‘Crossfire’ hosts address campus group

“If your aunt told you you’d never get anywhere with that smart mouth and attitude, tell her to look at Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala,” said CNN “Crossfire” host Tucker Carlson to 70 students on Thursday.

Carlson, along with co-host Begala, engaged in a 45-minute dialogue with GW’s new politically tolerant student organization the Republocrats. Carlson, a Republican, and Begala, a Democrat, lightheartedly discussed the nature of interactions between political parties.

“I actually spend less time with people I disagree with than I used to,” Carlson said.

Begala spoke of the influence of party loyalty in his life.

“I generally don’t attack Democrats,” Begala said, referring to Reverend Al Sharpton, who became an exception on a recent CNN Crossfire.

Begala also poked fun at presidential candidate Howard Dean.

“I don’t think he’s a very good debater,” Begala said.

Carlson addressed Begala’s political division with humor.

“He actually hates liberals,” Carlson said. “That’s what we have in common.”

Despite political divisions, the hosts said they agree on importance of free speech and the importance of pursuing the truth.

“The answer is more free speech, not less,” Begala said.

“The real problem with the press is they’re afraid,” Carlson said. “You have only one responsibility, and that’s to the truth.”

An audience question prompted an analysis of the effect of media bias on the media’s responsibility to the truth.

“There are biases that are much more important than ideology,” Begala said. “(Among them is) the bias towards getting it right, right away rather than getting it right.”

Another student asked Carlson to explain his trademark bow tie.

“It’s an anti-adultery device because you can’t commit adultery when you wear one,” Carlson said.

The board of the Republocrats expressed gratitude to Carlson and Begala by presenting each with a book of quotations highlighting the gaffes of the opposing party.

Republocrats leaders said members do not have to be politically active.

“We want people to know there’s a place they can come even if they don’t know what a party is,” said Jon Toffelson, president and founder of the Republocrats. “We want to stress that it’s not just about the two major parties.”

“We set apart from College Democrats and Republicans in that we’re not looking to attack anyone,” said Jen Richer, public relations coordinator for the Republocrats. “We celebrate our differences.”

The Republocrats meet Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Marvin Center. The group plans to invite speakers, conduct discussions and debates and perform political service projects such as initiating a KidsVote chapter in the D.C. area.

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