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Condom Free-For-All; G. Gordon Liddy on the Issues

Aired December 26, 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: a D.C. freebie coming soon to a government office near you? We'll ask Dr. Ruth if giving away free condoms promotes safe sex or risky behavior.

And, for the 10th year, his calendar is "Stacked & Packed." We'll ask G. Gordon Liddy what else the new year will bring.



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


PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Hello, everybody.

Welcome to a CROSSFIRE that's guaranteed to leave you a little hot and bothered this holiday season. In a little bit, G. Gordon Liddy will be here with the 10th-anniversary edition of his "Stacked & Packed" calendar. But, unlike Mr. Liddy, other right-wingers here in Washington seem to be staying up late at night worrying that maybe, just maybe, somebody somewhere is having fun.

So you can imagine their panic when they learned that health officials here in our nation's capital announced plans to make folks making whoopee a little bit safer. You see, city health officials will soon install 50 plain white condom dispensers across the District of Columbia. They will be in places like the Housing Authority and the Department of Human Services, Motor Vehicles.

The plan is to hand out a half-a-million latex condoms to D.C. residents. The goal is to prevent HIV and AIDS.

In the CROSSFIRE to debate this, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the noted sex therapist. She is in New York City; and here in Washington, Genevieve Wood of the Family Research Council.

Thank you both, ladies.

(APPLAUSE) TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Dr. Ruth, thanks so much for joining us.


CARLSON: I guess my -- I'm not here necessarily to take a stand against condoms, but to suggest that, possibly, lack of condoms isn't the real problem.

Let me tell you what I think may be the real problem. I'm going to quote to you from "The San Diego Union," a piece that ran this fall -- quote -- "Researchers at Tulane University have found that about three out of four people infected with the AIDS virus hide that fact from casual sex partners. Although the study participants were not asked whether they used condoms, past research has established that most do not."

Shouldn't we be spending our money counseling people to stop spreading AIDS?

WESTHEIMER: No question. It's not just AIDS, Tucker, and all of your audience. It's also Herpes.

We have 60 million Americans, so they tell me, with that sexually transmitted disease. And there is no question that, because of programs like yours and because of my talking from morning until night about contraception, the rate of unintended pregnancies has been reduced. So I'm not saying that you are going to go out and say to everybody, go out and have sex right now; here's a condom.

I'm saying the other way around. If you do have a partner, if you decide to be sexually active, please be so kind. Use a condom or another contraceptive to protect yourself and your partner from an unintended pregnancy and from sexually transmitted diseases.

BEGALA: Genevieve Wood -- thanks, Dr. Ruth. Let me bring Genevieve into this.

First, thank you for coming out on a snowy afternoon.


BEGALA: I think she makes a very good point.

Let me read to you what Dr. Torres, Ivan Torres, the D.C. health commissioner, says: "What we're trying to do here is save lives. What we're trying to do is contain the epidemic in the District of Columbia. And it's nothing new. This condom initiative is just part of something, an initiative we call abstinence-plus. And we start with abstinence. We tell the people, certainly, you should -- the safest way is to abstain from sexual contact. But if you decide to have sexual contact, these are the options. And among the options are condoms."

It seems to me common sense. What's wrong with that? WOOD: Well, two things.

No. 1, I live in the District of Columbia. And I've never seen a billboard or anything on the metro or on the side of a bus that talks about abstinence from the D.C. Department of Health. He may mention that, but I've never seen them put any money behind it.

Secondly, look, the AIDS epidemic is terrible, but there are a lot of sexually transmitted diseases. And there a number which condoms do not protect against. The Human papillomavirus, HPV, which is the leading cause of cervical cancer for women, condoms do not protect against that. So just because the guy is wearing a condom, for the woman, she may very well not be protected. I don't think we're giving people the full story here.

WESTHEIMER: But, but, but...

WOOD: We're not giving people the truth.

WESTHEIMER: Genevieve, I don't...

WOOD: We're acting like it's a security blanket. How about putting a surgeon general's warning on the side, like we do cigarettes, saying...


WOOD: ... condoms work only about 80 percent of the time. They don't protect you against every sexually transmitted disease. Give people the full facts. And they're not doing that.

CARLSON: Dr. Ruth, is that really...

WESTHEIMER: Genevieve?

CARLSON: ... where we should put the warning, on the condom, or...

WESTHEIMER: Yes. Well, I don't disagree with Genevieve at all, because I'm saying, whoever has a relationship, whoever knows with whom they're going to have sex, has to use a contraception.


WESTHEIMER: I don't think scare techniques work. We know they don't work, because they tried them in World War II. And the libido, the desire for sex, even for somebody like you, Tucker, is a very strong one.




WESTHEIMER: So we know... CARLSON: Almost -- almost out of control, Dr. Ruth, almost, really.

WESTHEIMER: We know -- we know -- all of you, we know that educating will help.

I don't want to have scare technique, but I do not disagree with Genevieve to say this is not 100 percent sure.

CARLSON: But wait, wait, Dr. Ruth...

WESTHEIMER: A condom can break.

CARLSON: But what about...

WESTHEIMER: But I would like condoms in all restaurants.


WESTHEIMER: And I don't disagree with Genevieve that money should be put behind the attitude: be sexually active when you are ready.

CARLSON: Right, but Doctor...

WESTHEIMER: Don't just do it.

CARLSON: Dr. Ruth, if you sleep with, say, dozens of people, you dramatically increase the chances that you're going to die of a sexually transmitted disease.

WESTHEIMER: I don't want you to sleep with dozens of people.

CARLSON: Well, of course. Why -- then why not...

WESTHEIMER: I want you to sleep with one person.

CARLSON: Well, thank you, Dr. Ruth. And I do, too. But I guess my question is...

WESTHEIMER: With one person at a time.

CARLSON: Then -- then...


CARLSON: Then why not discourage...


CARLSON: Why not discourage people from sleeping with dozens of people? If that's a scare tactic, so what? It's scary.


Tucker, all of us, you and your program and Genevieve, want to talk about safer sex. There is no question. But what we have to do is to get that message out there that condoms -- and I would like Washington to have condoms in all colors. How about an orange one, like my new sweater?


WESTHEIMER: In all colors...


WESTHEIMER: ... in order to make the point.

WOOD: But, Dr. Ruth, I


WESTHEIMER: Use them because it is safer than unprotected sex.

BEGALA: Go ahead, Genevieve.

WOOD: But, Dr. Ruth, I mean, the problem here is that that's not what the D.C. government is doing.

I've got an ad here that everybody can't see from "The Washington Post." And it's where the D.C. Department of Health has teamed up with a nightclub called Dream. And the title of the ad is, "Let's get it on." "The D.C. Department of Health and Dream hook up for safe sex in the city." That is not promoting the right kind of behavior. That is promoting sex. It's handing out at nightclubs...

WESTHEIMER: Genevieve?

WOOD: That's not where we ought to be putting our money.

WESTHEIMER: Genevieve, no disagreement from me. There are clubs like now in New York where people have indiscriminate sexual activity, heterosexual, homosexual. I am not for that.

But I would like to use our time, our efforts, and our money for that positive aspect, by saying, women and men, if you think you're going to be sexually active, have a condom in your pocket or in your pocketbook. I want them to be available. I want them to be available free, because, if we can prevent an unintended pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease, then that's part of good sexuality education.

WOOD: But you know what?

Part of this issue that is going on here in the D.C. Department of Health, they're not just handing it out at the DMV. They're not just handing it out at the Health and Human Services Department. They're handing it out in the public schools as well to 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds.

WESTHEIMER: I don't agree with that.

WOOD: Four -- well, I don't either. But 14-year-olds can't even buy cigarettes, but we give them condoms for free?

WESTHEIMER: I would not give a 14-year-old a condom.

WOOD: I mean, that's not the kind of message we ought to be giving our teenagers.

And -- well, we but we ought to be teaching our teenagers abstinence. We don't -- we tell them not to smoke. We don't say, here's some lower-tar, lower-nicotine cigarettes. Smoke these, because we know you're going to try it anyway.

WESTHEIMER: Wait, wait, wait, Genevieve.

WOOD: We don't give them lower-alcohol beer.

WESTHEIMER: Wait, wait, wait.


BEGALA: But we don't want people -- we don't want people jumping out of airplanes. But if they do, we want them to use a parachute. Isn't it the same thing?



WOOD: Do they give you a parachute when you go on an airplane? No. Because they don't want to encourage that kind of behavior.

BEGALA: We'll be right back with "Rapid Fire," where we'll see how many times Dr. Ruth can make us blush in the span of two minutes.

Stay with us.

ANNOUNCER: Join Carville, Begala, Carlson and Novak in the CROSSFIRE. For free tickets to the live Washington audience, call 202-994-8CNN or e-mail us at Now you can step into the CROSSFIRE.


BEGALA: Time now for "Rapid Fire," where our questions are really fast, quickies, you might call them. We're discussing the D.C. government's plan to hand out free condoms to Washington residents.

CARLSON: In the CROSSFIRE, Genevieve Wood of the Family Research Council, and, in New York, renowned sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer.


WESTHEIMER: Not while driving.


WESTHEIMER: Tucker, not while driving. Go into a lover's lane. (CROSSTALK)

WESTHEIMER: In a lover's lane, not...

CARLSON: That's an excellent point.


BEGALA: Go into a lover's lane.

Now, Genevieve, why do conservatives not want to tell corporations what they can pollute into the air, but they do want to tell adults that they can't make whoopee?

WOOD: That's not what we're trying to do. We're just trying to say, the D.C. government and other governments shouldn't be increasing the wrong type of behavior.

Look, the people -- the way you get AIDS, the way you get STDs, the way you get pregnant when you're not wanting to, is usually sexual promiscuity. And -- and handing out condoms at clubs and at local schools and the DMV isn't what we ought to be doing. If the D.C. government is really concerned about health, why don't they give out free flu shots? They give out free flu shots in the district. Give out boxes of vitamins. Condoms, you can get at any drugstore.


WOOD: ... responsible, they'll go get them.


CARLSON: Dr. Ruth, I want you to use your imagination here. What would you do with condoms at the DMV?


WESTHEIMER: What you would do? You start the conversation with your loved one: Look, honey, I love you. I'm eventually going to get married with you. Right now, in the lover's lane, and I'm protected, because I want to protect you. It's a wonderful opening for a conversation.

CARLSON: That is romantic. I agree.



BEGALA: I am taking notes, Dr. Ruth. I am taking notes.

Genevieve, what's wrong -- conservatives stand for local control.

WOOD: We do.

BEGALA: Well, D.C. -- if you don't like what D.C. is doing, vote out the city council. It's their right, isn't it?

WOOD: Well, I'm going to do. I'm -- well, this is something that just came out. It was something I would love to make hay about in the next election cycle.

But the fact is, this isn't new. D.C. has been giving out condoms for years. Other cities, San Francisco, New York


BEGALA: The citizens wanted it.

WOOD: Well, no, but it hasn't helped. They've been giving out condoms.

WESTHEIMER: That's not true.

WOOD: We've got an epidemic in the city. And now they're giving out even more.

CARLSON: Dr. Ruth, is there any place in America where it's difficult to find condoms?

WESTHEIMER: I think it's sometimes difficult in small towns, because you don't want a 19-year-old or 18-year-old to go to the pharmacist and say, I need condoms, because the pharmacist is going to say, who are you having sex with?


WESTHEIMER: So I think, should be available.

WOOD: Well, good for that pharmacist. That's what they ought to be doing with teenagers.

CARLSON: Unfortunately, we're completely out of time. I wanted to explore the pharmacist question more, but, no, we can't.

Famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth, one of our favorite guests, in New York, thank you for joining us.

Genevieve Wood of the Family Research Council, thank you very much.

BEGALA: Well, soon, Democratic voters are going to have to think about something other than sex. I know that's a depressing thought, guys. But the good news is, the presidential primaries and caucuses will finally be starting.

So, in a minute, Mr. Novak and I will discuss the presidential race with radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy.

Stay with us.



ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: Christmas came early for the Bush administration when the Army dug Saddam Hussein out of a spider hole on December 13. The only lump of coal in stockings at the White House came from old-time liberal Clinton judges. We've gotten a series of cockeyed court rulings on everything from allowing gay marriage to how the government treats terrorist suspects.

To talk about all of this, we're joined by none other than radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy.

G. GORDON LIDDY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Good to see you. Good to see you, Paul.

BEGALA: Thank you for coming.

LIDDY: My pleasure.

BEGALA: We'll talk at length about the "Stacked & Packed" calendar. But first, I want to start with a few more serious things.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-judge panel, recently ruled that Jose Padilla, an American citizen arrested on American soil, but never formally charged, never seeing an attorney, no habeas corpus, now has to have some sort of due process. Do you think that's an infringement on the war on terrorism, or do you agree with me that Mr. Bush went too far here?

LIDDY: I agree with you. If you have got an American citizen arrested on American soil charged with a crime, he's entitled to the protections in the United States Constitution. And I think the court of appeals was correct.

The other decision which attempts to have the people down in Guantanamo put in the same position, I think that's incorrect. That would be like saying, well, all the prisoners who were former (UNINTELLIGIBLE) soldiers that were brought over here during World War II and put in prison camps should all be provided with lawyers and so forth.

NOVAK: But don't you have a little heartburn over these Clinton judges -- it was two Clinton judges who made this thing on Jose Padilla -- that they'll always take the side of the accused terrorist against the U.S. government?

LIDDY: Well, a stopped clock is correct twice a day.


LIDDY: And so they -- I think they were correct here.

NOVAK: Let me turn to another subject, Gordon.

The social conservatives are up in arms with President Bush over the -- something he said on the Diane Sawyer show the other night. I'm going to read what it says. He said: "If necessary, I will support a constitutional amendment which will honor marriage between a man and a woman, codify that. And we'll -- the position of this administration, as you know, whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state."

In other words, President Bush came out for civic unions if the state approves them. And the social conservatives hate that. Whose side are you on?

LIDDY: I'm on the side of the people who say, it's OK.

Let me -- right now, you and I could contract to -- if I die, you get my house and all that sort of thing. I don't see that there's anything magic about this civil union thing. I think it's certainly not a marriage, because that's an oxymoron. And as long as they don't attempt to make that a marriage, I don't care what two consenting adults choose to do with their property upon their deaths.

BEGALA: That's actually the same position that Vice President Cheney has, the same position that most, I think eight out of the nine Democrats running, that is, to support civil unions, if a state decides they want that, a private contractual relationship, but not what's called gay marriage.


BEGALA: So why -- do you think it's an error -- I guess you do -- that the Republican National Committee chairman says he wants to make this a major issue, even, though, apparently, his vice president, and now maybe the president, seem to disagree with him?

LIDDY: He's probably just trying to placate his base.

NOVAK: That's a problem, though, isn't it, what your base wants? You got to have your base vote for you.

LIDDY: Yes, but I don't think that the base is going to desert him over that. The base would desert him over signing an extension of the so-called assault weapon ban.

NOVAK: Let me tell you something that I agree with John McCain about. There's a lot of things I disagree with John McCain on. But on December 1, he said: "Congress is now spending money like a drunken sailor. And I've never known a sailor, drunk or sober, with the imagination that this Congress has."


NOVAK: What do you think of that?

LIDDY: Well, he's a professional sailor. He would know.


LIDDY: Yes, you know, I don't know. Whoever is in power, Washington is just a fountain of other people's money into all kinds of pork. BEGALA: Of course, the budget was balanced recently. I'm trying to remember back under which president that was.


BEGALA: But let me ask you...

NOVAK: It was Coolidge, wasn't it?

BEGALA: Perhaps.

Let me ask you about Iraq. There's another recent story. President Reagan, back in 1984, sent Don Rumsfeld to be a special envoy. He met with Saddam Hussein. Later, this came up. He told CNN just about a year ago that, in that meeting, he pressed Saddam to not use chemicals weapons. This was at a time Saddam was gassing the Iranians.

Documents released recently suggest that perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld said something very different, that -- there are documents that were released suggest that perhaps he said, we don't like chemical weapons, but we don't want your use of them to get in the way of us having a good relationship with him. Do you think Mr. Rumsfeld has a credibility problem on chemical weapons?


What I think he was doing was reflecting the State Department. The State Department is always in favor of -- quote -- "stability" -- end quote -- no matter what. They'll make a bargain with the devil, if they believe it will be conducive to stability in the region. And I think that that was probably the instructions that


BEGALA: But isn't it a little hypocritical today for Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush and other, but Rumsfeld particularly, to say, we had to go to war in Iraq because of the risk that this guy might have had chemical weapons, when he certainly knew he had them in '84 and was using them and seemed to have winked at it then?

LIDDY: Well, if he winked it, it was on the theory of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, our situation in Iran at that time.

NOVAK: Gordon Liddy, the hot article in the Democratic Party, God bless them, is Dr. Howard Dean, a little Park Avenue boy who went to his draft board with a mother's note that he had a bad back, and then he skied in Colorado for a year. And he is their candidate.

Do you think that he is a -- does he strike you as somebody who could give George W. Bush a run for his money, or do you think that's another McGovern in the making?

LIDDY: I think people are going to be surprised. I think Dr. Dean will be the Democratic nominee. And I think he will do the normal thing, which is -- see, you have to go way over to the left if you're a Democrat, to the right if you're a Republican, to appeal to the base during primaries. And then, for the general election, you've got to move to the center. It going to be easier for him to move to the center than people think. After all, he had an approval rating from the National Rifle Association when he was governor up there.

So he's got some chits that he can pull on the right that will help drag him over toward the center. I don't think he's going win, but I think it's not going to be the unmitigated disaster that a lot of people are predicting.

NOVAK: Well, when he says something like what seems kind of gratuitous, the day after Saddam Hussein has passed, that America is not safer, isn't that dumb politics?

LIDDY: Well, he does tend to shoot from the hip. And that is a problem in politics, because that can come back to haunt you. But he's been getting away with it for a good while now.

BEGALA: Well, as has our president, who has a kind of -- he said, bring 'em on, which -- I never served in the military. You have. I don't like the idea of my commander in chief taunting people who are trying to kill our soldiers.

But Bob raised a moment ago Governor Dean's lack of military service. It's absolutely accurate. Do you think that's something the president would really want to raise, give that he didn't show up for a year of his National Guard duty and that Dick Cheney, under oath, testified that he had other priorities in the '60s, rather than serving his country in the military, the way you served? That's probably not an issue that they're likely to raise, is it?

LIDDY: Well, Dick Cheney isn't the president. And he's not going to be a candidate for the president.


BEGALA: But the president did fail to show up for his duty for an entire year.

LIDDY: My understanding is -- and I think you mentioned it last time we were here.

BEGALA: Yes. It bothers me.

LIDDY: You said the commanding general said he didn't see him. And that really a reflection of your not having been in the service.

BEGALA: But there's no record whatsoever. There's not a scrap of paper that suggests he ever showed up for that year of duty. And the general says, I would have known. He didn't show up.

LIDDY: Well, No, the general wouldn't have known. He was a captain. And let me tell you. When you're at the first lieutenant and captain level, you don't get to see generals. You don't want to see generals. They don't want to see you.

BEGALA: The written record has been pored over by "The Boston Globe." And there's not a shred of evidence that he ever showed up that year. Mr. Bush says he showed up. But there's no record of it.

NOVAK: Can we terminate this debate?

BEGALA: Well...

NOVAK: Thank you.

BEGALA: That's a sure sign that Bob has lost the debate.


BEGALA: But we're going it take a break. Gordon Liddy, keep your seat.

Guns and buns, other things that make life worth living. We'll ask Gordon Liddy about them and his new calendar called "Stacked & Packed 2004," when CROSSFIRE continues.


BEGALA: You know, the day after Christmas is always good a time to buy yourself that gift that you really wanted. So if you've opened all your presents and found you still don't have a calendar featuring scantily clad women toting automatic weapons, we've got just the guy for you.

G. Gordon Liddy is selling his 10th-anniversary edition of his "Stacked & Packed" calendar. All proceeds go to charity.

And he's in the CROSSFIRE to tell us about it.

LIDDY: Good to be back.

NOVAK: I would say these are not scantily clad women. They're unclad women.


NOVAK: And Sandy Rios, do you know Sandy Rios? She's a conservative activist who has often been a guest on this program.

LIDDY: Delightful lady.

NOVAK: Concern Women For America.

Let me read you what she says. She says: "G. Gordon Liddy's calender, 'Stacked & Packed,' should be panned and banned."


NOVAK: "At a time when our nation is struggling to maintain any semblance of moral order, we don't need another venue for flesh peddling, especially by an otherwise sensible person."

What do you think of that?

LIDDY: I'm delighted about the "otherwise sensible" part. I didn't think I'd get...


LIDDY: Look, I have been deliberately attempting to offend liberals for a long, long time. As you know, I was involved in Watergate. And so, when I finally got out of prison and out of debt and what have you, I acquired a particular automobile. It's a 520- horsepower, special-engine Corvette. And I have a license plate on it that is H2OGate. And I enjoy driving it around the streets of Washington and what have you.

But about 10 years ago, I decided to be more even offensive and to do so for the benefit of charity. So we put out a call to our listeners, any young ladies who wanted to participate. And they all compete to be on this calendar now. This is the 10th anniversary one. And the idea was, back when I was a kid, every garage and plumbing shop and everything had a girly calendar.

But it's politically incorrect now. You may not do not. So I said, we're going to have a girly calendar. And, of course, private ownership of firearms is politically incorrect. I'm a great supporter of the Second Amendment. And so I decided, girls with no clothes and with firearms, especially if they're fully automatic.


BEGALA: Let me show you a really quick photo, though, that would never make your calendar. My brother Dave just a few days ago, I was with him. We went hunting in Texas. And he shot this deer. You can see it in the monitor there. That's a beautiful, 10-point buck.


BEGALA: We shot it at our buddy Tony Sanchez's ranch. He didn't need an automatic weapon, Gordon. He shot him with one shot. A real man only needs one bullet. Why are you hawking these 50-round, fully automatic weapons?

LIDDY: Because they're not intended for hunting.

And, as a matter of fact, the best way to go hunting for deer or something like that is with a single shot black powder rifle. That will give you more of a -- but, at any rate, I decided that -- and this was doing very, very well.

NOVAK: Gordon, we're out of time.

BEGALA: The man is G. Gordon Liddy. The calender is "Stacked & Packed 2004." Thanks for joining us, Gordon.

LIDDY: Yes, by going to (LAUGHTER)


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

NOVAK: From the right, I'm Robert Novak.

Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

"WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now.



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