July 14, 2004 | Broadcast

American Morning

Gentlemen, good to see you this morning. Put on the gloves; let’s get going.

Cliff, let me start off with you because I know you’ve written about this a lot.

Joe Wilson — Senate Intelligence Committee report basically is in stark contrast with some of the things he had said and in his book that he had written. What do you make of it?

CLIFF MAY, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, the most important thing is the national security perspective on this.

You may remember the big brouhaha over 16 words the president said in his 2003 State of the Union that the British believe, the British have learned that Saddam Hussein has recently been trying to get uranium from Africa.

Joe Wilson said that wasn’t true, that’s a lie, he’s manipulating it. Well, we now know from the Senate Intelligence Committee and from others is that the British believed that, still believe that, and that there’s solid evidence behind that.

Secondly, we know that Ambassador Wilson who said I’m speaking truth to power — he was lying about all sorts of things. It was his wife who got him assigned by the CIA to go to Mejia and — by the way — with a $40 billion budget what in the world does the CIA doing sending a former ambassador with no investigative experience and a partisan axe to grind on a very sensitive investigative mission?

He lied about seeing documents and other things so it’s — so the whole thing unravels at this point.

COOPER: Victor, does the whole thing unravel at this point?

VICTOR KAMBER, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: Well, I think that there’s questions that have been raised, I think the last question, why the CIA used him was — would be an intriguing one.

I also question if we’re dealing with lawyers, and if we’re dealing with people who’ve given misinformation to the American public, I think we got to start with somebody a little higher up than Ambassador Wilson…

COOPER: But, but, but Victor hasn’t his credibility been severely damaged? I mean he said…

KAMBER: In the same way — in the same way George Bush’s credibility has been damaged by lying to the American public about weapons of mass destruction and imminent danger. Yes, it’s been damaged. I mean, Wilson has said A, B, and C and it was C, D, and F and…

COOPER: OK, one more on this, and then let’s move on.

MAY: Just that when Wilson said the president was lying it was Wilson who in turn — who in fact was lying…

KAMBER: So we have two liars.

MAY: No, we don’t — look, the president had some — had some information as Clinton did that was not good from the CIA; the CIA has to get better. Having bad information is not lying.

Jay Rockefeller and Al Gore and Bill Clinton also believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction — why? Because he did.

KAMBER: They didn’t go to war. They didn’t kill young boys.

MAY: The question is at what point did Saddam Hussein get rid of his weapons of mass destruction or hide them or transfer them we still don’t know that. It was Clinton who said we have got to take care of this regime.

COOPER: Victor, Mike Ditka, would he make a good candidate?

KAMBER: Well, you know I heard you earlier say that you didn’t know that 16-year-old girl actress. I didn’t know her, either, but I do know Mike Ditka. I — you know — he’ll be an interesting character.

His — the one public statement we know about him he’s for public hangings. We don’t know much else on where he stands on issues.

He’s a celebrity, there’s nothing wrong with celebrities running. I think that it’s a joke. I think he’s going to use it to sell more Levitra. The erectile dysfunctional drug.

COOPER: I believe it’s Levitra, but I’m not — I don’t claim any personal knowledge of that.

Hey Cliff, what do you make of this? I mean, no one seems to know really what Mike Ditka — I mean, has he taken positions? I mean, Victor seems to think…

MAY: Hanging.

COOPER: Hanging. I mean, other than that. Is that — is this a guy the Republicans really want running for Senate?

MAY: I don’t know about his position on hangings. I do know what he thinks about soccer. He said if God had meant us to play soccer he wouldn’t have given us arms. My usually unreliable sources say he will decide by the end of the week.

Look, he is a guy who grew up as a son of a railroad worker in Western Pennsylvania. He has been a Super Bowl winner. As a football player he knows how to run. He also knows how to throw and pass and tackle which is good, too.

I think he’d be a very interesting choice. We’ve had other athletes who have gone into politics that you can think of: J.C. Watts, Steve Larson, my friend Jack Kemp, and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a kind of an athlete before he became a movie actor and then a politician.

So I think it’s a very interesting possibility.

KAMBER: Anderson, I think — if I may — I think the real problem — there’s nothing really wrong with celebrities, and I don’t mean to make fun of it. He could be a very talented, very bright man.

The problem is I think the Republican Party in Illinois is bereft of real talent, and that’s why they’re reaching out this way. Their candidate withdrew over an alleged sex issue, a non-sex sex issue…

MAY: Which he shouldn’t have done, and you should defend him, by the way. This is a both…

KAMBER: I’m not arguing one way or the other why he shouldn’t…

MAY: You should argue one way or the other because his opponent…


KAMBER: His opponent is…

COOPER: The Jack Ryan issue is a whole other issue, which is…

MAY: Correct.

COOPER: … is definitely worthy of discussion and brings up a lot of questions about privacy rights which we should discuss at another point. We’re going to have to leave it there. But I do actually want to take up one issue with you, Victor.

Actually — there are a lot of problems with celebrities and I’m not — not just in politics but just in general. Lot of problems with celebrities.

Anyway, Victor Kamber thanks very much. Cliff May, thanks very much. Always good to have you guys on, thanks.

MAY: Thank you.