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CNN CROSSFIRE

Bush Pushes for NATO Support of Iraq War; Victoria's Secret Show Being Called Porn

Aired November 20, 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: he is home free on homeland security. And a knockout at NATO.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Old or new know this, anyone who would choose you for an enemy also chooses us for an enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: And now that we've seen the election results, we're wondering, is Bush unbeatable?

It's a fashion show that's showing a lot more skin than fashion. Are the networks channeling prime time porn?

And, do not attempt this at home, even if you're the King of Pop. Perhaps it's time to pop the question: Is Jacko whacko?

Ahead on CROSSFIRE.

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

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

Tonight, scantily clad women strut brazenly into prime time network television. Let's see if our guests can convince you not to watch.

Also, in retrospect, the album title might have been a hint. We'll ask if Michael Jackson is truly "dangerous."

But first, a dose of sanity for a world on the edge, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

While Democrats stayed home and grumbled about domestic politics, Senator Tom Daschle spent part of his not very busy day sniping at AM radio show host Rush Limbaugh. President Bush headed to Europe to secure the future of the free world. He is in the Czech Republic for a NATO summit that will bring seven former Eastern blocked nations into the 19-member alliance.

Invitations will be issued to Bulgaria, Astonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Invitations were not sent to anarchists, anti-war protesters and radical vegetarians, but they showed up anyway. Fortunately, it rained on them.

Tonight, the president and his wife dined with European leaders at a medieval Prague castle. At some point, the conversations turned to Iraq. The president is counting on a strong NATO statement backing his position that Iraq must disarm or face military action.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: And, in fact, one of the standards to be admitted to NATO is that Bush actually did have to know where your country was on a map, but they waived it this year because he couldn't find a single there to (ph) the NATO meeting. He said, oh, I didn't know there were so many countries in the world.

The Bush administration -- speaking about the president -- has expressed its pleasure that the Senate has passed a major insurance bill that provides federal subsidies of up to $300 billion over just three years for those who cannot afford to pay for insurance. Now, if you're one of those 42 million Americans with no health insurance, sorry, this bill doesn't apply to you. No, our president is committing your tax money to bail out big developers and giant insurance companies who lost billions in the stock market.

Why bail them out, but do nothing about families who can't afford health insurance? Well, because big insurance companies and wealthy developers have given Mr. Bush millions of dollars in campaign donations. Working Americans without health insurance have not given Mr. Bush a dime.

A spokesman for Mr. Bush said he would be happy to support universal health insurance as soon as the uninsured fork over big campaign donations to him.

CARLSON: That is actually deeply phony and unfair. The economy will not be righted without terrorism insurance. I think you even agree with that.

BEGALA: No, I don't. We don't need to bail out big insurance companies.

CARLSON: And, in fact, most Americans are invested in the stock market, as you often point out.

BEGALA: And Bush is killing us in it. He shouldn't bail out big insurance companies and not bail out people...

CARLSON: Look, Paul, big insurance companies are made up of individual investors, ordinary people.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Sure.

CARLSON: That's actually to some extent true. I'm sorry the rhetoric doesn't sound as appealing.

In legal news tonight, a group known as African-Americans Against Exploitation has filed suit against the Reverend Jesse Jackson, claiming that Jackson has committed fraud by, "intentionally misrepresenting himself as an official of the African-American race." The group is asking for a restraining order that would force Jackson to end his 30-year career of pretending to speak for all black people.

Jackson, who has made a career out of filing nuisance suits, immediately denounced the action as, yes, a nuisance suit. He went on to say a number of things that rhymed. A hearing is set for January 7. Jackson has promised that before that date he will hold a combination rally, boycott, teach and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) march in his own defense. It will be attended, he said, by all seven of his supporters, including the three who are not on staff.

BEGALA: Now I don't know anything about this suit except of what you just told me, but it sounds ridiculous.

CARLSON: But it makes a great point.

BEGALA: It's a silly point.

CARLSON: How would you like if (UNINTELLIGIBLE) claimed to speak for you, that would annoy me so much.

BEGALA: Tucker, he went and campaigned for president, millions of people voted for him, millions more did not. He speaks for people who...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... and saying you have this huge constituency that never voted for the guy and don't support the guy. It's a total outrage. He's a phony.

BEGALA: You're talking about Reverend Jerry Falwell then, right?

CARLSON: No, I'm talking about Jesse Jackson, actually.

BEGALA: Rubinomics, that's what the big thinkers in the Bush economic team have disdainfully dubbed President Clinton's economic strategy after, of course, the former Treasury Secretary, Bob Rubin, in the Clinton administration. The Bushes are contemptuous of the Clinton economic strategy.

And yet, if they had read the new best selling book on the economy -- yes, now it is on both "The Washington Post" and "Dallas Morning News" best seller list -- "It's Still The Economy, Stupid," -- how could I be more shameless than that to plug my own book -- they would know that President Clinton and Vice President Gore, along with Bob Rubin and the gang, gave America the longest and strongest economic expansion in history.

Raising incomes for all Americans, creating 22.8 million new jobs, giving us the largest surplus in history. Now, the Bushes, on the other hand, have given us a massive deficit, a stagnant economy, a collapsing stock market and lost two million jobs. George W. Bush criticizing Bill Clinton on the economy? It's like James Carville criticizing Tucker Carlson's hair.

CARLSON: Now, Paul, you have an undeniably personal stake in those lies. So I don't hold you -- no, and, as most people who tell the truth now know, the recession actually -- or the downturn started under President Bill Clinton.

BEGALA: It's all described in the book. I gave you a free copy.

CARLSON: Yes you did. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

From the world of theology tonight, the lord god has come out in favor of the Toyota Prius and other high-efficiency foreign made automobiles. He hates SUVs. God did not make this announcement directly, but instead issued a statement through his self-appointed spokesman at the evangelical environmental network.

Over the upcoming weeks, the group plans to run ads linking Americans' choice of cars to their chances of achieving eternal life. Their slogan: What would Jesus drive? The news has been greeted with envy by marketing strategists in other industries. Executives at Anheuser Bush roll out their, What beer would Jesus drink campaign sometime next month. Asked how they concluded that SUVs are a moral issue, church leaders replied that despite much effort, they could not find a more frivolous issue on which to waste their dwindling moral authority.

BEGALA: This is an exceedingly silly thing. I've got to tell you, you have a point there. Of course, if Jesus walked on water, if anything, I suppose he'd want a hover craft. But, no, I don't think Jesus had a preference as to which car to drive.

CARLSON: So we agree that you shouldn't run around pretending god endorses your product or candidate.

BEGALA: That I agree with. I find it more frequently done on the far right by Falwell and Robertson, but on this one you've got a point.

CARLSON: The right doesn't campaign in churches. The Democratic Party does.

BEGALA: The right doesn't campaign in churches? Hold the presses.

CARLSON: No, the Democratic Party does.

BEGALA: On this broadcast last night, Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison seemed a little less than enthusiastic about the $120 million in pork that the new homeland security bill is wasting on Texas A&M university, even though she represents Texas in the Senate. Senator Hutchison candidly said she thinks the process ought to be opened up to more universities so they can compete for the money. Good for her. Texas A&M got that pork without competing for it, without applying for it, without proving why they deserved it. And as the "Financial Times" reports today, the university's new president, Robert Gates (ph), was CIA director under Bush senior and bragged months ago that his insider connections would land his school the project.

One use of the money apparently is that the Aggies (ph), the arch rivals of my beloved University of Texas Longhorns, plan to install artificial turf at their football stadium, apparently to keep the Aggies' homecoming queen from grazing. It's true.

CARLSON: My gut instinct is not to weigh into disputes so insane and so confusing that I can't make sense of them. And that goes for all disputes in Texas. However, two things. One, I find it fascinating you resort to the conspiracy, the CIA director. The insider deal with the first Bush president.

BEGALA: I just read what the "Financial Times" wrote.

CARLSON: And second, there's no evidence this money is wasted. It may be pork, it may not be. It might be a good investment.

BEGALA: They should compete for it, though.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: In Texas the rules are a little different.

BEGALA: Even the Texas senator last night said they ought to compete for it. And she's a Republican, I give her a lot of credit for doing what's right. Not very common in the Republican Party.

Next, our president takes his show on the road to Prague. Will Europe be anymore impressed than the last time he went across the pond?

And then later, prime time television makes it easier than ever to survey the latest fashion trends and make informed buying decisions. What could possible be wrong with that?

Later still, the entire world may be aghast, but we have found the one man who is still Michael Jackson's biggest, perhaps his only, supporter. You'll want to see him. Stay with us.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Fresh from his victories on Election Day and clearly thrilled with the passage of more special interest legislation this week for his campaign contributors, President Bush is headed to Europe, where he is urging NATO to stand firm against Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Bush is said to be enjoying his trip to NATO and is looking forward to meeting many Natovians (ph). Stepping into the CROSSFIRE, former Clinton White House Communications Director, Ann Lewis. She is now the National Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee's Women Vote Center. And Republican strategist, former RNC spokesman, Clifford May, who is now with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Good to see you both.

CARLSON: Ann Lewis, there are lots of theories for why the Democratic Party was so vigorously spanked in the midterm elections. Let me just propose the most obvious. This is the latest poll on President Bush. His approval rating is now at 66 percent. That's an historic high.

And I think what it says, and I think you'll admit this, the public is buying what he's selling. That's the lesson of the midterm election, that's the lesson really of the Bush administration so far.

ANN LEWIS, CHAIRWOMAN, DNC: I think the first lesson is, you're right, President Bush is popular, people do want the kind of image of leadership on national security.

But let's be clear, Tucker, when President Bush was campaigning for those last two weeks and going state to state and saying give me a homeland security bill, he for got to mention to people that he was going to say, give me a bill that protects one big drug company that happens to give $1 million to Republicans from tort legislation.

He forgot to say, you know, give me a bill that's going to earmark money that goes to Texas A&M. So there were a few things that were left out of that.

CARLSON: And perhaps you ought to be writing his speeches. But I love this idea that the president's campaign on national security is -- really, it's only the president's place to do. And that's why he won.

In fact, as you know, polls going into the election showed the economy as the number one concern of American voters, which is to say that Democratic attempts to tie the president to the softening environment totally failed. The voters didn't buy them.

LEWIS: No. Let me back up and say the economy continues to be an issue, it will be an issue and, you know what, it is George Bush's responsibility. President Bush spent the first year saying, as Paul just reminded us, oh, it's all Bill Clinton's fault. You know unemployment has gone up, the deficit's going up, it's somebody else's fault.

He spent the last six months saying it's all Tom Daschle's fault. Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that can said "The buck stops here." George Bush has a sign on his desk that says "Go ask the other guy." But it's now his economy, and I look forward to seeing what the president is going to do, because, you know what, he's all out of excuses. He got the power he asked for, and that means there's no place to hide. Let's see what the economic policy is going to be, because there are a lot of Americans who are unemployed. 90,000 Americans every week running out of unemployment benefits. This president hasn't yet taken action to make sure they'll get that extension of unemployment benefits that they need. It's up to him.

BEGALA: In fact, Clifford, let me give you some more statistics. This is not from a poll -- and I love polls. I'm not one of these guys that denigrates polls. But this is even more important and more real in people's lives.

This is what's happened to the economy since President Bush and Vice President Cheney came into office and passed their economic program. How's it going so far? Let's take a look.

They took office, the Dow Jones was over 10,500; today 8,600. A huge droop in the Dow. Unemployment was 4.2, now it's 5.7. We've lost two million jobs since they took over. We had a $280 billion surplus, now a $159 billion deficit and growing a $400 billion reversal. And a collapse in the private sector job numbers. Not going so good, is it?

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Paul, you know before the election this was exactly the line you guys were taking and it didn't work and you should move on from it.

BEGALA: Actually, it's a line no Democrat took and that's why they got dropped. They all hid under a damn chair. I want to you defend your man's economic record.

MAY: The president of the United States is not solely and singularly responsible for the entire economy. We had a few things. We had 9/11, we have a war on terrorism, we had the bubble in the high tech industry, we had a recession when he came in.

BEGALA: The Bush campaign said I'm going to usher in the responsibility era. You remember that? It was in every speech he gave. Responsibility. Why don't he take responsibility for his own disastrous economic policies?

MAY: Because we believe, we Republicans and conservatives, is there is something called a market out there, millions of Americans, they're working. It's not like the president drives this like a car. That's not how it works.

BEGALA: Yes it is. He threw it in reverse. It's exactly like a car.

MAY: But here's where you're right. We now have -- Republicans now have a big challenge ahead of them because confidence has been put in President Bush's hands and Republican majority in the House and the Senate. Now it is up to the Republicans over the next two years to show what they can accomplish in terms of winning the war and in terms of the economy. Good economic policies will help. Don't forget we had -- I'm afraid Senator Daschle, who really wouldn't let anything through the Senate and didn't even pass a budget. Now we can pass a budget and hopefully...

LEWIS: The fact that there wasn't a budget is why the economy has been lacking? Cliff, as you say, it's George Bush's -- could you tell us just for the record what are like two economic policies that the president is going to put into effect that are going to move those people back from unemployment back to work?

MAY: It's very clear what has to be done. We need -- and you should agree with this -- we need economic policies that focus on growth, on letting the private sector do what it does so well, invest, create business, create jobs. A pro-growth policy is what's most important for everybody.

And you can't just say, oh, but that might benefit somebody's businesses. That's OK. That business will hire. They'll produce products that people will buy. A pro-growth policy is what we should all want for the economy.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: More people went to work, the country went to work. That was pro-growth. The economy grew.

MAY: You guys are so obsessed with Clinton. All you talk about is Clinton, Clinton, Clinton.

CARLSON: Hold on, wait. Ann Lewis, before we get off into Clinton, I'm not sure my stomach can bear it. I know we want to talk about Clinton, but if we could just -- the future here for a minute, and the future is people like Zell Miller. And I want you to listen to Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia, talk about why the homeland security bill finally passed despite democratic opposition. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: I don't think it would have happened at this particular time if it had not been for the president and it had not been for the people speaking as loudly as they did on Election Day. It was obvious from the way that they voted that they wanted to us come up with a homeland security bill and they wanted to us come up with it as soon as we could.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Now Democrats take campaign contributions from ambulance chasers and, for that reason, they held up the bill. But the president is powerful enough now after the election to get it through. And Zell Miller is happy about it. Why aren't you?

LEWIS: And the other person who is grinning over there was Phil "Texas A&M send the money my way" Gramm, I noticed. CARLSON: He's not even there anymore.

LEWIS: He was there long enough to hold up homeland security for the purpose of this election. And I'll go back to where I started. The president said give me a homeland security bill. That's what he said to the American people. He didn't say give me a bill that will stop families that are trying to get protection...

CARLSON: Then why did Democrats vote for it, I wonder?

LEWIS: They tried to strip those things out. He didn't say, give me a bill that's going to gut the Wellstone amendment, that will keep countries that move overseas from getting American contracts.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: But how does it make America safer to pass a bill that protects corporate Benedict Arnolds on their tax savings overseas? How does that make America safer, Cliff?

MAY: You know, I'm sure one of these days, before you and I are too old, we'll see a perfect bill. This was not a perfect bill, but 99...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: ... not a bill with so much pork it gives you trichinosis.

MAY: The Democrats in the Senate beg to differ with you. They thought this bill had more good in it than bad. And that's why after the election they voted for it. I'm for taking pork out of any bill. Absolutely right.

CARLSON: Well on that note of agreement, brief as it was, we're going to take a quick commercial break. We'll be right back.

In a minute, the president spent his day securing the future of the free world. How did Democrats spend their day? Find out the embarrassing details next. We have them all.

Later, semi-nudity in prime time. Not everyone's in favor of it, believe it or not. We'll speak to the opponents.

And, in our quote of the day, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) eccentric attempts to explain himself. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back. You know the old cliche, nothing succeeds like success. So far, President Bush has been nothing but successful. Considering the quality of the Democratic opposition, those successes may continue forever and ever and ever.

Tonight, the presidential winning streak in the CROSSFIRE. Joining us, Ann Lewis, of the Democratic National Committee's Women Vote Center, and former RNC Communications Director Cliff May. He's now at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

BEGALA: Thanks for staying with us through the break. Mr. May, let's talk about foreign policy, an area where you do have great expertise and strong opinions. Our president has strong opinions apparently on both sides of most foreign policy issues vis-a-vis Iraq. And this is what I mean. He came out originally and said he wasn't going to go to the U.N., wasn't going to seek -- his staff did seek approval from Congress. Democrats bagged on him, he did.

His vice president gave a speech recently where he said inspectors would be more dangerous. We shouldn't put inspectors in because they'll give us a false sense of security. Now the president has inspectors in. He used to be for regime change, now he says he's for disarmament and never mentions regime change. I think those are all laudatory changes in position, but I wonder what the hawks feel about that.

MAY: I don't think it changes the position at all. I think it merely changes in rhetoric.

BEGALA: It's a change in a position. And I think it's good.

MAY: Let me give you an example. When we talk about disarmament, we think how can we disarm someone like Saddam Hussein, who has spent the last 30 years trying to develop nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons. Well, I don't think you can disarm him, frankly, short of regime change, short of removing him.

BEGALA: That's not what Bush says, though.

MAY: But when you talk about -- look, disarmament is the primary goal. And if we could disarm him, it would be a victory for us, a terrible defeat for the people of Iraq. If we can secure regime change and also liberate the people of Iraq, that's even better.

BEGALA: He's not the president of Iraq, he's the president of the United States of America. That's his interest, right?

MAY: Look, I think the great thing about this president is he's so centered and he so understands what is his mission is right now.

BEGALA: Why can't he tell us?

MAY: I'll tell you right now. It's to win the war against the extremists who are attacking our way of life and the entire free world. That's his mission.

And, by the way, to help the economy get better, too. You do those two things and, by the way, you win in 2004 and everything else.

CARLSON: Now Ann Lewis, people say, correctly, the Democrats don't really have a position on foreign policy or on security of any kind. Now that's not entirely untrue. I want you listen to Tom Daschle, who today talked about his own personal security. This is what Tom Daschle spent his day talking about. Pretty weighty issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: What happens when Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life is that people aren't satisfied just to listen, they want to act because they get emotionally invested. And so the threats to those of us in public life go up dramatically and on our families and on us in a way that's very disconcerting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: So Rush Limbaugh threatened my life. I'm afraid of an AM radio show host. This is one of the many reasons people don't take the party very seriously anymore.

LEWIS: Well, let's talk about national security, because, in fact, there is a democratic consensus of a large amount of the Democratic Party that Saddam Hussein is a very bad, very dangerous guy. He should not have nuclear weapons.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... come over and had a nice chat with him, I noticed.

LEWIS: A couple. And when you have a large party and you don't have a single presidential figure or candidate, then a few people who go over there may be taken as the party as a whole, and that would be a mistake. Because, in fact, Democrats, as a whole, say, yes, he should not be allowed to threaten the danger of the world.

And, by the way, we should do it in a way that increases the chances we're going to have international support, which, as Paul just pointed out, is a position that we welcome the White House coming to. But it has...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But those positions are so broad they don't mean anything. Saying Saddam is a bad guy doesn't mean anything.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: Saying he's a bad guy, that he's dangerous with nuclear arms, that we should take action about this, but we should do it in ways to increase the chances that there will be an international coalition. I think, in fact, those are principles.

I'll take your second point. I think what I heard Tom Daschle say was when Rush Limbaugh speaks he has viewers who listen in that get very excited and some of us in public life get threats. Now, either you think that's not true -- I tend to think it is true -- or you think even if it is true he shouldn't say it out loud. I'm not sure what your problem is.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: We only have a few seconds. But Cliff, yes or no, is Yasser Arafat a terrorist?

MAY: Yes.

BEGALA: Yes or no, is it appropriate for Rush Limbaugh to compare the Senate democratic leader to a terrorist?

MAY: It wouldn't be at all appropriate in office to do that. A radio talk show host, he can take some liberties.

BEGALA: I take liberties every day. And sometimes I cross the line and certainly fat boy, lard butt Limbaugh does when he compares Tom Daschle to Yasser Arafat. And he ought to be able to condemn that, Cliff. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to democracy.

MAY: Arafat is a mass murderer and I think you're right, Rush went too far.

BEGALA: God bless you. Good for you. Clifford May, thank you very much, from the Foundation of the Defense of Democracy. Ann Lewis, of the Democratic National Committee, thank you both very much.

How many of you guys out there have been -- stop. We got it off the Web site today.

CARLSON: Oh, it says last year.

BEGALA: It might be put on last year, but Josh (ph), our research guy handed it to me before the show (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

How many of you have the courage to walk into Victoria's Secret and shop for your wives or significant others or maybe even yourself? If you're feeling pretty tonight, stay tuned. We will save you the embarrassment by bringing the merchandise into your living room and let our guests tell you to turn it off.

Also, Michael Jackson, has he final gone over the edge? Duh. We will talk to his last but most vocal defender. And our quote of the day, an attempt to explain what many consider an unforgivable act. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Singer Michael Jackson calls himself the King of Pop. Today of course most of the world is calling him Whacko Jacko. Inexplicably, Mr. Jackson held his baby boy from the fourth floor balcony of a Berlin hotel.

At one point he was only holding the baby with one hand as the little guy squirmed high above Berlin. Jackson, who ought to be better damage controlled by now has issued a statement that is "Our Quote of the Day."

This is it: "I made a terrible mistake. I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."

Well, Tucker, who among us hasn't intentionally dangled a baby off a fourth floor balcony? That settles it for me.

CARLSON: You know, Paul, as they say the first step is admitting it. He's done better than some public figures and you've got to give him that. I think he may have -- what's the term? He may have some issues.

BEGALA: Issues? In the -- what do they call it? The psychological community -- can we just say he's just nuts?

CARLSON: Yes. I think we can say that. And we may is a that in a coming segment. Still to come, in fact, the one person on the planet whose faith has not been shaken or even dangled precariously over the ledge.

But first, revealing underwear on television. That's the essence of our discussion, stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you from the George Washington University here in downtown Washington.

Later tonight, after our show, CBS will devote an hour of prime time programming to an important public service. The "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" will address consumers' intense interest in the ladies fashion trends. Fabrics and accessories in the vital lace underwear category.

Millions hoping to make informed decisions during the upcoming holiday shopping season will no doubt tune in and be grateful.

Our next guests presumably will not watch, each for different reasons. In San Francisco is Margo Magowan, co-founder of the Woodhall Institute. And here with us in Washington is Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition.

BEGALA: Thank you both, ladies, for joining us.

This is a different sort of CROSSFIRE. It's really not a left/right divide. It's more a guy/gal thing.

ANDREA LAFFERTY, EXEC. DIR., TRADITIONAL VALUES COALITION: And right/wrong.

BEGALA: Well, that's certainly your view, but I think Andrea, as a woman of faith, the daughter of a minister, the Traditional Values Coalition, you should love this. What better way to prove the existence of a benevolent God that to look at these heavenly bodies.

LAFFERTY: Well, you know, what I did watch it last year.

BEGALA: Good for you.

LAFFERTY: They were anorexic. They had implants. They had all kinds of work going. But this strut down the cat walk is about is money and ratings. So let's get -- just put that out on the table right now. That's what it's about, number one.

Number two, what we are doing is sexualizing our young people, and particularly young men.

I'll tell you that Victoria's Secret is view by -- in more fraternities than sororities.

BEGALA: I hope so, but I don't know that. I mean...

LAFFERTY: That's what this is about. And in fact...

BEGALA: Well, by the time they're in fraternities, come on...

LAFFERTY: ... wait, and it's soft core...

BEGALA: ... they're already getting hard core porn, I'm sorry, Andrea.

LAFFERTY: ... porn during the family hour.

This is 8:00 o'clock at night. Come on.

We are sexualizing our kids and for you guys to say this is OK, is offensive. It's outrageous.

CARLSON: Margo, I'm not necessarily saying it's OK. I'll be watching the Bachelor of course, rather than this. But here's my problem. The traditional anti-fun feminist point of view is that of course men are bad, and they make women do bad things. But the difference here is this is a show in which all the participants are women. It's put on for women. Men are not going to watch this. Women are going to watch...

LAFFERTY: Ah...

CARLSON: ... look at the numbers, look at the numbers. Come on.

LAFFERTY: It's put on for men.

MARGO MAGOWAN, WOODHALL INSTITUTE: Oh, no, no. Men are going to be watching it. And here's the problem with it, OK. Because, if the anorexic super model was one of a multitude of images that celebrated women, that would be just fine. It's the dominance of that image that tells them above and beyond all else, you must be attractive and you must please men. If there were more images, it would be OK.

Look, what are our choices tonight? It's the Bachelor. We can watch a bunch of women on ABC, a bunch of real life Barbies trying to compete to marry a rich guy, or we can turn to CBS and watch Victoria's Secret.

CARLSON: Well, wait, wait, now Margo...

MAGOWAN: Or we can turn to Fox and watch the Fast the Furious, which is a bunch of women in skimpy clothing turning on Vin Diesel. I mean, it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: Well, you need to get cable. You need to get cable, obviously, Margo.

But here's my point. These women have worked really hard to look this good. Why is appearance an invalid category? Why is it not OK to celebrate someone's appearance?

MAGOWAN: You don't work that hard to silicone implants. You do spend a lot of money. And it all about marketing. This is all about making money.

LAFFERTY: And let me jump in here.

MAGOWAN: No, no men are the people that are watching this, and the reason is because Victoria's Secret is actually a bad product. Ask any woman. You know, it's cheap. It's uncomfortable. The bra straps break.

(CROSSTALK)

LAFFERTY: I, no I think a lot of women...

MAGOWAN: Is this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or Casabella (ph)?

LAFFERTY: A lot of women...

BEGALA: Wait, it's very comfortable. I can speak from firsthand experience. I'm wearing some right now. I want to feel a little pretty, but...

(UNKNOWN): You and Bill Clinton, right.

LAFFERTY: Listen, I'm not into Victoria's Secret...

MAGOWAN: It's about selling a bad product...

LAFFERTY: ... I want to come back to something you said, which is outrageous, to say these women work hard at anorexic. There has been story after story...

CARLSON: Anorexic is difficult.

LAFFERTY: ... let me finish.

This is actually very serious. These women have drug problems. They're puking. They've got anorexia.

BEGALA: How do you know that?

LAFFERTY: Oh, we do know that...

CARLSON: You think that's a piece of cake so to speak?

LAFFERTY: They talk about it.

CARLSON: Come on.

LAFFERTY: The models that have come out of the business, there are serious drug problems, health problems...

CARLSON: They give up a lot to be that thin.

LAFFERTY: It's very serious.

CARLSON: You...

LAFFERTY: It's not healthy.

BEGALA: OK, here's what Heidi Klum says, one of those models...

MAGOWAN: Look, I don't think the women have drug problems. I just think they're the...

BEGALA: Margo?

MAGOWAN: Yes.

BEGALA: Let me read you a statement from Heidi Klum, who sounds to me actually more like a feminist than a Traditional Values Coalition woman. But she says this, "Women are more forceful. Women are more powerful. We're not afraid of showing what we are made of." What's wrong with that?

LAFFERTY: There's nothing wrong with that, but...

MAGOWAN: It's fine for women to be powerful...

LAFFERTY: ... it's not realistic.

MAGOWAN: ... it's saying the only way for women to be powerful is to look a certain way. It's saying women's power is derived from pleasing men.

BEGALA: It's not the only way, but Heidi Klum is not going to cure cancer. Let's be honest, OK.

MAGOWAN: But you're saying (UNINTELLIGIBLE) but why not, though?

BEGALA: She's a little babe. She wants to strut around in her underwear. I say God bless America.

MAGOWAN: But...

LAFFERTY: You know, there are lots...

CARLSON: All right, Andrea, please go ahead.

LAFFERTY: Thank you. The issue here is how are we projecting women? What are we telling to our kids? What if you've got a daughter at home who's not naturally thin, who has a weight problem. You're telling her, "You can't be beautiful."

That is wrong. And for you as fathers or men to promote that...

MAGOWAN: Or even if she is thin...

LAFFERTY: ... is a shame.

MAGOWAN: ... even if she is smart, it's telling her that doesn't really matter because are going to think about what you look like first, above all.

LAFFERTY: We're focusing on the -- wait, can I...

CARLSON: Yes, of course.

LAFFERTY: We're focusing on the external, not the internal.

CARLSON: Right.

LAFFERTY: Shame on you, boys.

CARLSON: Wait, Margo, wait...

LAFFERTY: And Stevie Admiral (ph) is doing it for money. Shame on CBS.

CARLSON: Wait, let me ask you -- Margo, the portrait that you portray of women here is a very passive one. Women are told this. They are lied to and they believe it. They are sold this bill of goods about body image, et cetera. You make women sound stupid and gullible and they're not that way at all...

MAGOWAN: Tucker, Tucker it is not passive at all.

CARLSON: They're all adults, Margo.

MAGOWAN: No, they are adults. And we are told as women, "If you are -- if you look a certain way you will be successful. You will make money." It's actually the opposite. Women aren't stupid. If this is how you get rewarded in our culture, if this is how you get attention and are celebrated, of course women are going to do it.

CARLSON: Then why are they watching then? Can you answer that question.

MAGOWAN: We need to work to celebrate women in other ways.

CARLSON: I am actually interested. Why are women watching The Bachelor tonight? The audience for The Bachelor is overwhelmingly female. It's a show that degrades women. Everyone agrees. Why are women watching it, Margo. I really don't understand.

MAGOWAN: Because this is the female fantasy. This is what is packaged to us. This is what you are supposed to want. Until there are more opportunities out there, besides choosing between Victoria's Secret, The Bachelor and The Fast and the Furious, women are going to watch shows like that. When we have more women directors, when we have women Ted Turners out there, and women Rupert Murdochs, we're not going to have such limited choices.

BEGALA: Well, Andrea, in fact they could turn to NBC and watch the West Wing where a woman, Allison Janney, plays one of the most powerful people in the world.

MAGOWAN: That is true, and that is what I will be watching tonight..

LAFFERTY: That's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I'm not sure that show is exactly balanced.

BEGALA: I do want to thank you of behalf of CBS for promoting this.

So here's what Leslie Moonvess (ph), who is a guy, who is president of CBS. Here's what he says. "It's a lark about the mostly naked women show. It's a lark. It's fun. See how much conversation we're getting about a one hour special. That's exactly what we are doing it for."

MAGOWAN: It might be fun and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for him, but it's not for us...

LAFFERTY: Can I jump in here? It's earned, it's earned...

BEGALA: So, we're helping promote that show.

LAFFERTY: You know, they're getting a lot of earned media, but I think I would like to take this opportunity to say, "OK, if we're going to talk about this, let's talk about the dangers of soft core porn and what it does and how it decenticizes young men."

Let's use this an opportunity to discuss that.

BEGALA: It will have to be the last word, Andrea (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the Traditional Values Coalition. Margo Magowan, of San Francisco, thank you very much as well, from the Woodhall Institute.

Thank you both.

BEGALA: One of our viewers has a guess about who will not be watching that Victoria's Secret fashion show tonight. We will get to that right away in "Fireback" segment.

But next, is Michael Jackson completely lost it? Do we even have to ask?

We will have the one guest in the world who things the answer is no. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. One quick correction in an earlier segment tonight, I cited a comment from Rush Limbaugh where he compared Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle to Yasser Arafat.

I mistakenly said it was currently on his Web site. In fact, Tucker was correct, it had been on there a year ago, and our research guy had kept it since then. So my apologies for that error.

Now as we saw in our quote of the day segment, Michael Jackson has apologized himself for dangling his baby son over the railing of a fourth floor balcony in a Berlin hotel. And people are agreeing with the New York Post's assessment in this morning's headline, "Jacko Goes Over the Edge."

However, our next guest is not falling in with the crowd, or dropping his support for the King of Pop. Joining us from New York, the inimitable Mo Rocca, correspondent for the "Daily Show" on Comedy Central.

Mo, good to see you.

ROCCA: Thank you having me. Thank you. I appreciate it .

CARLSON: Mo, thanks for coming on and taking the bold position.

ROCCA: Sure.

CARLSON: I'll admit I've got some concerns about Michael Jackson. Do you think they're founded?

ROCCA: Well, here's what troubles me. I don't think that we should be imposing one standard of child rearing on everyone else willie nillie.

I mean, the fact is that pop stars are non-traditional care givers. You may not choose to dangle your baby out of a window. Michael Jackson does. If Mariah Carey had a baby, who knows where she'd dangle it.

But the point is, the point is that baby is safe and sound. And that really is what matters.

BEGALA: Mo, let me read you a comment though from Mr. A. Sydney Johnson, Sydney Johnson, A period, the president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. And he says this, "It is a painful reminder that even the most well intentioned among us sometimes act in ways that put children in danger of being abused of neglected."

Do you agree with Mr. Johnson that Michael Jackson was well intended when he held his baby off a balcony?

ROCCA: Well, let me explain. I've looked at a lot of different polls, and the research I have, and it's right here, ti shows that American babies are inordinantly afraid of heights, and I think what Michael Jackson is doing is he's inoculating his baby against vertigo.

BEGALA: That's a valid point. I hadn't thought of that.

CARLSON: But see -- in a vacuum, I might buy what you're saying. You make some compelling points. You are making the same case of (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

ROCCA: Oh, please.

CARLSON: ... that Al Gore is making in his new book about families. But...

ROCCA: Yes.

CARLSON: There is a history here with Michael Jackson. I'm not simply talking about the child molesting. I'm also talking -- or the allegations of child molesting -- I'm talking about the problems of course with his nose.

And I want to read you a quote from a plastic surgeon Edward Demaneske (ph) who says this, quote, "Short of wearing a prosthesis for your nose, you could take tissue from the forehead or the back of the ear to build up the area, but I don't think he wants that. It seems like he's fairly comfortable with the way he looks which is unfortunate because it's a bad reflection on all of plastic surgery."

ROCCA: Look, look Michael Jackson has made a bold choice. So many people I know complain about their nose, and they're too lazy to do anything about it. All right. And my problem with criticism of the way he looks is I think it's tinged with a certain amount of prejudice. I think that Michael Jackson needs to be judged on the content of his character, not on the bleached mocha latte light color of his skin.

I mean, for too long, for too long celebrities with bleached mocha latte light skin have been the targets of persecution.

BEGALA: That's a very important point.

Mo, the king of pop, wacko Jacko was in Berlin to receive what's called a Bambi Award.

ROCCA: Right.

BEGALA: Any idea what that is or what he did to earn such a prestigious award?

ROCCA: It is for children. It is an award on behalf of children.

Look, I think we need to step back and take I think a historical perspective. My good friend Robert Dylak (ph) has written a wonderful piece about JFK in the Atlantic Monthly. John F. Kennedy suffered so much pain through is life in large part because of the operations he had to undergo for different ailments.

Michael Jackson too has gone through five rhinoplasty operations. They're very painful, and I think we know that severe pain impairs judgment. So I'd like to think that Michael Jackson's baby dangling incident is sort of his Bay of Pigs fiasco.

OK, and we know that and we know that the Bay of Pigs was followed by the Cuban missile crisis triumph. So I'm excited. I'm actually looking forward to Michael Jackson's Cuban missile crisis resolution.

CARLSON: I'm glad you brought the political angle into this, Mo. Because as you know, for many years, Michael Jackson has been a particularly good fund raiser for the Democratic Party. Wondering if you're thinking he's going to be in as much demand now that he's dangled his son out the window?

ROCCA: You know, I think that -- I think that if there's anything both parties can agree on, it's the importance of family. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that in a way I was kind of moved by yesterday's scene you know, because the statistics show that American families continue to break down, and yet Michael Jackson's baby trusts him enough to allow him to dangle out a fourth floor window. And there's something I think kind of poignant about that.

BEGALA: Let me show you another picture of Michael Jackson with our first family, with America's first family, the mother and father of our current president. There they are right there. Michael Jackson with George Sr. and Barbara Bush. And in fact in that session, they confided to the king of pop that they themselves had dropped their son George on his head as a baby.

And so you see, it happens all of the time, Mo.

ROCCA: And he's the president now.

I mean, you know, look, I have a lot of problems with all of these objections. I mean, Tucker, as long as I've known you you've been a strict constructionist when it comes to the interpretation of the Constitution. You are an ardent defender of Robert Bork. Where then in the Constitution does it say that a pop icon is not allowed to dangle his baby out of a fourth floor window? I don't know where.

CARLSON: That's an excellent point. And the document is strangely silent on the whole question of pop icons.

And it's upset constitutional scholars for decades, as you know. My question to you though, Mo, as a prognosticator, where does...

ROCCA: Yes...

CARLSON: Where does Michael go from now, now that he's done the dangling? What's the next step for him?

ROCCA: Well, I -- he doesn't have much cartilage left. So I don't know if he's going to be having any more rhinoplasty done to him.

You know, I don't know. Look, all I know is we should leave no child behind, and he dangled the baby, but the baby is back in safe hands.

So you know, that's all I have to say. I mean, you know, I can only spend so much for him.

BEGALA: We're almost out of time. I'm just wondering...

ROCCA: Yes.

BEGALA: ... I'm wondering why he suppose he picked Germany for this venue. And we're almost out of time, but is there any significance to the fact that picked Berlin to dangle the...

ROCCA: Well, I don't know, but I think, I think that you know Germany has bashed American long enough, so it's time to circle the wagons around Michael and defend one of our own.

BEGALA: Very good point.

CARLSON: Amen.

Mo Rocca, our cultural correspondent, a correspondent from the "Daily Show" on Comedy Central. One of our favorite guests. Thank you.

Next, hold everything and join us for "Fireback." If you're from the Lone Star state, that would be Texas -- makes a request of his fellow Texan, Paul Begala. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Time for "Fireback," the part of the show where we simply give up and let you run things. And you do.

First up, an e-mail from Rod Hildam (ph) of Washington, D.C. "You're ridiculing of Al Gore," -- this must be about me -- "for stating he and Tipper meditated on the loss of 2000 was cheap. You clearly wanted to imply that they were involved in some kind of new age silliness."

Wrong, Rob. I wanted to state, not imply that they were involved in some new age silliness. He said he was meditating. I simply wanted to know in Lotus position or prone.

BEGALA: Well, at least he's a thoughtful reflective guy.

And I'm glad -- we can't imagine Bush medicating on anything, right?

CARLSON: I hope not in the Lotus position. Come on, come on.

BEGALA: The menu at Wendy's is what he's meditating on.

CARLSON: Come on, wake up, son.

BEGALA: Larry Hamm (ph), Wimberly (ph), Texas writes, "As a golfer and a Aggie," -- oh, boy he's for me -- "I just have to say that you have to the most annoying person on TV. It is clearly obvious that you attended the University of Texas instead of Texas A&M because graduates of A&M have class, and you clearly don't."

Yes, they have class at A&M. Nobody attends them, but they do. You know what they call a genius at A&M? A visitor.

CARLSON: I'm not getting involved in the whole Texas thing. I've been there once, liked it, but I didn't stay.

Dee Renz (ph) of Balmorea (ph), of Texas -- speaking of writes, "Paul, please, please, please quite telling people you're originally from Texas. I imagine you are costing the state a fortune in lost tourism."

BEGALA: There we go, Dee Renz.

CARLSON: Don't mess with Texas, Paul.

BEGALA: I grew up in Texas. I was born in New Jersey, which will make everybody in New Jersey angry now.

But John Goran (ph), Jr., of hot Atlanta, Georgia writes, "One person who won't be watching Victoria's Secret tonight is John Ashcroft. He will be busy pulling some material off the blue veil covering that statue in his lobby and putting it over his TV set."

Excellent point, John. You know, he covered up for those of you who didn't remember this story...

CARLSON: No, he's going to be watching -- he's going to be watching Connie Chung...

BEGALA: ... he covered up a naked brass breast on the Statue of Justice...

CARLSON: ... as he does every night.

BEGALA: Well, that's true .

He never misses Connie.

CARLSON: Yes.

QUESTION: Yes, my name is Jeff Winkle (ph) from Reston, Virginia. And I was wondering if either of you favor James Carville in a Victoria's Secret show?

CARLSON: Do you mean attired in the outfit...

BEGALA: I don't have strong enough stomach, no.

CARLSON: ... like in a teddy or something?

QUESTION: Yes, definitely.

CARLSON: You're a sick man, Jeff.

BEGALA: I'm sorry...

CARLSON: I'm not even going to let that thought into my mind.

BEGALA: I thought he looked good with the garbage can on his head, but no, the notion of James in underwear is too nauseating to contemplate.

CARLSON: That's as far as we go. You guys have a happier image to give us.

QUESTION: My name is Morgan Fath (ph). I'm from Minneapolis, Minnesota and my question is for Paul. You said that the reason the economy is failing is entirely Bush's fault. And don't you think a lot of it has to do with the September 11 attack?

BEGALA: Yes, no and yes. No, I didn't say its' entirely Bush's fault. Yes, it does. We were softening, we were going into recession. And September 11 happened. And Bush had really terrible policies. The man was drowning and he threw him an anvil. OK, yes we had bad policy -- we had bad problems, and he made it worse with his policies.

CARLSON: Well, I'm glad that you have at least admitted the first two, but you still have explained what those policies are.

BEGALA: That young lady needs to buy that book.

CARLSON: Now we're back to Paul's book.

BEGALA: Not a bookstore near you.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Hi, my name is Gabe Capellion (ph) and I'm from Carlyle, California. My question is for Tucker. Although Bush's popularity may be extraordinarily high right now, don't you think that whenever one party has control of both houses of the legislative and the executive that can never be a good thing?

CARLSON: Well, it depends whether they screw up or not. So it's a bad thing if they do bad things; it's a good thing if they do good things. We hope the president and the party, the Republican Party, do good things. And if they do, the Democratic Party doesn't have a hope. Is Al Gore going to beat George W. Bush? If you really, really believe that, we will book you as a guest.

BEGALA: Is he going to beat Bush again is the word you left out. Again.

CARLSON: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Hi, my name is Nicholas Micheals from Georgetown University. The pork contained in the homeland security bill is an unfortunate political reality. Yet I think that the Democrats should stop harping because apparently the American public is willing to accept some perks for the universities of America and corporations as look as the homeland is safe.

CARLSON: Democrats think ambulance chasers ought to sue. The people who made the metal detectors at the airports on September 11, if you think they're responsible for the terrorist attacks, vote Democrat. It's -- I don't even understand the reason.

BEGALA: It's breathtakingly cynical to say that we should have to pay off corporate contributors of George Bush's so that we can be safe from terrorists. No. The Senate passed a clean bill that just dealt with homeland security. Then the Republicans loaded it up with pork.

CARLSON: No, it is literally...

BEGALA: Shame on them.

CARLSON: ... the campaign...

BEGALA: On the left, I'm Paul Begala. Good night for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: And cut off, but willing to finish tomorrow night, Tucker Carlson from the right.

Join us again later for more CROSSFIRE.

CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT begins right now.

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