“Crossfire” co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Bill Press engaged the GW student body in friendly banter to warm up for a live broadcast from campus Thursday. Citing packed audiences, a Hatchet article and intelligent questions from the students as reasons to keep up the new town hall meeting format, they announced the show would call GW home for one more week.
Shows Thursday and Friday continued a trend set earlier in the week – Republicans and Democrats casting aside political arsenal and mostly agreeing on a wartime cause against terrorists.
Sens. Joseph Biden, Jr. (D-Del.) and Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) outlined the difficult road ahead for the country Thursday night, two hours before President George W. Bush’s speech before a joint session of Congress.
“Crossfire” guests Reps. Mike Castle (R-Del.), John Mica (R-Fla.), Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) discussed possible American responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Bush’s speech during Friday’s broadcast.
Students in the audience Thursday asked Biden about possible lifestyle changes due to the nation’s heightened sense of security and the possibility of a “war on privacy.”
“We will have no police state in this country,” said Thompson, a ranking member of the Senate’s Governmental Affairs Committee. “We will not stand for that.”
Biden agreed with Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) statements on Wednesday’s “Crossfire,” calling for a return to normalcy.
“Get back to your life but keep remembrance and resolve,” Biden said.
Biden said he agrees with Bush’s tough stance, adding that forcing countries to pick a side is the proper course of action when dealing with terrorism.
“We’re going to need allies in areas where we’ve never had allies before,” Thompson said.
Following the broadcast, students said they found the discussion informative.
“I thought both senators were very passionate about their answers, and I greatly appreciated the way they answered my question,” freshman Alex Berger said. “When (Biden) told us to live our lives, to go on, and that our chances of being in a terrorist attack is the same as winning the lottery, it made me feel much safer.”
Friday, representatives from both sides of the aisle showed support for Bush’s address.
Mica called the speech “awesome.”
Waters, usually a strong critic of Bush, said the American people should rally behind the president.
Before Carlson and Press took questions from the audience, guests debated who to blame for the terrorist attacks.
Waters blamed U.S. intelligence, citing a need for more oversight and cooperation among agencies.
“(The CIA) should have known (about the attacks),” Waters said. “There are questions to be asked.”
Mica and Moran disagreed.
“We were not penetrated by anybody,” Mica said. He explained that a terrorist attack could happen to any country.
“Our greatest vulnerability is that we value human life so greatly,” Moran added.
Freshmen Ed Buckley and Adam Gellman said they appreciated the chance to interact with political leaders.
“In light of the events, these people take the time out of what must be
busy schedules to answer our questions,” Buckley said.
Gellman said the broadcasts made him “very proud to be a part of this University.”
“Crossfire” decided Thursday to broadcast live for a second week from the Jack Morton Auditorium.
“We were impressed with the students and their questions,” “Crossfire” Executive Producer Chris Guarino said. “Students seem well in tune and the questions keep guests on their toes.”
This week’s “Crossfire” town meetings will air Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.
Requests for Monday tickets should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All other tickets are available at Ticketmaster in the Marvin Center.
–Marilyn Stein contributed to this report