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CNN CROSSFIRE

Candidates Prepare For Showdown in Missouri

Aired October 7, 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: Who is going to grab the momentum coming out of Missouri? George Bush and John Kerry have just over 24 hours before their next crucial debate. Will one of them be able to turn their town hall forum into a victory party?

Meanwhile, the running mates remain on the road and on the attack.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John Edwards likes to go out and say we're going to crush the terrorists, but there's absolutely nothing in their background to indicate that they have a seriousness of purpose required to successfully prosecute the war on terror.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Their refusal to recognize that they have doing anything wrong, you can't fix a mess unless you recognize there is a mess. You can't correct a mistake unless you recognize there is a mistake.

ANNOUNCER: Debating the debates as archrivals gather in Saint Louis -- today on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

The CNN Election Express has come to rest in the very center of the country, Saint Louis, Missouri, where tomorrow night George W. Bush and John Kerry will face off for the second time. Kerry will be spared yet another 90 minutes of trying to explain his nonsensical position on Iraq. This debate will center on domestic policy.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: And this debate will occur here in Washington University in Saint Louis.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: ... is sitting today, where one student is actually carrying a sign here behind me that says, hey, Tucker, you're hot. I think we've got a shot of that. And it seems like a very nice guy carrying that sign, Tucker, so maybe...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Well, let's begin. Before we get on to discuss how hot my friend Tucker is, let's begin, as we always do, with the best little political briefing in television, the CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Well, John Kerry took off today on President Bush giving a speech outside of his debate prep site in Colorado, where he said that the president of the United States and the vice president are the last two people to acknowledge the reality in Iraq. He perhaps -- he suggested that perhaps the president needs what my friend Kinky Friedman called a checkup from the neck up.

Does the president of the United States have a problem dealing with reality? That appears to be a central issue that John Kerry will raise in the debate here at Saint Louis.

And, Tucker, I have got to tell you, it's a pretty effective argument, because he doesn't have to say he's lying, he's lying. He is just saying, well, he's lost touch with reality.

CARLSON: Well, that's he insane, right.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: He did not say he's insane.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Look, I think that will work about as well as the Bush is evil argument.

BEGALA: Nobody is saying he's evil.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: People have said from day one that he's evil, that he's a bad guy. It hasn't any traction at all politically.

The fact is, he was wrong, just as John Kerry was wrong, just as Hillary Clinton was wrong, just as France was wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: But being wrong...

(CROSSTALK) BEGALA: ... was one thing. Standing up today, today, and still saying Saddam has...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I think you make a solid point. I think you make a solid point, that everyone involved, George W. Bush and John Kerry, ought to apologize for supporting that war. And I'm waiting for John Kerry to apologize for voting for war.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: George Bush took us into that war. And today Bush said again that he thinks Saddam really was a threat. With what, spitballs? That's what my friend Zell Miller...

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: Then don't you agree that -- with Ralph Nader we ought to bring the troops home now?

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Bush got us in it. Now we have to win it. And John Kerry is the guy to win it.

CARLSON: All right.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Well, speaking of John Kerry, here in Saint Louis tomorrow, John Kerry is likely to make a show-me joke or two. He'll compliment the food, the people, the weather. He'll suck up to the locals and pretend to like the sports teams.

He'll tell you that he loves, loves, loves the state of Missouri and always has, always. What he won't say is that his campaign has decided to ignore this state. Kerry strategists concluded some time ago that while their candidate has a pretty good shot at carrying Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Burlington, he has no chance at all of winning Missouri, where an inconveniently large number of normal people live.

There aren't enough Volvos here or vegans or face-piercers or aroma therapist. There may be some behind me, but, in general, not so many here, or whatever that demographic is that plans to vote for John Kerry. So the Democrats have pretty much given up on this state, which is a shame, because John Kerry could learn something here. Don't you think, Paul? Why aren't they running in the state of Missouri?

BEGALA: First off, they are. He's going to be here for the debate.

And, look, hey, gang, you tell me, is John Kerry going to win here? (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: There we go.

CARLSON: I think you make a great point. I think you make a great point. John Kerry could win on the quad...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: He could win on the quad.

CARLSON: Yes, he could.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: He can win that crucial quad vote and good for him.

BEGALA: You know what? He'll win him for here because there's a disproportionate of beer drinkers, of which John Kerry is one. He just doesn't like that Busch beer.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: He's so not a beer drinker. Her's such a chardonnay guy. Come on. He's a big drinker.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: He's a windsurfer, man.

BEGALA: I've actually had beers with him.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: He's a beer drinker. Give me a break.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: And I'm glad he does.

Well, we already know that Vice President Cheney was not telling the truth when he said that he had never met John Edwards. But I kind of have to hand it to a guy who will actually lie about a prayer breakfast. That takes a lot of guts.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Remember when Cheney talked about his Tuesday trips to the Senate each week. Well, it turns out he only meets with Republican senators on those trips. So how could he have expected to meet John Edwards, who is a Democrat?

And he also pointed you to a Web site called FactCheck.org that he said backs him up on Edwards's charges that Cheney was irresponsible in the way that he handled things at Halliburton. Today, though, the Web site says -- quote -- "In fact, Edwards was mostly right."

Well, now that we know Cheney repeatedly misled us of the facts, I suppose he'll be just reduced to relying on his charm, good looks and animal magnetism. That's all he's got going for him.

CARLSON: You know, there are a lot of people, including me, who think Dick Cheney is pretty charming, in a kind of "hey, kids, get off my lawn" kind of way.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: He is. I'm serious. He's a charming guy. And who cares if

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: He's not an honest man. He is a deeply dishonest man. He lied and lied and lied in that debate. And he has to be held accountable for that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You know what? You can say that all you want. And I'm sure it makes it an effective bumper sticker.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Hold on. How do you lie about a prayer breakfast?

CARLSON: Actually, he is -- well, because it turns out that John Edwards is not such a memorable character. So he sits next to this guy at a breakfast, doesn't remember...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: You don't think they checked?

CARLSON: The point is, Dick Cheney actually believes something. You may not agree with it, but he believes something. And he's been sort of consistent in that belief for many years.

BEGALA: He believes that things are going great in Iraq, which is nuts.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Right. Oh, so he's insane, too.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I love this. I love this.

BEGALA: He's a profound liar.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: He's a liar. He's a evil. Pick one, Paul.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: He lied repeatedly in that debate.

CARLSON: OK.

Well, speaking of harsh criticisms, his critics on the left accuse Ralph Nader of being insane. Well, that's not quite fair. It is true that Nader does express eccentric ideas from time to time, including hemp. And he did yesterday when he accused George Bush and John Kerry of forging some sort of secret deal while they were together at Yale University 35 years ago.

But Ralph Nader tells the unvarnished truth, as he also did yesterday, when he pointed out that -- quote -- "A vote for John Kerry is now a vote for the war in Iraq." "Kerry," Nader said, "wants to go into a full war until victory" -- end quote.

Now, this is true, every word of it, regardless of who said it. Kerry may say now that the war he voted for was a bad idea, but he's still strongly in favor of fighting that war to the biter end. So if you're opposed to the war in Iraq, don't let Kerry fool you. He's not on your side. Ralph Nader is. Vote Ralph Nader.

BEGALA: I know how deeply you admire Ralph Nader, Tucker.

CARLSON: I'm being dead serious, actually.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I know how deeply you admire Ralph Nader. But the simple reality is, a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush's policies in Iraq, Bush's policies on the environment, Bush's policies on women's rights, Bush's policies across the board.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But Kerry comes out and says, this was the wrong war. And yet we ought to keep over...

BEGALA: But we're in it. We have to win it. That's right.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... over 100,000 troops in a war that is wrong from the beginning. That's a sick position, Paul.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: No, it's not.

CARLSON: Yes, it is.

BEGALA: Bush has got us into a terrible position.

CARLSON: Then we ought to leave. We ought to leave.

(BELL RINGING)

BEGALA: But we want go back to status quo.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Well, that's your position. You should run for president. It's not John Kerry's.

CARLSON: No, it's a consistent position.

BEGALA: John Kerry wants to win what George Bush has gotten us into wrongly.

Well, tomorrow, George W. Bush and John Kerry will get their chance to win over some the Show-Me State voters, along with a whole lot of other people who will be watching their second nationally televised debate. Mr. Bush is of course expected to say that Iraq is a paradise, the economy is moving, and the Texas Rangers will win the World Series.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: Senator Kerry will be there to give a response from the real world. We'll debate the debate in just a moment.

And then later, we'll ask members of our audience here what they would like to ask the candidates in tomorrow's debate.

Stay with us.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Join Carville, Begala, Carlson and Novak in the CROSSFIRE. For free tickets to CROSSFIRE at the George Washington University, call 202-994-8CNN or visit our Web site. Now you can step into the CROSSFIRE.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Tomorrow night's town hall debate will have a format which requires questions to come from members of the studio audience. Team Bush is said to be nervous about this town hall meeting because it will feature questions from actual living, breathing human beings, not robots from Stepford, which might then throw the president off. Who will win the showdown in the Show-Me State?

Joining us today in the CROSSFIRE, Democratic Attorney General of Missouri Jay Nixon and Republican strategist John Hancock.

Gentlemen, good to see you. Thanks for joining us. JOHN HANCOCK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good to be here.

CARLSON: Now, General Nixon, this new report sponsored by the Bush administration concludes pretty decisively no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. John Kerry takes from this that the war itself was a bad idea, which he's said again and again.

Yet he's one of the leaders who is responsible for the war in the first place. He voted for it. Doesn't he owe us an apology for that vote? And when is he going to give it to us?

JAY NIXON (D), MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, he doesn't owe an apology. He had a great explanation, as the president didn't.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Well, he always has great explanation, but doesn't he owe us an apology?

NIXON: That's why Kerry-Edwards has moved seven points in the Show-Me State in the last seven days, because America has seen the president and Dr. Strangelove debate in front of America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Not even going to attempt to answer the question.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: First, thank you for joining us. It's good to see you.

HANCOCK: Yes, sir.

BEGALA: Let me play you a piece of videotape you may not have seen yet. John Kerry took a break from his debate preps and went out and a made a statement after -- responding to the president's speech yesterday, in which the president continued to assert that Saddam Hussein was a threat, even though he obviously had no weapons and no intention of handing them off to terrorists.

Here's John Kerry today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States and the vice president of the United States may well be the last two people on the planet who won't face the truth about Iraq.

Mr. President, the American people deserve more than spin about this war.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BEGALA: Now, John, you're a terrific strategist. Wouldn't it be smarter for the president to just level with us and say, yes, the reality is they had no weapons, they were no threat, and things aren't going very well over there?

HANCOCK: The reality of it is, they were a threat.

BEGALA: Really?

HANCOCK: Iraq today is

BEGALA: Really? Were they going to send us a strongly worded letter? They had no weapons, John.

HANCOCK: It is the center of terrorism in the world today.

BEGALA: Now it is because Bush invaded.

(CROSSTALK)

HANCOCK: You cannot separate Iraq from the war on terror that Kerry is trying to do.

(BOOING)

BEGALA: Yes, you can, actually.

CARLSON: Wait a second.

General Nixon, why doesn't -- it seems to me John Kerry is not courageous enough to follow his beliefs to their obvious conclusion. If this war is wrong, as he said it is, why does he want to increase troop strength in Iraq? Why doesn't he just come out and say what he means, which is, the world was safer with Saddam in power? Why doesn't he just take to the conclusion logically instead of weaseling around and trying to meld nine positions together into one incomprehensible position?

NIXON: Well, as far as following it to its logical extreme, we would be better off if George Bush and his team had followed Osama bin Laden off into Afghanistan and gotten the first job we needed done.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: That's not the question I asked. I asked you a simple question. Why should we keep troops fighting a war that is the wrong war? Simple question.

NIXON: We need to finish the job that George Bush started with false information, but we need to finish that job.

CARLSON: Why?

NIXON: John Kerry learned that lesson in Vietnam, that you have to support the troops that are there.

CARLSON: We withdrew from Vietnam in defeat.

NIXON: Eventually.

The bottom line is, we have got 135,000 troops on the ground. Now is not the time, in a debate or any other way, to back up from supporting those men.

HANCOCK: And John Kerry is the wrong man to support those troops.

(BOOING)

HANCOCK: Look...

BEGALA: Go ahead.

HANCOCK: He says he's against the war. He's not going to be able to mobilize anybody to support his effort, his leadership. He's waffled and wavered and stumbled all around this thing. He's the wrong man to lead this war on terror.

BEGALA: Let me ask you about -- this is "The Saint Louis Post- Dispatch" headline today, this report from the CIA commissioned by the president. And it says this. "Iraq Arms Report Contradicts Bush."

Now, is -- does the president know this? Does he read the papers and therefore he's misleading us or does he live, as John Kerry suggests, in a fantasy world of spin? Which is it?

HANCOCK: George Bush is...

BEGALA: Is he dishonest or delusional?

(LAUGHTER)

HANCOCK: He's a determined leader who is leading this country and we're fighting the terrorists.

BEGALA: Off a cliff. Yes, he's leading us, but off a cliff.

HANCOCK: We are fighting the terrorists where they are. And we have not had a terrorist attack in this country since 9/11. And George Bush's leadership has been a vital part of that. He's fighting the terrorists where they are.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: If he's responsible for the fact that we haven't been attacked since 9/11, is he responsible for the fact that we were attacked on 9/11? Because I don't think he was. It was not his fault.

HANCOCK: I'll tell you what is responsible for that, a decade of lax leadership in this country. BEGALA: That's right. Clinton

(CROSSTALK)

HANCOCK: Turning our back -- turning -- well, you should know well.

BEGALA: Oh, yes, sure, yes.

HANCOCK: Turning our back on attack after attack on this country overseas. And George Bush is the first president in the history of this country to stand up to these people. And the American people are glad about it.

BEGALA: By going golfing after they warned him that there was a threat?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: General Nixon, the CIA report also concluded that the head of the U.N. oil-for-food program had taken bribes from Saddam's government. I haven't heard John Kerry say anything about that. He has no problem attacking the U.S. government and its policy. Never attacks the United Nations. Why is that? Is he going to come out and say something mean about the U.N., just one thing?

NIXON: I think he has got a critical view of the U.N. when necessary.

But the bottom line is that this Bush doctrine of kind of a like little league umpire, if you're going to be wrong, be strong, is not good for America. If you get bad info and base a war on it, the president of the United States should stand up and say it's bad info, not continue to try to spin it day by day.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Because there is an election coming up in Iraq, as you know. And the security situation, as you also know, is critical in Iraq. We can't have an election there unless it gets safer. The U.N. -- no U.N. country has committed any sort of peacekeepers or security forces to help protect voting locations. John Kerry has not criticized the U.N. at all for that. Why is that? Why can't he criticize the U.N.?

NIXON: John Kerry is the one candidate that has tried to bring the U.N. and other countries in to help with that election and help with the coalition and broaden it out and make it bigger, instead of isolationism, the way that Bush has done.

BEGALA: John, Paul Bremer, who was the president's choice to run Iraq as a viceroy after we invaded, says that the president made a mistake, we didn't have enough troops in there, that he should have -- I say -- he should listened to General Shinseki, the head of the Army, the Army chief of staff. Does the president think that that was a mistake as well? HANCOCK: That's not what was General Shinseki said, No. 1.

BEGALA: He said it would take over 200,000 troops to occupy and pacify the country. That's what the general said.

HANCOCK: No. 2 is, we are engaged in training the Iraqi people today to defend themselves.

BEGALA: How is that going?

HANCOCK: We're on the verge of having democratic elections for the first time in history in that country. We're on the verge of transforming a nation in the Middle East that was a hater of America into a free beacon democracy. That is going to change the world.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: They're blowing us up in that beacon of democracy, John.

HANCOCK: And you're not going to change the world with the lame, waffling leadership of John Kerry.

CARLSON: Lame, waffling, I like -- that's a nice formulation.

OK, I feel like we're very close to settling these issues, but, sadly, we have to take a commercial break.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: But we'll be right back.

Next, in "Rapid Fire," what does John Kerry really think about the draft? Does he believe it will be reinstated? Of course he doesn't, pure demagoguery. We'll bat that around.

We'll be right back.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Coming up at the top of the hour, Iraqi insurgents attack a high- profile target, a Sheraton Hotel that houses Western journalists and contractors. A new report says Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded Iraq. What does former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter think now? And the latest on the flu vaccine shortage. Will you be able to get a flu shot this year? We'll ask the CDC director, Dr. Julie Gerberding. She'll join me live.

All those stories, plus breaking news, an explosion at the Hilton Hotel in Taba, Egypt, along the border with Israel. We're standing by for details.

Much more coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Now back to CROSSFIRE.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE, broadcasting live from the quad here in Saint Louis at Washington University.

Time now for our "Rapid Fire" segment, quick questions and we hope quick answers. With us, Democrat Jay Nixon, Missouri's attorney general, Republican John Hancock, a political consultant.

BEGALA: John, at the debate, will the president acknowledge that Iraq is a quagmire and the economy is soft or will he remain on Fantasy Island?

HANCOCK: He's going to talk about rebuilding the American economy and protecting the world from terror.

CARLSON: General Nixon, you suggested a minute ago the Kerry campaign doing really pretty well here in Missouri. How many ads do they have on the air right now in Missouri?

NIXON: None.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Oh, none. Oh, OK.

NIXON: That's what so stunning, that you can move seven points just by the power of the message.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Very good. Very good. Very, very, very good.

NIXON: No doubt about it. No doubt about it.

(CROSSTALK)

HANCOCK: He hasn't moved seven points.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: In the vice presidential debate...

HANCOCK: Yes.

BEGALA: John Edwards excoriated Vice President Cheney for leadership in Halliburton. Vice President Cheney didn't even respond to it. That's an admission that, in fact, he was a pretty rotten scoundrel when he ran the company, wasn't it?

HANCOCK: No, that's an admission that the whole series of Halliburton stuff is a bunch of puffery that doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

BEGALA: Really?

CARLSON: Howard Dean, really the brain trust of the Democratic Party, came out today...

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Governor Dean, that's right, baby -- came out and suggested again that Bush is secretly pushing a draft. This is a total lie. Will someone get that man under control and tell him to knock it off?

NIXON: I don't think I can handle that particular job.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Oh.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: John, if you're advising George W. Bush, do you tell him to go and attack in that town hall meeting and risk alienating those voters?

HANCOCK: In the town hall meeting tomorrow...

BEGALA: Yes.

HANCOCK: ... George Bush needs to talk about the effective record for the people of this country.

BEGALA: And not attack Kerry?

HANCOCK: Well, he needs to tell the truth about John Kerry.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: General Nixon, watching the debate the other night, the V.P. debate, what did you think when John Edwards turned to Dick Cheney and said, hey, how is your gay daughter? What did you think when he said that?

NIXON: Well, Dick Cheney didn't remember much, but he remembered that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Yes, it was pretty memorable because it was disgusting, don't you think?

(BELL RINGING)

NIXON: Well, it's reality. And I think that the fact that Cheney so honorably handled the issue and understandably explained that he was different from George Bush on that position was a pretty honorable thing to do. Then he lied about not being at the prayer breakfast and on down the line. CARLSON: OK.

BEGALA: Amen.

CARLSON: Attorney General Jay Nixon, thank you.

John Hancock, thank you very much.

HANCOCK: Thank you.

BEGALA: Good to see you guys.

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: What do students here at Washington University in Saint Louis want to ask George Bush and John Kerry? We'll be conduits for their message.

We'll be right back.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We are here on the campus of Washington University in Saint Louis, where in just a few hours the candidates will be asked a few questions.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: We thought we would ask the real citizens here what they think.

CARLSON: Yes.

And we have a Donahue microphone just to do it.

What's your name and what's your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Raka Bambla (ph).

And if I were in that crowd tomorrow, I would ask President Bush if continuing the war in Iraq would mean the possibility of a draft and if so how this affect us as college students.

CARLSON: Do you want me to answer it? No.

BEGALA: Bush was against the draft even when he could be drafted.

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: That's why he went into the National Guard.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: All right, we have another question.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Jackie Grace (ph).

My question is for Senator Kerry. He's said repeatedly wrong war, wrong place, wrong time. If he's saying that and trying to build a coalition, how is he going to get other countries to join us when he sends the message that the war is wrong in the first place?

CARLSON: By saying it in French. I think that's what

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: OK, who else do we have here? Yes, sir. Tell us

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. My name is Alan Misev (ph).

I was wondering. Senator Kerry always is criticizing Bush on the economy and losing jobs. I was wondering how he plans on creating more jobs without digging us deeper into debt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outsourcing them.

CARLSON: That's a great question

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Honestly, one thing he would say is by removing the tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas and create tax breaks for corporations that create jobs in America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Free trade causes outsourcing. Vote Nader if you're mad about it.

Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, my name is Zack (ph). First of all, go, Red Sox.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second of all, this is for either candidate. What is your exit strategy from Iraq? That's my question. CARLSON: That is a solid question. I don't think either one

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: That's actually the biggest question of the election. And that's the one I hope that they spend a little time with. I suspect a lot of questions will be about domestic policy as well.

Yes, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Sarah Weiss (ph).

And I would be wanting to ask President Bush, after yesterday's CIA report, how he can possibly say that the Iraq war is still justified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right on!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: And shouldn't John Kerry apologize for voting for it?

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: All right, guys. We've got to go.

CARLSON: All right.

BEGALA: There we go. Who is going to do crowd surfing here? Ready. All right.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

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

CARLSON: Thank you.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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