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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,
ELEANOR CLIFT, AND JAMES WARREN

TAPED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 18-19, 2003



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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: "troubling and serious." That's how the Bush administration described the U.N. inspection team's discovery of 12 empty chemical warheads in an Iraqi storage area this week. The warheads, says the White House, had not been declared by Iraq in its 12,000-page weapons declaration, as required by the U.N. Troubling. yes. Serious, yes. But serious enough to constitute a casus belli?

Here's how the Saudi foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal, described a breach that could in his mind trigger military action, in a recent interview in Riyadh. Quote: "If there is proof that Iraq is hiding nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that can be used and delivered, that is a major material breach," unquote; meaning the kind that is required to go to war.

Question: Is the Saudi definition of a triggering breach a good one? And does this week's discovery of empty warheads meet the definition?

Michael Barone.

MR. BARONE: No, John. I think it's a transparent attempt to raise the threshold required to find a material breach. You know, we've got to remember that under the United Nations Resolution 1441, the burden of proof is not on the inspectors or the United States and its allies to prove that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. The burden of proof is on Iraq to demonstrate that it does not have weapons of mass destruction, that it has gotten rid of the weapons of mass destruction that it indubitably had and that everyone agrees in all the U.N. resolutions that it had. Iraq has not provided it. Those canisters are one, but not the only, example of material breach so far, and I suspect there will be others along the way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, politically, it's the first piece of evidence that the administration can seize on to sort of spin that maybe it's a smoking gun. But frankly, Iraq is littered with the remnants of chemical and biological warfare, some of which the U.S. government in the past has supplied them. So, coming up with the remnants of these programs, it seems to me, is really small-bore stuff. Unless they uncover a smallpox laboratory or some sort of a nuclear-weapons cache or program that's underway, I think this is not reason for war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that comports with the definition of the Saudi foreign minister that there be actually some poison gas or some chemical or some nuclear warhead --

MS. CLIFT: Well, and it's that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- but these are empty shells.

MS. CLIFT: Right. It's that kind of evidence that the U.N. would like and that our allies would like. And short of that, the administration's going to have a very difficult time convincing our allies that this is reason to invade.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: See, the Saudi foreign minister's weighing the consequences of war, which he feels would set Iraq back a decade, at least, and destroy a good part of the nation. You have to weigh that consequence over the nature of the material breach, and the nature of the material breach has to be very serious, in his mind. Do you share that view?

MR. BLANKLEY: No. I mean, Michael's right that the Resolution 1441 established what the breach would be.

Now you're talking about the political consequences of whether our government can bring sufficient national support to bear to go to war. I think they can. I think that this discovery of these missiles -- these empty chemical warheads was the first discovery following on the British and American intelligence helping Blix. I believe there will be more, and I believe that, not surprisingly, it'll build up to the point where, as Powell said on Friday, there will be conclusive evidence. And I think this is nicely orchestrated and it will result in war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the Security Council, if it had to vote on what we know now was contained in that find, was found, that there is enough there to constitute a breach of sufficient intensity, importance and consequence to warrant the Security Council to say yes, military action is justified?

MR. WARREN: First of all, I don't know how the mainstream media missed word of your successful hernia surgery this past week.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Chuckles.)

MR. WARREN: Congratulations. We're glad to have you back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you very much.

MR. WARREN: I think the answer is, right now, no. I think ultimately the U.N. Security Council will fold. I actually do think there will be a second vote and, even if there is not overwhelming evidence, that nevertheless, for different reasons, they will support the U.S.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Last-ditch effort. Assume a major breach and assume a U.N. Security Council authorization of military force. What then?

The Saudi foreign minister says this: Quote -- and I don't think I'm committing news here, but I may be -- "Even if a decision of material breach on that dimension is agreed to, we believe that there should be a time given for efforts by the Arab countries to resolve the dispute." What he means is a last-ditch effort, going Saddam (sic), Arab delegation, meeting with him and trying to get the matter resolved politically before going to war.

Question: Is that an acceptable idea? I ask you, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I think the Arab governments, and particularly, the Saudis, are under great pressure to show that they've done everything to avoid war. And they've now gone to the U.N. to get a resolution that would give all but the top 100 Iraqi officials amnesty in the hope of prompting a coup. And there's going to be some sort of meeting in Turkey, I think next week, where the Muslims governments are going to try to figure out inducements to get Saddam to leave power. But it's very hard to imagine him voluntarily giving up power, because there's no place he could go without risk of being assassinated by either Iraqis, Iranians, the Mossad or the CIA.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me -- yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold off for one minute. I want to confirm a report that's been released that there is an effort going on by the Saudis, with the Egyptians and the Turks, to secure a nonviolent resolution to the impasse, which could be translated as a coup; by reaching out to the elite in Baghdad to join in an effort through amnesty -- motivated through amnesty and the good life -- to work to that end of removing Saddam.

(Cross talk.)

MR. WARREN: If your investigative insight is correct, that is rather fascinating; I mean, the mere fact that the Saudis clearly sense weakness -- real weakness -- on the part of Saddam Hussein. At the same time, there is a tremendous peril for them of looking too pro-American. There's a history there of the periphery attacking the center --

MR. BLANKLEY: Well --

MR. WARREN: -- namely, the Saudi monarchy. You may have got to watch out. And finally, the unintended consequences of war. We talk a whole lot about, oh, oil prices going up. But what about if there's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which -- they're out to $35 a barrel.

MR. WARREN: -- what about -- what about if there is successful war, we have some George Washington-type goes into Iraq, we modernize the oil fields and production goes from current $2 billion -- million barrels a day to $5 billion barrels a day. The world price goes down, and OPEC and Saudi Arabia are in real trouble.

MR. BARONE: Okay, wait a minute.

MR. BLANKLEY: Okay, well --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The oil wells in Texas may have to shut down. Tony?

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right!

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me take James' point further, because he was on the right track. The Saudis have never supported coups in the area; they're very cautious. The fact that they're now supporting it indicated decisively they believe that Saddam is a goner, and they believe Saddam is a goner because they think that George Bush is going to get rid of him.

MR. BARONE: Yeah.

MR. BLANKLEY: So this is the significance of this coup information.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But I would also add to that, Michael, before you respond, that the Saudis in this, and the Egyptians, particularly, and the Turks, particularly, are cooperating with American -- with U.S. operatives on the scene.

MR. BARONE: Well, they say they're cooperating with U.S. operatives on the scene, John. I think there is a danger here in a coup that you just exchange one local tyrant for another; that's how Saddam was before 1978, and a replacement of that sort. I think one problem here is that it is not in the Saudis' interest to have a peaceful, democratic and tolerant Iraq. That would set a terrible precedent, from the point of view of the Saudis, because their country is the opposite of peaceful and democratic and tolerant, and their legitimacy, as Jim pointed out, is at risk, as it always should be for a tyrannical, totalitarian regime of that sort.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, your --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but that's evidence that they would support a coup, because you're unlikely to get a peaceful, democratic Iraq as a result of a coup.

MR. BARONE: Yes, my point exactly. We do not want just a Saudi- installed, corrupt, intolerant dictator in there. We want a peaceful, democratic Iraq. And I think our chances of that are probably better through a war if the American government and our allies follow that up with the -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, your habitual misjudgments of the Saudis are not only galling, but they are also so ill-informed.

Exit question: Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah told me that he has an intuition -- this is the crown prince -- that war will not happen. He said it is a strong intuition and an abiding feeling but somewhat inexplicable. What are the odds that he is right?

Michael Barone.

MR. BARONE: I wouldn't put my chips on the same color on the casino tables of Monte Carlo as Crown Prince Abdullah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think there will be?

MR. BARONE: Ninety percent -- nine-to-one wrong.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. George Bush can't run for reelection in 2004 with Saddam Hussein still in power, and I think he thinks the only way to get rid of him is through war. I think the odds are in favor of war because our president has too much of his own prestige on the line.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there too much laid on now for him to pull back?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, there's not. It's close, but not. I think that there's some chance -- if the coup reaches deep enough and then is followed by an American occupation or a -- you know, a U.N.-type occupation that really transforms the government, I'd make that maybe a 15 or 20 percent chance.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. WARREN: The odds that your new apparent best-friend's intuition is correct is probably the same as in picking a Super Bowl winner. I'd say one out of four.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I wouldn't say that he's my best friend, but I would say that I believe that George Bush -- the president's judgment that he is a good partner is a good judgment. As for whether or not he's a good predictor, I have said habitually on this program, early on, that there would not be a war. And that's my opinion right now.

When we come back: Will Joe Lieberman's religion help, hinder or have no impact on his winning the Democratic nomination in 2004?

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Keeping the faith.

SENATOR JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT): (From videotape.) I am ready to announce today that I am a candidate for president of the United States in 2004. (Cheers, applause.) And I intend to win!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senator Joseph Lieberman has taken his place in the starting lineup for the White House in 2004. The third-term Democrat from Connecticut wears bold centrist stripes and the yarmulke of a devout Orthodox Jew.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: (From videotape.) You know, I'm not running on my faith -- or faith, but the fact is that my faith is at the center of who I am, and I'm not going to, you know, conceal that. But I'll not hesitate to talk about faith when it's relevant or to invoke God's name when it comes naturally out of me, because I think that's -- you know, that's what America's about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Will Joe Lieberman's open embrace of religion help, hurt or have no impact if he wins the Democratic nomination in 2004? I ask you, Tony Blankley.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, there are two elements to this. Increasingly these days, I think there's a division amongst voters between those who respect politicians of faith and those who are not. In that sense, I think that Joe Lieberman appeals to a lot of Christians who are practicing, and they appreciate another man of faith. That helps him.

The other side of it -- and it's uncalculable -- is whether -- you know, what degree of anti-Semitism is left. But I would point out that when he was nominated for vice president, there was a lot of talk about whether the anti-Semitism might be a factor, and there wasn't much talk after the election. There wasn't a lot of evidence in precincts that might been bellwethers of that.

So I -- you know, while you can't completely discount the persistence of anti-Semitism, I think that probably it's a net plus for him, because of his spiritual values that people tend to admire.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Louis Bolce and Gerald De Maio of Baruch College of CUNY? What do you think of their treatise on this that was -- appeared in Public Interest, I think in November. Public Interest is a book of --

MR. BARONE: Quarterly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A quarterly. This is what they said: "There is very little animosity against Jews from religious groups, but a lot of animosity by secularists against Christian fundamentalists."

They also point out, on this interesting subject, that faith and its lack is now a better predictor of voting behavior than class, ideology, income or age. Lieberman may be able to take back -- this is me speaking now -- Lieberman may be able to take back some of the faith-based vote from the GOP.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, that's -- but that was my point. That was my opening point: that the division is less between a particular religion and another, and between those who are people of religion --

MR. BARONE: Strong faith.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- strong faith, and that that has an appeal today, and it should have an appeal.

MR. BARONE: John, I think there's a -- I think that his strong religious faith will probably be an asset for Joe Lieberman in a general election setting, which is what you posited.

I think it could be a liability in the Democratic primary, because there's large numbers of Americans who like to hear politicians talk about their faith; there's a large number of Americans who find that off-putting and threatening to them. The Democratic primaries have got a lot more of that latter group, and this is going to rasp -- sound like rasping fingernails on a blackboard to some Democratic voters.

MS. CLIFT: I think it helps for a politician to be able to talk comfortably and easily about faith. A lot of people respect that. And it may help him in the general election.

But getting through the Democratic primaries -- the most memorable line from his announcement speech is that he wouldn't hesitate to tell his friends when they're -- tell friends when they're wrong and his opponents when they're right. This is a Democrat who's going to go through Democratic partisan primaries basically praising Republicans a lot of the time? I think, you know, he's a different kind of Democrat. He's really more of a Republican, and that's going to be a problem --

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. I mean, the Democratic -- yeah, the Democratic --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me give you a little bit more of Bolce and De Maio.

MR. BARONE: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is what they say: "The quantum change in American politics between 1972 and now has been a religious polarization between the parties, with more secularists, agnostics, atheists and the irreligious voting Democratic and more practicing Catholics, fundamentalists and active Protestants voting GOP.

MR. BARONE: Well, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (To Mr. Warren.) Now you live in Chicago. That's a wonderfully luxurious -- ethnically luxurious population. What are you finding there?

MR. WARREN: I think there's something there. And if you want to see sort of a permutation of that, since you're throwing around highbrow articles here, check out the January-February, I think it is, or February-March Atlantic Monthly, a piece by the Washington Post's Tom Edsall, which says that the big dividing line in coming years will be, generally speaking, issues of morality. It's sort of of a piece with that.

But I want to say that anecdotally, I find in talking to people in the Midwest that non-Jews seem to be more comfortable with expressions of faith, like those of Lieberman, than Jews. I've run into a fair number of Jews who are rather antsy with the insertion of religion into politics.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Democrats?

MR. WARREN: But of all sorts --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's --

MS. CLIFT: Well, it's --

MR. WARREN: And finally, let me say, the point that Eleanor made about the presidential election, Lieberman, remember was the number two guy. Nobody votes for vice president. I don't think that's an indicator. If he ran for president and was the nominee, I think anti- Semitism would impact him negatively.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does de Tocqueville come into this at all? Serious question.

MR. WARREN: Well, Tocqueville --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In other words, are the Democrats getting a little chancy by appearing so secularist and beyond that, so atheistic, agnostic, irreligious?

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. BARONE: Well, it's, you know, we had an election in 2000 where we had that. And as I pointed out in my "Almanac of American Politics" introduction 2002, which is written before the Public Interest article appeared --

MR. BLANKLEY: What page? (Laughter.)

MR. BARONE: -- religion is very important, and the two groups are roughly equally balanced, as we saw in that election results.

MS. CLIFT: Well, wait a second!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.

MR. BARONE: So, there is a problem, I think, for Democrats in some cases to get back some of their historical backers, who were people of strong faith but find the attitude of many Democrats to be off-putting --

MS. CLIFT: As I was --

(Cross talk.)

MR. BARONE: Well, yeah, okay, and Jim is right, too. There is an antsiness on the part of many Jewish-Americans about a display of faith in Judaism as somehow, will it inspire anti-Semitism? My gut instinct is that it will not in any significant amount.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BARONE: But I think that you -- when you look back at the history of the Jewish people, there are reasons for an exquisite sensitivity to the possibility of anti-Semitism, even in the most favorable settings.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, you craft the 2000 election as though it's the godless versus the god people. As I recall, Al Gore is every bit as church-going as his opponent, who's in the White House.

MR. BARONE: Well, and referred to his religion.

MS. CLIFT: And Bill Clinton made a lot out of the Baptist religion's forgiveness. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, can we --

MR. BARONE: He needed it.

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

MR. BARONE: Bill Clinton believes in a forgiving God, and he keeps him pretty busy.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If I can speak for the group here, I think we agree that Joe Lieberman's religious faith is probably going to be more of a plus than it is of a minus. You disagree?

MR. WARREN: Disagree.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do? Does anyone else disagree?

(Cross talk.)

MR. WARREN: In a general.

MR. BARONE: General election, a plus. In the primaries, a minus.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I mean --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's interesting. A good distinction, yes?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, I mean, but the anti-Semitism factor at the presidential level has never been tested. And you may be right; maybe it's bigger than we --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know you've got Bolce and De Maio saying it doesn't seem to appear.

(Cross talk.)

Issue three: Going soft?

GOV. GEORGE RYAN (R-IL): (From videotape.) Because the Illinois death penalty system is arbitrary and capricious, and therefore, immoral, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. (Applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Illinois Governor George Ryan's final act in office was to commute all of the death sentences of all 167 inmates on Illinois' death row. Instead of execution, the convicted murderers face life in prison without parole. Twelve executions have taken place in Illinois since 1977, the year the death penalty was reinstated. Over the same 25 years, 13 death row prisoners were exonerated; either found to be innocent, or whose convictions were flawed.

Advocates of the death penalty are outraged by Ryan's action. The 167 spared are among the nation's worst: Cop killers, child killers, rapist-murderers. All this bad seed has been given another chance to kill again, death penalty advocates believe.

DIANNE CLEMENTS (President, Justice for All): (From videotape.) An innocent will die because of Governor Ryan's decision to throw out the entire process to promote his legacy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What makes Ryan's commutation surprising is that the ex-governor is a Republican. The GOP is typically the party that is tough on crime. Candidates win or lose on the death penalty issue. Governor Mike Dukakis lost in '88 against Bush, Sr. due to Dukakis' opposition to capital punishment. Likewise, New York Governor Mario Cuomo lost to George Pataki in '94.

Do you have any thoughts on that introduction?

MR. WARREN: It was not empirical. In fact, since 1977, when the death penalty was reinstituted in Illinois, you do have 12 people who were executed, but it's now 17 people -- not exonerated -- you have 17 people who have been let off Death Row either because clearly, unequivocally they were innocent or because there clearly was such great prosecutorial misconduct.

That said, are you going to have -- is there going to be some great change nationally because of what I think was George Ryan's very courageous and, I think, intellectually honest decision?

MR. BLANKLEY: Repulsive.

MR. WARREN: I don't --

MR. BLANKLEY: It was repulsive.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

MR. WARREN: I don't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. WARREN: I don't think there will be much. There is a disquiet out there, a growing disquiet about the death penalty, but nevertheless --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's move.

MR. WARREN: -- politically, there's more advantage to be for it than against it. Even the Illinois legislature's not (moving ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Thank you or the treatise.

We're almost out of time, but let's go around with that question. Is this the beginning of the end for the death penalty? Yes or No? And I'm going to turn to you on my left, and then I'm going to go to Eleanor. This is the exit question.

MR. BLANKLEY; No, it's not the end. Depending on the polls, between 60 and 70 percent of the public still favors the death penalty. There's no chance in the world that that number's going to slip below 50 percent any time soon.

Ryan's decision, by the way, was repulsive. He let known, proven, absolutely factually certain multiple murderers off, and that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's not they're off. They're committed to life in imprisonment without parole.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, from being executed. From being executed. It was a repulsive decision on his part.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the American people don't like the way the death penalty is applied because they think it's applied unfairly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: quickly.

MS. CLIFT: -- and innocent people are dying. For every eight people --

MR. BLANKLEY: Innocent people are not dying.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: For every eight people --

MR. BLANKLEY: No innocent person has ever been executed.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. For every eight people executed since 1976, when the Supreme Court made the death penalty legal --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're going back (to this ?).

MS. CLIFT; -- one has been exonerated. So innocent people have died, and --

MR. BLANKLEY: No one's been executed. No one has been executed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it the beginning of the end of --

MR. BARONE: No, it is not. And George Ryan was acting in part to get good liberal press because he's in danger of indictment for his activities as secretary of state.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I commend Ryan for following his conscience, but I think it will probably lead to some people getting killed through crime. But it's not the beginning of the end of the death penalty.

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Michael.

MR. BARONE: The Supreme Court will rule the University of Michigan's racial quotas and preferences violate the Fourth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the side of George Bush.

MR. BARONE: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: They'll also uphold diversity as something of legitimate government interest --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: -- and say race can continue to be used.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that a -- that's a prediction.

MS. CLIFT: That's a prediction.

MR. BLANKLEY: Okay. When the president goes to Congress soon to get a special spending bill, it will be a Christmas tree. There will be many spending bills attached, and at the end of the year there will be over $300 billion in deficit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: James.

MR. WARREN: Though some hope, Carol Moseley-Braun's surprise announcement that she's going to run for the presidency is not going to impact the candidacy of Al Sharpton much. And Tennessee wins the Super Bowl.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that democracy will bloom in the desert. I'm committing news here. Currently, Saudi Arabia permits no election. It is ruled by a monarch with a council of ministers and a 90-member consultative council, which is a legislative body, with all members both appointed by the king. A public process for determining the logistics for elections to the 90 members of the consultative council will begin within weeks, and with elections possibly before the end of the year.

Next week, a midterm report card on George W. Bush, who celebrates then the halfway point of his first term.

Bye-bye.

END OF REGULAR SEGMENT PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS

MORE

PBS SEGMENT

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Shaken, not stirred.

PIERCE BROSNAN (lead actor in the film "Die Another Day"): (From videotape.) My friends call me James Bond.

(Additional footage of the film airs over the following comments.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's British intelligence agent James Bond. His new enemies are not Goldfinger, Pussy Galore, Jaws, Odd Job, Ernst Stavro Blofeld or the current General Zao. This time around, 007's enemies are both the North Koreans and the South Koreans.

After a brutal war and decades of gunpoint estrangement, North and South Korea are now bonded in their hatred and condemnation of James Bond. North Korean leader and cineaste Kim Jong Il despises the movie, and his North Korean news agency doesn't hold back. "The film is a dirty and cursed burlesque aimed to slander and insult the Korean nation."

South Koreans also thumbed-down the film. A scene from the movie shows a farmer plowing his fields with oxen. Oxen? South Korea, one of the world's largest economies, has half of its homes wired for broadband media access.

Also patently falsified is the opening scene, with 007 surfing his way to Korea across the Sea of Japan, where, of course, there are no surfing waves.

In the South, many object to the film not only on cultural but also political grounds, in the real world hoping for unity with the reclusive North, as does this university student. "I don't want to see a movie where North Korea is depicted as a menace to peace on the Korean peninsula and the United States is depicted as a hero that resolves the crisis. It's really getting old."

Question: What does the Korean reaction to this film tell you, James Warren?

MR. WARREN: And those clips are so long, we don't have to go see the movie now. Thanks for saving us eight bucks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see the movie?

MR. WARREN: No, I haven't. I think, on one level, what it shows you -- I do believe this -- a lot of Koreans, especially in the South, do have a certain chip on their shoulder. They're hypersensitive to criticism. Many of them are still upset that President Bush, at the first summit with the then-outgoing leader, Kim Dae Jung, called him "that man" -- something we don't even remember.

On another level, a more serious level, I think they are very nervous that their brothers and cousins in the North are going to be demonized, and that could lead to something bad.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think, for the conservatives who fear that the Bush administration is appeasing the North Koreans, when the Bush administration starts shipping that fuel oil, as they inevitably will, they ought to just include lots of cassette videos of this movie. (Laughter.) That's -- then you'll have the carrot and the stick.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. If they're so advanced in the South, why can't they distinguish between campy jokes and social realism?

MR. BARONE: Well, it's a different culture, John, and I think that, you know, fact is that Korea does probably -- South Korea does not get recognition in the world as it probably should for the strong economy and civil culture and the democracy that they've achieved.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you disapproving of this, what's called entertainment?

MR. BARONE: No --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think you ought to lighten up, like the North Koreans should?

MR. BARONE: No, I'm just trying to see this accurately, John.

But part of what you presented there was a little disturbing to me, and I think that feeling of the student that says it's really old to say that North Koreans are bad -- the conservatives are not demonizing the North Korean people. #### END