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Bolton Nomination; Tom DeLay vs. "Law & Order"

Aired May 27, 2005 - 16:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, Margaret Carlson. On the right, Robert Novak.

In the CROSSFIRE, round two: just days after reaching an agreement on judicial nominees, Republicans and Democrats are at it once again. Now the battle is over John Bolton. Democrats want more time to review his nomination to the U.N., and that has the White House and Republican leaders crying foul.

SENATOR BILL FRIST, (R) TENNESSEE, MAJORITY LEADER: And it looks like we have, once again, another filibuster.

SENATOR HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA, MINORITY LEADER: We need to work together, and I think this week has established that and we're going to work together. But how can we work together when information is not supplied?

ANNOUNCER: And House Majority Leader Tom DeLay blasting one of the most popular shows on TV. Just what about "Law & Order" has him so mad? It's a complaint that has show producers firing back. Today on CROSSFIRE.

Live from the George Washington University, Margaret Carlson and Robert Novak.



A week that began with smiles and handshakes with the U.S. senator's ending with scowls and angry accusations. So why has the relationship between Republicans and Democrats soured so quickly? This fight is over John Bolton. And Republicans never been so angry.

MARGARET CARLSON, CROSSFIRE CO-HOST: And House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is in the middle of his own feud. He's angry at the producers at the TV show "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." my favorite. Before we get to that, here is our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

NOVAK: Senators nearly dislocated their shoulders patting themselves on the back for averting all out warfare over judicial confirmations. It did not last four days.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid promised Republicans that for sure there would be 60 votes to cut off debate and bring to a vote the long delayed confirmation of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. In fact, Democrats could not bring themselves to shake off the partisan mood. Only three Democrats voted for bringing Bolton to a vote. Definitely not including Harry Reid.

It's a good thing the 100 senators are leaving town for assorted junkets today, because the mood is absolutely rancid.

CARLSON: Bob, Harry Reid told Frist before the vote he didn't have the votes. And so it's not fair to say that Henry Reid -- Harry Reid was not telling the truth about it. He didn't know it.

And by the way, all Republicans have to do is give them the chance to look at the documents. There will be a vote.

NOVAK: I'm told late in the day that Harry Reid said he didn't have the votes earlier in the day. He said he did have the votes. So they never would have brought it up. But I would tell you this, those documents are secret documents. And that's a fishing expedition they want against poor John Bolton.

CARLSON: Vote counting changes, Bob.

As President Bush threatens to veto a bill that expands funding for stem cell research, several states are headed in the opposite direction, encouraging and even providing funds for that research. The next state likely it ante up? Connecticut.

Yesterday, the state Senate approved spending $100 million over ten years to fund stem cell research. And in an innovative move, 80 percent of that will come from the state's share with the settlement with tobacco companies.

Hopefully, the U.S. Senate will follow suit. Even that raving lefty Orrin Hatch sees the highest moral purpose of a clump of cells is not to sit on the shelf in an IVF clinic or to be discarded, but to save the life of a human breathing suffering person. Hopefully the Senate will heed the call of their colleague, Senator Arlen Specter, battling cancer at this very moment as he pleads for reason from the right-wing of his party.

NOVAK: This is a very sad story, because this is junk science. There is no proof that this is going to help anybody. It's undetermined. And what this is, it is all a desire to have human cloning to determine the superiority of man over God. This is a very serious thing. And in Boston today, Margaret...

CARLSON: Yes, Boston, I know Boston.

NOVAK: Governor Mitt Romney vetoed a human cloning bill.

CARLSON: Right. Without federal government, there are never breakthroughs like this. Bob didn't know the vaccine was going to work.

NOVAK: The great concept of the United States of Europe as a super-economic power is about to be dealt a devastating blow by the French. By the French? Is that like the father assailing his own creation?

Well, it's always hard it figure out our French cousins. The polls show France's voters poised on Sunday to vote no by a substantial margin on the referendum to accelerate Europe's political integration. It would strengthen the E.U.'s political institution, including the presidency of Europe.

French President Chirac told his country's voters this week, they have a historic responsibility to support the E.U. But maybe they have a historic memory that they're more French than they are European.

CARLSON: Bob, you love divisions. I'm glad you weren't a pundit -- did you learn it when you were in grade school? I'm glad you weren't you a pundit during World War I.

NOVAK: World War I?

CARLSON: Where you around -- you were around, weren't you?

NOVAK: I was around.


CARLSON: You're against alliances. You were in breeches, and you were against it.

NOVAK: How would you vote if you were a Frenchy? You kind of fit in with those people. How would you vote?

CARLSON: I love the French, Bob.

NOVAK: I know. How would you vote?

CARLSON: Go to Paris. I'd vote for unity.

NOVAK: I'd vote no.

CARLSON: Yes. You love voting no! You love no.

ABC newsman Ted Koppel is standing out for U.S. military troops this Memorial Day. He'll be devoting Monday "Nightline" program to the men and women who lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a tribute similar to one "Nightline" did last year, Koppel will read out the names of every single American killed this past year.

The Sinclair Broadcasting Group refused to show last year's tribute, claiming it was politically motivated. And since then, Koppel has been characterized on right wing talk radio as some kind of anti--war wacko. who honors the fallen more? "Nightline?" Or a president who doesn't attend even one soldier's funeral, a president who doesn't armor the Humvees?

What "Nightline" is doing is the electronic version of what will happen in 100 town squares across the country this Memorial Day. Thank you, Ted Koppel.

NOVAK: Ask you a question, Margaret.


NOVAK: Isn't it a fact that people, people like you, who have been against every war the United States has been in, who degraded the military, who didn't support us in Vietnam, didn't support any kind of military venture, are the ones who want the names of these heroes read as an anti-war gesture? Isn't that the truth?

CARLSON: Bob, you have the wrong person. My family is a military family. My dad fought in World War II. The Vietnam Wall is a wonderful memorial. Reading these names is a better than going to the NASCAR races, as Bill Frist is doing on Memorial Day.


NOVAK: Next in the CROSSFIRE, the U.S. Senate puts John Bolton's vote on hold. Does this end the bipartisan truce that lasted almost four days?

Also, Tom DeLay takes on Hollywood over "Law & Order" being disorderly toward him.

And later, will donors to the Clinton library be all shook-up? Listen to that. All shook-up over its latest exhibit.


CARLSON: Welcome back. How did it go so bad, so fast? The lovefest between Republicans and Democrats, which began on Monday with the deal on judicial nominees has been declared officially over, by Republicans.

What caused the break-up, the Democrats' decision to ask for documents before voting on the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the U.N. They say they need the documents on Bolton that the White House has refused to turn over. Today in the CROSSFIRE, Cheri Jacobus a Republican consultant and Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist -- Bob.

NOVAK: Mr. Simon Rosenberg, welcome.


NOVAK: Let me try to set the scene on this thing. We have a refusal of all but three Democratic senators to vote for cloture. And it's because, after all this love-making and hugging and kissing that the senators have been doing, it was really kind of embarrassing. It got so lovey dovey with each other. And then we have -- they're refusing to get cloture because of documents, refuse them not by the White House, as Margaret said, but by the -- John Negroponte, the intelligence czar.

I want you to read -- listen to something your leader, Democratic leader Harry Reid said on the floor last night.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: It is not the fault of the Democratic caucus. We're not here to filibuster Bolton. We're here to get information regarding Bolton.


NOVAK: Explain it me how that's not a filibuster of Bolton when they refuse to permit him to come to a vote.

ROSENBERG: I think that this is a serious decision. This is the ambassador of the United States to the United Nations. And I think the Democrats are being deliberative in making sure they have what they feel to be an adequate amount of information to vote on this very important appointment.

NOVAK: I thought we -- I thought we had reached the point where, if you had a substantial majority and there was no extraordinary circumstances, we let these nominees go through. What happened to that language?

ROSENBERG: I just think that part of what's going on is the Republicans may be in charge, but there's no one in charge of the Republican Party these days. You've got Frist...


ROSENBERG: You know, you've got Frist...

NOVAK: Don't (INAUDIBLE) by the audience.

ROSENBERG: I was playing into the crowd.

NOVAK: You don't have to wait for applause.

ROSENBERG: We -- Frist has had a very tough week. Tom DeLay's got one foot in jail. And I think George Bush has been -- been very...


ROSENBERG: been very -- been very -- been very disengaged. And I think, you now, what you're seeing is the unraveling of what was a very successful coalition over the last four years where they can't even take on little old Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats. My heart goes out to them.

CARLSON: Listen -- listen, Cheri, Senator Frist never even signed on. He barely acknowledged there was an agreement. He said, I'm not a party to it. So what agreement is being broken? But aside from that, Senator John Warner says there's no linkage between that, and what's happening now. They're just asking for documents.

JACOBUS: Well, I think what Democrats thought they had going in, was it looked like they were at least trying to play ball. I think they were very concerned about this image of being obstructionist, and they have reason to be concerned. So Harry Reid was probably relieved that there was this deal struck.

But now he's the guy, I think as we head into this holiday, before there was talk that Frist didn't have control of the party, and you made that indication, which is a false one by the way, but now it looks like Harry Reid is the one that's not really on sure footing. He thought he had had his guys together. And then he decided that he didn't. And then he says it's not a filibuster. Then he says it's a filibuster. He's the guy who looks like doesn't know what to do. Should he try and do the right thing or should he pander to the left- wing of his party?

CARLSON: Well, lets say we just concede for a moment. Let's say we have two leaders, Frist and Reid who don't quite have control over their troops. But John Bolton himself said, I want all of this to be made public. So why not let the senators go, look at the documents, a then have a vote? That's all that has to happen.

JACOBUS: At this point -- at this point, it's not Bolton's decision. But what I find interest, Margaret, is that you've got Senator Jay Rockefeller who's seen these documents with some of the names redacted, which is fine, and he's the Democrat. He says, I'm fine with this. You know, what's the problem?

So I guess the...


JACOBUS: I don't understand why they need to see more documents.

CARLSON: Watch out by the way, you don't want Bob hugging and kissing you over there.

NOVAK: I haven't done it today yet. Mr. Rosenberg.

ROSENBERG: Yes, sir.

NOVAK: I don't know if you know who Senator Pat Roberts is, he's a good-old boy from Kansas. He's a Marine, served about 10 years in the Marines Corps, a farmer. He is a guy who tells the truth. He is straight and he has been very tough and critical on the war. He's not been a patsy. He sent a letter on this whole question of these documents.

I wanted to read to you what he said. He said, "After completing an examination of these issues I found no evidence that there was anything improper about any aspect of Mr. Bolton's requests for minimized identities of U.S. persons. I further found no violations of procedures, directives, regulations or law by Mr. Bolton. Moreover, I am not aware that anyone involved in handling these request had any concerns regarding these request at any point in the process."

He's the intelligence community chairman. He has terrific contacts in the CIA. If anybody was unhappy, they would tell him. Are you calling Pat Roberts a liar?

ROSENBERG: I think, that -- let me quote another Republican senator, Senator Voinovich who wrote this week to his colleagues, "In these dangerous times, we cannot afford to put at risk our nation's ability to successfully wage and win the war on terror with a controversial and ineffective ambassador to the United Nations." That's another Republican senator weighing in, just this week in a letter that he wrote to all his colleagues, saying we have to go slow. We have to be deliberative, this is an important decision.

NOVAK: One vote against. One Republican voting...

CARLSON: Cheri -- Cheri, if Bob hadn't given the speech, but we only have five seconds left here. Senator Voinovich said listen, send us up a better candidate. Now they're calling Senator Voinovich a crybaby all over talk radio. Boy did they turn against a guy.

JACOBUS: He did cry. He did cry. And I don't know if you need to cry on the Senate floor over the U.N. ambassador nominee. I mean, this is not a judicial nomination. This is not a lifetime job. I personally don't even think it's that important of a job. I'm confused, I'm sort of mystified why the Democrats are making this big deal. And spending what little political capital they have...

CARLSON: Now that we know that Condi Rice is going to supervise him, I guess we don't have to worry about John Bolton.


NOVAK: Maybe Voinovich cried because he was acting so badly. Could that be possible.

When we come back, Tom DeLay taking aim at Hollywood. Did producers of a popular TV show cross the line when they included DeLay's name in their script?

And after the break, we'll have the latest on the health of Saudi King Fahd.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John King reporting from Washington. Coming up at the top of the hour, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd has been hospitalized. But Saudis say it's just for medical examinations. One source however tells CNN the king's condition is quite serious.

Two U.S. soldiers are dead after their helicopter is shot down in Iraq.

And a troubling question for millions of men taking impotence drugs, can Viagra and similar drugs cause blindness? All of those stories and much more just minutes away on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS.

Now back to CROSSFIRE.

NOVAK: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is not happy with this week's episode NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." It's one scene in particular he finds offensive. The scene in question begins with police officers hunting for a suspect in a judge's murder. And it ends with a reference to Tom DeLay himself. Take a look at it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An appellate court judge no less.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief is setting up a task force. People are talking about multiple assassination teams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like the same shooters. CSU found the slug in the post, matched it to the one that killed Judge Barton. Maybe we should put out an APB for someone in a Tom DeLay T-shirt.


NOVAK: Is DeLay under attack by liberal Hollywood producers? Still looks like it.

Still in the CROSSFIRE, Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, Republican consultant Cheri Jacobus.

CARLSON: Cheri, so "Law & Order" is a show that's, quote, "ripped from the headlines." Can a show help it if Tom DeLay's in the headlines? Remember he said after the Schiavo case that the judges responsible for this were going to pay -- answer for what they did.

JACOBUS: Margaret, I think that watching this is obvious -- anybody watching that that this is the Hollywood left going after Tom DeLay. Look, the left is frustrated because you can't beat us in the elections. And so you have to go with this character assassination.

Tom DeLay hasn't been indicted. His name wasn't in any ruling. His name is not in any of this stuff. So this is what happens when you can't beat us fair and square.

Look Tom DeLay outflanked, outsmarted these guys in Texas. He won. They can't stand it. So this is what the left is doing, demonizing this guy very inappropriately because you can't beat him fairly.

CARLSON: Tom DeLay's top aide has to pay $200,000 for violating the law in Texas, eliminating four of those Democratic Congressman. So, you think Tom DeLay has done nothing wrong? Tom DeLay has done nothing wrong?

JACOBUS: Tom DeLay has done nothing wrong. His name isn't on anything. You know, until Tom DeLay is indicted, until he's convicted of something, this stuff that happened on this show should not be happening. And these people should be brought to the task.

NOVAK: Simon -- Simon Rosenberg, let me give you Tom DeLay's day in court. He says, "this manipulation of my mine and the trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse." What if they had Simon Rosenberg, you're a big deal on the Democratic Party and they said, let's look for somebody with a communist T-shirts with Simon Rosenberg's name. How would you feel if you got smeared by some right-wing show.

ROSENBERG: We get smeared by right-wing shows all of the time!


ROSENBERG: Let me just say -- look, I just can't believe the whining coming out of Tom DeLay on this. I mean, the guy got up -- not only the quote that Margaret discussed earlier said by Tom DeLay, but at the same conference that he spoke, there were people who openly talked about assassinating judges in the United States.

I don't know why the FBI hasn't opened up an investigation into the right-wing Republicans who have been talking about assassinating judges in the United States. Tom DeLay, I think another investigation. Looking at to whether he's inciting judges against in the United States.

NOVAK: I got to ask you one question, a lot of people out here don't know that you ran for Democratic National Chairman.


NOVAK: And Howard Dean really beat you like a bad piece of meat (ph). I mean, now Howard Dean wants to put Tom DeLay in jail without indictment trial, accusation. Do you agree with -- Tom DeLay should go right to jail without a trial?

ROSENBERG: I think what Howard was saying was that think he will go to jail given what he has done. And I actually agree with him. I think Tom DeLay in the next few years is going to be in jail.

NOVAK: You're as mad as he is...

ROSENBERG: And I'm happy it say that.

NOVAK: Thank you Mr. Rosenberg...

ROSENBERG: Thank you so much.

NOVAK: Mrs. Jacobus, thank you very much.

Suspicious minds are wondering why Elvis Presley has Clinton's presidential library all shook up?



NOVAK: Our former president Bill Clinton is a huge Elvis Presley fan and his passion for the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" is reflected in the new exhibit at Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Starting this weekend, visitors can see a replica of a music room that was built in the White House as a Christmas present from Hillary, an entire wall of the room is devoted to Elvis. I wonder how the people who devoted -- who donated money to the Clinton Library feel about their dough going toward an Elvis Presley exhibit.

CARLSON: well, Bob I would call it the "Heartbreak Hotel." And I bet it gets a lot more visitors than most of the other presidential memorabilia. I imagine that the Bush library will be all music and no books.


NOVAK: I won't talk anything about tourist camp trash and all of that kind of thing. We won't do that.

CARLSON: Yes, yes.

From the left -- we have to go -- I'm Margaret Carlson. And that's it for CROSSFIRE.

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

"WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now.



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