“Crossfire” officials deny U.S. News rumor

Republican press offices and CNN producers denied a rumor reported in the “Washington Whispers” column of this week’s U.S. News and World Report that Republicans are refusing to be guests on “Crossfire.”

A spokesman in House of Representatives Majority Whip Tom DeLay’s office said he thought CNN started the rumor to get more Republicans on “Crossfire.”

“Crossfire” co-host Tucker Carlson, who represents the conservative voice on the show, called the rumor unsubstantiated.

The column reported that liberal hosts Paul Begala and James Carville “are too good at what they do,” referring to the show’s aggressive and combative style. Written by columnist Paul Bedard, the column also said Republican political officials “hate” the live audience at GW, comparing the new “Crossfire” to “Jerry Springer.”

Begala said he is “not worried” about Republicans being discouraged from appearing on the show. “Republicans are not cowards,” he said.

“Crossfire” Executive Producer Sam Feist said CNN has no problems getting Republicans on the show, and the ratings for the first week of

“Crossfire” at GW doubled over the same week last year.

“So far, so good,” Feist said.

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