Aired January 2, 2003 – 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala.
On the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.
In the CROSSFIRE tonight:
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Plus, the leader of a religious sect says his talk with some extraterrestrials gave him the inspiration for cloning.
RAEL, RAELIAN MOVEMENT LEADER: We will be able to live eternally from a body to another body.
ANNOUNCER: We’ll ask Rael if his group has really cloned a human being.
Ahead on CROSSFIRE.
From the George Washington University, Paul Begala and Robert Novak.
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN CO-HOST: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. It’s only the second day of 2003 and already we’re in Never-never land.
In a little bit, we’ll ask whether the American people really want a trial lawyer as their president. And if that isn’t far-out enough, we’ve also got his holiness, Rael — that’s what he calls himself — a guy who says he came up with the idea of cloning humans after chatting with the occupants of a flying saucer. But let’s get started with a healthy dose of reality, our CROSSFIRE “Political Alert”
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But first: The man has followers who call him “His Holiness.” The rest of us may be calling him something very different, indeed. He claims to have met with aliens in the 1970s and to have cloned a baby who was born just last week. Stay with us.
NOVAK: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We’re coming to you from the George Washington University in Foggy Bottom, D.C.
If you believe the reports, today marks one week since the birth of the first cloned human being, supposedly, a baby girl named Eve. And why wouldn’t you believe the reports? They’re only made by a group that’s offered no pictures, no scientific evidence, and whose members follow a former French journalist and race car driver who says he flew on a UFO back in the 1970s, where the extraterrestrials revealed they created all life on Earth through genetic engineering.
Joining us now from Canada, it is his holiness, Rael, as he has asked us to call him, the spiritual leader of the Raelian movement and who hopes to be known as the father of cloning.
BEGALA: Rael, thank you very much for joining us.
RAEL: It’s a pleasure.
BEGALA: I do hope you’ll understand why we are skeptical. Let me read to you from your own organization’s Web site, the Raelian Web site. This is how they describe your organization. “On the 13th of December, 1973, French journalist Rael was contacted by a visitor from another planet, asked to establish an embassy to welcome these people back to Earth. The extraterrestrial was about four feet in height, had long dark hair, almond-shaped eyes, olive skin and exuded harmony and humor.”
If, in fact, we are cloned from these folks, how come we’re not four feet tall with olive skin and exuding harmony and humor, sir?
RAEL: I cannot hear you very well. I am very sorry. I thought maybe you asked me about the Web site, right?
BEGALA: Yes, the Web site says that you met aliens and that they were four feet tall with olive skin and really kind of funny and happy. Why aren’t we — and we are presumably cloned from them. Why aren’t homo sapiens four feet tall with olive skin and exuding humor and harmony?
RAEL: Yes, these people are not alien. They are the Elohim of the Bible, these extraterrestrial, who came on the Earth a long time ago. And through DNA and genetic engineering, they did create life on Earth. If you check in the original Bible in Hebrew, you don’t have the word “God,” but “Elohim,” E-L-O-H-I-M. It means in Hebrew “those who came from the sky.” And the bible is the oldest atheist book, godless book describing the creation of life on Earth by a very advanced civilization, the Elohim.
BEGALA: But why don’t we look like them? If we are cloned from them, why don’t we look like them?
RAEL: We look like them. They created us in their image, if that’s a question. And they send a lot of messenger, like Moses, Ezekiel in the Bible describe contact with UFO and the Elohim, and Jesus, who was a son of one of them and a girl from the Earth. NOVAK: Sir, I’d like to ask you some very practical, concrete questions. It was — when you announced the cloning of the baby Eve, it was announced that she would be revealed in eight days. That would be, if my count is right, on Saturday. Will we see the baby on Saturday?
RAEL: I don’t think so because there was some very bad news two days ago. I heard that — first of all, I want to be very clear. The cloning company and the Rael movement is completely separate. And the cloning company belongs to Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, who is a bishop in our organization, but it’s a private company. And the Raelian movement, our religious organization, is completely separate. There is no link, no investment. I don’t know where is the laboratory. I don’t know the name of the scientist. I don’t know the mother of the child. And I know absolutely nothing. We support her…
NOVAK: Tell us what the bad news was. You said you had some bad news a couple of days ago.
RAEL: She — Dr. Boisselier made a public announcement about that. The bad news two days ago was that a judge in Florida signed a paper saying that the baby Eve should be take from the family, from her mother. And when I heard about that, Dr. Boisselier was about to start with Michael Guillen some DNA testing to prove the world that it was true. And I called her immediately because to take away this poor baby from a mother, I think this is completely crazy, just because she was cloned. I understand when you take away children because the mother or the family abuse a child or when there is violence, but just because she’s a clone.
So I called Dr. Boisselier, and I said, If I was you, I would not test anything. Because for sure, like last year, when she was about to clone a baby already in America, her telephone was taped by the FDA. And then they find the laboratory, and they ask the first customer to cancel the company. And I am sure they will do the same this time and find the baby.
NOVAK: So in other words, we will not see the baby or any evidence of the baby on Saturday, correct?
RAEL: I cannot hear you very well. But a judge in Florida signed a paper saying that to protect the child, it has to be take away from the mother. And I cannot understand why something like that should happen. And I think every family in America, if there is a healthy baby, even if it’s cloned with the mother, I don’t see why this would be separated.
BEGALA: Well, but Rael, even if that’s the case, and if you produced her bodily, she would be taken into custody, why can’t you show evidence? Why can’t you show tests? Why can’t you show photographs? Why can’t you show videotape? Why can’t you show DNA evidence that would prove this? Because, you know, I’m telling you, you’re not persuading a lot of people so far.
RAEL: Maybe Dr. Boisselier will do that. But my — she was about to do it with Michael Guillen, this journalist, and with an independent team, and I don’t know what she will do. Once again, she’s in Europe right now. I called her, and I said, If there is any risk that this baby is taken away from the family, it’s better to lose your credibility. Don’t do the testing. Because what is important is the child and not to prove the world that you are right. And I think she agree with me.
NOVAK: So I just want to — I just want to get your connection. You were the founder of the cloning company, were you not?
RAEL: I’m sorry. I…
NOVAK: You founded the cloning company?
RAEL: I cannot understand you. I am very sorry.
NOVAK: Did you not found the cloning company?
RAEL: At the beginning, I created a company which was canceled by the Bahamian government because it was just a PO box and a Web site, and that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) feasibility because maybe at this time, we’re only giving a– say to people we’re against cloning after Dolly the sheep was cloned. And so I created a seed company, if you like, to see the feasibility. And then the Bahamian government canceled the company because there was strong pressure from French government because, as you know, I am French.
There is a lot of religious persecution, not only against the Raelians, but against the Jehovah Witness, the Scientology church. There are terrible law in France. And Dr. Boisselier herself lost her job in France because she was a member of our religion and lost custody of a child. I cannot imagine that happening in America, and the judge written on the paper, because you are Raelian, we should take away your child. That’s France today, where you have no more freedom. And so the company was canceled, and then Dr. Boisselier created this private company to do it.
BEGALA: So — I’m sorry to interrupt you, sir, but we’re running out of time. So no baby, no proof, no evidence, no DNA. This is, in fact, an enormously successful but publicity stunt, nonetheless, isn’t it. It’s just designed to get publicity for yourself and your beliefs, right?
RAEL: I am so sorry, but the sound is so bad, I cannot hear.
BEGALA: Well, let me try again. And I appreciate you bearing with us through these technical difficulties, sir. What else am I to conclude when you cannot offer any evidence of your claim, a rather outlandish claim that you’ve cloned a human baby, but that this is, in fact, just a publicity stunt, and a damn successful one, at that?
RAEL: You know, Dr. Boisselier, one more time, created a private company. And her reputation is at stake, and I think she will do everything she need to make her company. She’s Raelian. If she was a Christian, you would not ask the pope. If she was a Jew, you would not ask her rabbi. I just support her psychologically, spiritually…
BEGALA: We’re asking for proof, sir, with all due respect. If she were — no matter what her religion or yours, we would ask for proof to back up a claim that you cloned a human being. And we’re just not going to get it, are we.
RAEL: I am, one more time, not involved in the company. I don’t know where is the laboratory. I don’t want to know where is the laboratory. I don’t want to know the scientists. This is her business. She will make a lot of money, I hope, with that. But we, as a religious organization, don’t want to be involved in any company. But we support her. Why do we support cloning? Because thanks to cloning, you will be able soon to give the world eternal life.
BEGALA: That will be the last word. I thank you very much. Given that you’re going to have eternal life, I want your commitment come back on CROSSFIRE in 200, 300 years.
BEGALA: I really do want to thank you, Rael, who joined us, despite technical difficulties, from Montreal. Thank you very much, sir.
Coming up in “Fireback,” one of our viewers suggest someone they’d like to see cloned, and you’re going to love the reason why. Stay with us.
BEGALA: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE, fellow earthlings. We are now with our “Fireback” phase, where we will be setting just the phasers to stun.
Hunter Piel of St. Louis, Missouri, writes, “I’d like to see Michael Jackson cloned so he could dangle himself out of a window.”
BEGALA: Wow, Hunter, that is an outstanding idea!
NOVAK: The only danger is that he might live forever then, and we’ll really be in trouble.
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