THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY,
ELEANOR CLIFT, RICH LOWRY,
AND ROBERT THOMSON
TAPED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1999
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 4-5, 1999
TRANSCRIPT BY: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE
620 NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: WTO -- World Trade Outrage.
(Footage of violence surrounding protests in Seattle.)
(Begin videotaped sequence.)
PROTESTER: It's self-defense!
WOMAN: This isn't the way to do it! What are you defending yourself against, the window?
(End of videotaped sequence.)
WOMAN: (From videotape.) (Weeping.) I want to be out of the middle of it. I'm scared to death.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was the darkest week in Seattle history. Up to 55,000 demonstrators who gathered to protest the World Trade Organization summit turned the city upside down and forced an official state of emergency. When some protesters -- radicals -- turned to vandalism and looting, police broke out the rubber bullets, flash bombs, tear gas, and billy clubs. Forty-six blocks surrounding the WTO meetings, which President Clinton attended, were finally shut out to the public. For the first time since World War II, the entire city was subject to a dusk-till-dawn curfew.
POLICEMAN: (From videotape.) This is your final warning.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In one day alone the stretched-thin Seattle police, with the support of hundreds of National Guard troops, arrested 500 protesters. Besides the mainstream demonstrators, like the AF of L-CIO, everyone from Chinese religious sects to animal rights activists to full-fledged anarchists joined in the protests.
The vast majority of the demonstrators were there for fear of a world trade bureaucracy riding roughshod over human rights, the environment, and especially their jobs.
DAN MURCHISON (protester): (From videotape.) This isn't a bunch of loser hippies on welfare/drug users that are out here protesting; these are working people that are trying to keep jobs and feed their families.
JOHN FOLK (protester): (From videotape.) Leaving us behind and going down to exploit workers down in another country, to exploit their environment, and do things like that -- that's no way to make profits.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What's the main beef against the WTO, Richard Lowry?
MR. LOWRY: Well, John, I think these people are ultimately -- it's a movement of the left against free-market capitalism. And if you really care about labor rights and living standards and better environmental conditions, you want to increase the world's wealth, because when countries are wealthier, they can afford to protect those sort of things. So these people want to shut down global capitalism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, the main beef?
MS. CLIFT: Well, the main beef is that the WTO is a convenient whipping boy for everybody who's nervous about globalization, and it's not just the left. This is a marriage between the left and the right. The right worries about loss of sovereignty, the fact that there's going to be world government, loss of control and on the left they're worried about jobs. But the umbrella concern is anxiety about a world that's changing really fast and leaving people behind.
And people don't like modernization. In Islam, they put veils on women. We're not up to that, yet, but there's a lot of concern.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sorry, I'm still not hearing the main beef. What's the main beef?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I'm not sure what you want to hear, but Eleanor's partially correct. I think it's also a question that it's not a democratic process. It's closed to the scrutiny of the public and yet they're making decisions that normally are made by sovereign countries in a democratic way. So there's a lot of fear that decisions affecting people's domestic lives are going to be made by faceless bureaucrats in dark rooms.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got it. It's an anti-democratic institution, 90 percent of world trade by appointed democrats behind closed doors, shutting out labor, human rights activists and environmentalists.
Welcome, Robert Thomson. What's the main beef -- now that I've given it to you. (Laughter.) Do you want to go on from there?
MR. THOMSON: Well, I can't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did the violence overshadow the legitimate message?
MR. THOMSON: Well, I can't better your beef --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MR. THOMSON: -- but the truth is, until this week, most people thought the WTO was a spin-off of the WWF -- maybe the World Turnbuck Organization -- (laughter) -- and it has become the embodiment of all evil, for people looking for a gripe. Basically, a lot of people have a lot of beefs and here you have the WTO and let's go out there and smash some windows -- (inaudible word) -- free trade --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you like the "star chamber" tactics behind closed doors, imposing the will of these bureaucrats on the world?
MR. THOMSON: The WTO books meeting rooms, it arranges a fax machine, it makes sure the coffee's on tap. Basically, it sets up a room for -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But in the decision-making process, there is no participation of people who belong there to represent their points of view. It's done in isolation. That doesn't disturb you?
MS. CLIFT: Well, your favorite --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, you look at the way you're dressed. You look like you just came from a SWAT team. (Laughter.) I mean, is that the kind of way you wish to impose your political will on the world?
MR. THOMSON: (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, John, your favorite president raised the whole question of the secrecy in Seattle and, you know, basically, they need to open up the process more. But to suggest that this is some really evil organization is -- these are a bunch of foreign trade ministers from countries around the world trying to establish some fair trading rules as we go into the next century.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you put some sense back into this panel?
MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know whether even I can do that. But look, it's true that there's a lot of nonsense being said about it. But also, Francis Fukuyama, a very thoughtful, important man in this country -- (inaudible) -- wrote down in the Wall Street Journal where he said he hoped the WTO would be the move towards an ability to be an international governance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My God!
MR. BLANKLEY: So it is not just going to be a temporary organization, an organization --
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. LOWRY: The irony, John --
MR. BLANKLEY: -- but it is, in fact, intended by people who believe in it to be more than merely a trade organization.
MR. LOWRY: But the irony, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. One quick point. Is that Fukuyama, by the way, of "end of history"?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we know what happened to that idea.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, he got a new end.
MR. LOWRY: The irony, John, is the protesters on the street in effect want to give the WTO more power. They want the WTO to intervene in domestic policies in developing countries to impose labor and environmental standards on them. The leftist protesting there wants the WTO to move in the direction of a world government.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, your point is well taken. What do Americans generally think of globalism?
The "battle in Seattle," as it's being called, should be no surprise to anyone keeping track of the U.S. debate over Bill Clinton's globalism, the mighty engine of which is free trade. Globalism has been and is still viewed with skepticism by the majority of Americans. Sixty-nine percent of Americans, a consensus, say that China, for example, should not enjoy a free-market relationship with the U.S., largely because of their human rights policies and practices.
Five years after the passage of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, 58 percent of Americans want to change the agreement or scrap it entirely. Only 24 percent want to continue with NAFTA as is. Polls suggest that unconditional globalism, which means unconditional free trade, is simply too much too fast.
So, what do you elitists have to say, except for Tony, on this panel? Do you care to jump in here? Can 40,000 Frenchmen be wrong? If 58 percent of the country is skeptical of it, isn't there cause for skepticism? They say it's coming on too much and too fast.
MR. THOMSON: The fear of globalization is a vision of a strip mall stretching from Seattle around to the south of France and back again. But basically, the world isn't going to be one big strip mall. Basically, there is a lot more diversity in the uniform regulations that -- that people worried about.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Blue collars in large volume are losing their jobs. Should we not say, at a minimum, that the best thing to do is slow the process down; it's coming on too fast, and nature rejects the kinds of dislocations that come with this kind of speed?
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, it's going to be very hard because it's a process that is driven by technology and it's going to be very hard to put that genie back into the bottle. But notwithstanding the fact that it can't be put back in the bottle, there is going to be, and we are beginning to see, the fairly substantial worldwide reaction to it. People are afraid of quick change, but there is nothing much we can do about it.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Listen, the protesters were so successful in organizing themselves there because they were using the Internet and cell phones, and probably cell phones, you know, made in other parts of the world. (Cross talk.) We have not done a good job in taking care of the people who are dislocated, and we need to do a better job. And that's where the WTO will come in eventually --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A quick comment on this.
MS. CLIFT: -- is rules.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat Buchanan was out there. Pat Buchanan is not a protectionist. Pat Buchanan believes in bilateral trade negotiations, the United States and another country. He believes in reserving trade authority to the United States. Okay?
He then believes that regional trade agreements can then be developed when the countries observe an existing agreement, for example between Chile and the United States were it to come into existence -- Argentina might want to get onboard. What's wrong with doing it that way?
MR. LOWRY: There is nothing wrong with that. And the WTO process is very ungainly. And I think we'll see the next president looking to some sort of free-trade agreement with Britain, to bring Britain into NAFTA. That's something that's sustainable, it's doable, and it's something even Pat Buchanan supports.
MS. CLIFT: Well, in Pat Buchanan's world, we would only --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.
MS. CLIFT: -- deal with the industrialized advanced world. He was talking about Bangladesh, where 90 percent of the people live in houses without electricity. They are not going to want to protect rain forests and turtles until they can get their people to a better standard of living.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. There is another angle to this, and I'll put it in my question. And I am sure it will appeal to you, Eleanor -- gee, I think you're -- (swell, Eleanor ?) -- a question -- (laughter): Just as President Clinton failed to sell the nation on "fast track" for NAFTA and he lost "fast track," and he failed to sell the nation on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and he lost that issue, has he also failed to sell globalism to the American people? And is that one reason why it's in such deep trouble, I ask you?
MR. LOWRY: Yeah, absolutely. And he has basically given up I think -- America is forfeiting its leadership in fighting for free trade -- and it's because he is trying to elect Al Gore.
MS. CLIFT: Clinton has practiced globalism for seven years, and his mantra has been opening up world markets and investing in human people. He has not articulated a vision in a good enough way to ease people's fears.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has he failed to sell it? Has he failed to sell it?
MS. CLIFT: He's failed to sell it
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's been erratic in his impulse in selling it.
MS. CLIFT: He's implemented it; he hasn't sold it.
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a point here. He has failed. But on the other hand, ever since I've looked at polling data, 60 percent of the American public has been protectionist, when asked the question. It's about the same now. So he has failed to bring people over to a more free-trade position.
MR. THOMASON: But if he is a globalist, this week he opted out; he was a "Gore bore".
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was a what?
MR. THOMASON: A "Gore bore."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. THOMASON: Because he embraced the environment issue, the labor issue, without the sophistication of internationalism making --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well that's the way Clinton is. He's a --
MR. LOWRY: That's exactly right. He was siding with the protesters. He was siding with the protesters in Seattle.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, he wants to be everybody's pal. And he's erratic in his lobbying impulses, probably because he's bouncing around the global visiting these countries and he's spread himself too thin on issues. Why? Because he's always looking to where the polls are, and that means people are complaining about a failure of response time to a 911-call, he'll grab that issue. As a result, this failed.
MS. CLIFT: It was a political -- it was a political gesture.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit: Which -- exit question -- that was the exit question. We'll be right back.
Issue two: Gang attack in GW's tax plan.
STEVE FORBES (GOP presidential candidate): (From videotape.) It is small, it is inadequate. It leaves the IRS in place.
GARY BAUER (GOP presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I think the governor's plan is too timid.
ALAN KEYES (GOP presidential candidate): (From videotape.) And so what are we supposed to do again, get down on our knees and thank Master Bush now because he's going to let us keep a little bit more of our own money?
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (GOP presidential candidate): (From videotape) He wants to do it within this same lousy system that we have.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (GOP presidential candidate): (From videotape) Well, for some it's not enough, and for some my tax cut is too big, which leads me to believe I may be doing something just right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Governor Bush right? Did he strike the right balance with New Hampshire voters on tax cuts?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, it remains to be seen. I think that his tax cut proposal, which is a good one, is largely a well-designed, political document to minimize any dangers for him for not coming up with a good tax proposal with conservatives, on the other hand to be pretty much skewed towards the middle and bottom sufficiently that he's not going to be attacked too effectively from the left. It's large enough not to be giggled at. I think it's a pretty good plan, but it's a political mind behind it, not an economic one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he justified in ignoring the CBO estimate, which was $20 billion less than he has -- more than he -- less than he had provided?
MS. CLIFT: He's got too much rosy stuff in there. I mean, the key word in Tony's answer was "political document." This was a tax plan designed to pacify the right. It is a huge income shifter. And his plan to get rid of the estate tax would cost $40 billion a year.
MR. BLANKLEY: Cost -- but who would it cost --
MS. CLIFT: Ninety-eight to 99 percent of people in this country are exempt from estate tax.
MR. BLANKLEY: And that's why --
MS. CLIFT: And he's mortgaging the entire surplus. It's totally irresponsible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Let's hear from -- before we get -- I mean, Tony is hemorrhaging over here. (Laughter.)
(To Mr. Thomson.) But I want to ask you. Now you're the editor of the Financial Times in the United States, right? So you have these economic eggheads there, and they've looked at the tax plan. What do they think of it?
MR. THOMSON: Well, they think that it's an extrapolation of optimism. Basically, people are making predictions on the basis of 4, 5 percent growth going forward, which is easy to do at the moment, but in the longer term, you know, who knows?
MR. LOWRY: I think the numbers --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is Bush predicting?
MR. LOWRY: It's 2.7 (percent).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's 2.7 (percent), for Bush. You realize that.
MR. LOWRY: It's 2.7 (percent). And since 1980 it's been 3 percent.
MR. BLANKLEY: He is predicting that --
MR. LOWRY: It's 2.7 (percent) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that 2.7 (percent) is the lowest growth rate in the past five years of any single quarter.
MR. LOWRY: Plus, John -- plus, John -- plus, John, he takes --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that's quite conservative.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's static, which will --
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, look --
MR. LOWRY: He takes 6 million people off the rolls, lower- and middle-class taxpayers, Eleanor. They are not the rich.
And the only thing wrong with this plan, in my mind, is the sin of omission. We have -- 52 percent of the people in this country are invested one way or the other in the stock market, and Bush did nothing to appeal to them --
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. BLANKLEY: Look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait, wait. I want to hear the rest of that point. What do you mean by that?
MR. LOWRY: -- so that's a crucial omission. We have a new investor class in this country that are going to change the politics of regulation and taxation. And Bush is ignoring that. He has --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What would you have wanted to have seen in the plan?
MR. LOWRY: Expanded saving accounts, expanded Roth IRAs, a cap gains cut. He did none of that, and he should --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's go on. Note that we had no bite of John McCain piling on on W. and his tax plan, or anything about W. The closest he came to anything substantive on financial matters was this:
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): (From videotape.) I would not only reappoint Mr. Greenspan; if Mr. Greenspan should happen to die, God forbid, I would do like they did in the movie "Weekend at Bernie's." I'd prop him up and put a pair of dark glasses on him and keep him as long as we could. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Did McCain's cute sound bite work? I ask you, Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I intend to rent the movie this weekend; if that means it worked, yes. I thought John McCain overall came across as quite presidential. He had good answers, he looked right into the camera, he was reassuring on foreign policy, and he seemed a lot more substantive than George W. Bush, who retreated to prepared sound bites. And frequently they were so short, he never went up to the ring of the bell to say time was up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. What prompted this was what Forbes had said about McCain, which was what, Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: What Forbes said about --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me, what Forbes had said about Greenspan.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, Forbes said he'd get rid of Greenspan because he thought Greenspan wanted to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he didn't quite say that.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, because he said he doesn't -- because Greenspan, he said, believes that prosperity causes inflation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MR. BLANKLEY: And he didn't like that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, who is right, Forbes or McCain, on Greenspan?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think the overwhelming consensus on this planet is that McCain is right; that Greenspan, in fact, has presided over this magnificent economy and that most people don't want to touch a hair on his head.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The correct answer is that nobody knows because we are now living with a modern global, Internet-driven high-tech economy, and no one can understand it.
Okay. McCain-Bush love fest.
(Begin video segment.)
MODERATOR: If you have friends in Washington, and I assume you do, why is it then a majority of your fellow Republican senators have endorsed Governor Bush, while only a handful have endorsed you?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): Well, I think that that's testimony to the attractiveness of Governor Bush.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX): Let me say one thing, before I start, about Senator McCain. He is a good man. He is a good man.
(End of video segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What's behind this maudlin love fest, I ask you Rich Lowry?
MR. LOWRY: Oh well, there's no percentage (sic) for it in (sic) either of them to attack each other. I think Bush was smart to come to McCain's defense.
He had four questions asked in one form or the other, why people don't like him and why they think he has a temper. But I think, you know, piling on could -- Senator McCain --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But, you know -- but that doesn't explain that unruly appendage that was brought in -- there to defend McCain by Bush?
MR. LOWRY: Why wouldn't he?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did he bring -- where did that come from?
MR. LOWRY: He was getting piled on. And it's --
MR. BLANKLEY: I don't see why we have to --
MR. LOWRY: -- he wants to be above the fray, John.
MR. BLANKLEY: -- second-guess civility. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Civility?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It came out of nowhere.
MR. BLANKLEY: If you happen to have two men who are polite to each other in public, why do we have to second-guess them?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh come, come, come, come. (Laughter.)
Surely, your journalistic citizens would say that Bush is doing one of two things: Number one, he is trying to silence McCain because McCain had been saying that some of the leaks about his temper had come from the Bush Campaign --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- or Bush is contemplating using him as number two on the ticket. What about that?
MR. BLANKLEY: -- if you wanted to be cynical, then you might say that Bush wanted to be a big man about it, while McCain wanted to show that he was above going negative. And both of them are potential -- on the ticket together.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How did McCain handle the temper issue, do you think?
MR. THOMSON: Well, anybody with a temper, John, shouldn't have a distinguished position anyhow. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this to get back --
MR. THOMSON: (Laughs.) This is -- (inaudible). (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is this to get back for the crack on your lovely wardrobe?
MR. THOMSON: Oh well, listen, I am not saying anything about your clothes. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the way he handled the temper issue? Wasn't it letter-perfect? It seemed to be.
MR. THOMSON: It was, although we'll never --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dry humor? No flare-ups? A little bit of self-parodying?
MS. CLIFT: He has converted it into an asset.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
Bush's Social Security "gotcha."
(Begin video clip.)
M. STEVE FORBES (Republican presidential candidate): Governor Bush, the other day, on "Meet the Press" said he would consider raising the retirement age. It's already been raised from 65 to 67. That's a betrayal.
GOV. BUSH: Let me say something. I want to read some of your -- "Alas, the unaffordable promises have to be scaled back and the best way to do that is to gradually raise the age at which one may collect his full benefits. Those now in their 20s would not be eligible until they're 67 or 68." The author of that? Mr. Steve Forbes.
MR. STEVE FORBES: Well, that quote, I think, was written 20-some odd years ago.
(End videotape clip.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question. Was the GW hit on Forbes effective? I ask you, Rich.
MR. LOWRY: Yeah. I think it was pretty effective. I think it might have made more sense to have Karen Hughes go around the press room and hand that out, but the larger point is, What is Steve Forbes doing attacking George Bush from the left on Social Security? I think the Forbes campaign is clearly floundering and he had the worst night of anyone --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Forbes made Bush look hypocritical, I ask you?
MR. THOMSON: Well, it would have been nice if Forbes --
MS. CLIFT: The other way around.
MR. THOMSON: Yeah, well, Forbes should have had a comeback line to George W., which was, Well, what were you doing 20-some years ago?
MS. CLIFT: Oooooo.
MR. BLANKLEY: But he didn't have that comeback line.
MR. THOMSON: But he didn't have that comeback, and obviously we have to deal with the debate --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the best line for Forbes was, "In November of 1999, the Social Security Administration decided that the cutoff age -- that the onset age would be 67. I predicted that in my column years ago." "I'm against further expansion of the age, as opposed to you, George" -- that's what he should have said.
MR. LOWRY: That would have been very shrewd, but he didn't seem particularly prepared for it. You know, he's paying people millions of dollars --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, but Bush did seem prepared, and what does that tell you about Bush?
MR. LOWRY: It's a very competent operation. The way they rolled out the tax plan was extremely savvy. He's got very good, smart, capable people around him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Negative researchers, in a proper sense of negative. What else does it tell you? Let's see how good you are. (Laughter.)
MR. LOWRY: What else does it tell me?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does it tell you?
MR. LOWRY: How much meaning is there --
(Laughter, cross talk.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: About the Bush campaign?
MR. LOWRY: How much meaning is there to this? Yeah. This is one of the reasons -- I don't think Bush was very good in the debate. You know, for Bush, the debates are little bit like going to Yale. He needs to get a C, you know, just to get by, but he's going to get over the finish line because he has the establishment's support, he has a strong team and he has -- Bush has strong numbers.
MR. BLANKLEY: He had an 88 in philosophy at Yale, so -- (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I still have not heard what else this mousetrap by Bush tells you about the Bush campaign?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I can answer it. First of all, I want to give credit to Bush for a terrific put-down. That was a great put-down. But what it tells you about is that George Bush is quite programmed by the excellent people around him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we've already heard that.
MS. CLIFT: I don't think we did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We did. The researchers gave him the information. You've all missed the point. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: All right, then, tell us, John. Tell us.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is a Bush spy in the Forbes camp. It's very easy. Right? There's a mole in there.
MS. CLIFT: No. That's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Who scored highest and who scored lowest? Rich Lowry?
MR. LOWRY: McCain was as good as he's ever been, and Forbes' performance was another liability for a limping campaign.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: In terms of momentum coming out of this, I think McCain retains the momentum that he had. And I think Orrin Hatch is not going to get a ticket to ride on that bus.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who scored highest and lowest?
MR. BLANKLEY: At a performance level, Keyes did the best. But at a functional level politically, all but Bush did badly because they didn't make him make any mistakes, and all the stories people are going to see for the next several days are going to be positive for Bush. So everyone but Bush failed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I agree with you on Keyes, but don't you think the playing of the race card by him was quite "outre" and irresponsible? There was no connection with that. I mean, it was hauled in.
MR. LOWRY: The blackout..
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Robert?
MR. THOMSON: Bush wins on points by not losing points.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent. You're right on the money. He had a lot to lose; he didn't fumble, he didn't stumble. And therefore, he won.
Who was the big loser?
MR. THOMSON: Orrin Hatch. I still -- (inaudible). (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is pile-on time for Orrin Hatch.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You are correct.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. LOWRY: John McCain will never be Bush's VP pick because he's too independent for the Bush team.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Prescription drugs will be the sleeper issue of the 2000 campaign.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Although he's run a very good campaign, Gary Bauer will be the next one to drop out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Robert?
MR. THOMSON: Beware the ides of March. A big dose of financial instability before March.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A big what?
MR. THOMSON: Dose of financial instability before March.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Fed meets in less than three weeks. Alan Greenspan, dead or alive, will not -- note, "not" -- raise interest rates.
Happy Hanukkah. Bye-bye.