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Crossfire Recalls Its Most Memorable Debates of 2002

Aired November 28, 2002 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE: On the left: James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right: Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson. In the CROSSFIRE tonight: eat too much? Now that you've turkied with all the trimmings, we'll sample what should have been on your menu and ask, can anyone eat this?
And about your manners. Jerry Springer and Miss Manners duck (ph) in to talk about the latest trends in TV talk shows, including this one.

Plus, we'll rally around the flag. Pat Boone is ready to sing the praises of one nation under god, but atheist Michael Newdow brought his guitar.


From the George Washington University: Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Good evening. Happy Thanksgiving. Welcome to a very special edition of CROSSFIRE.

Tonight's menu includes the king of daytime talk, Jerry Springer, as well as a visit from singer Pat Boone. And since good manners are always a must at the holidays, Miss Manners herself will pay CROSSFIRE a visit. Not that it's going to do any good, I guarantee you.

But first, the main course. By now, you probably have that logy bloat-belly feeling. Maybe you've, you know, got your feet up, you might be dozing a little bit. Well wake up! You may be using your knife and fork to dig your grave.

Joining us, two physicians who have very different prescriptions for weight loss. In San Francisco, Dr. Dean Ornish, the founder and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and author of "Eat More, Way Less."

And in Philadelphia, Dr. Stuart Trager. He's chairman of the department of orthopedic surgery at Graduate Hospital and an avid follower of the Atkins nutritional approach, where he is also a medical consultant to the Atkins Group. Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for having us.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Dr. Ornish, thanks very much for coming. You were kind enough to fax over a Thanksgiving feast as recommended by you. Here's what's on it: autumn vegetables in squash, rice pilaf, glazed holiday yams, old-fashioned bread pudding, brandied cranberry relish, watercress and beet salad, and apple cranberry cake.

If you'll notice what is missing, turkey. Now this seems wrong to me, maybe morally wrong. And an affront to the spirit of the pilgrims. Can you defend it?

DR. DEAN ORNISH, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Well I don't think the turkey they'd think is morally wrong. But you know Thanksgiving is really a time of gratitude, of being with your friends and family. And I want to emphasize that the diet that most people associate with our work is one that we've proven can reverse heart disease and may actually affect the progression of prostate cancer. And it is a very low-fat whole foods diet, because that's what it takes to reverse disease.

But if you're just trying to lose weight, there's a whole spectrum of choice. And if you to pig out, Thanksgiving is probably the most appropriate day to do that. But I want to point out that, when people eat a lot of fatty, heavy foods, as many people have today, how do you feel? You feel tired and sluggish and sleepy, as you indicated at the opening?

And the reason is that your brain is actually getting less blood, less oxygen. Your heart is getting less blood and often less oxygen. Even your sexual organs may be getting less blood and less oxygen. And when you change your diet, you think more clearly, your brain gets more blood, you have more energy. Your sexual function improves.

And so for many people, those are choices worth making. But it's not all or nothing. It's a spectrum.

CARLSON: Dr. Ornish...

BEGALA: Let me bring Dr. Trager into this, if I may. Another, I guess, good reason to eat well is the old sexual function there. But in addition to that, I have a plate in front of me that is in keeping with the spirit, I think, in the letter, perhaps of Dr. Ornish's diet. It's a piece of turkey, which he says maybe once in a while you can have if you don't have a heart problem, and I don't.

Some broccoli, a little bell pepper, some stuffing, some sprouts and some cranberries. It looks wonderful. What could be wrong with that from the Atkins point of view?

DR. STUART TRAGER, CONSULTANT TO THE ATKINS COMPANIES: I don't know that there's anything wrong with that. I think what we're seeing now in the medical literature that is coming out of prestigious universities is that taking out carbohydrates from your diet or restricting the amount of carbohydrates in people's diets is an alternative to help lose weight and to live a life that's more healthy than that that they've seen when they have been struggling to take fat out of the diet.

Taking fat from your diet results in the need to eat more calories. Choose foods that are filled with simple carbohydrates to make them taste good. And what happens is, in the end, people are getting fatter.

The American public is gaining weight. The rate of obesity and overweight individuals is up to 61 percent. Diabetes is up, hypertension is up.

People are struggling to lose weight because they have been told to eat low fat. And what's happened is hypertension, diabetes, all of these other significant health risks, including coronary artery disease are rising. People need an alternative, and what we're seeing now with the new literature that's coming out is that there is an alternative that is safe and cardioprotective. They allow you to lose weight and eat meat, fish, chicken and have all the things that they've been told by others that they shouldn't eat. And, in fact, this is an alternative people are doing quite well with.

In research done at prestigious universities, like the University of Connecticut, we're are finding that people who eat this dietary approach are actually having more energy. Energy was up by 85 percent in one study. Mood is elevated, heartburn goes down when people take carbohydrates out.

In fact, Triglycerides go down, the good cholesterol goes up. These are cardioprotective effects of a diet that's low in carbohydrates.

CARLSON: And, Dr. Ornish, is it -- apparently, last week, The American Heart Association released a study that said, in effect, if you eat my Thanksgiving dinner, which you may not be able to see, but I'll tell you is a massive pile of bacon, a huge helping of turkey, and probably a pound or two of cheddar cheese...

BEGALA: In Washington we call that the Dick Cheney special.

CARLSON: That's right. You will, in fact, lose weight. And I know that's true, because I have seen a lot of people do it. Why isn't that a good thing?

ORNISH: It is a good thing to lose weight, you know, and I'd love to be able to tell you that that's good for your heart. But you know, neither is the tooth fairy, neither is Santa Claus. I don't want to be the first to break the news to you.

And I'd love to be able to tell you that eating bacon and sausage and steak are health foods, but you know they're not. I eat fat foods sometimes, but I don't delude myself into telling me that they're good for myself.

The American Heart Association did not say those are healthy foods. Yes, you can lose wait on an Atkins diet. You can lose weight on fen-fen (ph) or amphetamines. It doesn't mean it's a healthy way to do it.

And what I want to emphasize is that one thing that Dr. Trager and Dr. Atkins and I all agree on, first of all, people are not eating less fat. They are eating more fat than ever. But they're even eating more simple carbohydrates. And where we all agree -- and I don't want your viewers to come away thinking, gosh, these guys can't agree on anything -- we all agree that people eat too many simple carbohydrates. Sugar, white flour, white rice, things like that. And you get all of these calories that don't fill you up and you absorb them quickly.

They make your blood sugar zoom up, you're pancreas makes insulin, and you're more likely to convert them into fat. But the goal is not to go from simple carbs to bacon and sausage, but to go from simple carbs to complex carbs. Things like whole foods, brown rice, whole wheat flour, fruits, vegetables, grains are rich in fiber.

They fill you up before you get too many calories, and they get absorbed slowly. So you get all of the benefits of an Atkins diet, you lose as much weight. But instead of hurting your health you actually enhance it.

TRAGER: May I respond?

BEGALA: Dr. Trager, let me actually have you respond to a Reuters' story that ran recently that cited the Southern Medical Journal that said...

TRAGER: Before we...

BEGALA: ... that a 16-year-old girl in the state of Missouri who followed a high protein diet, such as many recommend, and I think you recommend, died.

TRAGER: To address that right off the bat, that's obviously a tragedy. And it's something that as a physician and as a parent with two young daughters I am truly, truly concerned about. We need to get to the bottom of that.

And I, as well as everybody at the Atkins, absolutely wants to find out what happened in that case. However, it's important that we take emotion out of the issues of diet and helpfulness here and look at evidence-based science. And in the over 500 cases that have been reported in the medical literature that have looked at people following a true Atkins nutritional approach, not a high fat, not a high protein diet, but a true Atkins nutritional approach, where carbohydrates are controlled, there have never been any of these deleterious effects that would suggest that that death had anything to do with the Atkins nutrition approach.

Now, we need to -- but we need to deal without emotion and look at evidence-based science. And right now, for the first time, the American people are being shown studies that show that the Atkins nutritional approach actually improves coronary risk factors. Now it's important that we make a distinction between studies that Dr. Ornish talks about that don't look at an Atkins approach.

By talking about high fat diets we cloud the picture. This is the time to let evidence-based science speak for itself. For years, Dr. Ornish complained that there were no Atkins studies in the literature. Now all of a sudden Atkins studies are coming out. It's only fair to now look at these studies and realize that, in and of themselves, they are showing just what Atkins has claimed for years.

ORNISH: Actually, let me just jump in here a second.

CARLSON: Quickly, I just want to give our viewers -- I'm not sure they have a sense of your diet. This is a description of it from "The Washington Post."

"No meat, no fish, no poultry, no egg yolks, no butter, no margarine, oils, nuts, no cheese, alcohol is limited, no avocados." At some point I wonder, quickly, is life worth living if you can't eat meat and avocados, you have to take vitamins and do yoga? Truly?

ORNISH: Well, first of all, you know the old joke is, am I going to live long, or is just going to seem longer if I eat that way? But you know, nothing could be further from the truth. Let's set the record straight here.

First of all, an Atkins diet is high protein, high fat diet. Whenever you see a picture of Dr. Atkins...

TRAGER: But when carbohydrates...

ORNISH: Excuse me. Tell him I'm not finished what I'm saying. I let you talk, I want you to do the same.

Whenever you see a picture of Dr. Atkins, what do you see? He's got a picture of him in front of steak and bacon and sausage. Come on, give me a break. This is the diet he recommends.

The diet that I recommend, that we have studied for the last 25 years, published in the leading peer reviewed medical journals that you talked about is a reversal diet. That's what it takes to reverse heart disease and prostate cancer. And I'd love to be able to tell you that eating steaks reverses heart disease, but in fact the studies that have been done looking at people who are on an Atkins diet who have heart disease get worse.

Now if you're just trying to lose weight, you don't have to be as strict as that. You can be more moderate.

TRAGER: First of all...

CARLSON: We have to be strict about time, doctors. I'm sorry. We are plum out of time. Dr. Ornish, thank you very much. Dr. Trager, thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you both. We appreciate it.

Now that our main course is out of the way, it's time for the trimmings. In lieu of junk food, Jerry Springer will joins us to talk about politics and trash television.

Later, a holiday sing-along segment features a musical showdown between pledge of allegiance supporter Pat Boone and atheist Michael Newdow. And yes, they will both sing. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BEGALA: Once Thanksgiving dinner has been demolished, most of us choose to recover in front of the television. Football is the preferred choice in my household, maybe in yours. But most afternoons find us cozying up in front of our favorite choices. And the choices are expanding with Sharon Osbourne and even outgoing Minnesota Jesse "the body" Ventura preparing to join the fray.

As a public service to all of those new hosts, we solicited some advice on hosting a talk show from the king of trash TV, Jerry Springer.

BEGALA: Jerry, good to see you.

CARLSON: Jerry, thanks for joining us.


CARLSON: I don't think there's any question that Jesse Ventura would be a better talk show host than a governor. That's not saying anything, of course. Do you think he could make it as a talk show host?

SPRINGER: Oh, I think he'll be great at it. First of all, he represents a point of view that just isn't around, you know, with talk shows. I mean, the political talk shows all tend to be one person speaking for the Democrats, one person speaking for the Republicans and there's no middle of the road.

So I think he kind of reflects what is I call the Nascar vote, those people that are outside traditional politics and he could be very good. He's very personable.

BEGALA: Of course, we watch Nascar for the wrecks, not for the races. And there would be a lot of wrecks, I suppose on his show. If he can go into your current profession, why don't you go back into his? Why don't you go run for governor of Minnesota or maybe right there in Illinois or Ohio? Why not go back into politics, Jerry?


CARLSON: Announced on CROSSFIRE right here.

BEGALA: I'll manage your campaign.

SPRINGER: You've got a deal. I'll call you.

BEGALA: If these guys can move into your business, why don't you move into theirs?

SPRINGER: Oh well, sure. The problem with the transition is always credibility. I think you can certainly go from politics into entertainment, and a number of people have done that. That's certainly the direction I took. Going from entertainment back into politics, that may be a tougher hurdle because there's the credibility issue.

You get an image of whatever your show is and I think you got to live with that. So -- but I think he could make that transition. He went from wrestling to the governorship, and now he's going back to doing what I do for a living, wrestling.

CARLSON: Well, I think personally you have much more credibility than most Democrats. I think you ought to try it. Tell me about your party, which is kind of disintegrating. What do you think went wrong last week?

SPRINGER: Well, we caved in on the war and we also didn't have a strong message on the economy. The truth is, as much as I love the Democrats, we deserved to lose. We didn't offer any real substantive alternative to the American people and we were running against a very popular president.

Even if some of us don't like his particular message, he certainly was very clear about what it was and the Democrats weren't. We were all over the lot and we did cave in on the war in Iraq, which I think is unconscionable. The idea of being an opposition party is that you offer an alternative, and the truth is we didn't.

BEGALA: Do you get the sense -- you know I do this show every night with a live audience and I travel a fair amount. And I get the sense -- this is not from polling data, which supports the war -- but I get the sense (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that that support is about a half an inch thick. That there's a great current of unease about this war. Do you pick that up in your own work?

SPRINGER: Oh, absolutely. You know, right now it's a patriotic issue. You know we are a nation of sound bites. We get our news in sound bites, politicians talk in sound bites. So it's very easy to say Hussein is evil, which of course he is, let's go get him.

We're going to hunt him down, we're going to find him, we're going to get him. I mean, all this Texas talk. And we do that, and the result is that, yes, everyone's in favor of that. But when you're actually in a war and people are dying and we are recruiting in a sense by this war in Iraq, we are recruiting a generation of Islamic people that are going to hate America, just like young Palestinians are growing up to hate Israel. If we start putting an American government in the middle of the Middle East, if we start bombing in the middle of the Middle East, these kids are going to grow up and hate America and there are going to be suicide bombers all over the place.

Right now we have a war against terrorism. That's what we should be focused on. When you get on an airplane or when you go to a stadium, you're not thinking of Saddam Hussein, you're thinking of Osama bin Laden. You're going, holy crap, I hope everyone's OK on this plane, I hope no one's going to do something stupid.

That's the threat to America. We ought to be focused on that and not getting half the world to hate us because we're going to be in the part of the world that doesn't understand our way of life anyway.

CARLSON: Unless, of course, they hate us already. But Jerry Springer, you say that this is a sound bite subject that deserves, you know, more intense exposition here, people need to learn more about Iraq. If you had to do a segment on Iraq on your show, how would do you it?

SPRINGER: I wouldn't, because my show is so stupid, I can't talk about anything serious on my show. It would trivialize it.

CARLSON: Then tell us -- there's no angle you could find? I mean, nothing about Iraq would fit in to the "Jerry Springer Show?"

SPRINGER: Well we have a surprise guest. Tomorrow, we are bringing out Osama bin Laden and we're going to bring him out on our show. No, we can't. See that's it, my show is so off the radar that I can't talk about anything serious on the show because no one would take is seriously, I realize that.

But this is -- this -- I mean you guys are the ones that can be -- and you do, and I applaud you for that. This is where we should be discussing whether or not we go to war. I think we are so complacent.

We keep thinking of war as a video game because a generation was raised on the Gulf War of '90 and '91, where it was all these smart bombs and we think we can just hit buttons and people are blown away. But the consequences of going to war in the Middle East, we're going to live with that for generations. And these are the shows where we ought to be discussing that.

And you ought to be able -- here's where the Democrats failed. They failed to stand up and say, you know what, you can love this country so much that you don't want to weaken it by going to war in Iraq and thereby making ourselves more vulnerable to the terrorists. Stand up for America and say the war in Iraq is wrong. It weakens America, it's stupid. We shouldn't be doing that.

BEGALA: Any desires to run for Democratic national committee chairman, Jerry? I mean that's a great -- I'm serious. You know we have a great chairman, I'm just kidding.

But, you know, seriously, if you ever get tired of people throwing chairs at each other, come to Congress and throw chairs at the Republicans. I'd love to see that.

SPRINGER: You're the first guy I'm going to call up.

BEGALA: Thanks. Jerry Springer, from our Chicago bureau. Thank you very much.

CARLSON: Thanks, Jerry.

When we come back, we'll take our turn giving thanks. Then, singer Pat Boone is thnakful to be an American and he's so devoted to having God in the Pledge of Allegiance that he has decided to deliver an after dinner on the topic.

Plus, get your elbows off the table and please stop playing with your food. Miss Manners is here to set us all straight. We'll be right back.


BEGALA: More than just a chance to gobble down a lot of turkey, Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings. Tucker and I have been doing a lot of that lately, and we've got a lot to be thankful for this year.

Tucker, let me begin. I'm thankful, first of all, this may surprise you, for the Reverend Jerry Falwell, who showed us the true face of right wing Republicanism, petty hateful and prejudiced. And the comments he made about Islam are really reprehensible.

CARLSON: The ones that he -- I haven't heard word one from him. I heard a lot from Al Gore. And his re-emergence makes me grateful, because I think it will remind -- and I think it has to some extent already -- Americans how thankful they are he's not president. That really would have been a disaster.

BEGALA: See I -- counter-intuitively, I'm thankful for one of the new Republicans who has joined the House of Representatives. I'm speaking, of course, about Katharine Harris, the one who gave her word she would come on CROSSFIRE and then broke her word. You know her. She's the hideously overly made up Cruella DeVille look alike election stealer from Florida.

She's now a member of the House Republican Party. The perfect face -- four-feet thick face of the Republican Party here in America.

CARLSON: I actually -- I'm not sure you're talking about -- I respect women too much to mock their physical appearances. But I must say, I must say I am grateful for Al Sharpton, because he is the living embodiment, not simply the values of the Democratic Party, but of the party's future. As goes Al Sharpton, so goes the Democratic Party, and that's just.

BEGALA: You are his biggest fan, but you are not a Democrat. I hate to break the news to you.

On a more serious note, I honestly am thankful for another Republican, Colin Powell, former general, Secretary of State. He has been terrific. With constant sniping from the far right, he pulled together a 15 to nothing vote in the U.N. Security Council to try to disarm Iraq without rushing to war the way Bush and Cheney wanted to. God bless Colin Powell. I'm so thankful he's our secretary of state.

CARLSON: Well -- and the last thing I'm grateful for is the one part of my life completely uninfected, uncorrupted by politics, is my children. We had a new one this year. As you know, having four, I have four. They are a delight. Dorothy, happy little child. I'm grateful for her.

BEGALA: That's wonderful.

CARLSON: Stay tuned for the latest headlines in the CNN NEWS ALERT. And then something to be really thankful for, Paul and I will not sing, but Pat Boone will. Find out what issue is causing him belt out song. We'll be right back.



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

Thanksgiving is one of those days where the line separating church and state becomes somewhat blurred. After all, most of us are giving thanks to God, and this hasn't been one of the greatest years for the divine being. A federal appeals court declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional, because it contained the phrase, "under God."

Singer Pat Boone is adding his voice to the Pledge Allegiance debate, his singing voice, of course. Boone has released a new song called "Under God."

Joining us from Sacramento, California is Dr. Michael Newdow, whose lawsuit provoked the ruling. And here in Washington in our studio is Pat Boone himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you? Thank you for coming. They love you!

BEGALA: The song is out today, but I'm going to get to that in just a second.


BEGALA: But first, as a liberal, let me salute you for praising the work of the Reverend Francis Bellamy, who was a socialist one worlder. I didn't know Pat Boone was plugging the socialist one worlder's work.

BOONE: Well, you'll have to clue me in. I don't know what you're talking about.

BEGALA: The Reverend Frances Bellamy in 1892 wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.

BOONE: Oh, oh!

BEGALA: He was a Baptist minister and a socialist whose most famous sermon was entitled "Jesus, the socialist." He saw this as a unifying thing for the whole world, not just the United States of America.

BOONE: Well, I do then praise him for his crowning achievement, the Pledge Allegiance. I do.

BEGALA: And so, you've become a proponent... BOONE: Yes.

BEGALA: ... of one world socialism. Make some news here on CROSSFIRE.

BOONE: No, no, no, no, far from it, in fact. But no, if he wrote it -- and I was not aware of that. But I accept it, but I accept it, and I congratulate him. It's a great piece of Americana. It certainly is, yes.

CARLSON: Now, Mr. Newdow, the Constitution allows or directs the Congress of the United States to make the laws. And as it happens, Congress took up this very question about the Pledge Allegiance in the national motto "in god we trust" just the other day. And the results were pretty definitive, only five members of the House, all Democrats, voted against the Pledge of Allegiance in the national motto. Polling has showed that the American public is pretty much on the same side, 97 percent of the people support keeping "under God" in the Pledge.

Balanced against that is you, a guy with a lot of free time and an animos towards the Pledge of Allegiance. Why should you win out against the public?

DR. MICHAEL NEWDOW, PLAINTIFF: It's called the Bill of Rights, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is to uphold the rights that are enunciated in the Constitution.

CARLSON: But Congress, again, which makes the laws, has said and has said as an extension of the will of the people it represents, that this is what we as a country want. Again, why should you get to overturn that?

NEWDOW: The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. If they make a law that respects an establishment of religion, they're not allowed to do it. They make the laws.

BOONE: You left out...


NEWDOW: But they're supposed to abide by the Constitution.

BEGALA: Pat, go ahead. You wanted to respond.

BOONE: I'd say he left out part of that First Amendment, and I understand why. Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion nor restricting the free exercise thereof.


BOONE: That's the rest of that phrase.

NEWDOW: And that's why you can write a song about God and have as much fun as you want.


NEWDOW: But the government can't, and that's what you have to keep separate.

BEGALA: They're dying for you to sing a few bars, Pat. Can you give us just a few? Or should we -- we can play the CD, but you're here live. You've got an audience that wants to hear from you.

BOONE: I'll tell you what.


CARLSON: Yes, sir, I do. (UNINTELLIGIBLE), we'll play the CD, because we don't have a house band.

BOONE: Maybe a compromise. Can we play it and let me sing with it?

CARLSON: There we go. Let's play the CD.

BEGALA: All right!

CARLSON: If we could queue the up Howie (ph)...


CARLSON: ... and we've Pat Boone singing...

BOONE: Because you know, we hear it without the music. I purposely tried to Springsteen it up a little bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We usually have a butt-rocking house band, but not tonight.

BOONE (singing): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tiny wooden vessels sailed the vast unchartered sea. On the beach, the weary pilgrims fell exhausted to their knees. For our God, they cried, he saved us, by your mighty outstretched hand, and we dedicate our life here in this new and wondrous land under God. Under God. How can we exist apart from God? He saved us from each peril, led through every path we trod. And we now can live in freedom under God

CARLSON: There you go. Pat Boone!

BEGALA: All right!


CARLSON: I must say, I'm sitting right next to you. Your voice is absolutely fantastic. That's great.

Now, Mr. Newdow -- Dr. Newdow, no offense or anything, but I bet you can't top that, can you?


CARLSON: You have written your own song.

NEWDOW: I don't want to...

CARLSON: Why don't you give us just a quick selection, see if you can beat...


BEGALA: What do you way?

CARLSON: Is that what it was?

BEGALA: There we go.

NEWDOW: This is just a chorus here, OK?


NEWDOW (singing): We are here joined as a nation, and we stand righteous and tall. We are America with liberty and justice for all.

BEGALA: There we go! Outstanding. That takes a lot of guts. Now, Michael Newdow is also, you should know, Pat, he's an emergency room surgeon. I don't know that you want to try fixing a sucking (ph) chest wound.

BOONE: No, no, please.

BEGALA: But it takes a lot of guts, you got to admit for him to go back-to-back...


BEGALA: ... with Pat Boone.

BOONE: Well, he did well.

CARLSON: But that voice, I think that was bold.

BOONE: He did well, too. When I -- you know, we've heard from him. Can I just quote from -- and you were quote from a socialist. Let me quote from the first chief justice of the Supreme Court and one of the three major writers of the Constitution, John Jay. These are his words. "Providence has given to our people the choice of their leaders, their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

Now this was the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who helped write the Constitution itself. Who do you suppose knows a little bit more about what the Constitution intended?

BEGALA: Well, you're not suggesting that we should only vote for Christians as our leaders.

BOONE: No. BEGALA: I voted for Joe Lieberman for vice president, who got more votes than Dick Cheney.

BOONE: I'm not suggesting it.

And I think he's perfectly fit. You're not...

BOONE: I'm not suggesting it. I'm quoting the chief justice, first chief justice of the Supreme Court and one of the guys, one of the three guys, along with Adams and Jefferson, who wrote -- and Monroe -- who wrote the Constitution.

NEWDOW: Which doesn't tell you anything about Christianity or God.


BEGALA: Jefferson was over in France actually. He didn't have anything...


BOONE: They know -- they intended

BEGALA: What they wrote into it was -- let me let Michael Newdow have a turn.

CARLSON: Well, yes, Mr. Newdow, really, because I would feel irresponsible if I didn't ask you about something I read was a new campaign of yours to replace pronouns in the English language, sex- specific pronouns -- he and she -- with "re," "res" and "erm" in place of "he," "his" and "him" and "she", "her" and "hers." Now, that's not really true, is it?

NEWDOW: I'm not trying to replace it. I just think our language is short something. For instance, God, when you talk about God, you to say "he" or "she" or something. Why don't we just say "we?" That way we can take care of it.

CARLSON: And would you take that to currency, replacing all references to God on coins and bills and public buildings? I mean, do you think those ought to be...


NEWDOW: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) pronouns, but yes, I would get rid of God on anything that has to do with government, OK? If Pat Boone wants to go out and praise God and, you know, tell us that Christians are great, that's fine. The government can't tell us that, that's all.

BEGALA: In fact, let me put Pat B. on the spot, because I know you're a great capitalist, but also a great patriot. Will you be donating all of the proceeds of this song to a 9/11 charity or other charity? BOONE: This has happened so quickly, we haven't made a provision to do it, but I'd be happy to. This is not a money-making thing for me. What I hope is, to remind people in the song why the words "under God" are in the Pledge of Allegiance to begin with. It's because people came to this country seeking freedom of, not from, of religion. And I would like to say to Mike, and I respect him, that he is...


BOONE: ... he's preaching a religion, is atheism, is a belief system concerning God. You believe God doesn't exist. He can't prove it, so he has to take that by faith. We believe he does exist.


NEWDOW: I agree 100 percent, but the question is, why should government come in on your side? Why doesn't government just stay out of it?

BOONE: It's not a matter of government...

BEGALA: That is where we're going to have to leave it. In fact, Dr. Michael Newdow, you've been on before. I promise you'll be on again.

BOONE: It's freedom of speech.

BEGALA: And Pat Boone, you have an open invitation anytime you want to come.

CARLSON: Just like it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, it wouldn't be CROSSFIRE without "Fireback." But before we get to that, it seems the biggest challenge faced by some people sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table is getting through the meal without a shouting match. We sometimes occasionally have that problem here at CROSSFIRE, too. And this man can straighten us all out next.


JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CO-HOST: Welcome back to our Thanksgiving Day edition of CROSSFIRE.

Holiday family reunions can sometimes present a challenge. How do you sit around a table with people you hardly know, hardly like and violently disagree with it? Come to think of it, that sounds a little like CROSSFIRE, at least the part about disagreeing.

So, perhaps we could all profit by getting a visit from Miss Manners.

Welcome, Judith Martin, to CROSSFIRE.


CARLSON: Now, Judith Martin -- I'm afraid I'm going to have to call you Miss Manners, I just can't help it. One of the great things...

JUDITH MARTIN, MISS MANNERS: Madam would be OK, too.

CARLSON: Madam, madam?


CARLSON: Let me tell you what I liked about your book, many things. But you in here set the record straight about American manners relative to the manners of our friends in Europe. I just want to read you one quote from page 46. "Unaware of the history of American etiquette, many Americans take the American Baxter's word for it that foreigners in general, and the English and the French in particular, observe a permanent standard that we fail to meet."

In other words, the French are horrible. How horrible are they?

MARTIN: Let us say that we are not quite as horrible as we sometimes think we are. Now, I'm not going to let up on the attack on American rudeness, which is...


MARTIN: ... everywhere and horrendous and needs correcting.

CARLSON: But compared to the French, I mean, seriously.

MARTIN: This is not a ball game, you know, where we're playing the French. The principles of American manners are a lot better than the principles -- the European principles, from which they were originally derived.

CARVILLE: There's a kind of a proper way to do everything. There's a right way and a wrong way. And one of the things I had a problem with last Tuesday night -- and I want to show you a clip and maybe you can give me a hand here. I don't know what's the proper way to put a trash can on one's head?

MARTIN: Well, I think that's very becoming.

CARVILLE: That's very becoming.


CARVILLE: So, you see, now look up there...

MARTIN: You might consider it more often.

CARVILLE: Right, OK. Well, I just wanted to be sure that I was in the bounds of good etiquette there.

CARLSON: So, what you're saying, if I hear you correctly and I think I am, it's a situational thing? I mean it's like situational ethics, not everybody looks better with a trash can on his head, but some do, is what you're saying?

MARTIN: Yes, yes, and in here, I thought it was a graceful little compliment, right?

CARLSON: Now, when is an appropriate time to argue? And since James and I argue for a living, tell us.

MARTIN: Etiquette is what makes argument possible. It's not what stifles argument. And it has a few little rules, one of which I realize is kind of esoteric, and you people haven't heard about it. But it's that when you have a debate, one person talks at a time, and that way, everybody can hear what is being said.



CARVILLE: Miss manners, let me show you a...


CARVILLE: ... naughty little boy here, you know what I mean? Go ahead, can we play this on CROSSFIRE and have Miss Manners comment on this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Answer the question!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tucker, clearly doesn't want to hear the answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the decision was based not on those misrepresentations. The decision was based on proposed revisions...

CARLSON: That's not true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tucker, honestly, you really don't...

CARLSON: You can say it all you want, Julian (ph)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You come on TV, and you have no idea what you're talking about.

CARLSON: You have no idea what you're talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, let me tell you -- let me tell you...


CARLSON: You know, and you're not telling the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tucker, Tucker...

CARLSON: That's ridiculous!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you read, the decision is very clear...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... to clarify something here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The decision -- and in fact, just let me finish the point, if I may for one second.

CARLSON: I wish you would. You're taking a long time here.


CARLSON: Now, don't you think he went on far too long? At a certain point, if you're wrong, don't you think you ought to just admit it? I mean, isn't that part of?

MARTIN: It's part of manners to let people take a turn and state their position, so if you want to slam them into next week, you have the material to do it with.

CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) good manners if say I hauled off gloved slapped him in the middle of that while was he was being rude?

MARTIN: Well, actually, yes, that was -- it's been made illegal. But the duel was a very elaborate structure of manners that said, if you look at me cross-eyed and I'll send you into next week.

CARLSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), well, let me show you someone I think who needs a lot of help, your professional help, to be quite honest. Here he is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James, why does that offend you so much? They killed 3,000 people!


CARVILLE: These mosques and these countries that are playing, that are worth it, that are good Americans, that pay taxes here! They are not evil people! They are good people! And for you to suggest that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is just (EXPLETIVE DELETED). It is wrong!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James, you're dripping.

CARVILLE: No, I'm not dripping!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're drooling. He's drooling.

CARVILLE: I don't think you ought to tell these good people that's what it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't care what...

(CROSSTALK) CARVILLE: It irritates the hell out of me.


MARTIN: He's supposed to take off his shoe and bang it on table (ph).

CARLSON: Well, that's right, but don't you think gun play would be more polite than that, honestly?

MARTIN: Probably, yes, and a lot quieter.

CARVILLE: But I've got to say that it is truly an honor to have you, the most well-mannered person in America, on America's rudest television show. Tell us a little bit about your book here. And honestly, tell us what your central point is.

MARTIN: Well, it's the defense of American manners, which I never thought I'd do, but it's a defense of the etiquette of egalitarianism. And we have not only invented it, but we have spread it around the world. It goes to people whose governments have become more like ours and who are ready for egalitarianism. I can't say it...

CARVILLE: Egalitarianism.

MARTIN: Yes, that. And it's spread to people who are trying to fend off any kind of representative government, and therefore hate what we're doing and mix in the vulgar transgressions along with the very good principles.

CARLSON: Miss Manners, Judith Martin, thanks very much for joining us.

CARVILLE: Thank you very much.

CARLSON: Well, we've learned our lesson tonight, and we will mind our manners from here on out. Our viewers, however, much harder to control, as you'll find out next in our "Fireback" segment. We'll be right back.


CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Now our favorite part of the program, time to "Fireback."

CARLSON: And they do. Let's see what they say.

CARVILLE: OK. "Who has worse manners -- Cajuns or Texans?" Dan Olney of Cincinnati, Ohio. Of course, Texans have worse manners than Cajuns. Cajuns are wonderful people and they never slurp their gumbo.

CARLSON: I can't understand a word they say, so I don't know if they are polite or not.

CARVILLE: Yes, it's good. They like it that way.

CARLSON: Yes. And here's a mushy one, Carole DelMonte from Cleveland writes: "Tucker, you're absolutely adorable, until you open your mouth. James, you are downright sexy" -- that is perverse -- "especially when you open your mouth. Sorry, Tucker, Dems may be down but definitely not out."

There's a message in there.

CARVILLE: I like Carole...


CARLSON: I'm not taking it any deeper than what it says on top.

CARVILLE: Cajuns are not -- the Texans are ruder than Cajuns, and people from Ohio are geniuses. I love you, Carole.

"Please no manners. A free form style debate is good for the intellect. Those who want bland pre-digested formats can crawl to Fox. You guys stimulate this old heart five days a week. Thanks." Sharon Shadbpit, you need to buy a vowel there or something -- Tahuya, Washington. I tell you what, you're right, Sharon. You are a very brilliant woman, and Washington is a great state. And we love you for writing in.

CARLSON: Boy, you are full of good cheer here on Thanksgiving.

Lauren Andriaansen from Tampa, Florida writes: "Important as manners are, sometimes certain things just need to be said. James' outbursts may be over the top" -- you got that right, Lauren -- "but they're passionate and right on target."

How many cousins do you have, James?


CARVILLE: From Ohio to Florida, all across...

CARLSON: Unbelievable1

CARVILLE: ... this great land of ours, women are looking up to James Carville.

CARLSON: You're scaring our viewers again, James.


CARLSON: Yes. All right.

CARVILLE: All right.

CARLSON: And to the audience, a very grateful audience on Thanksgiving. Yes, what do you happen to be grateful for?

Well, my name Erin (ph), and I'm from Ventura, California. And I'm very thankful that the Bush presidency is about half over.

CARVILLE: There you go.

CARLSON: Really?

CARVILLE: I never thought of that. Well, thank you, dear.

CARLSON: Can you imagine for just -- as we -- a new person gets the microphone, if there was a Gore presidency right now, how terrifying that would be?

CARVILLE: Yes, sure. You know what?

CARLSON: Yes, sir.

CARVILLE: We wouldn't have this damn deficit and this economy blowing...

CARLSON: Yes, I'm sure not.

CARVILLE: ... and we'd actually be winning the war on terrorism. Go ahead, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Chris from Rhode Island. And, James, if you had another Thanksgiving, I am still thankful that spineless (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Al Gore is not our president.

CARVILLE: Well, you got such nice things to say. It so happens that he won the election. So, more American people voted for him than voted for the one we got.

CARLSON: Do you know what the sad thing is? It's I think you really believe that.

CARVILLE: I know it.

CARLSON: And I think some...

CARVILLE: I don't believe it, I know it.

CARLSON: I think some time on the couch would disabuse you of the notion.

CARVILLE: We can count.

CARLSON: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is John, and I'm from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. And I just wanted to tell you guys that I'm thankful for the fact that I can walk into work every day either wearing a pink shirt or a bow tie and be happy with myself. I don't even have to check the fashion magazines.

CARVILLE: You got it.

CARLSON: That -- you know what? I think I'm not sure I understood your question or comment, but I agree with it if you were praising this.

CARVILLE: We have people who dare to dress differently.


CARVILLE: It is very important that you dare to dress differently in this land.


CARVILLE: Because if we all dressed the same, well, we'd all dress...

CARLSON: It's one of the key guaranties that the Constitution bestows.

CARVILLE: Absolutely.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Kay Abuwitz (ph), and I'm from Washington, D.C. And I am thankful there were no major election blunders in Florida on November 5, except for Jeb Bush getting re- elected.

CARVILLE: That's pretty good. All right, it looks like (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we got it. Thanksgiving in this show, what we never get a chance to just stick that good old knife in there, 300...

CARLSON: Innocent Jeb Bush, you don't hear much about Jeb Bush anymore now that he won.

CARVILLE: Yes, you know, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE) again. You know, one thing I like about CROSSFIRE, it's five days a week, 52 weeks a year. We ain't never nice.

CARLSON: That's an excellent point, James. Get it all out on the show. Yes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Maurice Wright (ph) from Gaithersburg, Maryland. I was born in the third world, and I'm a naturalized U.S. citizen. And it's the experience of living outside this country that makes me thankful to be in the best country in the world.

CARVILLE: Well, thank you, sir.

CARLSON: Well, that's the nicest thing I've heard in a long time.

CARVILLE: And welcome to the United States. We appreciate that.

CARLSON: Amen! I'm not sure we can...


CARVILLE: I'm James Carville, good night for CROSSFIRE and good night for America.

CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again next time for more CROSSFIRE and most of all, happy Thanksgiving.


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