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CNN CROSSFIRE

Planes, Trains and Swift Boats

Aired August 6, 2004 - 16:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala; on the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE: It's a campaign of planes, trains and swift boats, from down on the farm with the Democrats.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You've heard people in positions of leadership on the other side, saying America that turned the corner. Well, it must have been a U-turn.

ANNOUNCER: To a picnic with the president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Listen, when it comes to creating jobs for American workers in places like New Hampshire, you proved that we're moving America forward and we're not turning back.

ANNOUNCER: We're serving up a busy day on the campaign trail today on CROSSFIRE.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, Donna Brazile, sitting in on the left, and Tucker Carlson.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE.

Well, it's Friday and our fellow co-hosts, James Carville and Paul Begala, have still not returned from Barbra Streisand's beachside villa in Malibu. The three were last sighed in Streisand's solar- powered sweat lodge, adorned with beads, eating free-range been curd tapas and preparing for yet another past-life regression.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: If they're not back by Monday, we're calling law enforcement.

But, in the meantime, we're once again grateful to be joined on the left by former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile.

And now for the best political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert." DONNA BRAZILE, GUEST HOST: Well, thank you, Tucker.

There's more evidence today that Bush economy is a bust for working people. The Labor Department says 32,000 new jobs were created in July, just a fraction of the 200,000-plus jobs that economists were predicting. In the second straight month, job growth has been way off, way below expectation.

You know what? John Kerry is right. It's time to exploit American products, not American jobs. But this won't happen until we export...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: ... a certain Texan back to his ranch and the other to an undisclosed location.

CARLSON: You know, that's an excellent point. And that's why I was so concerned when I read yesterday that John Kerry has accepted the endorsement of 40 separate companies that are a part of his Benedict Arnold CEOs, who export American jobs merely for profit. And I'm waiting right now, Donna, sitting right here on the set, for John Kerry to renounce those 40 -- those 40 supporters.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: John Kerry has already said that he's only giving tax credit, tax dollars to companies that keep jobs here. And, in fact, as you know, it's in the plan.

CARLSON: But he doesn't mean it.

BRAZILE: It's in the plan.

CARLSON: You're holding up the book again.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: But you know what? He didn't live out his principles. And that is what bothers me.

Look, if he really believes that it's un-American to export jobs abroad -- and that's a point of view -- I think it's wrong, but it's legitimate -- then he ought to live by it. He ought to say, look, if you do that, I'm not going to accept your endorsement, because I think you're hurting America.

(BELL RINGING)

(APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: Kerry believes that we should not subsidize these corporations. And that's his plan.

CARLSON: Then I hope he won't take their money, but he does anyway.

Well, no candidate and few human beings have ever bragged more about his war service than John Kerry. Kerry has turned his four months in Vietnam into the rationale for an entire presidential campaign. He talks about it at every stop. He talks about it in every sentence in every single speech. And the message is always the same. I'm a war hero. You're not. My moral authority is greater than yours.

Well, it has worked pretty well so far, mostly because George W. Bush of course did not serve in Vietnam, and neither did Dick Cheney. But, all of sudden, though, the dynamic has changed. A group of decorated Vietnam veterans has come forward to say Kerry lied about his role in the war. Kerry's response? Make them shut up.

Democratic lawyers have sent threatening letters trying to get the claims pulled off television so you can't see them, because, as these Democrats have explained, these decorated veterans are not honorable patriots like John Kerry. They are crackpots. So here is a quiz. When is a war hero really not a war hero? Well, according to the Kerry campaign, when the war hero opposes John Kerry. Then he's a crackpot.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: It's outrageous.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: I can't believe that, once again, the Bush-Cheney operation is paying people to go around and discredit an honorable serviceman like John Kerry.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: But wait. But they're honorable servicemen, too. See, that's the point.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: They tried to discredit McCain in 2000.

CARLSON: That may be true. But these are people who served in Vietnam.

(BELL RINGING)

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: They just didn't serve with John Kerry.

CARLSON: Actually, they say they knew him. Let's take their claims seriously.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) BRAZILE: Well, George -- George W. Bush is great at inheriting things -- we all know that -- but not so good about passing things along, including his good fortune.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: He inherited a budget surplus and he has given us the biggest deficit on record.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: He inherited an economic boom. And now we already have noted he's given us the big Bush economic bust.

He even inherited a spot at Yale University. It's called a legacy. He got in because his daddy went there, not because of his own grades.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: Well, today, President Bush finally admitted and he came out against legacy admissions, telling minority journalists that people ought to get into college based on merit. You know what? It should be like that in order to get into the White House as well.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: First of all, who his father was, what his father did, his father's grades or how much money he gave to Yale, that's not his fault. And I don't think it's fair to beat him up on those grounds.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: All we're saying is, keep those doors open to others who are trying to get in the same door.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I couldn't agree more. And I'm glad that you're coming out on the record in favor of admissions solely based on merit, because I think that's where I am and I think it's where most Americans are.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: I am saying that affirmative action helps open doors.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Well, is that solely based on merit? Oh, no, it's not. Oh, wait, you're arguing two different things at once. You're confusing me, Donna.

(BELL RINGING) CARLSON: Please help me.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: We had affirmative action for 200 years for a certain group of people.

CARLSON: Oh, OK.

BRAZILE: And we should have it now for everybody.

CARLSON: So just on merits sometimes. I get it. OK.

BRAZILE: Affirmative action for everybody, including Tucker, by the way.

CARLSON: Right. OK. I need it.

BRAZILE: Full time.

CARLSON: Here are a few things we know. You know these already, but we'll repeat them anyway.

George W. Bush is a right-wing extremist, evangelical, gay- basher. John Kerry is a progressive, tolerant, Massachusetts liberal. Those are the stereotypes. And they are so ingrained in our collective consciousness that evidence to the contrary sometimes doesn't even register.

Case in point, John Kerry found himself in Missouri yesterday not long after the voters of that state overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2, which is a change to the state's Constitution that bans gay marriage. You would expect Kerry would oppose this strongly. He was, after all, vehemently against a federal amendment that would do exactly the same thing. But you'd be wrong, because according to "The Kansas City Star," Kerry told a reporter that in fact he would have supported Missouri's gay marriage ban, that's right, that bigoted amendment, too.

But wait. Isn't that a bigoted position? Isn't it homophobic and retrograde and just plain cruel to gay people? By Kerry's own self-described principles, of course it's all of those things and worse. On the other hand, Missouri is a swing state. So let's hope gay activists take notice. John Kerry doesn't even believe his own principles.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: I can't imagine you support that.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: No, I do not.

I'm opposed to these amendments because I think they're redundant and they're divisive. CARLSON: Then why is he for it?

BRAZILE: But John Kerry has the same position as Dick Cheney, that it should be left up to the states. And that is why he took the same position that he took.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Wait, but I thought he was against tampering with a sacrosanct document. There's a Constitution.

BRAZILE: That's his position. I'm opposed to this amendment.

CARLSON: Well, good for you. You've got principles.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Well, controversy seems to be a growing theme for this year's presidential campaign. What did John Kerry really do on that swift boat? Can President Bush really connect with minority voters? And wind and solar, that's John Kerry's energy plan? Welcome to the 1970s. And if that's not enough, now we find out that roaches, cockroaches, may decide the whole thing after all. Your vote doesn't count. The roaches decide.

We'll explain later on CROSSFIRE.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Well, John Kerry is down on the farm in Missouri, his natural habitat, of course. President Bush is picnicking in New Hampshire. That leaves us to sort through the controversies along the campaign trail. And there are so many of them, starting with swift boats.

John Kerry captained one of those in Vietnam. Some other Vietnam veterans have shown up in a commercial questioning the truthfulness of his claim to award-winning heroism.

In the CROSSFIRE to debate this, two of our all-time favorite guests, Kerry adviser Ann Lewis, also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee's Women's Vote Center.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Also here is Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway.

Welcome.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: Kellyanne, the so-called Swift Boat Veterans For Truth are having a hard time keeping their lies together. Shouldn't the president just disavow them right now before more revelations are made about their so-called service in Vietnam?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Wow. I almost feel like Clinton is running for president again, since we're being so dismissive of veterans who actually served. That was certainly not an important criterion when he was running for president.

Who is calling them a liar? Are we actually calling these people who put their lives on the line for all of us dishonorable?

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: These are the same veterans that were paid in 2000 to discredit John McCain and 2002 to discredit honorable veterans who served, in 2002, the same people who discredit Max Cleland in Georgia.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: When will the Republican Party find veterans that will stand up and support them, as opposed to...

CONWAY: Oh, we have many. And you know it.

BRAZILE: ... those who went out and stand against those who served?

CONWAY: There are many who are supporting this president and in large part because of who his opponent is, a man who threw his medals in protest and testified before Congress as to why the Vietnam experience was so awful after he came back.

BRAZILE: But he did go to Vietnam and he served.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CONWAY: But he came back and threw his medals away.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: He went and served. He served.

CONWAY: Wait a second. So did these people.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: But they didn't serve -- they didn't serve with John Kerry.

CONWAY: Some of them said that they knew him there.

But wait a second.

BRAZILE: Oh.

(LAUGHTER) CONWAY: You can't pick and choose who you think is honorable, who you think is honorable. And I know it's easy for young people, whose biggest choice is, should I have the skim latte or low fat latte, to pooh-pooh people who actually served in a real war.

But, for these folks, why are they dishonorable liars and why is John Kerry credible? And let's not be very clever in trying to convince our audience today the Republican Party or the Bush campaign had anything to do with this ad. This is put out there by a 527. And by definition, because of the awful campaign rules, the campaign cannot coordinate

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I want to get in on this.

Ann, now, I don't know if these guys are telling the truth. I know that they didn't serve on the same boat as John Kerry. I know a lot of them can prove they knew John Kerry. And I know all of them served in Vietnam longer than John Kerry. And many of them won medals for their heroism.

What I'm a little bit stunned by is the ferocity of the response from Democrats, calling these people liars, dishonorable, unpatriotic, sleazy, when you don't know that to be true at all. Some of these people are just ordinary people who just don't agree with John Kerry did in Vietnam. Why can't you take their claims seriously?

ANN LEWIS, NATIONAL CHAIR, WOMEN'S VOTE CENTER: Here's what I take seriously.

I take seriously the fact that they made an ad that said John Kerry lied. And then, when you compare that to the truth, you turn up with a guy like Jim Rassmann, who is a lifelong Republican. He gets up and says, I was in the water. I was under fire. John Kerry turned my boat around, went into hostile fire, leaned out, exposed himself, saved my life.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: These people go on there and say, that didn't happen.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I agree with that. But there are two sides.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: That's right. And theirs is the ad that used the words lied. They said John Kerry lied. They are wrong. They're lying now.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Hold on. LEWIS: You get a doctor on that ad who says, I treated him for his wound. It didn't really happen that way. Well, you know what? That doctor's name somehow mysteriously is in none of the Army records. That is not true.

(CROSSTALK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Hold on.

You know that "The Boston Globe," which is hardly some sort of political organization -- it's just a newspaper. In its biography of John Kerry, which I recommend you read, made it really, really clear that it was unclear why he won a couple of his Purple Hearts.

But my only point is this. John Kerry day after day makes the point he has a special claim to moral authority because he served in that war. These men also served in that war and they did so honorably. Isn't it outrageous, by his own standards and yours, to dismiss them as political hacks, when you don't know that to be true?

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: No. John Kerry says, I know what war is like.

CARLSON: Well, so are they.

LEWIS: I have courage to lead and defend this country. And they are the ones who get up there and say he's a liar.

If we did anything but respond appropriately, we would be wrong. John Kerry put his life on the line to support and defend his country.

CARLSON: Well, so did they.

LEWIS: You now get these guys who are coming back calling him a liar. I think our response is appropriate.

CARLSON: Well, maybe they're right. They put their lives on the line, too.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: If that is the level of discourse they want to use, then we are right to say, wait a minute. Talk to Jim Rassmann.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: Look at where that doctor's name is, because it's not on the record. Those are the lies.

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: Well, look, Kellyanne, look, the fact is, is Mr. Elliott retracted his story, said it was a great mistake, put that in "The Boston Globe" earlier this week. And now he's back on his story. So what version of the story are we going to hear tomorrow?

(APPLAUSE)

CONWAY: Oh, while we're talking about versions of the story, I'm glad you raised that, because that really is the conundrum that John Kerry has, who can't seem to buy his way to 50 percent.

All the king's horses, all the king's men, it was a big dog and pony show in Boston last week.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: At least he has a plan for the next four years.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: Which cost millions and millions and millions of dollars. He can't get to 50 percent after that.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: The opposite of bounce is thud. And that's exactly what he got after last week.

(APPLAUSE)

CONWAY: He's also -- and that's mainly because the average American voter, Donna, particularly those 8 percent of undecided swing voters, can't decide which John Kerry they'd actually be casting a vote for.

(APPLAUSE)

CONWAY: Is it the one who voted to go to Iraq in the war or leave our troops naked and without health care benefits?

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: Is it the one that thinks partial-birth abortion is a good idea or the one who thinks life begins at conception? Is it the one who wants to cut taxes for the middle class or the one who has voted for tax increases?

(APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: This is four years of being in office and controlling the government. And you have nothing to say about the Republican Party and their plans for the future.

CONWAY: I've got plenty to say about George W. Bush.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Well, as you know, Ann, I want to take John Kerry seriously. I think he's a serious guy in some ways. His energy plan, I think it's interesting, but, again, I'm not sure he really believes it himself.

He comes out the other day and says, we need more wind and solar as a way to produce energy without polluting the environment. And yet, as you know, there was a big plan in Massachusetts to put a wind farm in Nantucket Sound, 130 windmills. It was opposed by some of the richer residents of Martha's Vineyard in Cape Cod, because it would spoil their view. John Kerry has essentially come out on their side. And I'm wondering...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Oh, am I missing something, because that's -- did something happen today that I didn't catch?

LEWIS: No.

I believe what he said at the time is there ought to be an environmental impact statement.

CARLSON: Oh.

LEWIS: It is being done. It is a good idea, when you have projects like that, to see -- and I think those are also the rules -- what's the environmental impact statement?

But can I say -- I want to go back to two points. One, Kellyanne said the problem with John Kerry is, he can't reach 50 percent. George Bush cannot reach 50 percent. He's been president

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Hold. I want to talk about

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Before we get to polls, before we get to polls, Democrats are always complaining that we don't take John Kerry's ideas seriously and I am.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Environmental impact. I don't notice John Kerry

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Hold on. Hold on.

I don't hear John Kerry saying about any of his other plans, fuel cell technology, solar technology, we need an environmental impact study. It's only when his rich donors think that their view might be spoiled in Nantucket Sound that he goes, oh, hold on, environmental impact study. This is a good idea.

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: You know it. And you know that if rich donors were not against it, he would be for it.

LEWIS: I appreciate that you are going to tell your large listening audience that John Kerry is for energy independence.

CONWAY: What does that mean?

LEWIS: Because nothing could make this country safer.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Except when it destroys the view of rich people.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: He's against importing oil from the Middle East.

CARLSON: Then why isn't he for the windmill farm?

LEWIS: Think what -- that would be good for the economy and it would be good for our national security.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: And the ways to do are with new technologies. And that's the direction he's going. It's in the book. Look it up.

CARLSON: As long as it doesn't offend rich people, he's for it. OK.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: Kellyanne, Commerce Secretary Don Evans recently said that this is the best economy in his lifetime. For those Americans who are still trying to work and those who have given up, is this the best the Republican Party can do?

CONWAY: The fact is that we learned today that for the 11th straight month, we've had steady job creation. And for the 11th straight month...

(LAUGHTER)

CONWAY: ... what's his name, John Kerry has been assailing the president's view on jobs. And yet the president has been creating new jobs 11 straight months of that, 32,000 more created. And although many people want to dismiss 32,000 isn't enough, well, tell the 32,000 people who got those jobs that it's not enough. They're very happy for having those jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: Well, let me just say this. John Kerry has also said that the type of jobs that are being created are paying $9,000 less than the jobs that were created four years ago.

(APPLAUSE)

CONWAY: That's actually not true.

BRAZILE: These are jobs without benefits.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: Again, President Bush right now, his own record, could be the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression to have a net job loss in his first term. What is his plan?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: What is the plan?

CONWAY: His plan should be to try to undo those funny cooked numbers of the Clinton administration that made it sound like they had produced so many new jobs and did not and the types of jobs that were created there. However...

BRAZILE: The 23 million jobs, the record surplus.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: John Kerry -- these all sound like great numbers, Donna. But the fact is that we have 5.5 percent, a 5.5 percent unemployment rate right now.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: It's way down. And we all know -- we all lived through the 9/11 attacks. We all lived through the corporate scandals.

BRAZILE: Oh, blame Bill Clinton again.

CONWAY: I didn't mention his name.

BRAZILE: Blame Bill Clinton.

CONWAY: Wait a second. Nobody has

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: You just did.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: Let's look at African-American unemployment.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: You guys cannot give up saying two names, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

BRAZILE: Because there was a big difference between George Bush and Bill Clinton when it comes to economic growth

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: We're talking 9/11 and the corporate scandals. We're not talking about Bill Clinton.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: I really want to make this point for a second. John Kerry has never held a job in the private sector. How can he possibly

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: He's has. He has had two jobs in the private...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: No, he's had two wives. He's had more wives than jobs in the private sector.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Hold on.

Ladies and gentlemen, having read "The Boston Globe" biography, I know -- I happen to know that John Kerry once owned a cookie company in Boston. And, therefore, he has worked in the private sector.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: And that's a true fact.

BRAZILE: And a law firm.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: OK.

Well, next, we'll ask if John Kerry has a Howard Dean problem. He's taller, but yes, he does.

And all-out war appears to have broken out on the streets of a holy city. Details after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Jeanne Meserve in Washington.

Coming up at the top of the hour, a second day of fierce fighting in Najaf, Iraq. The U.S. claims hundreds of insurgents have been killed.

Unemployment is down, but so is job creation. Is the glass half full or is it half empty?

And a shocking story from Georgia. A 16-year-old girl appears in court, accused in the brutal slaying of her own grandparents.

Those stories and much more are just minutes away on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Now back to CROSSFIRE.

BRAZILE: It's time for "Rapid Fire," where we ask questions faster than the Bush economy is creating jobs.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: But not as fast as it's running up the deficit.

Our guests are Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway and Ann Lewis of the Democratic National Committee's Women's Vote Center.

CARLSON: Ann, we found out today that it turns out members of al Qaeda really were taking photographs of buildings in the United States this year, not three years ago. In light of that, aren't you a little bit embarrassed that Howard Dean has been running around claiming that none of this is real? And why can't the Kerry campaign get ahold of that little guy and make him be quiet?

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: Well, I don't believe that Howard Dean said none of this is real. But the other is, he speaks for himself. He was not speaking for John Kerry. John Kerry has been very clear.

CARLSON: But they're like the same person. I mean, honestly.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: If your view is that they're the same person, that is not the view of voters in Democratic primaries, who voted for John Kerry and against Howard Dean.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK) CONWAY: What's really scary about Howard Dean is how close he came to becoming your party's nominee. And we should all reflect upon that.

(APPLAUSE)

BRAZILE: Governor Howard Dean is more of a fiscal conservative than George Bush. And I will defend him any day.

Now, Kellyanne, there are rumors right now that some conservatives are planning to stay home. They're afraid that the Bush campaign is running away from conservatives, not bringing key conservatives to the convention. Is it true that some conservatives are running away from this president?

CONWAY: No, that story is about two months old and it came from the Democratic National Committee. So, as a conservative Republican

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: So Paul Weyrich is not a Republican?

CONWAY: No, Paul Weyrich is a very -- he's a wonderful -- he's better than a Republican. He's conservative giant. He's a leader in this movement. And we all respect him.

BRAZILE: But his statement was 24 hours ago.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

CONWAY: However, there are many people -- there are many people who are -- he is entitled on his opinion. But there are many conservatives here. You guys wish that conservatives wouldn't show up, because then John Kerry, when he

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: ... talking about values, can look like -- look, there are plenty of conservatives speaking at the convention. You're going to see many conservatives.

BRAZILE: Name one. Name one.

CONWAY: Well, gosh.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: Rick Santorum.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: There are more and more conservatives speaking at the controversy. But, listen, we're not about bean counting. We're not about quotas. The Democratic Convention (CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: I'm all about quotas. We need more right-wingers at the convention.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Ann, quickly, John Kerry spent the whole primary season denouncing as Benedict Arnolds companies that export jobs abroad, like they're not even real Americans. And yet he accepted the endorsement of 40 separate Benedict Arnold companies. Will he give back the money and renounce the endorsement?

LEWIS: No, because John Kerry has an economic plan that says, you know what?

(BELL RINGING)

LEWIS: Tax breaks ought to go to companies that produce jobs in the United States. Now, every corporate leader that agrees with John Kerry's plan to bring more jobs to America, return us to fiscal irresponsibility -- responsibility.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: You sound like George Bush. I love it.

(LAUGHTER)

LEWIS: I know. To get us away from this running up the deficit, to lower the cost of health care.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: That's why those

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: All right.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: Ann, what U.S. workers created John Kerry's yachts and

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: That's a great question.,

Kellyanne Conway, thank you. Ann Lewis, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: Thank you. CARLSON: All right. There is something really bugging the Bush and Kerry campaigns. That's a deeply clever pun. Apparently, roaches may hold the key to who's going to win the election this fall.

We'll tell you why next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(APPLAUSE)

CARLSON: Poll after poll shows the presidential race is too close to call. Fortunately, there's one measure that boasts an accuracy rate of 80 percent in predicting presidential elections. No, it's not our poll. It's the Cockroach Derby sponsored by the New Jersey Pest Management Association.

"The Washington Times" reports this year's race will feature two giant Madagascar hissing roaches named Bush and Kerry. They will stop hissing long enough to run down an enclosed six-foot specially built track on August 19. CNN, needless to say, will be there.

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, let me just say that I hope the Kerry-Edwards roach is from Louisiana, because those roaches can fly.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Yes, they got the best roaches.

BRAZILE: We got the best roaches.

CARLSON: Your state has some of the best roaches I've ever seen.

BRAZILE: From the left, I'm Donna Brazile. That's it for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Thanks for joining us. See you Monday. Have a great weekend.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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