THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT AND MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN
TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 22-23, 2003
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Istanbul Atrocities.
U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) Great Britain, America and other free nations are united today in our grief and united in our determination to fight and defeat this evil, wherever it is found.
(Footage of the Istanbul bomb blasts and their aftermath is shown in the following sequence.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suicide car bombers rocked British targets in Istanbul this week. Shortly before 11 a.m., two car bombs exploded in separate crowded downtown districts, the first outside the high-rise headquarters of a London-based bank, the second five minutes later outside of the British consulate. Chaos broke out around both buildings, as dazed and bloodied survivors ran for safety, avoiding shrapnel and scattered debris.
Twenty-seven dead, including Britain's highest-ranking diplomat in Istanbul. Four hundred and fifty wounded.
The timing of the attacks could not have been more pointed,
coming in the middle of President Bush's state visit to Britain. Prime Minister Blair rejected assertions that the President's trip spurred the attacks.
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR: (From videotape.) What has caused the terrorist attack today in Turkey is not the president of the United States, is not the alliance between America and Britain. What is responsible for that terrorist attack is terrorism, are the terrorists.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thursday's attacks in Istanbul were the second this week. Similar twin car-bomb attacks last Saturday devastated two of the city's synagogues. Twenty-five dead, hundreds wounded.
Al Qaeda and a Turkish militant Islamic group claimed joint
responsibility for both sets of attacks, as Turkish leaders tried to regroup.
TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER ABDULLAH GUL: (From videotape.)
Unfortunately, again, we lost so many innocent people, but we will continue to fight against terrorism.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The death toll for Thursday's attack is now 30.
Question: What is the most disturbing aspect of these attacks, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: The lethality, the coordination and the timing, when the president was visiting Great Britain. The message -- there is methodology in this madness, John. They're going after the Jews. They're going after every ally of the Americans in the Middle East -- the Turks, the Saudis and the Iraqis and the Kurds. They're going after the aid workers, the U.N. and the Red Cross, to drive them out. And they're killing Americans one by one or in larger numbers, in choppers, to break down the home front in the United States. It is a coordinated strategy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The capacity for advance planning, surveillance, the actual operation, and perfectly timed to when the president was in Great Britain.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right. Someone there -- some has an overview
that's being imposed upon this whole strategy. It is a strategy of war to drive the Americans out of the Middle East and to dump down all of their friends and allies in the region.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So al Qaeda has quite a bit of power left,
MS. CLIFT: Well, al Qaeda has never operated in Turkey before, and the fact that they are now making alliances with sympathetic organizations on the ground shows that they know how to think strategically and that the war is widening. And for the president and for the prime minister to deny that this is payback for the invasion of Iraq is to deny the obvious. The war is widening, and Bush and
Blair have to take some responsibility for that. And chaos and instability in that region is a much more vicious enemy of U.S. interests than Saddam Hussein ever was.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this mean that al Qaeda no longer has the ability to strike within the United States?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, it doesn't mean that. Look. We are now in the tenth year; 1993 was the first al Qaeda attack, World Trade Center. They've gone to Saudi Arabia, they've gone to Africa, they've gone to Indonesia. They have worldwide capacity, clearly. This is not related to the election of George Bush, because the election of George Bush was 2000, and the first attack was in 1993.
But there's no doubt that we have not effectively yet, and won't, probably, for many years, be able to stop them from committing terrorism. And they are replicating, and they're getting affiliated organizations around the world. And this is, unfortunately, going to be business as usual until we finally successfully end the plague, which is probably a generation or more away.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that the al Qaeda's ability to
strike in the United States has been crippled by the Patriot Act, also by the vigilance of the CIA overseas, also by the cooperation of foreign intelligence services?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think the three elements that you have just brought up have helped to limit their ability; I don't think it has eliminated their ability. I mean, we are involved in something that nobody has ever found a way to cope with, and this is people who are willing to die in the efforts to try and kill innocent civilians. In open societies, and even in relatively closed societies, like Turkey, I mean, it's impossible to defend against that. You have to get them before they get us. And we haven't figured out exactly how to do that. It's been going on for a long time. It's going to go on for a longer time. You have a level of fanaticism, of Islamic fanaticism that we have never had -- nobody's ever been able to cope with that before. Nobody's ever had to cope with anything like that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The strategy, Eleanor, is that they want to
isolate the United States. They've isolated us to the extent that the NSOs (sic) have moved out -- the NGOs, nongovernmental organizations, the Red Cross and so forth. And now they want to isolate us further by driving out the allies, because the Turks are in there with us, or
they're thinking about going in there. They did it with the Italians.
MS. CLIFT: The invasion of Iraq served as a recruiting tool for these people, and now they're methodically going after the allies of the United States to raise the cost for being an ally with the U.S., so that the coalition partners began to rethink whether they really want to stand by us.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Eleanor --
MS. CLIFT: And they'll all say, "We're not going to bow to" --
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor is exactly right.
MS. CLIFT: They'll all say, "We're not going to bow to
terrorism, but in the end, they will bow. And the Italians --
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor is exactly right. We threw --
MS. CLIFT: -- the Red Cross, the U.N., everybody is pulling out.
MR. BUCHANAN: When that invasion began, I think we threw a
firebrand right into the powder magazine of the Middle East, and you exploded this whole thing. And now what's happening is al Qaeda has sympathizers, Arab nationalists, Islamic fundamentalists. The Americans are in there fighting. And I think that they're basing a lot of their support on the tremendous hatred of the United States and
opposition and desire to throw us out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Iraq update. A car bomb hit the Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk this week. Five Iraqis killed. The target: the offices of a pro-American Kurdish group, The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, whose president, Jalal Talabani, holds the rotating presidency of the Iraqi Governing Council appointed by the U.S.
Question: What's the strategy behind the bombing of the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan offices? I ask you, Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, they have been, obviously, more supportive of the Americans over some years now, and they are not part of the Sunni component, so, obviously, they're another target of many.
I just want to go back quickly to this argument that Pat was
making that somehow us going into Iraq -- and what Eleanor said -- has caused the recruitment. The recruitments have been going on for years. And the question is, what are we going to do about it? And no one suggested anything other than say go back to prior to Iraq. Well, we had the problem 10 years prior to Iraq.
MS. CLIFT: The Iraq --
MR. BLANKLEY: What's your proposal?
MS. CLIFT: The Iraq war is a diversion to fighting the war on
terrorism. If Bush had gone after --
MR. BLANKLEY: What -- what --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me!
MR. BLANKLEY: What is your theory of fighting terrorism?
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. Excuse me.
MR. BLANKLEY: If you don't like the Iraq war, what --
MS. CLIFT: Would you let me speak?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: If he'd gone after the Taliban, fine. They were
harboring Osama bin Laden. Remember him? And if they had fought the war on terrorism with intelligence and police work, not headline-making. But invading another country, a Muslim country, inflames this to the point where it cannot be contained.
MR. BLANKLEY: Intelligence and police work are what Clinton
tried for seven years, and it didn't work.
MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know -- but I think Eleanor is exactly -- look, we've got 400, 500 Americans dead, 2,000 wounded in combat, 6,000 or 8,000 -- an endless war over there. My judgment, the invasion of Iraq has been proven to be unnecessary and a grave mistake for this country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard of Operation Iron Hammer?
MR. BUCHANAN: I have heard of it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the effectiveness of the Operation Iron Hammer, and what is it?
MR. BUCHANAN: This is what we talked about last week. The
American strategy is going to be this: turn over power to the Iraqis, get them into the military, get them into the police, and use about 100,000 American troops as the hammer to keep fighting that war right through the election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five hundred pound bombs.
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, yeah, 500-pound bombs, and they're using
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Blowing up --
MS. CLIFT: That mimics what we did in Vietnam -- you blow up the village to save it. You go into residential areas where there are suspected counter-insurgents, and what the problem is is that you kill a lot of civilians and you broaden the anger and the hatred against the U.S. occupation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: What are the attacks in Turkey meant to show the world, particularly the Muslim world?
MR. BUCHANAN: This is what allies of the United States get and will continue to get.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: And that the Muslim world can fight back
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: They're right. But what they're doing is slowly creating a coalition of the victims. And eventually, Turkey, the United States, Italy, Indonesia, the Philippines, when it's France's turn, France, will become an effective coalition that will eventually defeat it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree. I think we are at the beginnings of an effective coalition against it because they're all going to be threatened. We are the most threatened. But I think we are just at the beginning of a very long-term war, and we're going to have a lot of allies in this thing; certainly covert allies are going to be there, and Turkey is going to be one of them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it's unwinnable.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know if it's unwinnable.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Think about it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It may -- it may be unwinnable.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're not going to beat us. They're not going to beat the United States. They may drive us out of that part of the world.
MS. CLIFT: Terrorism tactics --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, traditional military means of suppressing what Mort was describing are not working.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree, but we are --
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, we're going to be driven out of the Middle East, just like the Brits were and the French were and the Russians were and the Israelis were out of Lebanon.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What this is meant to show is that Tony Blair has paid a price for his support of President Bush.
When we come back: Gay marriage has erupted as a 2004
presidential issue. Who should fear it the more, Democrats or Republicans?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Texan on the Thames.
In Britain this week, President Bush got the United Kingdom's ultra-royal treatment: a regal greeting from the Prince of Wales at Heathrow, three overnights at Buckingham Palace, a sumptuous banquet with her Royal Highness.
But the visit was not all pomp and circumstance. At Whitehall, the president once again defended going to war in Iraq.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) Let us never forget, beyond Europe's borders, in a world where oppression and violence are very real, liberation is still a moral goal, and freedom and security still need defenders. (Applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Outside, on the streets of London, the Brits were being less proper, less polite. One hundred thousand antiwar protesters marched. An effigy of Bush was toppled in Trafalgar Square.
The security for the president was unprecedented on British soil. Bush's U.S. armored limousine took him from the back of Buckingham to the front, only 100 yards, when attending the Queen's royal welcome. Protecting his every step: U.S. sharpshooters, Secret Service, thousands of British bobbies, most of Scotland Yard. Wire, concrete barriers, closed streets kept the protesters away. "Welcome To Fortress Britain" was the headline of one London daily.
Yet despite the extreme measures, one undercover reporter managed to get inside Buckingham Palace, causing red faces in Scotland Yard and wicked glee in the British tabloids. In fact, the imposter was inside the palace when the president arrived.
And one British citizen scaled Buckingham's gates to unfurl an upside-down American flag. Who was this person? A 61-year-old grandmother.
Question: Did the London trip deliver on the expectations the White House had when it was planned? I ask you, Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I think it did, actually. I mean, their expectations were lower than I think they would have been three or four months ago, but I think it worked very well.
And I'll tell you the other thing. Again, Bush's low -- or the low expectations of Bush served him well, because I think his speech went over much better than anybody expected, and it got a much better reception, both in England and in Europe, than anybody expected.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This was supposed to a victory lap. Instead of that, it was like walking a gantlet, Mort. Didn't you see that? (Soft laughter.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I did see that. But --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They expected this to be against a background of calm, when reconstruction in Iraq was going at full pace, instead of Bechtel being pulled out. Did you know about that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, you're actually wrong. This was planned in 2002, before the war. It was a victory lap for Afghanistan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, this was their expectation, nevertheless, when it was planned.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, they had high expectations --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was the afterglow of success.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Instead of that, he's being pulled down in
(Cross talk.) I want to ask you this, Pat. If that's what the Brits, our dearest allies, think of George Bush --
MR. BLANKLEY: That's not what the question is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- just a moment -- what the protesters think, 100,000 --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, the protesters think --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, come on --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, the protesters --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Sixty-three percent of the Brits still support the United States.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And I'll tell you -- (laughs) -- another thing. The good news is, they knew how to adapt.
MS. CLIFT: You know --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, those protesters were Reds, Greens, Trots and Eurotrash. They only had about 50,000 of them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Uh-uh, uh-uh, uh, Pat --
MR. BUCHANAN: I do admire the choreography, though. Pulling down that statue impresses me --
MS. CLIFT: Well, I'm sorry. You cannot argue that the British public is wild about this war.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, but --
MS. CLIFT: This war is detested. This war is detested in every country on this planet.
MR. BUCHANAN: The demonstrators were very few in number.
MR. BLANKLEY: The Manchester --
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor, we used to have 500,000 of them outside Nixon's White House, one month after another.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat --
MR. BLANKLEY: Wait, let me --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you can do it as soon as I disabuse Pat of an erroneous fact that he's parading out as true.
Factoid: You said 50,000; no one's going with 50,000 now. That number has climbed to 150,000. The ones who conducted this are saying 200,000. Reuters and the AP are both saying 110,000.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, they prepared for months. This is all they can get?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what?!
MR. BUCHANAN: That is nothing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what?
MR. BLANKLEY Let me --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If they think -- just let me finish.
MR. BUCHANAN: A rock concert will get more than that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If in Great Britain, our vaunted, close ally, this kind of a response the president gets, can you imagine what other countries think of our esteemed president?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, let me say Eleanor is right --
MR. BLANKLEY: Wait a minute.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him in here. Let him in here. Let him in here.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor is right --
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- the magic word.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor is right to this extent. There is an
alienation going on in Britain --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. BUCHANAN: -- about the Americans that's very -- much broader and deeper. But this demonstration, I think, is not --
MS. CLIFT: It's not about the Americans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Tony in. Let Tony in.
MR. BLANKLEY: All of you are anti-war, and you all got your
message. Let me get my little two seconds in here. The Manchester Guardian, the most liberal major newspaper in Britain, ran a poll for the day before the president arrived; and a plurality of Brits support the war, and 63 percent think well of the United States. Now, those
numbers aren't as good as I'd like them, but they're so much better than is being characterized in the American media. And by the 100,000 people who straggled onto the street out of 50 million Britons --
MS. CLIFT: To call those protestors stragglers is again to deny reality. This war is not popular. And the British public --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.
MS. CLIFT: -- the British public stands with the world against the president's policy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Enough pomp and circumstance. Let's move on.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: More people rioted for soccer games, for goodness sakes.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit.
MS. CLIFT: Dream on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Multiple choice. Use only the exact letter
designation A through G. Question: Is the public-opinion boost for George Bush from this visit: A, colossal; B, huge; C, major; D, moderate; E, minor; F, tiny; G, invisible?
Pat Buchanan, and don't screw up.
MR. BUCHANAN: Between F and G. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Between minor and tiny.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, tiny and invisible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's -- F and G, okay, you're right. Right.
MS. CLIFT: I'm going to return the compliment. Pat is right. Between F and G, right.
MR. BLANKLEY: In the United States, below G. But --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Below G?
MR. BLANKLEY: Below G. But in Britain, I would say between D and F. I think there was an uptick. You saw man-in-the-street opinion and editorials were much more balanced after the visit than before.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it was a moderate uptick even here. I mean, there was a lot of good press about his speech, and I think there wasn't any great negative incident. I think it was okay.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is "minor."
Issue three: My big, fat gay wedding. (Song played from "My Fair Lady": I'm getting married in the morning, ding-dong, the bells are gonna chime; pull out the stopper, let's have a whopper, but get me to the church on time!)
SANDY RIOS (Concerned Women for America): (From videotape.)
This will galvanize. In fact, we are already seeing unity like we've never seen before.
REP. MARILYN MUSGRAVE (R-CO): (From videotape.) There's a
clear and present danger to marriage in our country today because of what four judges in Massachusetts did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Conservatives around the country are on "red alert." Gay marriage. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled this week that gay couples may not be denied the right to marry. This ruling grants gays broader rights than same-sex couples in any other state. In a 4-3 Massachusetts majority opinion, the judges wrote that the state constitution, quote, "forbids the creation of second-class citizens," unquote.
Marriage confers certain rights not held by other same-sex
partners, including the right to file a joint federal tax return, inherit property, get dependent health care coverage, make decisions for a partner who is gravely ill or make decisions for a couple's
The ruling has ignited a firestorm of controversy and projected the issue into the forefront of American politics. Some are calling it the cultural issue of the year.
Question: Will this become the wedge issue of 2004, Pat
Buchanan? And would you define what a wedge issue is.
MR. BUCHANAN: A wedge issue is something that peels off -- it splits your base and splits your opposition right in half. And this certainly does that right to the Democratic Party. We're going to have -- because of this Massachusetts decision, you're going to have referenda on ballots, you're going to have defense of marriage acts at the local level. You're going to have a revision of the Defense of Marriage Act at the national level. You may have a constitutional amendment. And all those film you showed up there, John, of all those gay couples, they're going to be put on ads by independent expenditures, and the bottom line is going to say, "This is Howard Dean's America."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Republicans could overplay this, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: You don't want to get into gay-bashing. And the president should probably stay above it and look for some kind of legislated solution. But below the presidential level, they're going to destroy the Democratic Party on this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is about a second or third tier issue? The people are interested in the economy, they're interested in Iraq.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Yeah. And if Republicans try to run on this, there could be a backlash.
But look, Howard Dean got handed a court decision, just like the legislature and the governor have gotten handed a court decision in Massachusetts. And every court in this country is eventually going to rule this way because you cannot deny constitutional rights to committed, same-sex partners. And the Supreme Court cleared the way for that earlier this year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question for Tony. Question for Tony.
In a close election, Tony, a wedge issue can have a
disproportionate and controlling impact -- true or false? -- and this could be the one to do it?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, definitely. Look, the turnout of
conservative Christians in the electorate ranges between 13 and 15 or 16 percent. If it's 13 percent, Republicans tend to lose close elections. If it's at 15 or 16 percent, they tend to win them. And this could very well get it to 17 or 18 percent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know how abortion was handled. You can
skirt it, right? "I'm personally opposed to it" -- let's say; this is a standard offering -- "however, we must obey the law." How would you skirt this issue if you were a politician, Mort, and you're a man of a number of distinctions. By the way, are you making any money?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: On what? (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anything. Anything. You flew down in the
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm not worried about tonight's meal, but I thank you for your consideration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. How would you -- how would you handle this, if you were a politician and you knew it was too hot to handle?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, I'd see if there's a way to duck and run, which is the obvious way that politicians handle it. I don't have an easy way to duck.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll give you a suggestion: I believe this
should be left up to the states.
MS. CLIFT: Absolutely. And that is a Howard Dean --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that a perfect argument? Why not? Why not?
MR. BUCHANAN: But where do you stand on this law? They'll ask you, where do you stand on the decision, where do you -
MS. CLIFT: The Howard -- the Howard --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't like this law. I think it should be left up to the states. Keep the feds out of it. That's the way you handle it.
MS. CLIFT: The Howard Dean position leaves it up to the states and calls it civil unions, civil marriages, if you will, and leaves marriage and the sacrament up to the churches and the synagogues --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, let me -- let me --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is not going to satisfy the gays.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me answer the question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They want the semantics as well as --
MS. CLIFT: Well, they'll get more probably, eventually. But not in this election cycle.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't they deserve it? Don't they deserve it? Isn't it discrimination? Aren't the four judges right?
What do you think?
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me answer your question, John --
MS. CLIFT: I think they would be satisfied with equal rights when it comes to insurance and medical rights and all of that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to ask you a question. It's the exit question. Will the Republican party succeed in using gay marriage as a wedge issue next year, yes or no?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. I think it's been handed to them; they're going to use it. Your alternative won't work because the people who care about it won't take that as an answer.
They'll want a commitment to a constitutional amendment, opposition to civil union. And correspondingly, gay and lesbian activists are not going to accept some equivocation from their politicians --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm shutting you all out. I just want to hear from Tony.
Don't you think that the likelihood is that the Republicans will overplay their hand? Yes or no?
MR. BLANKLEY: There's always a good likelihood.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that a likelihood now?
MR. BLANKLEY: There always is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There always is.
MS. CLIFT: And you're never going to get a constitutional
amendment to ban gay marriage to go through the Congress.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Never. I agree with that.
MR. BUCHANAN: But John, in the presidential debates, it will come right out of the box, the first or second question: "Do you believe homosexuals have a right to get married? Would you legislate to prevent that?" People are going to have to answer the question.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leave it up to the states.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Within 10 years, will Iraq be split up into a Sunni section, a Kurd section and a Shi'a section, a la Bosnia, et cetera?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. It'll be run by a hard-line military man.
MS. CLIFT: It'll resemble -- more like Lebanon, with a
government rigged to represent the different groups.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No.
The answer is yes. Bye-bye!
END OF REGULAR SEGMENT
PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Cloned Turkey.
LESTER CRAWFORD (principal deputy commissioner, the Food and Drug Administration): (From videotape.) There is no evidence that there's any risk from consuming food produced by cloned animals.
(Footage of turkeys.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's hear that again. It's okay to eat the meat of a cloned turkey. FDA Deputy Commissioner Crawford seems to think so. So does a recent FDA report. Quote: "Food products from clones are as safe to eat as food from their non-clone counterparts," unquote.
Notwithstanding this assertion, the FDA has asked potential
producers of cloned foods to keep their products off the market, voluntarily, until further studies are done.
Question: Given that cloning an animal costs about $20,000, how are they likely to end up on the Thanksgiving dinner table? I ask you, Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I'm not in the business of cloning --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you eat cloned turkey?
MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, yes, surely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What would --
MR. BLANKLEY: We've been eating cloned food for years. There's cloned wheat, cloned corn. The --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it require special basting?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, basting is key. Basting and keeping the
moisture level in the white part of the turkey is key to a good Thanksgiving turkey. And I think you have to baste every 10 minutes. If you're just going to stick it in and forget it, then, whether it's cloned or not, it's not worth eating.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I really thank you for sharing that with us.
MS. CLIFT: Well, you know, Tony's basting aside, the thought of eating a cloned turkey, to me, is very unappetizing. And is there a problem with reproducing turkeys the regular way? I mean, why don't they --
MR. BLANKLEY: (Inaudible) -- fly, you know --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're talking about -- no, the idea is, you sire a herd. Let's take it in the instance of beef. If you have a perfectly marbled piece of beef, and it came from a particular animal, and you can find another animal like it and then clone that animal, and that animal can sire a herd, and then you can keep it going indefinitely and get that perfect beef, that's the idea.
Now what you're talking about is the yuck factor.
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You just can't contemplate eating a piece -- how could that be overcome?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose, for example -- suppose, for example, if we got celebrities to eat cloned beef, would that change the whole picture, then she wouldn't --
MR. BUCHANAN: Dennis Kozlowski might have it at that party of his, John, or something like that. But you're right, what you get is you get some famous individual to have something like this.
But I agree with Eleanor. People -- there's something off-
putting about this idea, and they should not put it on the market or turkey sales will go down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about sending it to the European Union? They won't even accept genetically modified food.
MR. BUCHANAN: France -- why don't we sell some to France?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or secretly smuggle it in as real, uncloned
MR. BLANKLEY: I don't understand why -- what's so appealing
about the conventional way of producing turkeys.
MS. CLIFT: Well, it's appealing to the turkeys, I think!
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, but not to us. I mean, cloning is, if
anything, neater, from our point of view.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose we got you, Mort, as --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah -- (inaudible) -- Darwinian natural selection. That's how come we're all here! (Laughs.).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're a celebrity. Suppose we get Mort to
actually eat some cloned beef. Don't you think people would change their mind?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. I think that people would begin to eat fish and chicken immediately.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you wouldn't do it. But how about Ozzy Osbourne?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no, no. Look, this is something that is so new to our whole way of looking at food that it's bound to have resistance. But over time, I think it's going to erode and it's not going to become a major issue.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but joking aside, we really don't know the
health impact. Cloned animals don't do all that well. They have short lives and various problems.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should the Congress enact a law against eating cloned meat?
MR. BLANKLEY: No.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
MS. CLIFT: They ought to do a study --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They should not?
MR. BUCHANAN: Leave it to the FDA.
MS. CLIFT: They should do a study and see what the study says. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: Leave it to the FDA.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, the Libertarians prevailed on the program.
MR. BUCHANAN: Okay.