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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP



HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,


ELEANOR CLIFT, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL



TAPED: FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2001


BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF APRIL 14-15, 2001



.STX



 


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Jesus Easter makeover. "He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." So reads the description of the Messiah -- to Christians, Jesus Christ -- from the book of Isaiah. "Nor comeliness," says Isaiah, means average-looking, not handsome, as you have seen in these renderings.



Now take a look at a newly reconstructed face of what Jesus is presumed to look like. This alleged Christ head reconstruction is being hyped as the most accurate likeness ever created. Not the idealized Western Jesus, blond-haired and blue-eyed, the new Jesus is built on a 2000-year-old male skull unearthed from a First Century Jewish burial site in Jerusalem. Jesus' hair and short beard are similar to ancient artistic renderings of Jewish males.



UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: (From videotape.) Short and curly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As for Jesus' furrowed, dark skin --



RICHARD NEAVE (Forensic artist): (From videotape.) A fairly hot climate with lots of bright sunshine.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, is this truly an accurate portrayal of Christ? Well, even the forensic artist who designed the likeness admits this: "You could have selected a dozen skulls from that period and they all would have looked different." Others agree.



REV. JOHN MCGUCKIN (Union Theological Seminary): (From videotape.) It's a little like taking up a skull from a Civil War battlefield and pondering whether this represents the face of Lincoln or Grant.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Richard Neave, the reconstruction craftsman, says that his created face is what one individual of that era may have looked like. If you generalize from that to say that all Jews, including Jesus, living then looked like the Neave -- Richard Neave, the craftsman's -- Jesus, is that racial stereotyping?



Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: Well, stereotyping is a generalization, John. I mean, the fact is that in all cultures and ages, the traditions of iconography have tended to present Jesus, Mary, the disciples, in their own image. The Byzantine tradition doesn't have a blond, blue-eyed Jesus. And the fact is that, as Neave says, this is really just a guess. It's an intriguing question what people in ancient times looked like, and we can make some reconstructions on skulls, but we don't really know for sure.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, what do you think of this?



MS. CLIFT: Well, I think definitions of beauty or handsomeness change over the years, and I, frankly, think this guy is pretty attractive. I don't find him --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?



MS. CLIFT: -- unattractive. Yeah.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think he looks like he works in Al's Body Shop?



MS. CLIFT: No. Well, what's wrong with somebody who works at Al's Bond Shop?



MR. BARONE (?): Hear, hear.



MS. CLIFT: A good working-class guy may well be what Jesus was. And in fact, this is discussed in a documentary that was produced in England. And there they can talk about these kinds of things. I think in this country we're still a little nervous about suggesting that Jesus may not fit the Westernized, romanticized ideal. In Britain, in fact, the archbishop of Canterbury there has called Britain a nation a atheists. In a country of 60 million people, only a million people go to church.



MR. BARONE: Well, Prime Minister Tony Blair is a good Christian.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How does this image compare with the classic renderings of Jesus' image in earlier eras; for example, the late Roman or the Byzantine era, as Michael refers to.



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, look. I mean, on a number of levels, certainly it's an extraordinarily unheroic image that they've created. It's also an image that doesn't strike me as suffering. It looks too brawny. I was thinking he looked like he'd run a delicatessen in New York.



MS. CLIFT: Now, that's hitting close to home. (Laughs.) That's what my father did. And maybe that's why I find --



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, that's why you find him attractive.



MS. CLIFT: -- I find him perfectly attractive.



MR. BARONE (?): Hear, hear.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the grooming style that Neave attached to the cranium? He said that this would conform to the grooming style of the period. But Christ was not a conformist, so how does he know that the hair was of that length?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. I mean, of course he doesn't. And in point of fact, the history of the movements of people always suggests that there's much more genetic differences in any particular spot than the homogeneity that some people suspect. So you're going to have a broader range of appearances in that time just as you do today.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jeremy Bowen (sp), who is the producer of the BBC show, says that he lives a secularist style, and he lived in Jerusalem for quite a while but it didn't affect his secularist views. Does that mean anything in terms of this show?



MR. O'DONNELL: John, this show comes very late in the game. There's been over 30 years of serious anthropological consideration to what a Jesus Christ character -- by the way, if there ever was one. I mean, if you want to get into what --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The historical Jesus?



MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah. The level of speculation involved here includes the unprovable historical assumption that he actually existed. But --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I don't know about that. It depends on what your criteria are, but there's a lot of evidence that the historical Jesus lived.



MR. O'DONNELL: The notion -- and to put it in modern American categories -- the notion that Jesus was black, which is what we're really talking about here, has been around in respectable anthropological scholarship for a few decades. And it is very likely, when you look at that population, living very close to Africa, in that time --



MR. BARONE: Race is an artificial construct, though.



MR. O'DONNELL: Okay, I agree. But the likelihood is that Jesus' appearance was far closer to what we consider black than it was to --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what about the Flemish renderings, where Christ is near blond?



MR. O'DONNELL: There are all these European, Hollywood renderings --



(Cross talk.)



MS. CLIFT: I think Jesus as a religious figure is in the eye of the beholder, and there are many different renditions of his likeness around the world. And I say, whatever works for you, go for it. It requires a leap of faith, however, to believe that the historical Jesus was, in fact, the son of God.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If this is declared to be normative, this face and image of Jesus, is there a risk of stereotyping, in that you get into measurements of the cranium and everything like that? Shouldn't we generally steer clear of that?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I mean, not only should we, but obviously the assumption is wrong. This is not going to be accepted. It's going to be rejected out of every human instinct that exists that the son of God would look like that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we've reached the end of our seminar here today. Exit question: Will the Richard Neave Jesus endure? Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: No. This is just a guess.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: I don't think so. This is a BBC documentary, not a PBS documentary. Republicans on Capitol Hill would go nuts if this ever showed on PBS.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it endure?



MR. BLANKLEY: No, I don't think so.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it endure?



MR. O'DONNELL: It would be good for us if it could, but it's up against the Hollywood Jesus, which is always going to win.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It will not endure.



When we come back: We say that we do not discriminate against blacks. Then how do you explain the total national neglect of Africa, especially when it is dying?



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Continent crucified. On Good Friday and Easter Sunday of this weekend, all of Christendom will commemorate the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If we think of this liturgy on another plane, in terms of nations and humanity, which continent, we may ask, is most in need of a resurrection?



Answer: Africa, that for decades has been suffering through its own crucifixion. It is a continent in crisis; bloodletting, treachery, mass murder, unspeakable brutality, pandemic rape, pandemic disease; Sierra Leone and Burundi -- where unparalleled brutishness against innocent civilians caught in civil wars; Zimbabwe -- savage mobs brutalize white farmers, seize their land, evict them, as President Robert Mugabe clears the way for the marauders to do so; Sudan -- the mind-numbing slow death of starvation everywhere from famine, afflicting millions, and the government dropping bombs on schools and markets in endless civil war; Democratic Republic of Congo -- where President Laurent Kabila is shot in the head, killed, and despite a two-year-old peace agreement, savagery goes on unabated in Congo's conflict with five neighboring countries: Rwanda, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia.



And Africa is dying. Its most wretched agony is not warfare; it's disease and death. AIDS. Thirty-six million people on the planet today are infected with HIV. Nearly three-quarters of those, 25 million, live in sub-Saharan Africa. Of those 25 million, almost 20 percent, 4.2 million, are in South Africa -- more cases than in any other country on Earth. Within nine years, AIDS will kill 1/2 million South Africans per year, cutting life expectancy from 60 to 40 years of age.



So, what is the United States doing to help? Fifty-five million dollars of humanitarian aid is given to South Africa by us -- or, $1.30 per person per year; or, about 1/3 of one cent per day. And what does President Bush think about Africa?



PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) Africa is important, and we've got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade, but there's got to be priorities. And the Middle East is a priority, for a lot of reasons, as is Europe and the Far East and our own hemisphere, and those are my four top priorities.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why is America's humanitarian sensitivity so dead when it comes to Africa? Eleanor Clift.



MS. CLIFT: Well, Bill Clinton was the first American president since Jimmy Carter to even visit Africa. Basically, it's hard to get any foreign aid for that continent. AIDS is now beginning to be a scourge that is moving out of Africa to Asia and is scaring the world. And you've got a new president here, George W. Bush, who doesn't want to get involved anywhere unless American interests are directly threatened. But you've got some people on Capitol Hill -- Dick Armey and Tom DeLay -- who are pointing to the religious persecution of Christians in Sudan and urging the administration to get involved.



As you pointed out, there are problems all over the continent and nobody knows where to begin and nobody can raise the money to get involved.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could you make the case that there is a strategic interest in Africa; namely, don't you think that Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, and Kenya and Namibia, the bombings there, were a wake-up call to the fact that radical Islam -- radical Islam is pretty much headquartered in that continent, and that terrorist activity has a direct bearing on our national security?



MS. CLIFT: You could make the case, but not to an administration that is obsessed with building up the case for a missile defense shield, and Africa doesn't fit into that formulation.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: But this is ridiculous. No American administration has ever paid much attention to Africa for a number of reasons; one, that it's never been judged to be in our security zone of highest concern. There's a cultural disconnect, obviously, between America traditionally and Africa; that's obviously also an element.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've paid a lot of attention to South Africa over the years.



MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, because of the minerals that were there and the strategic implications of that, but not to the rest of Africa.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it not --



MR. BLANKLEY: But let me make one other point, because the American people are very honorable in this. The Episcopal Church is active in trying to save the orphans of the AIDS epidemic there. There's a lot of person-to-person efforts going on. And just this week, Senator Frist, Republican in the Senate, introduced and had passed in the Senate and introduced a billion dollars a year of aid --



MR. BARONE: John?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Michael.



MR. BLANKLEY: The drug companies have reduced down the costs of their drugs for AIDS fighting. So there is more going on.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, all that adds up to more for you than it does for me. Foreign aid is a larger issue than described in the foregoing. Of the top 20 nations in the world, based on GDP, the United States comes in a shameful dead last in helping poor nations. Look at this list: Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Japan, Switzerland, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Austria, Australia, Portugal, Britain, Spain, Italy, Greece and then the USA.



MR. BARONE: John?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see my point here?



MR. O'DONNELL: Your point is well-taken, John. We do have a higher moral obligation here because we have the wealth to help. A Harvard faculty group came up with a recent study indicating what we could do with a global trust fund taking on the issue of AIDS in Africa, and if we could throw in, let's say, a billion in the first year of what they would like to be a $3 billion fund, that would be a fair one-third contribution by the United States. The Congress is actually now warming up to seeming ready to do this kind of thing.



MR. BARONE: John, I think the -- look, the foreign aid to Africa has mostly, over history, been very ineffective. It has been pocketed by kleptocrats, the people that have ruled most of these governments.



I think you're wrong in discounting what's been going on in the Congress. Last year the Congress passed an Africa Free Trade bill, support from the left, Charlie Rangel, the right, Phil Crane. Senator Bill Frist, who has gone into Sudan and performed emergency surgery there, is moving -- both Republicans and Democrats are talking about doing something for Sudan and to stop the persecution of Christians and others that's going on there. That's not a strategic threat to us; we do have a humanitarian interest. I think a lot of people on both the right and left are doing it.



The problem is how do you deliver the aid. If you go through most of these governments, you are not going to be effectively delivering the aid. The pharmaceutical companies are now proposing -- Merck, Abbott, Bristol-Myers -- are proposing selling AIDS drugs at manufacturing cost, at very low rates over there. The question is, how do you maintain those drug regimes in a climate and a circumstance?



MS. CLIFT: Also, the memory -- the memory --



MR. BARONE: It's very tough to do, and we should try.



MS. CLIFT: The memory of Somalia, Bill Clinton's Somalia early in his administration --



MR. BARONE: We don't want military involvement.



MS. CLIFT: -- scared off the Clinton people from any kind of direct involvement, and that memory is still there.



MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, but Michael makes an important point; that the fundamental problem for Africa is their failure of government and the failure of their politics to provide any kind of a stable, half-decent government --



MR. O'DONNELL: But that doesn't allow us to stand by and do absolutely nothing.



MR. BLANKLEY: No, I agree. I agree.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on.



MR. O'DONNELL: Their infrastructure just makes it a more difficult project for us.



MR. BLANKLEY: Every life saved is worth saving, and I agree. And that's why charitable activity is necessary. But the point is that in a continent that has no competent government, these problems are going to continue to fester.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have British roots, do you not?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've heard of the Pax Britannica, have you not?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've heard of Greece and Rome. These are all superpowers. And part of their missionary zeal, which, in some instances, particularly with the Britannica Pax, was close to Christianity. They felt it incumbent upon them, not only for reasons of self-interest, but to bring civilization to parts of the world that needed it. We used to have this missionary sense. We have it no longer; it's gone. It's absolutely gone, is it not?



(Cross talk.)



MS. CLIFT: That's wrong!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from him. I'm sorry, Michael, I want to hear from --



MR. O'DONNELL: Your introduction concentrated, quite rightly, on South Africa, which is a very stable government, which does have the adequate infrastructure for delivering the aid, if the international will and the United States will exists to deliver that aid, and we could do it, if we take on one problem at a time -- hunger, AIDS --



MR. BLANKLEY: But until --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What we have heard here is a collection of excuses and half measures --



MR. BARONE: John?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're noble in themselves, but they don't meet the needs that exist.



Exit question: Does the United States, the world's wealthiest economy, have a moral imperative as a nation to help Africa far more than it's doing now?



MR. BARONE: Absolutely, yes. And people on both the left and right are trying to do that.



MS. CLIFT: Yes. How about Special Envoy to Africa John McLaughlin! (Laughs; laughter.)



MR. BLANKLEY: I suppose so, but the reality is there won't be any huge effort beyond some increase in foreign aid.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?



MR. O'DONNELL: Of course we do. We should be leading the world. And our strategic interest is stability; we always want stability everywhere in the world, and that's what we lack in Africa now.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence is absolutely right.



Issue three: Putin power.



PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) We fully intend to continue to cooperate with the Russians. It's in our nation's best interests...



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's one view on Russia, the dovish one. But Russia hawks have another; they see Russia as a restless superpower like China. And Vladimir Putin, they say, is giving them all the ammunition they need. After only one year in office, Vladimir has shaken up the Russian government, he's determined to restore both greatness to Russia and centralized power to himself, like Russian leaders of old. His actions:



One, Putin power play, by taking firm hold of the nation's security and armed forces with the new Defense Minister, Sergei Ivanov, a crony of Putin's from their days at the KGB. Ivanov's task is to get Russia's military combat ready, and cut its size from today's 1.2 million to 850,000.



Two, more nukes, with Russia halting the dismantling of its nuclear arsenal, thus protesting Bush's missile defense plan. They intend to freeze the number of Russian warheads at 6,000 and not the planned 1,500.



Three, resumed arms sales to Iran and strengthened ties to North Korea.



Four, missile shield for Europe to counter the Bush shield for the USA, protecting Western Europe and Russia from missile attack.



Five, press crackdown; jailing media executives, journalists, and raiding their offices.



Six, Moscow-Beijing axis, with Putin meeting regularly with the Chinese to denounce American hegemony. Russia may not be a superpower today, but combined with China, they could become a military colossus, so bespeak the Bush hawks.



Question: What you have just heard is the hawkish U.S. view, probably espoused by Mr. Barone, of Valdimir Putin. It is menacing. Is it unjustified or justified?



Tony.



MR. BLANKLEY: I think it's completely unjustified. I think Putin is exactly the right man for Russia. I visited Russia many times, both during the Cold War and recently. It was falling into chaos and anarchy; it needed a strong hand. They found it in Putin. He is focused on rule of law, he's strengthening the courts, he believes in free markets, he's working there, he's pulling the oligarchs back, he's controlling the regional governors --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's pulling them back? What do you mean? He's suppressing them.



MR. BLANKLEY: He's -- well, they're the ones who were pulling the strings with Yeltsin, and he's cutting the strings.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the press?



MR. BLANKLEY: It takes a very tough man to regain some kind of order and control in Russia. He's doing a superb job.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have heard Tony make the case the Putin is no Rasputin (pronounces Ras-poo-tin), right? (Groans from group.) Now, just to clarify that a little bit more, take a look at the screen. We'll go through all of those points one by one. Cabinet shuffle. He's put in a Defense and Interior Ministry that is now, for the first time in Russian history, under civilian control.



Number two, the nuclear freeze; more money from the U.S. uranium-enrichment cooperation, meaning that for every pound of enriched uranium, he gets a price. So that's probably part of his thinking, too. Arms sales to Iran. Well, Russia is an ally of Iran, commercial speaking. We have our allies, like Israel. We sell arms to Israel. So what is contemptible about that?



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Number four. Number four. A missile shield for Europe. Why not engage the European Union, as opposed to the Soviets, who brooded in their xenophobia and isolation? Five, a press crackdown. A lot of corrupt oligarchs shot and bought their way into the news media. The really worrisome thing, in my view, is the Moscow-Beijing axis. It's a marriage made in heaven. You have the nuclear capability of Russia and you have the manpower capability of China, and those two are together a lot.



MS. CLIFT: Yeah, what Putin has done is moved into the vacuum created by President Bush, who has sent every signal that he wants to withdraw from hot spots around the world. Putin is making trade alliances with Asia, he wants to broker a more peaceful resolution between the two Koreas, and the Europeans love what he's doing. At the same time, they look at President Bush and say, What is -- he wants to wreck the environment --



MR. : Oh, Eleanor!



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



MS. CLIFT: They call him "Toxic George." This guy has been a very weak hand -- (inaudible).



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, I want to get out. We've got one wrap-up question. I want a one-word answer. What are Putin's true leanings, according to your felt intuition? Is he dictatorial, or is he more small-d democratic?



MR. BARONE: He's authoritarian.



MS. CLIFT: (Chuckles.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's authoritarian?



MR. BARONE: Yup. He's dictatorial.



MS. CLIFT: He's dictatorial, but that's not going to keep him from being a major player on the world stage.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think he's authoritarian but small-d democratic? Do you understand what I mean?



MR. BLANKLEY: I think he's going along with democratic, but the suppression of the press over there and the NTV strategic --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you heard what I said about the oligarchs having taken control of the press.



MR. BLANKLEY: John, the oligarchs were balancing off, in this case. Gusinsky of NTV was providing some freedom of the press.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to my question?



MR. O'DONNELL: He is a ruthless democrat.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a ruthless democrat?



MR. O'DONNELL: He's doing the best possible job under the circumstances. He is the right man for the time. This is a country that's only 10 years old. It's as if George W. Bush was elected into a country with 50 corrupt governors who were running their own shops and yes, that needs someone strong at the center.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael is right. He is authoritarian, but he's also small-d democrat.



We'll be right back with predictions.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will Congress pass trade negotiating authority; fast track?



MR. BARONE: Yes.



MS. CLIFT: Yes.



MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.



MR. O'DONNELL: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five yeses. It's yes. Bye bye!



 


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Nuclear thaw.



VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: (From videotape.) If you want to do something about carbon dioxide emissions, then you ought to build nuclear power plants, because they don't emit any carbon dioxide and they don't emit greenhouse gases.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The energy crisis is producing a nuclear reaction. Suddenly, civilian nuclear power is back, at least in principle. Why? Electricity blackouts, soaring oil, natural gas and gasoline prices plus the threat of global warming. And there are other reasons for the renewed interest.



Item: Nuclear is cheaper than coal, oil or natural gas, as seen from the comparative prices nationwide for energy. Already the country's 103 nuclear power plants produce 20 percent of the nation's energy.



Item: It's efficient, reliable and plentiful, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to produce electricity.



Item: It's safer. Quote: "No general increased risk of deaths from cancer for people living in 107 counties containing or closely adjacent to 62 nuclear facilities." So reports the National Cancer Institute.



Item: It's cleaner. Not like coal or natural gas or oil-fired power plants, nuclear plants do not emit carbon, sulfur dioxide, mercury or nitrogen oxide.



Item: It's politically palatable, or soon will be. Pete Domenici, senator from New Mexico, has legislation to expand the civilian use of nuclear power. Already 14 other senators have cosponsored Domenici's bill, including three Democrats -- Senators Bob Graham, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln.



Let's see how good you are. What is the chief stumbling block to the increased use of nuclear power?



MR. O'DONNELL: Nuclear waste, John.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent.



MR. O'DONNELL: And so if the Domenici bill wants to pick up more cosponsors, he can volunteer New Mexico to be the nuclear waste dump for the United States of America, because that's why you can't build new plants.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- with Yucca Mountain.



MR. O'DONNELL: We still don't know what to do with the waste.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yucca Mountain's in Nevada. Is it the ideal place?



MR. BLANKLEY: It doesn't matter. Let me tell you this.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How long has it been under consideration, nuclear waste, before we leave it? Twenty years.



MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, but look.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Millions of dollars going into the planning of it.



MR. BLANKLEY: Let me tell you the reality. The reality is that for the indefinite future, every nuclear plant can safely store its own waste. This is a problem for the --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why, because it's dry?



MR. BLANKLEY: Because it doesn't take up much space.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about dry?



MR. O'DONNELL: You have to store it for 300,000 years. Where are you going to do that?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nuclear power plants are drowning in their waste, in case you didn't know it.



MR. BLANKLEY: No, they are not.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They are.



MR. BLANKLEY: They are not. They're all storing it on their own sites. And I've been told that they can do that indefinitely into the future.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seventy of our 103 total will run out of space by the year 2010, which is only eight years away.



MR. BARONE: Well, you know what, John? They're going to find more space. You can build a little add-on to the nuclear plant. The fact is that nuclear power is really -- I think history will record that the reason we haven't used more nuclear power, put in more nuclear plants over the last 20 years, is basically superstition. Jane Fonda and the China Syndrome.



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish. Let him -- wait a minute, Eleanor. Thank you for making that --



MR. BARONE: But I think that the fact is that we've had this sort of irrational prejudice ginned up by the environmentalists. The Nevada senators have blocked the nuclear waste disposal --



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Tony and I have discussed this off camera, and Tony is such an aficionado of nuclear power, he's offered his backyard to store the waste. Nuclear power --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!



MR. BLANKLEY: (Inaudible.)



MS. CLIFT: -- has a huge public relations challenge to convince the American people --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you in favor of it?



MS. CLIFT: I'm not unalterably opposed.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're not unalterably opposed.



MS. CLIFT: No. But --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Make this in writing. Get a notary public right away.



MS. CLIFT: But there's a huge PR battle to convince the American people that that we're not going to have --



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