MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Senate Stakes.

The United States Senate today is led by Democrats, 50 Democrats: 49 Republicans, one Independent. So a one-seat net gain by Republicans this Election Day means a GOP takeover of the chamber.

This year on November 5, two-and-a-half weeks away, 34 seats will be voted on. Eighteen of these seats are sure bets, meaning the incumbent senator will keep the seat. Eleven of the 18 are Republican seats that stay Republican; seven are Democratic seats that stay Democratic.

Here are the 18 sure bets as judged by "The McLaughlin Group":

First, Republicans:

Alabama, Sessions wins; Alaska, Stevens; Kansas, Roberts; Kentucky, McConnell; Idaho, Craig; Maine, Collins; Mississippi, Cochran; Nebraska, Hagel; New Mexico, Domenici; Virginia, Warner; Wyoming, Enzi.

Democrats: Delaware, Biden; Illinois, Durbin; Massachusetts, Kerry; Michigan, Levin; Montana, Baucus; Rhode Island, Reed; West Virginia, Rockefeller.

Moving on, the remaining 16 seats are either competitive or cliffhangers. First, competitive. There are eight of these.

Georgia: Incumbent Democrat Cleland versus Republican Chambliss. Group majority declares -- that's three or more here -- Cleland. Georgia stays Democratic.

Iowa: Incumbent Democrat Harkin versus Republican Ganske. Group says Harkin. Iowa stays Democratic.

Louisiana: Incumbent Democrat Landrieu versus Republicans -- get this -- Terrell, Cooksey, Perkins. The Group says Landrieu. Louisiana stays Democratic.

North Carolina: Open Seat. Incumbent Republican Helms retiring. Republican Dole versus Democrat Bowles. Group says Dole. North Carolina stays Republican.

Oklahoma: Incumbent Republican Inhofe versus Democrat Walters. Group says Inhofe. Oklahoma stays Republican.

Oregon: Incumbent Republican Smith versus Democrat Bradbury. Group says Smith. Oregon stays Republican.

South Carolina: Open Seat. Incumbent Republican Thurmond retiring. Republican Graham versus Democrat Sanders. Group says Graham. South Carolina stays Republican.

Tennessee. Open seat. Incumbent Republican Thompson retiring. Republican Alexander versus Democrat Clement. Group says Alexander. Tennessee stays Republican.

Is everybody happy here?

MR. ORNSTEIN: Yeah, with just one caveat, John. In Louisiana, if no candidate gets a majority, 50 percent, on Election Day, November 5th, there's a runoff with the top two on December 5th. All the Republicans are trying to do here is hold Mary Landrieu to 49 percent. If they do, we will see a runoff in which there will be more money spent than we have in a California Senate race.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does that change your prediction of a Landrieu win?

MR. ORNSTEIN: No. I think, in the end, she would probably prevail, but it will be a wild one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Now the --

MR. KUDLOW: I have a -- no, I have a disagreement on Georgia. I got to say I think Saxby Chambliss is going to be one of the big surprises in this thing. I think Max Cleland is a good man, but he's emphasized his own war record, rather than a clear Iraqi policy. In a state like Georgia, which is totally military and hawkish, Chambliss --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We'll keep the tape on this, Mr. Kudlow.

Okay, now the cliffhangers. There are eight cliffhangers.

First, Arkansas. Incumbent Republican Tim Hutchinson versus Democrat State Attorney General Mark Pryor.


MR. KUDLOW: Oh, God --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, please.

MR. KUDLOW: I think Pryor's going to win. I don't think Hutchinson is going to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. It's a Pryor call.


MR. ORNSTEIN: I think Pryor has an advantage at this point. Hutchinson is maybe the weakest Republican incumbent.


MR. BLANKLEY: I agree, although Hutchinson has a very good TV ad going, and with a little luck, it might get close. But you'd probably have to call it for Pryor.


MR. VERVERS: Pryor is right on all the issues. He's right there with Hutchinson. Hutchinson's divorce is going to come back and get him. Pryor's going to win this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin says Pryor. Group says 5 to 0 Pryor. Arkansas goes Democratic.

Okay. Colorado. Incumbent Republican Wayne Allard versus Democrat U.S. attorney Tom Strickland.


MR. KUDLOW: Strickland's going to -- Allard is going to win, because Governor Owens is going to carry him through. He's the best governor. In Colorado, it's going to be a Republican sweep because of him.


MR. ORNSTEIN: I have no real confidence here, to tell you the truth, but I think Strickland, because Allard has run a lackluster race.


MR. BLANKLEY: Lawrence is right. It's the Republican governor who's going to pull the Republican senator across the finish line.


MR. VERVERS: This is the closest Senate race in the nation. Wayne Allard will win, largely because there's a competitive House race in his old 4th District up in Fort Collins. That's good for Allard. All those voters are going to vote for him. That's going to help him squeak by.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're right, Vaughn. McLaughlin votes Allard. Group says 4 to 1 Allard. Colorado stays Republican.

Okay, another nail-biter: Minnesota. Incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone versus Republican and former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman.


MR. KUDLOW: Coleman. Wellstone's going to be retired. He's been there too long. He's too outlandish. People -- he should go teach school someplace. That's the verdict there.


MR. ORNSTEIN: This is Minnesota. It's a Democratic state. They like independence. I suspect his vote against the war resolution may help him in a squeaker, but this one is too close to call, right up to the end.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Norm -- let's see. Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, I think Coleman is quite likely to win. The ads running there, I think, are very effective, intercutting our troops in Afghanistan with Wellstone's votes and comments. I think Coleman's going to take this for the Republicans.


MR. VERVERS: Wellstone's been running some good ads in response to that, showing Coleman endorsing Bill Clinton. Coleman was a former Democrat. That has been very effective, but I actually think it helps reinforce Coleman and voters aren't so scared of him as a Republican. Coleman wins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unfortunately, Vaughn, you didn't get this one, despite your esteemed role at the Hotline. McLaughlin votes Wellstone; group says 3 to 2 Coleman, Minnesota goes Republican.

Okay. Missouri. Incumbent Democrat Jean Carnahan versus Republican former representative Jim Talent.


MR. KUDLOW: Jim Talent's going to win this. He's one of the most talented people. He's going to be a major force in the Senate. Ms. Carnahan shouldn't have been there in the first place, with all due respect.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about an upset potential here, Norm?

MR. ORNSTEIN: Oh, there is an upset potential. This one is a hard one to figure. There's no central issue here. In South Dakota, which we'll talk about in a minute, there's the drought. We've got issues in other places. Here I have a hard time with this one, but I think Talent has a little bit of an edge right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: Talent's got the edge. However, the unions will put up a lot of money against him. And he's going to be able to respond. And then, if it's really close, the machine, the Democratic machine could make a difference at the actual counting of the votes. Nonetheless, I give it to Talent.


MR. VERVERS: I go with Carnahan because of the machine, and also because it's very hard for Talent to find a way to attack Carnahan effectively without offending people in that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're brave, Vaughn.

McLaughlin votes Talent; group says 4 to 1 Talent. Missouri goes Republican.

Okay, New Hampshire. Open seat. Republican Representative John Sununu versus Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen.


MR. KUDLOW: Ooh! This is the hardest one for me. I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Struggle. Struggle. (Laughter.)

MR. KUDLOW: For no -- for no good reason I think Shaheen's going to win. I just -- something troubles me. The Sununu hold on New Hampshire, father and son, I think, has weakened a lot.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We're going to hurry it along.


MR. ORNSTEIN: The only chance I think that Shaheen has at this point is that there's a substantial write-in vote for Bob Smith.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly. Well stated.


MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, I agree, but I do think Sununu's going to win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or a low turnout.

What's the story on you, Vaughn?

MR. VERVERS: The write-in is going to make this a very close race, we might not know until the end of election night, but I'm going to go with Sununu because Republicans across the board are doing well there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're right, Vaughn. McLaughlin votes Sununu; group says 4 to 1 Sununu. New Hampshire stays Republican.

Okay, New Jersey. Open seat. Republican businessman Doug Forrester versus Democrat former New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who replaced Robert Torricelli after his auto-da-fe by the Democratic Party. (Laughter.)


MR. KUDLOW: (Laughs.) I think -- I'm going with Forrester, and here's the reason, John. He attended the Princeton Theological Seminary. And that means he can't possibly be as corrupt as the entire Democratic Party in New Jersey.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good. Religion rules.


MR. ORNSTEIN: Lautenberg unless Forrester drops out and is replaced by James Gandolfini. (Laughter.) Of Tony Soprano --

MR. KUDLOW: Yeah, you know, that's a -- Rudy Giuliani could be on the ballot --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly --

MR. BLANKLEY: I had assumed when the switcheroo happened that it was going to be Lautenberg. I've been surprised at the resistance of the New Jersey electorate to the process. I think it's a genuine toss-up.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are you doing, abstaining?

MR. BLANKLEY: I'm abstaining.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that's your reason for abstention?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. It's not religious.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, we'll refer this to our higher authority.

MR. ORNSTEIN: "Tony" and "abstention" normally don't go together --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn. Vaughn.

MR. VERVERS: When Lautenberg got into this race I think a lot of people when they go to the polls are going to actually think Lautenberg's just running for reelection. He's going to win, but it's going to be much, much closer than people think right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're calling it Lautenberg?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's too close to call. (Laughter.) However --

MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.) Wise decision.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I will vote Lautenberg, a shift from an earlier position --

MR. : No!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- but I'm subject to changing it later. (Laughter.) The group says, 3 to 1, Lautenberg, Tony abstaining, for unworthy reasons; New Jersey stays Democratic.

Okay, South Dakota: Incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson versus Republican representative John Thune. Great race. What do you think?

MR. VERVERS: I got to go with Thune on this. I think that Tom Daschle is kind of an -- he is a key player here, and I think he's hurting Johnson.


MR. VERVERS: Daschle's been so unimpressive. I think Thune's got a good organization; he's going to pull it out.


MR. ORNSTEIN: I think Johnson. I think the Republicans erred by bringing Saddam Hussein into an ad, and it's going to backfire in South Dakota.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. And the more Iraq recedes as an issue, the more economy, and that's going to help Johnson.


MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know that it's going to recede as an issue so much, but probably Johnson. I think Thune had trouble recovering from Bush's decision to not grant special drought-relief money. He sort of came back a little bit, came up a couple of points short. I think he comes up a point or two short at the election --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, you hope that Iraq doesn't recede as an issue. You don't want those pocketbook issues to gain in profile.

MR. BLANKLEY: I'm in favor of -- can I talk to my stock broker? I'm in favor of reviewing the economic situation.


MR. VERVERS: Daschle may be hurting Johnson, but Bush is hurting Thune more with the drought thing. The military attacks on Johnson have backfired. Johnson wins this very narrowly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated, Vaughn. McLaughlin votes Johnson. The group says 3 to 2, Johnson. South Dakota stays Democratic.

We have to move quickly now; we're way over.

Okay, Texas. Open seat -- incumbent Republican Phil Gramm retiring, Republican state attorney general John Cornyn versus Democrat, former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk.


MR. KUDLOW: Cornyn easily, and Kirk is self-destructing anyway.


MR. ORNSTEIN: Kirk would be a terrific candidate and a good senator, but Cornyn has an edge.


MR. BLANKLEY: Cornyn by about six.


MR. VERVERS: It's George Bush's home state; Republicans are not going to let him lose that one. Cornyn.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Absolutely. Cornyn is a winner. McLaughlin votes Cornyn. Group votes 5-0, Cornyn. Texas stays Republican.

Okay, the Group tally: Fasten your safety belts. A two-seat pickup for Republicans in Minnesota and Missouri and a one-seat pickup for Democrats in Arkansas means a Republican takeover of the United States Senate by one vote!

When we come back: Is it fair to say that Al Gore today is the leader of the Democratic Party? If not, who is?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: The Sound and the Fury!

The recent debate on Iraq has brought to the forefront the question of who is the real leader of the Democratic Party? Here's the pageant of Democratic hopefuls for the White House in 2004:

First, House Minority Leader Gephardt.

REPRESENTATIVE DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO): (From videotape.) Iraq's use and continuing development of weapons of mass destruction, combined with efforts of terrorists to acquire such weapons, pose a unique and dangerous threat to our national security. Many of us believe that we need to deal with this threat diplomatically if we can, militarily if we must.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Has Gephardt seized the high ground?

Norm Ornstein.

MR. ORNSTEIN: You know, Gephardt has made his rank and file furious with him. He has created problems, if he decides to run for president, with those activists. He did this out of principle. He did it because he believes it. He deserves a lot of credit for it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think he did it for union-label reasons?

MR. KUDLOW: I don't. I think that Dick Gephardt has been a great statesman. He has distinguished himself as much as any time in his career. And let me add to this: His attacks on the economy, his criticism of Bush on the economy is also a very strong point for Mr. Gephardt, because I worry, if Bush doesn't answer those attacks, then after the Iraqi resolutions are completed in the Congress, the Republicans don't have much to run on in the last two weeks of the campaign. That's what bothers me. And Gephardt, I think, has been the smartest Democrat on this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If the Democrats take over the House, then Gephardt automatically becomes the de facto Democratic leader, would you not say?

MR. VERVERS: He does. But what he's really doing is inoculating himself against his presidential run. He doesn't want Republicans to get him as a peacenik. He doesn't want to be attacked in the primaries like that. He is inoculating himself for a run for president, and that's it.

MR. KUDLOW: He's going back to the moderate place he was 15, 18 years ago, which I…

MR. VERVERS: (Inaudible.)


MR. BLANKLEY: Don't get overexcited about it.

MR. KUDLOW: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER TOM DASCHLE (D-SD): (From videotape.) We will first attempt to use every diplomatic means available. That's what I said we ought to do before. We ought to, if no other option is available, after we've exhausted those diplomatic means, use preemptive force, unilaterally if necessary.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: On his Iraq position, does Daschle stand for an orderly escalation, and is that not a political plus for him?

MR. VERVERS: Well, Daschle's lucky just to be standing, frankly. I mean, after the last month. He's had to juggle all the wings of his party; he's had to juggle Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd on one hand, the other presidential-wannabes in the Senate on the other, Joe Lieberman on one hand. He's just lucky to be standing right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what's Daschle's problem?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, Daschle's problem is, one, the Senate is unmanageable with a one-vote majority, so he's had trouble all year getting anything done.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he have enough passion?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't care about his passion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is his rhetoric strong enough?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, no. His problem is a combination of unable to manage the Senate, and unable to take a firm position that has any sense of conviction on Iraq. So he's been all over the map, obviously looking political and undercutting the credibility of his party because of the cynicism of his actions. That's his problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, to his credit, he looks thoroughly sincere.

Don't you agree?

MR. KUDLOW: I think he just was so indecisive, almost like Hamlet. I think it's lose-lose for Daschle. I think he was -- Gephardt towered over Daschle during this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Senator --

MR. ORNSTEIN: That's not the case. I mean, Daschle managed an unmanageable situation and made his party balance the wings, and did just fine.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's well-stated.

Okay, Senator Joseph Lieberman.

SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT): (From videotape.) There are those who say that this represents hurried or precipitous action; that we should give Saddam and the Iraqi government another chance. The record shows that for the last 10 years, we have tried, the world has tried in just about every way -- diplomatic, economic and otherwise, except military in the end -- to convince Saddam Hussein to live by the rules of international law and civilization. They've not worked.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Has Lieberman carefully distinguished himself from the rest of the pack?

Tony Blankley?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes he has, of the Democratic presidential contenders. His problem is that assuming the war that may happen in Iraq is reasonably successful, Bush will probably be reasonably strong when it comes to reelection time. And if the war does not succeed for some reason, then Lieberman is going to get tarred with it because he's been a very powerful, early committed supporter of the president on the policy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The country wants a U.N. resolution, they want U.N. inspectors, and they want a multilateral approach. Does that not work against Lieberman's strong and decisive stand?

MR. ORNSTEIN: The country will respond to presidential leadership here. What Lieberman has done is to show once again his foreign policy credentials and his integrity. I think he's in fine shape, whatever happens here. But remember, you've still got a Democratic Party electorate that is going to be very unhappy about a strong forward pro-military position.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he stronger now than he was prior to Iraq?

MR. VERVERS: Of course not. He's been pushing this even way before Bush was pushing it. I mean, Joe Lieberman, as all these Democrats, frankly, they don't gain a lot from "me-too'ism" on Bush because Bush is the one leading this effort and it doesn't help -- it doesn't distinguish you to go along with what --

MR. KUDLOW: But just real quick, John, remember, ironically, Lieberman's excellent position on the war is helping to migrate Jewish voters in the big city over to George Bush's positions because of Israel. It's just an irony involved in this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It could pay off for Lieberman if Saddam proves intransigent.

Okay. Senator John Kerry.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D-MA): (From videotape.) In giving the president this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days: to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out "tough, immediate" inspection requirements, and to "act with our allies at our side" if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He then says, "If he does not do this, I will be the first to speak up."

Question: Is Kerry saying essentially the same thing as Daschle but in a more nuanced way? And is that not a plus for Kerry? I ask you, Vaughn.

MR. VERVERS: Well, the plus for Kerry is that he gets to play the McCain role in this, as the former war hero, the person who's been through this. He's worn the uniform. He's also protested against the war in Vietnam when he came back. So he's got the impeccable credentials when it comes to this. He gets to play the kind of McCain role. That's what makes him strong in this debate, and that's what's allowed him to sort of wait, to hold until last minute.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. But you know, the problem is, for all these guys, is that the activist Democratic base is angry at their leadership for going along with the president. And Kerry's tried to have it sort of both ways, but in the end he flopped over to support the president when it counted, on the floor of the Senate. So that's going to undercut some of the energy that he hoped to get out of it.

MR. KUDLOW: At least he didn't follow Kennedy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. We've got to move.

Okay, here we go. Senator John Edwards.

SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): (From videotape.) Instead of demonstrating purpose without arrogance, as the president promised in his inaugural address, the administration's policy projects exactly the opposite: arrogance without purpose.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clearly, Edwards is the official strong dissenter. Those are very sharp words. Did Edwards help or hurt himself by being so direct? Norm?

MR. ORNSTEIN: I read the speech. It was a terrifically crafted speech. What it has done is to give Edwards some foreign policy credentials, something that he needs. He's a real comer in this party.

MR. VERVERS: I disagree with that. I think for him to come out in this situation at this time and make this kind of speech --

MR. KUDLOW: Right.

MR. VERVERS: And it looks like "me-too'ism." It looks like "I want to get my voice in there too."

MR. KUDLOW: Right.

MR. VERVERS: He should have waited until after this was over and then made a foreign policy speech. Now he just looks like he wants to get --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. We've got to move.

Former Vice President Al Gore, the "alpha male."

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT ALBERT GORE: (From videotape.) By now, the Bush administration may be beginning to realize that national and international cohesion are indeed strategic assets, but it's a lesson long delayed and clearly not uniformly and consistently accepted by senior members of the Cabinet. From the outset, the administration has operated in a manner calculated to please the portion of its base that occupies the far right, at the expense of solidarity among all of us as Americans and solidarity between our country and our allies.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Has Gore now seized not only the guns issue -- he was the first of the pack -- but later, with his Brookings speech, the butter issue?

I ask you, Vaughn.

MR. VERVERS: No. You know, he just sort of pops up and then goes away for a while. I'm not sure he seized a lot. He is taking a gamble. It's probably a gamble worth taking. But down the road, that's going to be a popular --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't see him as the bad-boy Democrat who has suddenly emerged as the one who -- the first one to break out and open it up so that the Edwards and the others can rush in?

MR. KUDLOW: John, I know you want to be his top campaign manager, but it's not going to happen. You know, all attitude, no policy. He's such a hypocrite with respect to his strong support for Clinton in the war four years ago, and now look at him. He may be helped by the left wing of the party, but everyone else, from The Washington Post to the Democratic Leadership Coalition, are finished with Gore.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Let me ask you one quick question, and you can only answer in one word.

Which one of these candidates, by his position, has taken the most extreme gamble? Which one?

MR. KUDLOW: Gephardt.

MR. ORNSTEIN: Gephardt.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think Gore.

MR. VERVERS: Gephardt.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is Gore. (Laughter.)

We'll be right back with predictions.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a mandatory prediction. Who will be the 2004 Democratic nominee for president? One of the foregoing, or someone else?

I ask you, Lawrence.

MR. KUDLOW: I strongly hope it's Al Gore. (Laughs.) He's the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying Al Gore?

MR. KUDLOW: I'm saying Al Gore because the Democrats will commit suicide.


MR. ORNSTEIN: I have not a clue. But keep your eye on Howard Dean, somebody who hasn't been mentioned here, as one who's going to make some waves before he falters.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we've been hearing that and hearing that for several months now. Where's Howard?

MR. ORNSTEIN: Watch the issue of mandatory -- of health insurance for everybody.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got 15 seconds.

MR. BLANKLEY: I believe that Hillary Clinton --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary Clinton!?

MR. BLANKLEY: -- will run in 2004. It's the best year for her to run, and she'd be a real contender.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, this is a serious prediction.

MR. BLANKLEY: I predicted she'd run in the Senate on this show before anyone else.


MR. BLANKLEY: And I'm predicting he'll (sic) run for the presidency.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, my God. He is also psychic and clairvoyant. What should we do?

MR. VERVERS: It's not going to be anybody we're talking about right here. It could be Hillary, but I say keep your eye on Bob Kerrey, former senator frOm Nebraska.


MR. VERVERS: He could make a comeback.

MR. KUDLOW: He's a New Yorker now. He's a New Yorker.

MR. VERVERS: He can come back.

MR. KUDLOW: He's a good man, but he's a New Yorker.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if Al Gore wants it, I don't see how they can deprive him.

MR. ….: Can't stop him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I will say Al Gore because they can't stop him.

MR. KUDLOW: Be terrific for Bush.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he certainly has been the leader here, and he's exhibited -- that quality is not to be underestimated.

MR. KUDLOW: Terrific for Bush.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leadership!


From: "McLaughlin Group"
Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2002 11:53 AM

Please add to 10/18! Thanks


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Born to be Wild.

(Video excerpt of scene from "Wizard of Oz," with singing:
Lions! and Tigers! and Bears! Oh, my! ~Lions! and Tigers! and Bears! Oh,

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, my! is right. Wild, exotic animals --
thousands of them, of many species -- across the United States are kept by
people not trained or not qualified to own them.

Republican Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire and Independent
Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont are co-sponsors of legislation that would
ban the interstate shipment of these exotics, lions, tigers, bears and other
large or dangerous animals that belong in the wild or in an animal preserve
or professionally managed zoo.

Why the concern? Often these animals are poorly fed and trapped
in small cages. A tiger cub can cost as little as $350 to buy, but when
fully grown requires up to $2,000 a month to feed. Wild predators such as
lions, snakes, alligators have escaped from their owners or attacked them or
their children or their neighbors. Untamable pets often carry untreatable
parasites and diseases. Twelve states currently ban private possession of
large, unusual animals. Seven states have partial bans. The Smith-Jeffords
proposal is nationwide in reach. Representative George Miller, Democrat
from California, is offering a companion bill in the House.

Question: From a public-policy standpoint, are exotic animals
really the danger that Smith and Jeffords think?

I ask you, Tony Blankley. And would you remind our audience of
how many peacocks you own?

MR. BLANKLEY: Five. Five peacocks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they in good health?

MR. BLANKLEY: They are in good health.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And how many cats?

MR. BLANKLEY: Eleven. We got two more.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What else about the peacocks?

MR. BLANKLEY: They're in good health, and they're not a threat
to anybody other than the bugs that they eat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When do they molt?

MR. BLANKLEY: They've just finished molting about a month ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When do they get them back?

MR. BLANKLEY: They get them back slowly, so by the end of the
winter, they'll be full ready to fan their tails.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Full plumage?

MR. BLANKLEY: Full plumage. It's beautiful.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your view on the public-policy aspect of
this issue?

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, I understand that Senator cares about
animals, and I do, too -- a lot. I think that we should allow people to
keep exotic animals. I've sometimes thought, you know, that I might want to
put a lion in my tennis court. I have a little girl, so I don't want to do
that. But I think it's a free country; people ought to have the right to
keep animals and be responsible for them.

MR. : Is it a --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When it comes to --

MR. VERVERS: -- clay court or a hard-shoe court?

MR. BLANKLEY: It's a -- regular. It's not clay.

MR. VERVERS: Hard court.

MR. BLANKLEY: I have to resurface it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. When you finish this sidebar
conversation -- (laughter) --

MR. : Any --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. When it comes to endangering
humans, what species of animal does the most endangerment.

MR. VERVERS: I'm just wondering --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What species?

MR. BLANKLEY: Government!

MR. VERVERS: (Inaudible) -- my killer whale?

MR. BLANKLEY: Government!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a serious question. What species of
animal in North America kills the most people each year.

MR. VERVERS: I would say puma.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is -- is it the grizzlies?

MR. VERVERS: I would guess the puma or the lynx.

MR. BLANKLEY: There's so few grizzlies.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is the dog.

MR. : Ah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now which particular breed of dogs does the
most killing?

MR. : Rottweiler.

MR. : Pit bulls.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The pit bull is number one; Rottweiler's number
two. Now obviously, they're not going to --

MR. : Tom DeLay, number three.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're not going to legislate against dogs,

MR. BLANKLEY: You know --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which way would you vote in this legislation?
Quick, one-word answer.

MR. KUDLOW: Anything Jim Jeffords --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no!

MR. KUDLOW: Anything Jeffords if for, I'm against. Make it
real easy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're against.

Yes or no -- how would you vote on it?

MR. VERVERS: I vote yes, but Siegfried and Roy may have a
different point of view.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Yes or no?



Yes or no?

MR. : As long as it contains West Nile
Virus-bearing mosquitos, I'd vote yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Otherwise, no?

MR. : Otherwise, no.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Otherwise, no" is correct.


MR. : Bye-bye. (Chuckles from group.)