SHOW: News Forum 6:30 AM EST LOCAL
September 5, 2004 Sunday
HEADLINE: New York Congressmen Charles Rangel and Peter King discuss presidential politics
ANCHORS: GABE PRESSMAN
GABE PRESSMAN, host:
The Republican National Convention is over. Amid cheers and balloons and President Bush, it ended as delegates chanted 'Four more years.' Bush stating his case for re-election to an enthusiastic audience at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. And the question for the voters is will John Kerry or George W. Bush do better in fighting the war against terrorism, creating jobs, improving education and health care? Our guests today are two New York congressmen on the firing line in Washington: Nassau Republican Peter King and Harlem Democrat Charles Rangel. They'll debate the issues and the merits of the men.
Announcer: From Studio 6B in Rockefeller Center, this is a presentation from News Channel 4, Gabe Pressman's NEWS FORUM. Now your host, senior correspondent Gabe Pressman.
PRESSMAN: Good morning, Congressman King and Congressman Rangel. Welcome.
Representative PETER KING (Democrat, New York): Good to be here.
PRESSMAN: The conventions are over. President Bush has promised to build a safer world. John Kerry couldn't wait to strike back after the speech. In general he accused the Republicans in this convention of anger and distortion. Both candidates were off and running immediately. They couldn't wait for the traditional beginning of a presidential campaign-Labor Day. Do you expect that this is going to be a dirty or negative campaign, Congressman Rangel?
Representative CHARLES RANGEL (Democrat, New York): I hope not. But I am glad that the campaign is finally beginning. You can have all the music and balloons and confetti all you want, but the question is ...(unintelligible) this country is polarized. On the domestic issues, the president made the same promise last night that he made close to four years ago. So let the unemployed and the uninsured, let the veterans that are looking for health care, let those that are in the service, let them decide whether or not he's fulfilled the promise. But the question of the war is the one I want to deal with.
PRESSMAN: What about that? Do you think it's going to be a smear campaign, a dirty campaign, the-Congressman King?
Rep. KING: No, and I don't think it's been very dirty so far. It's hard-fought and it's tough, but it should be. And I'm more than willing to see President Bush debate John Kerry on the issues Charlie raised. The world is safer today because of George Bush, 'cause of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. As far as the economy, as far as local issues-just this weekend alone, 144,000 new jobs were announced. Unemployment is down, lower now than what it was when Bill Clinton ran in 1996. George Bush inherited a recession from Bill Clinton, then we had 9/11. He's turned that around, so we can have a very good debate. Veterans' benefits up 35 percent in the last four years, more than under Bill Clinton. We can have this debate.
PRESSMAN: OK. Well, you know, let's start out by listening to statements that they made in their acceptance speeches. First, the president on Thursday night. This is an excerpt from...
President GEORGE W. BUSH: (From September 2nd) My opponent and I have different approaches. I propose and the Congress overwhelmingly passed $87 billion in funding needed by our troops doing battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets and fuel and vehicles and body armor. (Audience boos) When asked to explain his vote, the senator said, 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.'
PRESSMAN: Well, what about that?
Rep. KING: It's true. He was one of only 14 senators who voted against it. Senator Schumer voted for it, Senator Clinton voted against it, the overwhelming majority, Republicans and Democrats. And what John Kerry was doing at the time was trying to appeal to the Howard Dean voters in the Democratic primary.
Rep. RANGEL: That's just not so. That's one of the most hypocritical statements that he ever made. What the senator did do when he said he voted for it-he voted for the $87 billion and he paid for it, and the reason we have this deficit today and the reason why we're allowing Japan and China to really form up our government in terms of the moneys that we're borrowing is the reason that we have a problem. He voted for it when it was paid for, and then when it wasn't paid for and it was taken directly out of the deficit he voted no.
Rep. KING: Or and that's what-and that again, that is the small minority of the Senate. He can have that debate with Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer. They thought it was important enough to vote for it. They were putting the troops before some deficit problem which primarily was created because of the recession we inherited from Bill Clinton...
Rep. RANGEL: The money was already in the budget for this anyway. The question has to be...
Rep. KING: Well, how come there's this big debate in between Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer on one side and John Kerry on the other? Why is he such a small minority?
Rep. RANGEL: The question has to be last night and you and everyone keep saying that 9/11 was a horrific blow for the city and for the country, and the president promised us that he was going to retaliate and get the people responsible.
Rep. KING: Right.
Rep. RANGEL: He has not done that. Now while he has taken out Saddam Hussein and allowed us to believe...
Rep. KING: And the Taliban.
Rep. RANGEL: Yeah, you give me the name of the Taliban-but we're talking about Saddam Hussein.
Rep. KING: Who's running Afghanistan?
Rep. RANGEL: Listen. There's a thousand troops that have been killed, tens of thousand Iraqis.
Rep. KING: Right. Right.
Rep. RANGEL: And it wasn't for the Taliban, it was for taking out Saddam Hussein. Let...
Rep. KING: Which was important to do. That was important to our national sec...
Rep. RANGEL: It was important to do. It-was it important enough...
Rep. KING: All right. Well...
Rep. RANGEL: ...to do for all those lives to be lost-and-and even he admits after going in there and declaring war, he has no clue as to how we gotta get out.
Rep. KING: That is totally untrue.
Rep. RANGEL: When he says...
Rep. KING: Totally untrue.
Rep. RANGEL: ...if you woke up in the morning and God told you that terror was going to surrender, you would not even know where to go. They got Saddam Hussein because before he was elected...
Rep. KING: OK, it's gotta be said...
Rep. RANGEL: ...his daddy and he decided that they're going to take out Saddam Hussein.
Rep. KING: Now, OK, this is all Michael Moore fantasy. We went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to account for his weapons of mass destruction, consistently violated UN resolutions and in a post-9/11 world no American president could afford to give Saddam Hussein the benefit of the doubt.
PRESSMAN: But isn't it a fact that they didn't find any weapons of mass destruction?
Rep. KING: The important thing there is first of all we can't make that presumption. If he has them-he says he has them and he wouldn't account for them. In the post-9/11 world you cannot give him the benefit of the doubt. As a result of our going into Iraq, not only is Saddam Hussein gone, but Qaddafi has given up his weapons of mass destruction and tremendous progress is being made in Iraq. Now John Kerry voted for the war and now he says that he would still vote for the war, so what's the difference?
Rep. RANGEL: He didn't vote for the war. He voted to authorize the president...
Rep. KING: Sorry, that was voting for the war.
Rep. RANGEL: Not everyone who gave him the authority, but following your theory, if weapons of mass destruction suggests thinking it means that we can go to war, then we can go to war...
Rep. KING: No. No.
Rep. RANGEL: ...with North Korea and we can go to war with Iran.
Rep. KING: Well, and you may have to ultimately, absolutely.
Rep. RANGEL: Oh...
Rep. KING: Of course.
Rep. RANGEL: That's it. War, war, war.
Rep. KING: No, no. I mean, sometimes you have to, and 'cause Bill Clinton put it off for eight years, and that's why we had the twin towers on 9/11.
PRESSMAN: All right. Let's hear from the other candidate. More recently, on the night of the acceptance speech by the president, John Kerry had a few words to say. He didn't waste any time in getting to the microphone.
Senator JOHN KERRY (Democratic Presidential Nominee): This week they have attacked my patriotism and even my fitness to serve as commander in chief. (Audience boos) Well, here is my answer to them: I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refuse to serve when they could have and who misled America into Iraq.
Rep. RANGEL: It's about time. That's all I can say.
PRESSMAN: Who was he referring to?
Rep. RANGEL: He's referring to a guy that the lieutenant governor, Ben Barnes, of Texas allowed him to get into the Texas National Air Force Guard when people couldn't get in. His name was George Bush. The guy gets in there, he gets a license to fly a plane, but in order to make certain that he keeps it he had to take a physical. So he doesn't take the physical, he runs off campaigning for other people. He leaves and goes to school someplace for graduate school, and at the end of the day he calls himself a hero. And he is challenging this man who's been in combat. He's the president of the United States. I don't believe you have to be a veteran to be a leader, but it takes a lot of chutzpa to challenge a guy like John Kerry when you got a record like President Bush.
PRESSMAN: You're a combat veteran, right? Vietnam?
Rep. RANGEL: Yeah. No, no, Korea.
PRESSMAN: Korea, I'm sorry. I made you younger than you are. What about you, Congressman King? Do you feel that it's fair to go after Kerry when you didn't go into a situation where people were firing at you in anger?
Rep. KING: Well, again, John Kerry is delusional here. George Bush...
Rep. RANGEL: Delusional.
Rep. KING: George Bush, Dick Cheney, every one of the speakers praised John Kerry's war record. No one said he was unfit. They said he has terrible judgment, and that's his record as a senator. Nobody questioned his military record. They all specifically said that they admired his heroic duty in Vietnam and the entire crowd applauded for that. He's trying to create a strawman here, and if we're talking about who's a war hero or not, I mean, here's Bob Dole in 1996, one of the greatest war heroes ever...
Rep. KING: ...running against Bill Clinton, who dodged the draft altogether. As far as George Bush, let's remember 40 percent of the troops in Iraq are National Guard troops. There were thousands of Air National Guard people activated during Vietnam and the most decorated Army unit in Vietnam was an Army National Guard unit. He didn't go over; he was in the armed forces, and if he had been called he would have gone. No one is questioning John Kerry's record. The Swift Boat Veterans are. That has nothing to do with the White House, and for the Democrats to complain after they supported that blasphemous and slanderous movie by Michael Moore, which is the worst trash ever, and yet Democrats appearing at the premiere and the opening-it's absolutely disgraceful that the Democrats even raised that.
Rep. RANGEL: The best you're saying is we did it, so you can do it...
Rep. KING: No. I'm saying George Bush didn't do it. No.
Rep. RANGEL: ...because the lawyer that was involved in the Swift Boat attacks on Kerry was the same guy that quit the White House.
Rep. KING: And all...
Rep. RANGEL: But the truth of the matter is that-let me just finish one point.
Rep. KING: Right.
Rep. RANGEL: When you say that the president was eligible to be called, that is not so. He never was given his license to fly because...
Rep. KING: OK, now wait. No, he did not. He did not.
Rep. RANGEL: ...he failed the test. Right now he is unemployable...
Rep. KING: No.
Rep. RANGEL: ...in terms of a flyer.
Rep. KING: For four years he was combat-eligible. He did pass all the tests, he was highly qualified.
Rep. RANGEL: And when he left he was not combat-eligible.
Rep. KING: The last year. The last year.
Rep. RANGEL: OK.
Rep. KING: He could still be activated.
Rep. KING: He could still be activated.
Rep. RANGEL: ...(Unintelligible).
PRESSMAN: All right, gentlemen, let's move on to discuss some more current issues maybe in a novel way, after this message.
PRESSMAN: And we're back here with Congressmen Rangel and King.
Gentlemen, I'd like to try something which may or may not work. In view of the fact that you're discussing this as surrogates, let's pretend for a moment that it's the real thing. You're the president of the United States and you're the challenger, Mr. Kerry. How would you address the economy and the question of jobs? Mr. Kerry?
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) I can tell you this. I know...
PRESSMAN: Talk to-you know, talk to the president.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) When you got into office you promised that you were going to improve the economy. You've been putting a lot of blame on Clinton. But the truth of the matter is that the only thing that you've done is mourn with the rest of the world that we lost 3,000 people. You promised us that you were going to retaliate, but all of the record indicates that you went after the wrong guy. This is like after Pearl Harbor, you went and bombed a different country. There's no evidence at all that Saddam Hussein, as big a bum as he is, is responsible for the loss of those lives. And now we've lost close to a thousand men there. We got men and women all over the country that are wounded, and you have no clue of how we're going to get out of this.
PRESSMAN: Mr. President?
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Well, first of all, again, Senator Kerry has ignored the question. Your question was about jobs. The fact is that the third quarter of the year, Clinton administration showed a dramatic drop in jobs, the Nasdaq went down 30 percent in the last year, and then we had the economy going down. I come in, pass a very important tax cut the first year, which did start to bring back jobs. Then we had 9/11, which knocked out a million more jobs. In spite of all of that, we've now picked up another 144,000 jobs this month, almost a million and a half. We have the fastest growing economy in the past 20 years because of my policies, and we are coming back.
As far as Iraq, the important thing is that the Taliban is gone in Afghanistan, three-quarters of the al-Qaida leadership is either dead or in jail, and we now have Saudi Arabia working with us, Pakistan working with us. We have much more support than we ever did from Jordan, Morocco and Egypt. The allies certainly be-as far as intelligence gathering and as far as police work are cooperating with us. But in Iraq, we showed that we will take action when we have to in our national interest.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Then as president, what has Saddam Hussein got to do with 9/11? The 9-11 Commission said nothing. Every report says nothing. But you and the vice president are creative enough to get America to believe that you attacked those who attacked us. You knew before you got into office, because this guy threatened your father, that you were going to take him out. 9/11 gave you an excuse and you did it.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) There was no excuse to attack Iraq. The fact is it was done for solid reasons because, again, he had violated 17 UN resolutions, it was the policy of the United States signed into law by Bill Clinton that regime change was essential in Iraq. We never claimed Saddam Hussein was...
PRESSMAN: Mr. President, I don't want to tell you what to do, but you should look at your adversary.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Oh, God, I was looking to the important moderator.
(All speaking at the same time)
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Never before in the history of...
Rep. KING: (As Bush) See, he's interrupting now...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) ...the United States have we ever had a pre-emptive strike when our country was not threatened. If there was evidence that Saddam Hussein was going to strike the United States or did in fact strike the United States, I would be with you, Mr. President, and indeed, would even try to volunteer to do something.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) OK, there...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) But this is a Ford and you know it. As it relates to the job situation...
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Oh, let me get back to ...(unintelligible) and Iraq...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Yeah, get back to it.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Mr. Moderator, he'd rudely interrupt me before when I was trying to make my point...
PRESSMAN: Don't interrupt the man.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Be kind. He's giving you an...
Rep. KING: (As Bush) ...and I'm the president and he's still unkind to me.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) ...opportunity.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) OK. As far as Iraq...
PRESSMAN: I apologize.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) ...we've never claimed that he was part of 9/11. What we did say was there were links between Iraq and al-Qaida and the 9-11 Commission bears that out, going back...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) What connection is that?
Rep. KING: (As Bush) ...over four years. But that's not the reason. The main reason was when a person admits having weapons of mass destruction in the most volatile area of the world and refuses to account for them, that is why we launched the attack. That is why Bill Clinton attacked Iraq in 19...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) ...(Unintelligible). Then why is it...
Rep. KING: (As Bush) No, no, no, no. Listen. No, listen up. No.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) ...that 90 percent of the people that are being killed and being wounded...
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Right.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) ...are all Americans. Where are our so-called friends? Where are the Egyptians? Where are your buddies that come to the White House, the Saudi Arabians? Fifteen out of the 19...
Rep. KING: (As Bush) OK, let's go back to that.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) ...people come from the country that you're buddies with the sheiks.
PRESSMAN: OK, give the president a chance to speak. Senator, give the president a chance to answer.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) OK, when we went into Kosovo, for instance, the United States--95 percent of the embassies in Kosovo. The fact is the other countries in the world, very few of them, have a mili-the French have no worthwhile military. NATO is virtually defunct. They can't put more than 50,000 troops active at anytime anywhere.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) But, Mr. President...
Rep. KING: (As Bush) And ...(unintelligible). The British are with us.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) ...what country is next?
Rep. KING: (As Bush) No. If we...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Are we going to Iran?
Rep. KING: (As Bush) It depends. In terms of...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Are we going to Syria?
Rep. KING: (As Bush) It makes it much less likely-because of what we did in Iraq, it's much less likely. For instance, we may have had...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Are we going to North Korea?
Rep. KING: (As Bush) No. See, that's the problem with you Democrats. You don't understand geopolitics.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) Oh, I see.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) North Korea...
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) I see who understands it. The Reserves understand it.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) No, let me tell you. No, let me tell you.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) The National Guard understand it.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Let me tell you. Oh, that's-even a minute ago, you just said the National Guard was no good.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) No, no.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Here's the National Guard is now 40 percent over in Iraq.
Rep. RANGEL: (As Kerry) No, no. The National Guard I'm talking about are the ones ...(unintelligible) not the ones that are avoiding.
Rep. KING: (As Bush) Oh.
PRESSMAN: OK. Gentlemen, this was an interesting experiment. I want you to come back to your real identities.
Rep. KING: All right.
PRESSMAN: What do you think is the most important issue of-Congressman King, in this campaign and this election?
Rep. KING: The war on terrorism, where people overwhelmingly support President Bush and the job he's done, and the credibility of the president, and to me despite what Charlie tries to say, President Bush stands for what he says, says what he means and carries it out and sticks with his position, doesn't go all over the place like John Kerry. And has a clear position, unlike John Kerry, who doesn't know what he was going to do in Iraq other than have the French and Germans come in and save us.
PRESSMAN: Congressman Rangel, the most important issue in this election.
Rep. RANGEL: The most important issue is the failure of the press to make both candidates get to the real issue in the Middle East, which is really resolving the dispute of Palestine and Israel, making certain that Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the rest of these enemies of Israel come together and to have America not look like we're anti-Islamic. It is not just the question of fighting terror. You gotta deal with people, you gotta deal with principles and you gotta have a plan. Both candidates have to deal with that, and the president has completely ignored it.
Rep. KING: But it's interesting. John Kerry did not mention Israel once in his acceptance speech.
PRESSMAN: That's true. ...(Unintelligible).
Rep. KING: If Israel's so important, why didn't John Kerry even mention it once in his entire speech, never mentioned the word Israel.
Rep. RANGEL: I...
Rep. KING: President Bush did last night, which shows he understands the geopolitical system in the Middle East...
Rep. RANGEL: Let me tell you this.
Rep. KING: ...which is the difference between us and them.
Rep. RANGEL: Let me tell you this as a friend of Israel. You don't help Israel just by saying, 'I support her.' You get in there and you make certain that her enemies understand that we gotta work this out. Clinton tried to do it, Carter tried to do it. The only thing he does is say, 'I love Israel.' But when he gets there and bringing the parties together, you have never heard him talk about Palestine and Israel working together. All he does is give blanket support.
PRESSMAN: What about that...
Rep. KING: That's not true. President Bush is...
Rep. RANGEL: The road map isn't working and he hasn't gotten-been near the road since he's been in the campaign.
Rep. KING: President Bush is the first American president to call for a Palestinian state, the first American president ever to publicly call for a Palestinian state. That shows the extent of interest. Ask Bill Clinton about Yasir Arafat. Clinton and Barak did everything they could in 2000 at Camp David. Arafat walked away from it. Until there's new Palestinian leadership, it's very difficult to go at.
Rep. RANGEL: Sure.
Rep. KING: We have tried. We have tried. The president has called the parties together. He did go to Jordan, he met with Mubarak and Abdullah trying to get the road map to peace. You need people to cooperate. The Palestinians so far are not cooperating, and again, I think it's very significant that John Kerry didn't even mention Israel once in his acceptance speech.
Rep. RANGEL: Mentioning Israel is not working for peace in the area.
Rep. KING: I don't know...
PRESSMAN: So when...
Rep. RANGEL: You can do that and you can wave to the lights.
Rep. KING: No, when President Bush...
Rep. RANGEL: What he has to do is to make certain that the people are in there, and if it's not Arafat, find somebody else.
Rep. KING: We are trying to find...
Rep. RANGEL: But you cannot say that we got to shoot our ways and win the hearts and the minds of the people there. We have lost more friends in the last three years than we have in the last 200 with this arrogant contempt.
Rep. KING: Who did we lose? Name one friend we lost. Chirac? Was he ever our friend?
Rep. RANGEL: We've lost...
Rep. KING: Waws Chirac ever our friend? We have Tony Blair, we have Poland, we have the Czech Republic, we have Bavaria, we have Italy...
Rep. RANGEL: We have as many friends as our checkbook would allow us to have.
Rep. KING: Tony Blair. Who-who was bought...
Rep. RANGEL: That's how we got the coalition.
Rep. KING: Was Tony Blair bought off? Was Poland bought off?
Rep. RANGEL: Listen, and let me tell you. When's the last time you've been to England? You know, we were there and I'll tell you it's very difficult for an American to go abroad. And Tony Blair's in trouble himself.
Rep. KING: So that is so unfair to say that we bought off Tony Blair or John Howard in Australia.
Rep. RANGEL: I know every little country that you bought off in Central, South America. I was in the Dominican Republic...
Rep. KING: Charlie, I'm talking about the major countries.
Rep. RANGEL: I went-I was in-wait a minute. I was in...
Rep. KING: I'm talking about the major countries.
Rep. RANGEL: I was in the Dominican Republic where we sat and they cut off the trade agreement because they pulled out 300 of their troops. I didn't even know the Dominican Republic had an army...
Rep. KING: This is so...
Rep. RANGEL: ...and they ...(unintelligible).
Rep. KING: This is why, again, the Democrats are going to antagonize the allies with their morally offending the British, the Australians, the Italians, the Poles, the Czech Republic, the Danes-these are major countries in Europe. Virtually every major country in Europe supported us except the French and the Germans. And we want to let Paris and Berlin determine our foreign policy, that's fine.
Rep. RANGEL: I watch...
Rep. KING: George Bush would rather stand with our real allies.
Rep. RANGEL: I watch the BBC. They're tearing up the prime minister for relying on false information. Even Colin Powell said the information that that we relied on was false.
PRESSMAN: OK, let's come back after...
Rep. KING: As Joe Lieberman said, Americans should always be proud of what we did in Iraq.
PRESSMAN: ...this message.
Rep. RANGEL: Another great Democrat.
Rep. KING: Oh ...(unintelligible).
PRESSMAN: And we're back here with Charles Rangel, Peter King, two congressmen who don't agree on this presidential campaign. They're off and running now. What do you think is the most important issue that Senator Kerry should be emphasizing between now and November?
Rep. RANGEL: Getting the heck out of Iraq, and bringing together a coalition of people to attack not just terrorism but to get the countries that are involved that harbor these people and to bring some peace with Israel and Palestine to show that we really are being fair and equitable as we deal with this issue in the Middle East. There's no way that we can shoot our way into a victory.
PRESSMAN: What about you? Most important issue?
Rep. KING: The president has to show that the war on terrorism is the defining issue and, as Charlie will tell you right now, there's a real difference between Democrats and Republicans. You can't just get out of Iraq. To get out of Iraq would create more instability and would leave such a power vacuum there, it would be wrong, which, by the way, John Kerry is not saying he's going to get out of Iraq. By the way, in all honesty, Charlie and I have been going back and forth, because Charlie and I do have a legitimate differences and I know where Charlie stands and he knows where I stand. I honestly don't know where John Kerry stands in Iraq. And I think his failure to articulate a policy-if he does, then we have real debate.
PRESSMAN: Yeah. What about this Palestinian-Israel issue? Do you agree with Congressman Rangel that that's at the heart of the matter?
Rep. KING: No. I think that Islamic terrorism is against us, what we stand for. Obviously, Israel is a cause of that, but if Israel were gone tomorrow, there'd be another reason. And I think we should never ever waver in our support for Israel. They are our closest ally in the Middle East. They're a democracy. They've done nothing...
Rep. KING: ...to incur any of this wrath and it's wrong for us to think-show any sign at all that we're backing away from Israel.
Rep. RANGEL: I don't believe that Israel's the cause of that. What I'm saying is I think what you're agreeing is that it is an important part of the solution. When we go in shooting people, not knowing who the terrorists and who the innocent people are...
Rep. KING: We weren't doing that.
Rep. RANGEL: We are doing it. There are thousands of innocent people...
Rep. KING: No.
Rep. RANGEL: They call it collateral damage. You hit a wedding, you call it a threat.
Rep. KING: No. No.
Rep. RANGEL: The truth of the matter is-in any war these things happen.
Rep. KING: That's not ...(unintelligible). Right, right.
Rep. RANGEL: But the truth is that it's appearing as though that it's Christians and Jews against Islamic people and we're not doing anything to shatter that myth. And we have to do something concrete. You just can't send in the Marines.
Rep. KING: Well, we are doing-first of all, we've rebuilt every school and hospital in Iraq. We're providing for democratic form of government. We are saying we want to get our troops out as quickly as we can once there's a stable government. How anyone could say we're shooting our way in in Afghanistan, we've given them more human rights than they ever had before and (unintelligible) bring about a democratic government.
PRESSMAN: Are there any other issues? Is the economy an issue?
Rep. KING: Well, sure it is. Yeah.
Rep. RANGEL: You bet your life it is. But I'll leave that up to the voter. If he's so proud with the--45 million people have-that have no health insurance and the president promised it, that-Leave No Child Behind, ask the teachers, ask the students as to whether they're satisfied. We're talking about...
Rep. KING: Well, what I'm proud of is...
PRESSMAN: Health care, education. OK, you got 30 seconds.
Rep. KING: Yeah.
Rep. RANGEL: ...140,000 jobs that he's excited about. We gained 140,000 jobs. That's enough ...(unintelligible) goes down.
Rep. KING: What I'm proud of is that we've expanded Medicare more than any time in the last 40 years. We're spending more money on education than ever before. There's more homeownershp. Also more minorities than ever before in the history of this country. In spite of the recession we inherited from Bill Clinton, in spite of 9/11, the economy is coming back. We're still the world's strongest economic power.
Rep. RANGEL: Ask the VA veteran, ask the veteran, who can't get health care how excited he is about it.
Rep. KING: Veteran's health care-we've spent twice-we've increased the rate of spending for veterans twice as much in the previous four years as the previous eight years.
PRESSMAN: You are a fantastic duet and it's all about politics.
Rep. RANGEL: It's all about America.
Rep. KING: Right.
PRESSMAN: Thank you very much, Congressman Rangel, Congressman King, for joining us this morning. I'm Gabe Pressman. Have a good day.