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CNN CROSSFIRE

Ann Coulter Blasts Media for Liberal Bias; Supreme Court Says Yes to Drug Tests and Vouchers

Aired June 27, 2002 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the "Crossfire" courtrooms and classrooms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a great victory for kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Makes no sense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Parents get school vouchers. Student get more drug tests and everybody's getting mad about the Pledge of Allegiance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need common sense judges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: She's got a new book and a thing against the liberal media.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he didn't call him an ...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... airhead.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did call him an apparent airhead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: That was the warm-up, now the author of "Slander" is our guest. Tonight on CROSSFIRE.

From the George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

JAMES CARVILLE, HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE . Tonight we're sorting fact from fiction with Ann Coulter, the author of "Slander", liberal lies about the American right. Wow, it's going to be an interesting segment here.

But first, there's so much partisan and political news today, we just can't wait. Fasten your seatbelts, put your right hand over your heart and get ready as we recite the CROSSFIRE political alert.

The U.S. Supreme Court says it's OK to give taxpayers' money to parents who want to send their children to private and parochial schools. Ruling in a case of a Cleveland, Ohio school voucher program the court's majority said vouchers do not violate the constitutional separation between church and state and they said it even though more than 95 percent of the vouchers are used to subsidize Catholic or other religious schooling.

And as if we don't already know who really runs the country, the five justices in a majority today -- Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas were the same five who elected George W. Bush president of the United States. We'll put vouchers in the "Crossfire" in a little bit.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: As it turns out the Pledge of Allegiance may get another chance. This afternoon one of the appeals court judges who infuriated the country by declaring the Pledge of Allegiance to be unconstitutional put the ruling on hold.

That would be a clear way for the full nine-member appeals court to reconsider and reverse yesterday's two to one ruling of the phrase "under God" as in "one nation under God" constitutes an attempt to establish a state religion. This afternoon the Justice Department announced it will ask the full court to reconsider this miscarriage of political correctness.

All across the country today, from humble classrooms to Capitol Hill, Americans continued defying the 9th Circuit Court's ruling by proudly reciting the full, unabridged pledge. They're not in danger of arrest as the ruling doesn't take affect for another six weeks, and now it may go away entirely, which is proof that common sense can prevail, even among judges, especially when everyone in the nation is barking at them.

CARVILLE: While everyone is going crazy about the Pledge of Allegiance, there's real news going on, like the WorldCom financial scandal. Pentagon officials are worrying because WorldCom handles one third of its unclassified military communications. A House Committee subpoenaed current and former WorldCom officials to explain nearly $4 billion accounting mess that pushed the company into bankruptcy.

And the scandal hit President Bush at a most awkward moment, while he was explaining the joys of capitalism at the G8 summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that during the summit's private mettings, Bush paid a lot of attention to US corporate accounting scandals, because they're affecting markets all around the world. Quoting Putin - quote - "a lot depends on the state of the US economy these days." Who'd have ever thought a Russian leader would say that? Were you listening, Mr. President?

CARLSON: What's wrong with touting the joys of capitalism? I can't imagine ...

CARVILLE: Nothing.

CARLSON: ... anything.

CARVILLE: ... but as long as they're not faking the numbers ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Well that's exactly right. But everyone agrees on that point. And in sports news tonight, washed up tennis player Martina Navratilova explained to a German newspaper this week why she hates the United States. Decisions in America are based solely on the question of how much money will come out of it, Navratilova said, before jetting off to her job as a Wimbledon sports commentator, a service she presumably provides for free.

(AUDIO GAP)

US is every bit as oppressive as her native Czechoslovakia was under Communist rule. "I've exchanged one system that oppresses free opinion for another," she said.

Unfortunately there is no constitutional provision for revoking the citizenship of annoying, ungrateful foreigners who have become rich from the generosity and freedom of the United States. But of course there ought to be. Write your members of Congress.

CARVILLE: Well, her backhand is gone. Why don't she go away with it?

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Why don't she go away? Amen, James!

CARVILLE: Get out of here. You don't like it, carry it. Man, you got a passport, take you anywhere in the world.

CARLSON: Amen.

CARVILLE: Carry it away, huh? Republican fundraisers don't have any accomplishments they can point to -- actually they do, they got the huge deficit. So they've resorted to more cheap shots at Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The National Conservative Campaign Fund is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Taliban American John Walker Lindh ...

(AUDIO GAP) CARVILLE: Democratic Majority ...

(AUDIO GAP)

CARVILLE: ... put America in far greater danger ...

(AUDIO/VIDEO GAP)

CARLSON: She's never been the shy type, but columnist Ann Coulter has reached new levels of ferocity in her latest book, "Slander", the liberal lies about the American right. In it Coulter slashes a number of media figures -- Katie Couric, Peter Jennings, and a certain bald man on this very set. She joins us tonight from our Los Angeles bureau. Welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "SLANDER": Hi, there.

CARVILLE: Ms. Coulter, you got a lot of things to say about a lot of people in the media and liberal media and even some things to say about the conservative media, but you (UNITELLIGIBLE) some of my favorite topics, gossip and sex. Let me put up a quote from you from the "Washington Post".

She, meaning you, Ann Coulter, said yesterday that "National Review" editor - the "National Review" by the way is one of the most prestigious conservative publications in the country. "National Review" editor Rich Lowry and his deputies are just girly-boys.

So I'd like to ask you about a couple of his deputies and see - get your opinion if he's a girly-boy or not. Is Ramish Purnaru (ph) - is he a girly-boy or not?

COULTER: No, he's a friend of mine ...

CARVILLE: No, girly-boy or not a girly-boy ...

COULTER: ... and an excellent writer.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: Wait.

CARVILLE: Go ahead.

COULTER: Was that the end of the question or ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: No I was asking you, Rich Lowry is a girly-boy? Is ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: I was responding to a question about why they had dropped my column, recommending that we take an extra little gander at swarthy men going - flying commercial aircraft in America after ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

COULTER: ... September 11th and remarking that perhaps they were a bit hysterical in light of the fact that six months later "National Review" came out for racial profiling at airports. I think that is -- and I did accurately describe what was going on, though I have to say a lot of people were hysterical after the war. We - the nation was under attack, so I don't really blame them.

CARVILLE: That's interesting. But I just-we have established that Lowry, in your opinion, is a girly-boy. Is Mr. Purnaru (ph) a girly-boy?

COULTER: No, but I am pleased that you are illustrating an aspect ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... put together an MTV video, I can put this in it. I wrote a book that has ...

CARVILLE: Right.

COULTER: ... you know, thousands of facts, studies, quotes - 35 pages of footnotes ...

CARVILLE: Right.

COULTER: ... and what you're trying to do is go through and find some quote that will - that will expose me as a wild bigot so that people can just dismiss the idea of the book ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: No ma'am, I'm not accusing ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... I'm not accusing you of being a bigot ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... I'm accusing you of being a fool. There's a difference.

COULTER: I don't - I have ...

CARVILLE: I don't know if you're a bigot. I do know you're a fool.

COULTER: Oh, I'm a fool. Well let me ...

CARVILLE: Of course you are.

COULTER: ... retract my book then. This is precisely ... (CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... the problem ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Well I don't care about your book.

COULTER: ... in America.

CARVILLE: Right.

COULTER: And I must say I barely mention you - is the question going on?

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: Sorry, I didn't hear ...

CARVILLE: Go ahead.

CARLSON: Let me address - hello, let me address one of the ideas in your book. I want to read you a quote you wrote - a pretty amusing quote. We'll put it up on the screen.

COULTER: Thank you.

CARLSON: Here it is. "George Bush doesn't actually have to be a penis head for some portion of voters to believe absolutely without hesitation that he is a penis head. That's the beauty of controlling all major sources of news dissemination in America. It ensures that liberals will never have to learn how to argue beyond the level of a six-year old".

Now obviously I agree with the last point. I work on CROSSFIRE. I know. But the first point, that there's this conspiracy, this liberal conspiracy ...

COULTER: Conspiracy is your word, I believe, Tucker.

CARLSON: Well no, but I'm just - that's what - that's the implication, that the press is really sort of in a league with its various parts and that they're aligned against the right. That's a conspiracy. Is that what ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: This is why conservatives have to write books. I put things in my own words, which interestingly enough, I find the better words ...

CARLSON: Yes.

COULTER: ... and the point of that is that, as James just demonstrated, we'll be able to use it as a clip for the MTV version of my book. This is how Democrats argue. Instead of engaging ideas, generally you're either an idiot or a fool, as he just called me, or you're crazy ...

CARLSON: Well, wait a second ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... it's either scarily weird or dumb, and so you can never engage in ideas. That is ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Hold on. Slow down ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... beginning of the chapter.

CARLSON: No, Ann, I'm not accusing you of any of those things - being dumb or ...

COULTER: No, I'm explaining the quote you just ran.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: You asked ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: That is ...

CARLSON: But ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... the chapter.

CARLSON: OK, the bottom line question I have is you're obviously on the right - so am I, good for you. But, you've done well in spite of that. Doesn't that say something, that if they're - you know, if the liberals do control the media and I think generally they do. They're - conservatives can still vanquish them or rise above or whatever. Isn't that - aren't you a demonstration that that's true?

COULTER: It does say something. What it - what it says something about, and this is an important point, is the great common sense of the American people, despite the constant browbeating, 24 hours a day, on the major networks on all major newspapers and magazines. The American people really have shown an enormous capacity to withstand the propaganda, especially in those media, which I describe as the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) media where they are allowed to choose.

That is the Internet, radio, and books, where conservatives absolutely dominate the list, dominate the top Internet sites, dominate talk radio. When Americans are given a choice, they choose conservatives. They're not given a choice on ABC, NBC and CBS. CARVILLE: Well let's - first of all, I want to - no liberal thinks that President Bush is a penis head. We think he's actually an airhead, but there's a difference between the two. Let's go to your book and let's take a quote out of the book here. Like Catholic schoolgirls engaging in wild promiscuity to prove they aren't fanatics, and we're going to talk about a real liberal here as opposed to some of these pseudo liberals.

Robertson (ph), that is Pat Robertson (ph), consistently takes to most pathetically moderate, establishment positions within the Republican Party. Do you think Robertson is a real liberal?

COULTER: That is so preposterous to take that quote and suggest ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... where I wrote it that I was suggesting that he was a liberal. I was saying nothing of the sort. That is not the point ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... is he a pathetic moderate?

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: I'm sorry, I thought you were done with your question.

CARVILLE: No.

COULTER: What's your question?

CARVILLE: I've rephrased my question. You're right, you didn't say I want to be accurate, that Pat Robertson is a pathetic moderate.

COULTER: Are you done with your question now?

CARVILLE: Yes, I'm done.

COULTER: Because you know what? Another way liberals avoid engaging in ideas to constantly, constantly interrupt conservatives on air, to talk over them, to filibuster them. It's as if liberals are afraid if - an articulate conservative position ever escapes into the world it will put a religious hex on them. What are you so afraid of? Let me talk. Let me answer your question. Both of the quotes that you have both just put up really are sort of odd quotes to be using to take them completely out of context ...

CARLSON: Ann ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... hold on. Stop for a sec.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I'm not a liberal. I'm as right wing as you are. Answer the question.

COULTER: I'm not accusing you ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... of being a liberal, but first I will describe the penis head quote. That was in the chapter in which I point out that liberals can be deprived of half their arguments if they could never call another Republican dumb. That is the chapter that is detailed in the number of times Republicans, especially presidential candidates, are called dumb. The point I was making in the middle of that paragraph, that sentence there, was that it's on the order of, you know, a six-year old who has been deprived of all capacity to melt logical counter arguments calling ...

CARVILLE: Well you're right ...

COULTER: ... everything a penis head, calling everything stupid.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... but conservatives ramble and you're rambling right now.

COULTER: And on the ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: ... ask you the question - I want to ask you the question - Robertson, is he a pathetic moderate? Is that your opinion of Pat? Is he defined pathetic moderate ...

COULTER: That is in a chapter on the religious right in which I've tried to figure out what the religious right was, and from reading through, you know, endlessly, it ultimately comes down to either one man, Pat Robertson, or a majority of Americans, as the "New York Times" seems to define the religious right, anyone who wants his taxes cut and believes in it being even higher than the "New York Times."

My point in going through Robertson's position right there, which I follow up with, is to say that if he didn't go on TV and yap about God all the time, yes he would be Jim Jeffords of Vermont, even be ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... concerned moderate Republican. If that's what liberals are frightened of, they scare easily.

CARLSON: OK, then speaking of moderates, I mean I think - I think it's actually fair to call the current president, President Bush, a moderate. I mean it's an insult, but I think it's true. Are you disappointed in him, in his endorsement in signing the campaign finance bill, the steel tariffs coming out yesterday in favor of settlements for the partners, the gay partners of firemen and cops in New York, et cetera, et cetera. I mean I could go on. He's obviously not as conservative as you are. Do you feel like he's betrayed conservatism?

COULTER: Oh, absolutely not. I think he's been a great president. I think he's been a fabulous wartime president, as I describe in the book. OK, he sells out on a few namby-pamby issues, but he has been a magnificent leader and most of all, I would say consider the alternative.

CARLSON: Well, that's an excellent point. Ann Coulter, we'll be back in just a minute. Her book is the hottest seller at Amazon.com. Ann Coulter will be right back. We'll ask her how on earth she could compare Katie Couric to Hitler's wife and later pledging defiance to a court order on the Pledge of Allegiance. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Our guest is self- appointed lie detector Ann Coulter, the author of "Slander", liberal lies about the American right.

Well, Ann, let's go to the - to the screen here and put something up or picture or two people here that you talk about in your book. All right, now you recognize one of the people as Katie Couric. You may not recognize - oh, there's a woman named Eva Braun who was Adolph Hitler's mistress and then on the last day of their lives got married and then committed suicide together. You might call that the ultimate shotgun wedding.

Ms. Coulter, in your book you say the affable Eva Braun of morning TV authoritatively informed President George Bush, 41, that the Republican Convention had relinquished too much time to what some term the radical religious right. What is it that Katie Couric and Eva Braun have in common?

COULTER: Well, again, I have to recommend the entire book or at least these entire paragraphs to the viewers. I had just quoted Katie Couric blaming the dragging death of James Byrd on Christian conservatives, a quote which is in full in footnotes only partially in the text. You can look at it on page 238, which I think is an astonishing, an absolutely astonishing statement. So yes, the point I'm making by referring to her as the affable Eva Braun of morning TV right after that, really, I think, rather ugly quote about Christians ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... is to say that she hides behind her girl scout persona in order to systematically promote a left-wing agenda.

CARLSON: But one of the points you make in the book and I agree with it wholeheartedly is that liberals are embarrassingly quick to compare the right to the Nazis. It's appalling and you hear it all the time and here you are doing it. Now Katie Couric, you know may be annoying. Sure, she's a liberal, but Eva Braun, I mean that's over the top and it's self-discrediting, isn't it? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I mean that's not fair to compare to Hitler's wife. I mean if she's, again, if she's annoying or too liberal or whatever, but isn't that a liberal tactic to compare her to Hitler's wife? I mean please.

COULTER: No, I think it is not a liberal tactic at all, though it is a liberal tactic to be - pretend to be absolutely humorless, Tucker. The quotes I used for liberals comparing conservatives ...

CARLSON: ... you are calling me humorless Ann? Come on.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: No, I'm saying - I'm merely - I'm saying what I'm saying. I don't know why I'm always having people say, are you trying to say - you know what you can do if you want to know what I'm saying is listen to what I'm saying. What I'm saying is what I said ...

CARLSON: I tried that ...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... I couldn't understand. Come on Ann.

COULTER: That is a liberal tactic to pretend not to understand irony, hyperbolize, sarcasm. The quotes I have of liberals calling Republicans Nazis or comparing Republican policies to the Holocaust of bringing back slavery to throwing women and children off the - off the - whatever it is - they're always being thrown off something - the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a truck. Those are not said in humor. They are not meant to be funny. They are meant to frighten people.

CARVILLE: So anyway, but if Pat Robertson is a pathetic ...

COULTER: Why do you keep calling the wrong name?

CARVILLE: ... us your idea of who is a good conservative. Who's a good ...

COULTER: Why do you keep calling ...

CARVILLE: ... give us a ...

COULTER: ... him the wrong name? His name is ...

CARVILLE: Pat - I'm dyslexic. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tell me who a good solid conservative is.

COULTER: Well my book is about liberals. Very few conservatives are mentioned. There are plenty of great conservatives out there and perhaps ...

CARVILLE: Not a girly-boy ...

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: What was the question? I'm sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: ... done with your question.

CARVILLE: Pat Robertson is a pathetic moderate. Rich Lowry is a girly-boy. Who is a real he-man liberal? I mean conservative - who do you look up to?

COULTER: Is that the question so I can answer now.

CARVILLE: That's the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) man. That's all she is.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: Because I'm going to answer, so you don't talk over me now, OK? The answer is there are a lot of terrific conservatives out there and I think the "Today Show" might want to look into having more of them on. I could fax lists to you, to all the network TV for lots and lots of terrific, intelligent, articulate conservatives who might - they might want to consider to replace people like George Stephanopoulos and Dan Rather delivering objective news.

CARVILLE: Let the record show she didn't produce one name. Go ahead, Tucker.

CARLSON: Ann Coulter, thanks so much ...

COULTER: Well there are thousands ...

CARLSON: ... we appreciate it.

COULTER: ... how much time do we have?

CARLSON: Unfortunately, we don't have any. I'd like to hear the list too. Thanks for joining us.

COULTER: Thank you.

CARLSON: A mainstay of one of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) most popular rock groups has died tonight. CNN's Connie Chung will have the details in a minute and later we'll talk to two Democrats who voted against a resolution supporting the Pledge of Allegiance, if you can believe it.

Also the Supreme Court ends a semester with a bang. Will schools ever be the same? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Connie, I'm interested to know, this young girl, is there any reason to believe she was engaged in drugs? Or they just test anybody who wants to be in the choir or this quiz team?

CONNIE CHUNG, CNN ANCHOR: No, there absolutely no reason to believe that she was on drugs. In fact, she called herself a goodie two shoes, and she was completely clean any time she was tested.

She doesn't drink. She doesn't smoke. She's an honor student.

CARLSON: Sounds like a great interview. Thanks, Connie. We'll see you at the top of the hour.

CHUNG: OK.

CARLSON: Connie Chung.

CARVILLE: Thank you. Thank you.

CARLSON: Beware the pot smoking altos!

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: They ought to interview these justices. These people are nuts, going around drug testing everybody who wants to be in a choir.

CARLSON: Coming up in "Fireback," an e-mail from a viewer who says she wants to scalp me over the Pledge of Allegiance. But next, two lawmakers who seem to have come out fore-square against the pledge. What were they thinking? We'll find out when CROSSFIRE returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the beautiful George Washington University in Foggy Bottom, even though the Pledge Of Allegiance has gotten a reprieve, much of the country is still breathing fire.

This afternoon the House representatives voted 148 to 3 for a resolution expressing its opinion that the appeals court was wrong in declaring the pledge unconstitutional.

Joining us from Capitol Hill are two of the three voters against the resolution, California Democrat Michael Honda and Virginia Democrat Bobby Scott.

CARLSON: Congressman Honda, even the judge who wrote this decision now appears to be embarrassed of it. What were you thinking when you voted, essentially, to endorse the decision?

REP. MICHAEL HONDA (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, you know, the Congress was -- had a resolution before us that said the sense of Congress about the decision, and the decision was not about -- against the pledge. The decision was against the term "under God."

I'm a Christian and I believe in the Pledge of Allegiance. It's an allegiance to our flag and to our country. But there's a firewall, and that firewall is a principle of separation of church and state.

Last night I was visiting the Jefferson Memorial and there is a quote there that brings it home for -- at least for me. And it said that I am for freedom of religion but I'm against all maneuvers for any movement -- legal movement -- to have one sect stand over another, and I think that that says it quite concisely.

CARLSON: So Mr. Honda, you're saying that the term "under God" is an attempt by the federal government to create and establish, in the words of the Constitution, a state religion?

HONDA: No. If you study the history, in 1954, I believe it was, when we had a great battle against Communism that was supposed to be an atheistic country, our country felt that we should insert "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, so that youngsters will know that this is a nation of religion and of one God.

That is, I think, a -- breaching the firewall in including religion into the state system. Children are taught the Pledge of Allegiance at a very young age, and they're taught by rote, and they're not taught that they have choices.

CARVILLE: Thank you. Bobby -- I say Bobby because I have been knowing you for 20 years, since 1982, so no sense in pretending like we don't know each other here -- I think every Democratic consultant in America is saying what in the hell were you thinking? So tell them what you were thinking when you voted against this thing.

REP. BOBBY SCOTT (D), VIRGINIA: Well, what I was thinking was that it was ridiculous to delay consideration of the military construction budget, Medicare, prescription drugs under Medicare, trying to fix the budget mess and crisis that we're in right now, to deal with something that we couldn't do anything about.

Now, I tend to agree with the minority decision in that case, but the idea that we're going to take time, every time we disagree with a Constitutional question ruled by the court, it would be absolutely ridiculous. It's not the first time. We do it all the time up here.

But the fact is any time somebody has their rights vindicated by the Supreme Court or any court on a Constitutional basis, it's going to be unpopular. And so having a stream of members make a spectacle out of themselves, saying how much they disagree with the decision -- of course they disagree with the decision.

If it was a popular decision, the person wouldn't have been in court to begin with. They would have been in the legislative body vindicating their rights. Obviously it's unpopular. We're taking the time -- if we're going to do something about religion, we ought to do something about religion we can do something about. For example, the idea that's floating around in Congress that the sponsor of a federally funded program can discriminate against people based on religion.

That's something we can do something about. But taking time like we're taking is ridiculous.

CARVILLE: That's right. In your district nothing should get in the way of military construction.

SCOTT: You know my district well.

CARVILLE: I know your district well. I just -- couldn't you have just kind of thrown one away and let it go over?

SCOTT: That's the point. You just throw away the Constitution. And which one of your Constitutional rights are you not going to throw away for personal political ambition? I think somebody needed to stand up and say this is not a good idea.

CARLSON: Wait, Mr. Scott. I understand Mr. Honda's rationale, but you appear to make three points. One, this vote was frivolous, so you're opposed to it. B, it was time consuming. And C, that members were making spectacles of themselves.

Well, I would say, first of all, Congress does frivolous things all the time -- National Pistachio Month. B, members make spectacles of themselves all the time, and C, your voting this way didn't make the process any faster. So I don't really understand your rationale at all.

SCOTT: No, it didn't make the process any faster, but it suggested that the process shouldn't have taken place to begin with.

The idea is that anytime you have Constitutional rights -- so the question came up, well, maybe they should have expressed themselves on Plessy v. Ferguson. The fact is that Plessy lost his case. Had he won, he would have been unpopular and they would have had a parade of people coming up to the House saying what a horrible decision it was and why is that...

CARLSON: Mr. Scott?

SCOTT: Yes.

CARLSON: Well, I was just saying, today there was a vote on the Frank Sinatra post office. Now tell me -- in the House of Representatives. Tell me that was not more important than this vote you found so frivolous you protested.

SCOTT: Well, part of it is frivolous, but I think inappropriate to grandstand over the vindication of someone's Constitutional rights in the courts.

Anytime someone's rights are vindicated, that will be an opportunity for an unpopular decision, because if the cause were popular, they would be in the legislature, not in the courts. And every time a controversial case comes up, we want to parade and say how unpopular it is.

Now, we were sworn in to uphold the Constitution, which means that we ought to be standing up for unpopular decisions. That's why we have lifetime judges.

CARVILLE: Stop, man! We don't have any more time. I'm sorry, because I really wanted, I really had a couple more questions. I particularly wanted to ask Congressman Honda one. I'm sorry I didn't get to it, but the clock has run out of time. I've been notified by the people in Atlanta we've got to go, so...

CARLSON: But we have enough time left to wish Congressman Honda a happy birthday.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: You're both -- good luck to you, fellows.

CARLSON: Next the Supreme Court goes to school, put vouchers and drug testing in the "CROSSFIRE."

And then, as every night, it's your turn, as you get to "Fire Back."

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARVILLE: Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, you'll be able to use public money to send yours kids to General Beauregard Bigot Private Academy, Fundamentalist Football, and Frequent Drug Tests. President Bush calls today's Court decision approving school vouchers a landmark ruling, a victory for the American family.

Opponents said it will destroy public education as we know it. To help us grade the Supreme Court's end-of-the-term decisions, welcome to the CROSSFIRE Ralph Neas, of People for the American Way, and Jay Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

CARLSON: Now, Ralph Neas, there was a -- and doubtless you read it -- an editorial in the "Wall Street Journal," about you and People for the American Way, and your undying efforts to crush this little ray of hope that inner-city children have called school vouchers. I want to read you a line -- it's right on the screen here -- from the "Wall Street Journal" editorial yesterday.

Quote -- "You have to wonder about a man" -- that would be you -- "and organization that have as their main goal in life barring poor minority kids from the same educational opportunity that rich kids have."

That kind of gets to the heart of it, doesn't it? This is the one hope that poor children in inner cities have, and you're taking it away.

RALPH NEAS, PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY: As usual, the "Wall Street Journal" editorial page is wrong. They are a tad bit obsessive about me and People for the American Way.

CARVILLE: They love you. NEAS: They realize we're effective and we stand up to them. And of course, we are for public schoolchildren.

And the reason we're so upset about today's decision, is this is wrong on two counts. Number one, it really takes a sledgehammer to the First Amendment establishment clause and allows government funding to go to sectarian schools.

Ninety-six percent of the students involved in these programs go to parochial and sectarian schools. The other thing that's so bad is that it diverts $43 million a year from the public schoolchildren in Cleveland.

This money should be going to proven reforms like reduced class size. We know that works. The GAO said that vouchers don't work. There is no academic improvement, no academic achievement improvement, between voucher students and public school students.

CARLSON: You sound like a member of the teachers' union.

(CROSSTALK)

JAY SEKULOW, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE: You know what the fallacy of that is, is number one, the voucher system was put in place in Cleveland because the schools were a disaster, and they had poured all kinds of money into it, Ralph.

This was not the first attempt to correct the school system. This was a last attempt. And other cities -- inner-city schools, are having the same problems.

I think what this is, it broke up -- what you saw today in the Supreme Court, it was the break up the monopoly of the public school system. And what you're going to see now is either the public schools are going to get a lot better, or they're going to have to compete with the private schools, and now that includes private sectarian schools.

NEAS: But Jay, the students in Cleveland don't come from the public schools. Eighty percent of the students in the voucher schools don't come from the public schools. They're already in them.

CARVILLE: This Islamic school that will be able to get my money in Northern Virginia is reporting -- that the "Washington Post" -- that says that they have to break the Cross, convert everybody to Islam, and Muslims need to start attacking Jews.

They have a map of the Middle East that doesn't have Israel on there. You know, they have these religious schools that teach these kids insanity like the earth is 5,000 years old, where the pope is a demon. I don't want my tax money going to that kind of crap.

SEKULOW: And you're not going to send your kids to that school.

CARVILLE: I don't want to pay for somebody else's kid to go to that school. You don't understand -- not that. I don't want my money going to tell people they ought to kill Jews.

SEKULOW: I don't either. But let me tell you this...

CARVILLE: But it's going to happen.

SEKULOW: You can't stop that in the United States of America. You could stop an act of -- listen, anybody that's about to advocate committing an illegal act doesn't have to get money, first of all. That the way the Constitution works. You don't have to give money to someone advocating illegal conduct. In other words, a statement that says I am submitting in my school that we are going to kill Jews obviously...

CARVILLE: No, I -- let me tell you. I don't want -- they have a map that doesn't have Israel on it. They tell people earth is 5,000 years old. They have every right to teach that. I don't want my money to pay for that kind of crap, that white people are ice people and black people are sun people.

SEKULOW: What do you want to do about -- what are you going to do with the Catholic schools in the inner city that have really done a great job? Right here in Washington, DC.

CARVILLE: I want to keep them! I want the Catholic schools. They taught us that birth control was wrong. I mean, that don't mean -- just because I went to a Catholic school, I don't want to pay my money -- this is what the Supreme Court -- we've got to pay our money...

SEKULOW: You know what the Supreme Court said today, though?

CARVILLE: What?

SEKULOW: What they really said today was we are no longer going to have a religious exclusion in the First Amendment.

CARVILLE: You can practice religion until you fall out. I don't want to pay for somebody else's bigotry.

SEKULOW: As long as that's not the Pledge of Allegiance.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Ralph Neas, all this talk about the First Amendment, and it's breaking down the firewall, and this completely overheated ludicrous talk about how this is going to make it a government established religion. That's not the point. It's the teachers' unions...

SEKULOW: Exactly.

CARLSON: ...which obviously are the main support of the Democratic party. I want to show you the results of a Hart & Teeter poll taken last month that really get to this. The question is, "How do you feel about school vouchers?" Forty-nine percent of American adults report (ph), the plurality of adults -- let's take a look at educators. Seventy-two percent oppose. It's the teachers' unions, the educrats, who are against it, because it challenges their monopoly. No? Yes!

SEKULOW: Yes.

NEAS: CNN just did a poll. Sixty percent of the American people opposed today's decision. Very importantly, every time vouchers have come for a vote...

(CROSSTALK)

SEKULOW: ...haven't read today's opinion. That's ridiculous.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: It's election results.

NEAS: More importantly than giving CNN any promotion, every time this has been up for a vote, in seven states in the last 10 years, every time a strong bipartisan majority has defeated vouchers, including African Americans and Latinos, by a two to one margin. Seven times in 10 years.

CARLSON: Is that right? Because you know as well as I do -- actually, Ralph, you know as well as I do that every poll taken in cities in which vouchers are discussed as an option show an overwhelming -- and I mean in the 60 to 70 percent range -- support among black families, poor black families.

NEAS: Once they find out the facts -- once they find out the facts, more than 70 percent oppose vouchers.

CARVILLE: Can I ask you something, Ralph? Every time this has gone to post, they have lost, right?

NEAS: Every single time.

CARVILLE: Name the five judges that voted to overturn all of these elections?

CARLSON: The conspiracy.

SEKULOW: We can get Ann Coulter back.

You know, if the same five justices -- what you've got to understand here, James -- this case is going to go way beyond vouchers, because what you're going to see is the entire -- in my view -- the entire president's program, the president's program on faith based initiative just got an affirmation from the Supreme Court today.

CARVILLE: I think -- I actually think the school vouchers...

This drug thing, as I understand it, they -- a child can be perfectly good child, straight A student, wants to sing in a choir, and the Supreme Court today said it's OK to test them for drugs.

NEAS: Without any probable cause, either.

SEKULOW: Tough decision, close case. This court was very closely divided on it. It's a tough issue. The original...

(CROSSTALK)

I'm not a big advocate of going random testing. I'm not a big -- I'm not going to advocate that position.

CARVILLE: I'm for random testing airline pilots.

SEKULOW: Yes, absolutely. But they also did it -- originally the case started, back in the 1990s it was with athletes. And they were concerned that there was problem with steroids, and that these kids were really getting damaged, legitimate -- I think that was a legitimate decision.

Today the Court took it further. A lot of controversy about it. But on the other hand, big problem with drugs on campus, but it's tough.

CARLSON: I'm not a huge advocate for drug testing either, but the idea that this is somehow, you know, eroding the Bill of Rights -- I -- doubtless you're going to say out direct mail pieces saying this is the beginning of Armageddon. It's not that big a deal.

CARVILLE: It is a big deal.

CARLSON: I mean, who cares if a high school student gets a drug test? I mean, why is this...

CARVILLE: Because who cares if they knock your door down?

CARLSON: May I ask Ralph Neas the question here?

NEAS: Tucker, I have not had a chance to read the decision today, but it's certainly, on the basis of what I heard all day, it seems very problematic and seems like...

SEKULOW: You know what the concern I have -- I was actually in court when they issued the opinion today, and the concern that people have, and this is across both conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrats, is it appeared, when you just read the opinion, that there has to be no probable cause. It could just be for any reason at all.

The justification -- I'm not saying it's right it's the right justification -- but the justification the Court gave was there's a serious problem with drugs on the campus.

Now, does that mean you do random drug testing of kids that are sitting in the choir, and are we going to start random drug testing the Bible club members? These are things you have got to be concerned about. What's really troubling with the whole issue, and it goes back to -- not just the drug random testing here -- it's look at what the 9th Circuit did yesterday with the Pledge of Allegiance, and today vouchers.

CARVILLE: I just -- I tell you what. I've got to tell you this. I admire you because -- I disagree with you on the school voucher thing -- but I think deep down inside you know that just random testing the kids that ain't done nothing is nuts.

CARLSON: Unfortunately we're out of time. I'd like to get to the hugs and kisses stage, but we can't.

(LAUGHTER)

Thank you both very much. Next, some of the good students who do their homework and "Fire Back" at us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back. It's time for "Fireback," where we ask you to, and you do. Here are some of your e-mails.

First up, Evelyn Brewster, from Hudson, Mass writes, "Now I know why Tucker has that mop of hair" -- to which I say, what mop? "It is used to cover the empty space beneath it. To equate the words 'one nation under God' with patriotism is absurd."

Yes, Evelyn, it is in fact absurd, which is why I didn't -- I just said of course it's not unconstitutional. That is absurd.

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: All right. Here we go. Rob, from Hemet, California writes, "I think we should put 18-foot fences around churches, because I can see them from the public street, and we should also ban bell towers of churches, because it reminds me of God. I think we have hit an all time low for our country."

Actually, I think the Civil War was a little bit lower than this, Rob, but you've got a point. A lot of our churches are ugly. I just got back from Italy, where they have really beautiful churches, and you would not want to hide those churches under any conditions!

CARLSON: James, I'm not sure he's making an aesthetic point here. I think it's more about religious freedom...

CARVILLE: I understand. And he can look at all of it...

CARLSON: Will it be legal for federal employees to say, "God bless you?" That's my question.

CARVILLE: You've got it.

CARLSON: A question from the audience. Yes! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you folks today? This is for both panel members. If the school voucher system is implemented, how is the government, which is set to run out of money by Friday, pay for the program?

CARVILLE: They print it -- more. How do you think? You're in Washington.

CARLSON: Most schools, as you know, are not funded by the federal government. They're funded by local property taxes, so...

CARVILLE: And what will happen is they'll just take the money from the public schools and then give it to the private schools.

CARLSON: The fact is a lot of inner-city public schools are terrible. They do no service to the people who attend them, and giving them an option of another school is a good thing.

CARVILLE: What you got there, young man? You're dressed very comfortably.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Rohay Doogle (ph). I'm from Seattle, Washington. And I just say -- I just wanted to say that it's freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. It would be a pointless waste of time to go through the entire Constitution and remove any reference from God.

CARLSON: Well, that's an excellent point, and I think there is only one actual reference to God in the Constitution. But the Declaration of Independence has a number of them, first and second paragraphs, and that's absolutely right.

The question (UNINTELLIGIBLE) establishing a state religion...

CARVILLE: Where is God other than -- is God mentioned in the Constitution?

CARLSON: I don't believe so, except in the First Amendment.

CARVILLE: Where they just said establishing religion. Our Constitution does not mention the letters g-o-d. We need a new one. We need a new one.

CARLSON: That's not the point.

Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. This question is for Mr. Carlson. Do you think it hurts conservatives to associate themselves with women or people actually -- like people like Ann Coulter who routinely make bigoted and racist comments in her column? And my name is Eric Anokee (ph). I'm from Honolulu, Hawaii.

CARLSON: That's great, Eric. I'm not a -- I'm not familiar with the bigoted and racist comments. I do -- that you refer to -- I doubt they exist. But I would say Ann Coulter has one good point. I think she's a little over the top sometimes -- but that dismissing your opponents by calling them racists and bigots, which is what many Democrats do reflexively, that is not argument, that is name calling. I think it's beneath contempt.

CARVILLE: We like name calling on CROSSFIRE.

(CROSSTALK)

From the left, I'm James Carville. Good-night for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: From the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night for another yet another edition of CROSSFIRE.

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