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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP



HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: ELEANOR CLIFT, DAVID FRUM,


LAWRENCE KUDLOW, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL



TAPED: FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2000


BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JUNE 3-4, 2000



.STX



 


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.


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ANNOUNCER: GE is proud to support the McLaughlin Group. From lighting to financial services, GE: We bring good things to life.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Hello, Bill! Hello, Vlad!



U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: (From videotape.) President Clinton and President Putin have met a couple of times, but they've never had a one-on-one summit like this, and so we want to talk about arms control. We certainly will be. But we're also going to be talking about their economy, about Chechnya, about what is happening in the countries around Russia. So we have a lot of items to talk about during the summit.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The new president of the Russian Federation is Vladimir Putin. He was inaugurated three weeks ago. This Sunday Putin meets with President Clinton in Moscow at a summit. It's the third time the two men have met, but it's the first presidential tete-a-tete.



Arguments on the table:



One, new arms control deals. Russia has 6,000 nuclear warheads. Maintaining that stockpile will cost Putin $30 billion over the next decade. He wants to cut it down to less than a third of that, 2,000 warheads, with savings of over $15 billion. But politically, Putin cannot cut the arsenal unless the U.S. cuts theirs, too, and that means a new arms control treaty called START III.



Two, national missile defense system. The Pentagon is testing one to protect the nation from a small-scale nuclear attack. If the tests work, Clinton could begin to deploy late in the summer, but Putin says that that shield system violates the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile -- ABM -- Treaty. So Clinton wants to amend the treaty, but Putin does not.



George W. Bush, by the way, also is fighting against a new ABM Treaty. He does not want to have his hands tied by a lame-duck Clinton.



Three, bloody Chechnya. Three weeks ago, Chechen rebels killed 19 Russian soldiers in an ambush in a neighboring Russian province. Clinton will voice U.S. criticism over the ongoing war. But Putin won't stand for it.



Four, sagging economy. A sinking economy has left over one-third of all Russians living on $1 per day. Russian corruption and crime are rampant and destroying Moscow's credibility within its own populace. Putin needs U.S. help, but he also wants to break free of Russia's dependence on IMF loans.



That's the summit. One, new arms control deals -- Putin, yes; Clinton, maybe. Two, amendments to the ABM Treaty -- Putin, no; Clinton, yes. Three, end to crackdown in Chechnya -- Putin, no; Clinton, yes. Four, a better Russian economy -- Putin, yes; Clinton, yes.



The positions just listed for Clinton and Putin at the Moscow summit are the going-in positions. Question: Who has the upper hand going into this summit, Lawrence Kudlow?



MR. KUDLOW: I think right now it's Putin, not Clinton. Clinton is absolutely a lame duck. I think Bush is much more important regarding foreign policy and the discussion of the treaties. And also, Putin's principal issue right now -- he's going to unveil in the next week or two a brand-new economic reform plan. He has been advised by a number of free-market Americans from the Joint Economic Committee, Jose Pinera on Social Security reform, and people who made the deregulation for New Zealand. Putin is going to turn out to be a terrific economic reformer. All this other stuff with Mr. Clinton is just for show. There's going to be very little content.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Well, the whole point of being a lame duck is that you are freed of electoral constraints and you are theoretically freer to act in the national interest. I think everybody agrees that the arsenals that the two countries are maintaining are obsolete and they need to come down.



Putin is desperate to do something for his economy. The makings of a deal are there. Clinton needs to tweak the ABM Treaty to proceed with a modest strategic defense system. So I think the possibility of a deal is still there, but even if it doesn't happen, I think Putin needs to cozy up to this country. He needs us more than we need him.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David, do you think Eleanor is correct in saying that President Clinton is free of political constraints because he's a lame duck? Isn't it the other way around in this election year, that he'd like to present a treaty to Al Gore to crow about in the Rose Garden?



MR. FRUM: If Clinton were freed of political constraints, he'd be like a man plunging through an abyss. (Laughter.) He has no other guide as to how to think.



My question is, if America so strongly has the upper hand -- and by the facts on the ground, it should -- why is it that there is going to be no discussion of the increasingly ominous suppression of freedom of speech, of the media inside Russia? I mean, we have just gone through a process --



MS. CLIFT: I don't think you know that, that there's not going to be any discussion of that.



MR. FRUM: Well, it does -- compared to the attention that has been given to the improving legal situation in China, the amount of attention that is given to the deteriorating legal situation in Russia is really quite incongruous.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you think? Putin needs -- he's got a budgetary concern, he's concerned about the budget. Clinton's concerned about the legacy. So are they going to cut a deal?



MR. O'DONNELL: It's unlikely, but in terms of who has the upper hand, clearly Bill Clinton does on two grounds. Number one, he has the experience, his eighth year in office, Putin's first. There's no question where the experience gap works to Bill Clinton's advantage in these kinds of discussions, and also, the fact that Russia does need us way more than we need them in any one of these kinds of negotiations.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but this is not a pure state of affairs, because you have Clinton, who is a lame duck and wants a legacy, which Putin knows; and secondly, Putin knows that he can be dealing in seven or eight months, or 10 months, with a new president, and thirdly, George Bush's emissaries may have gone over there and said, "Why don't you deal with us and hold off, and we'll present you some better terms?"



(Cross talk.)



MR. O'DONNELL: They will -- that's not what Bush's emissaries are saying. It's very clear in Moscow that if you wait to do a deal with George Bush, it'll probably be tougher. Bill Clinton's -- any deal you make with Bill Clinton --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: George Bush said this week -- he didn't call for unilateral disarmament, but he had some astonishing things to say about cutting our nuclear stockpile --



MR. KUDLOW: Sure.



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. And --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- tied to a shield, but kind of loosely tied to a shield, saying, "I want" -- he says, "I'm going to talk this through with Putin."



MR. O'DONNELL: But Bush is much more attached to the shield than Clinton is. I mean, Clinton is going through the motions on anti-ballistic missile defense, but Democrats are much more willing to --



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. First of all, John --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All of this -- hold on, Eleanor -- all of this discussion may be otiose. You understand what that means, of course.



MR. FRUM: Redundant.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No. It means a waste of time.



MR. KUDLOW: Overtaken by events.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Otiose. It may be overtaken by events. It already has been overtaken by events --



MR. KUDLOW: Sure.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because here is someone who can kill it in its tracks. Listen to him.



SEN. JESSE HELMS (R-NC, chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee): (From videotape.) Let's be clear, to avoid any misunderstandings down the line. Any modified ABM Treaty negotiated by this administration will be DOA, dead on arrival, at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That sounds like it's vindictive, and maybe it is, but Henry Kissinger says this: "A lame duck president should not attempt definitive breakthroughs on so controversial a subject." Do you have thoughts, David?



MR. FRUM: He -- the problem is not that he shouldn't try. The problem is that it's going to be very difficult for him to succeed, and especially with this particular president. I mean, you really do wonder what kind of compass he's taking with him --



MR. KUDLOW: Listen, John --



MS. CLIFT: Well, those words coming from Henry Kissinger, who I believe was at his best negotiating for lame duck presidents -- it didn't stop him. It's what -- look, if Bill Clinton gets an arms control deal, and Jesse Helms stands up and says, "We're not going to cut our arsenal because I don't like Bill Clinton," who does that help? That's not going to help elect George Bush.



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we establish one thing -- that there is room to cut? We've got an arsenal of what? How many nuclear warheads do we have, David? Do you know?



MR. FRUM: I don't know.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: About the same as Russia, right? Or slightly less? About 5,800?



MS. CLIFT: Six or seven hundred --



MR. KUDLOW: But look --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We could cut that down to 3,000 and still have the MAD doctrine working, right? Which will assure deterrence.



MR. KUDLOW: Absolutely, and probably even below that. I mean, the really incredible thing is how Bush has deliberately injected himself into this. He is leading in the polls now by 10 or 11 percentage points. Putin reads the same polls that we do. They're going to make a deal, but it isn't going to be Bill Clinton's deal. And the deal has mutually beneficial aspects, because everyone wants to save money and lower their spending.



But don't forget this, John: On the economy -- I don't want to lose this point -- in response to David and others, people are still underrating Putin. The Russian stock market is flying, best performing in the world. He is laying out a program to slash taxes, to deregulate, to prop up private property, contract law --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why -- why --



MR. FRUM: (Off mike.)



MR. KUDLOW: I don't think so.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is the stock market flying? Quickly.



MR. KUDLOW: Because it trusts that Putin is going to follow through on these reforms in a way that Yeltsin never did.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, we've got to get out.



MS. CLIFT: I want to know if Larry Kudlow is investing his money in the Russian stock market. (Laughter.)



MR. KUDLOW: I'm getting --



MS. CLIFT: Yes or no? (Laughs.)



MR. KUDLOW: I'll tell you what. The Russian stock market may look better than the American stock market, because the Russians don't have all these Federal Reserve knuckleheads trying to destroy their market.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit -- exit -- (laughs) -- exit question: Will Clinton and Putin reach agreement on any major issue? One-word answer. Lawrence Kudlow?



MR. KUDLOW: No.



MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Maybe. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David?



MR. FRUM: Yes. He wouldn't be there if he weren't going to come back with something.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think something is scripted?



MR. FRUM: Something is going to happen.



MR. O'DONNELL: Minor issue only.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Minor issue only. Lawrence is right -- this Lawrence. We have a Lawrence here and a Lawrence here. I'm Lorenzified! (Laughter.)



When we come back: Hispanics are 5 percent of the vote nationally. So is it a constituency really worth courting?



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: School Days.



School may be out for the summer, but school reform is in. Improving education is the most important challenge facing the country. So say recent polls. Therefore, both presidential candidates treat education as a presidential issue, meaning a federal issue. But it really isn't one presidents have much control over. Only 7 percent of education spending is federal, and school control is mostly local. Nevertheless, Bush and Gore are striving to be at the head of the class on the issue, with their big edu-ideas.



First, Bush's plan, which would cost $13 billion over five years:



One, exit vouchers favored. Failing schools have three years to improve results. If these schools don't close the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and the rest of the student body, then they will lose federal funding. That money will go instead to the students themselves, in the form of exit vouchers worth some $1,500, to be used at other schools, public or private.



Two, early education stressed. Trained teachers intervene with disadvantaged children at an early age. Early reading skills are built through phonics-based instruction and diagnostic testing.



Three, school improvement demanded. Teacher training, teacher recruitment, English fluency, character building, school safety.



GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX): (From videotape.) A President Bush will not subsidize mediocrity in our public school system, because there are no second-rate children, and there are no second-rate dreams in America. (Cheers.)



Now Gore's plan, which would cost $115 billion over 10 years:



One, opposes Bush's vouchers.



VICE PRESIDENT GORE: (From videotape.) His answer for failing schools is to take away a major portion of their funding and allow it to be used for private schools through vouchers, giving parents a fraction of what private tuition really costs.



Two, focus on teachers. Mandatory testing for new teachers, new teacher recruitment, salary bonuses, class size reduction, put computers in the classroom, build new schools. Teachers and principals are purged from schools that don't make the grade on national performance tests.



Three, favors universal preschool. Through block grants, Gore promises to offer every 4-year-old access to preschool by 2005.



Question: With their respective education plans, who is Gore targeting and who is Bush targeting? Do you see two constituencies, David?



MR. FRUM: Yeah. Gore is targeting teachers' unions, people who take money under the system. Bush is targeting the many, many people for whom the worry over the schools is a proxy for the worry over the national character. They see Columbine, they see disaster, they see -- they worry about the next generation, and he's offering a technical solution to this moral problem. For him, it's as much a shield issue as it is a sword issue.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you prove from or show from the plan of Gore that he is pandering to the National Teachers' Association (sic) -- National Education Association?



MR. FRUM: Well, he -- I mean, the refusal to countenance any exit from the public school monopoly, and it -- the devil's in the fine print on what do you mean by checking teacher competence. I mean, what we see is when -- in Massachusetts and in other states, whenever there's any real attempt to check, the unions just go wild.



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Smaller classrooms, which means a lesser workload for teachers. School construction, which is payola to the trades unions.



MR. KUDLOW: Sure. It's just -- you know, Al Gore is just more of same -- spend, federal government involvement. You know, he's opposed to Bush's reforms.



Bush, by the way, is in favor of home schooling, which is a really popular, hot issue running through the country. Bush is also in favor of education savings accounts, which is another hot issue.



But in terms of Gore, here's my point: Eleanor, you may not like this, but Al Gore is a reactionary, status-quo liberal on all of these issues.



MS. CLIFT: You know --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean -- is that as demonstrated by the $115 billion over 10 years?



MR. KUDLOW: Yes.



MS. CLIFT: I feel like I've just attended a cell meeting of the Republican National Committee.



First of all, these -- both of these politicians are trying to appeal to the number-one issue that all voters have, which is education, and particularly women and suburban women. That's the audience.



Secondly, it's an article of faith in the Gore camp that once the so-called proposals that George Bush has put on the table are exposed, it's really just nice, glossy rhetoric. He doesn't offer much of anything.



MR. KUDLOW: Oh, I --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He calls for mandatory testing for new teachers.



MS. CLIFT: And so does Al Gore.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why doesn't he call for testing for all teachers?



MR. O'DONNELL: John, Eleanor's --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The reason why he doesn't do that is because it's unacceptable for the unions. I'm talking about Gore.



MR. O'DONNELL: No, Eleanor's absolutely right that the target here is not unions; the target here is the voter and is in fact the mother, the suburban mother.



Al Gore's vision is limited somewhat by the unions, probably exclusively, in fact, on the school voucher question, which in Bush's plan is actually a very, very small, very modest, very tortured kind of plan. I mean, if you're going to do school vouchers, do them the way --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A quick -- wait a minute, a quick question on the money. Gore wants to spend $5 to every $1 that Bush wants to spend. We are now currently assigning to every individual student in the United States more money than any other industrialized nation, by a factor of what? Four? Three? Five? Somewhere in that range. Are we equating quality --



MR. KUDLOW: Right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- with money? Is that what we're doing in our education system?



MR. KUDLOW: We're measuring -- the great failure here is we're measuring monetary inputs when we should be measuring student kids' output.



MS. CLIFT: No, we have --



MR. KUDLOW: And that's the flaw.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question.



MS. CLIFT: We have a lot of crumbling --



MR. KUDLOW: Al Gore wants a federalized, top-down approach, which is out of step with American thinking.



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



MS. CLIFT: We have a lot of crumbling school building from the '40s and '50s. We need new schools. We have another baby bulge coming into the schools. We need smaller classrooms. It requires more money for teachers. Those things cost money. You can't just toss them away.



MR. KUDLOW: Eleanor, we need to build buildings, but we need to build -- we need to build reading and character and virtues in the school. Al Gore won't let it happen.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Assign a letter grade to Bush's plan and Gore's plan on policy merits. I ask you. A letter.



MR. KUDLOW: Gore's plan?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gore's plan and Bush's plan.



MR. KUDLOW: I give Gore's plan a D-minus. I give Bush's plan a B-plus.



MS. CLIFT: Policy, Gore gets an A and Bush gets a C. Gentleman's C.



MR. FRUM: I'd give Bush a C and Gore an F, but I would also caution that the generation of children now entering the schools -- only a minority of them come from two-parent families or are going to stay in two-parent families. Let us not exaggerate how much difference the schools themselves are going to make to these children's educational attainment.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Bush's idea of early education and training --



MR. FRUM: Won't help much.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That does not help at all?



MR. FRUM: Won't help much.



MR. O'DONNELL: Bush gets a C; Gore gets a B. I just wish Gore would allow some experimentation on vouchers.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bush gets an A-minus and Gore gets a C.



Let's move on to our next issue, which is issue three. Un nuevo dia en America! (Spanish music, excerpted Spanish phrases from candidates' speeches.) The presidential front-runners are tripping over themselves, and their Spanish, in an effort to win the hearts and votes of the fastest-growing segment of the population, Hispanics.



What's the political payoff?



One, 5 percent of the electorate. Nationally, that's the size of the Hispanic vote, and it's growing. In election 2000, it's expected to be almost 5.5 percent. That percentage can decide a close election, especially when those voters live in two must-win states. Hispanics are concentrated in the most populous states -- California, Florida, New York, Texas -- all states rich in electoral votes, 144 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win La Casa Blanca.



Three, open to argument. The good news for Gore: Most Hispanics are registered Democrats; 70 percent voted for Clinton in '96. Nationally, Gore leads Bush by 12 points with Hispanics.



But Bush has his good news, too. Despite their registration, Hispanics are far from homogeneous in their voting patterns. In fact, most label themselves moderate to conservative -- 78 percent in California. So, Bush's conservatism on certain issues will resonate -- yes to the death penalty, no to abortion, no to gay marriage.



Still, Bush will have a lot of wooing to do. Why? Six years ago, California's then-Republican governor, Pete Wilson, became public enemy number one with Latinos when he championed Proposition 187, a ballot initiative that cut off state services to illegal immigrants. Prop 187 passed, and galvanized the Latino community.



MR. : (From videotape.) I got to tell you, Pete Wilson made more Latinos Democrats than any Democratic elected official in this state in the past 50 years.



Question: Is the Hispanic vote worth courting? I ask you, Lawrence O'Donnell.



MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, absolutely, and it could, indeed, be decisive in this election --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's only 5, 5.5 percent of the vote.



MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah, but this election could be decided by two points. This could be very close.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think, too, that the presence of a high Hispanic vote in the key electoral states really makes it suicidal to not woo the Hispanics?



MR. O'DONNELL: Absolutely, and they both -- they both do it well. I mean, George W. Bush is fluent in Spanish. He does a good job of it. I've seen Al Gore in front of Spanish-speaking audiences in Los Angeles, addresses them in Spanish. The enthusiasm for him in California, in the Hispanic vote right now, is very, very high. He's been handling it very well.



But it's a different community in different parts of the country.



MR. KUDLOW: Yes.



MR. O'DONNELL: The Hispanic in New York is Puerto Rican; the Hispanic in California is Latin American, mostly Mexican descent. And so the appeal varies, the design of the appeal has to vary from one location to the other.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Bush's 12 percent over Gore, the margin, is owing to the fact that Hispanics are classic blue-collar, liberal Democrats? Except -- well, they're not -- they're liberal in some respects, but they're conservative in others. But they're classic blue-collar Democrats.



MR. O'DONNELL: I don't really have any faith in any of the current polls. I think they're taken way too early. I think the thing that's most important is how well Bill Clinton did with Hispanics the last time --



MS. CLIFT: Right.



MR. O'DONNELL: -- and I think Gore will do almost as well.



MR. KUDLOW: Some of the --



MS. CLIFT: I think on the issues, that Hispanics generally tend to be Democratic, but Bush has something that Gore doesn't, and that's sort of a more comfortable feeling, and people say he could be the first "Hispanic" president the way Clinton is the first "black" president.



MR. KUDLOW: But some recent polling by John Zogby also shows, John, not only Hispanics as socially conservative; they are for lower taxes, they are for personal retirement accounts and Social Security. These are Bush issues. I think, actually, Bush could carry California on the strength of the Hispanic vote.



MR. FRUM: It's also Bush's way of underscoring to the general public what a successful governor he was. It's a way of saying, "Look, the question of how you deal with this minority is going to be a bigger and bigger national question. I did this well in Texas, I can do it well for the country."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of votes did he get from Hispanics in Texas?



MR. FRUM: Well, it's actually much argued about, how much he got, but no one thinks he got less than 40 percent.



MR. KUDLOW: Right.



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



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Lawrence?



MR. KUDLOW: John, in Tuesday's New Jersey Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, former Goldman-Sachs CEO John Corzine is going to decisively defeat former Governor Jim Florio.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting. Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Clinton will visit Vietnam before he leaves office.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David?



MR. FRUM: The China vote on most favored nation is going to be a wider and wider bloody sore for the Democratic Party, with unions defecting and Ralph Nader profiting enormously from it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And being vindictive towards Gore?



MR. FRUM: It's going to hurt Gore. It's going to hurt Gore among the (inaudible word).



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.



MR. O'DONNELL: Al Gore will come out of the Democratic convention with a slight lead over George W. Bush.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that PNTR for China will produce fresh demand for the same U.S. normalcy with Cuba, but this time on the popular level. Clinton will see his political opening and call for a lifting of the embargo in early December.



Bye-bye!



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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: What is Clinton's legacy? Squarely in the middle. That's where Bill Clinton is, as compared to his fellow presidents.



Out of 41 American presidents, Clinton's overall presidency was ranked 21st. Professional historians and presidential experts -- 58 of them -- in a recent C-SPAN survey ranked Clinton right below George Bush and just ahead of Jimmy Carter. The poll was divided into 10 areas of leadership. In almost all areas, Clinton's record was scored as mediocre. Remember, one is best, and 41 worst.



Relations with Congress: 36 out of 41. Vision: 22nd. International relations, administrative skills and performance within the context of his time: 21st.



But there were a few bright points to punctuate Clinton's tenure. Public persuasion: 11 out of 41. Pursuit of equal justice for all: 5th. Economic management: 5th.



Of course there's always ample criticism of William J. Clinton. Bill Clinton promised the most ethical administration in history. He's fallen about 41 presidents short. It's no surprise to hear the Republican presidential candidate utter those words, but it turns out Governor Bush is not alone. In the moral authority category, Clinton pulled dead last: 41st out of 41.



David Frum, is it possible that future historians will think more favorably of Clinton, particularly his character, or does that assume that a future president will be someone like, say, Caligula?



MR. FRUM: Look, there has been for a long time a Democratic bias in the historical profession that ensures that presidents like Woodrow Wilson, for example, get weighted reputations.



I would rank Clinton with William McKinley, a great party leader, but a very small man in a very big and exciting time and, thus, basically a mediocre president.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that polling? Do you think that accurately presents the overall feelings of the American people?



MR. FRUM: I have no idea what -- I mean, I don't think they would put it that specifically because I don't they'd break it down into these various skill sets. What they think is are these -- the way the American people rate these things is the Mount Rushmore scale: Do these presidents say something important about the country? Teddy Roosevelt stood for something, Lincoln stood for something. Clinton? No, he's not going to make that test at all.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've been around this town and you've been in government for years. What do you think of the Clinton legacy?



MR. O'DONNELL: I think those ratings are fairly reasonable. I would give him higher scores in a couple of those categories.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Congressional relations? Look what he did with PNTR.



MR. O'DONNELL: Actually, no. I mean, see, the trouble with the modern presidency is you run on this very elaborate platform. Clinton had a book, "Putting People First," in 1992. If you measure him against what he promised to achieved, he actually achieved very little other than the free trade policy that was advanced throughout his presidency.



MR. KUDLOW: But you know what? I've got a soft spot for him in economic policy. I think working with the Republican Congress in a sort of coalition government, Clinton was a pro-growth president who advocated a strong dollar, low inflation, and signed several tax cuts --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're going to send this video to Clinton.



MS. CLIFT: Clinton would have done a lot better if Miss Lewinsky hadn't strayed into the Oval Office and he hadn't received her as fondly as he did. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Strayed? (Laughter.) Strayed or summoned?



MS. CLIFT: But future historians are going to put that in much greater perspective than people today, and I think he's going to look better in the future, just as Harry Truman did and George Bush is looking as well.



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