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CNN CROSSFIRE

Where Is Saddam Hussein?; Will Hillary Clinton Tell All in New Book?

Aired April 28, 2003 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE: where's the birthday boy? Does it matter if the U.S. ever find Saddam Hussein? Or any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?

And the much-anticipated Hillary Clinton book. Will she tell all, and will you buy it?

Today, on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. Wherever he is, we hope Saddam Hussein is having a rotten birthday. But where is he? And where are the weapons of mass destruction the Bush administration promised us? Who and where would we find them in Iraq? We'll debate that in a few minutes. But first, look no further for the best little political briefing in television. Here comes our "CROSSFIRE Political Alert."

In Dearborn, Michigan today, President Bush told a group of Iraqi-Americans they're living proof that the Iraqi people love freedom and that democracy can flourish in Iraq. And he said that skeptics about the war were wrong.

Actually, I'm -- in Michigan today he was standing up to skeptics in his own party. I often criticize the president, but on this, I give him credit for standing up to the conservatives who were calling Muslims terrorists. These people are American citizens who pay their taxes and don't do anything wrong. President Bush was right to meet with them.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: He is, he is, absolutely, right to meet with them. And I think conservatives and liberals are right to see the greatest threat to America from Islamic extremists. I mean there's no getting...

(CROSSTALK) CARVILLE: ... there are a lot of Muslim-Americans who are good Americans and pay their taxes and live by the rules and do this. And I think he's absolutely right to reach out to these people. And I have many Muslim friends here and they're not all terrorists.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Nobody is suggesting that America faces a threat from all Muslims or Muslim-Americans...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... threat to the United States. But I think people are saying that if you want to combat terrorism looking first at immigrants from Islamic countries is probably a pretty good place to start. Doesn't mean they're all terrorists.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: But I don't see why the conservatives would be criticizing. I think the president did the right thing...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Amen.

Bad news from the publishing industry today. Simon and Schuster announced that Hillary Clinton's book, "Living History," will be released in a little more than a month. First envisioned as an explanation of how she could of put up with a husband like that, the book reportedly will be spice-free, which means Simon and Schuster has no chance of making back the $8 million it paid the author. In the absence of steamy details Senator Clinton will attempt to sell the book on the strength of her charisma and electrifying personality alone. And good luck.

CARVILLE: Well, actually, she's an enormously charming person and I actually spoke to her publisher today, Mr. David Rosenthal (ph) of Simon and Schuster, who happens to be my publisher.

CARLSON: Is that true?

CARVILLE: Yes. And he said that it's true that they ordered a million copies and it was based on strong demands by the book stores. I'd also remind you that three or four publishers, at three publishers, four were over $5 million in bidding on this book.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... she is one of the most accomplished women of the 20th century and I salute her in publishing the book and I think it will be successful.

CARLSON: And I agree that she is right up there with Riga Butamenttre (ph), she was one of my female heroes of this century. However, they will never get their $8 million back. I salute her for getting $8 million, but if they make $8 million on that book, I will eat my shoes. I promise that right here.

CARVILLE: I can't tell you the number of foreign rights that they've sold already. I think they're going a long way toward getting their $8 million back.

There were a couple of memorable moments at the National Rifle Association Convention. The sad was outgoing NRA President Charlton Heston's last hurrah. He's been diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer's and we wish him best. I particularly do because my mother suffers from the same tragic disease.

The silly moment at the convention came when Florida Governor Jeb Bush thanked the NRA for helping elect his brother president. Trouble is, George Bush didn't get elected. Jeb should have thanked the Supreme Court, not the NRA.

CARLSON: Now, James, as part of my ongoing effort to help you, not just politically but emotionally, I want you to seek help for this fixation you have on the 2000 election. A guy won who you don't like. Your guy lost. I knew you'd feel bad about that, but to deny reality...

CARVILLE: You believe 3,000 elderly Jewish voters in Palm Beach County voted for Pat Buchanan. That's why you're conservative, because I think you actually believe that 3,000 elderly Jewish voters...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I respect you. But I tell you what, Tucker, you're just dead wrong. Bush lost, get over it. I mean...

CARLSON: Get over it, James. So truly, there's got to be some sort of self-help or 12-step program for people like you.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: My (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ought to win the election.

CARLSON: OK. Secret political passions. That's the topic of the next episode of Jerry Springer's life. Springer, a liberal Democrat and former Cincinnati mayor, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate. Springer has hired two veteran political consultants. Sometime in the next few weeks, he will form an exploratory committee.

Although Jerry Springer is far less outlandish than many Democratic candidates, not everyone is pleased to see him run. Five years ago, for instance, Senator Joe Lieberman said this of his fellow Democrat. Quote, "Jerry Springer is the pits, he is the worst, he has no redeem being value," end quote.

Maybe so but he could still be the nominee. And I must say, I hope he is because he is the embodiment of the values of your party.

(CROSSTALK) CARVILLE: Why did our vice presidential nominee criticize him?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: If Rick Santorum is the embodiment of your party, because he's a hater. And there's nothing y'all like better than haters. This guy, you know, he hates gay people. And therefore, the Republicans rally around him like you can't imagine. Rick Santorum is the No. 3 ranking Republican in the United States Senate. And you're attacking Jerry Springer, who hasn't even...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I'm not going to name them and embarrass them and have you mock them.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Give me their names.

CARLSON: Good luck Jerry Springer.

And stay tuned for "Rapid Fire," the fastest two minutes of television. But next, does it really matter if the U.S. can't find out what happened to Saddam Hussein? And what happens if we never find weapons of mass destruction? We'll debate that all coming up. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Sources tell CNN that Iraq's former deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz has told interrogators that Saddam Hussein was alive earlier this month, that the Iraqis themselves were destroying their own weapons of mass destruction even as U.S. troops were arriving in the region.

The military keeps hunting for Saddam and his weapons. They thought they may have found some over the weekend but test results have been inconclusive and additional testing is underway now. The question is do we really need to find them in order to move on? In the CROSSFIRE this afternoon, D.C.'s delegate to Congress, Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton and California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

CARVILLE: Congressman, in World War II, Hitler did not survive the end of the war. Hirohito and Tojo did. And we kind of beat both of them.

So whether he's alive or dead, we won the war, didn't we?

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: Yes, it's unfortunate if he find his body. The fact is he's out of commission. This is a man who had a blood grudge against the people of the United States, and it was very prudent for this president to take him out of action. And he will not be able to hurt the people of the United States. He's not a threat to us anymore. CARLSON: Miss Norton, one of the great unpublicized stories in the last week, documents have been found in Iraq, at this point conclusively tying the Iraqi government -- Saddam government to al Qaeda, the group that killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Isn't that fact reason enough to take out Saddam Hussein?

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), D.C. DELEGATE: I got to see those documents first. The world hasn't been informed of this definitive proof. What we were looking for, first and foremost, was a tie to al Qaeda. And that's what we didn't find before the war and that's what the administration never gave -- excuse me. That's what the administration never gave as a reason to go to war. We did we go to war, weapons of mass destruction and as an afterthought to free the Iraqi people.

CARLSON: That's simply not true. The secretary of state got up at the U.N. and said the Iraqi government has ties to al Qaeda that's one of the reason we're going in.

NORTON: I know he said it, he never show it. And that was the problem.

CARLSON: You don't believe him.

NORTON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) he never put any proof on the table, and that was the problem. If he'd put proof on the table, even France would have been with us. For god's sakes.

CARVILLE: The vice president and secretary of state have stated that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons program.

Do you believe them?

ROHRABACHER: Well, we'll wait and see. Frankly, I don't care one way or the other.

CARVILLE: Do you believe them? It's kind of important, I mean, here is the vice -- these are not kind of minor people in the scheme of things. These are kind of big wheels.

ROHRABACHER: The fact is had we allowed Saddam Hussein to stay in power, he'd have had billions of dollars to build whatever he wanted to.

CARVILLE: I asked you a simple question. Do you believe the vice president, secretary of state that Iraq has advanced nuclear weapons program.

ROHRABACHER: Well, I'll tell you this much, when Bill Clinton left us with Korea with a nuclear weapon maybe they do, maybe they don't.

CARVILLE: You know what -- you know many, it's a simple question. You're a big man, you're a Congressman, do you believe the vice president and the secretary of state that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons program? Yes or no. ROHRABACHER: At some level, yes.

CARVILLE: OK.

ROHRABACHER: At some level, yes.

CARLSON: Haven't we learned, above all, that the regime itself was dangerous? We're looking for weapons of mass destruction.

NORTON: Voila! big news!

CARLSON: I'm not sure it's anything to be flippant about, Norton.

NORTON: Why?

CARLSON: I'll tell you exactly why. Because...

NORTON: The people of Iraq knew that all along.

CARLSON: But dangerous to the United States. Any country that would have contact with the al Qaeda is a country we can't afford to live with in the world? Isn't that right? Why do you dismiss that as if it's not important?

NORTON: Dangerous to the United States, because somebody visited -- somebody from al Qaeda whom I don't know made a trip and had a conversation?

(CROSSTALK)

NORTON: Wait a minute, the last time -- listen to me for a second, because you may not have heard this. is the greatest power on earth. To be a danger to the United States, you got to be a real danger to the United States.

ROHRABACHER: You've forgotten September 11 already. 3,000 people were slaughtered in front of our eyes and this president wasn't going to let it happy happen again.

NORTON: How many people have traveled between Iraq and al Qaeda, wherever they are.

ROHRABACHER: It doesn't take a lot of people. That's what we found out. It takes very few people.

NORTON: The fact is you don't know, and we don't know.

ROHRABACHER: What we do know...

NORTON: That link has to be proved.

ROHRABACHER: But, we know that Saddam Hussein had tens of billions of dollars of resources, oil resources, that he would use to hurt the people of the United States, because he hated us. He didn't need to have them. CARVILLE: You know, maybe, you know, let me say this, Congressman. I don't know what he has, and I suspect we'll find out in due course and we now have people under interrogation. But I want to go on to something else. I'm not one of these people, that says I think you in fairness to the White House and administration, you got to give them time to find it. I want to go back to is he dead or alive.

If he is alive what should we do with him?

ROHRABACHER: If he's alive, he's out of action.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: If we catch him, what do we do with him?

ROHRABACHER: I would think that we have to have a provisional government in Iraq and by the time they have an elected government, we can turn him over to them because he's murdered their people by the tens of thousands. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) They can have justice.

CARVILLE: Your saying we should hold him until this provisional government, would it be elected, in your view?

ROHRABACHER: I would think within two years, we'll have an elected government in Iraq, and their system can take care of this butcher.

CARVILLE: What do you do if the fundamentalist Islamic party wins the election.

ROHRABACHER: I believe if you set up the system correctly, in Iraq, you have a federal system and an electoral process that permits the people to choose their own leaders we will have...

CARVILLE: They should have a federal system and not a parliamentary system?

ROHRABACHER: Well, a federal system doesn't preclude parliamentary system. I am just your know.

CARLSON: Miss Norton, for the last ten years, France actively supported Saddam Hussein, attempted to keep him in power. Yet Democrats are now saying France should profit in the reconstruction of Iraq. You don't agree with that, do you?

NORTON: No. I don't know what it means by profit in the reconstruction of Iraq. It seems to me there has to be transparency in how the contracts are let, that, in fact the United States went in there, put its money out. You can expect most of the contracts are going to go to folks like us. I don't think the people in the United States, Democrats included, are going to go up and say give some contracts to whoever wants them. What we do say is don't give them to your friends, don't give them without competitive bidding, and don't give them to the vice president's former company just because he's vice president. Even if that's not true, it looks bad when there hasn't been competitive bidding.

CARLSON: But you also hear Democrats say it needs to be a multinational force rebuilding Iraq.

NORTON: Now you're talking. The reason there needs to be a multinational force is not just because we need a lot of folks in there helping us. We don't need them to help us, but we do need more than an American face. Look, when you see what's happening every day as we look on television, with more and more anti-Americanism coming, we need help. We need them to see that hey, this wasn't our war. There are millions of Arabs around the world that will come to understand why we fought this war if they're there with us. In fact, let me get my point out, it's who polices people matters. In the United States, the reason we insisted upon integrating the police forces is, because you had an all white police forces policing black people. People couldn't believe justice was gone done. If we have an international force, we will have a better chance getting accepted by the people.

CARVILLE: Congressman we got about ten seconds left. Is it important we find weapons of mass destruction or not important?

ROHRABACHER: If they're there, it's important. What's most important is Saddam Hussein is out of power and he's no longer a threat to the people of the United States.

CARLSON: Thank you.

We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we put the subject of Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction in CROSSFIRE's very own unconventional segment. Stay tuned for "Rapid Fire," the fastest interview in television. Then in "Fireback," one of our viewers has a weird career suggestion for James Carville, even weirder than what he does now. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Now it's time for "Rapid Fire," short questions, short answers, no evasive action. We're talking about the hunt for Saddam Hussein and his alleged weapons of mass destruction, with California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. OK, you start.

CARLSON: Ms. Norton, do you think under any circumstances the U.S. government would plant weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

NORTON: No, but we have to be transparent and have other folks with us so people will know that we haven't planted it.

CARVILLE: Congressman, what would you give Saddam Hussein for his birthday?

ROHRABACHER: I think we've given him his birthday present already.

CARLSON: Amen! Ms. Norton, if an Islamic -- radical Islamic government were elected in Iraq, by the people, would that be OK with you?

NORTON: Have to be. Have to be for democracy.

CARVILLE: You, Congressman?

ROHRABACHER: Absolutely.

CARLSON: Why do you think, Ms. Norton, that the Iraqis, if they had no chemical weapons, had gas masks with their troops?

NORTON: Because they used to have them. What they have now are probably precursors and remnants. They never threw away the masks.

CARVILLE: Congressman, did we kept our word in rebuilding Afghanistan?

ROHRABACHER: Not as much. We have tried. We've not gone as far as we should.

CARLSON: Do you believe, Ms. Norton, that the United States will be in Iraq for more than five years?

NORTON: Almost certainly. Why are we still in Japan and Germany, for God's sake, if we can get right out of Iraq?

CARVILLE: Would you -- over or under five years, Congressman?

ROHRABACHER: We'll be out of there within five years, and hopefully, it will be an elected democratic government who will pledge, unlike a lot of Shi'ite people, pledge that they will continue having democratic government in that country.

CARLSON: Ms. Norton, was it worth all the expense and the lives to take Saddam Hussein out of power?

NORTON: No. We probably could have done this without going to war if we had let the inspectors stay in longer. If we want to take every tyrant out of power, then I got a list of about a dozen that we ought to go on to. It's not our role in the world.

CARVILLE: I think it's not particularly relevant, but just your best guess. Saddam, dead or alive?

ROHRABACHER: My guess would be it's 50/50.

CARLSON: Ms. Norton, we have five seconds left. Of the dozen tyrants we could take out, name three.

NORTON: I'm sorry. I don't have my three favorites.

CARLSON: Sorry...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Osama bin Laden, Osama bin Laden, Osama bin Laden.

CARLSON: The tyrant show.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Thank you all very much. Appreciate it.

CARLSON: Next on "Fireback," proof that the Sharpton for president bandwagon is picking up speed and about to roll over America. We'll explain. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Time for our "Fireback" segment. We throw open the doors and let your opinions come rushing in. And they have rushed in this afternoon. First up, Tim from Chicago writes -- "For the first time in my liberal life, I have to agree with Tucker. Al Sharpton should be a contender for president. He is the only true Democrat presidential candidate with enough cojones to stand up for what he really believes in." Tim, amen, join the Sharpton bandwagon. I'm going to be secretary of transportation when it's over.

CARVILLE: I want to see a Sharpton-Santorum race so we can really get down to the nitty-gritty here.

"The last thing American people need is Jerry Springer as a U.S. senator. I would even rather see James Carville in that position." (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Dayton, Ohio. Well, I don't think you'll see either one of us.

CARLSON: You ought to run, James. Your party needs you.

CARVILLE: What am I going to run for, the state line?

CARLSON: Yes. I don't think you'd make it.

Next up, one of our Canadian viewers, Janet Jackson -- has moved to Canada apparently -- "Not all Canadians are French, anti-American socialists like our prime minister. Please do not provoke James Carville into defending candidates even more embarrassing than having a prime minister who no one understands."

CARVILLE: Janet, I don't know how to tell you that, but your prime minister was elected by the majority of the Canadians, unlike our president, so get over it, Janet. You need to go into therapy. This guy got elected. "I love the new format, but I have one suggestion. Incorporate a translator for James Carville on the bottom of the screen. I can't understand a thing he says." Mark Vellulado (ph), Paulsboro, New Jersey. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: The ladies who do our closed captioning have gone on strike because of James.

Yes, question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, gentlemen. I just want you to comment on Donald Rumsfeld's statement, where he said he didn't care what kind of government was formed in Iraq, as long as it wasn't religious. Given that there's such a large population of Muslim people there, what would be the feeling on that?

CARLSON: The president said exactly the same thing, that he hoped to see a government in which church and state were separated. I mean, it's a contradiction to say you would allow by democratic election a government that abridges or eliminates the rights of minority groups. And so there are real fears. Not sure why you'd want a radical Islamic government in Iraq.

CARVILLE: But the truth of the matter is, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Japan, but the position seems to be is, you can elect any government you want, as long as it's a government that we like.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: My point is, let's don't go to the fiasco of having an election. Let's just appoint somebody.

CARLSON: That's a good idea. Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Rich Eggleston (ph) from Weston, Florida. I would like to know if James would have backed the war 100 percent if we have had a Democratic president?

CARVILLE: Well I mean, I would have backed...

CARLSON: Search your heart, James, search your heart.

CARVILLE: Once we went to war, on this show, I backed the war. I said now, once the first shot is fired, I'm there. I think if we'd have had a Democratic president, then we would have had better and we would have known if there was weapons of mass destruction. I think we'd have seen more -- we would have had more international support if we had proper (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: I think we all know that the prime problem Democrats had with this war was it was being waged by a man they hate.

CARVILLE: I don't think so.

CARLSON: That was it.

CARVILLE: From the left, I'm James Carville.

CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. Eastern in the afternoon for another edition of CROSSFIRE. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now. Here's Wolf.

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