxes, improving...

CARVILLE: He endorsed Bill Clinton in 1996. You say Bill Clinton is the architect of the biggest tax increase in history. Now what are you talking about? He endorsed Paul Wellstone in 1996. Name me three things that Norm Coleman has consistently stood for in his political career.

OLIVER: Absolutely. Improved public education for children.

CARVILLE: How?

CARLSON: Let the man answer the question.

OLIVER: He's for cutting the taxes on the working people in Minnesota. And he's done a great job of...

CARVILLE: Name a tax that he cut as mayor of St. Paul. OLIVER: He cut the tax in the city of St. Paul, Minneapolis. And he did it and brought a hockey team at the same time.

CARVILLE: Minneapolis and St. Paul are two different cities, Jack. You can't tell people...

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: James, we need to have a third debate on the issues in Minnesota. And so far Walter Mondale has had a chance to have a debate and he hasn't.

CARVILLE: I'm asking you -- here's a man that endorsed Bill Clinton and Paul Wellstone in 1996, who is consistently ambitious, running against a great statesman. And you really expect Minnesotans to vote for Norm Coleman?

OLIVER: Absolutely. He's obviously seen the light and come to the right side of the fence.

CARLSON: Even to talk about Walter Mondale -- I mean it actually makes -- it's too depressing. So I'm going to switch subjects, if you don't mind.

I thought the most political thing I'd seen this year was the so- called memorial service for the late Senator Wellstone, but it turns out the Democrats topped that even later in the week, when a boatload of desperate Haitians arrived off south Florida. It was immediately turned into a political issue by Democrats. I want you to take a look at Congresswoman Carrie Meek and what she said. I think you'll be sickened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CARRIE MEEK: I came to ask you to call your brother and ask him to call INS to release the Haitians that are in detention. They don't need a new policy. All they have to do is call. The wet foot- dry foot policy will take effect.

Those Haitians are standing on dry land. My (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has been (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Mr. Governor.

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: Congresswoman, I appreciate your...

MEEK: I love them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Now, that's just revolting. As if Jeb Bush is supposed to call his brother, the president of the United States, making a political issue out of the suffering of Haitian refugees. Come on.

LEWIS: Jeb Bush has been calling his brother and asking for help for the last year. His brother's coming to Miami tomorrow for the 13th time. So for once, why doesn't he call his brother and say, you know what, do something good for the other people? Don't call and say do more for my campaign.

CARLSON: Ann, with all due respect this is a little bit more important than...

LEWIS: That's right, it is more important.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: No, but seriously, this is a serious issue. People's lives are at stake.

LEWIS: That's right.

CARLSON: And for Carrie Meek to get up at a press conference in front of the cameras and start barking at the governor simply because he is the governor -- she can write him a letter, she can call him on the phone. She does it in front of the cameras because she doesn't care about the lives of people who have come here from Haiti.

LEWIS: Carrie Meek, who is one brave woman, stood up there and was the voice of people who had nobody else to speak for them. Who was speaking for them? It sure wasn't Jeb Bush, it sure wasn't the president. She did it when she could get attention, and she was right. Because those people need it and deserve better care...

CARVILLE: You think Jeb Bush ought to call his brother and ask him to find all those kids they lost there down in Florida?

OLIVER: Jeb Bush has done a great job as the governor of Florida, and we're winning that campaign down there. And he's done it because he's served the people of Florida with distinction.

CARVILLE: Let me tell you what they ought to do. Every kid in foster care in Florida, where Jeb Bush is governor, they ought to tie a campaign contribution to their ankle and they'd never lose one of them.

OLIVER: James, your candidate for governor in Florida has proposed raising $29 billion in spending. So your candidate for governor, who, by the way, is going to lose, Bill McBride, is either going to have to raise taxes on people by $3,300 or cut spending by 32 percent across the board with the new spending proposals.

CARVILLE: My candidate for governor is a decorated Marine. Your candidate for governor, what's his service to this country?

OLIVER: Oh, please.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Right. So that's your criteria? I'm sick of hearing it.

There was a fascinating quote today, Ann, by an unnamed Democratic operative. I believe it's probably accurate in one of the papers today, who said, look, I would rather see Bill McBride win in Florida than win the entire Congress because it's symbolically important. And I wonder if you just don't think there's something a little bit infantile, certainly juvenile about putting all this emphasis on the governor's race simply because it's the president's brother. I mean I thought Democrats were above that a little bit.

LEWIS: I think it's a little bit juvenile when you get every newspaper (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on CNN that you have to the news to try to find one anonymous Democrat that you can disagree with. Why are we talking about all the Democrats who put their names to what they have to say and say this is an important election. This is an important election, we're going to win in the Senate, we're going to add seats, we're going to win governor's races, we're going to win House seats. And you know why? Because the issues are at stake.

But, having said that, there are Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: Terry McAuliffe said he was going to go after and get Jeb Bush. And come Election Day, Jeb Bush is going to win reelection and Terry McAuliffe is going to eat his words on that.

LEWIS: Just be clear there are Democrats all over the country for whom what happened in Florida in 2000 is still a fighting cry. Because people were turned away who should have voted. People were turned away from the polls.

OLIVER: Absolutely not the case.

LEWIS: That's a real problem and Democrats still care about it.

OLIVER: You're still trying to fight the past. You're trying to fight the politics of the past instead of looking to the future. And that's a problem (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Jeb Bush and the president and others are about the future.

CARVILLE: Losing children are the politics of the future. We don't need the little snot noses anyway.

CARLSON: We're going to take a quick commercial break. And we'll ask the question, are people who are still mad about the 2000 election in need of psychological help? We'll also ask our guests how voters will respond to Jim Traficant's campaign from behind bars.

Later, Comedy Central's Mo Rocca on the House of Representatives as a haven for incumbents. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back.

We're enduring the final weekend of the Democratic Party's control of the U.S. Senate. After Tuesday, both the House, White House, Capitol Hill, will be Republican controlled. The big question is, after they run out of veterans in the Carter administration, will Democrats simply become a permanent minority, will they go the way of the Whigs? No, nothing is in the bull (ph) noose (ph). We're comparing notes with Ann Lewis, the DNC's Women's Vote Center, and RNC Chairman Jack Oliver.

CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about the future and the past. Here's some future oriented things that this administration has brought us that speak of the future. They brought us more deficits, more protectionism and more pollution. Why in the world would anyone vote for a Republican given the sorry record of this administration on fiscal discipline, on trade and on environmental policy?

OLIVER: Let's talk about what's happened in the past two years in the Republican leadership. We passed a no child left behind to improve public education. We passed a tax cut at a vital and important time to put more money in working people's families. We've moved forward on the things the American people wanted. We passed a prescription drug benefit, we passed a patient's bill of rights.

CARVILLE: What's the deficit surplus projection for the next ten years? What is it? Tell me.

OLIVER: Well, I tell you what, the deficit projection is...

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: We have a deficit right now because we were attacked on 9/11.

CARVILLE: What's the projection for the next ten years? It was $5.6 trillion when you took office. You know what you guys are good at? Inheriting. That's what you can do, stand and inherit.

OLIVER: I mean let's talk about what Dick Gephardt has proposed for...

CARVILLE: Tell me about the steel...

OLIVER: Dick Gephardt as proposed $200 billion in additional spending. Or maybe we have Tom Daschle's proposal to...

CARVILLE: I'm sorry, Bush didn't sign the farm bill? President Bush did not sign the farm bill?

CARLSON: Wait, wait, James. Before you ask another question to which everyone knows the answer, let me get more specific. And let me, Ann, confront you with something. I hate to keep throwing this nauseating stuff in your face, but there's so much.

Take a look at this ad run by the Ann Somers' (ph) campaign out of New Jersey. This does cross the line. I know you'll agree.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: First, he was convicted of domestic abuse. Yet Scott Garrett thinks it should be legal for domestic abusers to buy guns. He voted to repeal the assault weapons ban, sponsored legislation to weaken concealed gun laws. Scott Garrett shouldn't be blamed for the sniper, but Garrett's positions are the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARVILLE: That's a hell of a good spot.

CARLSON: Now Ann, I know what you're going to say. You're going to say Scott Garrett is an extremist right-winger. There are some problems, however, that I have with this ad.

I do think this it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). First, "he was convicted of domestic abuse," it makes it sound like Scott Garrett was convicted of domestic abuse, and that's wrong. And, B, it does make it sound like he's in some way tied to this mass murderer. That's too much.

LEWIS: Let me see if I've got this right. This is an ad that says very clearly Scott Garrett is an extremist on this issue. He voted to repeal assault weapons...

CARLSON: You call everybody an extremist.

LEWIS: Yes, I call people extremists who vote to repeal laws that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. And all this ad shows, as so I can see it, is a newspaper clipping, right? It's a newspaper that everybody in that district saw.

You seem to think that voters won't be able to...

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: This ad is just sad. It's unbelievable that this is the level to which they're going to go to try to beat this guy. To make this connection between the sniper, it just doesn't make any sense.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Let me see the ad again. I want to see the ad. I want to see the ad again and see if it ties the candidate. It specifically said...

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER : That is ridiculous. Listen, you want to have a debate about gun control -- absolutely not, you don't.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: You know what the problem is? This guy voted to repeal the ban on assault weapons. That's not the direction voters want to go. And Republicans are mad.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: We're trying to say what is the policy implication? And the policy implication was that people who commit domestic abuse shouldn't be allowed to have guns. So we think that's a subtle debate. Mr. Garrett's trying to reopen it. OLIVER: That's not true. Ann, it's just not the case. This is a situation where the Democrats have gone to the lowest of lows and trying to make some connection between the sniper and a candidate for Congress. I mean it's a stretch beyond belief. It's unbelievable.

If you want to have a debate about gun control, let's have it. You're not talking about it around the country. As a matter of fact, your candidates for office, even though they're trying to control the gun candidate, just like in Missouri with Jeanne Carnahan, are going out and shooting skeet. The only problem is I hear she's not that good a shot.

CARVILLE: Of course she's not a good shot. I don't know how to tell you this, son. It said here it had nothing to do with the sniper and...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: We've got a question from the audience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Ms. Lewis, I'm Mark Lucas (ph) from New York. And I'd just like to know why the Democrats are doing such a miserable job opposing Governor Pataki?

LEWIS: That's a very good question. I think the more important question might be to ask Jack Oliver why Governor Pataki moved so far to the left this year and he's adopted all these democratic positions.

OLIVER: You know what's unbelievable here? Governor Pataki has done a fabulous job of governor of New York. Terry McAuliffe and their candidate, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), have been having an external debate about who is putting money in where.

As a matter of fact, Senator Clinton today went out and endorsed McCall, but then I guess she realized what the rest of the people in New York know, Governor Pataki will be the governor after November 5. So she went out and did an economic development forum (ph) with him afterwards.

CARLSON: Actually, Charlie Rangel, the congressman from New York and a frequent guest here on CROSSFIRE, responded to that -- to Senator Clinton's appearance with Governor Pataki just a few days before the election. He said, I'm quoting, "I didn't know she was up there." Meaning with Governor Pataki. "Shame on her."

CARVILLE: Let me tell you something interesting. I read that quote and then Rangel said he was joking. Tucker did not put that on here. That is typical of what happens here is they take something out of context. He said he was joking. It's actually the truth.

I just want to tell you, you don't have to answer...

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: Economic development is important to Hillary Clinton. She's been talking about making the upstate economy work better since she ran for the Senate in an election you all didn't think she was going to win. The answer is -- the answer is -- no, the question was why did Hillary Clinton go up there? And the answer is she's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 500 jobs in Rome, New York that she's been working on.

She's the person who introduced that company, this Democratic senator, to Rome, New York. They said they wanted to do the event before the end of the year. She'll be campaigning with Carl McCall all around the state tomorrow. But she's got two jobs. She's got a job as a senator to do economic development.

CARLSON: We're going to take a quick commercial break, but we'll be right back. Our audience will fire some more questions at our guests in just a moment.

Later, Mo Rocca's prediction from Maine to Florida to California. And our quote of the day goes to yet another colorful politician who is, alas, about to leave office. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL)

CARVILLE: Welcome back. The economy is sick, the Republicans are lying on this set. There's a war on the horizon. The guy in the White House is an inside trader, and his SEC chairman is a buffoon. Still, predictions are that the turnout on Tuesday will be low, perhaps less than half of registered voters.

What's wrong with you people? We're talking politics with RNC deputy chairman Jack Oliver and Ann Lewis of the DNC's Women's Votes Center.

CARLSON: Ann Lewis, the real news here is that something deep inside James Carville's tiny brain has snapped. He's gone completely insane. I'm not surprised, however, given this. I want to show you an ad from a longtime, a lifelong Democrat, unfortunately not no longer with us, he's in federal prison -- still running hard. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES TRAFICANT (D), CANDIDATE FOR U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I'm Jim Traficant. Now, they say I can't win a congressional race behind bars. Let me tell you something. You want to send a message to Washington, you want to straighten this mess out? I want your vote. I believe I can do a better job than half of those people down in Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Now, the Democrats in Mahoney Valley, Ohio have been voting for this guy for 20 years. What makes you think they're not going to vote him just because he's in prison?

LEWIS: I got good news for you. We're going to elect a real Democrat from that district, and for all the reasons that James just went through, because we've got to change economic direction of this country, because we've got to get some people in there who know what economic policy is, who are going to elect a real Democrat, a working Democrat.

Jim Traficant was playing a game for the last couple of years -- he would use the title of Democrat, but he organized with Republicans, he let them know he was on their side, he was trying to have the best of both worlds. Courts caught up with him, he's not going to be missed. But we'll get a real Democrat from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARVILLE: Why are the Republicans getting mopped up in Pennsylvania, Michigan and California? Why can't you run a credible candidate in the largest state of the union like California?

OLIVER: How about New York, Texas, Florida? Listen, we're defending a lot of places in the governor's races around the country.

CARVILLE: We got great candidates -- we got great candidates in -- we don't have a buffoon like you have in California, the largest state. We're not running...

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: Let's talk about California, James. You have got a candidate out there who spent $64 million, and the majority of the people in the state still think he's a jerk.

CARVILLE: He going to win by 15 points, too.

An audience question.

KEN ANDERSON (ph): Yes, my name is Ken Anderson (ph) from (UNINTELLIGIBLE), North Carolina. And I was just wondering why the Democrats are doing such a bad job opposing Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina?

CARLSON: That's still in question.

LEWIS: I think Erskine Bowles is doing an excellent job. The last tracking polls I saw had that race almost tied within the margin of error. He's just been increasing his vote total every week. Every time people know more Elizabeth Dole, when they learn that she opposed the family and (ph) leave law and now she wants to go around and say she's a friend of families, that she opposed raising the minimum wage. And now she wants to go out and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) friend of the working family, so actually, Erskine Bowles and the Democrats are doing a good job in North Carolina to pick up that seat.

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: ... written $4 million check out of his own pocket to try to run. They are running ads against Elizabeth Dole. And we're going to win that race. It is a tough state, always is a tough state for Republicans. When we won both times with Jesse Helms and also with Lauch Faircloth, we barely -- we won by less than five percentage points. But Elizabeth Dole is going... CARVILLE: Are you really criticizing him for writing a check when you are the party of Steve Forbes? Do you really think we're that stupid?

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: Let me ask you a question about North Carolina. Are you planning on taking Bill Clinton into North Carolina? Erskine Bowles is running so far and so fast away from Bill Clinton.

CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ahead (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

OLIVER: No, he's not. He's behind, he's going to lose.

CARVILLE: ... by three points.

DOUG LEVIN (ph): Doug Levin (ph) from Brooklyn, New York. In 1994, the political pundits and media failed to predict the Republican landslide in Congress. What are this year's biggest surprises?

CARLSON: Yeah, Jack, tell us, what do you think is going to be the biggest surprise this year?

OLIVER: Well, I think the biggest surprise is going to be in the Georgia Senate race, we're going to beat Max Cleland and we're going to bring home a winner there. And you know, I can tell you this, for the first time if we keep the House, for the first time since 1962 in a mid-year election, the president's party in power, we're going to have a successful night on election night.

CARLSON: Ann, tell us one thing that will really surprise voters this time around.

LEWIS: When voters turn around the day after the election and look at how the governor's races have shifted and how the Midwest, which was the bulwark of Republican strength in 2000, all of a sudden, 2004, we're going to have Democratic governors in all those state houses. Look at Michigan, look at Illinois, look at Wisconsin, look at Pennsylvania.

OLIVER: And look at New Hampshire, look at Vermont, and look at Rhode Island...

LEWIS: We're getting the big states, they're getting the small ones. But if you want to talk Massachusetts and Rhode Island, we're going to do very well. There's going to be a shift in the state houses that's going to be very significant for this year and for 2004.

OLIVER: And so, and what about in Hawaii where Linda Lingle is going to be the first Republican governor since 1960? And in Maryland, where Bob Ehrlich is going to beat your own chosen Kathleen Kennedy Townsend?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: That's why you're listening to CROSSFIRE, because you want to find out what's happening in Hawaii and Vermont's governor's races, because God knows they can't talk about anything that's done any good for this country in the last two years, so there go Vermont and Hawaii (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: OK. Thank you, Ann Lewis, Jack Oliver. Thanks a lot. You've succeeded in driving James completely bananas, and we appreciate that.

Still ahead, "Daily Show" correspondent Mo Rocca joins us for the one-of-a-kind tracking poll, but next, our quote of the day sheds light on may become Minnesota's interim U.S. senator. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back. One of Minnesota's U.S. Senate seats is tragically open, and it will be no matter who wins the Walter Mondale/Norm Coleman race on Tuesday. Since a lame-duck session of Congress is in the offing, the choice of who finishes out the late Senator Paul Wellstone's term is more than a formality. The choice rests, unfortunately, with Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who has assured the public, thank heavens, he will not choose himself.

In our quote of the day, the governor reveals who might get the nod. Quote: "I ran into an old friend who's a garbageman, and he said he might want to do it." And I thought that was kind of appropriate: A garbageman certainly can spot garbage when he sees it.

Can you -- you know, four years ago, I remember when he was elected, I remember thinking this is a joke like all jokes, it's going to get old. And four years later, I just...

CARVILLE: And the guy is just a cranky old man who can't run for reelection. And you know, he had his shot in politics, and it didn't work out for him.

CARLSON: Are you talking about Mondale?

CARVILLE: No, Ventura.

CARLSON: Oh, oh, I'm sorry, you so perfectly described Fritz Mondale.

CARVILLE: Mondale had a very successful political career. He was United States senator, vice president of the United States, he was ambassador of Japan. I think he's one of the most distinguished Americans in my lifetime.

CARLSON: Really? Because the last time he won office I was younger than my oldest child is now. That was another era.

CARVILLE: He had a pretty distinguished career.

CARLSON: Welcome to yesterday.

Ahead in our "Fireback" segment, a self-described Louisiana girl has a message to pass on to James Carville.

But next, he isn't Green, he isn't Libertarian, he isn't even communist. Not that they'd have him. Just where in the political spectrum does Mo Rocca stand? We'll ask him when CROSSFIRE returns.

(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. We at CROSSFIRE believe that you should know our opinions are sometimes influenced by our party affiliation.

So in the interest of full disclosure, we want to make it crystal clear: I'm a Democrat. Tucker Carlson is a Republican.

We also believe other correspondents should be held to the same high standards. So please welcome to CROSSFIRE Mr. Mo Rocca, correspondent for "The Daily Show" on "Comedy Central."

CARVILLE: My man, Mo.

MO ROCCA, "THE DAILY SHOW": Thank you, sir.

CARLSON: Mo, are you affiliated with a party?

ROCCA: Well, I think the country has waited long enough. I've been coy about this for a long time. The rumors are true. I am a dyed in the wool Federalist. I believe that Alexander Hamilton is an amazing man who not only invented our banking system, our whole financial system, but he really got screwed over in that duel. And I hope I can say that. By a political hack no less.

And it galls me that fancy pants Thomas Jefferson in 1803 transacts that Louisiana Purchase with money that would have been unavailable if the system that is the precursor to the Federal Reserve had not been set up, which he so vigorously opposed. It's galling.

CARLSON: It is outrageous actually. Louisiana Purchasegate we call it.

CARVILLE: Your man is on the 10 spot, isn't he?

ROCCA: Right.

CARVILLE: I mean, so it's not like we've forgotten your party. I mean, you could you really start the thing again, couldn't you?

ROCCA: Sure. Why not? I mean, look -- but I'll tell you one thing. I am knee jerk about this. I will not vote for a Whig candidate. That's all there is to it.

CARLSON: Does that mean you're against Congressman Traficant, who wears a wig?

ROCCA: I think Congressman Traficant, though, if he is running for office from prison, I have a good slogan for him. And I understand this is something he's considering. I think he should say, I'm Jim Traficant. If I've learned anything in prison, it's how to be an effective minority whip. I think that would work.

CARVILLE: Let me ask you because we're all in the -- you know, we're Washington and we had young Jack Oliver, the brilliant strategist, and Anne Lewis, the brilliant person at DNC. We're talking about polls -- I understand that you have some scientific tracking polls that you're willing to share with our audience.

ROCCA: Well, I scientifically polled my friends and family and I found that a stunning majority do not know that there is an election next Tuesday and that the big shock will occur on November 6 when most Americans wake up and realize there was an election the day before.

So that's -- that's what I'm saying. But I have a lot of predictions as well.

CARLSON: Well hit us with them.

CARVILLE: Yes.

CARLSON: You're probably the only person who knows what's really going to happen.

ROCCA: Yes. Well, California governor's race, I think that the winner is an extremely unpopular person. I think --

CARVILLE: Mark that down. All right.

ROCCA: I think in Maine we'll have a woman win the Senate race.

CARLSON: Excellent.

CARVILLE: You're getting out on the limb. You understand that?

ROCCA: Well, this is the year of the woman. And you know -- that's what many are saying. And you know that I've spent my life studying politics through the prism of pop culture. And I think we see the year of the woman currently refracted through the lens of ABC's "The Bachelor, " which is an important TV show right now.

What you have is "the bachelor," a guy named Aaron. And he gets to choose among 25 women who are -- one of whom will become his wife. But what's important to remember is at the end of the episode, he'll only ask a number of them to continue on to the next week and join him for the booze cruise and couples massage.

But the essential thing here is that the women have the right to say no. And this is -- and I'm stealing most of this from my friend Naomi Wolf. But this is really the ascendancy, I think, of empowerment. And so I think this is important.

CARLSON: Well wait a second. Isn't "The Bachelor" politics in reverse? Politics, of course, is where the many choose the one. "The Bachelor" is where the one chooses among the many.. ROCCA: Correct, but they have the right to reject as well. And, you know, and that's -- that's I think progressive because with redistricting right now, what you have are candidates choosing their voters, these ridiculously shaped districts that are -- 90 percent of incumbents apparently are essentially in noncompetitive races.

CARVILLE: You know, Mo, I've been doing politics for longer than I'd like to remember. I just never heard anything as brilliant as the "ascendancy of empowerment." I mean, that thought...

ROCCA: I copyrighted it.

CARVILLE: ... is just so profound -- yes. I mean, it really -- it crystallizes the entire thing and in my mind, in the minds of the American electorate. I just -- Tucker, have you ever heard of anything like that?

CARLSON: Well, I have never heard of anything that brilliant. And I think it makes a terrific bumper sticker, throw Harvey Pitt in there and the Democrats will run on it.

But my question is: How can you call this the year of the woman when a show like "The Bachelor," which, of course, is all about some steakhead, you know, demeaning these poor girls. I mean, how do they fit together?

ROCCA: Well, as I said, I think it's because it's a two-way street here.

(CROSSTALK)

ROCCA: Right exactly. Neither -- you know, Heather from Texas can say no. She can refuse the sleepover date which happens next week. And, you know, Brooke has the right to say no either. So it's --

CARVILLE: Do you think the Supreme Court would overturn a woman's right to say no?

ROCCA: I think they might leave it for states to decide, to decide, you know, if "The Bachelor" is forced to marry.

CARLSON: Tell us this, though. You said most of your friends and family smoke a lot of dope and don't even know there's an election.

Is there a difference in who wins? I mean, if Republicans win is American going to be a different place than if the Democrats win?

ROCCA: Well, I think if -- in the Senate, for instance, if you a Republican Senate, you're probably going to have a weaker prescription bill. You might have quicker resolution of Homeland Security. Majority Leader Tom Daschle will probably have more time to plot his way to the White House.

If the house goes Democratic, I think Dennis Hastert will have more time to exercise. And I think -- my sources in his office tell me that he would love to be doing more pilates classes but the real problem is that as a speaker, you don't have time to do that kind of thing.

CARVILLE: I want to stay on this track of "ascendancy of empowerment" and two-way street.

ROCCA: Sure.

CARVILLE: America, we need people running for office that have the kind of brains you do. Is there any chance that we can talk you into maybe seeking political office at some point in the future? What's your own feelings about that?

ROCCA: How much does it pay? I don't know. It depends.

CARVILLE: I think about $130,000.

ROCCA: Are there residuals or...

CARLSON: Look.

CARVILLE: Well, you get out, after you do it, you just go over to K Street...

ROCCA: If we syndicate, that's fine.

CARLSON: You wouldn't be the first entertainment figure, of course, to go into politics. How do you think, now that Jesse Ventura wraps up the four-year disaster that he has been conducting in Minnesota, what do you make of it? Has it made America different?

ROCCA: I think -- I think that he's unusual. I think that he was very hot headed this week after the, you know, memorial service, the scandal there. I know everyone's comparing Fritz Mondale to Mt. Rushmore. Ventura seemed more like Mount Etna this week, blowing a lot of steam. I know that -- isn't he quitting because his son -- they accused his son of using the governor's mansion for parties? Something like that.

CARLSON: I think that's exactly right. Or some other high- minded reason.

ROCCA: As good as any.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: But where does he fit on the ascendancy of empowerment scale?

CARLSON: Powered, un-empowered?

ROCCA: He's too empowered, because you can't say no to him or he'll snap your neck.

CARLSON: You may have summed up politics itself, as practiced around the world. Mo Rocca, you have a way with words, we appreciate you coming.

ROCCA: Thank you.

CARLSON: You're so profound.

CARLSON: Next, the ascendancy of empowerment, some advice from James Carville from yet another of our many, many Canadian viewers. Raw Canada, we'll be right back.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE where we've been discussing such haughty topics as the ascendancy of empowerment, and now, dear viewers, you are not only ascended, but you're empowered in our favorite "Fireback" section. Let's see what we've got here.

"Harvey Pitt withheld information about Judge Webster's past from the SEC. President Bush withheld information on North Korea's nuclear weapons from Congress. It seems to me that Bush Department of Misinformation is alive and well."

Actually, they're keeping secret the SEC files, as well as the number of people they met with on the energy task force, and everything else. It is a department of not only misinformation, no information because they don't want the world to know how tired they are... --

CARLSON: I wish Democrats would just argue an issue in a straight forward way, and not resort to conspiracy theories to explain everything.

"Being a Louisiana girl, I just don't like it when people talk bad about James Carville. I love to hear him talk" -- I've been drinking -- "I think he's as smart and cute as anyone I know. Besides, he seems so honest and being from Louisiana, that's really an accomplishment."

CARVILLE: Beautiful woman. I tell you, we got the smartest and best women this side of Mary Madeleine (ph) in Louisiana.

CARLSON: Is that true?

CARVILLE: Very politic answer...

CARVILLE: ... five sisters there.

All right. "Your word should be like the hairs on your head -- short, few, and far between. The more you rattle on the more you sound like our Canadian prime minister."

That would be the one that George W. Bush didn't know who he was. Matt Grauman of Kelowna, British Columbia.

CARLSON: He knew.

CARVILLE: He just didn't want to say. CARLSON: He didn't want to say. That's exactly right.

CARVILLE: He thought he was cheese fries.

CARLSON: Gordon Andrews of Bedford, New Hampshire writes, "Tucker, what are drinking in your CROSSFIRE mug?"

I'm glad you asked. It's D.C. tap water, filled with so many impurities, I get a buzz off it.

CARVILLE: There it is. Vodka -- audience question.

CARLSON: OK. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Joshua Friedman from Suffield, Connecticut, and I was wondering, isn't it or shouldn't it be, "It's the economy stupid" again?

CARVILLE: Yes, if there was a Democratic Party to make the argument, it should be, and the economic mismanagement of this administration is profound, and I just wish that our party would have made the superb case it had had to make more articulately.

CARLSON: Unfortunately, Democrats try to make a point, but they get lost talking about Harvey Pitt and Camilla Parker Bowles. You have no idea what they are talking about by the end -- yes, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Doris Eisen (ph) from Rockville, Maryland, and Mr. Carville asks why anyone would vote for a Republican, and as a registered Democrat, my answer is September 11, and the Democratic's -- the Democrats' lack of response to it.

CARVILLE: I have no earthly idea what you are saying. The Democrats completely supported September 11, and by the way, we are the ones who are pursuing the war on terrorism and staying focused as the administration become bored. It is one of the other things that the administration needs to talk about.

CARLSON: It is hard to know exactly what -- I'd love to agree with you, and if I knew what the Democrats stood for, if I had any idea, despite the fact I spent my entire life here on the CROSSFIRE set trying to figure it out, I would agree or disagree, but I don't what they are for.

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

CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again next week, which is election week, for yet more editions of CROSSFIRE. "CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins right now. Have a great weekend.

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