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CNN's Crossfire 4/8/02

CARLSON: ...our producers here on CROSSFIRE came across a quote from something called BUZZFLASH.COM, don't think I'll be reading it soon, but you did an interview with them.

BEGALA: Absolutely.

CARLSON: And here's the quote that you gave. I'm quoting now. "It turns out we, Clinton, were the most ethical administration in history."

BEGALA: Absolutely. How many senior Reagan aids went to prison? 30. How many senior Clinton aids? 1.

CARLSON: You've got the stats right on the tip of your fingers, but I have to say...

BEGALA: The chief of staff of the Department of Agriculture.

CARLSON: Oh, is that right?

BEGALA: No, let me defend my colleagues. This is important.

CARLSON: Because they weren't as clever as you.

BEGALA: They were hounded. The Clinton administration was hounded by seven different special prosecutors, dozens of right wing committees.

CARLSON: That's exactly right.

BEGALA: One guy.

CARLSON: Because they were so ethical. Why?

BEGALA: One guy.

CARLSON: Because they were so darn ethical, they got hounded. Those are the wages of ethicalness, isn't it?

BEGALA: They were found innocent on every -- who -- tell me...

CARLSON: Because they were so darn ethical, all these independent councils. I don't know, offended by their ethicalness, came out and investigated them. I love this. What an argument.

BEGALA: Tell me one Clinton administration official who was convicted of wrongdoing while in office? Except for the chief of staff...

CARLSON: I can give you a list of who should have been.

BEGALA: Should have been?

CARLSON: Should have been, absolutely...

BEGALA: So all of these...

CARLSON: ...should have been before the whole process was short- circuited.

BEGALA: All of these insane special counsels, all of this independent counsel, all of these congressional...

CARLSON: It's all a conspiracy, every part of it. But you know what, the American people are beginning to reject that argument after all these many years.

BEGALA: You just can't stand the fact that people are found innocent.