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CNN CROSSFIRE

Republican National Convention Begins

Aired August 30, 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:

ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: My privilege to proclaim the 2004 Republican National Convention in session and call it to order.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ANNOUNCER: The Republican Party's big dance in the Big Apple is under way. But are the moderates you'll be seeing on TV the real faces of the party?

We're just outside Madison Square Garden, serving up politics at the CNN convention diner today on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Live from New York City, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to the CNN convention diner and to your New York City. Just a block from here, thousands of Republicans are going through the motions of renominating George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for another four years. It's a great excuse for a party and for a diner. And who cares if there's no suspense?

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Yes, right, Tucker. No suspense, no surplus, no weapons of mass destruction, no end in sight to Iraq. We'll talk about everything missing this convention is missing, like a grip on reality, right after the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

The United States was formed by winning a war against British colonialism. Since that time, we've won a Civil War, beat imperial Germany, Nazism, imperial Japan, defeated communism, overcome the depression, reverse the staggering deficits of the '80s, put racism and sexism behind us as matter of public policy, and all as a result of can-do leadership.

Now, the president of the United States when asked on NBC's "Today Show" whether the United States can win the war on terrorism said -- and I quote -- "I don't think you can win it." The truth of the matter is, we have never seen a team win anything if its leader didn't think it could win. It's time for a new leader and a new attitude.

CARLSON: You know, when Bush gave his September 20 speech and defined the war on terrorism at the very beginning, Democrats said, look, it's wrong to define it as a war because it is by definition unwinnable, because you're fighting against attitudes, not just armaments.

CARVILLE: Right.

CARLSON: It was sort of thoughtful point. Now you're attacking Bush for acknowledging you said he would acknowledge in the beginning.

CARVILLE: I don't what Democrat said the .

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You said that yourself, James.

CARVILLE: When did I say it?

CARLSON: Yes, you did. You said he is defining it too broadly.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... the war against al Qaeda. And I think that the president of the United States, when we have people -- we're told that we're sending troops over there to fight a war against terrorism, I think it's ludicrous to tell them we can't win a war.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I think you have a can-do attitude. And he's the president of the United States. And for him to come out there and say...

(BELL RINGING)

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... I'm sending young men and women in harm's way and we can't win the war is silly.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Unfortunately, I keep track of what you say, to your embarrassment.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: OK.

Floating in the sea of Republicans gathered here in New York City this week is a small, but vocal group of Democrats who plan to vote for the enemy, George W. Bush this fall. One of those Democrats, longtime New York Mayor Ed Koch, addressed GOP delegates this morning. But is what Koch said away from the podium to CNN's Bob Franken that is most worth repeating -- quote -- "I am voting to reelect George W. Bush because I believe that the Democratic Party, regrettably, doesn't have the stomach to take on international terrorism. And George W. Bush has demonstrated that he does."

There you have it, possibly the single clearest explanation ever given for why a vote for Bush is superior to a vote for Kerry. It was not spoken by a right-wing maniac, but instead by a lifelong liberal Democrat, who knows his own party well enough to have pure contempt for it. And he should. So keep Ed Koch in mind this November.

How do you respond to that, James? Is he part of the right-wing conspiracy, too? Ed Koch, is he a right-winger now?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: You know what? You know what? President Bush says we're fighting a war we can't win. That's wrong. You know it's wrong.

CARLSON: You know what?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: You can win anything you want to -- no, he's not a figure on anything.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: He said it's a war we can't win. George W. Bush, the United States can win this war. George W. Bush, the United States can do anything. We need a can-do leader. We need John Kerry.

CARLSON: I'm not going to argue with a man who is yelling at a television screen, James.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Right. We can do it. We can do it, America. We can do it.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Together, America, we can win the war on terrorism.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Oh, I give up. I give up. Your stupidity is overwhelming me. I give up.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: We can do it.

CARLSON: OK. CARVILLE: All right.

(BELL RINGING)

CARVILLE: Today's "Wall Street Journal" is about how hardworking Christians fundamentalists are trying to register voters for President Bush. One of the principal reasons is that they're very upset about the prospect of gay marriage and strongly support the gay marriage constitutional amendment.

While I disagree with these good people, they're entitled to the truth. And the truth is, they're being used as pawns by this administration and the leaders of the Christian fundamentalist movement. At this convention, Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain all have two things in common. They are being showcased in prime time and they all are correctly opposed to a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

All you well-meaning Christian fundamentalist conservatives out there need to understand, the Republican Party wants one thing from you, your vote, so they can retain power.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: So you're half right. And I'm not going to scream at you again or be screamed at by you. But you're half right. I do think that the party leadership deep down has contempt for the fundamentalist Christians. And I don't think that they ought to.

CARVILLE: Of course they do.

CARLSON: For evangelicals.

However, for Democrats, including you, who spend most of your time beating up on people of faith, on religious people.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I haven't beat on religious people. Who?

CARLSON: Who legitimately have a disagreement.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: And you can them...

CARVILLE: Don't tell me I beat up on religious people.

CARLSON: Yes, you do. You get up there and you call them bigots.

CARVILLE: Who? Who?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: All the time. You say people who disagree with you on gay marriage are bigots.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: They're anti-gay.

CARVILLE: No.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... anti-gay.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: They have a legitimate -- they have a legitimate theological difference with you.

CARVILLE: You know what they're entitled to? They're hardworking people.

CARLSON: That's not what you say day after day.

CARVILLE: I disease with them. They're entitled to the truth. And the truth is, they want to cling to power, because it's power they love, not principle. And they ought to -- somebody ought to tell them that.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

(BELL RINGING)

CARVILLE: Power.

CARLSON: I have never seen a party or a group of people cling to power more assiduously than you and your consultant friends.

CARVILLE: Power puppets.

CARLSON: OK.

In a recent interview with "TIME" magazine, Laura Bush was asked if she thought the Vietnam veterans ads against John Kerry were unfair. "Not really," she replied -- quote -- "There have been millions of terrible ads against my husband" -- end quote. And that was it. Mrs. Bush didn't insult John Kerry. She merely expressed a national frustration that any wife would feel if her husband were regularly being compared to Adolf Hitler, as her husband is.

It was totally understandable. And yet even this tiny, tiny remark was too much for the hypersensitive Kerry campaign, which immediately issued an angry attack on Mrs. Bush, describing her remarks as more evidence of a dark, evil and pervasive White House conspiracy. It always down get down to the conspiracy, doesn't it?

Well, beating up on a man's wife for defending her husband, it may get lower than that, more paranoid and more nasty, but it's hard to see how. And, you know, you ought to be embarrassed, James.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Thank God that no Republican ever attacked Hillary Clinton. Thank God no Republican has ever attacked Teresa Heinz Kerry.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: you know what? You all are such hypocrites.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Mrs. Clinton actually -- James, I'll tell you. Hold on. Mrs. Clinton actually was in a policy position. Mrs. Bush is merely saying they're being mean to him.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Right. Right. They attacked her during the campaign of '92 time and time

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Come on.

CARVILLE: You know what? How can you be -- you're not that big a hypocrite, son. You can't even believe what you're saying.

CARLSON: Hey, son.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Let me explain something to you, James. This woman is not

(CROSSTALK)

(BELL RINGING)

CARVILLE: ... Hillary Clinton.

CARLSON: Oh, get over it. Get over it. Get over it.

CARVILLE: Been called a fat hog, a lesbo by powerful interests in the Republican Party. You're talking about this? Oh, come on, man. You can't -- let's move on.

CARLSON: Fat hog and a lesbo?

CARVILLE: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: What are you talking about? That's disgusting.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: All right, tonight, the Republican Party kicks off its convention with speeches from two men who have been never afraid to speak their mind. Senator John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are expected to start off the week on a strong note. Will the president's party find a unified message that will carry him to victory, the question on the mind of every Republican? We'll debate it.

And what is a Baldwin brother doing at the Republican National Convention? He is not leading a protest. We will explain what he is doing later here on CROSSFIRE when he joins us.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Welcome back to the CNN diner.

The Republican National Convention is of course under way, right now, in fact. Today's menu of speakers over at Madison Square Garden will include former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as Senator John McCain of Arizona. It's true that you won't find much full- strength conservatism fare in prime time, and that's too bad, but you may hear a pretty convincing case for why we need four more years of Bush/Cheney, at least as opposed to four new years of Kerry-Edwards.

In the CROSSFIRE to debate which might be better, New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel, along with California Congressman David Dreier.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: Congressman Dreier, of course the big night is...

REP. DAVID DREIER (R), CALIFORNIA: We've never been quite so close.

CARVILLE: There it is, huh?

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: A diner in New York brings us all together.

(CROSSTALK)

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Welcome to New York.

CARVILLE: Charlie, give us a big welcome to New York. This is your city, huh?

RANGEL: I want to thank the Republicans for coming here.

CARVILLE: Go ahead. RANGEL: And I really wish the Democrats had done the same thing. This is a great city. And we hope that you feel comfortable.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Now, how many times have the Republicans been here before and how many times have the Democrats been here before, Charlie?

RANGEL: We come here quite frequently.

CARVILLE: Oh, OK.

RANGEL: But Republicans haven't been able to understand the good life

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: Well, let me tell you something. Four years ago, we got to welcome Charlie. And I think we did this show probably a couple of times out in Los Angeles. And we had a great time out there.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: But there was nothing like the Ticktock Diner. In fact, Kate O'Beirne had just asked me to thank Phil Kent (ph) for these great milkshakes that we're having. They are terrific.

(APPLAUSE)

DREIER: They really are.

CARVILLE: That's a CNN milkshake

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: Yes, it's a CNN milkshake like I've never seen.

CARVILLE: You're trying to get a milkshake? Is that

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: You're darn right. You're darn right. You're darn right. The first time I've ever gotten anything from CNN.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

DREIER: This is a first. This is a first. And we're going to have two straws. Charlie and I are going to share it at the end of here.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: Now, Charlie, where is your district in New York? RANGEL: My district is the northern half of this great borough, Manhattan. It starts at Central Park and it goes all the way up to the end of Manhattan.

CARVILLE: So President Clinton is your constituent. His office is in your district.

RANGEL: His office is right

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: The last elected president of the United States of America.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: That's a preposterous thing to say.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: You say it's stupid, but

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... by the Supreme Court. He was actually elected by the voters.

DREIER: Yes. Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Which is amazing.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: ... clear that the courts made the decision.

CARLSON: It's clear that Clinton actually got a smaller percentage of the vote than Bush did. But this is an old argument. Let's get to the show.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: What a way to welcome us to New York, with that kind of stuff. My gosh. That's a nice greeting.

RANGEL: You can go to any county in any city and just wear a button saying, don't forgot Florida. And they know exactly what it means.

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DREIER: Thanks for having

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Now that the selected president will be speaking Thursday night, the issue that looms heavily out there is obviously the deficit. As you know, we had a $5.6 trillion surplus when this administration took office. We have deficits as far as the eye can see.

How much time Thursday night do you think the president will devote to a second-term agenda of cutting the deficit and fiscal responsibility, something that you as a Republican I'm sure are very concerned about? What are we going to hear from this president about this?

DREIER: You know, James, let me tell you what has happened, something that you may not be aware of.

Because of the tax and economic growth package the president has put into place, we have actually received $40 billion in unanticipated revenue to the Federal Treasury.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DREIER: It's clear -- it's very -- it's very clear that we obviously have tremendous spending problems. Why? We have gone through an inherited recession. We were headed towards recession when your pal Bill Clinton left and your constituent left the White House.

Obviously, we know full well that we had to deal with corporate scandals.

CARVILLE: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: September 11 -- and, obviously, we're marking the third anniversary of that coming up soon and the war in Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: It's been very, very costly. And you know what? But we have still got revenues.

CARVILLE: But we won't have a deficit this year.

DREIER: Even as we've gotten revenue. We're going to have a deficit. We've gotten revenue because of those four things I just talked about, James, that we're still trying to emerge from.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: We doing a hell of a lot better than you think.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Now, Congressman...

RANGEL: Biggest deficit in the history of our country.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: The debt being owed by China and Japan and we're talking about putting sanctions against them.

CARLSON: Actually, Congressman Rangel, I can't think of a more embarrassing situation for Senator Kerry than the speaker tonight, John McCain.

Now, as you know, Senator Kerry asked John McCain, Senator McCain, to be his running mate twice, two separate times. And yet, in the end, he chose to back George W. Bush, in fact speak on his behalf tonight. A new poll out I think by CNN shows that the vast majority of veterans like John McCain are supporting George W. Bush. Why do you think that is after two years of hearing about John Kerry's war record that John McCain and most other veterans are supporting Bush?

RANGEL: You know, I had a gal once and I asked her three times to marry me. She turned me down three times.

(LAUGHTER)

RANGEL: And I married the best one. I've been with her for 40 years. So what's the difference, you know? You don't have to pick the first one. You get the best one.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: ... will end up being John Kerry's running mate.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: What I'm saying is that the people have spoken.

CARLSON: I mean, congratulations.

RANGEL: Yes.

CARLSON: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: So I'm just saying, just because McCain turned him down doesn't mean he didn't pick the best guy in the world.

DREIER: So are you predicting they will be married?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: I'm saying McCain -- McCain is a Republican. I would never have selected McCain for vice president.

CARLSON: It's a solid point. (CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But you're a

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... veteran yourself, so you can answer this question.

CARVILLE: We're talking...

CARLSON: Why do you think after two years of John Kerry running on his service in Vietnam, that most veterans, in fact 59-42, according to our poll, support Bush? It's an interesting question.

RANGEL: You know, let me

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: And this is a difficult thing to say, because I don't really think you have to be a veteran in order to lead this great country. But if I had a record as bad as Bush's record is as relates it to the military...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DREIER: What is that?

RANGEL: ... this is one subject that I would not have the chutzpah even to bring up.

CARLSON: So why are veterans voting for him? That's an interesting question and you're not answering it.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: Bush is overwhelmingly supported by veterans. And so to claim that his record is bad on the military is outrageous.

RANGEL: Maybe you guys know how they work it in Chicago, but in New York, we wait until the ballots are in before we count them.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

RANGEL: So I don't know how you know how the veterans are voting.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: You know what? They've endorsed him. They've been supported of him. Why? Because he's provided bold, unwavering, dynamic leadership in the global war on terror and the war in Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: And they appropriate that.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: We've also increased benefits for their retirees.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Who said Bush miscalculated in Iraq? Do you say that? Did I say that? No, Bush said that.

RANGEL: Somewhere, they have made

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: They have made up a candidate that acts like he knows how he got into the war, acts like he knows how he is going to get out.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: Somewhere they have a candidate. But it ain't George W. Bush.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Charlie brings up an interesting -- he talks about marriage. And the big issue here is of course this gay marriage thing. Now, what position -- you do take to John Kerry-Dick Cheney- Arnold Schwarzenegger-Rudy Giuliani-John McCain position that we don't need this amendment, or do you take the George W. Bush-Jerry Falwell position that we ought to run on this gay marriage amendment? What do you think is the best way to

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: I've said it time and time again on this program. And I will tell you, the fact of the matter is, I don't believe we need to amend the U.S. Constitution on this issue.

CARVILLE: Thank you. Thank you.

DREIER: And I've said it to you all before. And I will say it again.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: That raises the interesting question, Mr. Rangel. If gay marriage is a civil rights issue, and that is what its proponents say, as you know, then I wonder why John Kerry would be so adamantly lined up with the religious right against gay marriage. He said he is against it. He thinks it's morally wrong. Why is that?

RANGEL: I'm for one guy.

CARLSON: And why hasn't he gotten credit for that? RANGEL: I'm for one guy that is trying to figure out when is the president going to tell us why he got us into this immoral war and how in the hell is he going to get us out of it?

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Why are you supporting a guy who supported the war?

RANGEL: Because...

CARLSON: Why are you supporting a man who supported the war?

RANGEL: I'm telling you, he said that he thought that the president was going in there, that at least he would bring in the United Nations, that at least he would come in and do it.

DREIER: Which is exactly what he did.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: John Kerry the other day said he would vote for it again knowing what he knows now.

RANGEL: No, he did not.

CARLSON: Yes, he did say that.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: He would vote for the authorization to go to war, James.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: No president in the history of the Republic has lost so many friends so fast internationally. When we got hit here on 9/11, the whole world came to our support, saying, what can we do to help? Now he's alienated everyone in Europe.

DREIER: That's just not true.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: We don't have a friend in this world.

DREIER: Charlie, that is outrageous.

RANGEL: And anyone who has traveled around.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: Charlie just said we have a friend in this world.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: I mean, none that we haven't paid for.

DREIER: Let me just tell you something.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: No, we paid for some small countries to join us.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: But if you take a look at the troops, 90 percent of the people who have been killed have been Americans in the military.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: Ninety percent. Ninety percent.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: So where are the rest of our friends?

DREIER: You were a Marine. You were in the Army. You guys know very, very well that only the United States of America has the leadership ability to stand up and deal with the kind of challenge that we have faced internationally.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: We're going to a take quick break.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Everybody else

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: All our allies in World War II

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Wait. Wait. I'm sorry. We're going to take a quick break here, brought to you by our sponsors in the ketchup industry.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: When we come back, we'll share some political fast food with our guests in the "Rapid Fire." Did he or didn't he? Next, the latest on the investigation into possible spying at the Pentagon.

Wolf Blitzer has the details just up ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in New York.

Coming up at the top of the hour, the Republican National Convention began here at Madison Square Garden earlier today. We'll have highlights of today's session, a preview of this evening's session, and a talk with the health and human services secretary, Tommy Thompson.

Also ahead, the very latest of the Pentagon spy probe.

And William Kennedy Smith responds to a new sexual assault accusation.

Those stories, much more, only minutes away on a special edition of "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Now back to CROSSFIRE.

CARVILLE: ... the CNN diner. It's time for "Rapid Fire." We serve up short questions and leave the big tips if we get short answers.

Our guests are dear friend New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel, and another dear friend, California Republican Congressman David Dreier.

CARLSON: Mr. Rangel, the other day, mrs. Bush gives an interview to "TIME" magazine. "Do you think the ads against John Kerry are unfair?"

"Not really" -- quote -- she says. "They have attacked my husband a lot." The Kerry campaign, not some independent group, but the Kerry campaign officially attacked George W. Bush's wife for saying that. Over the top, don't you think?

RANGEL: Yes. I think shame on them if they did that.

CARLSON: Yes. Good. Well, good for you.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You're a scholar and a gentlemen.

DREIER: That was "Rapid Fire." That was friendly-fire. That was friendly-fire.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I have learned something from Mr. Rangel here, James.

DREIER: Friendly and rapid here, James.

RANGEL: You didn't say who said what or who said it to whom. (CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Well, you can take me at my word.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I take you at your word. If you're making it up, then my answer is made up. But I think it's wrong to

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Congressman, let me ask you a question. Again, the fact that this president is going to be the first president since Herbert Hoover that has had a net job loss and the fact...

DREIER: Come on. Come on.

(APPLAUSE)

CARVILLE: And the fact that -- well, it's true.

DREIER: Never heard that one before.

CARVILLE: And the fact that this president, by his own admission, has botched up the war in Iraq, then what the hell's he going to run on?

DREIER: I will tell you what he is going to run on.

CARVILLE: We've got no peace.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: On those two issues, economic strength and bold, dynamic leadership, I'll tell you something. James, you know what? I went through the beginning of the program on those...

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: ... four issues that this president

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: Inheriting recession, the global war on terror, Iraq and of course corporate scandals.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: And you know what's happened?

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: James, 1.5 million jobs have been created in the last

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Mr. Rangel, one last question.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Congressman Rangel, 76 percent of voters say Kerry's military service doesn't make them want to vote for him or just makes no difference at all.

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: Don't you think Kerry has made a big mistake in running exclusively on his Vietnam service?

RANGEL: You know, I think it takes a lot of chutzpah for people that have never served really to bring up a hero's record.

CARLSON: He should stop bragging about it.

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

RANGEL: I'm not saying he's bragging about it. But for those people with a record as crummy and as shabby as a guy who took an investment of millions of dollars to become a pilot in the Texas National Air Guard.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: Hold it. Hold it. Let me finish.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: Hold it.

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: ... never would have raised this issue.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: And, at the end of the day, hasn't even got a license to fly a plane.

DREIER: We never would have raised this issue if it hadn't been for John Kerry focusing on

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: The reason he hasn't got a license...

DREIER: It never would have come up.

(CROSSTALK)

RANGEL: The reason he hasn't got a license is because he didn't take a physical. DREIER: Oh, come on.

CARLSON: That's the topic of another show.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Congressman Rangel, Congressman Dreier, thank you both very much.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: All right, one Baldwin brother said he'd leave the country if George W. Bush were elected. Next, we'll talk to a Baldwin who says he'll gladly stay if George W. Bush gets -- well, he wasn't elected in the first place, but if he wins his first

(CROSSTALK)

DREIER: Oh, my God.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

There are four acting Baldwin brothers. The smartest, Stephen, is with us now. He is a Bush supporter and a producer of Christian skateboard DVDs.

Stephen Baldwin, thanks for joining us.

STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR: Well, my pleasure.

CARLSON: Tell us, what's a Christian skateboard DVD?

BALDWIN: Well, I connected with this ministry called Luis Palau. And he's from Argentina. He does these really radical, edgy Christian festivals. And he uses skateboarders as part of his evangelism. And we made a movie about them. And it's just -- we can't make them fast enough. It's really doing very well. It's called "Livin' It." And people are really enjoying it.

CARLSON: Fantastic.

BALDWIN: Yes.

CARVILLE: And you are here at the convention as a Bush -- what's your role here at the convention?

BALDWIN: I'm here, Mr. Carville, supporting the man that I believe has the most faith.

(APPLAUSE)

BALDWIN: And I'm here with no political agenda whatsoever. CARVILLE: That's right.

BALDWIN: And, yes, I'm just -- I'm a big Bible guy and I'm a big God guy. And I'm here just to support the man that, in my opinion, has the most faith, because I think it's more important -- I think it's more important...

CARVILLE: I'm sorry. I don't mean to -- the gods in Atlanta are telling me that I need to say, from the left, I'm James Carville. And that's it for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: I'm sorry we're out of time, because I think it's interesting as well. And I'm glad you came on.

CARVILLE: Thank you for coming on.

CARLSON: Good for you. Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Thanks.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again next time for yet more CROSSFIRE.

Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

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