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Dean Falling, Kerry Rising in New Hampshire

Aired January 22, 2004 - 16:30   ET


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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back, please. Back, please.

In the CROSSFIRE: It's a horse race in New Hampshire.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm a little hoarse. It's not because of the Iowa screech. I actually have a cold.


ANNOUNCER: Howard Dean's campaign needs a fast cure for falling poll numbers, while John Kerry is riding high.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've come here to mark with you the beginning of the end of the Bush presidency.

ANNOUNCER: Is the Democratic Party getting Kerry'ed away?

WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I want to make it clear, I like John Kerry. And it's really up to the people in New Hampshire to make the distinction between the two of us.



ANNOUNCER: Live, from the CNN Election Express in Exeter, New Hampshire, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

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

The CNN Election Express has careened into Exeter, New Hampshire, a town that was founded back in 1638. Exeter is also the home of the Phillips Exeter Academy, one of the most elite prep schools in the nation.


BEGALA: And, of course, Phillips Exeter not to be confused with Phillips Andover Academy, an equally elite prep school that produced one George W. Bush. No, Exeter has no such stain on its record.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) BEGALA: It, in fact, gave us America's 14th president, Franklin Pierce, who, by the way, was a good Democrat.


And speaking of boarding schools, unfortunately, Democrat Howard Dean, who went to Saint George's School in Newport, has tumbled from his seat atop the polls and is expected to hit the ground soon with a thump. Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry is moving up even faster. We'll debate what, if anything, makes the Democratic contest worth shouting about right after the best political briefing in television. That, of course, would be our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Well, if there's one thing more upsetting than watching Howard Dean scream at a television camera, it's watching him smile, calmly, as he gets in touch with his latent sensitive side. And that's exactly what you'll be watching for the next five days here in New Hampshire. Aware that his televised emotional breakdown Monday night has hurt him in the polls, Dean's advisers have decided to give their candidate a personality makeover, out with sweaty barking, in with cool emoting, out with Cheg Wavara (ph), in with Alan Alda.

No more Rage Against the Machine. Turn up Neil Diamond. You get the idea. Yuck. The makeover begins, predictably, with a Diane Sawyer interview tonight, softly lit, at which Dean and his life partner, Dr. Judith Steinberg, will reveal previously unknown romantic details of their life together, candlelight dinners, pillow fights, if you like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, that sort of thing.

From there, on to Oprah and Katie and Ricki and Maury and Montel. Voters of New Hampshire, don't buy it. It will only encourage the rest of them. And we can't bear that.



CARLSON: It's terrifying. Paul, come on, on Diane Sawyer, talking about walking in the rain. Come on, he's a mean guy. Be a mean guy. There's nothing wrong with that.

BEGALA: Well, I'll tell you, he belongs on a mean show, CROSSFIRE. Anybody can do Diane Sawyer puff pieces. Sit your rear end down here, Governor, and let's go





CARLSON: That's pathetic. There are for five days left. Are people really going to believe, actually, you know, he's a really nice guy? Hiding it until now, but really. BEGALA: I think it's fine that he wants to go on Ms. Sawyer's show.

CARLSON: Oh, come on.

BEGALA: I just want him to come on ours.

Well, concerned that President Bush's Justice Department just might not be very thorough in investigating criminal conduct in President Bush's White House, a respected group of former senior CIA officials is asking the Congress to investigate the allegedly criminal leaking of the name of an undercover CIA agent.

The agent, whose career was ruined and whose life might have been endangered, is married to Ambassador Joseph Wilson. He's the man, you may recall, who disclosed President Bush's dishonesty in last year's State of the Union address. Mr. Bush last year claimed that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium in Africa. It turns out Ambassador Wilson had already investigated and disproved that claim, but Mr. Bush made it anyway.

Democrats, take good not. There's a lesson here. George W. Bush is a real man. If you criticize him, he'll attack your wife. They ought to catch who did it and put them in jail.

CARLSON: You know what?


CARLSON: I must say, that's a total crock that George W. -- there's no evidence he knew anything about it. If he did, he's too dumb to be president. Of course he had nothing to do with it. I understand why CIA officers are upset about it. But their letter is ludicrous, even though...


CARLSON: Hold on. There's a special prosecutor investigating this.

BEGALA: No, there's not.

CARLSON: Actually, there is.

BEGALA: He's not a special prosecutor, not independent in any way. I hope he does a good job.


BEGALA: The Congress should look into this as well.


BEGALA: There is accountability, ought to be accountability in the White House. I do not trust the Bush administration to investigate the Bush administration. CARLSON: You know this is not...


CARLSON: You know what you're saying is not true. You know that people in the White House right now are getting FBI interviews, scared to death.


BEGALA: They gave them 74 days to cover their tracks before they began any kind of investigation.

CARLSON: Oh, my gosh.

BEGALA: No, it's a crock.

CARLSON: Even when we sort of agree, you're unreasonable. Work on it.



CARLSON: No one running for the Democratic presidential nomination likes George W. Bush. That's evident. They don't like his economic policies. They care for his education reforms. They loathe what he has done in Iraq. And all of that is fair enough. They are Democrats, after all.

But, lately, Democrats have come up with a new and novel attack on the president. He's not manly enough to lead. Seriously, that's their argument. Wes Clark opens his speeches by mocking President Bush for wearing a flight suit when he visited an aircraft carrier. Real soldiers get to keep their uniforms, Clark says, swaggering. John Kerry says almost precisely the same thing in speech after speech.

He said it tonight on the stage where we sit now, as if Bush ever claimed to be a soldier, as if Bush ever claimed to be a soldier, as if the president's real crime was falling short of the awesome level of pecs-flexing, testosterone-oozing studliness personified by John Kerry and Wesley Clark.


CARLSON: Please stop. It's nauseating. Let's just get a measuring tape and settle the matter. It's actually.


CARLSON: You know what? No, no. It's pathetic. It's pathetic.


BEGALA: No, you've got to get your story straight, Tucker. One minute ago, you're attacking my party because Howard Dean is too sensitive. Now you're attacking because we're too macho and butch.

CARLSON: No, no, no.


BEGALA: It is true that George Bush was AWOL from the National Guard. And it is true that John Kerry and Wes Clark are heroes. That is a legitimate issue. It goes to Mr. Bush's character.


CARLSON: That is such a joke.


BEGALA: He was AWOL from a year.

CARLSON: I wasn't attacking Dean for being sensitive. I was attacking him for pretending to be sensitive. He's insensitive. That's why I like it. He's a wild man.



CARLSON: OK. So don't go -- don't be Alan Alda.


BEGALA: The truth is, Bushed wimped out. Bushed wimped out from his duty to his country.


CARLSON: You know what?


BEGALA: And he ought to be held accountable for it. Good for the Democrats.

CARLSON: That's not even true.

BEGALA: It's absolutely true.

CARLSON: If it were true, I would say so. But it's not.

BEGALA: Well, in -- and speaking of our president, in an otherwise lackluster State of the Union address, President Bush had one genuine moment of passion.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough and to get rid of steroids now.



BEGALA: But when he was the owner of a baseball team, Mr. Bush did nothing about steroids. Although other sports were cracking down on steroids, Mr. Bush, his fellow baseball owners, refused to do a thing. In fact, Mr. Bush even traded for Jose Canseco, bringing him to the Texas Rangers, a man who one sports agent told the UPI was -- quote -- "The Typhoid Mary of steroids" -- unquote.

Perhaps Mr. Bush can get some advice on the steroid crisis he's just discovered from the man he has repeatedly praised, California Governor and former steroid abuser Arnold Schwarzenegger.


CARLSON: You see, I'm not on -- I'm not on anybody's side on this. I don't know what the federal government has to do with steroid use. Who cares if people do steroids. I'm not -- I don't even understand it. But I don't think the federal government has any role in that. I don't understand what you're attacking George Bush for.


BEGALA: For hypocrisy.

CARLSON: What are you talking about? Who cares?

BEGALA: For George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger to lecture people about drugs and steroids is spectacularly hypocritical.


BEGALA: I don't want to hear pious lectures from this sanctimonious president...

CARLSON: Wait a second.

BEGALA: ... about drugs.


CARLSON: Wait a second. There's no evidence that Bush did drugs or condoned steroid use. What are you talking about?

BEGALA: He ran the Texas Rangers and did absolutely nothing about steroid use.

CARLSON: Well, how do you know he knew about it? You don't.

BEGALA: It was rampant.

CARLSON: Well, how do you know?

BEGALA: Because I'm a sports fan. I followed the Texas Rangers when he owned the team. They sucked, by the way.


BEGALA: But he also didn't do anything about steroids.

CARLSON: OK. I'm not going to -- it's a very emotional argument. We won't weigh in again on that subject.

Well, the latest polls show Senator John Kerry and Howard Dean as the top choices here in New Hampshire. Will that still be the case Tuesday when voters are done? And will they be too afraid to vote for Howard Dean? We will give you the answer to those questions with two key members of Congress when we return.

We'll be right back.


BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

The seven remaining Democratic presidential candidates are getting ready now for tonight's debate here in New Hampshire. I can tell you right now, they're about as nervous as a porcupine in a balloon factory, because the latest CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup tracking poll of New Hampshire has John Kerry of Massachusetts in front, with 30 percent of the vote, Howard Dean close behind at 25, General Wesley Clark not far behind him at 18 percent, and John Edwards moving up. He is now at 11 percent, a gain of four points in just the last two days. The other guys are asterisks. We don't care about them.

We are joined by Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, who is supporting Senator Kerry; California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. She is a Dean supporter.

Thank you both.


CARLSON: Congressman Markey, thanks a lot for joining us.

I think Senator Kerry is a pretty serious guy, you know. He hasn't been acting like one recently, though. I've been to three Kerry speeches in the last 48 hours and I've seen him do the exact same thing, including last night here on the stage. He kind of struts around the stage preening. And then he attacks the president for wearing a flight suit on the aircraft carrier, essentially saying, you know: I'm a tough guy. He was just playing dress-up.

It is so third grade and embarrassing. I can't imagine why someone like you, an adult, hasn't told him to stop it. Why haven't you?


REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I don't think you're looking at the same John Kerry that the people in Iowa saw and the people in New Hampshire saw.


CARLSON: Why doesn't he attack Bush's policies? Why does he attack his clothes? Don't you think that's kind of childish?

MARKEY: I think he does.

But what he's saying is that, if the Republicans decide, if the Bush administration decides to attack John Kerry or the Democrats on the issue of national security or homeland security, thinking it will deflect attention to -- from the Bush administration's health care...


MARKEY: ... education, economic policy...

CARLSON: I understand.

MARKEY: ... then all John Kerry is saying is, bring it on.

CARLSON: But that's fair. But that's fair. I understand that. But they not attacking his


MARKEY: That he welcomes a discussion on national security.

CARLSON: They're not attacking his clothing. And he's responding by saying, oh, he was playing dress-up. Why doesn't he just seriously, in a substantive way, address the problems he has with Iraq?

MARKEY: Well, the point is, again, that John Kerry has to get out this message honestly that he was a winner of the Silver Star and the Bronze Star in Vietnam. This is not -- was not well known before the Iowa caucus.

And once people know that, then his credibility on these issues of national security and homeland security rise into the 70s in terms of his favorability. And the more he gets that message out -- and that's really all part of it -- is, then he's freer to take the traditional Democratic positions on health care, education, the environment, job creation, that, thus far, the Republican -- the Bush administration has escaped scrutiny.

So, he's not doing anything that George Bush didn't do in landing on that aircraft carrier. But look at -- while he was landing on that aircraft carrier, there were seven million Americans trying to land a job. And that's the point that John Kerry is trying to make as a metaphor in terms of his military service.


BEGALA: Let me bring Congresswoman Lofgren into this.

First, thanks for joining us. Good to see you again.

You're supporting Governor Dean.


BEGALA: I have talked to a bunch of his supporters since his poor performance in Iowa. And some blame the media. Some blame me. Some blame me Tucker. Some blame his opponents, including Congressman Gephardt, who is now out of the race. Does Howard Dean understand that he blew it in Iowa?

LOFGREN: Well, we all wish that he had won. But...

BEGALA: But he messed it up.


BEGALA: He had the largest, strongest organization.


BEGALA: He had the wind at his back, and he blew it. Does he understand that?

LOFGREN: I think he does.

And I think the race is wide open here in New Hampshire. About half of the voters haven't made up their mind yet. And, believe me, it would be fun to be in California -- it's 60 degrees today -- instead of here.


LOFGREN: But I think it's essential that Dean be listened to by voters here in these closing days. I will support whoever the nominee is.

But I think that, unless we have Howard Dean as our nominee, we're going to be in real trouble in winning this election. As Eddie knows, somebody with our voting record is going to have a real hard time getting votes in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania and Ohio. And Dean has the kind of record where it's progressive on health care. I got an F-minus from the NRA. You have to work for the minus. He got an A rating from the NRA five times in a row. And I've had members tell me...

BEGALA: You know, he never mentioned that in Iowa.

LOFGREN: That's right.


LOFGREN: I don't know.


BEGALA: Does he mention it here?

LOFGREN: It's certainly not a secret to the voters of New Hampshire.

But I'm here because I'm afraid, if we end up with someone who has a voting record like mine, we're going to end up losing to George Bush...


LOFGREN: ... in November.

CARLSON: Congresswoman, I'm losing track of who Howard Dean is. I thought I knew who he was, having watched him for the last year.

Now, all of a sudden, we learned that he's not angry, as we were saying a minute ago, before you came on. He's in fact a deeply sensitive, caring man. We're also learning that -- I thought he grew up in this sort of affluent, privileged atmosphere on Park Avenue in New York. Not so, according to his latest campaign commercials, one that leads this way.

I'm going to quote -- quote -- "He took classes at night to get into medical school."


CARLSON: It doesn't mention that was after he came back from skiing for a year at Aspen and going to Yale.



CARLSON: Do you think this works, with five days left to go before the voting, that, all of a sudden, he's a completely different person than he was?

LOFGREN: Well, I've gotten to know him in the last year. And he actually is someone who's very comfortable with who he is.

A lot has been made of this speech. And I want to mention it, because I know a couple of people who were in the hall with the several thousand volunteers. They loved it, because it was directed to them to thank them and pump them up for what they had done. And they were stunned when they found out later that it was poorly received, because it was an over-the-top, you know, rally speech that doesn't really come across on TV.

The person I've known for the last year is someone who's very level-headed, who's very focused, who's a doctor, who's strategic, who's the only governor. And, frankly, this country does not elect sitting senators to the White House. The last one was 1960. We don't elect generals to the presidency. The last one was 1956. We elect vice presidents, we reelect presidents, and we elect governors. So I'm very fearful. I mean, I will support our nominee, whoever it is. But I am fearful that, if it is not Governor Dean, we're going down to a big loss.

CARLSON: So Sharpton


MARKEY: Can I just say for one second that -- no, can I just say this?



BEGALA: How does -- how do you respond to that in this way? Your candidate, senator from your state, you're a Bay State man yourself, Massachusetts, liberal. That goes together in the public mind, at least in the political mind of my friend Karl Rove, the other guys running Bush's campaign. They're going to paint John Kerry as a Massachusetts liberal. How does he respond?

MARKEY: Well, he'll respond in this way, that Fritz Hollings, the senior senator from South Carolina, endorsed John Kerry today.

BEGALA: Did they have a translator there to...

MARKEY: Well...


BEGALA: He's a very elegant man, but he speaks


MARKEY: Is that for Fritz Hollings to understand us from Massachusetts or the other way around?


MARKEY: So, what John Kerry is bringing to this campaign is someone who an African-American, Harold Ford from Tennessee, can endorse, that Fritz Hollings, the senior member of the Democratic Party in the South and South Carolina, the toughest state to win a seat in, is endorsing him today.

And it's reflecting John's military record, his record on homeland security, and the totality of his record on all of the range of domestic issues that Democrats traditionally win on. But most people believe that John is going to be able to successfully straight- arm the Republicans when they come in with their historic attack on -- on security issues, and then go to our strength.

And if we don't have someone like that, then we won't be able to win. And so our belief is that -- and, by the way, on this other issue of senators vs. governors, John F. Kennedy was a senator, Lyndon Johnson was a senator, and Al Gore was a senator. And they all won -- they all won the popular -- they all won the popular vote.


MARKEY: And Jimmy Carter...


MARKEY: Jimmy Carter was not a governor. He was a former governor when he ran. So, over the last 40 years, three former senators -- three senators and two governors. So this whole idea that a senator can't win is absolutely historically inaccurate.

LOFGREN: No, but sitting senators.


BEGALA: We're going to pick up that argument in just a second. But both of you, keep your seats, because Howard Dean told "USA Today" -- quote -- "You're now going to see the real me." Well, what was he before? We will ask our guests just ahead.

And then after the break, Wolf Blitzer has the latest on efforts to regain contact with the Mars rover Spirit.

Stay with us.



CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're joining you live from Exeter, New Hampshire.

It is five days until the New Hampshire primary. And Howard Dean's poll numbers are dropping faster than the temperature here after sunset. It is really remarkable. Is the Democratic nomination now John Kerry's to lose? That's our debate.

Our guests, California Congresswoman and Dean supporter Zoe Lofgren and her colleague and Kerry supporter and Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey. They join us.

BEGALA: Congresswoman Lofgren, it is wicked cold, as I guess they say up here.



BEGALA: But I want to ask you your assessment of Tucker's -- Governor Dean apparently -- certainly told "USA Today," "Now you're going to see the real me." I thought he told us all through this election in Iowa and before that he was unvarnished and unscripted. Was he being phony then and now we're getting the real deal?

LOFGREN: No, no. But I think he was -- he was busy standing up against the president, making sure that everyone knew that he was a guy who was willing to stand up to the president. And he wasn't talking as much as I wish he had about his positive vision for the country and what he did when he was governor that he'd like to replicate here in the whole country, in terms of health care for young people, prescription drug benefits for seniors. He balanced the budget in Vermont. And we have now, according to C.Q., a projected $7 trillion deficit.

So that's very important to me. And the -- and people are responding. And we have received almost $700,000 in contributions to the Dean campaign since Monday. It was seven -- no, eight -- New Hampshire newspapers have endorsed Dean since Monday. So, you know, the media's job is to spin and make news. And I understand that. But -- but the people themselves are very enthused. It's very exciting.

CARLSON: Now, Congressman Markey, I think that Senator Kerry has an impressive command of the English language. His grammar is perfect. But he's long-winded. His sentences are too long. His speeches are too long.

Everybody I've spoken to, reporters, his supporters, people on his campaign, has said that he needs to get more self-discipline in his speaking style. Do you agree with that, A? And, B, why hasn't someone told him, make it crisp?

MARKEY: Well, here's the point. In Iowa and New Hampshire...


MARKEY: People were going with the doctor. Then they decided to get a second opinion.


MARKEY: And they took a look at John Kerry and his speaking style. They liked it, and in overwhelming numbers in Iowa.


MARKEY: Well, but he then, with this speaking style that you don't seem to like, he won a landslide in Iowa. He's now pulled into the lead here. had more hits in the last 48 hours than Google, in terms of people


CARLSON: Wait. What's that Web site again?


MARKEY:, more hits than Google.

And like Howard Dean, he is now an Internet candidate, raising money. And -- and I think his message is being heard. And the pundits, the scream I think that Howard Dean let out was in sympathy with all the pundits whose prediction that John Kerry's campaign had gone up in smoke was wrong.

CARLSON: You may be right.

MARKEY: And he was just reflecting their anguish.

CARLSON: Unfortunately, we're out of time.

MARKEY: At being so wrong.

CARLSON: That is a fascinating theory. We'll have to ask Governor Dean when he comes on our show.


CARLSON: Congressman Ed Markey, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California, thanks a lot for joining us. We appreciate it.

MARKEY: Thank you.

LOFGREN: Thank you.

BEGALA: Thank you.

CARLSON: And thank you very much.


CARLSON: Well, Howard Dean drowns out a heckler by singing the National Anthem Wednesday in Concord, New Hampshire. We'll tell you more about that when we return. It's a scream that will live in infamy. Now the Internet brings us Howard Dean, the music video. It's terrifying. We'll show it to you, nevertheless.

Stay with us.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Well, Howard Dean's screeching rant last Monday night did more than terrify the nation's house pets. It did more than frighten women and children. It's done more than doom his presidential campaign. Yes, thanks to the Internet, he's being enshrined in American popular culture.

Here now, the latest remix of the Dean scream.


DEAN: Yes! We're going to California and Texas and New York. And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan! And then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House. Yes! Yes! Yes!


CARLSON: You know, it was...

BEGALA: Yee-haw! We do that in Texas all the time, Tucker. What's wrong with that?

CARLSON: You are so lucky, Paul, I can barely stand it, that he pulled the mask off before he got the nomination, because, if this had happened in June, I'd be the one laughing, I have to say.

BEGALA: I think what freaked out Republicans is that guttural expression. It sounded a little bit like extreme, maybe even sexual, physical pleasure, something Republicans have never heard or felt.

CARLSON: Really?


BEGALA: So maybe that's why they were so frightened by yee-haw!

CARLSON: You know, the psychosexual explanation is usually the right one.


BEGALA: Go get 'em, Howard.


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

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

Tomorrow, the CNN Election Express will be in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a lovely seaside village. Join us there for yet more CROSSFIRE.

"WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now. Have a Howard Dean kind of night.



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