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The U.N.: What Are They Thinking About War With Iraq?

Aired January 30, 2003 - 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: Sending signals to Saddam Hussein, and the world.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a matter of weeks not months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are defending both ourselves and the safety and survival of civilization itself.

ANNOUNCER: But, has the Bush administration made the case?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not further confuse the devil out of the rest of the world and make us sound like a bunch of cowboys.

ANNOUNCER: First they said hang up and drive. Now one state may say if you have children in your car, put your cigarette butt out. Is that going too far?

She's off the hook in a Florida court. But not in the court of public opinion. The cloning lady is back. But does she have any proof yet?

Tonight, on CROSSFIRE.


Live from the George Washington University, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.


Tonight, cowboys, terrorists and the survival of civilization itself. Has the debate on Iraq become more overwrought than illuminating? We'll debate it.

We'll also ask the cloning lady if she can give us some evidence that anything she claims is, in fact, true.

Also the state sticks its nose in your car, smells cigarette smoke and says go to your room, you've been a very bad girl. But first our personal addiction the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

This afternoon, after months of delay, the nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals finally moved to the Senate floor for a vote.

Democrats have opposed Estrada at every turn. Why? That's not so clear. Earlier this week, Democrats Elijah Cummings, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, both members of the House of Representatives said they plan to fight Estrada's nomination just because. They refused to say why. Maybe that's because they don't have a good reason. In fact, after months of debate, Estrada's opponents still cannot point to a single statement he has made or a single opinion he has written that is offensive.

Instead, predictably, liberals have accused Estrada of racism. A "New York Times" editorial yesterday suggested that Estrada is a bigot because he once quote, "Defended anti-loitering laws." Last fall Senator Patrick Leahy literally accused him of not being Hispanic enough. Charging that he quote, "did not exactly share in the experiences of most Latinos." Estrada, who was born in Honduras does not respond by punching out Leahy, which in itself is proof of judicial temperament.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: What's interesting here, first of all, this is proof that Republicans practice affirmative action. Mr. Estrada is a well educated young man who never served a day in traffic court. The burden of proof should be on him and his supports to say why he should be on the second most powerful court in the land, Tucker. He's never told us his views on anything. Your right, as you said...

CARLSON: You just said that the only reason he's there is because of his race. That's so insulting. He's had 15 cases before the Supreme Court, Paul.

BEGALA: People have argued 115, they're not getting up for the Supreme Court.

DOBBS: That's totally unfair.

They need make a case for the guy. The burden should be on him.

Well, Senate Democrats Dick Durban and Tom Harkin, held up the nomination of Treasury Secretary nominee John Snow over a dispute with President Bush over pensions. The Bush administration last month proposed new rules which would make it easier for corporations to switch older workers into pension plans with greatly reduced benefits.

These so-called cash balance plans would save corporate America hundreds of millions of dollars by reducing pensions of retirees by hundreds of millions of dollars. Classic Bush deal, corporations get the gold mine, workers get the shift. An irritated President Bush said who needs a pension, why don't these guys do what Dick Cheney and John Snow did, pocket tens of millions of dollars as they walk out the door. CARLSON: That's totally misleading. As you know, cash balance pensions go with you when you move jobs. They're much more suited to the new economy. And in the end, people who have older employees will have a choice to retain their traditional pensions if they so choose.

BEGALA: Not if this rule goes through.

CARLSON: Come on, Paul.

BEGALA: No, they won't they will switch them out defined benefits to cash balance...

CARLSON: I'll bet you $1, 000.

BEGALA: I don't have $1, 000. I'm not a Republican.

CARLSON: Right. We'll get into that later in the show. For months Democrats have argued against the war in Iraq on the grounds that quote, "Our allies are against us." Allies in this case has always been a euphemism for the French. A group whose approval liberals crave. France is still opposed to virtually anything the United States does and of course always will be. But the rest of the world is not. This morning the heads of state of eight European nations, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Britain, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic publicly endorsed President Bush's position on Iraq.

In a statement published in the "Times" of London they demanded that Saddam Hussein immediately disarm or face the consequences of war. And then the Europeans did something this administration's enemies almost never do. They praised American foreign policy. Quote, "Thanks in large part to American bravery, generosity and far- sightedness, Europe was set free from the two forms of tyranny that devastated our continent in the 20th century, Nazism and communism."

Amen. Too bad it took Europeans to remind us of that.

BEGALA: And just how many troops are the Spaniards going to send? How many body bags are going to be marked, go home to Europe. They're happy to hold our coat and let us go and fight. Big whoop.

CARLSON: That is so cynical...

BEGALA: I want to make sure our president tells us why it's in our interest to risk our lives to fight this war.


CARLSON: Don't you find it telling, Paul, that the Czech Republic has a higher regard for the American foreign policy than the average liberal? Don't you find that telling? I do.

BEGALA: This is completely silly, Tucker.

CARLSON: It's not silly.

BEGALA: It's completely silly. The Czech Republic is happy to let Americans go and die, let them do it.

CARLSON: That's so cynical. I can't believe you are saying that.

Well, President Bush today, speaking of the height of cynicism visited the Boys and Girls Club of Washington, D.C. Our president called the clubs, and I quote him, little beacons of light for children who might not see light. But what he didn't say is that his budget cuts funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs by $10 million. A 15 percent reduction in the wattage for those little beacons of light.

Let's watch this one, friends. Let's see how many of the mushy headed mullets in the media even report about Mr. Bush's hypocrisy. How many of them will ask him why he's cutting a program that he praises? Now, of course, if Mr. Bush and called them the boys and goats club it would make news. Humorous gaffes are harmless, major league hypocrisy is serious. Mr. Bush as so cowed the corporate media into silence, they doesn't report matters of serious criticism. Lets watch.

CARLSON: Actually, honestly, Paul, I think that hatred of Bush has driven the left to the brink of insanity. Now it's a media conspiracy. The press aren't reporting it. He's evil, but the main stream press held captives by the overlords.

BEGALA: They are no reporting it. I would be happy to be wrong. Let's watch if the press reports the president is trying to cut a program that he went today and praised. This is out of the movie "Dave" by the way. I you look at the movie "David"....


CARLSON: All of journalism will watch carefully now that you've laid down the gauntlet. We hear the argument over and over, don't disregard the U.N., it is relevant, it is respected, it is ready to lead. In fact it is the only body with the moral legitimacy to lead. If you believe those arguments you'll hardly be able to wait until this May, that's when the chairmanship of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament is taken over by Iraq.

The post rotates with other countries taking turns in alphabetical order. India, which regularly rattles nuclear tip sabers at Pakistan is the current chairman. Iraq will be taking over for other champion of disarmament Iran. Notes from the U.S. Ambassador, "The irony is overwhelming." Not to be outdone the U.n. recently announced Libya has been elected leader of its Human Rights Commission. That is not a joke. Ethiopia, by the way will soon be leading the World Agricultural Caucus.

BEGALA: I guess your beef is with our president who says one of the chief rationales for this war he so desperately seeks is we have to enforce U.N. resolutions. Again, my test is this, American national interest. Our president's going to have to persuade me why it's in America's interest. You can go tease the U.N. as much as you want. You make fun of it. There is a lot to make fun there. But...

CARLSON: I think the point I just made about liberals going insane...

BEGALA: Our president has got to persuade me why our country needs to go to war in Iraq. We have a perfectly good country of our own, why do we have to take over Iraq? I don't want Iraq.

When former Bush speech writer, David Frum, wrote that his boss was not a nice guy in private, I have to tell you I thought it was unfair. I said so on the show. My own dealings with Mr. Bush have been generally pleasant. I've always thought of him as a nice guy. Now I'm beginning to wonder if Frum was right and I am wrong. Because when he hosted media big shots for lunch on the day of his State of the Union address, President Bush said to George Stephanopoulos, quote, "Welcome back to the White House, George, we'll have to make sure we count the silverware."

Stephanopoulos was too gracious to point out that the president who was so worried about losing silverware has lost a $5.7 trillion surplus and 2 million jobs. But then again, one of the things Mr. Bush is an expert in, of course, is silver spoons. He was graceless...

CARLSON: You know, he was joking about all the things the Clintons stole on their way out. And I doubt -- I honestly doubt...

BEGALA: And you do, too.

CARLSON: But truly, I doubt that Stephanopoulos was offended by that. He's just joking. Maybe it was a dumb joke. But I mean, clearly, I hardly say that's a window into his soul, really.

BEGALA: A line like that is fine for a blow hard like me on cable television. But not for the president of the United States.

CARLSON: Beneath the dignity of the office? Is that what you're telling me as a former Clinton staffer?


BEGALA: For president of the United States to sit there and insult George like that, it's got to be shameless.

Well, Groundhog Day is three days away, but Vice President Cheney emerged from his hole in the ground. We all know what that means, of course, six more weeks until war.

In a minute, we'll debate President Bush's case on the war on Iraq.

And we will also have a host of other issues.

And then later, do you have a right to poison your children, some say yes if your poison of choice is cigarette smoke.

And then fresh from her victory in a Florida court the French cloning lady. Should be fun. Stay with us.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Efforts to disarm Iraq diplomatically were in high gear today. President Bush hosted Italy's prime minister and Saudi Arabia's foreign minister at the White House. Canada's foreign minister was at the State Department. The leaders of Britain and Spain were talking, and Iraq itself has invited the U.N.'s top weapons inspectors back to Baghdad.

Meanwhile Vice President Dick Cheney gave a speech warning that the U.S. reserves the right to act unilaterally against Iraq. Adding "our efforts against terrorism could affect the survival of civilization itself."

But has the Bush administration made its case for war? Stepping into the CROSSFIRE tonight, Democratic Strategist Peter Fenn and former Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Bob Walker.

BEGALA: Thank you very much. For coming in, both of you. Let me get right to it. In his State of the Union address, the president offered pretty much one piece of concrete evidence, a lot of very powerful rhetoric, but one piece of concrete evidence on Iraq having nuclear weapons program. Here's what he said.


BUSH: Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.


BEGALA: Now, I agree with the end of that, he has much to hide. I don't doubt that. But the experts who've looked at these tubes say that the president is wrong. Here's what the experts say.

"After weeks of investigation, U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq are increasingly confident that the aluminum tubes were never meant for enriching uranium and in Britain, the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a September 24 white paper that there was `no definitive intelligence' that the tubes were destined for a nuclear program."

Is our president misinformed or is he misinforming us?

BOB WALKER, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: No, he's not misinforming anybody. I think the president is laying out the case against Saddam Hussein. And the fact is that there were a whole series of issues that he brought up, this being just one of them. And this was not a case of doing anything other than familiarizing the American people with the fact that this is a very, very bad guy and it is time that the world...

BEGALA: I agree with that. But why is he giving us bad facts? He is a bad guy. Why is he telling us something that's false to buttress his argument? WALKER: I don't think anything you had there indicates that it's false. It's simply that there are people who have expertise on various sides of this. So I don't think that the president gave a falsehood.

But I think the president laid out clearly for the American people, at least all the feedback I've heard is that the American people have now understood why Saddam Hussein should not be in power in Iraq any longer. And I think that was a very important for the president to do, so that the American people understood the context of the actions that he's taken.

CARLSON: Peter, there is, I'd be the first to admit, a valid and a logical and an honorable case against going to war in Iraq. But Democrats are not making that case. Instead they're saying things like this. This is Tom Daschle in his pre-response to the president's State of the Union.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: How are our efforts to deal with this threat helped by shortcircuiting an inspections process that we demanded in the first place?


CARLSON: So, what he has just said, the minority leader of the United States has just said, that the United States shortcircuited the inspections process, not Saddam Hussein by his invasions and lies, but the U.S. is responsible.

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: What he's saying is let the inspectors do their job. Let the inspectors inspect. Let's have as many flyovers now in this country. Let's see every Yugo moving anywhere in this country. Let's do the job that we're -- that these inspectors are designed to do.


CARLSON: Wait a second, Peter. But why do you think that job is not being done? He suggests it's because of the Bush administration. The Iraqi government has not allowed flyovers.

FENN: Here's our one problem here. This president made the decision over six months ago to go to war. He back pedaled and took his rhetoric down a decibel because of the elections coming up and now we're back into it.

I am totally convinced right now that no matter what anybody says that once the 14th, Valentine's Day, when the inspectors come back and make a report no matter what that report says, he's going. Unless there's only one out. And that out is if Saddam Hussein packs his bags from Baghdad, and is out of there. But I think we're going. We're going.

WALKER: That's what the policy is all about. Part of the policy is to put the kind of pressure into the system both in Iraq and outside Iraq to have Saddam Hussein out of there. And so it seems to me that one of the things that you ought to recognize about the Bush administration policy is, it is really aimed at getting rid of this very bad guy.

FENN: Does no one disagree with that, bob. No one's disagreeing with that.

WALKER: Every time you criticize the policy you weaken the impact of getting rid of Saddam Hussein.

BEGALA: Every time we criticize the policy we are defending our rights as Americans to criticize our government. The most important patriotic thing we can do, Bob.

WALKER: You can do that. Just so you understand that the part of the context of all of this going is to try to get rid of Saddam Hussein. So if you end up encouraging Saddam Hussein to stay, it does, in fact...

BEGALA: Doesn't it encourage him more when our president, for example says, excuse me, when he says, the IAEA, the nuclear inspectors, our president told us this, said in a report that Saddam Hussein would have a nuclear weapon in six months and then the IAEA has to get up and say, Mr. President we don't have any such report, I don't know where you got that from. Doesn't it undermine America's case when our president says things that are false?

WALKER: Look, if the president were saying things that were false, that would be true.

BEGALA: That's exactly what he said, Bob.

WALKER: We have a variety of issues where you have a lot of experts with lots of different opinions.

BEGALA: He said there's...

WALKER: The bottom line is. The bottom line is that I think that what we do to put pressure on the world and all the pressure on Saddam Hussein to leave is exactly the right policy.


FENN: One sentence. The sentence is, the best pressure on this man will come from the international community. Not if we go it alone...

CARLSON: Peter, you and other Democrats have said, Look, we're, by criticizing the president, exercising our patriotic duty. And there's some truth in that.

Let me suggest that that's not all that's going on. This is a quote from Democratic strategist in "The New York Post" today.

Quote: "If you support Bush on Iraq and he wins, you gain zip. If you support him and he loses, you lose along with him. But if you oppose him and things go bad, you stand to be a big winner."

Not by the way, a big winner morally. A big winner electorally. That makes me sick and I hope it does you, too.

FENN: It does. I'll tell you, that ain't me. And it makes me sick and it -- look. National security is much too important for silly little comments like that.


BEGALA: On that I think we can all agree. Peter Fenn, hang on with us. Bob, hung on with us. We've got another segment coming right up.

In a minute we're going to ask these guests if our president has been making his case, not on war, but now on class warfare, giving his rich friends another tax break and loading the court with right-wing cranks.

Later the Libertarian right wants to defend your right to poison your children. Should be fun.

And then a woman who claims to have cloned a baby steps into the CROSSFIRE. You think this time she'll bring a little bundle of proof?

Stay tuned and find out.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

As we mentioned earlier, the Senate Judiciary Committee today approved Miguel Estrada for a seat on the Court of Appeals, despite Democrats complaints that he's been evasive about his views on issues.

Republicans pushed the nomination through on a straight party line vote. We're talking about that and the economy and other matters with former Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Bob Walker, Democratic strategist Peter Fenn.

CARLSON: Peter, we had this in a "Political Alert," but I really want to get your take on it.

Senator Leahy of Vermont, in attacking Miguel Estrada, since there really is nothing specific to attack him on, went after his ethnic heritage and said -- quote -- that he did not exactly share in the experiences of most Latinos.

That ought to be complete -- he ought to be ashamed of saying something like that, don't you think?

FENN: Absolutely not.

If you look at the groups....

CARLSON: Absolutely not? FENN: ...the Mexican-American groups, the Latin American groups, the Hispanic groups, they oppose his nomination. And I'll tell you one of the reasons they oppose it is because of substance.

Here is someone who would not even comment on Supreme Court decisions...

CARLSON: But that's not substance.

FENN: ...listen, this is a see no evil, or good for that matter, hear none, speak none.

CARLSON: Give me one example -- give me one example of something that he has said or written that you find unacceptable. Just one.

FENN: That's the problem. He won't any answer questions.


BEGALA: Excuse me. Tucker and I were arguing about this earlier.

He's clearly a well educated young man. He's clearly got no judicial experience whatsoever. That's inarguable. And yet, when he came to testify he wouldn't take positions on issues.

Now I don't believe he's stupid. I believe he's evasive. Why should he have a seat on the second highest court in the land when he won't tell us his views?

WALKER: Well, because the fact is that he may have to make decisions in the future that are on those issues. And so to use the...

BEGALA: So he's not allowed to tell us the truth and answer honest questions?

WALKER: Telling the truth is fine. I don't think anybody said that he didn't tell the truth.

BEGALA: That's true. That's a good point.

WALKER: The fact is...

BEGALA: He didn't say anything.

WALKER: Well the fact is, inside the judicial nomination process, that that's often been the case.

BEGALA: Yes. It's a strategy that I think is reprehensible.

Justice Thomas, for example, who is one of the strongest pro-life jurists in this country, in his testimony, when he was being confirmed, said he had never formed an opinion on Roe vs. Wade. I find that astonishing. Why didn't he tell us the truth, which was I think is, I think Roe vs. Wade wrongly decided, Mr. Chairman. If you put me on the court, I'll help to overturn it. That's a legitimate, honest legal view. Why can't you tell the truth?

WALKER: Because there are liberals in the United States Senate at the present time who regard that as being something that says you cannot be on the Court at all.

BEGALA: That's democracy.

WALKER: Democracy?


WALKER: It's a single issue...


WALKER: ...particularly when you won't bring it to the floor of the Senate to vote on.

FENN: What this is is this is folks in our profession out of that White House coaching him to say nothing.

And I'll tell you something. If you're going to go on a court like this, if you're going to go on what some consider a fast track for the Supreme Court, for you not to say what you believe -- I'm not talking about court cases. I'm saying what you believe. Then, I think that's dishonest.

CARLSON: Peter...

FENN: And I also think it's an effort just to get confirmed at all costs.

CARLSON: Wait -- no, Peter, let me ask you something.

WALKER: It's not dishonest at all. It's simply someone who says that in the future, I'm going to have to make tough decisions and I don't want to -- I don't want to lock myself in.


CARLSON: I don't want to ask about the judge. I want to ask you about the cloning lady who's coming in. No, I'm serious. No, no, truly.

Why can't the Congress pass a cloning ban? The president asked this question at the State of the Union. It's very simple. The vast majority of Americans want it. It's a pretty clear, moral choice. Why can't Democrats get behind that?

FENN: You get behind a bill of no cloning of human beings, I think people are fine. You know, the problem you get into is you get into stem cell research. You get into a lot of issues that are going to help people. No cloning people. I don't think you'd have any trouble getting that passed.

BEGALA: Bob, our president today went to the Boys and Girls Clubs. Here's what he said. Take a look.


BUSH: Boys and Girls Club have got a grand history of helping children understand the future is bright for them, as well as any other child in America. The Boys and Girls Clubs have been safe havens for little beacons of light for children who might not see light. And I want to thank them for their service to the country.


BEGALA: The House Appropriations Committee staff tells us that the president is cutting the budget to fund the Boys and Girls Club by $10 million, a 15 percent cut. Isn't it hypocritical for him to go and praise these people when he's cutting their budget in private?

WALKER: Well, in all honesty, I haven't seen the president's budget yet and I don't think any body else has.

BEGALA: The House Appropriations Committee has.

WALKER: Well, the House Appropriations Committee has not seen next year's budget either.

BEGALA: This is FY 2002 budget. So that doesn't count?

WALKER: Well the fact is...

BEGALA: It's the only budget we have.

WALKER: ...we're most of the way through the year, and so therefore...

BEGALA: But it's massive hypocrisy. You have to admit.

CARLSON: And unfortunately we are all the way through our segment. We're completely out of time. Actually, I think you were on the cusp of making a point and I'm sorry to cut you off right there.

Peter Fenn, Bob Walker, thanks very much.

Next -- the nanny state's latest attempt, one of many attempts to butt into your private life. We'll debate needless intrusions by authoritarian liberal do-gooders. There are so many. We'll pick one.

And then -- she's dodged a lawsuit but how much longer can she dodge a quest for proof that her group has, in fact, cloned human beings? The cloning lady joins us. It's going to be terrific.

We'll be right back.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

In the peach state, that would be Georgia, a state representative has introduced legislation which would outlaw smoking in a car carrying a child. No other state currently has such a law, but across the country, people who don't want to be the collateral damage in the slow suicide of our nation's smokers are fighting back. They're banning smoking in restaurants, bars, public buildings, even the New York City jail. Stepping into the CROSSFIRE Maryland state Senator Ida Ruben and Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute.

Senator how are you? Thank you for coming.

CARLSON: How are you doing?

CARLSON: Ida Ruben you know as well as I do, let's be up front about this, this is really about telling people what to do with their private lives. You know how I know that? Because the number of children killed by smoking in cars stands at precisely zero. The number of children killed or injured by air bags stands in the dozens of children just over the last five years. If you really cared about protecting kids in cars you'd ban air bags, wouldn't you?

IDA RUBEN, MARYLAND STATE SENATOR: Not necessarily, no. Because I'm trying to save lives -- I'm trying to prevent...

CARLSON: Kids have been killed by air bags, and none have been killed by cigarettes.

RUBEN: That's not true. You have defects in children from parents smoking. You have lots of illnesses in children growing up because they've been exposed to the carcinogens in tobacco. I think it's important for us to do everything we can to prevent these deaths. And there are thousands every year.

BEGALA: And in fact, Mr. Taylor when used appropriately air bags save lives when used appropriately cigarettes kill, that's the difference.

Let me read you the statistics about secondhand smoke on children. Particularly children from the American Cancer Society.

"One hundred and fifty thousand to 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in children younger than 18 months of age. Increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million asthmatic children. Increases in cases of middle ear inflammation and fluid build up in young children of smokers."

This is poison. Why would you want to allow parents to poison their kids?

JERRY TAYLOR, CATO INSTITUTE: Well, there are certainly respiratory problems that occur, modest respiratory problems that occur when kids are exposed to secondhand smoke.

BEGALA: Modest compared to problems somebody else has? Any respiratory problem a kid has is not very modest. TAYLOR: The point is that kids only spend about 5 percent of their time in the car. If you're really concerned about this what you need to do is ban smoking around kids in the home. That's where they are most of the time. And if you want to go there you may as well ban swimming pools. Three hundred and fifty kids a year die in swimming pools every year.

BEGALA: They can be used safely. Cigarettes can't.

TAYLOR: 250 kids die on bicycles every year and several hundred kids a year die because parents undercook food. They give them salmonella or E. coli poisoning. And if you are really concerned about child safety why don't we make it to under cook food.

BEGALA: Because again, bicycles and swimming pools and hamburgers can be used effectively. Cigarettes kill, period. Period.

CARLSON: I think that's a really interesting point, children do, of course, Mr. Taylor said, spend the vast majority of the time in the home. And with parents that smoke, that's the primary place they're getting secondhand smoke.

Why not ban it in the home?

RUBEN: because someone's home is their private place.

CARLSON: Your car's not?

RUBEN: The car is, yes, but I will tell you that...

CARLSON: Well, yes or no, is it or not?

RUBEN: Is a car private not if you have a child in there, no.

CARLSON: Why is that -- how is that -- wait, wait, then why is a house not private?


RUBEN: If I had my way they wouldn't smoke in the home either.

CARLSON: So you would make that illegal if you could?

RUBEN: If I could, but I can't. And I'm aware of that.

BEGALA: What about other forms of poison. Should parents be able to slip a little bit of strychnine, arsenic into the kid's Juicy Juice? Or is the difference here just the delivery device?

TAYLOR: Parents continually slip E. coli and Salmonella into children.

BEGALA: Not intentionally.

TAYLOR: But it still kills hundreds every year. Again, if you want to save children from negligent parents, accredit parents and make sure they go to cooking classes. I don't think you would want to do that, but that would save A lot more children than what you're talking about.

BEGALA: You didn't answer my question. You would not -- even the Cato Institute would not allow parents the personal freedom to slowly poison their children with other means and methods would you?

TAYLOR: No, clearly. There is a...

BEGALA: So you prefer poisoning children through smoking. So the only difference is the delivery device. You put them in a tiny enclosed place. A car is smaller than a house. The smoke can't dissipate in a car like it can in a house.

TAYLOR: There's obviously a threshold in which we don't allow parents to put their kids at risk. But the risk here is trivial. The World Health Organization in a study published by the "National Cancer Journal," the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute" found that there was no correlation between exposure to secondhand smoke in children and lung cancer risk. What they did find...

BEGALA: Oh, sure, safe as mother's milk.


TAYLOR: The World Health Organization and the "Journal of the National Cancer Institute" I think is fairly reliable. What we do have are ear infections and temporary respiratory problems. Bad things but there are a lot worse things including the kind of things I've talked about.

CARLSON: Let me suggest the real difference here and that is that upper middle class yuppies don't generally smoke. That's for working class people. They do, however, watch television. And they allow their kids to watch a lot of television. I want to put some statistics up on the screen, and I hope you'll take action in this legislature and do something about it.

"Children watch an average of 3-4 hours of TV per day, approximately 28 hours each week. Watching TV is the No. 1 after- school activity for 6 to 17-year-olds. Each year most children spend about 1500 hours in front of the TV and 900 hours in the classroom. By age 70, most people will have spent about 10 years doing it."

Now I'm obviously pro-television. This is terrible for kids, even "Barney," and I wonder if you will take a stand, not just against poor parents but against yuppie parents your own constituents and tell them stop this, it ought to be illegal?

RUBEN: Are they looking at TV for educational reasons?

CARLSON: Please it's TV. Come on.

RUBEN: Come on. Then I think -- wait a second. I think you should turn off the camera right now if that's the case. This is educational. When we're talking about smoking I think every child, every parent has the right to know what's good and bad for their children. This is one way to tell them. And the educational forum that it is bad for their kids. It's bad for people in this country. And wherever we can prevent the smoking, where it is harmful, we should. Non-smokers are exposed to this. We have...

TAYLOR: In the home?

RUBEN: No, I'm not going to go to the home. I think government should stay out of our home.

CARLSON: Unfortunately we are completely out of time. Ida Ruben, Jerry Taylor, smoking is bad. We'll leave it on that note.

TAYLOR: And TV is good.

CARLSON: And TV is good, that's right. We're good.

Next, she claims to have cloned a human being but has yet to show the baby to the world. We'll ask the cloning lady where's her proof? Plus a report that comes from a revered international statesman which makes it only more shocking and depressing.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you from the George Washington University here in downtown Washington. The CEO of Clonaid was in court this week. Brigitte Boisselier testified under oath that she allegedly cloned baby Eve, who she says is alive and well in Israel. But again, Boisselier was short on proof.

Well, tonight, we attempt to find some. Ms. Boisselier joins us now from Montreal, Canada. Welcome.

BEGALA: Ms. Boisselier, good to see you again.


BEGALA: I know you've done a lot of interviews, but you did one with us a few weeks ago. Let me play you a small portion of it.

BOISSELIER: Yes, I remember.


BOISSELIER: Well, they still have one week to doubt. After that, they won't be able to doubt any longer.


BEGALA: Well, it's been more than a week. Where's the proof?

BOISSELIER: Well, how long do you want me (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

BEGALA: How long what, wait?

BOISSELIER: The proof are coming. I had to face, between the moment you interviewed me and now I had to face so many inquiries from everywhere, and also the fears of the parents because they did not want to face what I was facing, actually. And they didn't want to face the public.

BEGALA: They didn't -- they were...

BOISSELIER: So we had to take that position.

BEGALA: I'm sorry to interrupt, Ms. Boisselier, but the parents had no idea when they came to you, the woman or the man came to you and said, please clone this baby, they had no idea there might be media interest in this? I'm sorry, I'm not buying that.

BOISSELIER: I'm not talking about the media interest. I'm talking about the justice interest and the government's interest and the United Nations interest. We knew about the media. And they were -- they said they would be ready to face that. But to face -- to be treated as criminal because they wanted to have a baby with their own genes -- I don't think they were ready. And they are still not ready.

But I'm organizing the proof. We have the other babies that are born. Then the Japanese baby should be published soon, because the parents are doing it, and that was part of what they intended to do from all along. So you'll get your proof.

CARLSON: Wait, wait, wait, Ms. Boisselier, now I know that you're from a foreign country, but I'm just going to give you a very quick explanation of American justice. It's embarrassing if you get caught lying on TV; it's criminal if you get caught lying under oath. Yesterday you swore under oath that these cloned babies exist. If you get caught doing that, it's perjury, unless you're a president, it's perjury, and you can go to jail for that. Are you prepared to face those consequences?

BOISSELIER: I completely know the law of this country. Right? So I have said the truth all along. And you can -- you can go back to all the interviews I gave for the last five years. I told you I would do it. And I told you I've done it. And you will see the babies sooner or later, whatever. But I have been saying that all along. Now, whether I'm the one to...

CARLSON: You understand -- do you understand that you could go to jail if you're not telling the truth?

BOISSELIER: And I was ready to go to jail yesterday. They were pushing me to give more identities of the parents and things like that. You know, I stick to what I believe. I believe this is right to do it and I did it. I believe this is right for the parents to be keep safely where they are living and the baby to be kept safely where she's living, and I stick to that. I'm ready to go to jail if this is, you know, what the price that I have to pay.

BEGALA: You mentioned a baby that you claim now that you've cloned who is in Japan. You said you would offer proof sooner or later. How soon, and in what form will you offer proof? BOISSELIER: Well, the proof will come probably sooner from the Japanese boy, because the parents have organized an independent testing, and I was part of what they wanted to do. You know, they wanted to -- they preserved cells of the dead child, and this has been preserved by an independent doctor, and this independent doctor has taken samples from the baby, and they are comparing them. And it's almost done. So I think those ones will be published. Probably these will be the fastest one that you'll see public.

BEGALA: I'm sorry to press you, but what timetable can we be looking at?

BOISSELIER: I don't want to give any timetable. I don't want to be trapped in a timetable anymore.

CARLSON: No, but wait. Dr. Boisselier, the head of your organization lives in a place called UFO Land, as you know. And I guess my question to you, to put you in the position of a media critic, why do you think the press has gone along and sort of believed this story, which may be true, but on its face, looks a little ludicrous, I've got to admit. Cloned babies, UFO Land, no evidence at all. Why do you think the press has gone along with this?

BOISSELIER: Well, this is simple. We have said five years ago that we will do it. We have given explanation how we were doing it all along for the last five years. We said that we have the scientists, and you know that it is possible. We said that we have the technology, and I've proven that, and this is on our Web site, if you go, you'll see videos of that. And we have shown our blastocyst, and you know all along that scientists can do that, and hundreds of them around the world if they had the guts to do it, they would do it, because this is not a complicated technology. And now you know that...


CARLSON: Just to clarify, nobody has ever -- nobody has ever done this. So for you to say they could do it easily, it's never been done. So we don't know that, do we?

BOISSELIER: Let me be clear on that, because they would go to jail or they would go -- in certain countries, right -- or they would face what I'm facing. It's not that easy to do it. And probably I'm pretty sure that a lot of women -- a lot of people did that already, and they don't declare that they have done it because that would be difficult in their institution, in their private or public institution that would be difficult.

BEGALA: Ms. Boisselier, let me try...


BEGALA: Let me try a compromise. Let me try a compromise, one that won't get anybody arrested. How about proving that you can clone, oh, say, a puppy, a frog, an earthworm? Can't you do something to show us that you're actually able to pull this off? BOISSELIER: Well, what's the point? You know they were very well -- of course, there are people who would like to clone their puppies. And we said we would do that one day. But then we would need to...

BEGALA: So you clone something easy like a human being?

BOISSELIER: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) all the aspects of reproduction of puppies, right? And we know how to reproduce human beings, and how to prepare embryos. And so we benefited from that, and we've been helping parents. I've been doing that for them. You know, we started this Clonaid company because we wanted that to happen because of my willing science to go ahead, and as a Raelian, and I believe this is right for humanity.

But after that I met people, parents who would like to be cloned, and I did that for them. And I'm so happy that there are so many people who has a child now.

CARLSON: We are almost out of time. Let me just ask you a very quick, literally yes or no question. Have you seen, personally seen any of these so-called cloned children?

BOISSELIER: Yes. And they are perfectly healthy.

BEGALA: One quick -- one more yes or no question. Will you come back on CROSSFIRE with the proof when you have it?


BEGALA: Wonderful. Brigitte Boisselier, thank you very much for joining us.

BOISSELIER: You're welcome.

BEGALA: Ladies and gentlemen, later in our "Fireback" segment, a viewer from Ohio has some advice about whose presidential bandwagon I ought to be jumping on. But next, our "Quote of the Day" is a hard shot, I think a cheap shot, aimed right at the White House.

Stay with us.


CARLSON: Welcome back.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is internationally famous. He has also won the Nobel Peace Prize. He's also retired and almost 85 years old. But even that doesn't excuse or explain his remarks today during a speech in Johannesburg.


NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: But wait, there's more. Mandela went on to offer a theory about why the Bush administration is willing to bypass the United Nations and disarm Iraq by force, if necessary. It's our "Quote of the Day."

Quote: "It is because the secretary-general of the United Nations is now a black man. They never did that when secretary- generals were white.

I have to say, it's upsetting on all counts and particularly from someone like Nelson Mandela. It's also, of course, ludicrous, considering that Colin Powell is one of the architects of this whole thing.

Irrespective of General Powell's race, it's ludicrous. It is heartbreaking for me. He's one of the great men of the last century. And He is 85, and, you know, I think you wisely noted that so people can take whatever grain of salt.

CARLSON: However, when he was 75 he was still sucking up to Fidel Castro and Moammar Qadhafi so we knew...

BEGALA: He felt that was in his nation's interest because they had backed him up when he was in prison for 27 years. The American government did not back him up. What he said was wrong -- let's just stick where we can agree.

CARLSON: Without the American government, apartheid would still be in South Africa, just so we can get that straight.

BEGALA: Because liberals switched Reagan's policies, yes. Because of American liberals.

But we didn't need to get there . We didn't need to be partisan here and ideological. It was a tragic, horrible thing that he said. And it's a tragedy that he did say it.

Tucker Carlson has managed to offend someone on his own, besides our friends in Canada, however. In a minute, we will tell you who they are in "Fireback."


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Time now for "Fireback," for you to "fireback" on the topics we talk about. And boy, do you.

Terry McCluer of Henderson Texas writes, "Paul, if President Bush's economic plan is so bad, why don't you let it pass? The economy will tank and the Democrats can sweep the elections in 2004."

Well, we actually tried that last time around. It did pass and the economy did tank, but I think Democrats would rather see a strong economy than political success.

CARLSON: Oh, right. That's not a believable assertion.

Rhonda Silz of Fresno, California writes, "I'm really getting tired of the French bashing. If I were the French, I'd be asking for the Statue of Liberty back."

Let me see if I have this straight, Paul. We rescue the French from two World Wars, they complaint and insult us for 80 years and they're the aggrieved party somehow? She is a liberal. I know that.

BEGALA: They gave us that nice statue. You know, they kept one for themselves, too.

Monnie Bess in Ben Lomond, California writes, "Hurray for the Georgia lawmaker. Parents who smoke around their children are guilty of passive abuse. Since American obviously can't get rid of the tobacco industry and its addicts, it should at least make it as difficult as possible for smokers to harm others."

Well put, Monnie. Thank you for watching that last segment. We know who won the debate in Monnie's eyes.

CARLSON: I wish liberals would just mind their own business. Truly. I mean, it's just -- they want us to control every little thing about everybody.

BEGALA: No, they just want to protect kids.

CARLSON: Right. I'm sure they do. I can tell.

Lester Walker from Akron writes, "Reverend Sharpton is the only viable candidate the Democrats have to offer. And if Mr. Begala is as wise as he is clever, then will get on Al's bandwagon."

That is the voice of the people. I hope you listen to it, Paul. Join me on the dark side. Come over to the Sharpton campaign.

BEGALA: Nobody on the Sharpton bandwagon except the right wing cranks and there is a good reason. They're the only people who like him.

CARLSON: Thanks for calling me a right wing crank. I appreciate it. Yes?

BEGALA: You're not that cranky, but you're right wing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I'm Alexandra Gonzalez (ph) from Houston, Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And my question to both of you is, if your guess is right who would you love to clone?

CARLSON: Who would we love to clone? Honestly, I would like to clone my cocker spaniel. I would. If there's anybody, I would.

BEGALA: We were talking about that before the show. We just lost our German shepherd.

But, yes -- it's so repulsive. It's so repugnant. No. Nobody, sorry.

CARLSON: Yes, you wonder why Congress can't get around to banning it.

BEGALA: You know, call me old-fashioned but I like the old way of making babies. I'm old enough to remember....

BEGALA: Yes, sir? Yes, sir? Sorry.

CARLSON: Hit us with a question.

BEGALA: Yes, sir, what's your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I'm Leo Cozadinos (ph) from Houston, Texas, and my question is, How can liberals be so concerned over secondhand smoke that might kill you over 30 years and yet are not at all concerned over Saddam's weapons of mass destruction that will definitely kill you in seconds?

BEGALA: Well, first off, the Saddam Hussein -- Saddam Hussein has had weapons of mass destruction for 20 years. He has never used them against us because we have deterred him. Deterrence worked. It worked against the Soviet Union. We didn't have to invade Moscow, sir. We don't need to invade Iraq either.

CARLSON: Actually. I can answer it in one sentence: because one is a fashionable cause for those who drive Volvos. The other is not.

BEGALA: Which is a fashionable cause? Smoking or Saddam Hussein?

CARLSON: Anti-smoking. It's like liberals get this in their mind, you know, Oooh, put that out! That cigarette! Oooh!

BEGALA: We're just not for poisoning babies.

CARLSON: Oh, please. Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, how are you doing? My name is Joel (ph) from Rockville, Maryland and what I wanted to know is, How much of George W. Bush's decision to go to war is really based on the presidential election in 2004?

CARLSON: Well, let me think. I don't think any.

Actually, I think politically, just from pure politically, I think it's a huge risk. On the upside is much smaller than the potential downside. If it doesn't work out, he's in -- it's over for him. BEGALA: I think ,as someone who makes a living criticizing President Bush, he has not made this decision with the election in mind at all.

Once he's made the decision on the merits, I do think he's not beyond trying to extract maximum political gain. But I do not believe for a minute that President Bush would take us into war for political gain. Just want to be fair to the guy.

CARLSON: Well, of course he wouldn't. But there are a lot of Democrats who implied he was doing it.

BEGALA: Having made the decision I do think he'll try to use it the way he used it...

CARLSON: You're the one who said he needs to convince the American people. When he tries, you call it politics.

BEGALA: What are you talking about? I said he's not doing it for politics, Tucker.

From the left, I am Paul Begala. Good night for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again next time, that would be tomorrow, Friday night, for yet more CROSSFIRE.

"CONNIE CHUNG TONIGHT" begins right now. Have a great night.


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