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CNN CROSSFIRE

Arnold's Next Move

Aired October 8, 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: Arnold Schwarzenegger, you just won the California recall election? What are you going to do next?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR-ELECT: We have tough choices ahead.

ANNOUNCER: Advice for California's next governor and the current one.

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: We want to let the new governor know what the challenges are.

ANNOUNCER: Today on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(APPLAUSE)

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

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Hi, everybody. Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

In a little over an hour, governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger -- yes, get used to it -- will face reporters and he'll face some hard questions, presumably, about how he intends to run America's largest state. We will survey the aftermath of the Golden State's political earthquake after we shake up a few things here first with the best political briefing in television, the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells today's "Financial Times" that National Security Council head Condoleezza Rice was not telling the truth when she said a new plan giving her a larger role in Iraq policy was devised in collaboration with Mr. Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld also blasted Dr. Rice for briefing "The New York Times" about the reorganization, which was in a classified memo.

In other news, two more of our soldiers died yesterday in Iraq. And President Bush's team at home seems to be in disarray. Mr. Bush needs to fire Dr. Rice and Secretary Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz. They are the architects of a disaster. And yet they are worrying about protecting their turf and attacking each other, when they ought to be protecting our troops and attacking terrorists.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: It's pretty embarrassing when a fight like this plays out in page of "The Financial Times."

I have to say, in Secretary Rumsfeld's defense, he was out of the loop and he completely admitted it. Unlike most bureaucrat insiders, who say, no, I knew all along, he said, actually, I had no idea. He said to the reporter: "Do you speak English? Don't you understand? I said I was out of the loop." So he gets points for directness, I think.

BEGALA: Directness and candor. He told the truth. I'm wondering why the president has as his national security adviser someone who the defense secretary says didn't tell the truth.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: No, actually, it was more complicated than that. But I would just say, bottom line, look, it's the president's policy.

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: OK? So if you don't like the policy in Iraq, hold the president accountable for it.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: We will.

CARLSON: What if you dropped out of the presidential race and nobody noticed? Well, unfortunately for him, Senator Bob Graham of Florida knows the answer to that question.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Although it happened two days ago, it will come as breaking news to just about everyone that Senator Graham dropped out of the race on Monday. About the only people who noticed were the other Democratic presidential candidates, who, like vultures, have been contacting Graham contributors, hoping to pry into their wallets.

Graham never found much support for his presidential bid, though he did humiliate himself in the process. In the final days of his campaign, the formerly serious, sober senator was reduced to muttering about Halliburton and other slightly crackpot conspiracy theories. Now that he has left the national arena, perhaps his mind will clear. We wish him well on his recovery. Good luck, Senator Graham.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Well, he is just one of many terrific United States senators who never made it to the White House. Among them, in the Republican Party, Richard Lugar and John McCain.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: In my party, Senator Kennedy and Joe Biden. So there's no disgrace in trying and failing.

CARLSON: I totally agree. It's just, the other day, Senator Graham, for whom I've always had respect, said: I'm not going to vote for the 87 -- for money for our troops in Iraq if that money goes to Halliburton, as if this war was waged on behalf of Halliburton, which is not a serious point.

BEGALA: No, he didn't say it was waged for Halliburton. But they have a no-bid contract. In the capitalist system, we should have competition before they get our taxpayers' money. I think Senator Graham makes a very valid point.

(BELL RINGING)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But to withhold money from the U.S. military on the basis on something that small is insane.

BEGALA: Just put the contract up for bid, Mr. President.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Well, a remarkable development in the case of an alleged White House leak of a CIA agent's name. Now, no records have been analyzed yet. No subpoenas have been issued. No lie detector tests have been taken. But the Bush White House has already announced that three of its top aides, thought by some to be suspects, are in fact innocent. Don't you feel between?

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan yesterday proclaimed that Karl Rove and Lewis Libby and Elliott Abrams, all senior White House aides, are in fact free and clear of these charges. And, look, they may be. I hope they are. But shouldn't we have an investigation before the exoneration?

Now, no doubt President Bush has full confidence in Attorney General John Ashcroft that he'll come to the same conclusion the president apparently has already required. Now, asking John Ashcroft to investigate the Bush White House is about as credible as asking Rush Limbaugh to investigate Rite Aid pharmacy.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: I mean, I don't know what you expect the White House to do. There is an investigation under way. All of those guys will be questioned by investigators from the Justice Department. Do you expect the White House to say, you know, we're not really sure if Karl Rove was involved?

And, anyway, no one really believes Karl Rove was the person who leaked this information, no serious person. You know that.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I don't believe that he did either. Let me be clear. I know Karl. He's a friend of mine from Texas. I don't believe it.

But I know that there hasn't been an investigation.

(BELL RINGING)

BEGALA: I've been through investigations. All you say is, we will cooperate and we're not going to say anything more.

CARLSON: But the deadline was last night. It's just getting ramped up. This, unfortunately, is going to go on for a long time.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: They're clearing people before the investigation. It's silly.

CARLSON: Well, now an update on a story we told you about a few weeks ago. When Howard Dean, M.D., brought his message to New York City recently, he commissioned a graffiti artist to spray-paint a backdrop reminiscent of a vandalized wall.

Urban voters, Howard Dean believes, love graffiti and vandalism. That's the view from Vermont.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Well, the graffiti artist in question is named Blake Lethem, known to his friends as KEO. Lethem's work for Dr. Dean made him famous, so much so that, when his picture appeared in a newspaper article about Dean's backdrop, police compared it with videos of a previously unsolved crime in which persons unknown spray-painted subway cars in the late 1990s, unknown no longer, though.

Lethem was arrested on Monday. He's now charged with third- degree mischief. That's a felony. The moral of this story, well, there are so morals, it's impossible to choose. We'll let you.

BEGALA: One of the morals is that Republicans seem to only be tough on crime when it's little people committing it. They're very easy on CIA agents getting their names leaked. They've very easy on allegations of talk show hosts popping pills. They're very easy on a whole host of crimes.

CARLSON: Well, actually, I...

BEGALA: But, all of sudden, now they're going to be tough on crime?

CARLSON: Paul, actually, graffiti hurts the poor. Nobody is spray-painting rich neighborhoods. It's crummy, poor neighborhoods and subways, which poor people ride. Graffiti is bad for everybody. (CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: And the idea that some arrogant white liberal from Vermont thinks that urban voters love graffiti, because that's authentic, it's pathetic. Come on.

(BELL RINGING)

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: The notion -- the notion that the United States government would target and set up, for example, Marion Berry, who was the mayor of Washington, D.C. -- and he had a drug problem -- but we hear about prominent conservatives who have a drug problem, and, really, we say, well, we hope that they get treatment.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: If a prominent conservative becomes the mayor of Washington, D.C. and smokes crack, I'll be the first to recommend an investigation into it.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Well, you can check out Dr. Dean and the rest of the Democratic Party's candidates for president when they debate tomorrow night in Arizona. CNN will bring it to you live starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll preview it before it starts.

In California, the people have spoken. Now it's time to figure out what exactly they said and what is next for Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Golden State. Two members of California's congressional delegation join us next.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Now that he has terminated California Governor Gray Davis, really squashed him like a bug, Arnold Schwarzenegger is planning his transition. Democrats, meanwhile, are busy misreading the lessons of the recall. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for example, has concluded that the voters throwing out a Democratic governor and electing a Republican is in fact somehow a warning to President Bush for 2004. You figure that out.

In the CROSSFIRE to consider what's next in California, two members of the state's congressional delegation, Democrat Loretta Sanchez and Republican Dana Rohrabacher.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Thank you both very much for joining us.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Congressman Rohrabacher, a 20-year pal of Arnold Schwarzenegger's, the man who hosted his first event as a politician, congratulations. Well done. It's a remarkable feat. My hat is off to you.

REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: This man projects strength. He is a very bright guy. And the people of California were looking for leadership, because they know we're in a crisis.

BEGALA: Well, one of the things that came out of this -- Tucker talked about this last night on our coverage -- and I think he's right. He said it shows that going into people's personal lives, it doesn't work. It didn't work with Bill Clinton. It didn't work with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I agree. I never have condoned those kind of attacks.

Mr. Schwarzenegger, during the campaign, made one very specific promise about that, though. He told Tom Brokaw on national television on the NBC show "Dateline" this. I'm quoting Arnold here: "As soon as the campaign is over, I can get into all of those kind of specifics and find out what is really going on. But right now, I'm just really occupied with the campaign."

Well, the campaign is over. Is Mr. Schwarzenegger now going to go through the details of these allegations and tell us which are true and which are false, as he promised?

ROHRABACHER: Well, the big loser of the campaign was "The Los Angeles Times" for bringing it up. And I would suggest this.

When Arnold Schwarzenegger is being accused of touching a woman without her permission and fesses up, "Yes, I have done that sometimes in my life and I'm sorry and I apologize for it," I think this is in a whole different category than the president of the United States wagging his finger, "I didn't do this," and then lying under oath and committing perjury to protect himself.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: My question is, my question is, did Arnold lie when he said he would go into all of the details after the election?

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Was he telling the truth when he made a promise to go through all these details?

ROHRABACHER: I didn't hear the interview, so I don't know...

BEGALA: I just read you exactly what he said, Congressman, with all due respect. ROHRABACHER: With all due respect, I'm taking your word for it. I don't know.

BEGALA: So he will keep that promise?

ROHRABACHER: I'd have to see what he said in person.

BEGALA: Here it is.

BEGALA: Congresswoman Sanchez, this campaign against Arnold Schwarzenegger was really run on the premise that he was a sex criminal. The former -- now former Governor Gray Davis basically said that there ought to be a criminal investigation into these allegations; he mistreats women. That really was the line against Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And yet, lo and behold, women voted for him. The numbers we have, based on exit poll data, show Schwarzenegger, 43 percent of women, Bustamante, 36 percent. He crushed Bustamante among women. I wonder why. Why are women voting for a sex criminal?

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I don't know that he is a sex criminal. There were allegations. I think, over time, it will prove itself out. Usually, if a person has that kind of behavior, they'll continue to do it, even if they're governor or president or anybody else. So we'll see what happens.

CARLSON: But I wonder why, though -- these allegations came out. Some of them were pretty specific. He admitted, as Mr. Rohrabacher just said, that some of them were true, or there was truth in some of the allegations. And yet it didn't move female votes.

There's some -- what's going on here? Why aren't women moved by allegations like this, even when they're partly true?

ROHRABACHER: Well, I think some of the women just don't believe it, sometimes, too.

I was -- the real sad thing that I saw with respect to that issue, Arnold and his behavior and everything, that set aside, I think what really concerned me is that there were a lot of 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-year-old women that I saw interviewed who said, oh, that doesn't matter to me. Obviously, these women haven't been in the workplace, especially a workplace where the men have the power and control of the workplace, because, if they had been, they would have seen many of these types of things happen.

SANCHEZ: I've experienced it myself. People say, you're a very strong woman, Loretta. How can you tell me that you've been sexually harassed and pushed into a corner, where you go home and you cry every night? Well, let me tell you, Tucker, that really does happen in the workplace. And the sad part for me was to see these young women, who obviously haven't experienced that, because they haven't been out in the workplace. And they don't know how disconcerting it can be to a woman. ROHRABACHER: It's pretty hard for the Democrats to make hay on this issue, when they have President Clinton, the predator president, out campaigning for Davis just a few weeks before.

BEGALA: Is this really in your interest, Congressman? I just said a minute ago I didn't like it with Clinton. I don't like it with Arnold. Is it really in your interest to be bringing this kind of stuff up?

(CROSSTALK)

ROHRABACHER: First of all, you brought it up. I didn't.

SANCHEZ: They like be able to do it.

BEGALA: You just volunteered again

(CROSSTALK)

ROHRABACHER: First of all, you brought it up. I didn't.

BEGALA: There is a difference, though, however tawdry, between a consensual affair and sexual harassment.

ROHRABACHER: Yes, it is.

BEGALA: Which is what Mr. Schwarzenegger is accused of.

ROHRABACHER: That's correct. There's a big difference between that.

And the women who are complaining against Arnold said that he touched them without their permission, our president had much

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Which, if true, would be a crime in California.

(CROSSTALK)

ROHRABACHER: Let me finish it. Let me finish it.

The charges against our president were much worse than that. And the Democrats just sort of winked at it.

BEGALA: Well, let me talk to you about something nonsexual.

I found it bizarre.

ROHRABACHER: Yes.

BEGALA: Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man, according to people who know him -- and I don't -- he has a very strong record in support of Jewish causes and Israel. And I admire that.

Why, then, when he was accused of claiming Adolf Hitler as someone he admired, maybe only for his speaking style -- but, still, admiring something about Hitler -- didn't he produce the film which would prove or disprove this charge? He owns to the rights to the film "Pumping Iron." He owns all of the film. This ridiculous charge is made. Why didn't he just show us the tape and disprove it? Or is Hitler somebody he admires?

ROHRABACHER: I'm telling you, what someone said who are in their 20s, when they were a bodybuilder, to bring that up, when it is totally inconsistent with all the other things he's done in his life, it shows you the type of what we call puke politics that "The Los Angeles Times" was playing.

And the fact they brought this up and these other charges at the very last minute...

BEGALA: With respect to "The Times," that wasn't "The Times." It was the man who made the movie said this. And he considered himself to be friend of Arnold's.

ROHRABACHER: And who printed it? And who printed it?

BEGALA: Who printed it?

ROHRABACHER: No, no.

"The Los Angeles Times" brings up these charges and other charges about the sexual misconduct the very last few days of the campaign. That's why "The Los Angeles Times" has lost credibility and Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to be the governor of the state.

CARLSON: Congresswoman Sanchez, we're running out of time for this segment. But, quickly, this is a totally straightforward question. I'm really interested in your answer.

How do you account for the fact that about half of all union households in California and half of all Latino households and more than half of all women voted for the recall and against Governor Gray Davis?

SANCHEZ: OK.

Well, first of all, that's not necessarily true, because we really don't know the numbers. The exit polls don't take into consideration the over two million absentee ballots.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Well, that's right. But the general parameters we can see are, a lot of liberals voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why?

SANCHEZ: On that particular day, but who knows who was front- weighted in the absentee ballots? We have to wait about three months

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But we know it wasn't all right-wingers who voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger. What's going on here?

SANCHEZ: But I'll tell you -- well, people with very upset. If I own a really big, huge truck and I've got a trailer to it, and I've got a boat on it, and I'm a union member that goes out, and I put my boat out on the Colorado River every weekend, then what I'm looking at is a tripling of my car tax, of the trailer for the boat, and for the boat. And I'm probably looking at having paid $700 in total for that and now I'm paying $2,100.

Yes, I'm going to be very upset about that, because that's coming straight out of my pocket. So there were a lot of angry people.

ROHRABACHER: Economics -- economics played a big role.

SANCHEZ: A lot of angry people.

BEGALA: I'm going to have to ask you both just to hang on. We're going to come right back to you. Economics plays a role, sadly, in cable television as well. We have to sell ads.

And it was a quick campaign. In a minute, we will be timed for the quickest Q&A session in television. We call it "Rapid Fire" here.

And then later, governor-elect Around Schwarzenegger will talk about his plans for his state in a speech at 5:45 p.m. Eastern time. CNN will have live coverage.

But right after the break, Wolf Blitzer has the latest on a new White House P.R. -- offensive, that is, P.R. offensive, aimed at building support for President Bush's policies in Iraq.

Stay with us.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Thank you, Wolf, for those headlines. I know my friend Tucker Carlson is going to be interested to hear what they said about Britney Spears, after his scintillating interview with her.

Well, now we're back, not talking about Britney, but talking about Arnold, the other phenom here. We're doing "Rapid Fire," the fastest Q&A session in television.

We're talking with Democratic Representative Loretta Sanchez, Democrat from California, and Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

CARLSON: Congresswoman Sanchez, this is a very quick list: Andrew Cuomo, Janet Reno, Erskine Bowles, Robert Reich, Dan Glickman, Bill McBride and now Gray Davis, all people on whose behalf President Clinton campaigned to no avail. This guy is the kiss of death for Democrats. You're not going to let him into your district, are you?

SANCHEZ: Clinton is welcome any time he wants to come to Orange County. I think he's still very, very well loved by Democrats.

CARLSON: But he doesn't get anybody

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Let me give you another list. Newt Gingrich on his third wife, Bill Bennett gambling at the casinos, Rush Limbaugh alleged to be abusing drugs, Arnold Schwarzenegger, bad allegations about him. We don't know if they're true. What's happened to the Republican Party?

(LAUGHTER)

ROHRABACHER: The Republican Party?

BEGALA: No, you know...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ROHRABACHER: The Republican Party is made up of human beings, just like anybody else, with faults.

BEGALA: OK. Fair point.

CARLSON: Congresswoman, will there be an effort in the next six months to recall Arnold Schwarzenegger by Democrats in California?

SANCHEZ: I hope not. I'm a Californian. I want California to move forward. If the majority of Californians want that to happen, then they're going to work very hard to pull this together and to move our state forward. And I hope, in the same sense, we can do that at the federal level, where Bush has let things fall apart out here.

BEGALA: Congressman, Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the National Republican Party, has called for an amendment, a new plank on the Republican national platform, that would call for discrimination against gays. Would Arnold Schwarzenegger support that?

ROHRABACHER: It depends what you call discrimination. If..

BEGALA: Civil unions -- it would say civil unions should not be allowed. This would be anti-civil union, not just marriage, but civil unions.

ROHRABACHER: I don't know.

Arnold has obviously said that gay people have a right to contractual relationships. And if that's what a civil union is, it should be recognized, just like any other contract between any other citizen.

CARLSON: Congresswoman, Gray Davis, I think you'll agree now was a terrible governor and uncomfortable in office. (BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: Isn't it an act of mercy that he lost?

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: OK, well, I'll take that as a yes. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, thank you both very much.

BEGALA: Congratulations again. Big win.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: We want you to help Gray Davis with some career counseling. What should Gray Davis do next, become a movie star, try life as a television talk show host -- we recommend that -- or start angling to become the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate? The results are just ahead.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

We're still dealing with the aftershocks from that amazing political earthquake called Arnold Schwarzenegger out in California. Just before the break, though, we asked our audience what thought soon-to-be-former Governor Gray Davis should do next.

Here's what they said; 49 percent said become a movie star. Just take Arnold's old job, like trading places.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Thirty-one percent talk show host. And only 20 percent want him to run for vice president.

So, Gray, you've got a great new career. I think, actually, he was a terrific governor and he got unseated by a really unfair law. But good luck in your new career as a movie star.

CARLSON: In what kind of movie could he be the star? That's the question.

Matt Harper from Los Angeles writes: "I guess that even the old Clinton magic couldn't help Davis out in the end."

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) CARLSON: Guess not, Matt.

BEGALA: No, but if Clinton had been on the ballot -- he's never lived a day there -- he would be the governor today. He would have whipped Arnold like a bad piece of meat.

CARLSON: No, but I think he's less popular with the public than people realize.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: He would have done to Arnold what Arnold did to that woman in the movie, stick her head in the toilet and everything. Do that to Arnold, that would be fun.

OK, Steve Plakey in Los Angeles, the scene of the crime, writes: "In light of the results here in Los Angeles, it's time to recall the real problem in our country, George W. Bush and company."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Wow.

CARLSON: The Bush haters never sleep, do they?

Yes, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Chris from the old guard.

As voters, are we numb to our political leaders being -- have a sordid past? And does it affect money and votes?

CARLSON: I think Schwarzenegger was really helped by the fact that these allegations broke -- I mean, they broke a couple years ago -- but came to mainstream attention in the last week. And I think a lot of voters sort of wrote them off as a smear campaign because they did come so late.

BEGALA: This is tough, because some of these allegations are criminal. None of them were proved were in a court of law, and so I think he ought to get the benefit of the doubt.

I wish we could have a world in which we talked about ideas and issues and never talked about people's personal lives.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: From the left, I am Paul Begala. That's it for CROSSFIRE.

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

Join us again tomorrow for yet more CROSSFIRE.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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