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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL

TAPED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF AUGUST 9-10, 2003


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (actor, Republican candidate for California governor): (From a videotape of an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.") When I moved to California in 1968, California was a fantastic place. It was the greatest state of the greatest nation in the world. It was absolutely spectacular. Everyone could come here and have opportunities and come here and really, you know, work and enjoy life here. Now it is totally the opposite. The atmosphere is disastrous.

And what that means, basically, is that the people are doing their job. The people are working hard. The people are paying the taxes. The people are raising the families. But the politicians are not doing their job. The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing.

MR. SCHWARZENEGGER: (From a videotape of a different appearance.) You have businesses leaving here every day. You have people leaving the state every day. We see a budget that is the biggest budget deficit that we've ever had in the history of California. We see our ratings -- the junk bond ratings that we are getting that is disastrous. We see a governor that is being recalled. We see a education system that is last in the country.

MR. SCHWARZENEGGER: (From the videotape of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.") And the man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. (Cheers, applause from the studio audience.) He is failing them terribly. And this is why he needs to be recalled. And this is why I'm going to run for governor of the state of California. (Cheers, applause.)

You all know that Gray Davis can run a dirty campaign better than anyone. But he doesn't know how to run a state. We know that, too. (Applause.)

I know they're going to throw everything at me, and they going to, you know, say that I have no experience and that I'm a womanizer and I'm the terrible -- a terrible guy, and all this kind of thing is going to come my way. But this is why you have a great team together.

Gray Davis was already in Chicago yesterday and sawed off another part of the state to the unions in Chicago, to the special interest. That's what he does consistently. He sells off part of the part of the part of California to special interest. This is why special interest is running this state and not anymore the politicians.

Let the people choose what they want. You know, they have a better representative than what they have now -- that is the key thing. And I want to make sure that I gain their trust and want to let them know that I do not have to bow to any special interest. I have plenty of money. No one can pay me off. Trust me. (Laughter, applause, cheers.) No one. No one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How was Schwarzenegger's political debut, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this was the greatest launch since the Titanic, quite frankly. It was a tremendous job. It could go all the way across the Atlantic, at record speed. It also could hit an iceberg. I think it was a terrific launch. He did it brilliantly, surprised everyone. I mean, Gray Davis must know what it's like now when Caesar turned the corner and saw Brutus with a knife in his hand, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it an Oscar, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, for an action figure, this was "Masterpiece Theatre." And the press -- we are collectively in a swoon. The amount of free publicity this man has gotten would launch virtually anything.

His problem is, however, that while he can detail the problem beautifully, he can't really say what he will do.

But I don't dismiss him at all, because I think he's a bodybuilder, and you have to have extreme discipline to have created the body that he created. There is not a spontaneous bone in this man's body -- (chuckles) -- and he's got seasoned (pros ?). I think he's going to run a pretty sophisticated campaign.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The timing was perfect. The suspense was perfect. The venue was perfect, on a show that a lot of people -- most people watch for their -- even their political news. All of the monologue of Jay Leno is devoted to politics.

What can be improved on this?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I -- it was an ideal launch. Interestingly, former California governor Jerry Brown said late in the week that the Democrats and others who say he doesn't know enough or he's an actor -- he said, "That's what my dad" -- his dad, Pat Brown -- "said about Ronald Reagan." He said it's a mistake; that you don't need to be -- he said it's not brain surgery, being a governor. You have to have leadership, some character and some intelligence. So, I think Arnold's got all of those, and he's got a good shot.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Bush said on Friday Arnold would make a, quote, "good governor." Do you think Arnold is playing the role of the anti-politician, and is it working for him?

MR. O'DONNELL: He's playing the role he's played in movies, which is the comic book character, the Terminator. He's not playing any kind of real candidate yet at all, because he's been, so far, afraid to talk about any issues -- any prescription about what you do about this budget deficit. All he's talked about so far is -- and on his first day, what he said was he wants more books for the children. (Light laughter.) He does not seem to know that part of the budget deficit in California is due to Gray Davis increasing education spending by 37 percent, K through 12. He's so far exhibited nothing but ignorance. He did give a speech on Friday -- the first one where he didn't say "Hasta la vista, Gray Davis" -- in which he talked about his afterschool program that he got through on a ballot initiative, which costs $1/2 billion a year. That's all he's done --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he is very hard, too -- and probably his central point was special interests. He says that Sacramento is being run by special interests and the politicians are not doing their jobs.

MR. O'DONNELL: I want him to name the special interests that he will oppose.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, do you know, that's --

MR. O'DONNELL: Tell us the names of the corporations whose activities, political activities, he will suppress and stop.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why should he? Why would a guy go and make -- (inaudible) --

MR. O'DONNELL: Have him tell us the names of the unions whose paychecks he is opposed to.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.) You're the press!

MR. O'DONNELL: Tell us who the special interests are.

MR. BUCHANAN: You are -- but you -- you are a hectoring member of the press corps -- (laughter) -- and what he's going to do is backhand you. He should not get specific. He should stay general. The only thing this country knows about California is some guy named Gray is being recalled, and the Terminator is after him and the barbarians at the gates --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. I don't know --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I don't know that he can get away with being vague --

MR. BUCHANAN: Sixty days! Sixty days! (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: His position on the environment -- "I'll fight for it; don't worry about it"; his wife, who's a celebrity in her own right, isn't giving any interviews.

MR. BUCHANAN: She's smart!

MS. CLIFT: Arnold doesn't say where he stands on any issues.

MR. BUCHANAN: So what!

MS. CLIFT: So what?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's going to win by doing that! (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are those who say --

MS. CLIFT: This is fifth-largest economy in the world! (Laughs, laughter.) And I think you have to say -- indicate a little bit what you're going to do, unless we just elect people based on their Q rating.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The argument is he doesn't have the experience. However, experience is not needed. Experience now equates with the swindling that's going on in Sacramento. That's the first point to be made.

The second point to be made is that he should -- the opposition, whoever that is, should get into as many debates as possible. That's the last thing in the world he should do; correct?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Yeah. Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What he should do is what? He should march around California --

MS. CLIFT: In a Speedo!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- relentlessly and explain to people what he wants to do face to face.

MR. O'DONNELL: Right.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (To Mr. O'Donnell.) No debates, as you permitted with Moynihan against Bernadette Castro, and in so doing, Moynihan's points went down.

MR. O'DONNELL: Daniel Patrick Moynihan debated in every -- in every campaign of his, he debated at least once with candidates who didn't have a chance.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But in so doing, he lost points, and Castro gained.

MR. O'DONNELL: (Inaudible.) He won with two-thirds of the vote.

MR. BLANKLEY: John, look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, at the end. But at that particular interval, he lost points.

MR. BLANKLEY: There's an argument for political experience, undoubtedly. Right now in California is the weakest moment for people to make that argument, because all the experienced people, men and women, starting with the governor, have made a hash of the matter.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.

MR. BLANKLEY: So this is the best possible time to be arguing for let's get a little common --

MR. BUCHANAN: You know, Tony --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Experience is vastly overrated as a political commodity. That was true with Ronald Reagan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right. But Tony --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They said he didn't have experience --

MS. CLIFT: The inexperience argument, I think, falls flat. And I think Schwarzenegger has come along at the perfect political moment, because Gray Davis is a parody of today's politics. He is a money- raising, special-interest-pandering --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Keep it up! (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: -- political figure.

MR. BLANKLEY: I love having --

(Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Well, it's true. He doesn't have very many friends. He has --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Apparently Bustamante and you.

MS. CLIFT: He's tactical governor who inspires nobody.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, John, look. Schwarzenegger is a businessman. He's made tens of millions of dollars.

MR. O'DONNELL: With a very big bankruptcy in his past. This will be asked about if he goes into --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's a successful actor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was that?

MR. O'DONNELL: A whole restaurant chain in that.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got charisma. He can communicate. I mean, what do you need? You can get a bunch of hacks up there in Sacramento to tell you how to deal with the various members of the legislature.

MR. O'DONNELL: He doesn't -- no, you don't need experience.

MR. BUCHANAN: Did Reagan -- what did Reagan have?

MR. O'DONNELL: But what you do need is the most -- you need the most minimal vocabulary of government, which Ronald Reagan did have. Ronald Reagan knew what Medicaid was. He knew what Medicare was. Arnold on day one says he wants to improve health care for the elderly, not knowing that Medicare is a federal program.

MR. BUCHANAN: Did you see the Leno appearance?

(Cross talk.)

MR. BLANKLEY: You know, it's -- I've got to say it's just wonderful to hear Eleanor badmouth Gray Davis and Lawrence to say nice things about Ronald Reagan. And it shows you what's happening in politics.

MR. O'DONNELL: Only compared to Schwarzenegger. ONLY compared to Schwarzenegger. A better actor than Schwarzenegger, a better politician than Schwarzenegger.

MR. BLANKLEY: The Democrats must have turned on Gray Davis. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's only one way that anybody can defeat Schwarzenegger, and that's by making him a caricature of himself --

MS. CLIFT: He can defeat himself.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- by portraying him as over the top, by portraying him as goofy, as has happened in the past with people --

MS. CLIFT: He could defeat himself.

MR. O'DONNELL: Which he's done a perfect job of in his first 48 hours.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: George W. Bush tried to portray Perot as goofy. If you can succeed in doing that, you might win.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right. Perot, you're exactly right. Perot started off -- I mean, when I was in California, he was at 40 percent, beating Bush. Clinton was getting one state, Arkansas. And this thing can go down.

But the thing is, he's only got 60 days to hold it. That's all, as long as he needs to hold it.

MS. CLIFT: And the Democrats have bailed on Gray Davis. And Davis can't run against this as a right-wing coup, although that's how it started out, because Schwarzenegger, on a scale of 1 to 10, is probably 6 or 7 as a liberal, which is why Lawrence and I say some nice things about him --

MR. BUCHANAN: And Bustamante got in and stabbed Davis in the back. All the Democrats turned on him, after pledging fealty.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's see if we can say something nice about this fellow.

Issa's tears.

MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA): (From videotape.) I will continue, with my wife's support, to fund the effort to recall Gray Davis. And when it's over, we will return to Congress to support President Bush's efforts for Middle East peace. (Sniffs.) I know that comes as a surprise to many, but this was never about higher office. It was about higher obligation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did you think of that swan song, Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I know the congressman a little bit, not well, and he's a very sincere guy. He's of Syrian extraction. He's been very much engaged in Middle East issues and -- doesn't surprise me a bit that his passion is showing.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, come on!

MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: And --

MS. CLIFT: He's a second-term congressman who has made --

MR. BLANKLEY: What's wrong with second-term congressmen?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let --

MS. CLIFT: Let me finish. Who has --

MR. BLANKLEY: He's got connections in the Middle East. He's been making efforts on his own to be helpful.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish, Eleanor. Quickly!

MR. BLANKLEY: And the idea that you giggle at him because he cries in public and because he's only a second-term congressman --

MS. CLIFT: I'm not giggling at the crying.

MR. O'DONNELL: I am. I'm laughing at the crying.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- how many terms do they have to be before you take them seriously?

MS. CLIFT: I am giggling at the fact that he is dropping out because of "higher obligations." He's dropping out because the polls show he can't win!

MR. BLANKLEY: That's not -- he didn't deny that.

MS. CLIFT: And he's probably crying because he's just dumped $1.7 million.

MR. BLANKLEY: He didn't deny that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that this is a -- is the crying a permanent disfigurement, as it was with Edmund Muskie? Do you remember when he was standing in the snow and he spoke about his beloved wife and he burst into tears?

MR. BUCHANAN: And he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then it was said -- I guess he said, I think it was, "The snow was in my eyes." Well, people never forgot that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I think this guy has now succeeded in destroying his political career. True or false?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're wrong. I'll -- let me tell you why you're wrong. And Ed Muskie did it in front of the Manchester Union Leader because Bill Loeb had hammered him, and it killed him in the New Hampshire primary.

This guy is a hero. This guy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who? Issa?

MR. BUCHANAN: Issa's a hero because he is the lone guy responsible for going out there, getting this democratic grass-roots movement going and taking down Gray Davis. He did a great job.

MR. O'DONNELL: And he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it's going to help his political career?

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, he's --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Exit question. Will Arnold Schwarzenegger be the next governor of California? Do not dodge, and do not condition your response.

I ask you.

MR. BUCHANAN: Perhaps. (Laughter.) No, if I had to bet today, I'd say yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Look, you ought to know, right? You ran for the presidency. You headed up your own party, the Reform Party. Right?

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is your sincere calculation? You know what lies ahead. Every --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's like -- I'll tell you what he's like. He's like a horse who has about a 30-length lead, but you know that he's a sprinter, and you know he can lose that lead. And he's going to be attacked from the right and from Bustamante and the Democrats and by the media. The Lawrence O'Donnells will be all over him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he smart -- we know he's tough enough to handle the --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's tough enough. He took --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he smart enough?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I think he is. I think he's smart.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Eleanor, what have you got?

MS. CLIFT: I think he's got a hell of a head start on everybody else. And if you put a gun to my head, I'll say yes --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say yes? You got a gun to your head, Tony. Careful now, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: I try to avoid --

(Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know the way -- you know your way --

MR. BLANKLEY: I'm slippery, right. Yeah. (Laughter.)

Look, it's his to lose. We'll know -- in two weeks, we'll know whether he's got the political skills to take advantage of the opportunity he has. In two weeks from now, if he's still looking good, if he's taken the blows and handled them properly, I'd say certainly. At this point, I'd say it's his to lose.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Larry?

MR. O'DONNELL: I'm reluctant to predict now. (Laughter.) But if I must, if I must, I believe Schwarzenegger's numbers peak this weekend. They can only go down from here. Every time he opens his mouth about government, they must go down. And I would like to be able to revise and extend my remarks in September on this matter. (Laughter.) But I believe he will not be California's next governor.

MR. BUCHANAN: He will not?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think he's astute enough to stay away from the fine print. I think he's also astute enough to play the role of the anti-politician to the hilt, and that's exactly the way this recall vote is going to go. It's going to be an "anybody but Davis" vote. You know that.

MR. BUCHANAN: No --

MR. O'DONNELL: No. Right now Davis has 42 percent of the vote. That's the big ignored number in California. He's got a bigger number, double the number of anybody else in the race.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's going to have --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.) (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: No --

MR. O'DONNELL: All he needs to -- and there's 7 percent undecided. He needs to get himself up to 50, and he wins this thing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To the people who have voted -- I mean, who participated in the poll, even though that Bustamante is in the race?

MR. BUCHANAN: But why would people go --

MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah, Bustamante -- he polls one notch higher than Arnold. Arnold is not in a sure thing here.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay, but look. Bustamante and all these guys -- everybody that goes out -- everybody wants change. That's what I think kills Davis. Now, if you want Arnold, if you want Simon, if you want Bustamante, you've got to take Gray out.

MR. O'DONNELL: There's huge outrage in California over this recall. There's huge embarrassment over it. If Hillary Clinton gets out there, if she hugs Gray Davis, if she works really hard, as hard as she can to keep him in office, she will not only solidify her position as the most important Democrat --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. (Laughs.)

MR. O'DONNELL: -- she will go a long way toward her future campaign --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you believe that, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, Hillary Clinton is going to revise and extend her strategy in September, I believe! (Laughter.) She's not going to hug a sinking ship! (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: All the others have abandoned him! (Laughs.)

MR. O'DONNELL: She can save him, and if she does, she is the hero.

MS. CLIFT: I don't know. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that if they can distort and contort Schwarzenegger into being a caricature of what he -- the roles he plays and so forth, and the people come to believe that that's all there is and that's not enough to run the government, he's a goner.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But I --

MR. BLANKLEY: No.

MR. O'DONNELL: He's the one who can't stop saying "Hasta la vista, Gray Davis." He's doing it.

MR. BUCHANAN: But you know, look at -- remember Reagan; "Bedtime With Bonzo"? They had the monkey in there with Reagan -- he overcame it. He laughed it off.

MR. O'DONNELL: He didn't do lines from "Bedtime With Bonzo." He did no lines from -- (inaudible).

MR. BUCHANAN: He laughed it off!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was also governor of California.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: But that was before he was governor. He laughed it off.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, before?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

MS. CLIFT: You know, the polls show that the number one fans for Schwarzenegger movies are 19-year-old Hispanics and men, and if he can get those people to vote, he can --

MR. BLANKLEY: Which raises an interesting question --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!

MR. BLANKLEY: All of the polls are based on a typical turnout. Who knows who's going to turn out for this election?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: Exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. BLANKLEY: You could get a younger people turning out, who are not being calculated.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's been overlooked by O'Donnell --

MS. CLIFT: That's why the "Hasta la vista" works!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's been overlooked by O'Donnell in his review of the situation is the political structure of the electorate of California. You have Democrats, you've got Republicans, you've got independents and you've got ticket-splitters. The ticket-splitters have practically vanished, have they not? And the independents have now settled one way or the other, whether they're liberal or conservative on this issue. And I think most of your independents are against Davis. So, that moves them over into the Republican column.

MR. O'DONNELL: Today. There's been no campaign. There's been no campaign in defense of Davis. Arianna Huffington's going to run the most interesting campaign. She's going to try to link Schwarzenegger to the Bush policies, to the Bush energy policies.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who is going to -- who is going to pay any attention to Arianna?!

MR. O'DONNELL: If she can actually get it focused --

MR. BUCHANAN: Are you kidding?

MR. O'DONNELL: No. If she can get it focused -- she's not going to win, but if she can focus --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's already missed --

MR. O'DONNELL: If she can get this focused that way, Schwarzenegger's in trouble.

MR. BUCHANAN: Nobody can understand her and she's talking about SUVs?!

MR. O'DONNELL: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not only that, but she tried to anticipate what she thought was a refusal to run. She miscalculated that in her basic strategy.

MR. BUCHANAN: He blew her out!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's disappeared!

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly!

MR. O'DONNELL: If she can get her message linking Schwarzenegger to the Bush administration policies, both --

MR. BLANKLEY: I'm not going to --

(Cross talk.)

MR. O'DONNELL: -- (inaudible) -- tough in California.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Unless her former --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.) (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony!

MR. BLANKLEY: Unless her former husband gives her $30 million to spend --

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly!

MR. BLANKLEY: -- no one's going to hear what she has to say, or care.

MR. O'DONNELL: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, Schwarzenegger has co-opted the accent. (Laughter.)

MR. O'DONNELL: That's a problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with: Is Indonesia the new al Qaeda background -- battleground.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Jakarta terror. An American luxury hotel in downtown Jakarta, Indonesia, the five-star J.W. Marriott, popular with American and foreign guests, was torn apart this week by a massive car bomb that left some 10 dead, 150 wounded, and of those 150, at least two Americans. Who was the terrorist?

M.J. GOHEL (terrorism expert): (From videotape.) There is no doubt whatsoever that this is the work of Jemaah Islamiyah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jemaah Islamiyah also hit in Bali, Indonesia, last October when two nightclubs were car-bombed with a deadly aftermath of 202 people killed, 88 Australians. Jemaah Islamiyah operatives are on trial for that bombing. One was sentenced to death this week. His name is Amrozi. And when he got the death sentence after having been found guilty, what was his reaction? All smiles, thumbs up -- the face of our al Qaeda enemy.

J.I. is tied to al Qaeda. Its leaders train in al Qaeda camps. And al Qaeda's Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, now in U.S. custody, says that J.I. receives most of its money from al Qaeda. Indonesian police say they found documents in a J.I. house last month that showed a planned attack on the J.W. Marriott. The U.S. ambassador, however, says he was told nothing before the Marriott bombing.

Question: Will Indonesia be the next battleground against al Qaeda?

Eleanor Clift?

MS. CLIFT: It already is. And, actually, I think the administration should look on it sort of like Afghanistan. Indonesia has a large army of its own. We don't need to send in forces, but we can provide air cover and special forces on the ground. And it seems to me there's plenty to root out in Indonesia.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is the perfect refuge for the evil terrorists. Take a look at this map. It's three times bigger than Texas. Look at the way that's spread out, all the way over there to -- up to Borneo. There are 230 million Muslims in Indonesia. It's beautiful terrain.

Are you worried about this, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's the fourth largest -- most populous country in the world, I believe, John. I'm not only worried about that, Tony has been writing about the Philippines, you a look at Pakistan -- all of these countries have police and military who are in collusion with some of these al Qaeda people. There's an enormous Muslim population, tremendous poverty. I think they're all real problems.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, it's a real problem. We tried to get in a little bit. Megawati Sukarnoputri, the president there, is kind of conflicted as to whether she wants to support our efforts as much as we think she should.

While this group is related to al Qaeda, they have sort of a separate mission. They want to have a pan-Asian, Muslim nation, or whatever it is. And so, it's -- yeah, it's a problem. It's going to stay there. They're connected with local bandits who we don't want to get into a fight with every local bandit. It's a hard one to analyze, and it's going to be a hard one to fight, but we're going to have to do it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Megawati, by the way, on Friday appeared to move away from that position. Now she's saying this requires help from everybody; this is a global problem.

MR. BLANKLEY: She's been going back and forth, and I don't blame her, for the pressures that she's under.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, she's not -- the government is not particularly strong, which is another natural habitat for the terrorists.

Right, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the female presidents of Indonesia and of the Philippines, neither of whom has the kind of power that, frankly, their dictator predecessors had.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, most of those Muslims that I mentioned are not extremists. Does that make it any less important?

MR. O'DONNELL: But there's spiritual sympathy, though. That's the problem.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yup. Yup.

MR. O'DONNELL: It's kind of like the sympathy the IRA had with the Irish, even though it wasn't direct support. And so this can, quite literally, go on forever, for practical purposes. There's no interventionist strategy that the United States could effectively execute in Indonesia. Indonesia, 10 years from now, may be a completely isolated community, in effect, with no Marriotts and no American interests there at all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: His point is extremely well taken.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The spiritual sentiment towards a strong Muslim religion, fundamentalist in nature --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's like Mao --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- doesn't involve, necessarily, the extremism of the terrorists, but it is a sentiment that creates a natural condition --

MR. BUCHANAN: John? Now I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and a hospitable climate for the terrorists --

MR. BUCHANAN: As John said, it's -- as you said, look, as Mao said, this is the sea in which these fish can swim. It's a comfortable sea for them, John, and that's what it's all about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.

Predictions.

Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Even if Kobe Bryant gets off, which I doubt, he'll be sued for $20 million and lose.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift?

MS. CLIFT: Bush is busy wrapping himself in the mantle of Catholicism, but he won't relax his attitudes about going to war. He'll never please the Vatican on that one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley?

MR. BLANKLEY: By September, Senator Kerry's campaign will be in crisis mode.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: "Seabiscuit" will be nominated for best picture.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bernie Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom, will be indicted on the felony charge of securities fraud.

Bye-bye.

PBS SEGMENT

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Kobe boosts NBA?

MARK CUBAN (owner, Dallas Mavericks): (From videotape.) People love train-wreck TV. And you hate to admit that that's the facts, but that's reality today. And so people will be intrigued. People will come out just for that reason.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The train-wreck TV that Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is talking about, is the developing Kobe Bryant drama. Cuban claimed this week that the Bryant publicity will bring more spectators to watch the NBA, thus enriching commercial gain.

But after the negative fallout, Cuban tempered his words: "I'm not saying it's a positive reflection of who we are as a country, it's just reality. It sells papers. It increases TV ratings. The NBA will benefit from that."

NBA commissioner David Stern quickly separated the NBA from Cuban's views: "Any suggestion that there will be some economic or promotional benefit to the NBA arising from the charge pending against Kobe Bryant is both misinformed and unseemly. The idea does not reflect the views of the NBA, NBA owners generally, or others associated with our sport."

Besides Bryant, the NBA has had a string of recent problems. Jerry Stackhouse, a guard with the Washington Wizards, was charged with assault. Sacramento Kings forward Chris Webber pled guilty to criminal intent. Damon Stoudamire, a Portland Trailblazers guard, was accused of transporting marijuana through an airport. And further back, there was the notoriety of Latrell Sprewell, Allen Iverson and Dennis Rodman.

Question: Is Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban right; namely, that the NBA benefits by one of its players being accused of rape?

Lawrence O'Donnell?

MR. O'DONNELL: He's right in the short run. It will sell out wherever Kobe goes before the trial playing the game. Very, very wrong in the long run. We are not going to be bringing our children to Lakers' games in the future. These are not the people that we want our kids to admire. My nine-year-old daughter will not be going to Lakers' games to watch --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Even as things stand now?

MR. O'DONNELL: Even as things stand now. They are losing the presumption of innocence, based on that report that you just had there, which is the tip of the iceberg of criminal behavior among those guys.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Cuban should be -- should pay a voluntary penalty for his mouth?

MR. BUCHANAN: No. No.

MR. O'DONNELL: No.

MS. CLIFT: He's exactly right.

MR. O'DONNELL: He was right, but he's a dot.com billionaire who's a wise guy, so he says things.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, do you think he was salivating a little too much about how much he stands to gain from someone else's misfortune?

(Cross talk.)

MR. O'DONNELL: He's an NBA owner. He was -- (inaudible) --

MS. CLIFT: He was explaining reality.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's unfair.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean it's not fair?

MR. BUCHANAN: The question to him was, "What is the economic impact going to be?," and he said, "This is tragic, awful; but I can tell you this: more people are going to watch the games." He was exactly right. More people are watching cable TV because we're dealing with this.

MS. CLIFT: Well, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: A rape trial gets a lot of publicity; publicity generates ratings and boosts attendance. Some of those people may come to heckle Kobe Bryant, but a lot of them will come to watch him play. You know, I wish that people weren't taking their kids to these games in protest. But there's been a long string of this, and I don't think attendance is down.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of this?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I hope that Lawrence is completely correct. I know that there is a racial division as far as who thinks he's innocent or not. I don't know whether that will affect attendance at all. But I suspect that -- I'm so hopeful that Lawrence is right.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think Lawrence is right.

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