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Who Has '04 Election Edge?
Aired January 6, 2004 - 16:30 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: George W. Bush has a recovering economy, a captured dictator, and a big lead in the polls. Howard Dean has a lot of opponents, a lot of primaries to go, and a former basketball player on his team.
BILL BRADLEY, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Howard Dean is the candidate best able to return the fire in ways the other side doesn't expect.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ANNOUNCER: We'll ask the chairman of both political parties what they expect -- today on CROSSFIRE.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, James Carville and Robert Novak.
JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.
We've got both party chairmen today and a whole lot to talk about.
ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: Like, is the Democratic Party self- destructing and can the Republicans keep from getting overconfident? We'll ask Terry McAuliffe, Democrat, Ed Gillespie, Republican, the national chairmen, right after the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."
Wasn't it just the other day that Howard Dean was whining to Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe to please protect him from the party's other wanna-bes? Actually, Dr. Dean was the one who started attacking other Democrats. And he's at it again with a new TV ad. It claims that, in contrast to other candidates, Dean always opposed the war and the Bush tax cuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, HOWARD DEAN CAMPAIGN AD)
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not enough to change presidents. We have to change the way Washington works, stand up to the lobbyists and the special interests, and make government work for people again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOVAK: Howard Dean is telling Democrats, he alone can be counted on to raise everybody's taxes. If that's what Democrats want, are they really suicidal?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CARVILLE: I don't -- I don't think that's what he's saying. And I think he was absolutely right in opposing this idiotic that we lied to get in, in, we had no idea how to get out of.
I think that the Bush tax policy is completely flawed. I think that Dean needs to come out with his own tax plan, because I do think they are a lot of middle-class people out there that need it. But I think, Bob, people like you and I need to pay more, so we can get this deficit down and fund some necessary programs right now.
NOVAK: OK, well, I'll make you a deal. You can pay mine, as well as your own.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CARVILLE: There we go.
Well, America, this just in. You don't need to vote in 2004. That's because God has told Pat Robertson that George W. Bush is going to win. That's right. On his "700 Club" program, Robertson said -- and I quote -- "I think George Bush is going to win in a walk. And I'm hearing from the lord it's going to be a blowout."
Now, to me, religion is a private thing. But the God worship cares less about predicting election outcomes and more about whether all of his children are fed and sheltered and loved. Then, again, maybe Barry Lynn, who runs Americans United for Separation of Church and State, got it right when he said that Pat might have gotten a message from Karl Rove. He just thought it was from God.
NOVAK: You know, James, both you and are believing Catholics. And I think you will agree with me that the ways of the lord are mysterious. And maybe he did come to Pat Robertson and tell him that George W. Bush was going to be elected.
CARVILLE: If God is going to talk to Pat Robertson, then they are really mysterious. And I'll guarantee you one thing. He ain't done it.
CARVILLE: I think Pat Robertson is just out there pimping for the Republican Party, as if God is going to whisper something to Pat Robertson.
CARVILLE: I think God's -- I think God's ways are mysterious. But to interject him in there and think that he would be for George W. Bush, who lied to get us into a war, has got our troops over there bogged down, acting arrogant in foreign policy, acting unilateralist, sitting here cutting education at home, sitting here putting debt on other people.
CARVILLE: I think, if God has anything to say about this, he will be for the Democrats.
NOVAK: Not a happy week...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
NOVAK: ... for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. He won't have a free run for reelection in South Dakota this year.
The state's most popular Republican, former Congressman John Thune, announced he will run against Daschle. That promises a tough race for the Democratic leader, with the Republican ticket topped by George W. Bush, who collected 60 percent of the state's vote last time against Al Gore's 38 percent. Actually, Daschle should have been saved the trouble of opposing Thune.
In 2002, Thune would have been elected to the state's other Senate seat, but the election was stolen by stuffing ballot boxes on the Indian reservations. Now Tom Daschle may have to pay for that theft.
CARVILLE: That's pretty...
CARVILLE: That's -- that's pretty out there. Has Thune said that the Native Americans are election thieves?
NOVAK: No, I -- I said it.
CARVILLE: Well, no. Is that the Republican -- is that the party line here?
NOVAK: No, it's my line.
CARVILLE: That Native Americans are election thieves, that they can't be trusted to vote? You hear that, my friends out in South Carolina? Tim Johnson won that race.
CARVILLE: They're Native Americans, Bob.
NOVAK: I call them Indians.
CARVILLE: They're people that have been here a long time. And they are very, very, very good Americans.
CARVILLE: And very patriotic Americans.
CARVILLE: And they get to vote who they want. Just because you don't like the vote, don't call them thieves.
I've never been so proud of a football team as I was for the LSU Tigers. They won the Sugar Bowl and had a share of the national championship on Sunday night. They were hard-nosed and tough and they played by the rules. These are high-quality young men coached by one of the great coaches in the nation's history, Nick Saban.
But one of the great untold stories is another improvement that is taking place at LSU. Under the leadership of Chancellor Mark Emmert, LSU is not only the best football team in America, but one of the most improved universities in America. Congratulations all around.
And, Mr. Novak, I know you said yesterday on this very show that Maryland would beat LSU. I'm glad to know politics isn't the only thing we disagree on.
NOVAK: Well, I'll tell you, James, if had you had watched some of the games and kept off Bourbon Street a little bit and kept off the bourbon...
NOVAK: ... you would have seen that Maryland just played the most perfect football game on any team. And I would love to see a Maryland-LSU game. But what I really would like to see is a tournament, you know, a tournament.
CARVILLE: I agree. I think Ralph Friedgen -- I think the coach at Maryland, Ralph Friedgen, is a hell of a coach. But I would say this. If you want to play for the national championship, Bob, you've just got to be able to beat Northern Illinois. It's just that simple.
NOVAK: Who did LSU lose to?
NOVAK: OK. All right. All right. You lose some early in the season.
CARVILLE: OK, 2004 is here. And the race is on for the Oval Office. Up next, the national party chairmen, they're right here in the CROSSFIRE to tell us what they think, where they think the campaign's going.
And later, a campaign for the U.S. Congress may be turning into a family feud that makes political discussions between James Carville and Mary Matalin look tame.
ANNOUNCER: Join Carville, Begala, Carlson and Novak in the CROSSFIRE. For free tickets to the live Washington audience, call 202-994-8CNN or e-mail us at CNN@gwu.edu. Now you can step into the CROSSFIRE.
CARVILLE: The 2004 showdown is finally here. The Iowa caucus is 13 days away. The New Hampshire primary is exactly three weeks away. And both party chairmen are in the CROSSFIRE.
Please welcome Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
NOVAK: Terry McAuliffe, just in, just completed yesterday, the Gallup poll done for CNN/"USA Today."
Let's take a look at the Democrats: Howard Dean, 24 percent, Wes Clark, 20 percent. That's just about even. He's just about caught him. But here's one that really gets me. Head to head, George Bush and Howard Dean, 59 percent to 37 percent. We know it's early, but isn't Howard Dean in kind of a downslide?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, there was a poll out yesterday, CNN/"TIME" magazine poll, had it 51 for George Bush, 46 for Howard Dean. NOVAK: I don't believe that.
MCAULIFFE: Well, it was on your show. It was five points yesterday.
And I remind you, in 19 -- we go back to 1992 this very week. Bill Clinton was down. Two polls out this week. He was down 17 and 16. We got our candidates within the margin of error.
NOVAK: That wasn't my question. My question, isn't Howard Dean slumping both among Democrats and in head-to-head on Bush?
MCAULIFFE: Well, first of all, we haven't had a vote cast yet. Let's wait until the voters make a decision. This is a lot of talk. Let's let the voters decide.
CARVILLE: Terry, you know, you, as chairman, have asked me to do any number of things. I've always said yes. I've been a good Democrat.
CARVILLE: You know I have respect for what Governor Dean has accomplished. I think Joe Trippi, his campaign manager, has done an amazing job. Steve McMahon is a dear friend of mine.
Convince me that I'm wrong that I'm just scared to death that this guy gets out there and says things and would be a weak candidate against Bush. Tell me something to make me feel better, because I really want to feel like I can get behind it. And just, my gut just can't get me there right now. Help me.
MCAULIFFE: Well, first, I want to tell you, I love all nine equally.
However, Howard Dean has brought a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of passion, people excited all over this country. He's raised $40 million. If you go to these events, thousands of people are showing up. But, listen, I'm neutral. Let's let the voters decide. January 19, Iowa. The 27th is going to be New Hampshire. Let the voters decide who our primary nominee is going to be. Any one of them is going to beat George Bush. He's got to defend a horrible economy, a mess in Iraq.
So, listen, I'm excited.
MCAULIFFE: I'd rather be where I am than where Ed Gillespie is.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'll take that. I'll take that. (CROSSTALK)
CARVILLE: I've got a -- there's a lot of silly-ass things that happen in politics. The silliest thing is this MoveOn thing.
Let me show you something not so silly. This is an ad that the Republicans ran against Tom Daschle, where Tom Daschle was compared to Saddam Hussein. They asked the vice president of the United States about the appropriateness of this. And his answer was, "On Meet the Press," they do have a different energy policy, side by side.
Now, here's something that two people submit and we act like there's something wrong with this? How can a political party say there's anything wrong with some goofy two people out there doing something, when it refuses to repudiate an ad comparing the minority leader of the United States Senate, then majority leader, to Saddam Hussein?
GILLESPIE: James, I don't know who ran the ad either. And, obviously, I don't know if it was -- you say it was Republicans. Was it the Republican National
CARVILLE: But the vice president of the United States was about it. He refused to condemn it. He said they have a different -- he has a different
GILLESPIE: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this. The fact is that MoveOn.org is running an ad that morphs the president of the United States into Adolf Hitler.
CARVILLE: They're not running anything. Where can you find it? If I want to see that ad, where's the only place I can see it now? Tell the truth.
GILLESPIE: Let's be clear about this. Let's be clear about this.
NOVAK: Let him answer. Let him answer.
GILLESPIE: They posted the ad on their Web site, compliant with the rules they put forward for this ad contest, which was, we will not post anything on our Web site that is not appropriate for airing on television. Therefore, not one, but two ads with Hitler compared to the president were aired on their Web site. They, therefore, think that that's appropriate politics.
NOVAK: Let's take a look at the ad.
GILLESPIE: And they're wrong about
NOVAK: Let's take a look at the ad that Ed -- that Ed is talking about. We will put it up there. And Ed asks all -- there it is right there. That's Adolf Hitler.
And Ed -- Ed -- Ed is -- morphing into George W. Bush. And Ed has asked the Democratic candidates to condemn that ad. They haven't.
But I'm going to ask you, as a fair-minded man, Mr. McAuliffe, can you condemn that ad?
MCAULIFFE: Absolutely. Despicable. It should be nowhere in the discourse of politics.
NOVAK: Thank you. Thank you very much.
MCAULIFFE: Absolutely no...
CARVILLE: If someone wanted to see that ad, where's the only place in America they could see that ad right now?
GILLESPIE: You can't that ad anywhere in America.
CARVILLE: Oh, yes, you can. Oh, yes, you can.
On the Republican National Committee. On the RNC Web -- if you want to see that ad, ladies and gentlemen, go to the RNC Web site.
CARVILLE: They're using it as a
CARVILLE: They lied to get us into war.
GILLESPIE: James, you are factually inaccurate.
NOVAK: Let him answer.
GILLESPIE: Just so you know, you are factually inaccurate.
CARVILLE: Go ahead.
(CROSSTALK) GILLESPIE: We put it up yesterday, because we called their hand. We put it up yesterday and we took it down last night. And let me tell you why. Let me tell you why.
GILLESPIE: Because when we captured it on their Web site, we told people about it. You know what they said? We didn't post an ad like that. There's no such ad. The RNC is making it up.
We had it. We had it. And we called their hand on it. And that's why we put it up, so everybody could see it.
GILLESPIE: They denied it. They denied it.
CARVILLE: You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Ed.
GILLESPIE: No, they should be ashamed of themselves. And you should be ashamed for defending it, James.
NOVAK: All right. All right, that's enough. Time.
GILLESPIE: Hang on one second.
I defended you on another program. Somebody said that you were a judge of this. And I said, I don't believe -- as much as I disagree with James Carville, I don't believe he would ever condone an ad like that.
GILLESPIE: And here you are defending it. I can't believe I was wrong about that.
CARVILLE: I'm not defending the ad. I'm telling you, it's a false, bogus issue that you all are trying to use. And it's full of B.S.
GILLESPIE: James, political hate speech is a real problem in this campaign on the Democratic side of the aisle and on the left. And we're hearing it all the time.
NOVAK: All right, wait, wait, wait. Wait a minute.
MCAULIFFE: Where was the moral indignation in 2000, when the Bush allies went after John McCain and attacked his patriotism?
MCAULIFFE: Where were they when Max Cleland got attacked in Georgia? I mean, come on.
NOVAK: Can I...
MCAULIFFE: Everybody erect now. But when they do it, everyone quiet. When we do it, they squeal like pigs.
NOVAK: Wait a minute.
MCAULIFFE: You get your question.
NOVAK: Let's -- let me ask a question.
MCAULIFFE: Yes, sir.
NOVAK: Joe Lockhart, who you may have heard of -- he was the press secretary for Bill Clinton. And he is talking about the fact that Howard Dean attacked you, said that you weren't protecting him from the nasty things the other candidates were saying about him.
And Joe -- this is what Joe said. Joe Lockhart said: "When he," Dean, is attacked," he said, "it's time to take his marbles and go home. What does he think will happen if he gets the nomination? Does he think the Bush people will say, let's have polite debate? Who is he going to call then, his mother?"
NOVAK: Do you agree with that?
GILLESPIE: And you would rather switch places with me?
MCAULIFFE: What a party.
Listen, I had a good conversation with Governor Dean. Listen, no party chairman on the Republican side or the Democratic side has ever gotten in the middle of the primaries. They're going to fight it out. (CROSSTALK)
NOVAK: I'm not criticizing you. I'm criticizing -- I'm criticizing...
MCAULIFFE: Right. In fact, you have been out there defending
NOVAK: I'm criticizing Dean. What -- what kind of guy is he? He says, please don't hit me. It hurts too much.
MCAULIFFE: We had a good conversation...
MCAULIFFE: Bob, what would you like me to say?
NOVAK: All right. Go ahead.
CARVILLE: Do you condemn the ad that ran against Senator Daschle with him and Saddam Hussein? Do you condemn that ad?
GILLESPIE: Let me tell you this. I don't know enough about that ad. I don't know who ran it. I don't believe the Republican Party ran it. I would not run it.
GILLESPIE: I would not run an ad that would compare Senator Daschle to Saddam Hussein. No, I would not.
CARVILLE: OK. Thank you.
NOVAK: All right, now, Chairman McAuliffe, I'm going to quote a guy who is one of my favorite Democrats. He's been a distinguished lieutenant governor, governor of his state, U.S. senator, Zell Miller of Georgia.
MCAULIFFE: I bet he's one of your favorites.
MCAULIFFE: And he -- he refers to you as Terry McAwful.
MCAULIFFE: So does Rush Limbaugh. (CROSSTALK)
CARVILLE: Very creative.
NOVAK: But he's a Democrat. I believe that James Carville managed his campaign for governor a long time ago. But hasn't -- hasn't he got a point that, when you can't get any white votes out of the South, it's hard to elect a president, when the senator from the vice president of the United States from Tennessee can't even carry his own state, you're in a big -- lot of trouble?
MCAULIFFE: And we are going to win white voters out of those Southern states. We're going to be very competitive in states like Louisiana, where we just -- Kathleen Blanco is the new governor, Phil Bredesen, the new governor in Tennessee.
NOVAK: Do you think he is going to carry Louisiana and Georgia?
MCAULIFFE: Yes. I'm very excited. It's a target state for us.
NOVAK: You're going to have put another can on your head election night.
MCAULIFFE: But, listen, I agree. We've got to win Southern states. There's no question about that. We've got to get our message out in those Southern states.
I'm proud as chairman of this party. I've put four times more resources in that -- in the Southern states than in the history of our party.
NOVAK: Well, you -- you and James have driven Zell Miller just about out of the party, haven't you?
MCAULIFFE: I think he's made his own decision. He doesn't attend the Democratic Senate caucus meetings. He said he loves George Bush. He's trying to hock a -- listen, he's hocking a book. He and publicist are all over. Let him do what he has to do. We don't care what he thinks. He loves George Bush.
NOVAK: That's the problem, isn't it?
MCAULIFFE: But he's endorsed George Bush.
MCAULIFFE: He wants George Bush to be reelected. My job is to beat him.
CARVILLE: Isn't this a cover-up to deflect American people's attention that you inherited a $5.6 trillion surplus and you have deficits as far as the eye can see? (CROSSTALK)
CARVILLE: Isn't this a cover-up for the fact that this administration...
CARVILLE: ... misled the United States and the world in Iraq?
CARVILLE: Isn't this a cover-up to say that our troops are stuck over there, that the secretary of defense has had to -- to stop people from trying to get out of the Army?
CARVILLE: What -- why are you all -- no wonder you all got these goofy ads going.
MCAULIFFE: Why don't you answer that?
GILLESPIE: I have a response, except that wasn't the question.
The fact is, as you well know -- and this is not my estimate, by the way. Joe Stiglitz, President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers chairman, said, rightly, that President Bush inherited an economy in recession. And it was worsened by the attacks of September 11. It was worsened by the corporate scandals that he inherited as well.
He's acted to improve it. His policies are working. We're seeing the greatest growth in the economy in 20 years, an 8.2 point growth rate in the quarter available. We saw a 20-year high in manufacturing index. We're seeing unemployment come down, employment go up. All the harbingers for economic growth are in place and things are -- the president's not...
GILLESPIE: ... going to rest until everybody who wants a job can get one.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CARVILLE: ... said that the height of the recovery was March 2001.
NOVAK: Ahead -- break.
Ahead on "Rapid Fire," can the middle class ever look to the Democrats for a tax cut or just a tax increase?
And just ahead, Wolf Blitzer has the latest on which design has been chosen for the World Trade Center memorial.
CARVILLE: It's time for "Rapid Fire," short questions, short answers, and only a short time before the voters start going to the polls.
We're talking to Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie and Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
NOVAK: Mr. McAuliffe, your front-runner, Howard Dean, wants to roll back all the tax cuts. And it's a big tax increase for the middle class. Do you agree with him?
MCAULIFFE: I let the candidates speak for themselves. We're for tax cuts, the Democrat Party, small business tax cuts, tax cuts to the middle class. We've got to get the economy going. Wages aren't going up, as you know.
NOVAK: Short answers.
MCAULIFFE: George Bush has to create 156,000 jobs every month not to be first president since Herbert Hoover to lose jobs.
GILLESPIE: That wasn't a short answer.
CARVILLE: Well, you know what? Earlier, Bob -- Bob Novak said that Native Americans in South Dakota illegally and feloniously stuffed ballot boxes to win election. Do you agree with that assessment of South Dakota Native Americans and is that the position of the RNC?
GILLESPIE: Senator Thune did not challenge the outcome of that election -- I'm sorry. I said Senator Thune. He's not Senator Thune yet. Congressman Thune didn't challenge the outcome of that election. I defer to him. And he knows best what went on in that race.
CARVILLE: OK, so that is not a...
NOVAK: Ralph Hall, the distinguished Democratic congressman from Texas, just became a Republican. He's the 174th elected official in the state of Texas to become a Republican since George -- since Bill Clinton ran for president. You doing something wrong, Terry?
MCAULIFFE: I'm not sure Texas is going to be the top of our target states for 2004.
MCAULIFFE: But we've got enough states to get 270 electoral votes, Bob.
CARVILLE: What -- how many jobs will George Bush have created by October of this year as president?
GILLESPIE: James, I'm not an economist. I was lucky to get an undergraduate degree in college.
GILLESPIE: But the fact is that jobs will be going up. We will be gaining jobs. We be gaining employment. And despite that Terry said, the fact is, every Democratic candidate seeking his or her party nomination for president is in favor of raising taxes on the American people. That's the exact wrong policy. It will reverse our creation that we're seeing right now in the economy.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
NOVAK: Terry McAuliffe, in the interest of cleaning up the sewer in Washington, would you like to prohibit lobbyists from contributing to political campaigns?
MCAULIFFE: Listen, I think anybody who wants to give money ought to be able to give money, as long as it's fully disclosed.
NOVAK: So you're opposed to that reform?
MCAULIFFE: Yes, of course I am. I mean, listen, I had big problems, as you know, with McCain-Feingold. We got all this money now coming into the system through all these ancillary groups out there. I think it's ridiculous.
CARVILLE: I gather you agree with Terry on that, Ed?
GILLESPIE: Yes. That's one thing I agree with him on. These outside groups are only being strengthened by
NOVAK: OK, thank you very much, Chairman McAuliffe, Chairman Gillespie.
A potential congressional candidate in Texas has some real inside knowledge about the incumbent. Wait until you hear this.
Next, an election campaign where the candidate may have a hard time divorcing themselves from personal attacks.
NOVAK: Texas Democratic Congressman Charlie Gonzalez had no opposition in 2002. He may get some this year, though, from his ex- wife.
Becky Whetstone filed a declaration of intent to run last week, saying, it's healthy for voters to have a choice and for the incumbent to be held accountable. Whetstone, a counselor, has a Web site that gives advice on how to deal with bullies. But Congressman Gonzalez should have heeded some advice that's been around since the 1600s: Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.
CARVILLE: Well, I hate to say a cliche here, but they say that politics make strange bedfellows.
CARVILLE: I -- this is a -- this is a really interesting thing for the families of America to watch this thing. I mean, my family, we are, a multi, bipartisan -- no, not bipartisan, but different partisan.
NOVAK: Bipolar or something like that.
CARVILLE: Something. Bipolar or something like that.
NOVAK: Well, let me ask you this. And I hate to ask -- get personal.
CARVILLE: Go ahead, Bob.
NOVAK: But, if you were running, do you think that Mary Matalin will file against you and run against you in the primary -- in the general election?
CARVILLE: No, she would just take a rolling pin and beat me over the head with it. I would be lucky.
NOVAK: That's not a bad idea.
CARVILLE: Yes, that's not a bad idea. I don't have a lot of hair to protect it.
CARVILLE: All right.
From the left, I'm James Carville. That's it for CROSSFIRE.
NOVAK: From the right, I'm Robert Novak.
Join us again next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.
"WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now.
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