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Schwarzenegger Gets Specific

Aired August 20, 2003 - 16:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala; on the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE: Arnold Schwarzenegger gets specific.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Does this mean that you're going to make cuts? Yes. Does this mean education is on the table? No. Does this mean I'm willing to raise taxes? No.

ANNOUNCER: Peter Ueberroth makes his first pitch.

And Gray Davis sees a vast right-wing conspiracy?

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: What's happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans cannot win.

Special guest host Janeane Garofalo helps put the spotlight on the Golden State -- today on CROSSFIRE.



ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, Janeane Garofalo and Tucker Carlson.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. And a special welcome to my guest host on the left all this week, Janeane Garofalo.

Once again today, it's, California, here we come. So much is happening: Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest press conference, a court ruling on whether the recall will go forward, not to mention Gray Davis' latest conspiracy theory.

But before we go West, we saddle up for the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham is making up for his lack of personality with an oversupply of vehemence. After yesterday's truck bombing at the U.N.'s Baghdad headquarters, Graham put out a statement saying -- quote -- "Had the president pursued the war on terrorism prior to initiating military action against Saddam Hussein, as I advocated last year, it is likely that al Qaeda and other terrorist networks would not have been able to take advantage of the chaos that now exists in Baghdad" -- end quote.

In other words, yesterday's tragedy was the president's fault. Only Bob Graham could have prevented it. The moral of the story: No event, not one, is so tragic that it can't be turned into a political opportunity for a presidential candidate. That's axiomatic. Everybody knows that. But it's still revolting, I have to say, to see it.

JANEANE GAROFALO, GUEST HOST: Well, I would say that he is partially right. I blame the president. I blame the media cheerleaders.



GAROFALO: Iraq was not the threat.



CARLSON: Wait. What about the terrorists who did it?

GAROFALO: You just did a whole read-through. I -- the lie that brought us into war was that Iraq was a threat to us. Well, now it is a threat. Now it is a terrorist hotbed. The fiction is now reality. And now we have to deal with it. It was an attempt at a corporate takeover. This was about oil. It wasn't about human rights. It's not about human rights.



CARLSON: Janeane, before we get there, terrorists just murdered innocent U.N. peacekeepers.


GAROFALO: Yes, they did. Yes, they did.

CARLSON: And you're blaming the president, the media and corporations.


GAROFALO: ... occupation that the terrorists are resisting. This is...

CARLSON: Come on home, Janeane. You're out there.

GAROFALO: You're politicizing it. And it is the Bush/Cheney cartel's fault for this.


GAROFALO: This summer's hottest and most pandering concert tour is U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's "Scare the dopes and promote the Patriot Act" tour. Today, he took the tour today to Cleveland and Philadelphia. This is an elaborate pre-campaign commercial, not an honest effort to explain why government agencies need to withhold any information we might need to function as a democracy.

The Bush administration wants to expand its powers of surveillance over your life, while simultaneously rolling back the Freedom of Information Act. Team Bush is more radically corrupt than Richard Nixon ever tried to be.


CARLSON: You know what? Statements like that just show -- and I mean no offense by this -- but how out of it the left is. There's actually a lot to criticize about John Ashcroft, his total mishandling of the anthrax investigation, for instance, blaming a potentially innocent man, etcetera.

But instead, you hear all this whining, nonspecific whining, about the Patriot Act, which passed with complete bipartisan support. Nobody ever points to anything specific in it. It's just, oh, our civil liberties are gone.

GAROFALO: OK, first of all, the Patriot Act passed in the fear of the aftermath of 9/11. It was passed very hastily. It was passed without any congressional scrutiny, because this administration operates like a private corporation, no public oversight, no congressional scrutiny.

CARLSON: What are you talking about?

GAROFALO: Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.


GAROFALO: You have to live here, too, Tucker. And you pretend. And you've got to live with this, too.



CARLSON: It is a conspiracy, Janeane. I agree with that. We're powerless, not really a democracy.



CARLSON: It's like Apollo 13. There was no moon landing. That's tomorrow's show.

This just in, meanwhile, from New Hampshire. Howard Dean is crushing, spanking, his Democratic competitors.


CARLSON: A new poll -- that's right, applaud while you can -- a new poll shows the doctor from Vermont getting 28 percent of the vote in a theoretical matchup. Senator John Kerry is a distant second with 21 percent. Congressman Dick Gephardt, meanwhile, is the only other candidate in the double-digits, but just barely, at 10 percent.

While Dean is a hit with aroma therapists and transgendered studies professors...


CARLSON: ... he is not get endorsements from an even more important constituency, other Democratic governors, those who know him best. As "The Washington Post" points out, Republican governors coalesced around George W. Bush's candidacy early in the last election cycle.

Dean's peers, meanwhile, recognize his rise for what it is: political death for the Democrats. When it comes to the party's chances, Howard Dean is not Marcus Welby, M.D. He is Dr. Jack Kevorkian. And more power to him, Janeane Garofalo, I say.

GAROFALO: The reason that the governors don't march lockstep, like the Republicans do is -- they take their marching orders from the top and they rally around whoever the Republicans say to rally around.

CARLSON: Right. But let's just talk about Howard Dean for a second.

GAROFALO: The Democrats are diverse. They think for themselves.

CARLSON: Good for them.

GAROFALO: They don't need to mass endorse anybody.



CARLSON: I don't have any problem with that.

GAROFALO: Howard Dean is a really viable candidate. That's why you have to try and marginalize him with the transgendered comment.

CARLSON: Oh, no. Look, I'm not marginalizing him or the transgendered study professors or the aroma therapists. I support him.


GAROFALO: There's nothing wrong with aroma therapists. Oh, there's the bell. In Alabama's version of the Scopes "Monkey Trial," State Supreme Court Justice Ray Moore has until midnight to obey a court order and remove the monument to the 10 Commandments he put up in the state's judicial center. Moore is refusing. Minutes again, the U.S. Supreme Court -- whoa -- sorry -- turned down his appeal, now waits to see -- OK -- Alabama's chief justice will actually defy a court order and leave his monument up. I guess the point meaning, he defied and he is a judge.

This is enlightenment vs. zealotry. Justice Moore is defying court orders at a cost of $5,000 a day. Ultra-conservatives Moore, Antonin Scalia and George Bush don't feel that democracy should interfere with their interpretation of God's will.

CARLSON: OK. A little breaking news there in the middle of the "News Alert."

GAROFALO: Sorry, people. I can read. It's just, there was a


CARLSON: No. No. Thanks for bringing us up to date.

I do think, you will never get anywhere attacking other people's religions, though. I don't think that Bush's religion, Scalia's religion, Judge Moore's religion, is necessary -- that personal, private beliefs are relevant, really, to anything. And I do think this is a pretty minor issue. Moore make be making more out of it than needs to be made. I would tend to agree with that. But, still, beating up on him over the 10 Commandments? Come on.

GAROFALO: There's nobody beating up on him. What this is, is this administration and judges like him are trying to turn this into a theocracy. There is a reason there is a separation between church and state, because good government needs authentic debate. Religion doesn't have debate. Faith is just faith.


CARLSON: Uh-huh. OK. I hear the hyperbole alarm going off in the background.

GAROFALO: You should know.

CARLSON: Our next stop is California. Democratic Governor Gray Davis has just detected a vast right-wing conspiracy in his state. Where have we heard that before? We will debate the recall and the governor's delusions next.

Don't go away, even if you could. We'll be right back.




Less than an hour ago, a federal judge refused to delay California's recall election, rejecting the ACLU's contention that voters are too dumb to use a punch card voting machine.

California Governor Gray Davis gave a desperate, if laughably amusing speech last night, confusing the voters' earnest desire to recall him for a -- quote -- "right-wing power grab that is part of an ongoing national effort to steal Republicans cannot win" -- end quote and hyperventilating.


CARLSON: Contrast his ranting with this picture. At an economic forum today, Arnold Schwarzenegger was flanked by investor par excellence Warren Buffett and former secretary of state, labor and treasury, George Shultz.

In the CROSSFIRE from San Francisco is California Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres. And in Sacramento is California Republican Congressman Doug Ose.




CARLSON: Thank you.


Mr. Ose?

OSE: Yes.

GAROFALO: If the premise of the recall of Gray Davis is due to economic incompetence, if you will, the deficits and job loss, what do you say to the fact that the Progressive Majority Coalition will announce their recall of George Bush tomorrow at for the 2.6 million jobs lost since he entered office, the $455 billion deficit and the $48-billion-a-month price tag for war? Do you think that's fair for that recall?



OSE: The recall election in California is about leadership or, more accurately, the lack thereof. Davis has no leadership and is taking the state down the pied piper road to ruin. Arnold has got it. And we'll have a great time once he's governor.

GAROFALO: But isn't a manufactured populist revolution that was bought for $1.5 million by Darrell Issa? OSE: There's no fanciful numbers here. It's $38 billion deficit that's costing us education of our kids.


GAROFALO: It's a $455 billion deficit nationally.

OSE: Workers comp, electricity rates through the roof. Those are the facts in California.

GAROFALO: Well, what about the national deficit?

CARLSON: I'm sorry, but I have to...


CARLSON: As much as I want to talk about the deficit, Mr. Torres, I want to get you in here.

It turns out Gray Davis has been talking to Bill Clinton, another of his conspiracy-minded buddies. Here's the result. This is a quote from Davis' speech last night. Doubtless, you saw it. Here he is.


DAVIS: This recall is bigger than California. What's happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans cannot win.



CARLSON: In other words, it's a vast right-wing conspiracy. Given that, doesn't that mean


TORRES: I don't think he said that, Tucker.


TORRES: No. He didn't say a vast right-wing conspiracy.


CARLSON: He actually said it was a right-wing power grab. OK. That's fair enough. I'll grant you that.

Doesn't it mean that Cruz Bustamante, Democratic lieutenant governor, is part of that power grab? He's running, too.

TORRES: We're not talking about a right-wing conspiracy. We're talking about people going to the back door to steal an election they could not have win fair and square in California. These guys could never have gone through a primary in the Republican Party, because the Republicans -- no self-respecting Republican would vote for Arnold, given his positions.


CARLSON: Well, wait a second. Wait a second. Arnold is not the only one running against Gray Davis. Again, let me draw your attention to the fact that lieutenant governor of the state of California is running.

TORRES: Well, that's my whole point. That my whole point, that it was Darrell Issa who brought $1.9 million.

And I was sorry to see him cry, too. But I'd be crying, too, if I spent all that money and the Republicans didn't want me to run for governor in the end. The bottom line here is that I'm not underestimating Arnold, but I'm also not underestimating the conservative right wing, because they get their voters out to vote. And people better be careful in terms of what they're really doing underneath the radar, because we're going to be ready for them on Election Day October 7, notwithstanding the fact that this judge in Los Angeles said that we had to proceed.

You know what that's going to cost us now? Just by delaying the election until November, just 30 days, we could have saved $8 million in taxpayer money. But when it comes to the right-wing agenda, they don't care what they spend as long as it fulfills their agenda.


GAROFALO: I -- I tend to be of the opinion that it is, in fact, somewhat of a conspiracy. I do believe there is an effort to create an enduring one-party system state by state, starting with Florida, Texas, Colorado, California recall, I think with Issa, on Ohio, for redistricting purposes.

I do think that there is an element in the Republican Party that is aggressive, belligerent, totalitarian, in some ways, that they want to take this nation over state by state. And what is your opinion on that?


OSE: Janeane, 30 days ago, everybody was saying the Republicans hardly qualified as a political party because they're so disorganized. Now we've got this vast conspiracy going. This is amazing.

GAROFALO: Who said that? Who said they were so disorganized?


OSE: The fact of the matter is that this recall is about a failure of leadership on Davis' part.

(CROSSTALK) TORRES: Where is the failure, Doug?


OSE: A $38 billion deficit, our education system, K-12 public school. Our kids in California are testing below Mississippi. Workers comp that went up 100 percent last January.


OSE: It's going to up another 100 percent this January. This is a failure of leadership by Davis. Arnold can fix it.

TORRES: These are same kind of misrepresentations that we heard from the energy companies. If it wasn't for Gray Davis building 36 new power plants, we would have been in the same situation as these folks.


CARLSON: I am sorry to interrupt you. I would like to get you to answer a question.


CARLSON: Excuse me, gentlemen.

Like California itself, this show is spinning out of control. I'm going to ask you both of you stop for one second, please.


CARLSON: Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen, wait. Hold on.

Mr. Torres, let me just ask you this. Truly -- and let's just throw out all this hate talk about the conspiracy and right-wingers and all that. Honestly, why do the...

TORRES: I never said it was a conspiracy, Tucker.


CARLSON: Hold on. Why did -- OK.


CARLSON: Why did the Latino caucus of the California legislature recently come out for Cruz Bustamante and not for Governor Gray Davis?

TORRES: They came out...

CARLSON: Are they right-wingers, too?

TORRES: No, because they came out against the recall in the first place. And they're supporting Lieutenant Governor Bustamante because he's the most qualified of all the people that are running on the second part of the ballot. It makes total sense to them.



I was actually wondering about -- you endorsed Arnold Schwarzenegger's economic plan. And I would like to know what it is specifically?


OSE: Janeane, are you talking to me?

GAROFALO: Yes. Yes. I'm sorry. Can you see me?

OSE: I can barely hear you.

GAROFALO: Oh, I'm sorry. Yes.

OSE: Arnold's plan -- I got you -- Arnold's plan is about stopping the giant sucking sound resulting from the loss of jobs.

TORRES: Rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric.

OSE: Excuse me. Let me answer a question.


OSE: Arnold's plan is about creating jobs to stop the giant sucking sound created by a $38 deficit that Governor Davis has caused and that jobs and families are leaving this state.

TORRES: Blah. Blah. Blah. Same old rhetoric. Businesses went up in 2001


CARLSON: I would like you to answer this question.


OSE: My electric bill doubled right here. Thank you, Gray Davis.


TORRES: You live in Washington, D.C., Doug.

OSE: No. I live in Sacramento.


CARLSON: Gentlemen -- Mr. Torres, let me just ask you one final question. Try your best to answer this one.

(LAUGHTER) CARLSON: Last night, Gray Davis blamed Enron for the energy crisis in California. If Enron is to blame, why did no other state face the consequences that California did?

TORRES: Well, because I think it was a conspiracy of a number of energy companies. And that's what coming to...


CARLSON: OK, it is a conspiracy. OK.

TORRES: That's what coming to light now. And that is what is seeing the light of day.


TORRES: So when you're across the table from a set of energy executives and they're lying to you, what kind of negotiation really takes place? Thank God we were able to, since 1999, because no Republican governor did, we have built 36 new power plants in California. Thank God we have them as a backup.


CARLSON: Mr. Ose, we're almost out of time. Congressman, give us -- sum it up for us.

OSE: The only person on the ballot that took money from Enron is Gray Davis. Here's my energy bill. He is paying them off for taking their money. Arnold for governor. We need leadership.

TORRES: Your energy bill comes from smog, which is a separate entity.

CARLSON: We're out of time. I want to thank you both very much. I hope your state doesn't fall into the ocean, but if it does, we just want to thank you for joining us.


CARLSON: Art Torres, Congressman Ose, thanks a lot.

GAROFALO: Thank you.


TORRES: Good work, Janeane.



CARLSON: In just a moment, Wolf Blitzer will update the news headlines, including new developments on a potential Israeli retaliation for yesterday's Jerusalem bus bombing.

Then, in "Rapid Fire," Janeane Garofalo and I will attempt to unravel the mysteries of the state of California.

Later in "Fireback," a viewer from a frozen country to the north declares war on the United States. Should we fear a Canadian invasion? We'll let you know.

We'll be right back.





CARLSON: Welcome back.

It's time for "Rapid Fire."

Our guests have gone, leaving us to ponder just what is happening on the other side of the continent.

Janeane, only Gray Davis could make me pro-recall. I'm actually, I think, sort of against it in theory. You vote for a guy for four years. Tough luck. You live with the consequences. It's just sickening to see Democrats playing this as undemocratic, when it's purely democratic. Voters will decide if there is a recall and no one else.

GAROFALO: Well, actually, it is undemocratic in that the vote was taken nine months ago. And now they have to go through this recall, at great expense to them as taxpayers. So it's not fair.


GAROFALO: But beyond that...

CARLSON: ... democratic, though, isn't it?


GAROFALO: Then, why doesn't everyone just use the old "Get over it" that the Democrats had to swallow after the Florida election fraud? Oh, get over it. It's not a big deal.


CARLSON: No, no, but this is different, though, because there will be no recall unless a majority of California voters want one.

GAROFALO: Well, it's different, in that it doesn't have the big ramifications. But this is -- it isn't democratic because it is a conspiracy, just like there was -- Hillary Clinton was right. The Arkansas Project was a conspiracy.

CARLSON: Well, but nobody is forcing voters to vote a certain way. They vote as they choose. it's still a secret ballot. It's purely democratic. If they don't want a recall, there won't be one.

GAROFALO: But it is not. It is not purely democratic, in that it was a purchased recall. This is a manufactured "We're not going to take it anymore" moment.

CARLSON: If you have evidence that voters are being paid to vote one way or another, please tell us. That's a felony.

GAROFALO: No, I didn't say that. Well, I didn't say that, so I don't know why you just accused me of it.


CARLSON: Well, I thought you suggested that.

GAROFALO: The $1.5 million spent by Darrell Issa was to drum up this "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" populist revolt that wasn't naturally, organically occurring.



GAROFALO: Yes, Gray Davis has made a lot of mistakes, just like almost every single other politician that ever gets


CARLSON: But, ultimately, voters -- it comes down to the will of the people. I'm not actually for that. I don't think it should.


CARLSON: But you can't argue it is not democratic, because if people don't want it, they won't have it.


GAROFALO: The bell just went off in my ear.

CARLSON: Oh, well.

It's time to let our audience have a say. Take out your voting devices. Tell us, would Arnold Schwarzenegger make a good governor? Press one for, yes, after Gray Davis, anyone, even Gary Coleman, would be an improvement, and Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a big improvement. Press two if you think Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a lost cause in the governor's office no matter what. We'll have the results in just a minute.

And one of our viewers thinks the recall concept should spread. We've detected ulterior motives, but we'll let him fire back anyhow.

We'll be right back.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. It's time for "Fireback."

But first, the results of our audience poll, in which we asked, as we often do, would Arnold Schwarzenegger make a good governor? Yes, say 59 percent of Republicans; 90 percent of Democrats are not convinced.


CARLSON: Not surprised there. OK.

Time for "Fireback."

GAROFALO: Yes. Oh, am I supposed to -- oh, I'm supposed to read what?


CARLSON: Right there. That's the letter from Scott Smith.

GAROFALO: There it is. See? Don't blame me.

OK. So this comes from Scott Smith from Marshall, Texas: "If we can have a recall in California, why can't we have one in Washington, D.C. Wait. Can you recall a person who wasn't even elected in the first place?"


CARLSON: All right. These people just need help.

William Bedford of Toronto, Canada, a foreign country to the north, writes: "You and your right-wingnuts have some nerve knocking Canada, when you can't even count ballots or keep your lights on. If you keep it up, we'll have to come down and institute a regime change on CROSSFIRE."



CARLSON: They're a threatening group, the Canadians.


CARLSON: No one ever says that. They terrify me.

Yes, ma'am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. My name is Rebecca. And I'm from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

And I am just wondering if you guys think that Gray Davis actually has a chance or surviving this recall? It seems like Cruz is really the up-and-coming Democrat in California right now.

GAROFALO: I think actually yes, because I think it's such a circus. And as people realize it's costing a lot of money and that is a right-wing conspiracy, they're going to vote against the recall in general.

CARLSON: I must say, I think he has a chance, too, just because anything can happen in California. But the fact that Cruz Bustamante has been endorsed by all these Democrats, bad sign, I think.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Will Israel (ph). And I'm from Mobile, Alabama.

And I was just curious , in performing this recall, isn't California just obeying its state laws? And why would you want to keep somebody in charge who is obviously running the state into the ground?

CARLSON: I guess, just from a purely vindictive point of view, you could say, well, California voters elected him twice. They ought to live with it. That's the mean answer, I guess.

GAROFALO: And if we had to get rid of people that were running the country into the ground, we would lose every single politician that's in office.



GAROFALO: Anyway, from the left, I'm Janeane Garofalo. That's it for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson.

Join us again tomorrow for yet more CROSSFIRE.


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