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CNN CROSSFIRE

Political Full House

Aired June 4, 2004 - 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: President Bush makes his case in Europe, as anti-war protesters lay out the unwelcome mat.

An admittedly self-serving Bill Clinton touts his memoirs as a good story.

She's back with a line she made famous.

And help wanted at the CIA.

It's a political full house today on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, James Carville and Robert Novak.

(APPLAUSE)

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. Bush goes to Europe and Italians tell him where to go.

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: Bill Clinton puts his X-rated wife in print, over 900 pages worth, releasing it just in time to suck all the oxygen from John Kerry's campaign.

We've got a political full house today, but, first, the best little political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Bill Clinton kicked off the hoopla for his book, "My Life," delivering the keynote address to the publishing industry convention in Chicago. He took up more than 45 minutes, but it takes a lot of time to describe a 950-page book, yes, I said 950. And then the former president grumbled about how much his manuscript was cut. He hinted that, in the book, he didn't whine about his treatment and then he did some big-league whining about how mean to him Ken Starr was.

And guess who Bill forgot to mention during his long, long speech? You guessed it, Monica Lewinsky.

(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: I wonder how much she's mentioned in the book?

CARVILLE: You know, Bob, it is truly gratifying to think that the last elected president of the United States can write a 950-page book when the current...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: When the current unelected president couldn't write 95 words.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: And that's the difference between the two. One is bright and elected.

NOVAK: Since your whole life now is dedicated to electing John Kerry James, what do you think of your old boss sucking all the oxygen out of the Kerry campaign?

(BELL RINGING)

CARVILLE: Kerry's got plenty.

We know that John Kerry served his country with great honor and distinction by winning a Bronze Star and a Silver Star. We also know that President Bush got into the Air National Guard as a result of political influence. Bush didn't even have the sense of duty to show up for meetings. The difference in patriotism is still evident.

Bush continues to pursue the policy of Star Wars, which addresses nothing of any relevance. Kerry's calling for a stronger military with 40,000 additional troops. John Kerry, he's just not a better person. He's just a better American.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: You know, James, I have heard that from you and Begala a dozen times, that same spiel.

CARVILLE: So what.

NOVAK: This is not a campaign. If you can't think of something new to say, you shouldn't even come in.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: He's calling for 40,000 -- he's calling for 40,000, strengthening the military by 40,000, while Bush is out there somewhere in outer space. I'm saying it makes him a better -- it's a better America is for strengthening our troops.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: It's very boring to hear the same thing over and over again and the American people are as sick of it as I am, I guarantee you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: No, they want

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: OK.

America's leading Bush-bashing, America-hating, left-wing nuts are in Washington for the Take Back America Conference. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been trying so hard to be nice. But she returned to Madame Defarge form.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I do know a little bit about the vast right-wing conspiracy.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Oh, and there were doubters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOVAK: And she was buddy-buddy with the current leading extremist, billionaire George Soros, who compares George W. Bush with Nazis.

But guess who didn't show up at this carnival of the left? John Kerry wasn't there. Noting that, John Edwards, running hard for vice president, canceled his scheduled appearance. For the first time in months, Senator Edwards said he had to show up for senatorial duties. They didn't even recognize him when he got there.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Look, I think -- I think these are some fine Americans that put this on. I note that somebody said, we need an alternative to war and we need an alternative to the weakest recovery we've had since World War II. It's not going to be in favor for you. And I know you're obsessed with the Clintons, Bob. That's all you can talk about.

(BELL RINGING)

CARVILLE: But guess what? Help is on The way. John Kerry is coming. (APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: The person that occupies this chair has something in common with the man who sits across from me. We're both old-fashioned sports fans. Everybody who loves horse races is going to be glued to the television this weekend to watch the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown. We'll be watching to see if to see if Smarty Jones, a blue-collar Democrat hailing from the great Democratic city of Philadelphia, can prove himself against the blue bloods he's running against to be the first to win the Triple Crown since Affirm did it in 1978.

All kidding aside, congratulations to all those in the horse industry and gamblers like myself and Bob Novak. Good luck.

NOVAK: You know, James, I'm going to tell you something. Although Smarty Jones comes from a working-class background, I have been told from the horse's mouth...

CARVILLE: Yes, sir.

NOVAK: ... that he is a Reagan Democrat.

CARVILLE: Oh, OK.

NOVAK: And that, if he could vote, he'd vote Republican.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: That's right? Well, I will tell you what. A lot of -- a lot of Republicans' vote what -- are what they call the rear end of Smarty Jones, a horse's rear.

NOVAK: One of the Philadelphia baseball players said that he may win because, being a horse, he may not know he's from Philadelphia and he's supposed to lose, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: That's pretty good. I like that, huh?

NOVAK: OK, up next on CROSSFIRE, President Bush talks with the pope, Bill Clinton previews more than 900 pages of light summer reading, while Hillary revives that old line she made famous, and the help-wanted sign goes up at the CIA. It's the political week that was.

And later, the big news from the Garden State isn't, isn't, Sunday's season final of "The Sopranos."

(APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: Get ahead of the CROSSFIRE. Sign up for CROSSFIRE's daily "Political Alert" e-mail. You'll get a preview of each day's show, plus an inside look at the day's political headlines. Just go to CNN.com/CROSSFIRE and sign up today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

It's been a busy political week. President Bush is in Europe hoping for some divine intervention in his poll numbers. John Kerry is telling Americans how he'll keep us safe once he's president. And my good friend Bill Clinton is reminding Americans what was like in the good old days of balanced budgets and no wars.

Joining us in the CROSSFIRE, Republican strategist Charlie Black and Democratic strategist Tony Coelho.

NOVAK: Tony, today, good news for America, bad news for you today. The new job figures, 300 -- for May, 248,000 new jobs. And they revised the figures for the previous two months, 346,000 for April, 353,000 for March. That's nearly a million jobs in three months. How are you going to talk about the Hoover depression and people out of work when they've got a million new jobs in three months? Tell me that.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TONY COELHO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it is -- I think it is good news for America, and that's what it should be.

But the failure of this administration, the number people that have been hurt over the past three years, the lack of concentration and trying to make this happen is something that people are going to remember. There are a lot of people without jobs. He has a lot more to go to get it back to even where it was when he took over. This man lost jobs while he was president. President Clinton gained 20 million jobs when he was president. There's a great imbalance here.

NOVAK: President Bush came in inheriting the recession that had started under President...

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

COELHO: That's always what you say. That's always what you say.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: The question I'm saying is...

CHARLIE BLACK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The numbers don't lie.

NOVAK: No, you're right. They don't.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Isn't that sickening to have to campaign and tell the American people, you don't have it as good as you think you do?

COELHO: You know what, Bob? The people who don't have jobs, who lost jobs, they don't need you and the Republicans preaching to them. They need jobs.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Everybody knows that in every recovery since World War II, this has had the slowest job growth. Let me show you something else up here that Bloomberg News reports. In the third quarter of 2001 until 2003, corporate profits were up 87 percent. Real wage gains are up 1.1 percent, adjusted.

Now, do you think that there's something wrong here? Does this strike you as kind of odd that we have the lowest income growth in the history of any recovery and the highest corporate profits?

BLACK: Well, let me tell you what's true, James.

CARVILLE: OK.

BLACK: The fact is, the president's tax cuts...

CARVILLE: Right.

BLACK: ... triggered this growth, producing these jobs, a million jobs since the 1st of the year.

CARVILLE: Right.

BLACK: Since Bush became president...

CARVILLE: Right.

BLACK: ... take-home pay is up 11 percent. Real after-tax income is up 11 percent.

CARVILLE: Real income growth is

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

BLACK: That's a fact. That's a fact.

CARVILLE: It's up 1.1 percent. Health care costs are up 40 percent since Bush took office.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: It's not up 1.1 percent.

CARVILLE: Of course it is.

BLACK: It's up 11 percent.

CARVILLE: Real wage gains.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: Don't put the decimal there.

CARVILLE: I don't put the decimal. I've got the article. I'll show it to you.

BLACK: You're talking about one quarter.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: No, I'm talking about five quarters, Charlie, since the last quarter of 2001 to 2003. You don't know what you're talking about. That's five quarters.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: ... about the whole administration.

CARVILLE: Don't say I'm talking about one when I'm talking about five.

BLACK: Let's talk about the whole administration.

CARVILLE: Five, one. You see the difference.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I'm talking about five quarters.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Five, one.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: Look it up. Look it up, 11 percent.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Slowest since World War II.

NOVAK: Now, we had here President Clinton sucking up all the oxygen, giving -- I was fascinated by his speech in Chicago. He gives a great speech. Kerry is so boring. Who's going to listen to John Kerry when Bill Clinton's on his book tour telling stories? He's a great storyteller.

COELHO: Bob, you missed one point.

NOVAK: What did I miss.

COELHO: And first off is that Bill Clinton will exercise our base like no other politics in our party. We need that.

No. 2, but the real point you missed is that not only is John Kerry popular out there, but the most important thing is, the Democratic Party has never been as organized as it is today, for one reason. They realize that George Bush must go. And they're unanimous on that.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: How did I know you were going to say that?

Wait a minute. Tony, not only is John Kerry being eclipsed by Bill Clinton. He's eclipsed by his wife. I see more about Teresa Heinz Kerry than John Kerry. And she is over the fence. Let me tell you what she said, the latest thing, "Our pursuit of the Iraq war and the way we've carried it out has exacerbated out-of-control terrorism around the world," that we have created terrorism. What are you going to do with this woman?

COELHO: I think she's absolutely fabulous. I know her. I've known her for years.

NOVAK: Do you agree with that?

COELHO: She's a dynamite person. She is going to be a wonderful asset going down through this campaign.

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: You want to make a big issue about it, but she's wonderful.

CARVILLE: Let's see if we can do better on the math than five and one here.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: John Kerry is the most impressive Democrat to run for nomination, won more primaries by more votes than anybody in the history of contested primaries. He now enjoys a more commanding position than Bill Clinton did in '92 or Ronald Reagan in 1980 at a comparable time. What is it about John Kerry that the American people see that cause him to all these elections and to be doing so well right now?

Is it his military record? Is it his experience? Is it the depth of his knowledge? What causes him to be ahead of where even the great Bill Clinton was and your friend Ronald Reagan?

BLACK: I don't believe I'd be handing out political gold medals to somebody who could beat Howard Dean, who talked himself out of the nomination.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BLACK: That's about all he has done. Let me tell you what else he's done. Since he emerged as the nominee, he hasn't moved an inch in the polls. He spent $25 million on positive spots in the last month and people still think he's a flip-flopper and an opportunist. He's not going to win.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: So you're saying here's a man that is ahead of both Clinton and Reagan who won his nomination by the most -- you know, the American people see real strength here, don't they? They see a real guy that can get us out of the mess, into deficits, the health care costs and everything else this administration has got. Isn't this wonderful? Isn't it wonderful this country is moving in the right direction?

BLACK: In a "Newsweek" poll, people were asked, who would best stick to their principles? Bush beat Kerry by 60 points, 60 points.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: What a good candidate we have.

NOVAK: Tony Coelho, Tony Coelho, my friend and colleague, Mr. Carville, went through his same old, tired routine about the veterans. One guy's in the National Guard. One guy's a hero. So how do the veterans of America feel about these candidates?

And you may not know, but I do. And so we're going to show you the CBS News poll. The veteran vote, Bush 54 percent, Kerry 40 percent. How do you explain that?

COELHO: Look, John Kerry is going to get more veterans' votes than Bill Clinton did. And Bill Clinton won twice.

NOVAK: He was a draft dodger.

COELHO: Bob, you may not believe it. But you know what? What we have is, we have John Kerry, who was a war hero, who got medals...

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: ... running against a guy who did not want to go to war and a vice president who did not want to go to war.

NOVAK: Explain that poll to me.

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: That poll tells you that more veterans are voting for the Democratic candidate than we've had in past elections.

NOVAK: He's 14 points behind. (CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

COELHO: You know what? There are more people who vote.

CARVILLE: Let me put up some -- Charlie, you all are whining and talking that we attack President Bush too much. Let me some adjectives that have described

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: You don't have anything positive to say.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: That have described President Bush, this administration.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Dereliction, negligence, irresponsibility, lying, incompetent, corruption. Which one of those would you say are over the line?

BLACK: You stayed up all night and that's all you could come up with?

(LAUGHTER)

BLACK: Give me the example of the corruption you're talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Which one of those -- which one of these words. Calling this administration derelict in their duty, is that over the top?

BLACK: What about strong leader and sticks to his principles? That's what the voters think describes President Bush.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Tell me, is dereliction over the top? Is dereliction over the top?

BLACK: What are you talking about?

CARVILLE: Is negligence over the top? Is irresponsibility over the top? Is lying over the top

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: We know you're over the top. We know you're over the top.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACK: What are you talking about?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Who said this, ladies and gentlemen of America, was General Anthony Zinni, a four-star general of the United States Marine Corps. This is not coming from partisan Democrats. This is the opinion of professional people, what this administration has done.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: These are the words that were used.

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: Just to give you a chance. We've been through several minutes, Mr. Coelho. When are you going to come out for the need for a tax increase? Isn't that the Democratic mantra, we must have higher taxes?

COELHO: You know what the mantra should be, is that George Bush and his administration should do what every American family have to do across the country. And that is have a balanced budget. Don't spent what you ain't got. That's what you guys preached for years. Well, you never did, I'm sorry.

NOVAK: I never

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: No, not you, no, no. You never

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: But the party...

NOVAK: I never worshiped at the alter of the balanced budget. Go ahead, Tony.

BLACK: He's right. He's right.

(CROSSTALK)

COELHO: But that's what George Bush should do, is do like every other American family has to.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: I will tell you, you keep raising taxes, and Republicans keep cutting taxes, who's going to win?

COELHO: And spending. You guys don't just cut taxes. You spend. (CROSSTALK)

(BELL RINGING)

BLACK: Kerry is proposing $2 trillion in spending beyond what we have.

NOVAK: Up next, it's "Rapid Fire." And we'll ask why Hillary Clinton is bringing up the vast right-wing conspiracy again.

And after the break, we'll go to Wolf Blitzer live in Normandy for a look at President Bush's day. He's in Europe for the weekend's D-Day anniversary ceremonies.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer on assignment in Normandy, France.

Coming up at the top of the hour, President Bush is on his way here to observe the 60th anniversary of D-Day. He made a stopover in Italy for meetings with the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the pope, John Paul II.

Iraq's newly appointed interim prime minister gave his first televised address today and talked about his priorities.

And now that George Tenet is out at the CIA, who's in and where is the agency heading?

Those stories and our special coverage of the D-Day anniversary just minutes away on a special edition of "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Now back to CROSSFIRE.

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Now it's time for "Rapid Fire," where the questions are as fast as Smarty Jones runs and the voters run away from George W. Bush. Our guests are Republican strategist Charlie Black and Democratic strategist Tony Coelho.

NOVAK: Tony, as a longtime brilliant political strategist, do you think it's a good idea for Hillary to keep talking about the right-wing conspiracy?

COELHO: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: You say "Rapid Fire," you get

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: OK?

Charlie, do you think that President Clinton's book will sell a million copies?

BLACK: Oh, it probably has already presold a million copies. I hope it sells several million, because, like Bob says, he's going to be the center of attention. Kerry won't get any attention all summer. However, at the convention, you can look forward to rip-roaring speeches by Howard Dean, Al Gore and Reverend Sharpton.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: There you go.

NOVAK: And would you put Al Gore on the platform to give one of his ranting speeches of 45 minutes or would you rather have Howard Dean?

COELHO: I think Howard Dean will be on. And I think Bill Clinton will be on.

NOVAK: What about Al Gore?

COELHO: And Bill Clinton will probably speak on Monday night and electrify the crowd. Great move.

CARVILLE: Do you think there's any chance that Ronald Dumsfeld will be dumped as secretary of defense?

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Or is Bush going to keep this fool in there?

BLACK: No, he's...

CARVILLE: Did I say Ronald Dumsfeld? I'm sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACK: He's in for the duration. He's part of a terrific team, including our military, who are winning the war on terror. We're winning the war on terror.

CARVILLE: And Wolfowitz is brilliant. And Doug Feith, they're all brilliant. Oh, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Tony Coelho, is there any chance for, as a vice presidential nominee, my candidate, the Reverend Al Sharpton, or is the Democratic Party too prejudiced to put a black man on the ticket?

COELHO: You've stuck with this same line of questioning for eight months. I can't believe you can't move on and get another issue, another subject.

NOVAK: What's the answer?

COELHO: You are amazing.

NOVAK: What's the answer?

COELHO: No.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: Why do you think that Bob Novak is so for Al Sharpton for president?

NOVAK: Vice president.

CARVILLE: Vice president, I'm sorry.

BLACK: Well, we're trying to nurse him on to Nader, to be promoting Nader, because that will help us.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: He was promoting him before the show. Oh, Bob is a very -- didn't you think Nader is a great man?

BLACK: Sharpton's off the ballot. Nader is on. Go for Nader.

NOVAK: Since you like old questions, Tony Coelho, do you think it's a bad thing that we got Saddam Hussein out of Baghdad?

(BELL RINGING)

NOVAK: Or do you wish he was back there terrorizing the Iraqi people?

COELHO: Even my unborn child could answer that one. Obviously it's good to have him out of there.

NOVAK: All right. Good.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Charlie...

NOVAK: Thank you very much, Tony Coelho. Thank you, Charlie Black.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Up next, Jersey girls got another step closer to equal rights this week. So why has a new law left them a little bitter?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Is ladies night discriminatory? Remarkably, that's what the New Jersey State Division of Civil Rights believes. So now bar owners are banned from waiving covers and offering discounts to women on special nights. One bar in Cherry Hill is already feeling the pinch, with a drop in 50 percent of business for what was formerly ladies night this week. But the state legislature may step in with a proposed new law lifting the ban.

NOVAK: This is really discriminatory against romance, because the single lady goes in for cheap drinks, she gets a little high and there's a guy who can pick her up.

CARVILLE: Next thing you know, they'll come after our senior discounts, Bob.

NOVAK: Yes.

CARVILLE: From the left, I'm James Carville. That's it for CROSSFIRE.

NOVAK: From the right, I'm Robert Novak. Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

(APPLAUSE)

NOVAK: Tomorrow, in "THE NOVAK ZONE," Ben Bradlee of Watergate fame is my guest.

"WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now.

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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