NOVAK: Congressman Weiner, I want to read you a couple polls taken from the CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup survey this week. Who is the stronger and more decisive leader? Bush 54 percent, Kerry 34 percent. That's 20 points difference. Who is more likely to stand up for what he believes in? Bush 52 percent, Kerry 35 percent, a 17-point difference.
What's happening to your candidate?
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Well, all I can say that is President isn't over 50 in any of these polls. And there's been a grand total of about a three-point swing throughout perhaps one of the most expensive smear campaigns in American history.
Listen, this is going to happen when the Republicans go out and smear people like Max Cleland, smear people like John McCain and smear people like John Kerry, it works for a while. It is going to wear off pretty quick, though, when the American people start realizing that the president has miscalculated. He's miscalculated the rise in poverty.
WEINER: Miscalculated in health care.
NOVAK: All right, well, you gave the answer. You don't have to give the whole campaign speech in one bite. You have plenty of time.
Mr. Weiner, I just wonder if you would agree with me this, though, that there was a miscalculation on the part of the Kerry strategists in bringing up his war record and opening up things that were better left unlooked upon on his conduct both in the war and after the war 20 years ago?
WEINER: Well, I agree with the president. I agree with John McCain. I agree with the Defense Department about the heroics of John Kerry.
But it's funny you use the word miscalculate, because that's the word that President Bush used today. He apparently miscalculated how poorly the economy was doing, two million less jobs. He miscalculated how many more people in poverty. He miscalculated the events in Iraq, which he freely admits. I'm just curious, what was the big calculation that he made that was correct over the last 3 1/2 years?
CARVILLE: Charlie, this of course is people who were all over the country this morning. When the president of the United States after almost 1,000 young Americans have been killed, after hundreds of billions of dollars of our tax money has gone down a rat hole in Iraq, after irreparable damage has been done to the reputation of the United States, the president of the United States says, you know what, I miscalculated.
I mean, how in the world is this man going to finish out this campaign telling the American people that he caused our nation all of this grief?
CHARLIE BLACK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, James, let's talk about what he said. What he said was that his military advisers thought that the Iraqi army would fight a lot harder and longer before giving up.
Instead, we routed them in less than three weeks. A lot of them faded into the countryside and took their weapons with them. And so this so-called insurgency, the terrorist warfare, started out before we could train Iraqi soldiers and police. We're well on the way to doing that. Iraq has sovereignty. There are tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police.
BLACK: And they'll be running -- they'll be running their own free country now, thanks to what we did.
CARVILLE: Charlie, you're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts.
BLACK: Iraq's a free country and terrorists
CARVILLE: Yes, you're free to get blown up. That's the one thing you're really free from.
And, of course, let me ask you, what do you think, in talking about New York? Can you tell what the president was thinking when he stood there for seven minutes and didn't do a thing after he was told that New York was under attack?
CARVILLE: I'm just asking, what do you think he was thinking?
BLACK: Let me tell you what the president did. He came back. He rallied the country to fight the war on terror.
CARVILLE: The country was rallied.
BLACK: He got the doctrine of preemption under way, so that we went to Afghanistan and cleaned out al Qaeda and their training camps.
BLACK: And the Taliban.
CARVILLE: Oh, I'm sorry. Al Qaeda is gone!?!
BLACK: We have Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and other countries on our side in the war on terror, who in fact had been cooperating with al Qaeda.
WEINER: So you think he has unified the country and the world in this fight? You think we are a more united country and a more united world?
BLACK: I think we're united against the terrorists.
WEINER: You guys should have your convention in Wonderland, though, if you think that's the case.
Saturday, August 28
Fun on Crossfire
Highlights from yesterday's Crossfire, courtesy of alert viewer Ilona:
Posted by Howard Hoffman at 9:43 AM