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CNN CROSSFIRE

Rebuilding the Democratic Party

Aired December 10, 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: rebuilding the Democratic Party. Party leaders gather in Florida to regroup and consider their next moves in the wake of withering election-day losses. What kind of future do the Democrats have? And who is the right person to lead them?

Today on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

(APPLAUSE)

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

Democratic Party leaders are meeting this weekend in Orlando, Florida. They have a big job ahead. Not only do they need to begin the process of finding a successor to outgoing DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe. They also need to begin to set the party on a better defined path toward victory.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Actually, at this point, any path would do, any path at all, because the Democratic Party is in shambles and headed nowhere at a rapid clip. That may be good for America, but it's depressing for the four or five sober Democrats still left in this country. Can the Democratic Party pull out of the hole it has dug for itself?

But, first, the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Now, who runs the Democratic Party these days? It's a question that some Democrats have been asking for months, often out loud. We now have an answer. MoveOn.org, a left-wing fringe group that exposed even the war in Afghanistan, runs the Democratic Party. We know that because they have said so. Yesterday, the head of MoveOn's political action committee sent an e-mail to supporters attacking outgoing Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe.

Quote: "We can't afford four more years of leadership by a consulting class of professional election losers," he wrote. He went on to say: "In the last year, grassroots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC and proved that the party does not need corporate cash to be competitive. Now it's our party. We bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back" end quote. That's what they said. And the scary part is, it's all true.

BEGALA: Well, I...

CARLSON: They own your party, Paul. They say so.

BEGALA: Well, I agree with that in part. I disagree in part.

No, first off, Terry McAuliffe has been a great chairman.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: It's a chairman's job to raise money and put in infrastructure. There was no technological infrastructure for the Democratic Party.

CARLSON: Doesn't winning play a role, too...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I like Terry McAuliffe, but let's be real. Let's be real.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: He did his job. No, it's the candidates' jobs to win. The candidate's job is to articulate a message. Senator Kerry didn't do that. And I don't blame Terry. He was a great chairman. But MoveOn did a lot of good as well.

(CROSSTALK)

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: The fact is, the fact is, money is for winning. That is the only measure in politics. Do you win or do you lose?

BEGALA: That's right.

CARLSON: And he's lost.

BEGALA: He didn't lose. John Kerry lost.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I'm sorry. There's a big difference. Senator Kerry should have articulated more clearly -- we'll talk about this more when the guests come out.

Well, anyway, on a more vital topic, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked by a soldier why our troops don't have enough armor in combat, he offered this defense. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: It's essentially a matter of physics. It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: Well, today we learned that AM General, which makes armored Humvees, says the secretary of defense is wrong. They're perfectly capable of making more, but the Bush administration has not asked for more.

Another firm, O'Gara-Hess & Eisenhart, retrofits Humvees with armor. It too says it can make more, but it hasn't been asked to. As we speak, only 10 percent of medium-weight transport trucks and 15 percent of heavy trucks have armor in Iraq. Some troops have refused to undertake dangerous missions in unarmed trucks. Other soldiers do and die.

All the while, Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Bush continue to dissemble and prove themselves unworthy to lead America's heroes. They should be ashamed of themselves.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Well, not all trucks need to be armored, as you know.

But, look, the fact is that administration and the country, frankly, didn't prepare itself to win the war in Iraq.

BEGALA: That's right. But they're lying today.

CARLSON: They didn't prepare for the occupation of Iraq. And it turns out, in this and many other ways, we've come up short due to bad planning and lack of planning.

BEGALA: It's not a lack of planning. It's a lack of candor. The secretary of defense lied to the soldiers.

(BELL RINGING)

BEGALA: He lied to them. He said, we can't make more. He said we can't...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: That's why you guys lost the election.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I don't care about the election. I care about losing lives.

(APPLAUSE) BEGALA: He looked those men in the eye and he lied to them, Tucker. We can make more armor.

CARLSON: You always need to make a political point.

BEGALA: It's not a political point.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: The fact is, they didn't plan well for the occupation. There's no evidence he lied.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Was he telling the truth when he said that they can't make anymore?

CARLSON: Yes. That sounds...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Why did the manufacturers today say they can?

CARLSON: All right.

Well, the Democratic Party -- the Democratic Party...

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: I completely -- I completely give up. I am not, again, going to argue about whether or not they're lying or not.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I will say, though, that you get absolutely no political mileage from attacking the administration, Paul.

BEGALA: I don't care about political mileage. I don't care. I care about men dying because these people aren't doing their jobs. That's what I care about.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Actually, you care about calling people liars at the expense of what is true or not true.

But back to the point at hand. And it's this. The Democratic Party cares about you. It shares your values. It understands how you live. It has its finger on the pulse of the American heartland. The people who run the Democratic Party are middle-class folks. No, really, they really are. They are not wine-cellar-rich, celebrity- besotted, Botox-enhanced, Prius-driving, agnostic vegans from Santa Monica who haven't done their own grocery shopping since the Carter administration. No, they're not. And they don't take Deepak Chopra seriously. They are not personal friends with Barbra Streisand. They don't consider Christmas a racist, patriarchal celebration of Western imperialism. Honest, they really don't, because, ultimately, the leaders of the Democratic Party are just like you and me and also Susan Sarandon and Ted Kennedy. And, in fact, you can see both of them together at the Kennedy Center next Tuesday, where Senator Kennedy will present Ms. Sarandon with the Defender of Democracy Award given by the left-wing group People For the American Way.

How, you ask, has Mrs. Sarandon, Ms. Sarandon, defended democracy? Well, if you even have to ask, you probably don't live in Malibu. You probably even never have heard of pilates. You are almost certainly not a member of the Democratic National Committee. And that's your loss, Mr. and Mrs. America.

BEGALA: I think it's admirable when celebrities speak out on either side of the political spectrum.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Because it hurts their career and it subjects them to cheap shots on television.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: It's not a cheap shot.

BEGALA: And you know what? I think it's wonderful she speaks out like this. I think it's great.

CARLSON: It's actually a fact that your party is not the middle- class party anymore. It was for many years. It is no longer. It's the party of the rich and the poor Susan Sarandon.

BEGALA: That's so silly.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: And you know it.

BEGALA: George W. Bush is of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. He has governed strictly for the rich.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: It has been a kleptocracy for the rich under George W. Bush?

CARLSON: Kleptocracy?

BEGALA: A kleptocracy.

CARLSON: What country are you talking about? BEGALA: They're stealing everything that is not nailed down and giving it to the rich. Next is coming your Social Security.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: That's so insane, I don't know how to respond.

BEGALA: You're not talking about the rich with my party. Believe me.

By the way, let me point out CNN, I'm being told, has just learned that the chief justice of the United States, William Rehnquist, will be able to preside over the second inaugural of President George W. Bush in January. The chief justice, of course, is battling thyroid cancer and has been missing sessions of the Supreme Court. Again, CNN has just learned that the chief justice, William Rehnquist, will be able to preside over the president's second inaugural in January.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Back to -- back now. And we wish him well and Godspeed and we're praying for your full recovery, Mr. Chief Justice.

Now back to Iraq. Specialist Robert Loria is a real hero. He lost his left arm fighting for our country in Iraq. And then, to add insult to injury, the Army wanted more from him. Citing paperwork snafus, the Army confiscated his last paycheck, leaving Specialist Loria without even enough gas money to drive home to Middletown, New York, from his post in Fort Hood, Texas.

But then somebody rode to the rescue, someone who supports our troops with actions, not just photo-ops. A powerful U.S. senator intervened in Specialist Loria's case, wouldn't take no for an answer and got Specialist Loria the money he's owed. And that young hero is preparing to head home for the holidays. That senator is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Loria's mom tells CNN Senator Clinton was irate when she learned of his plight. She contacted the Army and got results -- quote -- "The only reason we're at this stage now is because she put her two cents in and got things rolling. Senator Clinton," Specialist Loria's mom tells us, "has been wonderful."

God bless Hillary.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I hope that you get something out of that. I hope Mrs. Clinton takes you out to dinner, mows your lawn, irons your shirt or something.

BEGALA: She baked you a cake, Tucker. She's never even done that.

(APPLAUSE) CARLSON: Because that is the biggest suck-up I've seen.

BEGALA: She baked you a cake.

CARLSON: And I will say, the other 99 senators in the U.S. Senate would have been delighted to do the same thing, because it's sort of the perfect photo-op. And I would say a third thing, which is, I totally believe the Army did that. Bureaucracies do that. Bureaucracies don't respect people, which is why the Democratic Party's attempt to expand bureaucracy...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: It's a terrible idea.

BEGALA: And, by the way, since I wrote that, CNN has also learned that 19 other soldiers with similar situations -- cases -- have been uncovered. Because of Senator Clinton's actions, the Army is correcting them as well

CARLSON: OK.

BEGALA: So 19 more young heroes are no longer going to be mistreated by the Army bureaucracy.

(BELL RINGING)

CARLSON: Good for Mrs. Clinton. And I hope she make goods on her end of the deal and takes you out to dinner, at the very least, at the very, very least.

BEGALA: She baked you a cake, bud. All I want her to do is keep serving America.

CARLSON: All right.

Democrats, they have lost the White House, both houses of Congress. People are laughing at them. What next? They're not going to Disney World. We'll debate the future of the Democratic Party, as leaders powwow in Orlando in search of a message and a messenger to lead them out of the desert.

We'll be right back.

And then, hold on. Later, Colin Powell hints of what he'd like to do when he leaves the State Department. It's something Paul and I know something about. No, it's not leading armies. Something else. We'll give him pointers.

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

The powers that be in the Democratic Party are taking a long, hard look at the party's future this weekend at their meeting in Orlando, Florida. What and perhaps who is going to lead the Democratic Party back on to the winning track? And what kind of Republican Party might the new Democrats be facing?

Joining us today in the CROSSFIRE, Republican strategist Frank Donatelli, a veteran of the Reagan campaign and White House, and Democratic strategist Jenny Backus.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Jenny, thanks a lot for joining us.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: The Democrats, let's just be honest, are in terrible shape. They got beaten. They just got spanked in this last election. I'm not gloating. I'm just merely -- I report. You decide.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: And I think we can both agree that I'm right.

However, I want to -- I want to give out the Betty Ford award for clinical denial today. And it goes to Senator John Edwards, former Senator John Edwards, who said this last night on "LARRY KING LIVE" -- quote -- "One hundred thousand-plus votes in Ohio and John Kerry would have been sworn in as president of the United States in January."

He leaves out the fact that, even with 100,000-plus votes, Kerry still would Have lost the popular vote by more than three million.

JENNY BACKUS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Have you sort of forgotten history, though?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I thought you were against that. No, but let's be honest. That's a pathetic...

(CROSSTALK)

BACKUS: ... you guys in the last election.

CARLSON: I know. That was stolen, but let's be honest.

BACKUS: Wait. Flip-flop. Flip-flop. Last election, you said...

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE) CARLSON: I'll cop to it. I'll cop to it. But let's just -- let's be real. That's a pathetic rationalization that will get you nowhere. Don't you think?

BACKUS: No, why is it a pathetic rationalization to be proud of what we did in this last election, to be proud of the record turnout? We didn't win. We're going to do better. But, really, to be perfectly honest, it's a very narrow line that separates you. It's a little chasm that I think is scaring the Republicans.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I can understand -- no, I don't think that's a crazy point, but I think two things. One, there's a trend, and it's trending towards Republicans.

But, two, and more to the point, Democrats keep losing because their ideas are being rejected by the populace.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Peter Beinart has a brilliant cover story in "The New Republic" this week. I don't know if you have read it. It's a liberal magazine. He's liberal. He writes about what is wrong with the Democratic Party.

Read this quote. I think this will change your life.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Quote: "American liberalism, as defined by its activist organizations, remains largely what it was in the 1990s -- a collection of domestic interests and concerns. On health care, gay rights, and the environment, there is a positive vision, articulated with passion. But there is little liberal passion to win the struggle against al Qaeda."

In other words, on the central issue of our time, how to defeat terrorism, Democrats just aren't animated. They have no vision.

BACKUS: Were you watching the debates during the presidential election?

CARLSON: I was there.

BACKUS: Well, there you go.

I mean, the Democrats had a much stronger plan a much stronger vision.

CARLSON: Do you really believe that, honestly?

BACKUS: Look at what's happening right now with the Republican Party and Donald Rumsfeld.

I mean, the Republicans are not winning this war. They're losing this war. And more people that I grew up with are coming home and ending up in the hospital.

BEGALA: Amen.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Frank Donatelli, first, good to see you again.

FRANK DONATELLI, FORMER REAGAN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Thank you, Paul. Good to see you.

BEGALA: Thank you for joining us, as ever.

Let me shift a little bit and suggest, first off, this was an impressive victory for the president. I think I have to slightly disagree with Jenny, in that I think my party got beat badly. And I think Democrats should reassess.

But I do think that there's an interesting trend in your party as well. And it's not too early to look at the post-Bush Republican Party. As long as we have a god-awful 22nd Amendment, which we'll talk about in a minute, here's who I think the leading candidates are to succeed President Bush in your party.

Let me put them up on the screen here. I've got photos of them, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McCain. Now, these are able, capable men, gifted national leaders. Rudy Giuliani disagrees with President Bush pretty much on everything. He's clearly to the left of Howard Dean. Certainly, on gun control, he's to the left of Howard Dean.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control. John McCain, against all the Bush tax cuts. It seems to me the leading Republicans are anti-Bush Republicans. Isn't that kind of an interesting point?

DONATELLI: It's an interesting point, but it's all...

BEGALA: So your party is going to turn away from Bush, just like my party's rejected Bush. And nobody likes Bush anymore, even though he won the election. Isn't that kind of odd?

(APPLAUSE)

DONATELLI: The Republican Party is clearly right of center.

I think that we haven't even talked about the second Bush term yet, and you're already talking about 2008. Paul, the interesting thing is, in the year 1996, when Bob Dole lost the presidency, would you have thought that George W. Bush necessarily would have been the Republican nominee? There was no knowledge at that point who the nominee was going to be; 2008 is a long time away.

But I do agree with what you said, and that is, this was a very bad defeat for the Democratic Party. Ten elections since 1968, five times, you've nominated Northern liberals. Every single time, you've lost. And that's where the base of the Democratic Party is now. (APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: I think that's a legitimate debate and I think the Democrats will be having that debate. And I think -- I think that you offer that, really -- in all candor -- and you're a brilliant strategy. You know much I respect you.

But I still want to press this point. Why is it, though, with President Bush ascendant, that the most popular Republicans in America are anti-Bush Republicans? Why is that?

DONATELLI: I think it's chance. Schwarzenegger...

BEGALA: It can't be chance. All three of them?

DONATELLI: It is chance. Schwarzenegger, for one, cannot run for president, as we know.

BEGALA: I hope that change that as well, though.

DONATELLI: I don't think that the other two individuals that you talked about, I think they agree with President Bush on a lot more than disagree.

BEGALA: On nothing.

(CROSSTALK)

DONATELLI: McCain and Bush agree totally on foreign policy. And so does Giuliani.

BACKUS: Well, I mean...

DONATELLI: They all agree that we need to fight the war on terror.

BACKUS: But look at this.

The things that you guys spent millions of dollars attacking unfairly John Kerry on, Rudy Giuliani has a much more extreme position, in the Republican view, on choice, gay rights. Rudy Giuliani lived with a gay couple in New York.

BEGALA: Just friends.

CARLSON: What are you implying?

BEGALA: They're just friends.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Wait. No, but I want to get back to -- OK. The Republican...

BACKUS: But it's hypocrisy. And that's what you...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But I want to ask about the Democratic Party. The Republican Party kind of controls everything. The Democratic Party is retreating into think tanks and aerobics studios. Let's talk about the future of your party.

DONATELLI: Aroma therapy.

BACKUS: Aerobics studios?

CARLSON: Yes, aerobics, pilates, whatever, aroma therapy, whatever Democrats do in their spare time.

(CROSSTALK)

BACKUS: He's obsessed...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: My point is -- my point is that the leader of your party, it's unclear. And I would suggest that it really is Howard Dean who has the most powerful grassroots support.

He gave a speech today in which he pointed out the Democrats only ran in this election really in 18 states. And I'm wondering if he couldn't help in some other states. Listen to him. This is his -- get a sense of what he might do for your party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin. We're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico. 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!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Jenny...

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: I'll be candid with you. The reason I put that up there is because...

BACKUS: Because you love it.

CARLSON: I can't resist. That's exactly right.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: But he is the single most popular person in your party, maybe up there with the Clintons, but he is up there with the Clintons. And he's unelectable. What does that tell you?

BACKUS: Well, again -- first of all, there's a couple of important things people should remember about Howard Dean.

One lesson that Howard Dean learned that the Republican are going to use and McCain already uses is empowerment. One of the things that Howard Dean talked about is that you have the ability to change your world. He also helped us realize what a powerful tool the Internet is. And that's going to be the great equalizer, I think, between the two parties going forward. We have a way to make money now.

And before, we used to have to make campaign decisions on how much money are we going to have? Are we going to be able to play just 18 states? Can we expand the field? Now, thanks to Terry McAuliffe -- and I agree with Paul said earlier -- McAuliffe has given us a sort of machine. And now we're looking for the person to drive the machine.

I don't necessarily think that it will be Howard Dean, but, you know...

CARLSON: I hope so.

BACKUS: Well, of course you do, your dream team one, just like we want Gary Bauer and Jim Dobson -- or, what, James Dobson, Dr. Dobson.

(CROSSTALK)

BACKUS: You know, your screamers. I have got some great Ann Coulter tapes, if you want to listen to them.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Let me ask you quickly about this debate, left, right, within party as well. We talked a minute about Rudy and so forth. Jenny just raised Reverend or Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family leader, Gary Bauer, who runs a conservative Christian group, Jerry Falwell.

Many people believe -- certainly they believe -- that they reelected George W. Bush. I think there's some real merit to that argument. What's the president going to give them? Will he ban abortion?

DONATELLI: The president does not have the power to ban abortion.

BEGALA: Will he support a ban on abortion? Will he call for the country to ban what the president...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: ... believes is murder?

DONATELLI: The president is opposed to abortion. The president is opposed to abortion.

BACKUS: He's got the power. BEGALA: So he will push -- he will push for a ban on abortion?

DONATELLI: The president is opposed to abortion. But, as we know, right now, that is out of the legislative and executive hands.

BEGALA: Why? He controls the legislature. He controls the House, the Senate, the White House, the Supreme Court.

(CROSSTALK)

DONATELLI: ... because of the Supreme Court.

BEGALA: He controls the Supreme Court. Lord knows, that's why he's president.

DONATELLI: It's no secret that the president is against abortion.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: On that, we're just going to think a quick break. We'll be right back.

Next, in "Rapid Fire," could some of those Democrats meeting in Florida be talking about the obvious name? You know what it is, Hillary Rodham Clinton, running for president in 2008. It's going to happen.

And after the break, the fate of Scott Peterson is in the hands of a California jury. Word of a sentence could come at any time. Wolf Blitzer will tell us about it right this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Coming up at the top of the hour, the growing controversy over military armor. We'll talk it over with a former Big Red One commander, General David Grange.

The Scott Peterson jury continuing its deliberations right now. Will it decide on a sentence today? We're standing by.

And we'll also show you a hard-line Arab television network that, in words of one observer, makes Al-Jazeera look like a Girl Scout cookie infomercial.

All those stories, much more, only minutes away on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Now back to CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

It is time for "Rapid Fire," where we ask questions faster than DNC chairman wanna-bes can line up for the job trying to push Howard Dean out of the way.

Our guests today, Democratic consultant Jenny Backus and Republican strategist Frank Donatelli.

BEGALA: Frank...

DONATELLI: Yes.

BEGALA: Honestly, who do you fear most as a Democratic candidate for president in '08?

DONATELLI: In '08, somebody from the South or border state that's not a Northern liberal. I don't fear Hillary Clinton. Maybe Evan Bayh of Indiana is a possibility.

BEGALA: Interesting.

CARLSON: Jenny, Mrs. Clinton seems like she wants to run for president. Democrats, as you know, are secretly terrified of the prospect, because she will lose. Republicans want her to run. Do you know any Democrats who can be honest with her and say, please don't do it to our party again?

BACKUS: Well, once again, I love it when you sort of interpret us. I think, right now, Mrs. Clinton is focused on the Senate race.

CARLSON: Oh, please. Come on. Come on.

BACKUS: She is. And she is also focused on helping soldiers.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

BEGALA: She's done more to help our troops this week than George W. Bush has, believe me. God bless her.

CARLSON: Good point. OK.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Let me ask you, though, about the 22nd Amendment. I referred to it in our last segment. It's this awful amendment that Republicans put on so we'd have no more FDRs, two terms and out.

Would you support me in repealing that, calling for a repeal of that, so that President Bush could run for a third term, if America wants him, President Clinton could run for a third term, if America wants him?

DONATELLI: Ronald Reagan was against the 22nd Amendment.

BEGALA: Yes, he was. And he was right, wasn't he, your old boss, Ronald Reagan?

DONATELLI: Yes. I -- I think eight years is enough for anyone to be president.

BEGALA: Oh, come on, Frank. Liberate the Constitution.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: And, Jenny, you were just saying nice things about Howard Dean the other day, as Democrats do. They feel an obligation. In two sentences, why shouldn't he be DNC chairman?

BACKUS: I think that the one thing that we want from a DNC chairman is somebody who is more, I personally think of more of a day- to-day tactician, who can figure out a strategy.

CARLSON: Also sane...

(CROSSTALK)

BACKUS: No.

CARLSON: No?

BACKUS: I mean, I think that -- first of all, I think the DNC members are going to look at a lot of different things. I think you haven't seen the models yet.

(BELL RINGING)

BACKUS: Right now, I think everything is down in Florida. They're putting their toe in the swimming pool. I don't think we know who's in the swimming race yet.

BEGALA: Excellent. Well, we will keep an eye on it.

Jenny Backus, Democratic strategist, good to see you again. Frank Donatelli, my friend from the Republican Party, both, good job. And have a good weekend.

(APPLAUSE)

BACKUS: Thank you.

BEGALA: Well, watch out, Tucker Carlson and Bob Novak. Colin Powell just may have his eyes on your job, or maybe mine. We'll explain when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Secretary of State Colin Powell is used to striding the world stage, but could he be headed to the small screen? Well, the retiring warrior diplomat told some Dutch students that he will be, in his words, "speaking out on the issues of the day and have the opportunity to express my opinions from time to time" -- unquote.

Some speculate he might write an opinion column or even do television commentary.

Well, Mr. Secretary, you're always welcome here at CROSSFIRE. But you might be a little too liberal for the far right. You might be a little too conservative for the far left. So I'll tell you what, Mr. Secretary. We'll put you right in the middle, probably where you belong.

CARLSON: No., I think you're missing it. As a matter of pure programming, his spot on the schedule is daytime. "Colin," I can see it. You know what I mean?

(LAUGHTER)

BEGALA: I've got news for you. We are daytime.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I always forget that. It feels so prime time around here.

BEGALA: It does, just the class we bring.

But, Secretary Powell, you're welcome in CROSSFIRE at any time. And he'll probably be here Monday.

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

CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again Monday for yet more CROSSFIRE.

BEGALA: With Colin Powell.

CARLSON: Have a terrific weekend.

And stay tuned for "WOLF BLITZER," which starts right now. See you.

(APPLAUSE)

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