WEB EXCLUSIVE: Gephardt pledges unity in GW ‘Crossfire’

Posted 11:15 a.m. Sept. 19 CNN’s “Crossfire” aired live from the Media and Public Affairs auditorium Tuesday night featuring House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt from Missouri, Rep. Jane Harmon (D-Calif.) and terrorist experts Eric Holder and Larry Johnson.

Show host Bill Press started the hour-long program by asking Gephardt if the Democrats in Congress will give President George W. Bush whatever he needs to win a war on terrorism.

“We should make sure this kind of event never occurs again,” Gephardt responded. “It was not only a blow to America, it was a blow to humanity and to freedom. Our nation must have resolve and we must unite. We must be patient and determined in our task of finding, isolating and splitting up these terrorist cells that are working around the world.”

In response to another question, Gephardt said no one is sure what it means to do “whatever it takes” to get to Osama bin Laden, the radical Islamic fundamentalist cited as the leading suspect in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

“First, we cannot allow the terrorists to frighten us and paralyze us from living our lives,” Gephardt said. “Secondly, we have to be willing to give up some convenience for security in places like airports and other public areas. Third, all Americans have to work together, unified, and above all we have to trust one another.”

Gephardt took student questions about heightened security measures and Bush’s performance.

Harmon fielded questions from the “Crossfire” hosts about how the hijackers obtained airplane tickets and the definition of war. One important question from a student was, “Should America fear the use of unconventional weapons, such as chemical or nuclear from the enemy?”

“Yes, they are threats,” Harmon responded. “They are more of a threat to us then missiles from foreign lands. The war is a new war. It is a war on terrorism, and the only way to prevent the dangers you are talking about from happening is to put our time, effort, and money into addressing this issue.”

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