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U.N. Security Council Votes on Iraq; Pelosi May Become House Minority Leader; Debate Over Eminem

Aired November 8, 2002 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left: James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right: Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson. In the CROSSFIRE tonight: President Bush wins again.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The resolution approved today presents the Iraqi regime with a test, a final test.


ANNOUNCER: Will Saddam pass the test peacefully?


BUSH: The outcome of the current crisis is already determined.


ANNOUNCER: Maybe for Iraq, but not for the Democrats.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Democrats are about to elect Nancy Pelosi as their leader in the House of Representatives. She's charismatic, she's smart.


ANNOUNCER: And she's really liberal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we need a change. And the change, I don't believe will come through Martin Frost or Nancy Pelosi.


ANNOUNCER: Plus, we know what movie your teenagers want to see this weekend, but do you want them seeing it? Garbage or art?

Tonight on CROSSFIRE.

From the George Washington University: Paul Begala, and sitting in on the right, Sandy Rios. PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

Tucker Carlson and Bob Novak are away today. They're at a right wing strategy session with Reverend Jerry Falwell and Newt Gingrich and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But, never fear, sitting on the right is Sandy Rios of Concerned Women for America -- welcome, Sandy.

SANDY RIOS, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: I don't know how I missed that meeting, Paul.

BEGALA: Well, I'm glad you did. And, of course, there is plenty for all of to us be concerned about, men and women alike, Sandy. Like what's become of my Democratic Party? Fractured and disheartened and will they be able to come back?

And if that doesn't concern you, how about the new movie starring the most foul-mouthed rapper in the industry?

But first, just because Bob and Tucker are off recuperating from their Tuesday night hangovers from their victory celebrations, you don't need to be concerned about missing a thing, though. Here's the best little political briefing in television, the CROSSFIRE, "Political Alert."

The United Nations Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution demanding a return of weapons inspectors to Iraq. Following the lead of many Democrats, President Bush compromised on his demand that Iraqi scientists be taken from the country for questioning, as well as his insistence that authority for war be automatically granted by the resolution.

He even compromised, of course, on whether he needed to go to the U.N. in the first place. Good for him. Today's events are the results of skilled diplomacy by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who brilliantly kept Mr. Bush busy stumping for Republican candidates across the country these last few weeks, so he couldn't screw up the whole U.N. deal.

Of course, the only people who are not happy with this resolution are Saddam Hussein, for whom the game is up, and the ultra- conservative hawks here in Washington, whose motto seems to be, all we are saying is give war a chance.

RIOS: You won't be laughing next week when the war breaks out, Paul. Serious business.

Well, in the wake of this week's elections, congressional Democrats are looking for a new leader, and look who they're rallying around, none other than San Francisco Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, one of the most liberal Democrats of them all. Except for Tennessee's courageous Harold Ford, no one else seems to be willing to stand up to her.

Pelosi's only other serious competition, the more moderate Congressman Martin Frost of Texas, threw in the towel earlier today. Pelosi's already issued her call to arms. She said, "We must draw clear distinctions which we now vision of the future and the extreme policies put forward by the Republicans." Didn't the election send a clear message about which party the voters think has the extreme policies?

We say bring on Nancy Pelosi. When she becomes the voice of the Democratic Party, the American people will have an even clearer understanding of just who is extreme.

BEGALA: I think this is wonderful that my party is perhaps -- I don't pick sides in Democratic fights, but likely to be picking a woman to be the leader of its party. Sandy Rios, of course, is the highest ranking woman in the Republican Party. We're honored that you're here. But otherwise, we don't root for Republicans...

They should make you their leader and they'd be in better shape.

RIOS: Absolutely.

BEGALA: Of course the debate about the future of my Democratic Party veered slightly off course today, when two of my party's best thinkers, two dear friends of mine, Tom Freeman (ph) and Bill Knapp (ph), argued in the pages of "The New York Times" that the party's future lies in the center and not on the left.

Now you see the center left debate was actually resolved years ago by Bill Clinton. The issue is not whether we will be centrists, we are. The issue is whether we will be spineless, and we have been.

But when President Bush squanders the Clinton surplus, abandoning fiscal discipline for tax cuts for the rich, we should oppose him. When he raises taxes in the form of protectionist tariffs, we should fight him. Neither centrist nor liberal, it is tough and smart, two things Democrats have not been lately.

RIOS: All right. Well you know what, Paul, I think we found something that we sort of agree on. You know we learned today that the nationwide voter turnout this week was 33 percent. That may sound dismal, but it's about two percent higher than during the 1998 midterms.

And the credit goes to conservatives and to the Republican Party. Analysis shows the GOP mobilization efforts, coupled with the president's nonstop traveling and candidates with a clear conservative message got the Republican voters base excited into the polls. And in turn, that helped Republican candidates in Florida, Maryland and especially South Dakota and Minnesota.

The lesson seems clear for both sides. A strong message produces strong voter turnout. Mushy politicians of either stripe need not apply.

BEGALA: I think you make a very good point. My party's got to stand for something. You watch, we will. Turnout actually went up for the first time in a presidential campaign when Bill Clinton ran in 1992. It's been going down since John F. Kennedy's campaign in 1960, all the way down to '92. Clinton spiked it back up because he stood for something. Bring back the Clinton Democrats. Repeal the 22nd amendment and bring Clinton back.

RIOS: I just was thinking the Clinton Democrats tried to come back and it didn't work. But that's OK, Paul. Far be it for me to say that.

BEGALA: It worked great. Twenty-three million Americans were working then, and two million are not now.

Anyway, it's always gracious on victory night. Most good politicians are anyway. And I have to say, on election night, most Republicans were gracious when they won. But it takes a real jerk to offend millions of your state citizens and trade on the name of your state's greatest native son all while claiming victory.

But that is exactly what Sonny Purdue did on Tuesday night. The Republican, Purdue, defeated Democratic Governor Roy Barnes in the state of Georgia, in part on the vote of pissed off red necks that don't like Roy Barnes adopted a new flag for Georgia, one that downplayed the confederate battle flag.

You see, segregationists adopted the old flag with the old design just a few months after the Supreme Court ended racial segregation in public schools. It was their form of segregationist protest. Well, here's what Purdue said after being elected on the votes of those many decent and honorable good Georgians who voted for him, and at least a few racists.


SONNY PURDUE (R), GOVERNOR ELECT, GEORGIA: There's an old expression. "Free at least, free at least, thank god almighty, free at last."


BEGALA: Comparing the party change in a governor's office to fighting segregation and slavery. Somewhere in heaven Dr. King is weeping in shame.

RIOS: Well then, you know a lot of black Georgians voted for him, Paul.

BEGALA: Oh, about three.

RIOS: Oh, no. Do you know them? The things they be a changing down there.

If Democrats are looking for someone to blame for their disastrous showing Tuesday night, they can blame the pro-abortion activists that have hijacked their party. The Associated Press reports today that top Democratic Senate candidates that were given millions of dollars by NARAL, the National Abortion and Reproduction Rights Action League, all lost. And this accounts for the GOP's recapture of the Senate. So go ahead, Democrats, let the pro-abortion lobby keep running your party and we'll keep electing good conservatives to the House and Senate. On Election Day, we were right in more ways than one.

BEGALA: This is an interesting test now. It's a character test for the Republicans. They do control the House, they do control the Senate, they do control the White House, and of course the federal judiciary, as we know from Bush versus Gore. When will they ever pay back -- you represent a lot of really good people who happen to believe in outlawing abortion. OK? Many Democrats disagree with that.

But Bush has never done anything. If Bush actually and the Republicans actually believe that abortion is murder, why do they go two years and never even give a speech against what they believe is murder?

RIOS: Paul, I want this president to be bolder. And that's the very thing we're saying to him in the wake of this election. It is time to be bold and to lead. I don't think the American people do not want abortion to be legal all nine months in any form or fashion.

They are tender to young babies. They really are, by in large. It's only the really hard left that really want abortion all the time for any reason. And so I think that it's time for teaching and it's time for the president to be bold on the issue.

BEGALA: It is striking. We will see if the president is willing to actually deliver. And I think he won't. I think he's a very cynical man who uses the votes of pro-life activists and doesn't care about them at all.

RIOS: Well, I'll tell you what, if he does that, you better believe that we will hold his feet to the fire. You can take that to the...

BEGALA: Well, good for you. That's how politics should work.

And next, of course, President Bush brings wins -- rather his second big victory of the week. This is a very big one at the U.N. But did the American people on the congressional level really vote for a hostile corporate takeover of Congress?

Later, of course, my Democrats get ready to bounce back and make a little history in the process.

And also, it's almost time for Friday night at the movies. Do you know what your teenagers are watching tonight? I doubt it. Stick around and you will find out here on CROSSFIRE.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

For months, a lot of thoughtful people have been urging our president to unite the whole world behind him before facing off with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. So, bravo to the Bush administration and to the United Nations Security Council today, which voted unanimously for a resolution warning Iraq of serious consequences if it doesn't comply with a tough new round of weapons inspections.

In the CROSSFIRE to debate this tonight, from Cleveland, Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich. And here with us in Washington, Frank Gaffney, of the Center for Security Policy. Thank you both for making time to join us.

RIOS: Thank you, Congressman Kucinich, for joining us tonight.

What is it about going to war with Iraq that you are so opposed to?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: Well, the resolution the United Nations called for does not authorize use of force. I think we need to be very clear about that. What the U.N. did today was not authorize the use of force. There was a choice for international cooperation working together.

I think that's a positive move. But if you're talking about going to war with Iraq, this resolution does not call for that.

RIOS: All right. So that's your only point? That the resolution didn't call for it. What if it did call for it? Would you be in favor for it?

KUCINICH: Well, I think we have to use the two-step process which has been established by this resolution today. And that's a process that the United States put its reputation on the line to be able to secure. Because Russia and France and Syria and Great Britain and all the other nations recognize we have is a two-step process, that this resolution does not authorize force. It authorizes inspections.

And I think this still can be settled peacefully. And I think a nation with such great power as we have should always move cautiously and with restraint before we exercise the use of that great power.

BEGALA: Frank Gaffney, in fact, President Bush (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sounding more like Dennis Kucinich than Frank Gaffney. He made many important compromises on the road to today's victory. And again, you can count on one hand the nights I start the show or end the show or even in the middle of the show saying anything good about Bush.

He and Colin Powell delivered I think a very good resolution today. They compromised in many ways. First, in going to the U.N. to begin with. First the White House told us they weren't going to do that.

And second, they had this insistence that America should be able to see scientists and pull them out of the country to interview them so we'd get an honest interview out of them. They compromised on that and gave it up. Third, an automatic approval for war, something very important to President Bush. Congressman Kucinich pointed out this doesn't automatically give the U.N.'s blessing for war. And maybe most telling, yesterday, at his press conference, President Bush spoke for 45 minutes. Two words he never used, regime change. Bush is now kind of following Clinton Democratic foreign policy, isn't he?

FRANK GAFFNEY, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: God, I hope not. That would be a horrifying thought. More to the point, I think things that you're so delighted with and Congressman Kucinich is so pleased with are serious problems with this resolution and with the approach that the administration has now embarked upon.

Look, the object of the exercise, set aside regime change, which I believe is the only way we can realistically hope we'll get Saddam Hussein disarmed. Just set it aside for a moment. Let's just say what we're interested in is disarmament. Does anybody think that we're actually going to get Saddam Hussein disarmed while he's still in power?

My guess is that we may -- let's just be wildly optimistic here. We may even get full cooperation from him. Let's say that he actually helps us find all the stuff he has hidden. He helps us take it out and destroy it. Let's just say, best case.

That almost certainly would mean that for some period, maybe six months, maybe less, if sanctions are removed, he's weapons-free. But you can bet he's going to be back in business. So if you're serious about disarmament, you've got to get rid of Saddam Hussein and the regime around him. And I'm afraid this resolution is not going to impede that and not advance that.

RIOS: Congressman Kucinich, I'm confused about something. Because we know that Saddam is a danger. I mean the British have told us that, defectors have told us that, our own government has told us that. At what point would you do something this? At what point?

You want to talk and talk and talk until your children's lives are in danger. At what point are you willing to go to war?

KUCINICH: Well, first of all, it has to be clear that Iraq has never been connected to 9/11, to al Qaeda's work in 9/11, to the anthrax attack on our capital. The CIA has not been able to determine that Iraq has usable weapons of mass destruction and certainly the day before we voted in the House a few weeks ago, they said they couldn't determine that Iraq had the intention to attack the United States of America.

Now that's our Central Intelligence Agency. I think we have to go on the base of facts. And the facts are that the United Nations today called for 15 members, called for weapons inspections. That's what (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And if Iraq does not cooperate, then it goes back to the Security Council and the Security Council can make a determination to enforce the will of the global community as it should be.


GAFFNEY: There's really just one fact here. There's one fact here that we can be sure of, and that is, we're not going to know whether Saddam Hussein was involved, as there is reason to believe, in the first attack on the World Trade Center, on the Oklahoma City bombing, on the 9/11 attacks.

BEGALA: You mean Tim McVeigh was a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Saddam Hussein?

GAFFNEY: There is evidence that there were Iraqi agents on the ground in Oklahoma City involved with Palestinians who also were associated with the special Republican guards. This is a matter that...

BEGALA: What's the evidence, Frank?


GAFFNEY: Jana Davis (ph)...

BEGALA: ... we executed a man for it.

GAFFNEY: Let me answer the question.

BEGALA: Well this is pretty important if we killed the wrong guy.

GAFFNEY: No, we killed the right guy.

BEGALA: He was an Iraqi, McVeigh?

GAFFNEY: It's just we have not closed the circle, because we stopped looking for the other inconvenient Iraqis...

BEGALA: This is like an O.J. theory, the real killers.

GAFFNEY: No, the problem is...

BEGALA: But these wonderful people were slaughtered by an animal who has been put to death. I don't want their families to think that somehow we've got the wrong guy because we didn't get the right guys.

GAFFNEY: Paul? Paul? Paul, I'm saying to you that this warrants a much more comprehensive investigation than we've done so far. And I believe the answer is going to be that, yes, we did get the right guy. Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and, I believe, Saddam Hussein. And the danger here is we won't know until we get into the bunkers and the files of Saddam Hussein's apparatus. All of the things that he's been associated with.

And it is a mistake to think just because the CIA hasn't got the evidence right now, that the evidence isn't out there. And more to the point, I believe the president is right. If we let this danger continue to metastasize, which it will do if we allow the French and the Russians and the Chinese and others to continue to run interference for them, we're going to see weapons of mass destruction used in terrorist incidents backed by Saddam Hussein in this country in the future.

RIOS: Congressman Kucinich, we're almost out of time. Can you just respond to what Frank just said?

KUCINICH: Well, I want to congratulate Frank for his concern about the security of the country. But I think that we achieve global security by working with the global community. And Russia and France and Syria and all the other nations who voted at the behest of the United States today for weapons inspections have established a two- step process. If Iraq does not comply, then Iraq will bear the burden of responsibility.

But let's try to get compliance and settle this peacefully. And we have to first work to settle this peacefully before we start talking about preemption, unilateralism, regime change and war.

BEGALA: We're almost out of time. Why not -- instead of invading and taking over the country, why not just destroy the sites he won't let us inspect? I have a hunting buddy from Alabama who suggested that, old Dennis who I hunt pheasants with. What's wrong with that instead of invading and conquering the country? Just destroy anything we can't inspect.

GAFFNEY: Look, I think there's a moral obligation here, having done what we've done so far to the Iraqi people, to bring them to freedom at the end of this process. It happens to be when they're free, that we have the best chance of actually ending this weapons of mass destruction threat as well.

The notion that the U.N. -- the Russians, the French, the Chinese, who regard Saddam Hussein as a client, they want to continue doing business with, are the arbiters of what's moral and immoral here, I think is crazy. And with all due respect to the congressman, it's not sound national security policy.

BEGALA: That has to be the last word. Frank Gaffney, thank you very much for joining us here in Washington. Congressman Kucinich, it's always good to see you. Thank you for joining us.

Next, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats get ready to shake off Tuesday's bad results and go head to head with W.

And later, his songs are filled with hate and chock full of the dirtiest words in the English language. Some of my favorite words, I might add. Now he's going to have his own movie. What's wrong with that? Plenty, according to Sandy Rios. We'll let you know in a minute.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Democrats are moving swiftly to reorganize and reenergize after Tuesday electoral defeat. Republics, of course, are even more swift in their move to reward special interest corporate donors. Stepping into the CROSSFIRE to debate all things political, some great pros. Former Clinton White House Press Secretary, Dee Dee Myers, and Ron Kaufman, White House Political Director to President George Herbert Walker Bush.

RIOS: Hello, Dee Dee, nice to meet you. Very nice to meet you.

Dee Dee, I have to ask you a question. You know, the Democratic Party made judicial nominations a huge issue. Tom Daschle blocked the nominations and we've been through this a lot. As a matter of fact, I sat in the hearing as Dianne Feinstein really basically lied about Priscilla Owen...


RIOS: Yes, very much lied.

MYERS: Well, you're attacking my former boss.

RIOS: She accused -- well let me tell you what she did. She accused Judge Priscilla Owen of causing the death of one of her clients. She said, wasn't it true that you delayed your opinion and, three months later, you delayed your opinion and the man died?


RIOS: No. The judge said, as a matter of fact, three years later he died when it was sent to a lower court. My point is, Dee Dee, there was a lot of lying and lot of ruining of reputations.

MYERS: Let's back up for one second. That is not a lie. It's a question that may be a loaded question, which certainly doesn't make it unique in the United States Senate or the Congress. So put all the facts...

RIOS: Dee Dee, we had all the facts. Why didn't she?

MYERS: Is that the first mistake that's made?

RIOS: Mistake?

MYERS: I don't know the specifics of this particular question that you're referring to, but please do not accuse good Democrats like Dianne Feinstein, loyal citizens of this country, and dedicated public servants of lying.

RIOS: Listen, she tried to destroy.

MYERS: Let's get back to the point. Your point is that people are obstructing -- your point is that Democrats are object strucking judicial nominations.

RIOS: Yes. Very much so.

MYERS: Gosh, that's never happened when it was the other way around, when Bill Clinton was president and the Congress was controlled by the Republicans.

BEGALA: First off, let me mind my manners, congratulations to you and your party.


BEGALA: Your party won in Massachusetts, the most Democratic state, your home state. So congratulations to you, to our president and your party. But in some places, not in places you worked, I must say, but in some places you won dirty, your party did.

And my home state of Texas is one of them. I'm personally upset by this, because, Tony Sanchez, a Democrat, is an old pal of mine. He and I go deer hunting together for many years. And you get to know someone when you sit in a deer blind (ph) with them.

They ran an ad against him that tried to link him to drug murders. Now let me read to you what the Reagan administration Justice Department official who prosecuted drug cases in south Texas said about the Republican ad against my friend, Tony Sanchez. This is what he said.

"Rick Perry alleged that Sanchez' company, Tesoro Savings and Loan, is somehow linked to the death of a DEA agent, Kiki Camarena. Perry's claim is absolutely preposterous and completely false, without any foundation and fact. This is a shocking falsehood. Mr. Perry demeans the good work of law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and the memory of Kiki Camarena."

So says, David Almarez, a Reagan Justice Department official. How can your party smear a good man like that?

KAUFMAN: Paul, are you trying to tell me there were some attack ads in this cycle? I'm shocked. You guys invented attack ads. James Carville is the king of them, your partner.

Listen, there have been terrible ads on both sides. We all would agree with that. That each side these days more and more goes over the edge. And this ad, I don't know anything about this ad. It maybe was over the edge.

In Massachusetts, they blamed Mitt Romney for everything but the tea party.

BEGALA: This is a particular taste (ph) -- Tony Sanchez, I sort of pulled the punch line. The important thing about Tony is not he's my pal. It's that he's George W. Bush's pal. He gave George W. Bush $300,000 of his money. He supported Bush for governor, for president.

But then when it was time for him to step up and have a piece of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- by the way, Bush trusted his integrity so much he gave him one of the top jobs in state government. And now they've smeared his -- look I'm all for winning, and I have run tough ads. But never -- you link a man to murder and torture of a DEA agent. I mean, that's across the line, Ron, come on. You would never do anything like that, I know.

KAUFMAN: There are hundreds of ads across this country of ours that were terrible. And it's one reason, in my opinion, why turnout is going down and down and down until this year. Because they're not good for either side.

The folks in the audience, they hate it, we hate it. But unfortunately, all of these ads work, unfortunately. You hate to see good people, Republican or Democrat, who have been a lot of time in public service. And you know something, it's hard to serve. We all now that, all of us have done that.

It's really hard to serve. And it's a shame to see either side take apart some good person's integrity and cut it to shreds on 30 seconds because someone wants to spend $15 million -- like in Sanchez' -- $15 million to buy a seat. It's not right.

But listen, can we talk about more important things, like what happened last Tuesday? Listen, the American people spoke loud and clear last Tuesday. The president had the courage -- Dee Dee and I were talking about this earlier -- this president had the courage to put it all on the line.

My White House, when I was in the White House, wouldn't have had the courage, to be honest with you, Paul. Let me finish please. To go out there and do what the president did, and say, listen, I'm going to take this election and bring it to the people and say, listen, this Senate is not putting through my agenda.

I want my agenda. I want my health care (UNINTELLIGIBLE), through, I want my economic plan through, I want my judges through. Elect Republicans. I think one of my favorite talking heads, a fellow named Begala, said on this show last week a couple of times, this election is a referendum on the president.

MYERS: It was and he won.

RIOS: Dee Dee, let me ask that question, because would you not agree -- you just did agree, that...

MYERS: Look, as somebody who is in the process, I think George W. Bush had this gigantic approval rating. He took it out for a spin, he put it on the line and he was rewarded. I'm not going to ever take that away from him. My hat's off to him.

But as I was telling Ron earlier, one of the things I think is interesting is that George Bush in the middle of a war, both against terrorism and this and sort of a pending war against Iraq, was able to go out and campaign aggressively, raise and spend more than $100 million and no one said a word about it.

And I think that's partly because Bill Clinton made it safe to campaign. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But Bill Clinton suffered the slings and arrows, and George Bush took advantage of the political opening and he just drove the big Mack truck through it. And of course Democrats -- Paul, I don't know how you feel about this -- didn't offer any alternative. We didn't put forward an agenda. And we paid a very high price for that.

RIOS: Dee Dee, one of the biggest arguments right now is both parties is whether we -- whether they zero in on a message or they bring this murky nebus (ph) message and that pulls in the voters in the middle. What is your position on that? Do Democrats need to get Nancy Pelosi in the harness in the House and do they need to go more to the left to make their message plain?

MYERS: I think they just have to have a message. I mean I heard a lot of people say, Gosh, we can't take on the president's tax cut, which has now bankrupt the country, because we're going to lose Missouri, North Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, Colorado.

Well guess what, gang? We lost all those states anyway. I don't think it's such a liberal position to say we can't afford these tax cuts, let's freeze them and let's do something else. I think the Democrats could have made a credible case for that. I think they could have brought the American public along with it. And they failed to do it.

BEGALA: We're going to take a break. Go ahead, Ron.

KAUFMAN: With all due respect, the one message that you all missed was this election, Americans want tax cuts. In Massachusetts, liberal Massachusetts, 46 percent of the voters wanted to abolish the income tax. In Northern Virginia our biggest single problem is traffic.

BEGALA: Now 100 percent of these students would vote for free beer, but the question is how do we pay for it?

We have to take a break, I'm sorry. Stay with us. When we come back, I'm going to ask Ron how do Republicans plan to pay back those special interest campaign donors that Dee Dee was mentioning about a moment ago.

And then we will go to our "Quote of the Day." It features a personal attack on James Carville and me. Oh my goodness. Straight for the pages of the "Wall Street Journal." Stay with us.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Been a big week in politics, there's no denying that my party's been a big loser in politics this week. We're talking about the road from 2002 to 2004 with Ron Kaufman, former White House political director W.'s daddy. And Dee Dee Meyers, press secretary for the greatest president of my lifetime, and that would be Bill Clinton.

RIOS: Paul, you've lived too short a life.

Anyway, Dee Dee let's look at this quote, I want to share this with you. Kate Michelman, who is the president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights League said this: "It would be a big mistake for the government to misread these elections as a green light to rollback freedom of choice."

But let me also say that in the AP article today it also said that of the millions of dollars that NARAL poured into campaigns, those candidates lost and they lost abysmally. As did the candidates supported by Emily's list and on and on I could go.

Do you think the Democrats have been taken over too much in a mesh by the radical pro-abortion forces and do you think that should stop?

MYERS: I don't think pro-choice community is a radical community. I think most people consider themselves a pro-choice. That's a fact of life that Republicans are going to learn to have to live with.

RIOS: If that's the case why did their candidates lose?

MYERS: I don't think it was the dominant issue.


RIOS: Did you hear the debate between Norm Coleman and Walter Mondale?

MYERS: I did.

RIOS: A stunning moment when Norm Coleman without apology talked about the..,

MYERS: You think the Coleman/Mondale race was about choice?

RIOS: Mondale...

MYERS: Gosh.

RIOS: Did you watch the debate?

MYERS: I watched the entire debate.

KAUFMAN: With all due respect, Dee Dee in Massachusetts, the pivotal moment in that campaign is when the radical pro-choice Democrat woman -- you can laugh all you want. When she said...

MYERS: She's a pretty straight forward pro-choice candidate.

KAUFMAN: As is, by the way, Mitt Romney. When she said, I am for lowering the age from 18 to 16...

MYERS: That's a different issue.

KAUFMAN: No, it's not.

MYERS: It is. KAUFMAN: Please. It is not. It's not, Dee Dee. Listen, she is the radical edge on that issue. You can't say -- it's illegal for an 18-year-old to -- let me finish, please. It's illegal for an 18-year- old to drink. An 18-year-old to get a tattoo. But she wants it to be legal to get an abortion.

MYERS: Do you want to ask a question or make a statement, Ron? Do one or the other.


KAUFMAN: She wants to make it legal for an 16-year-old to get an abortion without consent of the mother and father. That's not right. That's radical.

MYERS: Every state has the right to decide how they want to implement those questions. And I think that that's fair territory. But on the issue of should abortion be legal in this country, the American people are overwhelmingly pro-choice. I think states have...


BEGALA: Everything has been said, just not everybody has said it. So let me move on to another topic. And that is the corporate special interests that your party is so deeply indebted to. If you notice the stock market right after the election, you know what stocks ticked up? Tobacco stocks, chemical polluters, oil companies, big insurance companies. This is now going to be whore house policies at it's worse at Capitol Hill where all these guys are going to come in and get their...


KAUFMAN: The stock market's gone up for one reason: we're going to have sound government.

BEGALA: The over all stock market went down.


KAUFMAN: ... Americans want to have good solid government. You know what they don't want to have? They don't have -- this is that first quarter almost over of a fiscal year and the Democrats and Senate haven't even passed the budget for last year yet. Come on, Paul.

BEGALA: That has nothing to do with turning government over to Exxon and Philip Morris and all the rest of those dirtbags, right?

KAUFMAN: No, it's because the people investing in the stock market want to have good government. And with Republican control of the Senate we'll have good government.

BEGALA: Here we go. Good government from the Republicans. Good government for Dee Dee Myers of Democrats. Ron Kaufman of the Republicans. Thank you both very much. Good spirited exchange. Later in our "Fireback" segment we'll have little more spirit and a few more exchanges. Some of our viewers want to weigh in about the debate about the direction of the Democratic Party.

And we'll get a preview movie that millions of Americans, probably not Sandy Rios, will be flocking to see this weekend at theaters across the country starring one of the most controversial men in America.

But next, an absolutely outrageous attack on two of your favorite host here at CROSSFIRE. It's our quote of day. Stay tuned.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. The "Wall street Journal" op-ed page is, of course, the daily diary of the cook right. So I love when they attack me. I was very happy to open my paper this morning and see the following comment from former corporate lobbyist, now columnist Ted Van Dyke. It is our "Quote of the Day." Here it is: The Democratic party's most visible, non-elected talking heads are CNN personalities James Carville and Paul Begala, Clinton alumni who live by spin but are empty of substance.

Well, I'm happy to not have the substance of a corporate lobbyist. But here's what he's been writing lately, Mr. Van Dyke. In addition to attacking me, he wrote that the Allied bombing of Dresdin could be considered terrorism and that our president shouldn't use the word terrorism to describe what these animals are doing in the Middle East.

You know what? I don't like Bush on many things -- when he calls them terrorists, he is right and Ted Van Dyke is wrong. And if he wants to be sympathetic to terrorists and attack me, I like the company I'm in.

RIOS: Oh, you know what? I just don't know how he could say a thing like that about two such likable guys. Maybe one.

Let's look at this.

BEGALA: There's something for you.

RIOS: That's James Carville election night. Btu you know what? Maybe if Ted Van Dyke and I had spent four years in the White House with the chief of spin, devoid of substance, we'd suffer from the same dysfunction.

BEGALA: Clinton substance is pretty good. Twenty-three million jobs, balanced budget, huge surplus. How we doing with Bush so far?

OK, later on CROSSFIRE another member of the vast right wing conspiracy "Fires back" at this non-elected talking head. I'm going to fire back at them.

But next, the real Slim Shady goes into the CROSSFIRE and the Grease Man will be here to talk about rapper Eminem's new movie. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE coming to you live as we do every night here from the George Washington University in beautiful downtown Washington D.C., home of the Colonials.

If you see a line in a movie theater it may well be to see "8 Mile," a new movie starring rap artist Eminem. Of course, some people wouldn't call him an artist. They would use words like "potty mouth," "hatemonger," "homophobe." But they may be right as well. But isn't art in the eye of the beholder anyway?

In the CROSSFIRE, two very astute beholders. Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women's Forum and the Greaseman, radio announcer Doug Tracht, whose own mouth of course had gotten him in a little bit of trouble over the years.


BEGALA: Welcome to both of you -- Sandy.

TRACHT: Thank you.

RIOS: You know what? I'm -- Greaseman, you look so normal. I'm shocked.

Let's go back here. I want to put some lyrics up on the screen for a second. This is from one of Eminem's songs, so called. Let's look at it. I have to tell you, yeah. I have to tell you, this is hard for me to read, but I'm going to do it. Here we go.

All right. My little sister's birthday, she'll remember me. For a gift I had 10 of my boys take her virginity.

Let me also say that he's sung songs about raping his mother, having his sister gang raped in this one and shooting his wife.

How can you possibly defend him?

TRACHT: Hideous as the words may be, they are just words and those that want to hear those words will buy the records and go to the movie and listen to it and you may think, Oh my god. And I may see that and think to myself, Hideous. Hideous.

RIOS: Do you?

TRACHT: But let me tell you -- yes, I do think that's hideous. But once again, I don't have to take part of it. Some of his music I kind of like. I like the beat. I get into it. But that kind of stuff -- nobody's forcing me into it.

I'll tell you what's a little more brutal. Everybody gets on his videos and that type of thing. And you know, I can watch Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, blow people up on TV left and right and there's something in our head that tells us it's not real. The other night I'm watching "America's Wackiest Wedding" videos, and guys are dropping their women, slipping down church steps on their tailbones and falling off horses and setting their hair on fire and I thought, You know, Eminem's candy to that. And here we're all -- that's an 8:00 at night, Let's all laugh, this woman just got a broken cocacyx bone and she's liable to be in a neck brace and that's hilarious.

This, you know, you say, Oh man, it's hideous. You and whoever likes that, you can all sit together in a room and gross yourselves out. But I think it's all in the eye of the beholder. And sometimes stuff that's supposed to be nice, I think, is worse than that.

BEGALA: Nancy, let me give you a quick reality check. Look up on here -- on the screen here. First this is a picture of him -- show him up here -- James Gandolfini. He's on actor on the left. He plays Tony Soprano, whose fictitious character, you see, he's a foul-mouthed violent lout. But it's a character.

The guy on the right is a character called Eminem. It's not his name -- his real name is Marshall Mathers. He is a very clever manipulator of pop culture who's created this character just to get people like you -- you don't think that wrestling is on the level, do you? You understand this is all just fake, it's art, it's entertainment.

NANCY PFOTENHAUER, PRESIDENT, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM: I think that this is just a clear case of him being a rational, economic man.

BEGALA: There you go.

PFOTENHAUER: And he is producing a product because it will sell. That's why I think the bigger question here is looking at society and saying, why does this sell? I mean, if we're concerned, don't be concerned that this guy's doing what he's doing, because he's doing what he's doing because everybody is buying it. So, as the mother of five kids, I'm out there saying, OK, what's wrong? Let's back up and figure out what we're doing wrong and how to correct it.

RIOS: Would you agree that Greaseman -- Greaseman, would you agree -- it's hard to say, too.



RIOS: That wouldn't be appropriate. Let me just ask you, don't you think that the things that we see actually become a part of us? For instance, let's just make it really simple. If you grow up in a home where people are cursing constantly, or if you are in an environment like that, if you're in the Army, you're in the Marines and you are a policeman, you hear this all the time, you start talking that way. But if you don't hear that, you don't talk that way.

I say what goes into your head is what comes out of you and becomes part of you. Therein lies the danger. TRACHT: So you're thinking people that people hear Eminem and right away they're going to start talking like that? I think we do...

RIOS: Not just talking, acting.

TRACHT: We do imitate our parents. To be honest with you, we do imitate our parents, and my parents are pretty cool, but since 9/11 they've been a little hot, and frankly, my daddy has been a little less than sensitive. And I found it rubbed off. Prior to the show, stopped off for a quick snack. I heard a couple of guys at the bar, obviously speaking Arabic. I heard them -- and they were loud. You know, you would think that, you know, in America especially now, they're laughing.

Finally, I couldn't take it. I walked up, I slapped one guy, I said, "hey, you're in America. Speak Spanish like the rest of us."

PFOTENHAUER: This is not an answer. It's a great escape.

BEGALA: Let me point out, if, in fact, we become whatever artwork is supposed to -- which I completely disagree with -- you'll join Sandy in trying to ban from our schools a play that I studied in John Foster (ph) high school in Sugarland, Texas where a man murders his father and has sex with his mother. It was written by Aeschylus (sic). No, it's called "Oedipus Rex." It's about 5,000 years old. For 5,000 years, people have been murdering their daddies and sleeping with their mothers? No.

PFOTENHAUER: But I do think that Sandy's point is true, that, you know, we have struggled since the beginning of time, I think, with the battle over good and evil. And that popular culture has the ability to move that line in society. However, we have something called the First Amendment that we all believe in very much.

BEGALA: How is Eminem worse than Aeschylus?

PFOTENHAUER: I actually think that from the standpoint of these lyrics, it comes down to parents' responsibility of over what their children are exposed to. And while, trust me, I think that this movie is not fodder for any children, it is rated R. So I guess where I back up to is saying, again why is this man popular? Why are these things popular? And I don't think blaming Hollywood is the answer, because Hollywood does also produce some good movies.

The problem is that negative sells, whether it's negative political ads or whether it's murder mysteries that feature serial killers. Negative sells. And that's a question that we have to look into ourselves about. I mean, you have Anthony Hopkins who does a phenomenal job when he does "Hearts of Atlantis." He also brings them in when by the thousands when he does "Silence of the Lambs." I'd rather see more "Hearts of Atlantis" and less "Silence of the Lambs."

BEGALA: I never heard of "Hearts of Atlantis."

(CROSSTALK) TRACHT: You know, we're always on that what the videos are causing, what the movies are causing, but really, you know, what movie or video was Hitler watching when he did what he did, or...

RIOS: Oh, he had other influences. We could do into that.

TRACHT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They didn't have any movies.

BEGALA: That's going to have to be the last word. Greaseman. Mr. Greaseman...


BEGALA: Coming up next, it is your turn to fire back at us. One of our viewers seems to have found a silver lining to election night. I'd like to hear that, too. Stay tuned.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Time now for "Fireback." Lots and lots of e-mails about Tuesday's election results. Bill Foos of California City, California writes: "All is not lost, my fellow Democrats. At least President Bartlett got reelected. Keep the faith."

You know, Dee Dee Meyers works on "West Wing" and it is the best show on television. The best.

RIOS: Well, there you go. Well, maybe the Democrats could script their next election; they might win. All right.

Well, from Mark Carmean in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. He says: "Americans are sick and tired of the name-calling. The political left loses a lot of credibility when they make their incendiary remarks. Take the high road for once." I think they're right. I think Republicans should do that.

BEGALA: Well, I think he's a jerk. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Oh, you weenies, come on. You guys like name calling, don't you?

OK, yes, sir, what's your question or comment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Aram Gunn (ph). I'm from Haifa, Israel. I am a student at GWU. My question is, don't you think that criticism made against Eminem is the same kind of criticism used to be made against the Beatles, Elvis Presley, that they are destroying our youth and our culture and so on?

RIOS: Well, I think that there's a thread of truth in that, except that I think that there's no doubt that when a man is talking about having his mother raped and his sister raped, that's extreme. In this country, that's not acceptable. I mean, there are rules and regulations. There is right and wrong. And when we start embracing that, we are lowering ourselves to a level I don't think we should be at. And so there may be a thread of truth, but... BEGALA: You know, artists has always tried to shock. And I go again, look at Aeschylus, look at "Macbeth." I mean, nothing could be more shocking than "Oedipus Rex," and it's 5,000 years old. This guy is just trying to reach...


BEGALA: Yes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Security Council has yet again passed a resolution dictating the same terms we saw in the 1990s. Do we really think averting war is a reality?

BEGALA: I hope. Do I think? You know, I don't know. President Bush seems now to have moved off of his position. I hope this is not just some kind of a charade. I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt. Let's go in and conduct the inspections, and like I said, if they won't let us inspect something, blow it up. It doesn't mean we have to take over the whole country, though. I don't understand that. Just if he won't let us in some facility, we blow up that facility.

RIOS: The only thing that makes me think that perhaps we could avert war is the fact Syria signed on to that agreement today. And that was a real shocker. So we'll see.

BEGALA: And a great tribute to Colin Powell and George W. Bush for doing a good job at the U.N.


BEGALA: On the right, I'm Paul Begala. Good night for CROSSFIRE. Stay with us, though, because "CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" is up next.


House Minority Leader; Debate Over Eminem>

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