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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP



HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,


ELEANOR CLIFT, AND JAMES WARREN



TAPED: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2000


BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 12-13, 2000



.STX



 


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.


-------------------------



 


ANNOUNCER: GE is proud to support the McLaughlin Group. From medical systems to broadcasting, GE: We bring good things to life.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Splitsville.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): (From videotape.) I'd like to shake hands right now. We will not run a negative ad. (Shakes hand with Governor George W. Bush, fellow Republican presidential candidate.)



(Music: "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" by Neil Sedaka.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Breaking up may be hard to do, but between McCain and Bush, it was no surprise, nor was the bitterness of the split.



(Begin videotape.)



ANNOUNCER FROM BUSH CAMPAIGN AD: McCain says he's the only candidate who can beat Gore on campaign finance.



ANNOUNCER FROM BUSH CAMPAIGN AD: But news investigations reveal McCain solicits money from lobbyists with interests before his committee and pressures agencies on behalf of contributors.



ANNOUNCER FROM BUSH CAMPAIGN AD: He attacks special interests, but the Wall Street Journal reports --



ANNOUNCER FROM BUSH CAMPAIGN AD: -- McCain's campaign is crawling with lobbyists.



ANNOUNCER FROM BUSH CAMPAIGN AD: His conservative hometown paper warns --



ANNOUNCER FROM BUSH CAMPAIGN AD: -- it's time the rest of the nation learns about the McCain we know.



(End videotape.)



(Begin videotape.)



ANNOUNCER FROM MCCAIN CAMPAIGN AD: This is George Bush's ad promising America he'd run a positive campaign.



This is George Bush's new negative ad, attacking John McCain and distorting his position.



Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?



SEN. MCCAIN: Governor Bush's campaign is getting desperate with a negative ad about me. His ad twists the truth, like Clinton. We're all pretty tired of that.



(End videotape.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Whose negative ads are better, McCain's or Bush's, Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: Well, better -- what are we talking about? (Inaudible) -- the efficacy?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More effective. More effective.



MR. BARONE: My -- looking at the tracking, I would say slightly for Bush. They're more attractive, and partly because John McCain came into this without very many negatives at all.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: McCain is the one who's running a different campaign. He's not going to do politics as usual. That ad's going to hurt him, and I think he's going to back off of that low road pretty fast.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Bush's ads are a little more restrained and therefore better than McCain's.



MS. CLIFT: And they're taking their toll. I think the -- McCain's margin in the state has narrowed.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You share Eleanor's view, don't you, Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: I do precisely. McCain made a tactical or maybe a strategic mistake in going -- in doing negative ads. Bush had no alternative.



It remains to be seen whether -- I think that Bush's ads have slowed McCain's surge, but it remains to be seen whether it will be sufficient to do the job Bush hopes they'll do.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In claiming that Bush is like Clinton, McCain gets too close to the bone, doesn't he?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I think any negative ad from McCain was a mistake, because that was the opposite of his message.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you can call somebody a murderer, an assassin, a rapist, but if you say that someone is like Clinton, you really are going over the edge. Am I right or wrong?



MR. WARREN: Well, first of all, as someone who's belatedly introduced Neil Sedaka into this campaign -- that was Neil Sedaka singing there -- I disagree --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Chuckles.)



MR. BARONE: Not negative campaigning.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want you to hear me now. Read my lips. Whatever works. Got it?



MR. WARREN: I think McCain's ads are a bit more effective. I think he's proving a more polished performer. I think all his ads up to this point have been more direct. And the Clinton shot, you may think it's below the belt, but seeing him work those crowds along the South Carolina coast last week, it works like a charm.



MR. BARONE: But that's not what he was talking about when he said Clinton -- the idea that it's Clinton that twists the truth. And there is -- you know, to South Carolina Republicans, there's nothing worse you can say about somebody than that he's like Bill Clinton.



MS. CLIFT: Well, you know, it's also not true. I mean, it doesn't pass the laugh test, I mean, saying that Bush twists the truth like Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton lied about sex. You know, Bush I don't think is lying about lobbyists or whatever. I mean, the two don't add up. I mean, it's a foolish charge.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Push polls. At a McCain town hall meeting, a South Carolina woman from Spartanburg, she stood up, she described to McCain how her son adored him, a Navy pilot, a POW. Then the 14-year-old Boy Scout answered the phone, and on the line was an alleged Bush pollster.



DONNA DUREN (South Carolina resident): (From videotape.) He was so upset when he came upstairs, and he said, "Mom, someone told me that Senator McCain is a cheat and a liar and a fraud." And he was almost in tears.



SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I'm calling on my good friend George Bush to stop this now. He comes from a better family. He knows better than this. And he should stop it.



GOV. BUSH: (From videotape.) I don't know who made this call, but I don't believe it was from my campaign. If it is from my campaign, they're not going to be on my campaign anymore.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Assume that the exchange we just saw was rigged and that the mother is right out of Central Casting. Okay? If that's the case, what does that tell you about John McCain? Then assume that the mother's story was a straight and honest narrative, unmanipulated by John McCain. What does that tell you about George Bush?



Can you handle that, Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: I'm not going to make all those assumptions, but I would like to point out this is one phone call. If this was a pattern that was going on, wouldn't other people be stepping up and making the same claim? That hasn't happened. Secondly, this is a gift for John McCain. It put Bush on the defensive. It slowed his message. And so, whatever the cause, whether it's a true happening or whatever, John McCain would like to be thrown in this briar patch lots of times.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it look a little too pat to you, Tony, or do you take it at face value, that it's a true account the woman was giving of her son and the push poller?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, in cutthroat politics, I take nothing at face value. So I don't know whether it was a setup or not. I certainly doubt it was actually the Bush campaign itself that was doing the push polling, but there are lots of support groups on the edges of campaigns, and Bush has got some of those that could be doing it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you divine from having seen that videotape?



MR. WARREN: Well, it's good that we found one of the six rank-and-file Carolinians who knows the term "push polls." I think she's watched too much television.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Either that, or it's suspect on those grounds alone.



MR. WARREN: I will assume it's sincere. I'll assume at minimum it's a group sympathetic to Bush. And I assume that virtually all of these folks have at least groups sympathetic to them, asking the exact same sorts of questions as Americans around the country right now.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean sympathetic to McCain?



MR. WARREN: Sympathetic --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To Bush?



MR. WARREN: -- to Bush.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what is a "push poll"?



MR. WARREN: Well, a --



MR. BLANKLEY: Let me tell you --



MR. BARONE: A push poll is really the illegitimate poll, John --



MR. BLANKLEY: A push poll is perfectly legitimate when the campaign does it to try to find out, and probe a little bit further, what will move voters. It's illegitimate if, instead of 500 calls, they place 50,000. Then it's a means of propaganda rather than market research.



MR. BARONE: Well, John, as a former --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it depends on what the script says --



MR. BARONE: Yeah.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- what the telephone person is saying to the "callee."



MR. BARONE: Well, John --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And in this case, the boy said that McCain was trashed, presumably by a Bush employee.



MR. WARREN: And for those who don't know --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, that's a push poll --



MR. WARREN: -- well, just a minute -- right.



MR. BARONE: Yeah.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- you are pushing the poll in a certain direction.



MR. BARONE: Yeah. Now that's --



MR. WARREN: These are phony questions.



MR. BARONE: The fact is that push polls are probably not conducted very often. But I was in South Carolina this week, and I heard people from both camps saying: "Well, I have heard there is a few push polls. I have heard there is push polling going against" --



The fact is that what's happening down there --



MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, this is going on -- well, wait --



MS. CLIFT: Well, whatever --



MR. BLANKLEY: No, wait --



MS. CLIFT: -- whatever --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me hear Michael. Let me hear Michael.



MR. BARONE: What seems to be happening down there is this: Somebody is probably conducting advocacy phone calls. I do not think that anybody linked with the national Bush campaign would put out a poll that -- he calls McCain the kind of things that that woman cited. And of course, the boy was excited --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then, you are saying it was a rigged narrative that we heard on television just now from that woman?



MR. BARONE: I am saying that when a 14-year-old says he is very upset by what he heard on the phone, we are not necessarily getting the exact words. Even a reporter who is upset is not going to necessarily give you the exact words that they heard.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If it can be --



MR. BARONE: He remembered something negative.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if it can be shown that that was rigged, that would be extremely damaging to John McCain, and it would be saying in effect terrible things about his character.



MR. WARREN: I mean, obviously --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would it not?



MR. WARREN: -- obviously, John McCain would prefer if this South Carolina primary was held today. I think the longer this goes on and the more little chips there are in his direction, that's going to help Bush.



MR. BARONE: Yeah. But, John --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but is that -- wait, wait, wait a minute -- is that one of the principal impressions you drew from having been down there with him?



MR. WARREN: Yeah. If it was held today, he would win. I mean, this is a phenomenon at the moment. Will it last, I don't know.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have any other "pensees" about your visit there? (Chuckles.)



MR. WARREN: Well, my "pensees" are that a lot of folks have missed the boat in selling this guy short. There is a fervor in those crowds. A host of meetings I went to that were scheduled indoors had to be held outdoors because of overflow audiences.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.



You were there. Do you have any quick "pensees" to give us?



MR. BARONE: Well, the fact is that both candidates have got really enthusiastic crowds. With John McCain you see a sort of unit cohesion between him and the crowd, a really moving demonstration of people -- people responding to him.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More so with McCain than between Bush and the crowd?



MR. BARONE: Yes. Not quite the emotional fervor --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes?



MR. WARREN: It's not even close.



MR. BARONE: -- but I also saw Bush with over -- I also saw Bush with overflow crowds, a lot of enthusiasm. And he is doing much more animated presentations --



MS. CLIFT: Well, McCain is --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they are both good performers?



MR. WARREN: No.



MS. CLIFT: Well, when in fact is --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No? Bush is no? Why?



MR. BARONE: I would say yes.



MR. WARREN: Because I think Bush tends to lose one after about four or five minutes. And McCain, he has got that stump speech down cold, and it builds to this climax when --



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is --



MR. WARREN: -- "I am not going to lie to you."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he stay on message, the message being his personal history?



MR. WARREN: Having seen him do this back last summer, and now seeing him now, the improvement in his performance skills would impress --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. We've got to get out.



MR. WARREN: -- any Hollywood consultant.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question.



Eleanor, do you want to say one thing for five seconds?



MS. CLIFT: I wanted to say they're pitching to different crowds and McCain's going for Independents. Republicans usually get -- one-third of the vote is Independents. If they can pull 40 percent Independent vote, he's in.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you mean that --



MS. CLIFT: Yeah, he's pitching a message that you like to hear. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- McCain is preaching to the saved, and Bush is preaching to those he wants to save, is that what you're saying?



MR. BARONE: No, she got it exactly right.



MS. CLIFT: No Bush, is preaching to the right wing, and if he does win the nomination, he's now living out the nightmare that he hoped to avoid -- he's gone too far to the right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit: Who won the week in South Carolina, McCain or Bush?



I ask you.



MR. BARONE: Bush, by a small margin. But they both -- this is still, we've got to regard as an even race.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What were you there for, two days?



MR. BARONE: Yeah.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: It's a draw.



MR. BLANKLEY: Bush won on the margin because it stopped getting bad for him. McCain, when you start seeing stories with your fundraisers on the record, wondering where has all this money gone, I think it's a lost week for you. McCain once saw those sorts of stories about Bush. Lots of second thoughts among his die-hards.



MR. WARREN: McCain.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think Bush won the week, for Tony's reason, that Bush stopped the hemorrhaging. And secondly, I think McCain's ads went a trifle too far.



Okay, mclaughlin.com. Last week we asked: Who will win the South Carolina GOP Primary on February the 19th? It's close: 46 percent Bush, 44 percent John McCain, 9 percent Alan Keyes, 2 percent for Steve Forbes, who dropped out on Thursday.



Exit to the panel right here: Who will win the South Carolina Primary next Saturday?



Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: Well, I'll say this primarily because I've said it before, and I'm stuck with my prediction -- Bush. But it's close.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't have to stick with predictions on this program. We change every week.



MR. BARONE: I'd rather be wrong only once, John.



MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right. You know, again, it's too fluid, but Bush has a chance to make it. I still say McCain.



MR. BLANKLEY: Within the margin of error, I'll call it for McCain.



MR. WARREN: With a nice bit of help from Democratic voters who can vote, McCain.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Extremely tight -- Bush.



When we come back, are House Republicans bigoted?



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: House Holy War.



WILLIAM DONOHUE (President, Catholic League): (From videotape.) We have to get people educated in this country. We have to begin with the Republican Party, which lately has had a particular problem with anti-Catholicism. You've had a situation in the House where they won't allow a Catholic priest, the first one in 210 years, to ascend to the position of House chaplain.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What Mr. Donohue, president of the Catholic League, is unhappy with is the still boiling battle over the Republican nomination of a new chaplain for the House of Representatives.



To fill that vacancy, an 18-member bipartisan House selection committee choose a Catholic priest, Father Timothy O'Brien for the post. The current chaplain, James Ford, a Lutheran minister, is retiring.



Unfortunately for Father O'Brien, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Leader Dick Armey refused to ordain -- so to speak -- the priest. Over the vote of the official bipartisan selection committee, Hastert and Armey choose a Protestant -- a Presbyterian minister, Charles Wright. Well, as it turns out, Hastert and Armey have regretted the O'Brien repudiation ever since.



Members of their own Republican Party have labeled the Hastert-Armey rejection of O'Brien an act of anti-Catholic bigotry, made all the worse because Catholics outnumber every denomination in the U.S. Congress, both chambers, and outnumber every denomination in the U.S. electorate at large. That's 30 million voters. Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the NRCC, has done private polling on the issue. It shows that the Catholic vote, a swing vote, has turned against Republicans over this chaplain bigotry.



The annual salary of the House chaplain, by the way, is $138,000. Question: what can the GOP do to dispel this nasty perception that they are anti-Catholic bigots at the top? Tony Blankley.



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I think it's a completely, of course, false perception being pushed forward largely by Democrats who want to get a bigger Catholic vote.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying you don't think the Republicans themselves, namely Hastert and Armey, are responsible for what you call an error of impression?



MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, I think that they're responsible for the actions they took, but I disagree completely with their motivation. It has nothing to do with bigotry. Armey -- Armey --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you understand why it would be concluded that they were religious bigots?



MR. BLANKLEY: Armey's son converted to Catholicism.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, I --



MR. BLANKLEY: I know Armey, it was one of the happiest days of his life. There's no bigotry involved there, but there is political stupidity. And to answer your question, what they -- I think they need to do is probably to appoint another Catholic --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did they do it? Why -- you know that they had an 18-member nominating --



MR. BLANKLEY: Because -- I know -- I know exactly why they did it. I know exactly --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- committee, search committee, and the person who scored the highest was this Catholic priest O'Brien.



MR. BLANKLEY: I know, I know -- look --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He got 14 mentions on ballots, and three of those members of that 18-man committee were Catholics, 15 were Protestant. He scored the highest all the way through.



MR. BLANKLEY: When he'd -- and I know exactly what happened. When he went in for his final interview, he did a very bad job. He did very much unimpress the people, and they went with the other fellow.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that's --



MR. BLANKLEY: But that was a tactical mistake for them politically and they probably --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, what you've just given us is the Armey-Hastert CYA line.



MR. BLANKLEY: No, it is the truth.



MS. CLIFT: If I could give a little advice to the Republicans, they need to cut their losses. They ought to ask --



MR. BLANKLEY: That's what I just said. I agree with you.



MS. CLIFT: -- the current chaplain nominee to either step aside or maybe share the job with --



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, he is going to step aside. He is --



 


MS. CLIFT: -- a Roman Catholic.



MR. BLANKLEY: He is going to step aside.



MS. CLIFT: But the Democrats just want to keep this going as long as they can --



MR. BLANKLEY: That's my point. That's my point.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.



MS. CLIFT: -- because last time the Republicans gained seats in the House, they carried the Catholics.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. I've got a question for you. Can the Republicans -- can George Bush, if he's the nominee, or John McCain -- win the election in the fall without the Catholic swing vote, bearing in mind that Pat Buchanan will probably pull 4 percent, and if he does that, he's going to take mostly from the Republicans, and they're going to need that Catholic swing vote as they've never needed a vote before -- am I right? -- to win. Therefore, this is a big issue, is it not?



MR. BARONE: I don't know how many Catholic households right now are really upset about the House chaplain issue, John. Obviously, the head of the Catholic League is.



But the fact is, I think that Tony's right. I don't think there was any intention of bigotry here. I think it was a clumsy thing. The Republicans need to get out of it. The Democrats are exploiting this for what it's worth.



The Republican ticket does need an even break among Catholics in order to win around the country.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, so your --



MR. BARONE: But there's lots of different kinds of Catholics --



MR. WARREN: Right.



MR. BARONE: -- with different concerns, in America.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.



MR. BARONE: We're talking about 28 percent of Americans.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Let me advise you, however, that in interviewing John Dingell, 45 years in the United States House of Representatives, just back from Detroit, where his -- in Michigan, where his constituency is -- he meets people on the street, and they say to him, "What about this bigotry question?" It was a front-page story this week in the Detroit Free Press. Does that change your view as to whether or not the mainstream in America is going to be concerned about this, bearing in mind we haven't had a Catholic priest in the United States House of Representatives in 210 years --



MS. CLIFT: Hey, John --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- despite the fact that there are more Catholics in the House and Senate --



MR. BARONE: John, John, the territorial --



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and more Catholics in the American electorate than other religious denomination?



MR. BARONE: Michigan is a special case. The territorial delegate from Michigan was Father Gabriel Richard (sp), a Catholic priest, who was the first one to serve, before Father Drinan was elected in --



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about a chaplain.



MS. CLIFT: John, why don't you volunteer for the job? John, why don't you volunteer for the job? (Chuckles.)



MR. WARREN: John, don't forget the -- tell me what your position is on this before we get out -- (laughter) -- but it is a little goofy. Since 1832, with one exception, you've had white, male Protestants as chaplains.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.



MR. WARREN: I mean, that is a little goofy.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. WARREN: Plus the fact is, what do these guys do? They're not involved in sectarian dialogue; they're involved in consoling people --



MS. CLIFT: There was a Catholic in the Senate --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Okay. This story -- this anti-Catholicism story is not over. George W. Bush at Bob Jones University. Take a look at this.



(Footage of Bush visiting Bob Jones University.) Where did Governor Bush kick off his campaign in South Carolina? Answer: the virulently anti-Catholic Bob Jones University in Greenville. The university president is Bob Jones III, and this is how he describes the 1 billion-member Roman Catholic Church worldwide: quote, "a cult which calls itself Christian," unquote.



If you think that's bad, this is what his father, Bob Jones II, and also president of the university, said -- and this is posted, and you've got to see this website, the official BJU website -- quote, "the Roman church is not another Christian denomination. It is a satanic counterfeit, an ecclesiastic tyranny over the souls of men, not to bring them to salvation, but to hold them bound in sin and hurl them into eternal damnation. It is the old harlot in the Book of Revelation, the mother of harlots."



Question: Is McCain wise to stay away from Bob Jones University? I ask you.



MR. BLANKLEY: In this context, yes. I think it was a mistake, for a lot of reasons, for Bush to go to Bob Jones University. They're against interethnic dating. It's -- I think it sends the wrong message all around the country. But it --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he says that Ronald Reagan went there. He says that his father went there, et cetera, et cetera.



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, but it may be useful in South Carolina, which is the issue of the hour, of course.



MR. WARREN: I don't think it hurts McCain -- might help him a little bit. And certainly, in a general election --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To what?



MR. WARREN: To have stayed away. And it might actually help with some Democrats. I mean, Tony, another point that I find almost flabbergasting is the fact that Bush doesn't realize that his own brother, the governor of Florida, if he and his wife-to-be had met there at that college, they would not have been able to date because she's a Latina.



MS. CLIFT: I think he --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: You know, the point is that the Bob Jones language is despicable and it ought to be disavowed. And what George Bush is doing is he's playing for every last vote on the far right and the Christian evangelical base. It's the only way he can win. And if he does win, he's going to pay for it in the fall. It's a very sorry strategy.



MR. BARONE : John, I think this plays differently in South Carolina. I mean, Professor Dave Woodard of Clemson University said, for many suburbanites who don't even buy Bob Jones, it's a sort of imprimatur that you're a person of temperance or whatever. Fact is that he shouldn't have gone there. They should have researched the website and gotten out of there.



MR. BLANKLEY: They were told to go there because that's where the biggest audience would be.



MR. WARREN: And black Catholic Alan Keyes apparently is going to show up there.


MR. BARONE: Is scheduled to appear.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Alan Keyes can handle it differently. First of all, he can blast that website which is carrying that vitriolic, nonsensical, irrational anti-Catholic propaganda. He can blast that and he can blast the rejection of interracial marriage, which is also characteristic of the BJU. Right? Am I right about that?



MR. BARONE: Sure, he can go ahead and do that, John, but --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And therefore, he can -- but Bush gets on the stage, he says nothing about anything. And why? Because he wants the "Bubba" vote. Am I right or wrong?



MR. BARONE: John, let's not get into your own bigotry here. Let's --



MR. BLANKLEY: In fairness to Bush, he may not have been briefed on all the details. He was told --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I sense there's a larger question here, and I think the larger question is, is whether or not, since only 40 years or 50 years have passed since 1960, we know the problem this was for John F. Kennedy, Jr. -- John F. Kennedy, and we know -- we wonder whether or not there is a residual anti-Catholicism in the United States.



MR. BARONE: John, I think --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you explain 210 years without a Catholic priest in the United States House of Representatives?



MR. BARONE: John. John. I think the fact --



MS. CLIFT: Well, there hasn't been a rabbi either, or a Muslim.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you explain it?



MR. BARONE: John, I think the fact is, if you want to go back to history and to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, '89 and so forth, you can explain it that way. The fact is --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Antipapism came over here with the Founding Fathers.



MR. BARONE: -- the Bob Jones view, I think, is not at all typical of Christian conservative, Protestant conservatives in the United States.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We had the Brooklyn Museum. That was another instance of it.



MR. BARONE: No, you had -- that was quite vile. But the fact is that I think this is --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, this is quite vile.



MR. BARONE: -- this is atypical of the Christian conservatives in America today. You see now conservative Catholics --



MS. CLIFT: You know, let's not put things out of context.



MR. BLANKLEY: Wait. Wait a second.



MS. CLIFT: First of all, it is --



MR. BARONE: -- and conservative Protestants working together.



MS. CLIFT: -- it is time, we all acknowledge, for a Catholic to be the House chaplain. There has been a chaplain, a Catholic chaplain in the Senate. But --



MR. WARREN: Right.



MS. CLIFT: Right. But the point is that this is not anti-Catholicism so much as it is pro the establishments that have always controlled. And they ought to break through and name a Catholic.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know that there is a massive international movement now to take the Vatican out of the United Nations?



MS. CLIFT: But John, there hasn't been a rabbi as the House religious leader; there hasn't been a Muslim, either.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this like Reagan going to Bitburg?



MS. CLIFT: You know, everybody will have to get their turn.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that what it's like?



MR. BARONE: I wouldn't say it's like Reagan going to Bitburg. It was George W. Bush trying to send a message to Christian conservatives in South Carolina that he is more like them on the --



MR. BLANKLEY: The Bitburg --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Except that Reagan's going to Bitburg -- his focus was conciliation. He's going after the Bubba vote.



MR. BLANKLEY: The Bitburg event is a good analogy, because at the time --



MR. BARONE: John, let's not use the term "Bubba vote."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, I -- I'm saying to you I think there is a pervasive anti-Catholicism in the United States --



MR. BLANKLEY: Wait, wait --



MR. BARONE: I think that's condescending. I think --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- of some low level of subtext activity.



MR. BARONE: I don't think you should use language like that any more than you should use language like the -- (inaudible) -- plebiscite. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I beg your pardon. I feel perfectly comfortable using that language. And how you interpret "Bubba" may differ from how I interpret it. But thank you very much for your unsolicited castigation.



Yes?



MR. BLANKLEY: The Bitburg is a good example, because the Reagan White House picked the Bitburg Cemetery in the winter, when they didn't know there were SS graves there. So equivalently, Bush may have picked Robert Jones without knowing all the details.



MR. WARREN: They didn't check the weather there --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tuesday. A killer debate Tuesday night -- McCain, Bush. Who will be left standing?



MR. BARONE: Both of them standing.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Both standing.



MS. CLIFT: Not definitive.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not definitive.



MR. BLANKLEY: McCain left standing.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McCain left standing.



MR. WARREN: A tie.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Answer: Bush left standing.



Happy Valentine's Day! Bye bye!



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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: e-ssaulting the web!



JANET RENO (U.S. Attorney General): (From videotape.) We are committed in every way possible to tracking down those who are responsible, to bringing them to justice, and to seeing that the law is enforced.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Attorney General Reno is determined to bring justice to cyberterrorists who unleashed their electronic bombs all across the Internet this week. The cyberterrorists known as "hackers" successfully shut down target sites for hours at a time. It was not a low-key operation. The electronic assaults, called "denial of service" attacks, took down some of the biggest sites on the world wide web.



Yahoo!, the most popular site on the web, with over 47 million web visitors stopping by in January; last Monday, Yahoo! was taken down for three hours. Amazon, e-Bay and buy.com, three of the biggest web shopping sites for purchasing almost any kind of any merchandise you can think of. Last Tuesday, all commerce was disrupted and delayed for hours. CNN and ZDNet.com; these two news sites together get more traffic than the Internet behemoth, America Online's news site. They were paralyzed last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. E-trade, the second-biggest Internet stockbroker, stalled for an hour on Wednesday after the opening bell.



These attacks did more than just shut down individual sites; they unnerved the entire stock market. Anxiety over cybersecurity and e-commerce last Wednesday dragged down technology stocks, causing a 258-point drop in the Dow.



Attorney General Reno says that the FBI is on the case. Don't hold your breath; so far, no suspect, no motive, no idea when or where the terrorist hackers will strike next. At week's end, President Clinton announced a White House summit this coming Tuesday with 15 Internet CEOs to probe Internet security.



Question: Do this week's cyberattacks justify giving the federal government the power to implant software tracking devices on every personal computer with no prior warrant for tapping? I ask you, James.



MR. WARREN: Only if we know whether they disrupted the McLaughlin-for-House-Chaplain website -- (laughter) -- on the glories of the Internet.



I think what this shows is it shows the naivete of the public about security on an Internet. It also shows the real wishful thinking by the industry about the glories of the self-regulation and also the government's uncertainty about -- what to do. The answer to your question is no. (Laughter, cross talk). Self-regulation may not be a way to go.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we sure where the cyber hacker who did this? Or could it be somebody, for example, like a rival software company? Could it be a stock-market short-seller? Could it be a vendor of security software?



MR. BARONE: Look, John --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could it be the FBI maybe -- (laughter) -- in an effort to get these implants into computers?



MR. BLANKLEY: Look, the FBI --



MR. BARONE: John --



MR. WARREN (?): That's ludicrous.



MR. BLANKLEY: -- wait -- wait a second. I am --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is not.



MR. BLANKLEY: -- I am confident it's not the FBI, but it could be the other ones.



Let me tell you what the real interesting issue is here -- which is that the e-commerce websites could --



 


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