The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
TRANSCRIPTS
Return to Transcripts main page

CNN CROSSFIRE

Do Democrats Have Better Alternative For Iraq?

Aired October 27, 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: an especially deadly day in Baghdad and unbroken determination at the White House.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will stay the course.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president has done it wrong every step of the way.

ANNOUNCER: Do any of the Democratic presidential candidates have a better alternative for Iraq?

WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no telling what's going to happen.

ANNOUNCER: Today on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(APPLAUSE)

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

(APPLAUSE)

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

Well, last night's Democratic debate proved one thing: Democratic presidential candidates have no idea, no clue in the world, what to do about Iraq, but they do hate President Bush.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Of course, today's headlines tragically remind us that President Bush in fact is the one who has no clue about what to do in Iraq, which is increasingly looking like a quagmire.

We'll debate the alternatives right after the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Senators from both parties are blasting the Bush White House for stonewalling the independent commission investigating 9/11. Now the panel's chairman, Republican, former Governor Tom Kean, says he is prepared to subpoena the White House if certain documents are not turned over to his commission. The president today called those documents -- quote -- "very sensitive" -- unquote. Panel sources told "The New York Times" that those documents include the president's daily briefing, which, a month before the attacks, reportedly warned President Bush that Osama bin Laden planned to hijack U.S. airplanes.

Mr. Bush took no known steps to beef up security after that briefing. Now, the Bush White House regularly leaks classified information for political purposes, including, allegedly, the name of a CIA agent. But when it comes to the truth about 9/11, they believe that loose lips sink ships. They should come clean.

CARLSON: This is a...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: This is a screw-up from top to bottom.

Right on September 12, 2001, the president should have said: A lot of people are going to get canned. A lot of people screwed up in the intelligence agencies. We inherited this legacy of neglect from the previous administration. We're going to get to the bottom of this right now. And they didn't. And they're paying for it. And I was against it from the beginning.

BEGALA: And if any Clinton administration former official were stonewalling, I'd be just as hard on them. Both the former President Clinton and the current president ought to come clean with every fact that they have.

CARLSON: But it...

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: But it hurts Bush politically to do this, because it now ties him to screw-ups he's not responsible for.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I think he is responsible. That's why he's covering them up.

CARLSON: Well, how bad is the situation in Israel this days? Well, so bad, that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston may have to weigh in.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: The actors announced last week that they will put their innumerable film, restaurant, and television projects on hold and bring peace to the Middle East -- quote -- "The past three years of conflict mean that yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians will grow up in hatred," the couple said in a statement. "We cannot allow that to happen." That's right. Brad and Jennifer cannot allow that to happen.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Well, the response in the region was immediate. From Haifa to the Gaza Strip, Bethlehem to Tel Aviv, thousands took to the streets in joy and relief. Brad and Jennifer have had enough. Peace is on its way.

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, war-weary residents continue to hold out hope that Ben Affleck and J.Lo may show up soon.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: You know, it is so easy to take shots at successful artists who care about their world. I think this is terrific.

My former governor in Texas thought Palestine was a town in East Texas until the Supreme Court put him in the White House.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Oh, Paul.

BEGALA: I think it's great that people care about peace in the world and they want to do something about it.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I totally think so, too. But the arrogance required to look at a situation so complex, virtually no one understands it, to look and that, and say you know what? I can fix that. That requires

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... so deep...

BEGALA: That's not what they're saying. They care about their world. Nobody would have blamed them if they could just retreat into their fame and their fortune and their celebrity.

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: We all care about the world.

BEGALA: But they're engaged in trying to make the world a better place. God bless them.

CARLSON: If they could do it in a less arrogant way, I'd be pleased.

BEGALA: Well, we all would, if all of us would be a little less arrogant, and I suppose myself as well.

Well, anyway, as if the Bush administration wasn't in enough trouble, with its disastrous and dishonest Iraq policy, two new major news stories have come out which raise the specter of cronyism in defense contracts. "The Washington Post" today reports that President Bush personally intervened to circumvent the rules and give the Boeing Corporation a government contract of up to $25 billion, despite his own budget office's warning that it was wasteful.

And in a remarkable expose of the rebuilding effort in Iraq, "Newsweek" reports today -- quote -- "Numerous allegations of overspending, favoritism, and corruption have surfaced" -- unquote -- in President Bush's rebuilding program. Now, the Bush administration policy apparently seems to be, if your tax dollars can't go to enrich politically connected corporations, well, then the terrorists win.

CARLSON: This is all...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: This is all a stupid sideshow that I think takes our attention away from the question, what do we do in Iraq? It's kind of a big deal.

But more to the point, this is always what happens when government does anything. I'll remind you, that's the government that you defend, support, and encourage enlarging every day on this show. It is by its nature corrupt.

BEGALA: It doesn't have to be corrupt. It is corrupt when companies like Halliburton get no-bid contracts they don't even compete for.

CARLSON: Oh, come on.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: We should have oversight. We should have prosecutors. John Ashcroft ought to be prosecuting war profiteers, instead of librarians.

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: You honestly don't think that like an insanely tiny little sideshow and off the point?

BEGALA: Oh, so it's a couple of billion dollars that's going right down the drain. What the heck.

CARLSON: It's not going to down the drain.

BEGALA: Well, it adds up for some of us.

CARLSON: Well, it would be a lot easier to have warm feelings for Bill Clinton if he could just stop talking about himself for a minute. Instead, the former president can barely let a day go by without bothering reporters. Obviously, he feels ignored.

Well, the latest example comes from England, where Prime Minister Tony Blair was briefly hospitalized last week with heart palpitations. As Blair recovered from his potentially life-threatening illness, Clinton, in desperate need of attention, called the press to weigh in -- quote -- "I've known about Blair's health problems for a long time," Clinton said.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: "He told me about it quite a few years ago." The only problem is, this never happened. Until last week, Blair had no idea he had a heart condition. He never had any such conversation with Clinton. The whole thing is fantasy. Pretty sad. On the other hand, Clinton got his publicity fix for the day, buying the rest of us a few more hours of silence. So enjoy it.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Well, first off, one fact. What Downing Street said was that -- his spokesman said, "I have no idea what conversations that the president and prime minister had." But more importantly

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: They said he never had heart problems in the past.

BEGALA: This is a good time to check in for a little self-help, Tucker. We have an Iraq policy that's a disaster. We have an economy that is sputtering. And you still want to attack Bill Clinton? That's deeply sick. You need to get some help, my friend. You need to get some help.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You're totally missing it. Actually, I don't ever want to think about that guy again.

BEGALA: You can't help it, though. You're addicted.

CARLSON: He can't help it. Every time I open the paper...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Aromatherapy, something.

CARLSON: You're turning it back on me. You're doing a fairly clever job.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: But it's his -- it's his lack of self-control. Just be quiet, man. Go make your money in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Get rich, but be quiet.

(BELL RINGING)

BEGALA: Guys, is this is an obsession or what?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: That's totally not -- I mean, if we never use that word on this show again, it would be a happy day.

Well, it's been an unhappy day, in fact, it's been a violent day in Baghdad. President Bush says the U.S. will not be deterred in its efforts to rebuild Iraq and create democracy there. Last night, the Democratic Party's candidates for president offered a lot of criticism. But do they have any clue about what to do? Do they have alternatives?

We'll debate have that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Suicide bombers killed at least 30 people, including two American soldiers, and wounded more than 200 people in Iraq today alone. Now, three bombers targeted Iraqi police stations. One attack struck the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross, something U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls a crime against humanity. At the White House, President Bush told reporters he will stay the course in Iraq.

In the CROSSFIRE to debate what kind of a course we are on, Cliff May of the Foundation For the Defense of Democracies, and former Maine Congressman Tom Andrews. He's the national director of the Win Without War Coalition.

Guys, thanks for coming.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Tom, I hope you didn't have to watch the debate last night. It really was almost unbearable. But I want to play for you...

TOM ANDREWS, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, WIN WITHOUT WAR COALITION: But you sat through it?

CARLSON: I did, in fact.

ANDREWS: You did. Good.

CARLSON: On the C-SPAN replay today.

ANDREWS: That's your open-mindedness coming through. CARLSON: Yes, I have a pretty open mind.

Here's one of the most unbearable parts. This is Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, other sensible guy, talking about the coalition that went to war in Iraq. He is here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: This president has done it wrong every step of the way. He promised that he would have a real coalition. He has a fraudulent coalition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: A fraudulent coalition.

Well, as a writer named Darren Kaplan pointed out this morning, that coalition consisted of the United States, the U.K., Australia, Poland. But for the absence of Canada, that's the precise coalition that landed at Normandy to defeat the Nazis in 1944. Isn't it kind of typical liberal arrogance that you would dismiss that as fraudulent? There's nothing fraudulent about it, is there?

ANDREWS: I'll tell you something. Look at your tax bill. That's fraudulent. When you have a United States government taxes American taxpayers for this war in Iraq, when you have the great triumph of the Madrid conference coming out with $4 billion out of the $160 billion that we're going to have to pay -- $4 billion comes out of grants -- that's not a coalition. That is a fraudulent coalition.

CARLSON: Wait a minute, I think your argument

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: And we're going to be laughing all the way to the bank, unless we can turn this so-called coalition around.

CARLSON: But do you buy into the notion that, unless France and Belgium are involved, it's fraudulent, it's not legitimate unless France and Belgium are involved? Because that seems to be Kerry's point.

ANDREWS: It's not legitimate until you have our allies, our so- called coalition partners, going up and putting troops on the ground, giving real dollars. And they'll do that when we can have a real coalition, when we share authority, when we work with the international cooperation -- with the international community in terms of cooperation and not coercion. And that's what we're doing now, coercion, not cooperation.

BEGALA: Cliff, first, thanks for coming.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Second, I think we owe it to a lot of guys who landed on Omaha Beach -- and there were no Poles with them. The Poles were on the other side of the fight at the time, trying to maintain themselves under Hitler's domination.

CARLSON: I think it was the government in exile, obviously.

BEGALA: Well, there was no Polish contribution at Normandy, for goodness' sakes.

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: We had a smaller coalition in those days. You're absolutely right in that point.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Well, let's go to what's going on today in Iraq, Cliff.

Our president today received the press in his office, along with Paul Bremer, who is the viceroy of Iraq, on a particularly bloody day. He was asked about the 40 people killed, 200 people injured. And here's what the president of the United States said today, Clifford.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I repeat myself that the more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: The president says, the better job we do, the more they attack us. So it's good news that 200 people are injured and 40 are dead. Do we need to invoke the 25th Amendment and get someone who is not crazy in there, Cliff? That is a deeply weird and twisted view of reality.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: You do need to understand what's going on in Iraq now. And, evidently, you don't, Paul. What's going on right now is that things...

BEGALA: It's great news. It's great news.

MAY: Well, let me explain it to you.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: If no one were killed, would it be bad news?

CARLSON: Let the man answer

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: If I could have more than a second, so I might give you a more complex understanding than you have right now, Paul.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: And what's happening right now is, for the vast majority of Iraqis, life is getting better, more electricity than they had before the war, schools open, a free press, 170 newspapers. They can speak their mind, worship as they choose.

But you know what? There are terrorists attacking them every day. Now, the way things are in Iraq right are the way things have been in Israel a long time. And if we lose in Iraq or cut and run, as you'd like to, Tom, then we're going to have this situation that you see in Iraq right here in Washington, D.C., right here in Washington, D.C.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Let me ask you

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: We beat them there or we beat them here.

BEGALA: Let me ask you, then, to try again to answer the question.

MAY: Yes.

BEGALA: The question was, does our president really believe that these attacks are good news and signs of our success?

MAY: No, of course -- what he believes is that...

BEGALA: That's what he said, Cliff.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: What he believes is that the more we succeed in Iraq, the more angry the Baathist remnants and the foreign jihadis will be, because the last thing they want is a free, democratic and prosperous Iraq. That's our goal. At least, I think it's three of us. I don't know what you want for Iraq, Tom. And what the jihadis want is for Iraq to be a terror-sponsoring state again.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: That's the fight we're having. That's the war we're having.

ANDREWS: Right.

And that's what the administration told us before the Iraq war.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: A, it was not true then. Yes, it is true now. MAY: Why was it not true?

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: Why? Because now we've created the very haven for terrorism that we were warned about before the war, is now in place because of the attack on Iraq in the way we did it.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: Tom, you cannot say that.

Tom, there's something called Salman Pak. It is south of Baghdad. It was a terrorist training camp. According not only to our intelligence reports, but to the Iraqi newspapers, it was used to train all kinds of terrorists, including al Qaeda. Now that it's been closed down, it's a worse situation? We're fighting people we have to fight. We overthrew a dictator you of all people should want to overthrow.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

ANDREWS: Only 35 percent of Iraqi people think that the United States is there to help them long-term.

MAY: Wrong, more than 70 percent. Where are you getting those figures from? Where are you getting those figures from?

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: So we've got -- we've got 10,000 Iraqis on the street two weekends ago from the Shiites, that are supposedly our friends, complaining about the mess that's in the streets of Iraq.

MAY: God bless them. They're allowed to complain. That's called democracy. You should understand that.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: Well, start listening. Start listening. We should start listening.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MAY: No, no. They get to protest. They get to march, because they're working with us.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I'm going to break in here really quick.

I'm going to ask you a question, Tom, turning back to the debate, the frantic attempt by these nine guys to become president. They're unpleasant. Most people don't like them. So unpleasant, they don't like each other. And one of the main points of hostility is shaping up to be Senators Lieberman vs. Kerry.

Kerry said something awfully cutting to Senator Lieberman last night. I want you to take a look at it. I'd like to know what you think.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Well, Joe, I have seared in me an experience which you don't have. And that's the experience of being one of those troops on the front lines when the policy has gone wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: In other words: I'm a war hero. Shut up.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: And I guess my question

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Truly -- and this is only the 100th time Senator Kerry said that.

ANDREWS: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

CARLSON: Here's my question. Most -- the vast majority of women in this country, the vast majority of gay people in this country, the vast majority of people, period, including, I suspect, everyone at this table, are not combat veterans, and yet we're free to weigh in on an equal footing with people like John Kerry, aren't we? Shouldn't he stop that?

ANDREWS: OK, this was a great exercise, Paul, in taking something out of context. What Mr. Kerry was responding to was an attack on him for not standing up for the troops, so-called, for voting against the $87 billion. That rubs someone who's a veteran with his kind of credentials raw.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: And it was perfectly justified for him to say that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You're not watching carefully.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: Hold on. Hold on. And perfectly justified for him to vote against the $87 billion, because you don't take $87 billion and throw it into a failed policy.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But shouldn't he argue the substance, rather than, at every moment, throwing the roadblock of his personal biography, his combat experience, up and telling other people to be quiet?

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: Tucker, not when you're attacked for not standing up for the troops. Every one of those Democratic candidates believe in those troops and standing up for them. And the best way to stand up for them is to defend them against this administration policy that's putting them as sitting ducks in the middle of this guerrilla quagmire. That's how to defend the troops.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Let me bring up a little pressure and tension within the Republican ranks. Senator John McCain, perhaps the most hawkish Republican on this war, strongly supported the war, but had this to say to "Newsweek" about the way our president is not leveling with us.

This is what he said: "This is the first time that I have seen a parallel to Vietnam in terms of information the administration is putting out vs. the actual situation on the ground. I'm not saying the situation in Iraq now is as bad as Vietnam. But we have a problem in the Sunni Triangle and we should face up to it and tell the American people about it."

Isn't John McCain right? And isn't President Bush wrong when he keeps giving us this happy horse manure every day: "Things are great. We had 400 people attacked today. It's great news"? Isn't McCain right and Bush wrong?

MAY: I don't think -- I don't think...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MAY: Let me be quick about this, because there's several points.

One is, I don't -- I think McCain is making a basic point that is correct. And I have written about it, so I can't say anything different. What we have -- but it's what I've just said to you. We have going on in Iraq right now what's called a war. This is the way war is going to look in the 21st century. It's not everywhere. It's not in the Kurdish north. It's not in the Shiite class. But we're the ruling class. But we're the ruling class.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Isn't he misleading us?

MAY: Mission accomplished was toppling Saddam Hussein and the major combat.

But the minor combat, the low-intensity conflict, this is going to go on for some time. But I've got to ask you something, because I've just got to find this out.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: You slandered all the people of Iraq, it seems to me. Do you really think the Iraqi people want Saddam Hussein back and would like us to leave? Are you so convinced of that? When you say 30 percent

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: That's what you think, that our side is arguing that we want Saddam Hussein?

MAY: What do you think?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I'm sorry. We're going to -- we've just got to take a quick break.

We'll get the answer to that question when we come back.

Also, a new poll, numbers out on the president's handling of Iraq. We'll find out what the public thinks. And we'll get reaction from our guests in "Rapid Fire."

Right after the break, Wolf Blitzer has the latest on the battle against wildfires in San Diego County.

We'll be right back.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: It's time for "Rapid Fire," short questions, short answers.

And today, new poll numbers. A new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll puts President Bush's overall approval rating at 53 percent. When asked about U.S. handling of the situation in Iraq since major combat ended, 47 percent approve, while 50 percent disapprove.

Our guests, Tom Andrews, national director of the Win Without War Coalition, and Cliff May of the Foundation For the Defense of Democracies.

Cliff, in this brand new poll, CNN also asks the American people whether we should send in more troops or maintain the current level, vs. withdrawing some or all of the troops. Take a look at this. The majority, 57 percent of the American people, want to reduce or withdraw all of our troops. Isn't this a failure of presidential leadership, when the majority of the country is turning against this policy? MAY: Actually, I agree with that. And you know what? So does President Bush.

BEGALA: What?

MAY: His goal -- his goal by next year is to reduce the amount of troops we have in Iraq and replace them with Iraqi troops.

BEGALA: Because it's going so well.

(LAUGHTER)

MAY: Because Iraqi troops need to take over this.

Look, you want to make it -- you and others, I'm afraid, said that Afghanistan was a quagmire. Then you said -- and then it was a quagmire when we went in, in April.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: No, I didn't say that.

MAY: It's constantly the prophets of doom. We are making slow progress, faster than we made in Germany and Japan post World War II, much faster.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I've got to jump in.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: Thirty-thousand troops in there by August.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Gentlemen, listen to Joe Biden, who is probably the most respected Democrat on foreign policy there is, who said last week that there are really no adults among the Democrats running for president when it comes to foreign policy.

As if to prove it, here's what Dick Gephardt said last night. This is foreign policy. I'm quoting verbatim -- quote -- "We need peace in the world, not terrorism."

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Do you agree with that?

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: OK, so you're going to debate terrorism and I'm going to debate peace? Is that it?

CARLSON: No, not terrorism. Peace, not terrorism. It's pathetic, isn't it?

(CROSSTALK)

ANDREWS: Pathetic?

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: He was quoting Jennifer Aniston.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDREWS: Maybe that's what we need.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: There is a poll today in "The Christian Science Monitor." Two-thirds of Iraqi people now view us as an occupying force. And by 2-1, they say conditions are worse in their country since we came in. Aren't we losing the battle for Iraq's hearts and minds?

MAY: Whose nonsensical poll is that? I've seen so many polls by reputable organizations, Gallup and Zogby, that say nothing like that. I don't believe that for a second.

We know, from the polls and the disinterested reporting that we've seen, that most Iraqis not only want us there.

BEGALA: They love us. Sure.

(CROSSTALK)

MAY: No, no.

(BELL RINGING)

MAY: Let me tell you what they think, because it's out there to find out. What they think is, we've liberated them from one of the worst dictators ever, who killed more Muslims than anybody in history, and we need to be there for about a year or two to help them over this crisis. They want us there. You -- look

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: That's going to have to be the last word.

I want to thank Cliff May from the Foundation For the Defense of Democracies, Tom Andrews from the Win Without War Coalition.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Thank you for a spirited debate. It will not be, of course, the last time we debate this with these two fine gentlemen. Well, looking down the road just a little bit, we want to ask you this question. Which issue do you think is going to more important in your vote in the 2004 election? Will it be the economy or Iraq, that is, the jobless economy or the endless occupation? We'll have your answer right after the break.

And then, in "Fireback," what could President Bush and the New York Yankees have in common? I'll tell you right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Time for our deeply scientific audience poll, in which we asked, which issue will be bigger in the 2004 presidential election, the economy or foreign policy/Iraq? Answers, Republicans think, by 62 percent, the economy. Democrats think so too, 56 percent. Kind of a consensus.

It just depends if you think a debacle is worse than a disaster. And I'm not sure which is worse for this president.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: I think, actually, they're both completely wrong. It is going to be foreign policy.

BEGALA: Ed Vetter of Clarksville, Tennessee, writes: "What happened to those high-priced Yankees?" He's talking about the World Series, of course. The Yankees lost in the sixth game. "Shows that money doesn't always prevail, just like it won't in 2004."

Well, that's kind of interesting.

CARLSON: Are you saying Howard Dean's not going to win?

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Mr. Vetter apparently is saying...

CARLSON: Well, that's hurts, the idea that...

BEGALA: President Bush will have a quarter of a billion dollars or more.

CARLSON: No, he won't.

BEGALA: Yes, he will.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Kay Malo of Savannah, Georgia, writes: "Instead of the boring debates, why not start a pyramid of one-on-one debates, with the winners pitted against the winners and the wild card losers given a second chance, like March Madness for Democrats?"

That's great idea, Kay, but, of course, Al Sharpton would be the nominee by the end of that. So I don't think they'll ever allow it.

BEGALA: Oh, I don't know. We've got some tough guys in my party. How about a mud-wrestling match right here on CROSSFIRE?

From the left, I'm Paul Begala. That's it for CROSSFIRE.

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

Join us again tomorrow, Tuesday, 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




International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.