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What Will Sharpton Do?; Was Bush's Credibility Compromized by House?

Aired May 2, 2002 - 19:00   ET


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

Tonight, do votes in the U.S. Congress to isolate Yasser Arafat and support Israel compromise President Bush's ability to broker a peace deal? (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

Reverend Al Sharpton may be a man on the run for president. This charismatic New Yorker tells us what's on his agenda in the months ahead.

It's Thursday, time for the CROSSFIRE police blotter. If you serve the public and are looking at serving time, this is the place for you.


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

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C. Tonight the reverend Al Sharpton, the fire brand activist from New York has his eyes on the White House. We will ask him if he is going to run in 2004?

And the politics of President Bush: We will cover all the bases with top White House insider.

But first, the inferno in the Middle East. Is Congress with President Bush's blessing fanning the flames to isolate Yasser Arafat? We'll talk about that and get the Palestinian reaction to last night's fighting in Bethlehem. Last night on "CROSSFIRE" we heard from the Israeli side. Tonight, we will get the Palestinian perspective. Please welcome our guest, Hassan Abdel Rahman, chief Palestinian representative to the United States.

Welcome, Mr. Rahman. Thank you, sir.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Mr. Rahman, as you know, late this afternoon Congress passed two resolutions supporting Israel. Here's the text, part of the text of what the House of Representatives said: "resolve that the House of Representatives remains committed to Israel's right to self-defense and supports additional U.S. assistance to help Israel defend itself."

This is really news from nowhere. This has essentially been the American position toward Israel, one of almost unqualified support since 1948. Don't you think it's important that the Palestinians begin the conversation understanding that? That the United States supports Israel. It's our closest ally in the region?

HASSAN ABDEL RAHMAN, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: We have no problem with the United States supporting the existence of Israel within the 1967 boundaries. What we find immoral and indecent about this resolution is the findings that precede this resolution. Because what they are saying here is that Israel has the right to exist and they are not paying any attention whatsoever to the suffering of the Palestinian people, and the rights of the Palestinian people to live as a free nation in their own homeland.

CARLSON: Wait a second. Mr. Rahman, everybody in the United States, in Congress, virtually everyone, agrees with the idea that the Palestinians ought to be free, that they ought to have their own state. But there's an impediment to that. I want to show you that impediment. Here he is, this is the prime impediment to peace.




CARLSON: Mr. Rahman, I want you to look at the tape, you have obviously seen it before, and tell me that's world leader. Isn't it time for the Palestinians to pick a new leader? Because this man is discredited?

RAHMAN: That is not the point in the Congress. The Congress is saying that Israel has the right to exist and they are not referring to the Palestinian...

CARLSON: Mr. Rahman, please answer my question. Isn't it time to replace Yasser Arafat? I mean with outbursts like...

RAHMAN: That is for Palestinian problem, it is not the Congress of the United States' problem. The Congress of the United States, when they make allegations that are unfounded, they are selling themselves out to the Israeli pro-Israeli lobby in the United States. They are not reflecting the decent Americans who do not believe in what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. The American people believe in justice.

CARVILLE: I'm getting ready to throw you a softball. Are you ready? I am getting ready to give you one to tee up here. Ready?

RAHMAN: Please, go ahead.

CARVILLE: OK. One of the great buffoons to ever serve in the United States Congress is Republican majority leader Dick Armey, who suggested today that the Palestinians just up and leave, and go somewhere else. Is that a realistic proposal?

RAHMAN: I am sure that George Washington and Jefferson are rolling in their graves to hear a member of the United States Congress advocating ethnic cleansing.

CARVILLE: He was...

RAHMAN: He is advocating ethnic cleansing.

CARVILLE: To defend this buffoon, he was not -- he was saying ethnic removal.

RAHMAN: No. He is saying, he is saying, kick the Palestinians out who have been living there for thousands of years and bring Russian Jews and American Jews and Argentinian Jews to take their place and the American taxpayer will pay for them.

CARVILLE: Mr. Rahman, I couldn't help but bring that up, because he is the majority leader. But I want to ask you a more serious question.

RAHMAN: He should be ashamed.

CARLSON: It's a comment he made on a cable show. He didn't break the law.

RAHMAN: He should be ashamed of himself.

CARVILLE: I agree, should be...

RAHMAN: That's a man -- that a man of his stature would present the American public would advocate in the 21st century ethnic cleansing.

CARVILLE: I think he should be ashamed of himself. I -- let me ask you -- I want to get -- I want to ask you another question. You have -- you have a point. The Palestinians want their state, whatever, you have grievances. I won't say whether they're right or wrong, but I do say you have grievances. As a strategist, you've had suicide bombings, intefadas, this and that. Why don't you try a different strategy? Non-violence.

RAHMAN: We will.


RAHMAN: And we will do. We negotiated with Israel from 1993 'til the year 2000, Jim. And I'm not saying that everything we do is correct. I'm not saying that. But at the same time, not everything that Israel is does is correct.

CARVILLE: I understand. I'm saying, I'm talking to you right now like -- no. I'm saying, what you've done is, you have not, the actions by Arafat, by the Palestinian leadership, they ain't working. You got to try something else. Why don't you try what worked in India, what worked in the American south. Why don't you try non- violence?

RAHMAN: Maybe we need to do that, but what I'm trying to say, and we have to understand, that there is a system of violence in place, and that is the occupation.


RAHMAN: Maybe that wouldn't work and I personally will advocate that. I am saying on American television. I will advocate non- violence. I have no problem. But that does not excuse what is happening in...


CARLSON: Mr. Rahman, we are a long way from the Palestinians embracing non-violence. And there are a few things that strike me that you and the Palestinian Authority need to repent of, and one of them is storming the Church of the Nativity. Now, you claim, many Palestinians do, that Israel started firing last night without provocation.

RAHMAN: No, that is not the issue...

CARLSON: Hold on, let me ask my question. The issue is, if Israeli soldiers, armed with guns, ran into a mosque seeking cover, you would be outraged by the fact that they desecrated a holy place. You have Palestinian gunmen running into a church. Isn't that itself wrong?

RAHMAN: But Tucker, this is a Palestinian church, it is a Palestinian city...

CARLSON: But they are not going into worship. You are missing the point.


RAHMAN: You are not listening to me. This is a Palestinian church. This is a Palestinian city. Bethlehem is not Tel Aviv. What is the Israeli army doing there? Instead of asking us not to hide to protect ourselves in our own church, ask the Israelis to get the hell out of our city.

CARVILLE: What I am saying, let's go back here. Because I have an office in Israeli. I have may friends there. But I want people to live in peace and I want your people to. Instead of shooting out of the church, why didn't you send some people out there praying in front of the church and then Israeli says well, gee, we shot because they shot back. The point I am trying to make to you sir, is your strategy, or not maybe yours, but the strategy that you are being called on to defend, that is being implemented ain't working worth a damn.

RAHMAN: I am glad you raised this issue. You know that all the religious people in Jerusalem and Bethlehem marched to the Church of the Nativity last week and they were stopped by the Israeli army and they were not allowed in. They were led by Michel Sabakh (ph), who is the...


RAHMAN: The Israeli army stopped them! You have an army that's acting as a...


CARVILLE: The army is defending, is defending...

RAHMAN: Defending what?

CARVILLE: ... people in Israel. Look, the people there...

RAHMAN: But they are not on the borders of Israel! Why are they in our city?


CARLSON: We have got to stop the cycle of violence.

RAHMAN: They are protecting the Jewish settlers. They are not protecting Israel. You know that.

CARVILLE: There is a way to deal with this...

RAHMAN: They are protecting the Jews they (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from the Palestinians and lived in our country!

CARVILLE: ... settler problem other than blowing them up.

RAHMAN: They are protecting their Jewish settlers. They are not protecting Israel.

CARLSON: I think we are very close, Mr. Rahman, I think we're this close to solving the crisis in the Middle East...


CARLSON: ... but unfortunately it is going to have to wait for our next show. Thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

Thank you very much.

Coming up next, just about everything you need to know about President Bush and his politics. One of the country's best Republican strategists.

And what's that funny smell? It's not a Grateful Dead show; it's Capitol Hill. Find out why some Washington pages are heading home on tonight's CROSSFIRE "Police Blotter." Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Good news for President Bush. He soars in the latest CNN "USA Today" Gallup poll, this despite charges from Democrats that he has poisoned the water and from some Republicans that he's been too hard on Israel. Good news for the president, but will the numbers last? What exactly is this administration's foreign policy? Please welcome a man with a red phone direct to the White House, Republican strategist Ed Gillespie.




CARVILLE: Let's turn around and go to the board here and look at some of these poll numbers here. CROSSFIRE, post them up there, baby! Got'em. OK. Approve, 77, disapprove, 20. Impressive. Next. Vote for Congress. Wait, something's wrong; Democratic, 48, Republican, 44. Interesting.

Ed, as we go into Matthew Dowd, the president's post, and everybody predicts that the president's numbers will come down.

GILLESPIE: That's right.

CARVILLE: Well, how many seats do you think the Democrats are going to pick up this time?

GILLESPIE: Minus four to 10.

CARVILLE: Minus four to 10. But why -- if the incumbent party at the beginning of April is four points down, in political consulting 101, that ain't good.

GILLESPIE: Actually, James, you know, because you're better than 101 in political consulting -- in 1994, when Republicans swept the House, picked up a record 52 seats and won the majority for the first time in 40 years. Remember those days? We were in that same poll at 47-44 the week of the election. Republicans historically underperform in the congressional generic ballot.

CARVILLE: No, no. In 1998, the Democrats picked up five. We picked up four Senate seats in 2000. We've won every congressional election. They have traditionally, but not here.

My point is a little bit larger here. The president's popularity is not driving the congressional vote. And if that doesn't change, will history kick in?

GILLESPIE: I don't necessarily disagree with that, James. I don't think that we should count on as Republicans the president's popularity, which will settle. It has to come down. It cannot be at 72 percent in November, but I do think it creates a positive environment in which Republicans can run. I think, though, that these congressional races are going to be by and large determined district by district, but I think when you look district by district, the Republicans' chances look very good for a net gain in both the House and the Senate.

CARLSON: I think the president's approval rating's already below 77 percent on Capitol Hill. Here you had this week, the president -- Colin Powell, actually, even calling members of Congress and saying, "don't pass these resolutions to support Israel, they'll complicate our efforts of foreign policy, the executive ought to be in charge of that." And yet Republicans in the Senate, to a senator, to a Republican senator, the only two dissenting votes were from Democrats, voted against the president and this administration's wishes. Isn't this more evidence that there is a divide between..?

GILLESPIE: Well, there was some change in that process, Tucker, because, as you know, there's a big difference between a binding resolution and a non-binding resolution.


GILLESPIE: And where the congressional members were initially going was to pass a binding resolution, which would have tied the administration's hands.

CARLSON: Of course, the administration didn't want any of them.

GILLESPIE: Look, Congress has a right -- members of Congress -- most voters don't generally get very interested or excited about foreign affairs, with the exception of the Middle East. Voters are very interested in what happens in Israel and relative to the Palestinian situation, and members of Congress feel compelled to let their voters back home know where they are. So they passed a non- binding resolution, putting themselves on record in favor of Israel.

CARLSON: You know, but Ed, I mean, I guess the point is, as you know, there is daylight between Republicans on the Hill and this administration. I mean, if you talk to them, and you do, you hear them complaining. The president isn't campaigning, he's not raising enough money for Republicans, he's triangulating against them, positing himself as a moderate against the right-wing mania, et cetera, et cetera. I mean, isn't this a problem if he's lost support amongst some conservatives on the Hill?

GILLESPIE: Tucker, there are institutional strains between Congress and the president. But believe me, there is not an ounce of daylight between this president and Republican rank and file members, both in Congress and at the grassroots level. And the fact is that these members are going to benefit, as I said, from the environment the president sets. They shouldn't count on it to carry them in reelection.

CARVILLE: Ed, today the Democratic National Committee released a list that is too long and accurate to go in through of President Bush's broken promises and inaction, but let's talk about one in terms of his proposal, that I assume that the Republicans are solid behind, to let people invest part of their Social Security taxes in the Nasdaq. Do you expect that this will be brought up between now and election, where the president will tap in another $1 trillion out of the Social Security fund to...? GILLESPIE: A couple of points, James, if I might. First of all, the -- what the Democrats came out with today...

CARVILLE: But the president did propose that during the campaign?

GILLESPIE: The president said -- suggested that we should allow for individuals to direct a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes, if they choose, and to direct it in investment. You might -- just like, by the way, federal government employee do...


GILLESPIE: I think you'll hear a lot of discussion about it between now and election, but I don't believe it's...

CARVILLE: We can discuss it right now. It's a promise he made. The man just put it on the table between now and November and let them just air it out...


CARLSON: ... or we can talk about the Democratic plan to save Social Security, which is -- oh, sorry, there isn't one!


GILLESPIE: It's in the mail. It's in the mail, Tucker.

CARVILLE: ... $2 trillion...


GILLESPIE: I got to say, by the way, you know, Tiger Woods got his green jacket for winning the Masters in golf. I'm assuming you got yours for winning the masters in demagoguery on Social Security.

CARVILLE: Is it demagoguery to say, are you -- you made a promise in the campaign. Do you have any plans of bringing this up before the Congress? You may call that demagoguery. I call that a man who means what he says and says what he means. Is that demagoguery?

GILLESPIE: He is a man who says what he means and means what he says.

CARVILLE: He said he was going to bring it up.

GILLESPIE: James, this is a debate that is going to require a lot more time between now and the next five months to work through. And it should also be done, by the way, in a bipartisan manner.


CARLSON: But I want to ask you a question that a lot of the president's allies, and I'm obviously among them, are asking. That is a number of weeks ago, the president asked and then essentially demanded that the IDF, that the Israelis pull out from the West Bank. They didn't. So the question really becomes, did the president kind of make this up as he was speaking and sort of decided, well, that's a good idea, they ought to withdraw, you must withdraw, or, as I think is more likely, there was an arrangement with Sharon that they would withdraw and then the Israelis went back on that arrangement? So which is it? Did the president make it up as he went along or did the Israelis double-crossed him?

GILLESPIE: Tucker, the fact is the Israelis have withdrawn from Ramallah...

CARLSON: Ed, come on.

GILLESPIE: And we now have -- Arafat is free to move...


CARLSON: Let's be honest. He said, I want you to get out, but they didn't.

GILLESPIE: I am being honest.

CARLSON: No, but they didn't get out.

GILLESPIE: There was a lag, but the fact is...


GILLESPIE: ... it happened, so.

CARVILLE: I think the Japanese got out of the Philippines!


CARLSON: But do you think it's possible...

GILLESPIE: We're making progress here, and that's the important thing. We'd all like to make progress a lot faster. It's the role of government to encourage...

CARVILLE: Are you saying this administration has made progress in the Middle East?

GILLESPIE: I'd say we made some progress in the Middle East in the past few days, anyway.

CARVILLE: Oh! The past few days, geez!

CARLSON: James, we have. Come on.

GILLESPIE: Progress is relative. I mean, it's a terrible situation. We need to keep pushing for it.

CARLSON: As we know, Bill Clinton solved this problem a long time ago. Ed Gillespie, thank you for joining us and thanks for pointing out the inconsistencies with this administration, we particularly appreciate that.


CARLSON: When we return, more outrage over convicted Congressman Jim Traficant. Now that he prepares to don an orange jumpsuit, what happens to his congressional pension? That's part of the CNN "Police Blotter."

And the CROSSFIRE quote of the day. Here is a hint. Went from relative obscurity two years ago -- some say he's biting the hand that made him famous. Who is it? We'll tell you when we return.


CARVILLE: Welcome back. It's time for our Thursday night "Police Blotter." When public figures intersect with law enforcement, CROSSFIRE is there!

We can all now breathe a little easier knowing that 11 high school pages of the House of Representatives were sent packing his week. They were nabbed with marijuana in their Capitol Hill dorm. These pages, all nominated by Republican members, were kicked out under zero tolerance policy by the board that oversees the page program. A roommate of one of the pages turned him in. Snitch!

CARLSON: And Raymond Leopard used to be known as "The Winston Man." In the late 1970s, he appeared in magazine ads, reminding people that Winston tastes good like a cigarette should. He has changed his mind. Leopard, which apparently is his real name, is suing the R&J tobacco company for $65 million. Little Rock, Arkansas man doesn't have lung cancer or emphysema. In fact, he never smoked Winstons. Leopard is suing on the grounds of, quote, "emotional distress," caused by the unpleasant nature of his job. Here's Leopard's argument: 25 years ago, he helped convince other people to buy a product that made them sick. For his role in making them sick, he now believes he's entitled to tens of millions of dollars in compensation. As the lawsuit puts it, quote, "his reputation has been forever tarnished and his personal credibility diminished." It is now.

CARVILLE: Congressman James Traficant, the Democrat who always voted with the Republicans, convicted last month on federal bribery and tax evasion charges won't have to worry about earning $1 an hour making license plates. The National Taxpayers Union says despite his conviction, Traficant will receive an annual pension to the tune of $38,000. Regardless of the outcome of his appeals, he'll get to keep every cent. I can't believe the U.S. Congress won't stand up and vote away this man's pension. If you steal from your employer, you shouldn't be able to keep your pension. Here's my idea. If Congress won't do the right thing, the judge ought to just fine him an extra $38,000 a year plus another $10,000 punitive damages for that hair!

We don't like a lot of hair. CARLSON: No! Even if it's not real.

And finally tonight, the price of fame. When actor Robert Blake was arrested last month in the death of his wife, TV crews across America searched frantically for people who had known the murdered women, Bonnie Lee Bakley. Before long, they found Joseph E. Bakley, her brother. You may have seen him on television. Unfortunately for him, so have the police.

Joseph Bakley, it turns out, was not only a newsworthy guest, he's also a wanted felon. Police in Florida say they've been looking for Bakley for nine years since he violated his parole after convictions for cocaine possession and grand theft auto. Cops finally caught up with the 36-year-old man at a homeless shelter in San Diego, but not before he'd appeared repeatedly on radio and television. The moral of the story, if you want to find a fugitive, ask a producer.

CARVILLE: Who do you think turned those pages in? Was it a Republican page?


CARLSON: I'm not endorsing dope smoking, but you'll notice that when pages go out and get zany, is it the Democrats? No, they're home working to fix Social Security -- it's the Republicans.

CARVILLE: Oh, so you're saying it's a good thing that Republicans smoke pot?

CARLSON: I'm not saying that at all.


CARLSON: It's a bad thing.


CARLSON: OK. When we return, a CNN news alert, and then Al Sharpton, who may declare his candidacy for president right here on CROSSFIRE. I think he will, but you'll have to stick around to see.

Also, our quote of the day, and here's our final hint. Can you really have no opinion about running for president? That's what the person behind our quote of the day says. We're not certain we believe him. We'll be right back.


CARLSON: Now the CROSSFIRE quote of the day. He lost the last time, but that hasn't dulled Joe Lieberman's appetite for higher office. Senator Lieberman would like to run for president. Only problem. He's promised not to run if Al Gore seeks the nomination. Will Gore seek it? Here is Senator Lieberman's take as told to "The New York Times." It's our quote of the day. "It's a very big personal decision for him, so he's got to make it. I don't have an opinion on it," which I say, busted. You're lying. Mr. Rectitude telling a lie. This is like catching the head of PETA having lunch at the Palm. This is a big deal. Joe Lieberman lying in public to "The New York Times"?

CARVILLE: Well, first of all -- he didn't lose. He won.

CARLSON: I know he did.

CARVILLE: I understand.

CARLSON: Is he vice president now?

CARVILLE: Secondly, the important thing is, when you run for national office, I say it's like sex. It's just an itch that don't go away with one scratch.

CARLSON: I agree with that.


CARLSON: And he can keep scratching.

CARVILLE: And he may very well. And I agree with you. I think...

CARLSON: Well, then why not just say, I want to scratch. I'm not going to lie about it. Here I am scratching a little bit?

CARVILLE: You know, I think -- it's not like Bush saying he's going to do something about Social Security and then walking away from it. I mean, let's put it in the kind of realm of things. Bush tells really big lies, not little lies!

CARLSON: Speaking of hypocrisy...

CARVILLE: Like saying he's a big environmentalist president (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: James, you disagree with what he said he was going to do.

CARVILLE: I think, no...

CARLSON: You disagree with...

CARVILLE: No, ne not only -- not only do I disagree with it, he didn't tell the truth.

CARLSON: Speaking of hypocrisy.

CARVILLE: No hypocrisy? Tell a trillion dollar lie. Let me finish.

CARLSON: How do we get on to Bush's environmental record?

(CROSS TALK) CARVILLE: But continuing what I was saying, he's in a kind of political thing. And your guy pilfers away $2 trillion out of Social Security trust fund and you decide to keep him in there. And you're acting like there's something terrible about this.

CARLSON: I've heard this argument before. None of the other guys do it. They do it worse. They're bad, too.

CARVILLE: You're right. Joe Lieberman would like to run for president. Absolutely.

CARLSON: I hope he does. Good luck, Joe.

Coming up later, Bill Clinton. Could he be the next Oprah Winfrey? Should he? We'll debate that in "round six."

But next up, could this man really be president? He seems to think so. Al Sharpton next, in the crossfire. We'll be right back.


CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. Al Sharpton, the best known unelected politician in New York. A long time media savvy agitator, now he's showing all the symptoms of a presidential candidate. Will he run? If so, as what? And with whom? And for what cause? Some of our questions. Please welcome Al Sharpton.


AL SHARPTON, REV., NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: It's been one scratch that won't go away.

CARVILLE: There you go, huh?

Well let's -- let me just start out with the big question here, right here. We're on CROSSFIRE. We're here at the George Washington University. We're here in power city. Tell us, sir, are you running for president in 2004 or not?

SHARPTON: I've not decided.

CARVILLE: Al, come on.

SHARPTON: I've not decided. I really am looking at it. We have an exploratory committee. I'm committed to the idea. If...

CARVILLE: You're sounding like every other politician. Just tell us if you're going it run or not. Come on. Speak up when -- you'll speak against the tide.

SHARPTON: Yes, and I will if that's what I decide to do. I really haven't decided. I think that there needs to be a challenge. There needs to be someone that raises a lot of the issues that are not being raised. And -- but there also needs to be a feasible strategy that could lean toward... CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) one of these things. Here are some things that people are going to call on you to do. Are you going to do it? Or are you going to release all your tax returns and financial statements, health records?

SHARPTON: Absolutely. In fact, every time I've run, I've done that. And I will do that if I decide to run.

CARVILLE: Well, I hope you do decide, Al Sharpton, because you look great, by the way. I hope you run as a Democrat, I look forward to covering you. I look forward to covering your speeches. And I hope you give speeches like. This is a speech you gave in 1992 early at Keane University in New Jersey. This is one of my favorite Al Sharpton quotes. "White folks was in the cave when we built empires. We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and then Greeks homos ever got around to it." If you run, speeches like that?

SHARPTON: Well first of all, if I made the speech, first of all...

CARLSON: If you made the speech? You did you make the speech.

SHARPTON: Well, you're reading your card. Doesn't mean...

CARLSON: That was in "The New York -- did you not say that?

SHARPTON: Am I allowed to respond?

CARLSON: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: Tonight? All right. Thank you, sir. So...

CARLSON: Tell me about them Greek homos.

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I think that clearly, if you look at my record with the gay and lesbian communities, you can never try to accuse me of dealing in any homophobic...

CARLSON: And I'm just quoting you. "Them Greek homos..."

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, I don't know that you're quoting me properly or not. But let's talk about the issue of homosexuality. Let's talk about how many Republicans are not dealing with the problems that we're even facing today with fellow churchmen of mine, who are trying to act as if homosexuals are the cause, rather than pedophiles are the cause.

So clearly, I would support gay and lesbian rights. I've marched with them. And will continue to march with them.


SHARPTON: So my speeches would be, since you've uncovered them, that we need to stop the homophobia on the right, give people equal opportunity no matter what their lifestyle is. My speeches would be that we need to stop a nation that tries to...

CARLSON: OK. But how about...

SHARPTON: He wants to talk about...

CARLSON: No, no, I want to quote you.

SHARPTON: You want to quote your card!

CARLSON: Hold on, I'm the resident Al Sharpton expert here.

SHARPTON: No, your the resident card reader. That doesn't make you the resident Al Sharpton.

CARLSON: Mr. Sharpton, as you know...

SHARPTON: I don't know who wrote your card. Why don't you ask me what I said? I'm sitting here.

CARLSON: OK, I will. In 1995, there was a store called Freddie's on 125th Street, covered every day in "The New York Times," actually your protests outside.

SHARPTON: Well, that's not true. Because I did not -- I went to one protest.

CARLSON: Let me just give you this quote. Well at that protest...

SHARPTON: No, but again, you are misleading the public.

CARLSON: At that protest, you were taped. And this was on television. This was also in "The New York Times," referring to the owner of that store, who was Jewish, as "a white interloper."

SHARPTON: All right, now let me make a wager with you.

CARLSON: Did you not say that?

SHARPTON: If you can produce a tape of me at a protest saying that, did...

CARLSON: Did you not refer to him as a white interloper?

SHARPTON Actually, what I said in a radio broadcast, five months before, is, as I called them an "interloper" because I didn't agree with some of his -- the day I went to the protest I went in, attempted to meet with him and the other side to mediate.

CARLSON: That was before. And his store was burned down by your supporters.

SHARPTON: Well, wait a minute. I support the state of Israel. Am I responsible for the aggression going on in Israel?

CARLSON: No, I was just saying. CARVILLE: Reverend Sharpton?

SHARPTON: So what is my support of the president have to do with the store be...

CARLSON: They burned the store down.

[ringing bell]

SHARPTON: You guys on the right.

CARLSON: That's true.

CARVILLE: Fellows!

SHARPTON: Why don't you guys on the right win fair?

CARVILLE: Gentlemen, gentlemen! Reverend...

CARLSON: Why don't you run for president. I can't wait, Al Sharpton. Run for president. Run, Al, run!

SHARPTON: Well, let me answer. I probably...

CARVILLE: What can you say, man?

SHARPTON: I probably will make that decision, but what I'm trying to say is in these areas, you guys need to play fair!

CARLSON: I'm just quoting you.

CARVILLE: I want to play fair.

CARLSON: And I enjoy it.

CARVILLE: I probably -- you said you should run for president. You said I probably will make that decision.

SHARPTON: You tried to announce me...

CARVILLE: You probably will make the decision to run. Is that what you were saying?

SHARPTON: I said I probably will make a decision to run? Yes.


SHARPTON: No. I'll probably make a decision whether I'm going to run.

CARVILLE: Well, you're not going to probably make a decision. We know that. OK, right?

SHARPTON: Well, yes, I'm just having fun with him with his cards.

CARVILLE: I understand.

SHARPTON: I have a card for you. You said George Bush won the election. Did you?

CARLSON: Yes, I did.

CARVILLE: He knows that. Let me -- so you're saying, we know you're -- you said you're going to probably run for president?

SHARPTON: I said I'm inclined to do it. I've not made the final -- you run these campaigns. You know that you...

CARVILLE: I don't have any hair to split, so I'm not going to split hairs with you. OK. Let me ask you, there are two kinds of people that run for president. Those that run for president to make a point, and those that run for president to be president.

SHARPTON: And the third is those that want to be president to make a point. If I run, I would be in the third category. I would run for president to make a point. A point that our seniors would not be in the position they are, where you have trillions of dollars now being played with out of Social Security.

CARVILLE: If you run for president...


CARVILLE: you really expect you'll be elected?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, if anybody runs, they can't guarantee they'll be elected.

CARVILLE: I'm just asking.

SHARPTON: I would not run if I was not running to win. I will not run just to run.

CARLSON: Well I'll tell you who will be elected if you run. And that, of course, is George W. Bush. One of the reasons...

SHARPTON: Well, that'll be the first time he was elected.

CARLSON: One of the reasons I want to see you run...

SHARPTON: I would like to see him get elected one time, if that's what he's going to be, as president.

CARLSON: I think that's a fantastic campaign slogan, Al Sharpton. But don't you think -- I mean, since you've never been elected to anything before, don't you think you ought to find, say, a congressional district or maybe an assembly seat?

SHARPTON: Well first of all...

CARLSON: I mean, don't get me wrong. I want you to run.

SHARPTON: Well, that was the advice someone gave Dwight Eisenhower, he wouldn't have been president twice.

CARLSON: No. That's an excellent point, but...


CARLSON: But you didn't lead allied forces in World War II.

SHARPTON: Oh, now -- no, but I have led in the arena of social justice and civil rights, which is public service.

CARLSON: That's kind of like the Normandy...

SHARPTON: Well, yes, there are a lot of people. Well, it's according to the way you want to go with that, but...

CARLSON: Come on, Al.

CARLSON: But Mr. Tucker, I think that we should no longer limit public service to just elected -- there are people that make tremendous contributions.


CARVILLE: This is a fair point.

SHARPTON: And I'm sure you didn't take that position when Pat Robertson ran for office.

CARLSON: Actually, but what is -- you saw Bill Clinton last week.

SHARPTON: No, no, we're talking Pat Robertson.

CARLSON: I didn't support his presidential.

SHARPTON: No, but you didn't say that he should run, because they wouldn't have let you...

CARLSON: You were with the president, the former president...


CARVILLLE: Can a shooting partner get in this poker game? You haven't stopped talking! Can I ask a question?

CARLSON: You saw the president -- former president President Clinton last week. He and Michael Jackson were together, did you talk to them about your presidential run?

SHARPTON: No. And I didn't see where Michael Jackson -- I did a voter registration campaign with him. And no, I did not talk to him about my campaign, no.

CARVILLE: Wait. Let's go back. When you say because you hadn't run in public service. I agree with that. Being president of the United States is a little bit more public service than as see from the guy in here who's having such -- and is so confused. It is a pretty hard job.

SHARPTON: Yes, but at the same time, James...

CARVILLE: I mean, he don't know what...

SHARPTON: Many people that are talking about running have been senators, which is a much different job than president. Or have been in any number of roles. I don't think that you can use one to compare the other. I think anyone that wins for president has to select a cabinet of people that will help run government based on their vision.

CARLSON: Name one member of your cabinet if you were to become president?

SHARPTON: Well that is very premature.

CARLSON: Well, go ahead!

CARVILLE: Let me ask you a simple question. If you...

SHARPTON: You've have to send me a resume. And I'll get back to you.

CARVILLE: Let me ask you something, if you were president, would you insist that your Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense be of the same mindset on important strategic objectives?

SHARPTON: Oh, absolute, I think...

CARVILLE: In other words, you wouldn't have this thing that we got now?

SHARPTON: I think is the fact that you have...

CARLSON: Wait, you're saying Al Sharpton's a better president than Bush?

CARVILLE: Let the man finish.

SHARPTON: Am I not allowed to answer a question?

CARLSON: Yes, go crazy.

CARVILLE: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: I think the fact that we're sitting up here now with an open split before the world, at this time that we need to be united as a nation, fighting terrorism. And you have an open split in the Bush administration. I think it's very unfortunate.

CARVILLE: Amazing. You have a much better grasp of the president than (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: And for a different reason, I hope you run. Al Sharpton, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it. Al Sharpton, 2004. Coming up later, your chance to fire back at us. But first, talk show talk about the man who never stops talking. Round six, coming up.


CARLSON: Welcome back. Time now for "round six." The guests have gone home. It's just James and me, and of course, Bill Clinton.

According to "The L.A. Times", the former president is talking to NBC about his own daytime talk show and asking for $50 million a year. Troubled teens, unfaithful marriages, 10 tips to shed those extra holiday pounds. Is America ready for the Bill Clinton show? Should Oprah be worried? You know what, James. This is not that different from his presidency, which from my point of view, is an extended episode of "The Sally Jesse Rafael Show." And this is, you know, I predicted this five years ago as a joke. You know, become a talk show host. But like most pictures you make about Clinton as a joke, they tend out to be true. You cannot go lower than the reality basically.

CARVILLE: Well, you're right. In some ways, it's not a lot to do with this president because you got the same mullets in the media. I read this out of "The Los Angeles Times." What it doesn't have is a quote from President Clinton or a quote from any of President Clinton's spokesperson because it is the duty of the media as opposed to reporting what happened to entertain people on cable TV. Now I talked to...

CARLSON: Actually, there was a quote.

CARVILLE: I talked to -- let me finish. After the story, I talked to today, to four United States networks have talked to President Clinton about doing something. as have just about literally every major international network. President Clinton has no intention of doing this. He sits down, he's a courteous man. He talks to people. And if "The Los Angeles Times" and these people in journalism understood before you write something, you would be a lot better off you should called people for comment, as opposed to trying to get yourself quoted and cable TV, you'd be a lot better.

CARLSON: May I ask you a question? Well, no, stop. Let me ask you a question then. My -- look, I don't think Clinton's going to get a talk show, although like Al Sharpton's candidacy, I hope it happens. But let me just put it this way. When he left office, he made a number of grandiose promises about curing AIDS in Africa, solving world hunger, solving poverty, all these high-minded things he was going strive for. And yet now undeniably, he is in talks, I don't think he's going to it, but you agree, he is in talks for a daytime television.

CARVILLE: You know...

CARLSON: How low can you get?

CARVILLE: He works tirelessly. I know Sandy Thurman, who's very involved in this. President Clinton does. CARLSON: Raising money for himself.

CARVILLE: But AIDS, you don't know what you're talking about. He was in India. I know how much money he raised for AIDS. I know the things that he does. The problem...

CARLSON: James, he's talking about doing a daytime talk show. That's undeniable.

CARVILLE: They're talking to him about it. They called him.

CARLSON: Yes, he wanted $50 million as a number.

CARVILLE: Who quoted it?

CARLSON: He -- Julia Payne has (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was asked. And her quote was, "We did not demand a talk show, but we were in talks.

CARVILLE: Again, four networks in the United States -- straight ahead -- your chance to fire back at us.


CARLSON: Welcome back. CROSSFIRE's almost over tonight. I won. James Carville lost, but one more segment. It's time for our "Fireback" segment. To e-mail.

First up, Paul Morelli from Clinton, Connecticut. Chortle, chortle, smirk, smirk. "Please don't stoop to the level of Begala by calling guests and commentators 'creeps'. You have too much class for that. Just state the facts and you'll be all right."

Well, Paul Morelli, I agree with you. I call David Brock a creep the other night. Actually, that was just stating the facts. But in general, I'm against name-calling.

CARVILLE: "I just had the my daily dose of CROSSFIRE. The best argument I can think of against cloning. Can you imagine having two James Carvilles walking around? Leonard Denney, Wimberley, Texas. No, Leonard, I can't. My own wife claims I look like the product from the love scene in the film "Deliverance." So who wants two of me, anyway?

CARLSON: OK, from Scott. "The U.K. bans Farrakhan. The U.S. should do the same with Tucker. Is there an adult haircut fund I can send to the contribution to for the man? P.S. do I get a T-shirt if you use this on TV? No, Scott, you don't get a T-shirt! I won't get a haircut. Thanks to you.

CARVILLE: All right. "James, you better be careful, y'all might start a revolution up there. Keep it up. I haven't had this much fun since my honeymoon." Oh, wow! Don't let anybody stop this. Dottie Carter, Fayettville, West Virginia.

CARLSON: Since my honeymoon? Somebody needs to get out a lot more often! CARVILLE: These people are just dying to call. And there's a lot to be said for this. And Dottie, you keep watching and we'll just keep slapping this around.

CARLSON: Dottie, that's a poignant commentary on your home life. Sorry. Sir, you have a question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do, Mr. Carville.

CARLSON: There he is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As an old friend of the Clintons, would you ever consider campaigning for Mrs. Clinton if she ever decided to run for president?

CARVILLE: I would be honored to. She one of the greatest people I know. I am so delighted she won by a large margin in the New York race. And you know the best thing about her is she irritates those right wingers. And I love that, too.

CARLSON: You know what?

CARVILLE: She is a great lady.

CARLSON: Let me correct you. I say Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton, 2004. It's quite a ticket. Sir, you have question.

SCOTT WILSON: I do. My name's Scott Wilson. I'm from Cincinnati. I'm just wondering, why does the U.S. support Israel when it receives virtually nothing in return at the same time, and enrages every Arab country in the region?

CARVILLE: Well, let me -- well, I'll start because I worked (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The first thing is, Israel is democracy. And people has its charter from the United States, from the United Nations. It actually has a birth certificate, if you will. And I think that Israel is a wonderful just place. I do think the Palestinians are entitled to their own state. And I think the United States needs to be more creative in its policy. I don't think that all of the actions that's being taken, that are being taken by this Congress and this government are necessarily in the best interest of Israel as well, meaning as some of these people may be.

CARLSON: OK, next question. Sir?

TERRY GOLDEN: I'm Terry Golden from Alexandria, Virginia. Tucker, do you think that Orrin Hatch's recent stand on human cloning is a betrayal of his long-held pro-life position?

CARLSON: I'm not sure that it's a betrayal of his own position. I think it's the wrong position. I think it'll be used by proponents of cloning. It'll be sort of the poster child for the conservative who came out for their side.

CARVILLE: Oh, Tucker, that's all we got time for. From the left, I'm James Carville. Good-night from CROSSFIRE. CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow night for yet another edition of CROSSFIRE. See you then.


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