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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP



HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,


ELEANOR CLIFT, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL



TAPED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2000


BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 23-24, 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 plastics to power generation, GE -- we bring good things to life.



(Circus music.)



ANNOUNCER: It's the 19th Annual McLaughlin Group Year-End Awards 2000. Here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Biggest Winner of 2000. Michael Barone.



MR. BARONE: I accept. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's your Biggest Winner?



MR. BARONE: The Biggest Winner? Mexico is the Biggest Winner. Democracy in Mexico, with the election of Vicente Fox; first time the opposition party has won since 1929.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift.



MS. CLIFT: It's got to be our new president, George W. Bush, who defeated a sitting vice president in an era of peace and prosperity and becomes only the second son of a former president to occupy the office. He's a big winner.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley.



MR. BLANKLEY: Ted Olson, Bush's lawyer before the Supreme Court, who won two Supreme Court cases in a fortnight and delivered the presidency to George Bush.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence O'Donnell.



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, I find myself agreeing with Eleanor and Tony, almost word for word, so I will add, by way of honorable mention, Aaron Sorkin, the creator, executive producer of the "West Wing," which won in its first year more Emmys than any show in the history of television.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're keeping it at home, aren't you, eh?



MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.) There's nothing wrong with that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One of the writers himself. The envelope, please, Tony. Thank you. (Opens envelope.) There you are, Tony.



MR. BLANKLEY: Thank you.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's see what we have here, right, Lawrence? The biggest winner of 2000 is Vicente Fox, new president of Mexico and leader of the insurgent PAN Party for stripping Mexico's PRI Party of its 70-year stranglehold on power. Adelante, Vicente! Vaya con Dios!



Do you want to add to that?



MR. BARONE: Well, I think Vicente Fox is really one of the major figures in the world now, in the sense of transforming a country which we've got a 2,400-mile boundary with --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Well stated. Biggest Loser, Michael?



MR. BARONE: Biggest Loser. I think democracy in Russia, John. Vladimir Putin, when the Russian people elected him March 26th, they had hopes that he was going to change the economy and proceed a democratic way. The economy has been so-so, but he has gone, really, suppressing opposition media and we're seeing authoritarianism's ugly head in Russia.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll give you a variant on that a little later. Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: The integrity of the Supreme Court. A peek under those robes revealed a lot of elephants on the Supreme Court. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley?



MR. BLANKLEY: Investors in the Votomatic machine, which soon will have no demand.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Biggest Loser was John McCain who, when he won New Hampshire, guaranteed himself a place on the ticket but then managed to screw up every moment between then and the nomination, and now is going to have to settle with being a United States Senator for the rest of his professional career.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tough words!



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, you know, missing a chance to be vice president is a pretty big miss. He was pretty tired of his Senate job, and now that's what he's stuck with.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Biggest Loser of 2000, the NASDAQ market -- and the end is still nowhere in sight.



Okay, Best Politician, Michael.



MR. BARONE: I'd give it to George W. Bush, John. He put together over the last two years a team that stayed steadily with him, he put together a series of issue planks that he has kept with steadily and which are capable, I think, of winning bipartisan majorities in the Congress.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated. Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: President Clinton, who leaves office with 66 percent approval rating, higher than Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan after completing their two terms, and he's going to be around, John, for you to continue to kick around. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're going to be surprised at whom I pick, Eleanor. Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Here's where the answer Vicente Fox comes in. Best Politician. For the reasons you stated, he knocked off the party that had been in power for 70 years, he did it courageously, campaigning without a lot of bodyguards. It was a brilliant campaign and one of the most successful in history.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You knew I was going call him, though.



MR. BLANKLEY: I did not know that, no.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You stole it.



MR. BLANKLEY: No, it was just intuition.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, I accept your statement.



Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: I agree with the Fox choice, but Best Politician in the United States this year, Hillary Clinton, who did the impossible; something that, before anyone talked about her doing it, everyone would have thought couldn't be done.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, we'll be hearing a lot about Hillary in this program, I'm sure. (Laughter.)



Best Politician of 2000 -- fasten your safety belts -- William J. Clinton, the president who weathered both a House and Senate impeachment process and now, as a lame duck, due out of office in less than one month, enjoys a positive job approval rating from a consensus of the American people, 66 percent; higher than, as Eleanor points out, any U.S. president at this late point in their presidency. Certainly, Bill Clinton is Best Politician.



Okay, Worst Politician, Michael.



MR. BARONE: Well, I'd have to nominate Al Gore. I do so a little reluctantly, but the fact is he's known for seven years that he was going to run for president in 2000, and yet he had three campaign managers, four or five campaign strategies; changes, baffling changes in wardrobes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And makeovers.



MR. BARONE: And did not execute the maximum advantageous political strategy, I think.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bad campaign.



Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: I've got to agree with everything Michael Barone just said. Al Gore, even though I hate to kick him while he's down --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Feel free, Eleanor. This is our program, you know.



MS. CLIFT: (Laughing.) He missed a terrific opportunity, the stars were all aligned for him to win the presidency, and he blew it. This is the --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. He had incumbency, he had peace and he had prosperity. Yes.



MS. CLIFT: That's right.



MR. BLANKLEY: Regretfully, I have to say Rick Lazio, who went into the campaign against Hillary with 43 percent, the anti-Hillary vote, and ended with 43 percent; in the process, upset the Upstate New York Republicans by not recognizing their economic difficulties, and didn't run a sufficiently vigorous campaign. I like the man, he'll come back again someday, but this year he was the Worst Politician.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: It pains me to say it, especially as I gaze at the chair he used to sit in, but the Worst Politician of the year turned out to be Pat Buchanan.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence is right. The Worst Politician of 2000, Patrick J. Buchanan, who bolted from the Republican Party, a suicidal act which of itself doomed his candidacy. Buchanan then compounded his fiasco by campaigning with his ideological polar opposite, Lenora Fulani --



MR. BLANKLEY (?): Fulani.



MR. O'DONNELL: Exactly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- who subsequently ditched Buchanan. (Quiet laughter.) Nothing ventured, nothing gain, Pat, and you did save Palm Beach for George Bush by confusing the voters.



Okay. The Most Defining Political Moment, Michael?



MR. BARONE: I'd pick the second presidential debate in October, John. I think that George W. Bush looked presidential, in command of facts and information on foreign policy, and Al Gore did not. I think that was a key moment in the campaign.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: The Supreme Court decision to stop the recount, which greased the skids for President-designate George W. Bush.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: The first debate, because the first debate was the moment when everyone realized that he was up -- George Bush was up to the job.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good selection.



MR. O'DONNELL: I agree with Tony. I thought it was the first debate. Bush was supposed to get wiped out; he didn't.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Most Defining Political Moment, however, of 2000, was the TV image of chads under a magnifying glass being scrutinized by an elderly matron of Palm Beach with a pained expression on her face. Defining Political Moment of what we would thereafter think about chads.



Okay. Turncoat of the Year, Michael?



MR. BARONE: I'd nominate Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain for moving Britain towards the Euro, even though it's lost 20 percent of its value in the first year.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are his days limited?



MR. BARONE: I think that he has a very good chance to be reelected at the election expected next spring. I think it favors him, but the Euro is the one issue on which he could lose.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Ralph Nader, who sacrificed small advances for the progressive agenda in the service of his own ego.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And hurt Al.



Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Joe Lieberman, for turning against his own values and principles on Social Security, on vouchers. It's regretful, but he turned coat against his own values and principles.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really? Don't hold back, now.



MR. BLANKLEY: I shan't.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. What do you think, Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Turncoat of the Year was Ross Perot, who destroyed his own party, the Reform Party, with all of his crazy machinations, luring poor Pat into running in the Reform Party and then turning against him, and just tearing the place apart.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. You saw my list. You saw my list.



MR. O'DONNELL: I didn't! I'm sorry! (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a direct list. The turncoat of 2000 is Ross Perot, for helping destroy the Reform Party -- his creature, by the way -- by endorsing the son of his former nemesis, G. Bush, Senior, and that, for the sake of torpedoing, get this, Pat Buchanan, the nominee of the party.



Okay. Most Boring.



MR. BARONE: Well, I'd nominate Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton. I'll give her lots of credit for running a strong campaign. She worked very hard to learn about New York, especially Upstate New York. She earned her victory, but having to listen to her filibuster would be -- tough labor.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughing.) Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Dick Cheney, who is never off-message, delivers everything in this even cadence so nothing ever sounds like a crisis, is so flat-line that he even had a heart attack and Bush didn't know it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you do manage to hang on every word with Cheney, I have found, even though one would say, on his face, he's a boring speaker.



MS. CLIFT: Well, boring is powerful. Hillary, the same way.



MR. BLANKLEY: This is curious. The man who has been the most exciting politician is now the most boring, President Bill Clinton. This year, he can't get attention. He goes to Vietnam. Wherever he goes, he's ignored. Everyone's used to his game, and so I find him boring this year.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't you tell the 66 percent of the American people who think that he's doing his job well? Why don't you tell them that?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, because the test was boring; not good or bad in his performance.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I don't know. What do you think, Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: I think the Most Boring Person of the year is -- he's been the most boring person ever since he's been in public life -- Steve Forbes, who -- I think we should name the award after him, the Annual Steve Forbes Most Boring Person of the Year Award. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You'll like my selection. Most Boring of 2000, a collective award to CBS's cast and creators of "Big Brother" -- (laughter) -- the show where everyone was locked in a room or house and supposed to relieve audience boredom. In fact, they create it.



Okay. Most Charismatic. Michael?



MR. BARONE: Well, here, I'd mention President Vicente Fox of Mexico. I've interviewed Mr. Fox a couple of times, but I think the most thrilling moment was when he came and spoke before the crowd of supporters gathered on Election Night at the Angel of Independence in the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City. It was one of -- showing that they'd won for the first time in 71 years -- it was really a magic moment, and I was privileged to be there.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a tall man, isn't he? (Laughter.)



MR. BARONE: He's a tall man, he's got a sense of command, he wears boots and mustache, a cowboy background and a business executive.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very impressive.



MR. BARONE: He's put together a Cabinet that includes not only people from his PAN Party, but people who had been on the left, people who had been in business and people who had been in the ruling PRI Party.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does G.W. Bush know him?



MR. BARONE: Yes, he does.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Actually, Fox was my first choice, but I can't -- this is enough, already. I mean, is everybody going to defect to Mexico? (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not at all.



MS. CLIFT: I think I'm going to give it to Elian Gonzalez, who was the small boy who captured everybody's hearts and imagination --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.



MS. CLIFT: -- for an extensive period of time.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's very touching.



Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: There's only one answer. It's Senator McCain. He's the only candidate this year in America who actually thrilled and excited, as opposed to getting support from, the audiences.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most Charismatic, Lawrence.



MR. O'DONNELL: I agree with Tony. John McCain.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most Charismatic of 2000, presidential candidate Alan Keyes, whose speechmaking was so fluent, energized, original, even hypnotic -- (laughter) -- that he compelled attention even when ones like O'Donnell totally and, in his case, uniformly, disagree with Keyes' message.



We'll be right back with more McLaughlin Group 2000 Awards, right after this.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Bummest Rap. Michael?



MR. BARONE: Well, the notion that you can still hear bruited about fashionable dinner parties in the Upper East Side of Manhattan or out in Lawrence O'Donnell's Beverly Hills that George W. Bush is a moron.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: That Al Gore is a liar and George W. Bush is stupid.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Bummest Rap is that Tom DeLay should be shunned by President Bush. In fact, he should listen closely; DeLay represents about 65 percent of the Republican base. He's an important part of any negotiations.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think the liberal press is demonizing DeLay the way they demonized --



MR. BLANKLEY: They're trying to fit him for the --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- your boss, Newt?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. They're trying to fit him for the goatskin, but I don't think he's going to take that fitting. (Mild laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you have to say, Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: The Bummest Rap was delivered by Al Gore against the pharmaceutical companies, for treating them as the enemy of the people instead of the lifesaver of the people.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very well stated, and it has even more power from you.



The Bummest Rap, Andreea Raducan, the 17-year-old Olympic gymnast from Romania whose gold medal was taken away by the Olympic Committee because she took cold medicine given to her by her doctor.



Michael, Fairest Rap?



MR. BARONE: The conclusion reached by seven of the nine Supreme Court justices, including justices appointed by presidents of both political parties, that the Florida hand count was so intrinsically unfair that it was unconstitutional.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated. Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Fairest Rap, that Gore is an exaggerator and Bush has a limited attention span when it comes to policy and governance.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, thank God. We'll get less legislation now. Less damage can be done, right?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Whenever Congress is out of session --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, what do you have to say? Fairest rap?



MR. BLANKLEY: Fairest Rap, that George W. Bush does not have powerful powers of articulation, but he is the inspiration for the millions of people who are not silver-tongued devils. He can stride the country without being able to speak well.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated.



MR. O'DONNELL: The Fairest Rap was that Ralph Nader gave the election to George W. Bush.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: John Corzine. He won the Senate seat from New Jersey and spent an all-time record of $63 million to do it, thus buying the seat. That's a fair rap.



Okay, Best Comeback. Michael?



MR. BARONE: Oh, no question. James A. Baker III, Houston, Texas, lawyer, moves to Tallahassee, Florida.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well chosen. Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Mel Carnahan, the governor who died tragically in an airplane accident but was nonetheless elected to the U.S. Senate and is -- the office is being held by his wife.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best Comeback?



MS. CLIFT: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For a deceased man?



MS. CLIFT: Well, yes!



MR. BLANKLEY: He hasn't come back yet! (Laughs.) There's only one precedent for that, and --



MS. CLIFT: He's there in spirit and in policy.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's about as well as you can do when you come back that way.



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, yeah, I suppose.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Ariel Sharon of Israel who, coming back from obscurity, may become the next prime minister, having vaunted himself to the front of the game.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Rue that day, when he's prime minister.



MR. O'DONNELL: Best Comeback was also the fastest comeback. Senator John Ashcroft, defeated for reelection, now will be the attorney general for George W. Bush.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael's right. The Best Comeback is James A. Baker. He was like the long lost knight errant -- (laughter) -- who rode back on his charger just in time to save the Bush dynasty from premature oblivion. The dynasty owes Baker a lot.



Okay, Most Original Thinker, Michael?



MR. BARONE: I'd pick Karl Rove, the campaign strategist for George W. Bush who compares his boss with William McKinley, not generally thought of as one of our great presidents. If a staffer can compare his boss to McKinley and still keep his job, he's a -- he's a -- but Rove is a really smart guy.



MS. CLIFT: Theresa LaPore, the hapless creator of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Most Original is Al Gore. For the first time in 200 years, a presidential candidate thought he could sue his way into the White House and, of course, it didn't work. Original, but not smart.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, perhaps the only real original thinker in American politics.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, sit back. I'll give you a little erudition here. Most Original Thinker of 2000, Dean Keith Simonton, author of "Origins of Genius," his ground-breaking treatise that links the Darwinian concept of evolution to the social purpose behind genius; a remarkable book in which I've personally found great help. (Laughter.)



MR. BLANKLEY (?): Well --



MR. O'DONNELL (?): The similarity --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Most Stagnant Thinker.



MR. BARONE: Yeah, John, you've always been trying to change your genius here. (Mild laughter.) No --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.



MR. BARONE: No, I --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most Stagnant Thinker.



MR. BARONE: No, I don't have a Stagnant Thinker. Go ahead.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't have any?



MR. BARONE: No.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have a Stagnant Thinker?



MS. CLIFT: Yes. The Boy Scouts of America for continuing to ban gay Scout leaders.



MR. BLANKLEY: Al Gore again, this time for running a campaign that had no useful proposal on any issue, and in which he became the prototype of a reactionary liberal.



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, I agree it was Al Gore, but not because he didn't have useful proposals, but he had no new proposals. He ran on old-fashioned Democratic stuff that just isn't going to work anymore.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Most Stagnant Thinker of 2000 is Jesse Jackson, with his rent-a-riot act in Florida and stale recitation of groundless race-baiting charges. Spare us, please, Jesse.



Okay. Best Photo Op, Michael?



MR. BARONE: Oh, I'd pick those Miami-Dade protestors, those Republicans that were supposedly a mob who were protesting when the Board of Canvassers proposed to take the count outside of public view, in violation of Florida law.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Boy, everybody's still fighting the last campaign here. Nobody's had anything nice to say about Al Gore. The Gore kiss was a memorable moment of the year. Best Photo Op.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, I'm going to have something nice to say about Al.



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the Best Photo Op, it's not quite an op, was the photograph of little Elian and the fisherman protecting him from the assaulting Justice Department gunmen.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dalrymple. Was it Dalrymple? It wasn't Dalrymple.



MR. BLANKLEY: The fisherman. Yes, Dalrymple.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was he the real fisherman or the faux fisherman?



MR. BLANKLEY: No, he actually was -- he was actually a janitor, but --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, Tony has picked the saddest photo op, but I think Eleanor has it right. The kiss was the best.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that isn't the real photo op involving Al. The Best Photo Op of 2000 was Al Gore on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. (Laughter.) If you've got it, flaunt it.



MR. BLANKLEY (?): Got what, the -- (Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. The Enough Already Award. Michael?



MR. BARONE: Enough Already is Jesse Jackson comparing everything to Selma. We find that it's another Selma in Decatur, Illinois when some high kids are disciplined in a certain way; it's another Selma, supposedly, in Palm Beach County, and so forth. Enough, already. Selma should be remembered and not denigrated by being compared to these other things.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely right. Right.



Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Boy, I'm having to really stuff down a lot of my reactions to some of these little tirades here, but --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, feel free, Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: School vouchers. They were defeated in California, defeated in Michigan. George W. Bush doesn't even use the word. Give them a rest.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Hollywood rock stars like Madonna who have children before they get married. Enough already.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Reality TV. Survivor, Survivor 2, the Millionaire, all that stuff.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Enough Already Award: dimpled chads, pregnant chads, dangling chads, even Chadwick's. We've had it. No more chads.



Okay, the Worst Line. Michael?



MR. BARONE: Well, the most harmful one was Al Gore's misstatement about having been in the Parker County fires with Jamie Lee Witt. Ordinarily, that would be a very minor matter, but combined with some of the other things that he'd been saying, it caused him a lot of problems.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Dan Rather, who, early on Election Night said, "When we say somebody carried a state, you can pretty much take it to the bank." (Laughter.)



MR. O'DONNELL: That's very cruel to Mr. Rather, who is an excellent --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony? It's more of a falsification than a lie.



MR. O'DONNELL: It was a mistake, but he didn't know --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.



MR. BLANKLEY: The Worst Lie is those Democrats who say that Gore won the election. He lost the election.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: The Worst Lie was actually a pack of lies in the New York Times Magazine last month written by Jacob Weisberg in a profile of my old boss, Senator Moynihan. An amazing failure of fact-checking, saying that he held no -- zero -- hearings on the Clinton health care bill, when he held 29; saying that he did nothing on welfare reform during the Clinton administration. He wrote his own bill, talked to the president about it. I could go on and on. It was a shocking piece.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I share your view. The Worst Lie of 2000 was the sinking of the Russian military submarine, the Kursk. Count the lies: hit by a NATO missile, collided with a U.S. sub, no tapping on the hull. The truth: two catastrophic internal explosions from a failed missile launch, causing 118 crewmen to die, but tapping was heard and 23 could have been saved if, instead of disinformation, the Russians had let the Norwegian rescue divers in four days earlier.



We'll be right back.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, here it is: Person of the Year, Michael.



MR. BARONE: Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, John. It's an important country, and he's transforming it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift.



MS. CLIFT: The genome mappers, Francis Collins and J. Craig Venter, whose research strung together the 3 billion letters that make up the biochemical formula of a human being, even you, John. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley.



MR. BLANKLEY: Dick Cheney, the man behind the other Man of the Year, for finding the essential judgment and discretion that made Bush's successful campaign and will make it a successful presidency.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A great selection, Tony.



Lawrence.



MR. O'DONNELL: David Boies, who shows that the path to power in the United States is through being a trial attorney, not a politician. He broke up Microsoft in that case, and he almost -- he came within one vote of getting a president of the United States.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Person of the Year is Vladimir Putin, president of Russia. He has already made history by succeeding Boris Yeltsin in a democratic election, which had never happened before in Russia. Then Putin took a bold gamble. He put down the Chechen insurrection, something that wise men said could not be done. Now, with an ambitious set of economic reforms, the Russian GDP growth rate for this coming year is projected to be at 7 percent.



Finally, Putin's big-power diplomacy, a strategic alliance with China, and his courtship of allies right in our own back yard -- Fidel Castro last week and Canada's prime minister Jean Chretien this week -- means that we can no longer -- we can no longer take Russia for granted.



Next week, McLaughlin Group 2000 Awards, Part Two. Merry Christmas. Joyous Hanukkah, and happy holidays. Bye bye!



 


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