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CNN CROSSFIRE

Will Hussein Destroy Al Samoud Missiles?; What Is Karl Rove's Role in Bush Administration?; Interview With Jesse Jackson

Aired February 28, 2003 - 19:00   ET

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

ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE.
On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala. On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE tonight: will Saddam Hussein actually destroy his missiles or is he just playing for time?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Iraqi actions are propaganda wrapped in a lie, inside a falsehood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Tonight the diplomatic, political and PR battles over Iraq.

You always see him in the background, but a new book says he is Bush's brain. We'll ask the authors about Karl Rove's influence.

And look who's going to the masters and it isn't to play golf.

Tonight on CROSSFIRE.

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

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST: Hello, everybody and welcome to CROSSFIRE. As the horse trading for votes at the U.N. reaches a fever pitch, we will debate whether the Bush administration sees any reason at all to delay their war in Iraq.

If you're looking for a little weekend reading, we'll hear from the authors of a new book about who's really in charge over at the Bush White House.

And we'll ask the Reverend Jesse Jackson about his plans for the Masters Golf tournament.

But ,first let's tee up the best little political briefing in television. The "CROSSFIRE Political Alert."

General Eric Shinseki knows something about war. He's the Army Chief of Staff, he fought with such valor in Vietnam that he earned four Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. General Shinseki also knows something about peacekeeping. He was the commander of the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia that helped end ethnic cleansing.

Why then was Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz attacking General Shinseki on Capitol Hill the other day? Well, because Mr. Wolfowitz did not like General Shinseki's honest estimate that peace keeping in Iraq after the war would require hundred of thousands of troops.

Wolfowitz bitterly called the war hero "wildly off the mark," unquote. Is it a question of credibility. Who would you trust to tell us how many of our sons and daughters will have to be in Iraq for years to come? A career officer who risked his life for our country, or a career bureaucrat who is so hell-bent on getting us into war he won't tell us how we're going to get out of it?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: This seems to be really an argument about resumes. The general's resume is, I would grant you more impressive than Mr. Wolfowitz's resume. He won the Bronze Star, good for him. That doesn't mean he's right though because this is really an argument about numbers. And Wolfowitz may have better numbers than the general has.

BEGALA: He won't give us numbers. Shinseki has an obligation and he fulfilled to tell the truth to the Congress when they ask him. And Wolfowitz just says well, he's wildly off the mark. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) say how much will it cost and how many men and he won't say.

CARLSON: But the point is he may be wildly off the mark and I don't think it has anything to do with either one of them's biography.

BEGALA: No, it's a question of credibility. I believe General Shinseki, I think he has the background to suggest he knows more about peacekeeping than Mr. Wolfowitz.

CARLSON: To the legal difficulties, Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart are no longer available as spokesmen for the Democratic Party thought their years of services are much appreciated by fund raisers.

In their place is new mouthpiece, auditioning tonight, billionaire George Soros. In a speech this week Soros, who was a naturalized American citizen, called the Bush administration's quote, "imperialist vision in which the U.S. leads and the rest of the world follows." Soros also denounced cabinet members Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft for having, quote, "an exaggerated view of their own righteousness."

And speaking of exaggerated views of one's own righteousness, it's worth remembering that Soros made his billions by betting on currency swings which destabilized the economies of other countries in Europe. He is also, and this may be his real qualification as a Democratic mouthpiece, a convicted insider trader.

As we said, Martha Stewart was not available.

BEGALA: This is the classic example of patriotic correctness. All right? An American citizen...

CARLSON: No it's not.

BEGALA: Oh, he's naturalized. We don't know what that implication is. Speaks out -- excuse me for talking while you're interrupting -- speaks out against his country's policies in, I think, a very sensible way. He has a disagreement, he doesn't like where Ashcroft is taking us on civil rights. Instead of dealing with the substance of his claims, you attack him.

CARLSON: His -- first of all, I have never imposed, what you call, patriotic correctness. I go out of my way not to question people's patriotism. I've never done it on the show and I never will. I didn't even do it with Gore Vidal and I probably should have. His claims were not specific. He accused the United Sates government of having a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) imperial vision. That's an outrageous, reckless thing to say and I was merely calling him on it. He needs to be called on that.

BEGALA: Just because we're initiating a war against a country on our own which we're never done in 200 years.

President Bush's economic philosophy is based on what proponents call supply side theory. Mr. Bush's father famously dismissed it as voodoo economics.

Now, as anyone who has studied economics knows, supply side tax cuts are fad economics conceived by charlatans and cranks. You'd know that, that is, if you studied economics under the new chairman of President Bush's council of economic advisers. That's right.

Mr. Bush's new top economist, Dr. Gregory Mankiw of Harvard wrote in his authoritative text book, "Principles of Economics," that Ronald Reagan's supply side tax cuts caused the massive deficits of the '80s and concluded, quote, "when politicians rely on the advice of charlatans and cranks they rarely get the desire of the results they anticipate."

Congratulation, Dr. Mankiw, good luck trying to educate the currant crop of economic charlatans and cranks over at the Bush White House.

CARLSON: Well it's nice to see you've finally found a Bush adviser you like. Congratulations.

CARLSON: What do works by Martin Luther King, Jr., John Steinbeck and Groucho Marx have in common with journalism text books and Spencer Johnson's classic "Who Moved My Cheese?" Not a lot, of course, except that Fidel Castro considers all of them subversive. The Cuban secret police recently seized 5,100 books sent to the island by the U.S. government and meant to distribution for independent libraries and ordinary citizens. The books, said Castro, might be read by, quote, "dissidents" and book-reading dissidents, of course, are not allowed in Cuba. Pause to consider the irony here. No one has defended Castro longer of more wildly than American liberals, the same group that claimed to have valued dissent, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) opposite opinions, freedom of expression, etc., etc., you know the speech.

Well, by now, where were they when Castro banned those books? Protesting outside the Cuban Embassy? No. They were across town yelling about how George W. Bush's the real threat to human rights in this world.

Our advice? Get a clue, get a job, go home to your comfy, upper- middle class homes and be quiet, come back when you learn what human rights really are.

BEGALA: Tucker, nice lecture...

CARLSON: It is a nice lecture.

BEGALA: You know what?

CARLSON: And I mean it.

BEGALA: You have it wrong. You have it completely wrong. The strongest advocates for lifting the embargo on Cuba are corporate Republicans. They were the ones -- when I worked for President Clinton who tightened the embargo and put more...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Excuse me again for talking while you're interrupting. When we tightened the embargo under President Clinton, when we...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: I'm just going to make my point whether you interrupt me or not, Tucker.

CARLSON: If corporate people are amoral when it comes to Cuba, I will never defend them.

BEGALA: Well why don't you attack them? Why do you...

CARLSON: I'm attacking them right now. My point is that liberals have defended Fidel Castro for 40 years..

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... and they have a lot to atone for, I believe.

BEGALA: Nonsense.

Each time another talented actor or artist speaks out against Mr. Bush's war in Iraq, they are met with a torrent of ridicule, vile invective, despite the fact, of course, that their views are shared by numerous, generals and other national security experts, not to mention millions of Americans. My own theory is I think the right wing is jealous. See, they've got no Martin Sheen who plays a better president than George Bush, if you ask me. They have no Barbra Streisand. Until now. Meet Kid Rock. Mr. Rock is a singer. His official biography describes him as, quote, "a bad mama jamma from Detroit City." His latest album includes the Gershwin-esque classic, "You Never Met a Mother-(bleeper) Like Me."

Mr. Rock this week enlightened all of us on his geopolitical views telling "The New York Daily News," quote, "We got to kill that mother-(bleeper) Saddam. Slit his throat." Mr. Rock is rumored to be on the short list along with Bruce Willis to replace Secretary of State Colin Powell. You've got your guy now, Kid Rock.

CARLSON: I've never heard of the guy. He does sound like a bad mama jamma, though, whatever that is.

The Utah legislature is taking steps to bring its state into the past century. This week Utah's House of Representatives passed a bill making it illegal to marry a second wife who was under the age of 18. The law provides penalties of up to 15 years in prison for those who disobey. Not that the statute is likely to be enforced. Polygamy is already supposed to be illegal in Utah, though, of course, it is practiced openly throughout the state.

But that's not the point. There's a principle at stake here. One for which the founding fathers fought and died. That principle, as many a Utah resident will tell you, is freedom. When they start taking away the freedom to add underage girls to your harem, there's no telling where they'll stop. Before long you may not even be allowed to marry your 15-year-old cousin. It is a slippery slope.

BEGALA: Well, now, forgive me if I sound like...

CARLSON: First they came for my underage harem, Paul, that's what I say.

BEGALA: I think it's sensible for states to outlaw marriage for underage people. But honestly, what business is it of the government how many wives or husbands a person has? It's not my damn business. If you want to go have four, five wives...

CARLSON: Really?

BEGALA: ... God bless you. Good luck. I can't handle one.

CARLSON: What happens if the Democratic Party is the party of women's right -- I guess Clinton cut it to...

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: If people want to freely want to enter into it. It's a libertarian argument.

CARLSON: Really? I don't know. There are a lot of studies, actually, on, say, polygamy in Saudi Arabia and they point out it's a pretty terrible...

BEGALA: Everything's terrible in Saudi Arabia.

CARLSON: Well Saddam Hussein's decision to destroy some rockets buy him some more time? We'll debate the politics of Iraq and the risks of war in just a moment.

Later, "Bush's Brain," a new book claims to unveil the Rasputin behind the president.

Finally, we'll ask Jesse Jackson why he's hanging around a country club in Georgia. You'll be shocked to find out the answer. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back. Iraq is expected to begin the process of destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles tomorrow. In certain quarters, the standing ovation is already under way. Chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix calls the move, quote, "a very significant piece of real disarmament." The Bush administration, however, is calling it something else, deception. First in the CROSSFIRE tonight, Joe Cirincione, senior associate and director of the Carnegie Endowment's Non-Proliferation Project. With him is Stephen Schwartz, senior policy analyst with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

BEGALA: Pull up a chair, Mr. Schwartz.

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: Yes, sir.

BEGALA: Tell me why the fact that Saddam Hussein is destroying missiles is proof that he's not disarming.

SCHWARTZ: Well, I'm not really interested in the question of missiles and disarming. I'm interested in the question of getting rid of a fascist dictator.

BEGALA: So you want just...

SCHWARTZ: I just want him out.

BEGALA: You're just picking on that one? How about the Saudis?

SCHWARTZ: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) toothpaste, toothbrush, you name it. I want him out.

BEGALA: What about the communist dictators in China? Can we just go all around the world and rid the world of evildoers?

SCHWARTZ: Communist dictators in China are not at the same level in terms of immediate issues having to do with bloody torment and torture of their people.

BEGALA: Did you miss CNN's coverage of Tiananmen Square?

SCHWARTZ: That was -- what was it's like now, 14 years ago.

BEGALA: It was 12 years ago that Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, sir.

SCHWARTZ: I'm in favor of the United States taking a strong position against any abuses of human rights of China. But right now I'm for getting rid of Saddam Hussein, who is the number one fascist dictator in the Arab and Islamic world.

CARLSON: Amen. Joe, I want to read you a quote that I think sums up perfectly why Saddam Hussein needs to be disarmed in a real way. Quote, "what if Saddam fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will, and someday, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal." Those words, of course, were spoken by President Bill Clinton in 1998. I submit to you that partisan Democrats, I hate to lump you among them, but maybe you are, would be supporting this effort right now if there weren't a Republican in the White House, because Bill Clinton laid the moral and theoretical framework for it during his presidency. He just didn't follow through.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: Bill Clinton was right when he said that, and he was right in December of '98 when he tried to do something about it, and the partisan Republicans pulled the rug out from under him and wouldn't even suspend for one minute the impeachment trials that were going on in the House of Representatives and accused Clinton of wagging the dog.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You agree with this, I'm sure you do, and yet you imply that the current effort is illegitimate. What is the difference?

CIRINCIONE: No. No. No. No. No. What I'm saying is that we are doing something about it. We are not letting him get away. We have a solution, great credit to President Bush. He went to the United Nations. He's led the international community. We have the most intrusive inspection regime we've ever done in the United Nations. We have thousands of armed troops around him, hundred of inspectors inside. We have him in an iron box. He's not going anywhere. Give those inspectors time to do their job.

BEGALA: Let's turn to the U.N., if we can, Mr. Schwartz. CNN is reporting today that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, may in fact exercise Russia's veto at a U.N. Security Council resolution today.

SCHWARTZ: Yes, Russia, they're a very well known defender of human rights.

BEGALA: Well, I agree. Actually, I think Putin is a thug and a KGB apparatchik, but that's not what our president thinks. Let me play you a piece of videotape of President George Bush of what he thinks about his buddy he calls Putty-Put (ph). Take a look at this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I looked the man in the eye, I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy, and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEGALA: Bush got snookered, didn't he?

SCHWARTZ: Look, look, he's the president. He has to be polite to world leaders. I'm not the president. I don't have to be polite.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHWARTZ: Putin is a man who murdered Muslims in Chechnya. Putin is a man who we don't need advice from in getting rid of fascist dictators. All he is is a man who in many respects is keeping the same totalitarian system going in Russia. I don't see why opinions of Putin on this are of any relevance at all.

CARLSON: Amen.

BEGALA: So Bush got hoodwinked. You agree.

CARLSON: Now, Joe, you often hear Democrats, in fact, you heard Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, say this just recently that this is a unilateral attack by the United States in the planning stages on Iraq. Unilateral. You often hear Democrats say that, but there are at this point 18 European nations on the side of the United States going into this. Will you pledge at this point going forward that you'll stop and encourage your fellow Democrats to stop calling this unilateral because it's not?

CIRINCIONE: Well, the president has a problem here. What he's assembled, or what he wanted to assemble was a coalition of the willing, and what he's got is a coalition of the coerced. He's been going around the country, the world, forcing people to join him, heavy pressure on countries, little tiny countries like Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico he doesn't want to go along with this, huge public opposition to this, but they're being told that this is a vote of vital national security interest to the United States.

CARLSON: So (UNINTELLIGIBLE) how do you know what Mexico wants to do? I'm just interested to know how you know what Mexico really wants.

CIRINCIONE: Well, I go by public opinion polls. For example, Latvia, who's with us, recent poll this week, 75 percent of the Latvians are against it. Here's what I'm saying -- it's not that you can't muster this kind of Potemkin coalition. It's that it should tell you something about how weak the support is and how dangerous this enterprise is if you go in there with a bunch of people who don't really want to be there with you.

CARLSON: But again, public opinion polling in Latvia. I mean, do you really think that's accurate?

BEGALA: Well, you get five million in the streets of Europe, I think it's pretty safe to guess (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

SCHWARTZ: How many people wanted to go into Germany and stop Hitler in 1939?

BEGALA: How many -- let me ask you this -- how many -- actually, we had a real worldwide coalition. Let's use that as your model. I will take your challenge. In that war, we had real allies, and they fought and they bled.

SCHWARTZ: We didn't go in until 1941.

BEGALA: Let me ask the question before you give me the answer. How many countries would give troops or treasure to this effort? Two, America and Britain.

SCHWARTZ: I think Spain will end up...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHWARTZ: Let's stop (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for small countries like Albania. We saved the Albanians in Kosovo, and they're ready to stand up with us, and they're human beings, and some of them are six feet tall and they're ready to go fight.

BEGALA: How many troops will they commit? How many troops will they commit? How many dollars will they provide?

SCHWARTZ: I know this, the day after 9/11, the day after 9/11, in Kosovo the people were lining up and asking, could we volunteer to go help the U.S. fight in Afghanistan? And we said no. We had contempt for them. It's time for us to go to people like that...

BEGALA: Well, talk to President Bush, don't talk to me.

SCHWARTZ: It's time for us to go to the Bosnians, it's time for us to go to the Albanians, it's time for us to go to Muslims that we have saved in the past, and say, OK, now you can do something for us, because I think they will.

BEGALA: I have to do something for CNN. Hang on just a second, Joe. When we come back, we'll ask our guests about our president's plan to export democracy to the Middle East at the point of a bayonet.

Later, the inside story about the real power behind the throne at the Bush White House.

Then, Reverend Jesse Jackson explains why he's teeing off on Hootie and the blowhards down in Augusta.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. The United Nations estimates that Iraq has between 100 and 120 Al Samoud 2 missiles in its arsenal. All of them must be destroyed starting tomorrow. Iraq says it will destroy them. The decision is being hailed by officials in Russia and in a number of Arab countries as proof that weapons inspections are working. In the CROSSFIRE, Stephen Schwartz from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and Joe Cirincione of Carnegie Endowment's Non-Proliferation Project.

CARLSON: Joe, at the end of World War II, as you know, American forces occupied Japan, and General MacArthur ran the country for a relatively short time. American forces left; Japan was a constitutional democracy. And yet when Paul Wolfowitz or the president of the United States suggests that a similar scenario could unfold in Iraq, we could turn it into a democracy, people scoff and say, that's outrageous, as if Arabs don't have the capacity for self- governance. Isn't that the message?

CIRINCIONE: No, that's not the message at all. We didn't bring democracy to Germany and Japan. We restored democracy. These countries had democratic systems. They were taken over by fascist thugs. We defeated those fascist thugs and then allowed the democrats to come back in. And then when we went to Japan, we had the blessing of the emperor in doing so. This is a completely different case.

CARLSON: Really, that's interesting, you point out the emperor, because, as you know the emperor was worshipped as a god. It's hard to think of a democratic society in which the emperor would be worshipped as a good. The point is, it went from a very un-democratic society to a very democratic society with the help of the U.S. military. Again, I ask you, why is this implausible in Iraq?

CIRINCIONE: I'm all for bringing democracy to the Arab world, to the Muslim world, to help them do this. But you can't bring democracy at the point of bayonets. You don't invade and kill a country to bring them democracy.

CARLSON: We dropped an atom bomb in Japan.

BEGALA: Tucker's right. The emperor was worshipped as a god. Wisely, MacArthur decided not to kill the emperor, which he could have done legally, but to use him, and the emperor came down, their deity, and said, you all obey Douglas MacArthur.

Now, Japan didn't have a billion co-religionists around the world the way Iraq does with its brother and sisters Muslims around the world, and the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon his name, is not going to come to earth and say, you all obey Tommy Franks, is he?

SCHWARTZ: First of all, Japan did have millions of Buddhists that supported Japan in its military campaign.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHWARTZ: No. No. No. No. There's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on this that shows that even the Zen Buddhist sects oppose Japanese militarism. But I am not here to discuss comparative religion. I am here to say that Prophet Mohammed was a merchant. The Quran tells people to honor their obligations. Muslims and Arabs are among the greatest businessmen in history. I don't see that there is any reason that Arab and Muslim society cannot come into the capitalist revolution, the worldwide capitalist revolution, that the United States has every reason to support. It succeeded in Latin America. It succeeded in East Asia. It will succeed in the Arab and Muslim world.

BEGALA: So because they're businessmen they're going to become democrats after we invade them?

SCHWARTZ: I'm not going to say it's going to become Connecticut in 24 hours, but I'm saying you begin the process.

BEGALA: How long? How long will it take?

SCHWARTZ: You've began the process.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHWARTZ: Do I look like a Ouija board? I can't make predictions. I'm saying, though, we begin the process.

BEGALA: Our president, when he was campaigning, said he would never commit troops without an obvious exit strategy. His words in a presidential debates. What is our obvious exit strategy, Steve?

SCHWARTZ: I said to you, I'm not here to make predictions. I'm not a Ouija board, I don't read crystal balls. What I am telling you is this: We start the process of democratization in Iraq, which encourages the consolidation of democracy in Iran, where democracy is on the march. We begin the process of reform in Saudi Arabia.

BEGALA: So it's a domino theory.

SCHWARTZ: Yes, it is a domino theory, and it will work.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: We're almost out of time. It seems to me that liberal foreign policy used to have a moral framework. Liberals used to think it was worthwhile to go into countries just maybe to make the lives of people who live there a little better, to bring democracy. Liberals seem pretty cynical now. Oh, it will never be a democracy. They don't have a history of democracy. What has happened to liberal view of foreign policy?

CIRINCIONE: A couple of weeks ago, we had Wesley Clark on "Meet the Press" talking about this issue. And he says, what this looks like is a new American colonialism. This is not what this country is about. We have never been about this.

(CROSSTALK)

CIRINCIONE: No, it is not. We are talking about sending several hundred thousand troops. You heard the general. Several hundred thousand troops.

CARLSON: But not to exploit the country for its natural resources. To claim it's colonialism is an outrageous slur.

CIRINCIONE: To occupy a country, you know how it's going to look to the Arab world when we do this?

(CROSSTALK)

SCHWARTZ: South Korea, South Korea. Our troops went in. They put an umbrella of security over it. They let South Korea develop its own capitalist revolution, and South Korea is now a stable and prosperous democracy.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: We are, and we will worry about that in a further show. Joe Cirincione, thank you very much. Stephen Schwartz, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

Next, a look at the man Democrats swear is a modern-day Machiavelli. Is Karl Rove really Bush's brain? We'll ask the author of a new book.

Later, is golf really Jesse Jackson's game? We'll ask Jesse Jackson why he's taken up the cause of pushy rich women? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. By all accounts, White House senior adviser Karl Rove is one of the most influential members of President Bush's inner circle. According to a new book, he's even more than that. Authors James Moore and Wayne Slater say Rove is really "Bush's brain." They are here to explain how Karl Rove made George w. Bush presidential.

Gentlemen, good to see you.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Now, Mr. Moore...

JAMES MOORE, CO-AUTHOR, "BUSH'S BRAIN": Yes, sir.

CARLSON: ... before we even get inside your book, let's consider the title: "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential." It's kind of a sly way to imply the president's not quite presidential.

MOORE: Never meant to be pejorative. From the beginning, that has been Karl's nickname in Texas. He is Bush's brain. He's the brainy guy who comes up with the policies, the strategies, the issues that would drive him to become governor, to become president.

CARLSON: So it's not another way of saying that the president is not very bright and that he requires someone to sort of do the heavy lifting for him? MOORE: What I'll say, Tucker -- what I'll say is this: that they are two parts of one creature. The president is a very capable man. He is intelligent, and whatever else you say about the president, he has leadership genius, a kind of genius of his own.

He makes decisions, he has certitude. People are drawn to him. What he lacks, however, is the intellectual depth which Karl gives him. Karl groomed him.

(APPLAUSE)

MOORE: Karl groomed this man to become president of the United States. George Bush was a candidate before he knew it in 1990.

BEGALA: And Wayne, you guys go even beyond that. Let me read you out of the book. "The end result is obvious," you write. "Karl Rove thinks it, George W. Bush does it. That's the way it works and it works well." "Rove is," you write, "the co-president of the United States, and Americans cannot deny his influence."

WAYNE SLATER, CO-AUTHOR, "BUSH'S BRIAN": Why are you surprised? You know Rove. And the fact is, Rove was not only the co-president in the way that we've written it, he was the co-governor in Texas, where Jim and I covered the governor. He was very much a part of that administration, although he wasn't officially in the state house.

He was a co-candidate. He was the person who, in 1990, was putting together the plan, even before George Bush knew that he wanted to run for governor. Certainly didn't know he was going to run for president. Karl Rove had details, a detailed plan how to make George Bush the president of the United States is one decade.

BEGALA: But why is that -- first off, I do know Karl and I like him. So I'm burdened with that history with him. I actually do like Karl from my years of knowing him in Texas. Why is that a problem? Lincoln had Willie Herndon. You know FDR had Harry Hopkins and Harold Ickes. You known I was a political consultant who worked for the president of the United States.

SLATER: Bill Clinton had you. And obviously extraordinarily capable people. You did a great job for Bill Clinton.

You look at Mike Deaver with Reagan, great job. You look at other people. Let me tell you why Karl is different, despite your considerable gifts.

You've got three people around the president. The president's had people who were political, great advisers. People who had policy, very good on the issues. Or people who have known them for years, a long time.

Our book shows that Rove brings all three elements. He's a brilliant political tactician. I think you would agree.

BEGALA: Sure. SLATER: He is an extraordinary guy with respect to policy; at least he believes he is. He's moved into policy. And he was the man who was with George Bush, making him the president of the United States, driving the campaign for governor even before George Bush knew it.

MOORE: Let me add this difference, Paul. The difference in Karl's case is that, when Clinton decided he wanted to be president, he had the vision; he had dreams. He had things he want to accomplish politically for himself and for the country in terms of policy. And then he went out and he looked for Paul Begala and James Carville and said, guys come help me do this.

In this case, it was Karl Rove who identified George Bush. George Bush didn't have the ambition, George Bush didn't have the vision. And Karl Rove actually created his candidacy and groomed him to make him president.

CARLSON: But back to Karl Rove himself, I want to get to the point of the book that sort of annoyed me the more I thought about it. You have a description in here...

MOORE: Glad to be of service.

CARLSON: Well, yes, thanks. You make essentially the allegation that in the mid '80s, during a campaign Karl Rove was running, a campaign for governor, planted a bug in his own office, blamed it on the other guy...

MOORE: Right.

CARLSON: ... and thereby affected the outcome of the race. That's not the point that annoyed me. What annoyed me is you don't come out and say it. You attack him by innuendo.

You say, well, was it was a coincidence? Not even Karl Rove is that lucky. Lucky Karl. Look, if you're going to make an allegation, why not just make the allegation? Why not just say so?

MOORE: Why not let the evidence speak for itself? It's much more powerful if you let the FBI report, which contradicted everything Karl said, speak for itself. If you let the FBI agents "speak for itself" that contradicted Karl.

If you let all of that material -- the woman that he had dinner with who said he was bragging about the fact that he had done this and gotten away with it and was full of himself. Why not let that...

CARLSON: Well, I'll tell you exactly why. Because it's weasly. If I say to you, you know, Mr. Moore, you're not the brightest guy in the world, probably not the highest IQ. You say, are you calling me dumb? No, I'm not calling you dumb. I'm just saying you're not maybe that smart.

MOORE: Do you want me to say it here, Tucker?

CARLSON: Yes -- no, my point is -- yes, why don't you say it.

MOORE: I don't think -- I come from a journalistic background. This is the first kind of point of view writing I've done. But I felt that the case was very, very strong that the evidence spoke for itself and that people could read it. And I didn't need to push them off the cliff to get them to come to that conclusion. They came to it on their own, and I feel it's more effective that way.

BEGALA: Wayne, let me ask you about another place in there. The promotional materials for the book include this sentence: There is, "a possibility that Rove may have committed perjury while providing testimony in sworn documents."

As someone who has spent a lot of times defending false charges of perjury, I was not persuaded by this book, candidly, that Karl committed perjury. And what's your proof? And if it's strong enough, why do you couch it in those kind of weasly words?

SLATER: Well, it is strong enough. In this particular case, Karl said one thing in federal documents that had to do with international broadcasting, a job that he had. And clearly, in other documents, in other conversations, clearly what he said it testimony, what he said was wrong. It was absolutely wrong.

Now you may not think that's perjury. In fact, I may not think that's perjury. But it was wrong, it was in error. He was saying something that was not true under oath.

And I know another case. That wasn't the only one. There was another case in the book where he was defended Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was then a U.S. senator at the very beginning of her term, and went to the witness stand and said things that were -- I'll defer to your sensibilities -- that were untrue under oath.

And in that case, I can guarantee you they were untrue. Why? Because they were about me and the media. And I can just tell you -- and other members of the media. And what happened in her case that had to do with her campaign. It was untrue. Not just once, but twice.

MOORE: You know what happened?

CARLSON: I am sorry, Mr. Moore. We're going to have to leave it there because we are completely out of time. Jesse Jackson is taking up golf.

James Moore, Wayne Slater, the book is "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential" on sale now. Thank you very much for joining us.

MOORE: Thank you.

SLATER: Thank you.

CARLSON: Still ahead: a viewer from Canada fires back at France. Battle of the irrelevant nations. But next: a CROSSFIRE sports report. We'll bring you a preview of this spring's Masters golf tournament, which will feature none other than the Reverend Jesse Jackson. He'll join us next to explain why. We'll be right back.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We are coming to you here live from George Washington University, home of the fighting Colonials here in Washington, D.C.

You know, every April, a bunch of overpaid primadonnas, followed by herds of weenies, wimps and woosies and other losers, all head for Augusta, Georgia. There, they participate in one of the world's great wastes of prime real estate and valuable time: the Masters. Players will demand absolute silence as they try to hit a ball that's not only perfectly still, but resting on a tee.

Barry Bonds, on the other hand, hits a ball coming at him at 98 miles an hour with 50,000 people screaming at him. That's why baseball is a sport; golf is simply an outdoorsman's fashion show. This week, the Reverend Jesse Jackson is Rainbow/Push Coalition will be among those protesting the sexist policies of the Augusta National Country Club, which excludes women, presumably to keep them from laughing at the men.

Reverend Jackson joins us from Chicago.

CARLSON: Mr. Jackson, thanks for joining us. I want to read you a quote of yours. This is something you said yesterday on an Atlanta radio station AM 680 about the Masters Tournament. "The name does not really come from being the master of golf," you said. "You know it really comes from slave masters."

Now that's untrue. Why did you say that?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Well, that is its original meaning. It was. It's on a plantation. It was about only the masters could play, the while male masters.

It was slave masters. And for a long time, they held on to that policy. The secret society of only white men and finally blacks. But today we protested because we think that...

CARLSON: But, wait. Mr. Jackson, that's not true. The tournament was called the Augusta Invitational. It was only changed not that long ago. I mean, after the Civil War by about a century. So since that's not true and there's absolutely no evidence that it is true, I'd like to know why you said that and where you got (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

JACKSON: Well, there is evidence that it's true. And my point is that the gender and racial and religious bigotry on the same moral plane, and we consistently fight those evils. BEGALA: Reverend, have you heard from Hootie Johnson? I love that name. Hootie, the president of...

JACKSON: Well, we tried to reach Hootie and we couldn't reach Hootie. But Hootie is picking up allies. I mean you look at this kind of locking people out, and one day it's George Bush on Martin King's birthday attacking affirmative action, and then now the attack on Title IX. And then there's Trent Lott, and now the KKK is joining them. So they are picking up allies, but it is the wrong side of history.

CARLSON: Well, wait a second. Do you know who started the first Urban League in Columbia, South Carolina? You probably do. It was Hootie Johnson. So for you to imply that he is somehow a racist, making up this phony story about how the name of his club has to do with slave masters, that's pretty low, isn't it? Don't you think?

JACKSON: What does that have to with denying a person access to essentially a public arena because of her gender? This is gender bigotry. And whether we are fighting it for a woman to have access to that club, or whether we're fighting to protect Title IX and fighting for affirmative action, it's consistent to civil rights commitment.

CARLSON: But Mr. Jackson, a thousand women played golf at Augusta National last year. Women can play whenever they want as guests. Women have access to the golf course. I don't know what you're talking about. What are you talking about?

JACKSON: But it is about membership. Men can be members. I heard you say earlier today about fighting for a rich white woman to be on the member -- to be a member of the club. Well I suggest to you that there are some men there who are not rich, they're sponsored by their corporations.

So it could be a woman of Kuwait veteran, it could be a woman Supreme Court justice. It could be Serena or Venus Williams. It could be your mother or mine. This is about we must have a shared commitment to end gender bigotry and bias. That's not too much to ask, is it?

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Reverend, let me ask you about the pressure that's been brought to bear on one golfer in particular. Tiger Woods, clearly the best player in the game, has been singled out -- presumably because he's African-American -- to lead this. As if he's got some additional obligation. Do you think that he's got any greater obligation than Ernie Els or any other players...

JACKSON: He does not. It is unfair to put that burden upon him. One did not say that Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio should not play in the World Series because Satchel Paige could not pitch. The burden was upon baseball owners to open up the doors to Jackie Robinson and to Clemente.

The burden is upon the PGA. The burden is upon the Augusta country club members. And today, now that the KKK has developed some kinship with another secret society, members of the rebellion say enough is enough.

CARLSON: Wait, hold on. Wait a second. The implication that the nine drunk retarded guys who make up the KKK are somehow in a league with Augusta National is outrageous and it's untrue, as you know.

My question to you, however, Mr. Jackson, if you're so against...

JACKSON: No. Well, they support the club against...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Look, that...

JACKSON: ... and the women. And the day the club said they did not welcome them, but not really strong repudiation. I suppose that secret societies have some kinship.

CARLSON: Mr. Jackson -- OK, I think that's a really unfair thing to say and I think you'll probably feel bad about it tonight when you think about it. But my question to you is, Smith College, which has been around for over a hundred years, a very prestigious college, excludes men on the basis of their sex. It's a much more prominent institution, much more important for the life of this country than some country club in Georgia. Why aren't you chaining yourself to the gates out front until they let men in?

JACKSON: I think that women are -- a woman's college or a sorority will be in quite a different category, or a man's college or fraternity, than one would say than an institution so public. This public institution called Augusta Country Club uses slave officers from South Carolina and from Georgia. It is a sponsor, in fact, supported by CBS.

It's too public to be private. And why don't we just make a commitment. Let's end racial, gender, religious bigotry once and for all. Let's just end it.

CARLSON: OK. Unfortunately, we have another segment with you, Mr. Jackson. If you'll just hold on for a moment, we're going to go to a commercial.

JACKSON: I look forward to it.

CARLSON: In a moment, we'll ask Mr. Jackson what cause he'll champion next. And then, in "Fireback," is Paul Begala really the key to world peace? People are asking that question. We'll answer it.

BEGALA: Certainly.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. In a world full of troubles, disease, and possible war, it's hard to find a more irrelevant cause than pushy women who want to join a private club in an unremarkable southern town. But that's Jesse Jackson's latest cause anyway. He's here in the CROSSFIRE from Chicago.

BEGALA: Reverend, what should those who agree with you, that think Augusta National ought to integrate women, what are we supposed to do? Boycott CBS? I'm happy to do that, but...

JACKSON: I think that some people say that 1947, where all the issues that blacks had to deal with, fight for a black guy to play baseball, it's similar baseball (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for social change. And I see that removing that barrier in '47 for Jackie Robinson and later for Clemente, and now for women in Augusta, is on the same plane for sports to become a very pivotal factor in changing our social environment.

And so we make no apology about fighting to protect Title IX and fighting for gender equal equality for women. We make no apology about that.

BEGALA: So what are you calling on people to do?

JACKSON: We're calling on people to ask Hootie and the membership of that club to open up to women. Just that basic. If women can serve on the Supreme Court, if women can serve in the battlefield in Kuwait, and hopefully not, but possibly, Iraq, then women ought to have the right to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of any place in America that's public that affirms their dignity.

CARLSON: Well, wait a second, Mr. Jackson. You are saying, you're comparing sex discrimination to racial discrimination. And yet -- and, in other words, you are taking what you claim as a standup principle. But I asked you a moment ago what you thought of Smith College excluding men. I'll ask you now what you think of women's organizations excluding men.

And I bet you don't care. Do you?

JACKSON: Well, it's according to the level. In other words, I think sororities can be all female or fraternities can be all male. But to compare an all-female sorority with an all-male fraternity with a country club so public (UNINTELLIGIBLE), where its membership largely are men sponsored by public corporations, to lock women out of the Masters Golf Tournament seems to me to be unfair.

CARLSON: It takes no federal money, unlike Smith College. I mean Augusta isn't a public club. It's a private club.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Well, just like the Brooklyn Dodgers are a privately owned baseball team, but the games used -- it was subsidized far beyond this ownership. The August Country Club is private, but its public subsidy is far beyond its membership. And I think the real issue, when you really add up what is happening now, kind of anti- civil rights, anti-affirmative action, anti-Title IX, KKK, Trent Lott, lock women out, we cannot go backwards, we must go forward.

CARLSON: KKK -- you devalue the term when you throw the term "KKK" around. Nobody in America, no normal person in any way sympathizes with the KKK. And to tie them to Trent Lott and the Augusta National Country Club is to do everyone a disservice and to devalue...

(APPLAUSE)

JACKSON: Well, if you don't connect Trent Lott with KKK and Citizens Council, then you are not a very well read person. If you...

CARLSON: It's an outrage you would say that.

JACKSON: If you do not connect racial and general religious bias, you cannot draw the lines between the dots. And it's your challenge to understand and to catch on.

BEGALA: Reverend Jesse Jackson, thank you very much for joining us from Chicago. Good to see you again.

JACKSON: Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

BEGALA: Next in "Fireback," one of our viewers wonders whose religious holiday will be next honored with the special terrorism alert. Stay tuned to find out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Time for "Fireback," a little portion of the show we reserve for all things related to Canada. First up: Andrew Korvin, of Vancouver, British Columbia, writes, "I noticed the terror alert was downgraded from orange to yellow to coincide with the end of the Hajj season. Shouldn't the alert be upgraded to coincide with Chinese New Year, Lent, Hanukkah, and Carnival in Rio, so as to avoid any accusation of racial profiling?"

That's a great point.

BEGALA: Or Boxing Day in Canada.

CARLSON: Or Boxing Day.

BEGALA: Canadians love their Boxing Day. Shawn in Charles Tow, West Virginia, writes, "I finally found a way to force Saddam to step down and for Osama bin Laden to come out of the caves. Simply send Begala over and let him talk them to death."

Well, I've been trying to do that for Bush for two years and it hasn't worked yet. CARLSON: Or (ph) work with Larry Lindsey. All right. Next up is W. Johansson of Ottawa, Canada, a foreign country. "The problem with France," he writes, "is that it has never as a nation accepted its decline into irrelevance. My homeland, on the other hand, has never really been relevant."

I love that about the Canadians. They are so self-effacing, you know?

BEGALA: They are. You know I think President Bush's problem with the French is that their leader actually got more votes than anybody else, and he's actually following the will of the people. It's called a democracy. We ought to try it here.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: The French are right.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: They are a democracy, and Bush has contempt for them for that reason.

CARLSON: Yes, the French are right -- yes.

BEGALA: Pete Tenney writes about the segment we just had with the two authors of this new book. "Bush's Brain" must be a very quick read." It's a pretty long book, actually.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Yes, keep laughing, Pete. Keep laughing. Yes?

CHRISTINE: Hi. My name is Christine (ph) from Chicago, Illinois. If there are golf courses throughout the nation that are segregated by race and social standing, then why can't Augusta be only male? Or, if not, then why are those golf courses not being protested?

CARLSON: I don't know what you mean by segregated by social standing. I mean I guess, at some point, people have a right to sort of hang out with who they want to hang out with. I mean, if it's a private club, and I want only talk show hosts in my club, I don't know, are you going to call me a bigot for that? I don't know, it's complicated.

BEGALA: Not a bigot, but a fool. You would not want a club with talk show hosts.

CARLSON: That's true.

BEGALA: That would be -- yes, ma'am.

ALLISON: Hi. I'm Allison (ph) from Seattle, Washington. And I was wondering if you think if public opinion should matter to President Bush on the war of Iraq? BEGALA: I think it should. I think that Prime Minister Blair in Britain, who has the same position as Bush, has shown a lot more respect for the free people who are expressing their free will, and I wish our president wasn't so contemptuous. And I think that is bred by the fact that he got into office with fewer votes than the guy who lost. I do.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: It's interesting to me that Blair, who has actually taken a harder line, is OK, because he, after all, is from another country and he's not a Republican. The fact is, whatever you think about this war -- and of courses it's fair and honorable to disagree with it -- the president is pursuing it to potentially his own political detriment, and it's an act of principle. Agree with it or not.

BEGALA: It's also a protection of his political gain, I don't think anything...

CARLSON: No it's not.

BEGALA: From the left, I am Paul Begala. Good night for CROSSFIRE.

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

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



Rove's Role in Bush Administration?; Interview With Jesse Jackson>


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