Weapons Inspectors Return to Iraq
Aired November 18, 2002 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE: On the left: James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right: Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson. In the CROSSFIRE tonight: a judge says thou shall not display this monument at Alabama's judicial building. Are the Ten Commandments in trouble?
The weapons inspectors are back in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: And we hope (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The voice on the tape is bin Laden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Well our intelligence experts do believe that it is -- that the tape is genuine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Who's worse, bin Laden or Saddam? Tonight, questioning the president's priorities.
Plus, a fox in the White House. Ahead on CROSSFIRE.
From the George Washington University: Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.
PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.
Tonight, the weapons inspectors are back and Osama bin Laden, it seems, never went away. Do our president's priorities need adjusting?
Also, a judge in Alabama says adjust the location of a monument to the Ten Commandments. But first, thou shall stay tuned. Here comes the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."
In case you tuned in 10 seconds ago, I said weapons inspectors return to Iraq today and so they did. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix described the mood in Baghdad as "tense." Apparently, about as tense as the mood back at the White House because a new book by "Washington Post" reporter Bob Woodward describes a Bush administration at war over going to war, with Vice President Dick Cheney "beyond hell-bent for action against Hussein," while Secretary of State Colin Powell pushes for inspections and allies.
Here is how President Bush described the secretary of state to Woodward in his book. Quoting from the book, "Powell is a diplomat and you've got to have a diplomat. I kind of picture myself as a pretty good diplomat, but nobody else does. You know, particularly, I wouldn't call me a diplomat. But, nevertheless, he is a diplomatic person who has got more experience."
I am not making this up. Mr. President, thank you for clearing up that very important distinction.
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: So that's what you took from the book? That was the salient part, one paragraph?
BEGALA: Be afraid. Be very afraid.
CARLSON: Personally, I thought the most interesting part in the book concerned what is now a growing scandal at Fox News, something we'll take up later in the show, thank heaven.
BEGALA: It's a big story.
CARLSON: It is a big story.
If the measure of whether someone is running for president is how much he debases himself, and it is, then definitely Al Gore is in the race. Over the past month, Gore has agreed to host "Saturday Night Live," he's driven alone across Iowa in a rental car, he's provided the voice for his own disembodied head in an animated sitcom, he's given an endless and incredibly embarrassing series of interviews to television and print reporters.
The latest from "TIME" magazine, in which Gore admits he spent most of the last campaign worrying about which clothes to wear. But he swears he is better now. The secret of his recovery, meditation. "Both Tipper and I have mediated for quite a while," he tells reporter Karen Tumilty (ph).
So there you have it. Al Gore, a middle-aged man nearing 60, has finally found himself, discovered who he is deep inside. And is at long last "comfortable in his own skin." Congratulations. Best of luck.
BEGALA: If the standard is how much you can debase yourself, I have some news for our audience. I spoke to Vice President Gore not 20 minutes ago. He has agreed to come on CROSSFIRE. Maybe the ultimate debasement.
Thank you, Mr. Vice President. We're looking forward to having you here.
CARLSON: Not as his disembodied head, though?
(CROSSTALK) BEGALA: That's his daughter's show. She writes on that show. And I think there is nothing better than a dad going out to help his daughter on her show. But we will have him on this program, we'll talk about his new book. It will be a lot of fun.
Republican Senator John McCain has long been an opponent of what he calls special interest legislation. So it is entirely consistent that today he announced that he will vote against a series of Republican amendments to the Homeland Security bill. The amendments were secretly slipped into the bill by House Republicans to award a variety of Republican special interest contributors.
Senator McCain also said he does not approve of House Republicans stripping the Wellstone amendment out of the Homeland Security bill. The late senator from Minnesota had added a provision barring companies that go overseas to avoid taxes from receiving government contracts. All this brings me to other -- utter four words you'll probably never hear from George W. Bush: god bless John McCain.
CARLSON: I wonder if Zell Miller will vote for that. I bet he will.
BEGALA: Sure he will.
BEGALA: Miller (UNINTELLIGIBLE) special interest Republican contributors, too.
CARLSON: Really? You ought to listen to Zell Miller more. He's got some excellent advice for your party. He really does.
BEGALA: I've known Zell Miller for about 13 years, man.
CARLSON: Really? We'll talk about it more later in the show.
The great Democratic meltdown, by the way, continues tonight. Days after installing San Francisco Congresswoman and latte drinker, Nancy Pelosi, as House Minority Leader, Democrats have decided their party can, in fact, go even further left. How far? According to "Roll Call," the party is planning to install, as its chief message architect, drum roll here, please, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York.
"She can articulate our needs and goals better than anyone," said an unnamed Democratic strategist speaking, of course, of a woman who once blamed her own marital problems on a political conspiracy. A few Democrats were sharp enough to be terrified by the news. Moving that far left would be "a serious mistake" said John Breaux of Louisiana. Breaux, who is perhaps his party's smartest senator after Zell Miller, is certain to be ignored by the dominant bay area wing of the caucus, which, of course, is good news for Republican fundraisers everywhere who, as of tonight, were celebrating the ascendancy of Hillary Clinton. Congratulations.
BEGALA: I'll tell you what, you know who came in briefed the House new Republicans last week? Rush Limbaugh, an 800-pound blowhard from AM radio. I'll take you, I'll take Hillary Clinton over that blowhard any day of the week.
CARLSON: Really? Hillary Clinton? You're really happy about that?
BEGALA: I'm thrilled.
CARLSON: Really? I wonder what new conspiracy she'll find? She's awesome at that.
BEGALA: Maybe you'll recall that she went up to New York and beat their fair-haired boy Rick Lazio like a bad piece of meat.
CARLSON: I could have beat Rick Lazio in New York when he was a Democrat. Give me a break.
BEGALA: Well, 50 women -- in other news, 50 women, count them, in Point Reyes, California stripped naked -- or naked, as we would say in Texas -- and laid down in the cold rain to spell out the word "peace." All to protest potential American military action in Iraq. In response, President Bush is inviting a thousand Texas Junior Leaguers to come to Washington, strip naked, lay down and spell out "bomb those Iraqi bastards" on the south lawn of the White House.
A spokeswoman for the Junior League said their membership was happy to oblige. "Junior Leaguers strip naked and lie perfectly still every night," she said.
CARLSON: See, now you've crossed the line. Now you've crossed the line.
BEGALA: Oh, now?
CARLSON: You completely misunderstand the mating habits of your average Junior Leaguer. I'm just going to leave it at that. You're slandering a group never been slandered before on television. You're going to get some mail and you deserve it.
From the sore losers department tonight, Senate Democrats are losing their last remaining moments in power not to pass the legislation, but instead to thwart the president's judicial nominees. By definition, of course, this is a fruitless effort. The same nominees are certain to be considered again and confirmed once Republicans take over the Senate in January.
In other words, the only point to the exercise is meanness. But apparently that's enough. Today, Democratic leaders set aside most of their schedule to stall Dennis Shedd's nomination to the federal appeals court. Shedd is a former assistant to retiring Senator Strom Thurmond.
Thurmond is returning home this month after 48 years in the Senate. As a parting gift, he's asked his colleagues to confirm Shedd before he leaves out of personal courtesy. A spokesman for the Democratic Party said Democratic members would be happy to oblige if only the could understand the term "courtesy."
BEGALA: You know Strom Thurmond is an interesting case study, he's a museum piece, arch segregationist, who knew how to survive to be almost 100 in a few weeks.
CARLSON: He's not an arch segregationist. He was the first member to hire a black staffer in the Republican side.
BEGALA: That's what I'm saying. He is a museum piece. He was an arch segregationist. Nobody gets a lifetime appointment out of professional courtesy. No.
Hire a door keeper, hire an elevator operator. You don't just give someone a lifetime appointment...
CARLSON: I don't usually...
BEGALA: Excuse me for talking while you're interrupting. You don't give someone a lifetime appointment out of personal courtesy.
CARLSON: No, but you're totally missing it, Paul. The Senate, as you know, actually acts in a pretty gentlemanly way. Members routinely from both sides take the personal vouch -- a senator says I know this guy he's a decent guy, at least put his name up for a vote. And they won't even do that.
BEGALA: They put him up for a vote. He was defeated in the committee. Republicans will control the Senate in a few weeks. They can put it up. Let them -- our federal judiciary is about to resemble the evolutionary chart, stopping at the third guy from the left. Every knuckle-dragging Cromagnon and Paleolith will be on the bench.
CARLSON: Well, we'll see when it comes up for an actual vote.
In a minute, we'll tell you why the Ten Commandments seem to terrify at least one judge in Alabama.
Later, the chief of Fox News does some free consulting for the White House. We'll tell you about it in the most fair and balanced way, of course.
Also, will U.N. inspectors have more luck in finding weapons, than the U.S. has had finding Osama bin Laden? That's our question. We'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.
A little breaking political news this evening. Just moments ago, incumbent Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat, conceded that he, in fact, lost the election almost two weeks ago to Republican Bob Riley. He made that announcement at the state capitol in Alabama. Good for him
BEGALA: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about a two-week effort at a recount and litigation. It was the right thing to do. Congratulations to Governor-elect Bob Riley, Republican and now former Congressman. So that's the latest political news.
In other news, though, from Alabama today, a federal judge gave Alabama's chief justice 30 days to remove a controversial monument from the state's judicial building. The granite monument shows the Ten Commandments, but it isn't a return of the old pledge of allegiance controversy. This particular monument was personally put up in secret at night in the rotunda of Alabama's Supreme Court building by the Chief Justice Roy Moore himself.
Moore is a favorite of such prominent Republican right wing preachers as Reverend Jerry Falwell and Reverend Pat Robertson. He got himself elected chief justice by campaigning as the Ten Commandments judge. Today, a federal judge said that, while other public displays of the Ten Commandments are probably fine, Roy's rock, as they call it in Montgomery, has got to go.
In the CROSSFIRE tonight, the Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.
CARLSON: All right, Barry Lynn, I know you find it completely outrageous that someone would say do not kill in a courtroom in Alabama. But if you think that's outrageous, I have a story for you. I hope they can put this up on the screen.
Not only are the Ten Commandments in a courtroom in Alabama, this picture right here of Moses, with the actual tablet, do you know where that is from?
REV. BARRY LYNN, AMERICANS UNITED FOR THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Yes, that's from the Supreme Court but, of course...
CARLSON: That is of the United States.
LYNN: The United States Supreme Court.
CARLSON: Why aren't you picking (ph) it?
LYNN: Well, could you read the third one there, please?
CARLSON: I don't have my contacts in.
LYNN: No, the big difference is of course, you couldn't read it if you had two pairs of contacts. And that's the difference. Judge Moore's monument is a monument to intolerance. It's the promotion of his own religious views, his own idea of what the Ten Commandments ought to say, his version of it. But it is nothing like that phrase which you can't even read. JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: Well, actually, the other phrase in the Supreme Court of the United States -- on the other side of the wall of the Supreme Court, there is another display of Moses holding the Ten Commandments in Hebrew. And that's...
CARLSON: But Barry Lynn, I just want to know. I want to get the Lynn standard here. So it is OK to have the Ten commandments -- it is OK to have Moses of the old testament on the wall of this building in the Supreme Court, as long as you can't read the lettering, not that people read a lot of Hebrew or Arabic.
LYNN: NO. They don't read any of that. And, of course, it's nothing like that in the Supreme Court.
CARLSON: So what is your standard on...
LYNN: No, it also has Confucius, as a matter of fact, because that's a phrase of a series of pictures of famous law givers. It's nothing like the promotion of a right wing judge of his particular religious viewpoint. Not just in the terms of the monument that's right in the center -- it's the centerpiece of the judicial building -- but now increasingly in his opinions as well.
He seems to think that scripture scriptural interpretation, not constitutional interpretation, is what his job is as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. And, of course, that's not true, not in America.
BEGALA: Jay, this is simply a political stunt, right? He went around the country, the state, and said, I'm the Ten Commandments judge, vote for me. And so then he was kind of stuck with this political stunt.
SEKULOW: You know, Paul, I think what would be great is the Democratic Party -- you're the great consultant -- you should have them run in 2004. They tried the judges this time and it didn't work because Bush's judges people wanted. Run against the Ten Commandment in 2004. He believes the Ten Commandments are...
BEGALA: My question is -- yes, it's an effective political stunt, but it's a political stunt, isn't it, Jay?
SEKULOW: No, I don't think -- not for him it is not, because he believes, as the chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States has said, that the Ten Commandments serve as the basis for western law. And he believes because it serves as a basis of western law, like the Declaration of Independence, like the Bill of Rights...
BEGALA: He doesn't have that out there, though.
SEKULOW: Actually, there are quotes -- and you didn't see the whole Ten Commandments display. There are quotes from the Preamble of the Constitution and others surrounding that monument and part of the granite.
LYNN: Only the religious parts of it. In other words, he's taken some other documents, he put them down on the side of the monument because he said no word of man should be as close to the top as the words of god. So this is all a religious promotion.
So I must say, let me disagree with you a little bit, Paul, because I do think this is a man who sincerely believes what he believes. The problem is he can't distinguish his personal beliefs from his role as a judge. And I think he should step down from the bench.
SEKULOW: Isn't it tragic that we say now -- because Barry's position is also you take a Ten Commandment monument that's been on display for 50 or 60 years, put up by the Paternal Order of Eagles in Elkhart, Indiana, that was actually part of the promotion for the movie about the Ten Commandments. He said -- Barry said that that Ten Commandments display should go too.
And right next to that display are freedom shrines for the civil rights protesters in the 1950s, shrines for the veterans of both world wars. All of those are displayed. But you said that should go, too. You think it should all go.
LYNN: I think that what we shouldn't have is governmental promotion of one favorite religion over others.
SEKULOW: Is the Supreme Court display of the Ten Commandments OK?
LYNN: What that freeze we showed...
SEKULOW: Because no one even knows what they are.
BEGALA: It is different.
CARLSON: Barry, you throw this around. Government is promoting one religion over other religions. You say that a lot. I'd like you to define your terms. What in the world are you talking about? What religion are you talking about, Judaism, Christianity?
LYNN: This is -- no, this is Judge Roy Moore's fundamentalist Christianity. During the trial, he was asked and he's also written on this topic, does he consider Islam or Buddhism to be religions? He says, no, they're not. They're not even religions.
CARLSON: Judge Moore's opinions aren't relevant to the question I asked. The question has to do purely with, should it be legal to put the Ten Commandments in a courtroom or in other public places? And my question to you is, what religion are those espousing? Because, of course, lots of religions claim those as holy text.
LYNN: No, but not according to him.
SEKULOW: This one does too.
LYNN: No, that is not true.
CARLSON: Well it is true.
LYNN: And according to him, this is his version. It is the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments that he has placed here on this monument. There is nothing that you can ever read -- I must give him credit. He is extraordinarily honest. He says this is to promote belief in Jesus Christ and the Christian faith, of which there is nothing different...
SEKULOW: Well, there's nothing in the Ten Commandments -- hold it. The Ten Commandments doesn't -- what does it say about Jesus Christ? Nothing.
LYNN: Nothing, but that's what he says about it.
SEKULOW: When (UNINTELLIGIBLE) god to Moses, I don't think that a national religion or a state establishment of Judaism is the religion for the state of Alabama. And that's their argument. That you established a state religion. So Judaism is the state religion of Alabama? I don't buy it.
LYNN: Listen. Jay, why is it that you think that Moses has been sitting around for 2,000 years waiting for a judge in Alabama to say, I approve of your work? That's ludicrous. The Ten Commandments have been doing rather well without the benefit of politicians or Alabama judges from the right wing extreme.
SEKULOW: I think it's got a lot more to do with fundamental understanding of law. Why did the Supreme Court of the United States decide to have the Ten Commandments displayed as well?
LYNN: Because it is a picture of various law givers, not promotion of one religion over another.
SEKULOW: OK. So if Judge Moore had a statement by Confucius on there and the Hammurabi Code, a section of that, you would have no problem then with the Ten Commandments as well?
LYNN: No, he didn't do that.
SEKULOW: But what if he did? If he did, would you allow that? Because we can add those. Would that be OK?
LYNN: No, because then it's the promotion of all religions over no religion.
(CROSSTALK) CARLSON: ... who is every bit as adamant and dogmatic really as any religious fundamentalist I've ever seen, made a statement about how abortion ought to be the law of the land. That's really a religious statement, isn't it? And yet that would be fine with you, wouldn't it?
LYNN: No, but you don't even have the right comparison. If the comparison was somebody said there is no god, I want to put that up in my courtroom, I would be right here in the same place saying that's wrong, too. Judges are not supposed to take positions on religion.
SEKULOW: Yes, sir?
BEGALA: I want to ask a question. What about the fundraising aspect of this? Apparently there is a conservative Christian group called Coral Religious Ministries (ph), which, according to the "Washington Post," videotaped Chief Justice Moore schlepping this monstrous boulder up there and...
SEKULOW: I suspect he had...
BEGALA: I should hope he did. It's a 5,300 -- maybe he's a big judge, I don't know the guy. But it is a big schlep. But he did it for the cameras and now this conservative ministry is selling this tape for $19.95 or 19 bucks. That's a fundraising stunt.
SEKULOW: I'm a lawyer, I'm not the fundraiser. But I'm going to tell you this.
BEGALA: Well the judge is a fundraiser, that's the problem.
SEKULOW: This judge is not -- this is not a new position. I mean Barry said it correct...
BEGALA: You don't have a problem with a chief justice raising money for...
SEKULOW: He's not raising money. He's not.
BEGALA: He appears in a video to raise money for a conservative Christian group. You don't have a problem with that?
SEKULOW: No. I think you can appear in a video, you can appear in a video on CNN. I don't think it makes any difference.
BEGALA: He didn't do it for CNN.
LYNN: Coral Ministry (ph) is, in fact, paying legal fees in this case. So this is the most grotesque conflict of interest and you say wait a minute...
BEGALA: Wait a second. Don't judges have to be careful who they raise money for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well he was sued. He hired counsel. Someone paid his legal fees. That is perfectly ethical. I do it all the time. We do it all the time. I represent third parties. That's what you do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you don't raise it with a videotape that you allow your ministry to make. CNN was not invited to take pictures of that placement.
SEKULOW: Barry, you use videotape when you do fundraising.
LYNN: No I don't.
LYNN: I would never support...
CARLSON: We are out of time. Thank you, both, Barry Lynn, Jay Sekulow, thank you both for joining us. Appreciate it.
SEKULOW: Thank you.
LYNN: Thank you.
CARLSON: Could Rudy Giuliani be considering a new job? Maybe. Connie Chung has details next in a CNN NEWS ALERT.
Later, the hunt resumes in Iraq. Delays ahead.
Also, a new book throws back the curtains to tell you what goes on at the Fox News network when the cameras are off. We'll report. You can decide, as CROSSFIRE continues.
BEGALA: Well now that, as Connie told us, we are sure that Osama bin Laden is alive, why are we preparing for a war in Iraq instead of taking the war to bin Laden? We'll put that in the CROSSFIRE in just a minute.
And then, before he took over the Fox News channel, Roger Ailes was an adviser to right wing Republican politicians. A new book by Bob Woodward says he's still advising at least one right wing Republican, the president. His network says that the cover the president still in a fair and balanced way. We will put that in the CROSSFIRE in just a minute.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We are coming to you from the George Washington University, here in downtown Washington. Iraq's latest chance to delay the inevitable arrived at the Baghdad airport today. An advance team of U.N. weapons inspectors came to set up shop and begin the process of disarming, defanging and disinfecting Saddam Hussein's government. That's the idea, anyway. Will it work? Stepping into the CROSSFIRE tonight is Defense Policy Board member and Reagan administration arms control director Ken Adelman.
KEN ADELMAN, DEFENSE POLICY BOARD: Hi, Paul.
CARLSON: Good to see you.
ADELMAN: Good to see you, Tucker.
BEGALA: It is always good to see you.
ADELMAN: Well, thank you.
BEGALA: And it's certainly good for me to see these weapons inspectors arrive today. I'm curious, though, we're not on the same side of the aisle on many issues, Ken. Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman today, my pal from Austin, a great guy, I read his whole briefing. Eight times he used the word "disarmament." He said the point here is disarmament, the goal is disarmament. He never used the two words that Bush used to use, "regime change." Doesn't that mean that our president has moved his policy away from the right-wing effort to force regime change through an invasion and toward the Democratic position that we need to have inspections to achieve disarmament?
ADELMAN: No, I think the only way, Paul, to get disarmament is through regime change.
BEGALA: That's not what the White House says, though.
ADELMAN: If we learned anything -- OK, if we learned anything over the last 11 years, we know that Saddam Hussein is not, you know, a saint. And the fact is that he's not Mother Theresa. He's not a good person. He's going to do everything he can to hide his weapons of mass destruction. I mean, we learned that. There is some kind of a learning pattern that we have as human beings, and for you to think that, oh my gosh, somehow he's turned the corner is just not...
BEGALA: I don't. I don't. I agree with every word you say. But then it is fundamentally dishonest for our president to pretend that the only goal is disarmament, without the loop like you just did so candidly. He should say that. If that's what our policy is, doesn't he owe us the honesty to say the only way to disarm him is to overthrow his government instead of just saying, well, we're just for inspections for disarmament?
ADELMAN: OK, the president has been quite clear that the policy of the United States is regime change. I mean, he said that until he's blue in the face.
BEGALA: No, sir.
CARLSON: Wait. I mean, isn't -- well, a lot of conservatives, a lot of smart people, including you, have said from the beginning, you don't want to get into this inspections trap. I want to quote you, in fact. This is from "The Washington Post."
ADELMAN: That's a frightening prospect, but go ahead.
CARLSON: Well, we do this a lot here on CROSSFIRE. This is Ken Adelman in "The Washington Post": "The whole inspections regime is pretty vacuous. When you look at 80 inspectors going into Iraq, that's the size of the police force of Blacksburg, Virginia." I'll take your word for that. I mean, this is a quote from three days ago.
ADELMAN: And I've also said that I think the only international inspectors hat I would respect would be from the 101st Airborne Division. I think they would do a good job, but aside from that, I can't...
CARLSON: This has got to be a colossal disappointment for you who has really been the most vigorous -- I don't mean cheerleader in a disparaging way, I mean it in the best way. You've been out there for many months say we need to do this. We've come, we're doing it, but we're not doing it the way you wanted it done.
ADELMAN: Well, I think the way -- the fact that we need to do that is quite evident. And it is quite evident because as bad as an international terrorist network is, like Osama bin Laden's, an international terrorist state like Saddam Hussein is even worse. Why? Because it has all these laboratories that make weapons of mass destruction, because it has receipts of billions of dollars every year, because it has a big army, because it has diplomatic...
CARLSON: I agree.
ADELMAN: ... immunity. All these things that the guys in the cave or Osama bin Laden, wherever he's hiding, don't have. All these assets can be used against the United States.
CARLSON: But haven't you and people who share your point of view been sold out by this administration?
ADELMAN: I wouldn't say that. I would say that I do not believe that once Hans Blix and his team -- and Hans Blix is a very nice man. I worked with him many years in the '80s. But the fact is, once his team gets into Iraq, I can't see a way that they're going to find any violations. I think they're going to run around and look at buildings, but, you know, think to yourself, here we are on George Washington campus, OK? How long would it take to go through this campus and look at all the buildings for weapons of mass destruction, for biological weapons that can fill -- be put in this glass in this cup here? How long would that take? It would take months to really do this campus. You're talking, Paul, about a country that has 23 million people, a country the size of France, with a totally hostile government. And Hans Blix, bless his soul, has said he doesn't want to use U.S. intelligence, he doesn't want to use British intelligence, he doesn't want to hire experts who know about chemical weapons or biological weapons; he wants to hire only career U.N. -- well, good luck.
BEGALA: Well, that seems to have been the view of our vice president as well. And so what I'm trying to get it, and I think Tucker is too, is that this a colossal reversal and a failure on the part of conservatives or is this just a Trojan horse? Look at what our vice president said about inspectors. You thought you were tough. Here is what Dick Cheney -- he has got his big grin there, he's very happy. He says -- I didn't pick that picture. He's a much better looking man that. He says: "A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of Saddam Hussein's compliance with U.N. resolution. On the contrary, there is a great danger that it would provide false comfort that Saddam was somehow back in his box."
Why then is our administration pursuing a policy that our administration says is a great danger?
ADELMAN: Well, I agree with what Dick Cheney said. He was one of our first friends when we came to Washington in 1970, and believe me, we've been through a lot together, and he's just a wonderful, wonderful person. I can't think of anything we disagreed about in the years since that time, 32 years now, and I think he has it just right.
But I think that what the president wanted to do was two things. One is definitely have regime change. And the other is to go through the United Nations. And I think it's fine to go through the United Nations, as long as we don't go through the United Nations to the point where we have the inspectors in Iraq. Why? Because I think they'll run around and not find anything. And, secondly, I think once they start in there, it is going to be very hard to find (UNINTELLIGIBLE) so that we can liberate Iraq.
And I would hate to be in a position, Tucker and Paul, I'd hate to be in a position that months from now, the United States is attacked by Osama bin Laden or by anybody else and we trace these chemical weapons or biological weapons or, God forbid, nuclear weapons to Iraq. And we ask why didn't we do anything when we knew how dangerous this guy was, how insistent he was to pursue weapons of mass destruction -- and the reason is because Hans Blix wasn't ready yet. I'd hate to be in that situation.
CARLSON: Well, what you've been saying, what you just said, you've been saying that for a long time, even pressuring, I think. I mean, you were worried about Saddam Hussein when the Clinton administration forgot he existed, essentially. So tell us what happens from here? When do we go to war? Are we going to and when?
ADELMAN: I think what should happen from here is that we insist, contrary to what Hans Blix has said recently, we insist that the list of weapons of mass destructions of Iraq, that list be pursued -- be presented by Iraq by December 8. And that we go over and we find violations to that list.
Number two, I think that when -- out of the last five days when four out of the last five days Iraqi aircraft are shooting at British and English -- British and American planes, that we should say those planes are there to enforce past U.N. resolutions, and it is absolutely a violation of those resolutions to cause any interference with the enforcement of those resolutions. We should call that a violation.
BEGALA: Let me pursue that. Why don't we? If our president -- look, our president was asked, what will constitute a material breach? Can you tell us? A reporter asked him this in the cabinet room. Can you tell us in your most plain spoken Texas way? By God, he did. He said, zero tolerance, and he repeated it again, "zero tolerance." Well, today, as you point out, today they fired on our planes. A clear violation. What does the White House say today? Well, that's not a material breach.
ADELMAN: But it is material. It's clearly a material breach.
BEGALA: But, look, he talks like Dick Cheney but he's governing like Colin Powell. Isn't that what is going on here?
I think it is good that he's governing like Colin Powell, but he shouldn't paint himself in a corner, should he?
ADELMAN: Why do you think it's good to govern in such a way if you agree that Saddam Hussein is very dangerous, not just to Americans but to civilization and especially to his own people? This is somebody who locks up kids from the age of 3 to 11, this is someone who tortures kids in front of adults, this is someone who invaded both -- two of his neighbors, this is someone who's used chemical weapons against his own people and against his neighbor, this is somebody who tried to assassinate an ex-president of the United States -- you know.
BEGALA: Let me clarify this. The White House did say it was a material breach, but they did not say we were going to go to war. Usually when you say material breach, that means that's the cause you need to go to war. We're not going to war with Iraq tonight, even though -- again, why do we say one thing and do another? Isn't that the very way you destroy a great nation's credibility, is to make these bellicose statements and refuse to back them up?
ADELMAN: I think that before terribly long, we will have the liberation of Iraq and I think right after liberation of Iraq, we will see two things. Number one is we'll see the Iraqi people shouting and cheering from the top of their apartments when the American comes in and dancing in the streets of Baghdad, just like they danced in the streets of Kabul when we liberated Afghanistan.
Number two, week after week, month after month we will find reports -- we will see reports in the paper of, oh, my God, this amount of chemical weapons was just discovered. Did you believe that so much anthrax was in Iraq? Did you know that instead of no weapons of nuclear weapons there were three weapons programs? Did you know that these biological weapons -- we're going to find that in that country and people are going to say, oh my God that was a close call. Thank God we took that to protect ourselves.
BEGALA: Well, thank goodness, Ken Adelman, you're willing to come on our show. You're always fun to have and always a good debate. Ken Adelman, ladies and gentlemen.
One of our viewers says they found the perfect job for Tucker Carlson. I think he's already got it, but we'll look at that in our "Fireback" segment.
And then, some journalists are saying that Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes advising the White House is neither fair nor balanced. We'll debate that in a minute.
CARLSON: Welcome back. In his latest book, reporter Bob Woodward reveals how Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News channel, tried to influence oval office decisions in the days following September 11. The question at hand was when and how to retaliate for the terrorist attacks? Woodward reports that Ailes sent this profoundly back channel message to the White House. Quote, "The American public would tolerate waiting, and would be patient, but only as long as they were convince that Bush was using the harsh measures possible. The support would dissipate if the public did not see Bush acting harshly."
Woodward said the message was passed on by the president's top political adviser Karl Rove. Quoting again from the book quote, "Roger Ailes, former media guru for Bush's father, had a message. Rove told the president. It had to be confidential because Ailes, a flamboyant and irreverent media executive, was currently the head of FOX News," channel " the conservative-leaning televion cable network that enjoying high ratings. In that position, Ailes was not supposed to be giving political advice."
BEGALA: "The Post" ran excerpts from Mr. Woodward's book, in it's Sunday edition. Today, Mr. Ailes put out a written response. He says quote "Bob Woodward's characterization of my memo is incorrect. In the days following 9/11 our country came together in a non-partisan support of the president. During that time I wrote a personal not to a White House staff member as a concerned American expressing my outrage about the attacks on our country. I did not give up my American citizenship to take this job."
In the CROSSFIRE the talk about the line between reporting the story and becoming part of it, Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host with the Salem Radio Network from Dallas, and in Chicago, "Chicago Tribune" deputy managing editor, Jim Warren.
CARLSON: Now, Mike Gallagher, before we even get into the meat of this, I want to know what you make of this whiny pompous line "i did not give up my American citizenship to take this job." Isn't that exactly the kind of ludicrous straw man that liberals use to great effect? This idea if you criticize Roger Ailes you're some how trying to take away his citizenship as an American?
MIKE GALLAGHER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, no, I mean that's what is so ludicrous about this controversy, Tucker. I mean, you mean to tell me that because someone is -- I can't believe that we're sitting here at CNN, founded by the mouth of the south, Ted Turner, and we're belly aching about Roger Ailes writing a note to the president of the United States. You don't think Ted Turner with, any of his loony views, ever tried to share an opinion with the White House that he was chummy with? Come on -- Tucker.
CARLSON: Now, Mike, here's the problem. And Without even defending or attempting to defend Ted Turner which I would never do, here is the distinction. Ted Turner is not running CNN. Ted Turner is not in our editorial meetings. Roger Ailes is the editorial chief of FOX News and this gives the appearance of partisanship. This makes it look like Roger Ailes is sucking up to power.
GALLAGHER: Come on. Rewind then and go back to Bob Woodward's boss during the height of his Water Gate glory days, which he seems to be trying to recreate, by the way. His boss was Catherine Gram (ph), the Washington, D.C. socialite, and friend to many U.S. presidents. You don't think Catherine Gram (ph) ever expressed an opinion to a president that she was buds with? Come on, Tucker. He does have a right.
BEGALA: Let me bring Jim Warren into this. I'm not a friend of Roger Ailes or a fan of the Fox News channel, but that is wrong with a president in crisis receiving information or advice from any American who wants to offer it?
JIM WARREN, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR CHICAGO TRIBUNE: I think the tip-off right here with Ailes is it that it had to be kept confidential. Why is that? Why would Roger Ailes or Rove be embarrassed by public disclosure of this counsel of Roger Ailes. It is obvious why. As journalists we work a different side of the street than the folks on government side does. Especially when it comes to the temptations that we face, the temptation particularly in Washington to be beguiled by power, the temptations especially when it comes to access -- to gain a little access and get something in return.
Those are the sorts of things that all too many folks in Washington, I think, tend to trip over. I don't know if Mr. Ailes personally and I'll stipulate to the fact he's been an entrepreneurial, if not a genius, a very smart guy, he's got his competitors on the run. But the fact is when it comes to marketing that channel, he markets it guys as a journalistic Switzerland. An island of neutrality and de-liberal Saddam and Gomorrah of you guys at CNN and MSNBC and just really seems ventilate that assertion.
GALLAGHER: It is working because it is true.
BEGALA: Excuse me, Mike. Let me suggest an alternative theory as to why he wants to keep it silent. I'm not a journalist. I don't have a background in journalism, I don't really understand and now all the rules, I know you do, you are a career journalist. But I used to be an adviser to a president and know a lot about advising a president. This is the most, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) stupid advice I've ever seen offered to a president. They killed 3,000 of our people. Did he really think that Bush was going to fold up? Was any American out there saying, gee, Mr. President, don't avenge 3,000 people slaughtered? It's a dumbest thing I've ever seen in my life.
GALLAGHER: And you guys have a field day jumping up and down with Roger Ailes and Jim sitting there all somber about what journalists do or don't. You see, Jim, the American public gets it. We understand that there has been a liberal agenda foisted upon us by the main street press for all these years. So finally a news channel comes along that doesn't suppress or stifle conservative voices, and you guys can't stand it. You can't figure the formula out.
WARREN: Mike, despite your reluctance to discuss your views on it and being so low profile, let me say this goes beyond ideology. It is not a matter of left or right, it is a matter of making a mistake of becoming an actor in the political process. Here is the problem for the hard working folks at Fox. The grunt producers and other folks. The problem is, say, you know, you send a note and then Roger Ailes gets a call back from Karl Rove, and maybe even the president saying, Roger, thanks so much for that.
You then open the door to that, you know, call somewhere down the line, maybe benign, hey, can you get so and so on your Sunday morning talk show or maybe more significant. The reality is, Mike, and I know this is difficult for you in the radio world, particularly a world where if you go on your web site, mike, there you are personally shilling for various advertisers on your show, the sort of thing that is beyond the pale of big time organizations. You have no problem crossing that bridge.
GALLAGHER: Some of these advertisers in your -- The same advertisers that are in your newspaper, pal, and the advertisers pay your salary as well, just like they pay mine, and I don't have to pretend to be a objective neutrality when you're a basket liberalism.
WARREN: I know you're annoyed by the hair care products or other products you tout. But, hold on, you make a really interesting, you make an interesting point, though. You say you don't pretend, that you are what you are and good for you.
GALLAGHER: And Jim does. And Jim does! Jim pretends he's an objective neutral journalist and he's not.
WARREN: You're mad about the hair care stuff, I can see. Let me get back to the --
GALLAGHER: I'm telling you it's mine. There is a spot right there on top. I need some of it.
CARLSON: Here is the problem. Fox is conservative.
GALLAGHER: No, it is not.
CARLSON: Most of the rest of the press is liberal. Fox is an alternative to that. That's clearly the marketing plan and that's clearly the reality.
My question to you is why not admit it? Why be phony about it? This is Tucker Carlson -- Mike.
GALLAGHER: Tucker, just like this great format where you have both sides, that's all Fox does each and every day. You know that. Their prime time show...
CARLSON: Wake up, Mike. Come on, Mike.
BEGALA: They do have both sides -- they have the far right and the kook right.
GALLAGHER: I've never -- I've never -- are you kidding me? Have you ever seen it?
GALLAGHER: I've never been invited on Fox where I haven't had to debate some liberal weenie over some issue of the day.
GALLAGHER: They're the ones -- they're guys that hired Geraldo, remember? Geraldo.
CARLSON: It is the Geraldo network, and you make an excellent point, Mike, and I thank you for reminding our viewers it is in fact the Geraldo network.
GALLAGHER: They're winning. Whatever they're doing, it is working.
BEGALA: ... me read to you a comment, Tim Warren, from a former reporter for Fox News, someone -- you talked about the grunts who are trying to do a good job there, and I'm sure there are many. One of them is a man named Jed Duvall. He used to be a reporter there.
This is what he told "New York" magazine: "I'll never forget the morning that one producer came up to me and rubbing her hands like Uriah Heep said, 'Let's have something on Whitewater today.' That sort of thing doesn't happen at a professional news organization."
This is a Fox reporter admitting that when he worked there, Fox was not fair and balanced, it was right wing, and there is a bias there.
GALLAGHER: And of course, there is a story today about CNN...
BEGALA: Excuse me, Mr. Gallagher, let me ask Mr. Warren.
WARREN: Yes, well, I thank Mike for his terribly persuasive allusion to Geraldo Rivera, the most famous graduate of the -- I think, Mick Jagger school of journalism, that is sort of a little bit underwhelming.
Look, whether you're covering the cops' beat in Des Moines or whether you are covering county courthouse in Chicago, the State Department in D.C., you have really got to be careful at this level of sort of keeping a distance from the folks you cover.
There are people like Tucker -- remembering the 2000 race, who were probably pretty critical of a lot of folks, including myself, who got a little bit too cozy with John McCain. Well, I look back and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact, tremendous access, we were beguiled by that, some of us probably did get a little bit too close and get a little bit too sympathetic.
The problem is here in this transaction, Karl Rove says, Thanks so much, Roger, for this, this is terrific. The president is taking this to mind...
GALLAGHER: You said that Jim.
WARREN: ... and then all you need a couple of weeks down the road is some story, Hey, Roger, we hear so and so is working on such and such. Can you maybe just cool that for a day or two? It is that sort of potential self-censorship that can arise...
GALLAGHER: The -- bologna. Bologna.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike.
WARREN: ... from being a little bit too cozy...
GALLAGHER: The problem is...
WARREN: ... something a lot of folks in radio just don't understand. GALLAGHER: The problem is -- or newspaper, obviously, because those who can't write -- let me tell you something, pal. The problem is there is no problem. Nothing -- you guys can't argue with success of the Fox...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who can't do what?
GALLAGHER: Those who can't write. I mean, you're like consultants. You guys have all the answers, and you determine what a problem is and there is not a problem. The problem is Fox News Channel is trouncing the competition. Why do you think that is, Jim? Why do you think they're doing so well? Because Americans are a bunch of dumb lemmings who aren't smart enough...
CARLSON: Unfortunately -- I'm sorry, guys, before we get into the theoretical aspects of why Geraldo is so appealing to so many people, we are just completely out of time, but I want to thank you both very much for joining us.
Mike, good luck with those products you're selling on the air. Jim Warren, thanks very much. We appreciate it.
WARREN: I thank you very much.
CARLSON: Well, it turns out the Barbra Streisand faction of our audience is restless us again. They are always restless, and so are the golfers. Their representatives fire back at us in a moment -- we'll be right back.
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Time for the "Fireback" segment where we give voice to your longings, and your e-mails. Here they are.
Don Trader of Columbia, Tennessee writes, "There is something profoundly un-American about a political party that sets out to lose the next election. That is just what the Democratic Party did -- did by voting a left-wing liberal as minority leader in the House. Please make fun of my party, maybe they will listen since they are not listening to the people."
Don, I promise you I will continue to make fun of your party and enjoy myself as I do.
BEGALA: I love the contrast between Nancy Pelosi and Tom DeLay -- let's have them on. Nancy Pelosi comes on CROSSFIRE, Tom DeLay, gutless wonder, called the EPA the Gestapo of government.
CARLSON: I think he is busy running the House.
BEGALA: Won't come on our show -- he's busy running his mouth for special interests. Wayne Pen of Corpus Christi, Texas writes, "Paul calls golf a game for weasels and wimps. I can't think of better words for his buddy Bill Clinton -- that cheats at golf. Maybe Paul is bitter because Bill only let him caddy."
We'll set the grammar aside there, Wayne -- no, it is a game for weasels and wimps -- I also said wussies, and I have no idea if Wayne, another "W" word, is part of that crowd, but it sounds like maybe he is.
CARLSON: Man, you are playing with fire...
BEGALA: It is the clothes, man. It is the little knickers and the golfy gloves.
CARLSON: Keep going, Paul.
BEGALA: Not a game for me.
CARLSON: Glad they don't have my home address.
Mike Foster from Savannah writes, "Tucker Carlson's silly obsession with Barbra Streisand reveals that in her, Tucker has found a worthy adversary. Their opinions are equally irrelevant to the serious consideration of governance and politics."
Mike, I think that is an excellent point, and whenever Barbra Streisand writes a policy memo to Tom Daschle or Dick Gephardt, I try and make that point.
BEGALA: Her policy memos are better than your songs, though.
CARLSON: But my songs don't make the world more unpleasant.
BEGALA: Theresa Steele in Lake Dallas, Texas writes, "Hey Paul. You should take Tucker to a Texas Longhorn game and he could be the honorary mascot. Since he is so full of B.S., he would be the perfect stand-in for Bevo," the Texas longhorn of my school.
That's a little rough, Theresa, but I'd kind of like to do that. There is Bevo there, he is without the bow tie. A whole lot of bull right there.
CARLSON: I guess I would just -- I would take my case directly to the viewers and say, which one of us would make a better mascot?
BEGALA: Well, it is like with a longhorn. There is a point here and a point here and a lot of bull in between, and that's what we get on CROSSFIRE.
CARLSON: Yes, sir.
BEGALA: Yes, sir.
CAMERON SMITH: Hi, I'm Cameron Smith from Austin, Texas, and I was wondering if -- I was wondering if listening to media heads further supports a notion that President Bush is unable to present an image or a kind of response for himself.
BEGALA: That's an interesting point. I suspect, actually, the only reason that memo got to Bush, because it was incredibly stupid, was because it came from a powerful media guy they wanted to suck up to, and that is distorting. They shouldn't waste the president's time with something as benile (ph) and obvious to say, Gee, we should hit back after 3,000 of our people are slaughtered -- duh.
CARLSON: Yes, a question.
CHARLOTTE AWFORD: Yes. I'm Charlotte Awford from Charlottesville, Virginia, and I wanted to ask, regardless of whether or not you believe in God, what is so objectionable about the content of the ten commandments? Doesn't it represent the moral underpinnings of our legal system?
CARLSON: Well, of course it does. All the laws are based on the Judeo-Christian understanding of morality. That's all American law is, and to pretend it isn't is not true.
BEGALA: I think what bothers people is that they use it as a fundraising stunt and a political stunt.
From the left, I am Paul Begala. Good night for CROSSFIRE.
CARLSON: From the right, I am Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night, Tuesday night for yet more CROSSFIRE. CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT begins right now. See you tomorrow.
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