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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP 20TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

BROADCAST: AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 1, 2002

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Happy Anniversary To Us.

For 20 years, The McLaughlin Group has graced the airwaves. The reason behind that longevity is of course, you, our discerning viewers. So, in a salute to you and to the Group on this threshold of our third decade, join us on a trip down memory lane.

(Old theme music: "From the nation's capital, the McLaughlin Group, an unrehearsed weekly television program bringing you inside opinions and predictions on the major issues of the day.")

(Begin taped segments.)

MR. NOVAK: Let me ask you a question!

MR. GERMOND: No. Just let me finish the point and then you can ask me a question.

MR. NOVAK: No, I want to ask you a question right now. Do you think --

MR. GERMOND: I'm not going to answer it right now, Novak!

(7/11/87)

MR. KONDRACKE: Shut up!!

MR. BARNES: Wait a minute, Mort. You be quiet!!

(9/24/84)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please stop talking for a minute!!

(11/9/84)

MR. NOVAK: You don't live on this planet!

(9/20/86)

MR. GERMOND: You're sick, Novak. You're sick.

(10/23/87)

MR. NOVAK: When you say you can't understand, that's the first intelligent thing you've said in about a month on this program.

(7-11-87)

MS. CLIFT: Does the P.A. system work here? We don't have to shout.

(5-1-92)

MS. CLIFT: Let me finish. I want to finish, Mort!

(5-1-92)

MR. BARNES: Eleanor, come on now. Don't give me that Hitler stuff. That is --

MS. CLIFT: Decisiveness is not the only thing that counts.

MR. BARNES: That's ridiculous, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, to say he was decisive --

MR. BARNES: I resent that Hitler stuff. Come on!

MS. CLIFT: I didn't call you Hitler, Fred. Let's not carry it too far.

MR. BARNES: Look, what Pat said -- I know, but come on, Eleanor. Geez! Gimme a break!

MS. CLIFT: Give me time. I may get there.

(2/19/02)

MS. CLIFT: He's right. He's right. He's right. He's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the political process.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, let me tell you what's going to happen.

MS. CLIFT: He's right.

MR. BLANKLEY: Is he right?

MS. CLIFT: Yes, he is.

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, he's right?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Political campaigns have turned into economic contests.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish!

MS. CLIFT: Let me finish!

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, you've been doing that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish!

MS. CLIFT: Oh, let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well let her just finish!

MS. CLIFT: Oh, come on, Tony! Don't be such a spoiled little boy.

(End taped segments.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Of course the Group is not all explosives. We've simply edited together some of our more incendiary moments. But Group members have never been bashful about telling each other what's right and what's wrong, with good-natured, if sometimes impassioned ragging thrown in. What we strive for is reason and logic expressed with conviction and with clarity and with passion. So it's not really a shouting match, but we do have our moments.

Here's an issue from year one of the Group, 1982. Question: Is the invasion and occupation of Lebanon by Israel justified?

(Begin taped segment.)

(9/20/82)

MR. GERMOND: It is absolutely unjustified. There isn't any way that even Mort Kondracke can defend this.

MR. KONDRACKE: Well, I don't know who you'd like to restore order in Beirut. Would you like the Syrians with Soviet tanks? Would you like the United States of America?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the --

MR. KONDRACKE: Do you want the Marines to go back in?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the Lebanese army?

MR. KONDRACKE: The fact of the matter is, the Lebanese army has not been able to restore order --

MR. NOVAK: What business is it, Morton, of the Israeli army to restore order in West Beirut? Why don't they restore order on the Iraqi-Iranian border? What kind of power does this little country arrogate to itself?

MR. BUCHANAN: Mr. Begin and Mr. Sharon simply swept aside American interests and went in, and now you've got the United States prestige involved, and now you're going to have a confrontation between the United States and Israel.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Life is not always black and white. So, the show takes that into account with the moderator's calls for shades of meaning and shades of certitude.

(Begin taped segment.)

(6/5/98)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit. On a damage scale of zero to 10 -- zero meaning zero damage, a leaf falling on a polished Bentley; 10 meaning total damage, metaphysical implosion, nuclear megatonnage conterminous with the universe -- how much damage will it do to Clinton if Lewinsky cooperates 100 percent with Starr.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A hallmark of the show is the Group's predictions. Right or wrong, we take our chances. And often, we are right . . . or lucky. Now get this prediction, uttered a stunning seven years before the actual event. This is 1993.

(Begin taped segment.)

(9/18/93)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The host city for the Olympics in the year 2000 will be, not Munich, not Istanbul, not Manchester, not Beijing, but Sidney.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seven years later, 2000, Sydney. McLaughlin right again!

We've also had some other winners.

(Begin taped segments.)

(8/1/98)

MS. CLIFT: Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis is going to be the next governor of California.

(5/26/00)

MR. KUDLOW: In a likely George Bush presidency, Colin Powell will certainly be his secretary of State.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin will stay through the Asian crisis but still leave before the end of his term so that Larry Summers can be secretary of the Treasury at least for a short period of time.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we've had our duds.

(Begin taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New York: Incumbent Alfonse D'Amato versus Democratic Representative Charles "Chuck" Schumer. Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Big Al. I think Al's going to take it. He's got an awful lot of money.

MS. CLIFT: You can't extinguish Al D'Amato, I'm afraid.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: D'Amato is going to do well enough in the boroughs to be able to match that with his big win in upstate, and he will hold on.

MR. BARONE: I gave up betting against Al D'Amato a long time ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, McLaughlin also says D'Amato. The group votes five-to-nothing, Al D'Amato. What do you think of that? Tell that to Hillary.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At year's end, there's the Group's eagerly anticipated awards programs.

(Begin taped segment.)

(12/29/01)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, here it is, ladies and gentlemen: Person of the year, Michael.

MR. BARONE: I nominate the American people, who came together instantly united in the war against terrorism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well stated. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Todd Beamer, the passenger on Flight 93, who said. "Let's roll."

MR. BLANKLEY: I pick President Bush. I think his performance since September 11th requires that we give him that title.

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, it's sadly Osama bin Laden, who has defined our times like no one else could.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Somehow the McLaughlin Group struck a chord. And Hollywood came calling. In "Mission Impossible I," Tom Cruise, brilliantly made up as a 65-year-old senator, is grilled by McLaughlin.

(Begin movie segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (In progress) -- destroy the intelligence capability of this country.

MR. CRUISE: No, John. I want to know who these people are and how they're spending our taxpayers' money.

(End movie segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Independence Day, the fictional president keeps an eye on the Group, even in the throws of alien domination.

(Begin movie segment.)

MR. KONDRACKE: (In progress) -- in the Gulf War is completely different from leadership in politics.

(End movie segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In real life, a real president kept an eye on the Group.

(Begin taped segment.)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: The McLaughlin Group also serves as the most tasteful programming alternative to professional wrestling live from Madison Square Garden. (Laughter.)

Well, thank you for making that half hour every weekend something very special to look forward to. I wouldn't miss it. I can't afford to.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Group loves to be toasted, but we've also been roasted.

(Begin taped segment -- Saturday Night Live.)

"MR. MCLAUGHLIN": Issue number five. What number am I thinking of, Pat Buchanan? (Laughter.)

"MR. BUCHANAN": Geez, 82?

"MR. MCLAUGHLIN": Wrong! Eleanor Clift.

"MS. CLIFT": Is it between one and 100?

"MR. MCLAUGHLIN": Don't skirt the issue!

"MS. CLIFT": I -- 40!

"MR. MCLAUGHLIN": Wrong! Mortontine?

"MR. KONDRACKE": 212?

"MR. MCLAUGHLIN": Wrong! Jackerino?

"MR. GERMOND": Two?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wrong! The correct answer is 134. 134.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back, the Group's ringside seat to history.

(Begin taped segment.)

MR. KONDRACKE: John, congratulations on 20 years. We owe you everything we've got. You taught us everything we know. We're here because of you. Thanks.

MR. BARNES: John, remember those famous words of your friend Mort Zuckerman when he said, "Your words will be remembered long after Shakespeare's are forgotten, but not until then." Well, that wasn't quite right, John. They're remembered today. You're a national icon. And Mort and I have one thing to say. Bye-bye.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: History In The Making.

Politics and politicians are the engine that drives the McLaughlin Group.

In November of '84, President Ronald Reagan was re-elected by a landslide 49 out of 50 states over Walter Mondale.

(Begin taped segment.)

(11-9-84)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a mandate?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, of course it's a mandate. You cannot separate Ronald Reagan from his conservative ideology and philosophy. But as important, it is an utter repudiation of the Great Society liberalism of the Democratic party. You got to realize that this is the third time in 12 years the national Democratic ticket has lost as badly or worse than Barry Goldwater lost in 1964.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well spoken, Pat.

MR. NOVAK: The kind of twaddle that Mondale was putting out in the last two weeks of the campaign which got such great press reviews about caring and sharing and all that baloney does not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jack?

MR. NOVAK: -- just a minute, does not go over with the American people.

MR. GERMOND: Gee whiz, Bob Novak doesn't care about caring and sharing. Imagine that? (Laughter.)

MR. NOVAK: Do you?

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In his second term, President Reagan got blindsided by scandal -- the secret diversion of U.S. funds to Nicaraguan contra rebels. The transferred monies came from profits of U.S. arms sales to Iran. The big question throughout Iran-Contra was the role of the President.

(Begin taped segment.)

(12/5/86)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to talk now about the transfer of monies from Iran to the contras. Okay? Now, I've got one simple question. Regarding that transfer in its stark reality, no fine print, no green eye shade details necessary, did Ronald Reagan know about that transfer at the time that it was being made? What is your intuition?

ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE: My gut feeling is that he knew. And as a matter of fact, some people are probably very happy at having ripped off the ayatollahs to fund the contras. Somebody must have thought that was a great idea.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he know, Novak?

MR. NOVAK: He says he didn't know, and I believe him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say he did not know.

MR. NOVAK: I said exactly what I said.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You believe him. What do you say?

MR. GERMOND: He was told, and he forgot. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was told and he forgot?

MR. GERMOND: That's my guess.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're being serious?

MR. GERMOND: I'm being serious.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You?

MR. KONDRACKE: I hope he didn't know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You hope he didn't know. That's an evasion, Morton.

MR. KONDRACKE: If he did know, then he's a liar.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is not diplomacy, Morton. This is the McLaughlin Group.

MR. KONDRACKE: All right. I say he didn't know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did not know. Three say he did not know. I say he knew!

(End taped segment.)

(Audio of Oliver North hearings.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In June of 1987, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North told a joint congressional hearing that he believed his covert actions in the Iran-Contra affair were authorized by higher-ups at the White House. So, the moderator asked, should Oliver North be exonerated?

(Begin taped segment.)

(7-11-87)

MS. CLIFT: I think he touched a chord in all of us. He's Rocky, Rambo, Patton and the boy next door all wrapped up in one. But I'm not going to join the applause for someone who's sole defense is that he followed orders and he charged up the hill like a good lieutenant-colonel. I think the folly of that was exposed at Nuremberg a long time ago.

MR. NOVAK: I'm not going to sit here and hear how a man who has won more purple hearts, wo
n more decorations than anyone in this studio combined, who has fought for his country, compared to Nuremberg. And I think right here and now, you ought to apologize for that!

MS. CLIFT: Oh, I don't apologize for that at all.

MR. BARNES: Oh, these hearings, from the beginning, have been slanted, unfair, McCarthyite, prosecutorial. They're only designed to discredit Reagan and doom the contras.

MR. KONDRACKE: The bottom line of this is that if you and Novak and Bill Casey and Oliver North's system of government were underway, you would have the kind of government in this country that Korea is trying to get itself out of.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MR. BARNES: And there would be democracy in Nicaragua!

MR. NOVAK: And I'll say one other thing.

MS. CLIFT: You shut down those hearings, and you shut down democracy.

MR. NOVAK: That is -- that is the kind of government that won World War II. If ninnies and wimps like you were running the country in World War II, they would be finished.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the brink of the 1990s, Europe's geo-political map profoundly changed, starting with the Berlin Wall.

(Begin taped segment.)

(11-25-89)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It collapsed like a house of cards, number one. And number two, East Germany, despite its political liberation by Gorbachev, despite the fact that Russia is its principal trading partner, is already tilting towards Helmut Kohl and the West and West Germany.

MR. KONDRACKE: Because of economic penetration by West German companies, which all want to expand and get in --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because there was -- there was no roots to the Communist Party. When the Wall went up, it seems as though everybody just got into line, and from a practical and a pragmatic point of view, they played the party game, but there's nothing there.

MR. BUCHANAN: You know what it really shows? The people who were saying in this country, "Well, they've known nothing but communism and that's sort of their system, they've adapted to it, they've taken it to heart," were all foolish.

MS. CLIFT: There are very few card-carrying Communists in these societies.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, after East Germany and Czechoslovakia, Berkeley and Harvard can't be far behind. (Laughter.)

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Old Cold War enemies left the world stage, but new enemies made their entrances -- notably Saddam Hussein.

(Begin taped segment.)

(8/3/90)

MR. BARNES: The short run is, we have to do something about Iraq now. Pat, the problem is that this does hit American interests. Hussein could jack up oil prices, cause inflation in the United States, cause interest rates to rise, cause a recession to happen, cause great trouble.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me explain to -- look, it's not vital because our best friend, the Shah of Iran, ran oil prices from about $2 dollars a barrel to 40, and we didn't do anything.

MR. BARNES: We should have.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, $30-a-barrel oil is not worth going to war!

(1/19/91)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has the war touched off anything like a Jihad in the Arab world, I ask you Mort?

MR. KONDRACKE: No way, John. You and your fellow travelers were predicting, Arabists, were predicting that the Arab world would ignite, so did you, Pat, the minute we attacked Iraq. It has not happened.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm very worried about that seething Arab cauldron and the terrorism in the skies and people not being able to fly.

MR. KONDRACKE: Where is the terrorism right now?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not here yet.

MR. KONDRACKE: Where? Where is it?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got a long ways to go.

MR. KONDRACKE: Okay.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Arabs have long memories in this regard.

(3/10/91)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When will Saddam Hussein be out of power?

MR. BUCHANAN: I'd say by the end of the year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?

MR. BARNES: I'm not that optimistic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say? What does that mean?

MR. BARNES: It means --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here we are, thrown into obscurity.

MR. BARNES: That means, maybe 1992.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ah. What do you think, Jack?

MR. GERMOND: Well, three weeks ago, I gave him three weeks. His time's up. I think he's gone today. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Eleanor "Gee, I think you're Swell-anor"?

MS. CLIFT: I think three to six months. I don't think he can hang on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If he lasts for one more week, he will be there indefinitely.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the fall of '91, the battlefield shifted to Washington. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' confirmation process, a congressional hearing, had the nation riveted to the TV screen. Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee.

(Begin taped segment.)

(10/19/91)

MR. KONDRACKE: Look, this congressional hearing process has been going on for years, and it's been ugly before. But sometimes it's gotten to the bottom --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Never as ugly as this!

MR. KONDRACKE: Just a minute.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Never!

MR. KONDRACKE: Sometimes it's gotten to the bottom of things, as when Nixon interrogated Alger Hiss and got the truth, and that happened in --

MR. BARNES: Well, Alger Hiss lied. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't seem to understand that this is the lowest it probably has ever reached.

MR. BUCHANAN: You have a pack of liberals up there, and as soon as Thomas said, "You are lynching me," they just went into total paralysis. What is that? We're the great champions of black folks.

MR. KONDRACKE: Just a second -- what does the --

MR. BUCHANAN: How can we be lynching somebody?

MR. KONDRACKE: Just a minute. What does the use of that defense suggest about Clarence Thomas' credibility? Why do you stonewall --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It suggests -

MR. KONDRACKE: -- and accuse the adversary --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It suggests that there is --

MR. BARNES: John?

MR. KONDRACKE: -- of being racist for asking him any questions?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It suggest that there is truth.

MR. BUCHANAN: Because -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a high-tech lynching.

MR. KONDRACKE: Oh, give me a break.

MR. BARNES: That's not what it suggests, John.

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

MR. BARNES: They were out -- these guys were out to destroy him.

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure they were.

MR. BARNES: They were like a gang with a rusty knife at his throat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MR. BARNES: And he fought back.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The election of '92. It pitted Republican President George Bush against Arkansas Democrat Governor Bill Clinton and businessman Independent Ross Perot.

(Begin taped segment.)

(8/10/91)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Kindly appraise, a little bit more in detail, 44-year-old Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's chances for the Democratic presidential nomination in '92.

MR. GERMOND: In little detail: slim.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wrong!!

(Begin taped segment.)

(11/6/92)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you think the Clinton presidency will be?

MR. BUCHANAN: On social policy, it's going to be very liberal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Freddy? Centrist? Activist? Or conservative?

MR. BARNES: I think it's going to be basically centrist, and we'll know whether it's successfully centrist or not if Eleanor starts getting mad at Clinton.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Jack?

MR. GERMOND: I think it's going to be nothing like the Reagan-Bush presidencies at all, as a point -- even as a point of reference. I think the word to describe it will be "awake." They'll all be awake. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean animated?

MR. GERMOND: No. They'll do things. Bill Clinton will put the hands on and do things. He won't just -- (rolls eyes upward, makes noise.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he -- (laughs.) How do you do that, Jack? Do that again. (makes noise.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Right. There will be blood flowing through the body politic.

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Bill Clinton produced plenty of blood flowing through the body politic.

(Begin taped segment.)

(1/30/98)

MR. BARNES: Do you believe the president did not have any sex with Monica Lewinsky?

MS. CLIFT: I am not answering questions about anybody's sex life --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ahhh! (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: She's under a gag order! She's under a gag order!

MS. CLIFT: -- including yours, Fred!

(11/20/98)

MS. CLIFT: All right, she is a young woman who was carrying on a consensual affair with someone. She does not deserve to be treated like a criminal --

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, Eleanor --

MS. CLIFT: -- wait a second -- and threatened and be told that if she contacts a lawyer, that she may not be able to get immunity. She was manhandled, and the Justice Department is looking at that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I'll tell you who manhandled her, and it was not the FBI agent.

(End taped segment.)

(Audio of House impeachment proceedings.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In December 1998, the U.S. House of Representatives successfully brought impeachment action against Bill Clinton. The U.S. Senate trial that followed resulted in a Senate acquittal, a verdict that the Group was eager to appraise.

(Begin taped segment.)

(2/12/99)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What we have just seen has fallen between two stools: the stool of law and the stool of politics.

MR. O'DONNELL: That's what they designed, and they designed it to be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They didn't design it for failure!

MR. O'DONNELL: They did. They designed it to be a political trial that hangs simply on the question of, is this a high crime or misdemeanor?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to take this up? Hold on, Eleanor.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, it was a sham and a farce of a trial, and Senator Specter is right. But our friend over here is right that the senators have a right to conduct a sham trial, which is what they did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are you talking about?! They can't conduct a sham trial!

MR. BUCHANAN: They just did!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know they did. They de facto did, but they can't de jure do that. We have a Constitution!

MR. BLANKLEY: Wait, wait, a second.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say about this? Will you straighten him out? And he wants to be president, for God's sake! (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: I will.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that the Founding Fathers would have vomited seeing this, at pretending that this is a trial?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, they had remarkable self-control, but I think that they would have found this offensive and in violation of what they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Of what they had in mind. You're absolutely right.

MR. BLANKLEY: They used the word trial. (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: If you -- if you --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it will give us no closure! No closure!

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "No closure" came to refer to the unique 2000 presidential election. Vice President Al Gore versus Republican George Bush. Gore contested the results in the state of Florida, and what ensued was a tense five-week election ordeal.

(Begin taped segment.)

(11/10/00)

MS. CLIFT: The Republicans are acting as though Al Gore is trying to steal the election when he is raising legitimate questions about the ballot process in Florida. But we have every right, I think, as Americans to see this process play out in the court of law.

(12/15/00)

MS. CLIFT: This is a decision that will live on in political infamy in the minds of a lot of people, and it is so thinly rooted in the law.

MR. PAGE: Five of them said no, there's not enough time, ring the bell, game over, Bush is president. And that is what really upset a lot of Americans. It was outrageous. They cut off the process, and now there's going to be cloud of doubt over George W. Bush -- "president-select."

(End taped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Any doubts about George Bush's leadership vanished after the morning of September 11 by the manner in which the president met and handled these incredible atrocities.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

(Begin taped segment.)

(9/21/02)

MR. KUDLOW: He became commander in chief. He became the leader of the free world. He became the president of the red, white and blue states. This was huge.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we headed to World War III, Michael?

MR. BARONE: I think we're in it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You see this as a world war?

MR. BARONE: I see this as a war that's extending across the world. It's different from World Wars I and II, but it is a war, and it is worldwide.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Boy, that is a recipe for disaster. I mean, I hope we're not headed to World War III, but I saw the unthinkable happen in New York and Washington last week, and I would not rule it out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, if I had to make a bet, I'd say we're into something that could reasonably be called a world war, yeah.

MR. KUDLOW: I actually think that successful prosecution of this war against terrorism will stop the nuclear World War III that everyone thinks about. And I think Bush understands that the stakes are just that high. What we do now will end the worst-case options.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president has to keep in balance a number of unpredictable variables and vectors, very sensitively, so as not to radicalize the Arab population and incur a number of other negatives. I think he can do it. I will say no, not a world war in the sense of World War II.

(Begin taped segment.)

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me join the chorus of fans wishing John McLaughlin the happiest of anniversaries. He transformed political talk from morbid indoor chit-chat into the breathtaking, windswept world it inhabits today. Thank you, Dr. John, for reminding us all that politics at its best is actually fun. Like my hero, Winston Churchill, once said, "I like a man who grins when he fights."

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: The way we are.



(Begin taped segments.)



(Segment one.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And by the way, Don, welcome to the show. You've been president of Merrill Lynch. You have been secretary of the Treasury. You have been White House chief of staff. Now you've finally hit the big time. Welcome to the group. (Laughter.)



FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY DON REGAN: Thank you, John. I learned quickly, if you can't lick 'em, join 'em. (Laughter.)



(Segment two.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Ed Koch, to this program. I know a few months ago, you suffered a slight stroke. For that reason, you might want to avoid looking at Novak.



FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR ED KOCH: Firstly, I'm not speechless this morning. Secondly, it will sail through the Senate as it should.



(Segment three.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My question to you, Lisa Myers, is is there any reason for thinking that this tragic occurrence will cause Congress to think twice or to modify in any way its annual appropriation of military assistance and economic assistance to Israel.




NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT LISA MYERS: Privately, Congress already is thinking twice, but publicly, they refuse to even debate whether to debate the issue.



(Segment four.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who won the summit.



COMMENTATOR MICHAEL KINSLEY: All right, I'm going to be perverse and say Gorbachev won, and here's why. The only concrete deal that was made was on cultural relations, that type of stuff. We ended all that after Afghanistan and after Poland. There's still an Afghanistan. Solidarity is still crushed.



(Segment five.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Paul Gigot of the Wall Street Journal. By the way, Paul, if you answers are too slow, people are going to ask the question, "Why are we waiting for Gigot?" (Laughter.)



(Segment six.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As the Gulf situation grows more hazardous, is it time to rethink our U.S. policy, David Gergen.



FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER DAVID GERGEN: No. Now that we've made the commitment, it's more essential than ever that we stick to it, that we carry it out. Whatever credibility we have left in that part of the world will be shredded if we change U.S. policy yet once again.



Having said that, I think it's also important that we carry the mission out successfully militarily.



(Segment seven.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Richard Cohen, welcome back to the Group.



JOURNALIST RICHARD COHEN: Well, it's good to be here.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You look prosperous. You still have your beard. (Laughter.)



MR. COHEN: Yes, of course.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You like that beard, huh?



MR. COHEN: Where'd you want me to put it? (Laughter.) I think Gorbachev does want out of Afghanistan, and --



(Segment eight.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ben Wattenberg, welcome to the show. You're in Buchanan's seat. You'll find a black jacket and Uzi under the cushion. (Laughter.)



THINK TANK HOST BEN WATTENBERG: They are exactly the same, which is to say, they are terrible. He is not going to get confirmed.



(Segment nine.)



COMMENTATOR CHRIS MATTHEWS: And let's get back to this. Let's get out of wacky-land for a minute -- Washington, which is wacky-land -- (laughter) -- this whole conversation on -- David Koresh, wherever you are, must be enjoying this conversation, because we're trying to attach blame for his insanity to somebody else, which I think is typical Washington.



(Segment 10.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Snow, welcome back to the show. I must tell you that, having not been here from some time, that all doors are locked from the outside, so there's no escape. (Laughter.)



FOX NEWS ANCHOR TONY SNOW: Well, I'll try to survive here.



(Segment 11.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the worst that can be said about the sanctions, I ask you, Derek.



NPR HOST DEREK MCGINTY: The worst that can be said about the sanctions is that they're a big non-targeted weapon that the Iraqi people themselves are suffering. And I think the thing that has been missed in all this is the interior political gains Saddam Hussein makes by taking on the United States and being seen as someone who can stand up to this country.



(Segment 12.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: James Warren?



JAMES WARREN: I don't know.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Come on, James. Let's go.



MR. WARREN: Nope. Playing neutral journalist. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll get you steroids.



(Segment 13.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anything, Tucker? And by the way, welcome to the show.



TUCKER CARLSON: Well, only that she is beset by a number of physical problems that may cause her to want to retire soon.



(End taped segments.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The past two decades have witnessed an explosion of public affairs talk shows. One reason has to do with cable TV and the growth of programming outlets. But the main reason is that people hunger for a public place where important matters can be discussed. Our cities don't really offer a lot in the way of real places, and our harried and hurried lifestyles seldom give us the time. So, people tune in to television for a public place. And that's the mission of the McLaughlin Group, to offer a public place for the creative clash of ideas where we can show that civilized discourse does not have to be dull and analytic reasoning can be passionate.



So please join us next week for the start up of the third decade of the McLaughlin Group.



(Montage of bye-bye segments.)



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