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In the Crossfire

Would Clinton chat catch on with channel surfers?

(CNN) -- Reports are circulating again that Bill Clinton is considering an offer to take to the airwaves as a talk-show host.

Would the former president make a good talking head or would he diminish the stature of the presidency by entering the daytime TV sweepstakes?

Lanny Davis, former Clinton White House special counsel, and Bay Buchanan, president of the conservative foundation American Cause, step into the "Crossfire" with hosts Tucker Carlson and James Carville.

DAVIS: I think that Bill Clinton is -- and I think you agree -- the smartest person, maybe co-equal to his wife, that I've ever met in public service.

CARVILLE: What a great Hillary suck-up. I hope you saw that, Sen. Clinton.

DAVIS: And I think if he did a public television, thoughtful, once-a-month analysis and interview, and it would be informative ...

CARLSON: Really, because I ...

DAVIS: ... that Bill Clinton would be informative. He would not be partisan. I think there would be a large audience. There are people who love to watch him the way people love to hate Howard Cosell and watch; there are people who love to love him. And there are people who would be interested in what he has to say.

BUCHANAN: I have no interest whatsoever. I ...

DAVIS: Even on public television?

BUCHANAN: You know, on anything. Eight years was more than enough listening to that man. But let me ask you, James, why do you not think he should do this?

CARVILLE: Because I think there's -- I think the most important thing he's got to do is this book because I think he has an incredible story to tell. I think people need to hear it. I think there are a lot of things that happened that he knows about that no one else does. There are a lot of things that happened that I know about but not a lot of other people do. I think that the insanity of some of the things that went on has to be addressed.

And I think that's the most important thing he can do right now. In my own opinion -- and I don't mind saying it, because I told the president the same thing -- that he needs to focus on that.

I wouldn't have -- I think Lanny's idea is a good one. If he'd do it once a month or four times a year. ...

CARLSON: Lanny, you said he's one of the smartest people ever, his public affairs show would be fascinating. I've always sort of taken it at face value that he's very smart and he can articulate ideas well.

I read a quote from a speech he gave at [University of Nevada, Las Vegas] last year. This is the kind of speech for which he charged up to $350,000.

I want to read you a quote. This is from his stock globalization speech. This is Bill Clinton: "The great challenge of the 21st century is to accelerate the forces of integration and harmony and reduce the forces of disintegration and chaos. We have to create a broad acceptance of the idea of the global community as an integrated place, not just an interdependent place. The world is highly interdependent but far from integrated."

BUCHANAN: What kind of ratings will that get?

CARLSON: Now in addition to being incredibly banal and obscure, it's also impenetrable.

I wonder if you, as a former adviser, can tell me what that means. Do you have any idea?

DAVIS: I think that maybe ...

CARLSON: It's snake oil?

DAVIS: ... [he] said it a little bit more succinctly. But you cannot say -- of all things you can say about Bill Clinton, I've never been in the presence of anyone ...

CARLSON: What does that mean? Honestly, what does that mean?

CARVILLE: You know what it means. That we need to be more organized and less disorganized. I mean, you know what I mean. ...

CARLSON: What a profound point. That's worth $300,000. I mean, come on.

DAVIS: Let me tell you something that is profound.

CARLSON: Well, that wasn't.

DAVIS: Bay and I went to China together 20 years ago. And she's one of the great conservatives that I know, which is not an oxymoron.

Bill Clinton in the underdeveloped world, among people in need, among people who are hurting throughout the planet, is a person who offers hope. He ought to be a person that President Bush uses in places as an emissary to people that are suffering, people who have AIDS, people who are in need throughout the planet.

CARLSON: It's a spring break.

DAVIS: And I hope -- don't get nasty.

I hope that President Bush, who I consider to be a very good man, will make use of Bill Clinton the same way that I think Jimmy Carter has been one of our great ex-presidents.

BUCHANAN: And, you know, I'm going to make a point here, Tucker. What you're saying is he's making an enormous sum of money.

But somebody in the private sector has chosen to pay him that, and they must think he is worth it. You and I can't understand that. ... It's their money, and they can ...

CARLSON: It goes to the point of just how dumb corporate executives are and so, the root of Enron. But we're going to have to ...

CARVILLE: If Reagan can get $2 million [for some speeches in Japan after leaving office], he can get $350,000.




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