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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

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

TAPED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 27-28, 2003


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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(Music: "Entry of the Gladiators.")

ANNOUNCER: It's the 22nd annual McLaughlin Group Year End Awards,
2003. Here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Biggest Winner of 2003, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 8.2 percent growth. He
captures Saddam. It's got to be George W. Bush, John.

Sorry, Eleanor. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Pat, your invitation to the White House Christmas party is
in the mail! (Laughter.)

I give it to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was catapulted into
politics through the recall election. He could have never won a
traditional election. And who knows where he goes next?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: The Iraqi people. After 5,000 years, they have their
best chance at liberty and self-government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: I agree with Tony's. And I would add Howard Dean, who
was an incredible winner in the year 2003, which is not to say he'll be
a winner in 2004.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Biggest Winner of 2003. The envelope, please, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh. (Passes the envelope to Mr. McLaughlin.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: You're welcome.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Holds envelope alongside his forehead.) The Johnny
Carson shtick -- remember that?

MR. BUCHANAN: I remember Carnac --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was the best.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- Carnac the Magnificent. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wasn't he the best? Huh?

There's a little more of it.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Biggest Winner. Here we go. (Opens envelope.) The
Biggest Winner of 2003: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Right on, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Right. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The California recall made history, and the
Terminator beat out 134 other candidates and made the rare leap from Hollywood
to politics.

Okay. Biggest Loser, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I would say Saddam Hussein, with Uday and Qusay as
runners-up.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I got to agree with Pat. Saddam Hussein -- from the
palace to the pit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, the only choice -- Saddam.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: It's going to be unanimous. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, it's not.

The Biggest Loser of 2003: NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, which, besides losing seven astronauts in the $2 billion
Columbia space shuttle tragic disaster last February, also has lost its
vision and purpose, hampered by a flawed bureaucracy and obsolete
spacecraft.

Okay. Best Politician, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Howard Dean. Came from nobody to probable nominee of
the Democratic Party in 2004.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I'll second that, but I'll add Maria Shriver, a Kennedy by
birth, who was far more aggressive in promoting her Republican husband,
even lobbied the Democratic legislature to back his tax program -- no
tax program, I should say.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated.

Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: This is unanimous -- Howard Dean. There's just no
question. He's taken an improbable candidate and candidacy to the edge of
success.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there is still a question, Tony. (Soft
chuckling.)

MR. BLANKLEY: That's why he's at the edge.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: Eleanor's right. It is Maria Shriver. She got him
through the campaign. She got him through those accusations about women.
He would not have survived the campaign without her. And now he cannot
govern without her. She's the one who brokered the deal with the
legislature on the budget.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're close, but no cigar.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Best Politician of 2003: Hillary Clinton.
Between her best-selling book, her presidential bid tease, her junkets to
combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, she's kept her name in front of the
nation without losing sight of basic constituent services, like
"Hillary, where's my Social Security check for November?" (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: She'll be on "One on One" next, John. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Worst Politician, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I hate to pour water on a drowning man, but Governor
Gray Davis has got to take the award. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're close.

MS. CLIFT: That's my choice as well. I mean, he took the rap for a
deficit he didn't create, that Enron created, and, you know, went out
with nobody liking him, not even hard-core Democrats.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: John Kerry, who started out as the chosen front-runner
by the entire pundit class and managed to turn that into now what,
third, fourth place and stumbling towards utter defeat in New Hampshire.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not over yet.

MR. BLANKLEY: It is for him. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Howard Dean's the front-runner, but that doesn't mean
he's necessarily the winner, does it?

MR. O'DONNELL: That's right. And John Kerry did not get recalled.
I'm afraid getting recalled wins you automatically this category every
year. (Laughter.) Worst Politician: the very gray Gray Davis.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're in the right church but the wrong pew. The
Worst Politician: Arianna Huffington -- (laughter) -- one of the 134
challengers that Arnold beat in the California election. She tried to run
a feminist rage campaign against the Terminator. It bombed. Arianna,
stick to your forte; you're a strong columnist but no politician.

Okay. The Most Defining Political Moment, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I've got to say Saddam Hussein looking like something
who'd been picked up off a grate in Northwest Washington and hauled into
the Mitch Snyder homeless center. (Soft chuckling.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: He should be so lucky!

The May 1st "mission accomplished" photo op, which set the frame for
the criticism of President Bush on the Iraq war, since more Americans
have died after he declared major combat was over than before.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I take a little different definition for
Political -- Most Defining Political Moment, as opposed to a photo op --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is that definition?

MR. BLANKLEY: It's a moment when an important political reality has
crystallized and become apparent. And I choose, assuming that's the
right definition, to be the moment when the prescription drug bill passed
Congress, because it -- for discerning eyes -- (laughter) -- it showed
the moment --

MR. BUCHANAN: He is invited to the Christmas party! (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: -- when the remnants of the Democratic Party lost
control of power inside the Beltway. AARP, almost 300 interest groups
related to health care, traditional Democratic allies, all decided to do
business with the Republicans for the first time. Huge event, although
not noticed by less discerning eyes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but they have lost the seniors in the preceding
two or three elections. There's no news there.

What do you think about this crystallization?

MR. BLANKLEY: Discerning eyes would notice that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you into crystal?

MR. O'DONNELL: The most garbled piece of legislation to pass the
Congress in the last 30 years. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unadministratable.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.

MR. O'DONNELL: The -- that defining Political Moment was the pulling
down of Saddam's statue in Baghdad when the troops took over the city.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The -- actually, the Most Defining Political Moment
was the leaked Rumsfeld memo. It shows that despite his cocky public
appearance of absolute faith in the Iraq war policy, privately the
Defense secretary is as doubt-ridden about Iraq as Howard Dean. He doesn't
know whether we're winning or losing the war on terrorism, or making
more enemies than we defeat. So says his leaked memo, Pat.

Okay. Turncoat of the Year.

MR. BUCHANAN: The "axis of weasels," with Dominique de Villepin
accepting the award for Jacques Chirac and Herr Schroeder. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I'm a little closer to home. (Laughter.) Zell Miller --

MR. BUCHANAN: I thought so.

MS. CLIFT: -- who's nominally a Democrat, is going to head up
Democrats for Bush, and trashes Democrats every chance he gets.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Pat's right. The French government, which stands
second only to the Petain government of 1940-45 -- (laughter) -- in staining
the honor of the great French people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't hold back, Tony. (Laughter.)

Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: The Turncoat of the Year was the guy who led the
troops to Saddam's little hole in the ground.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Turncoat of the Year: Al Gore. His endorsement
of Dean pulled the rug out from under the Democratic establishment just
as it was trying so hard to isolate Dean.

Okay. Most Boring, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Lieberman trophy, John, this is. (Laughter.) This
goes this year to Governor Gray Davis, again. (Chuckles.) He's a
two-time award winner tonight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I'm giving it to White House press secretary Mark
McClellan, who never makes news, and of course the president loves it. Boring
is beautiful at this White House when it comes to making news.

MR. BLANKLEY: You mean Scott?

MS. CLIFT: Scott McClellan.

MR. BLANKLEY: He's so boring you forgot his name! (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Mark McClellan is the FDA commissioner, his brother.
Sorry. (Chuckles.) Right. Scott.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, do you think that he's more boring than Ari
(Fleischer)?

MS. CLIFT: Yes. Actually, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MS. CLIFT: Yes. Ari occasionally would get off a one-liner or would
let a little news slip. Scott McClellan never lets anything slip.
It's trying to get blood out of a stone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: In this one, Pat's right. It's Gray Davis, whose
parents had prescience in naming him Gray. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: You know, it's hard to win this away from Al Gore in
any year where he makes a public appearance, but I think Joe Lieberman
has done it. It's the most boring campaign.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're all close, but actually the Most Boring
is arms inspector David Kay -- (laughter) -- sifting through 20 million
pieces of paper written in Arabic and determined to tell us about them
all and how Saddam certainly intended to have a program for WMD, even
if he had no actual WMD, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Okay. Most Charismatic, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: "Ah-nold."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Ah-nold."

MR. BUCHANAN: The Terminator.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hands down?

MR. BUCHANAN: Hands down.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Senator Hillary Clinton. Sold over a million books.
(Laughter.) The -- a probable presidential nominee at some point -- 2004,
2008 -- and a rock star in the political world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, Arnold, not because he's the only charismatic
figure, but because his charisma probably was the defining element of his
success. He also had good political strategy, but it was the charisma
that brought him above, and he is, clearly, I think, the winner for this
year.

MR. O'DONNELL: Arnold remains a joke. He's still spouting movie
lines in Sacramento. (Laughter.)

Maria Shriver taught us what political charisma is. She took over
that campaign and won it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's got to be Schwarzenegger, hands down.

MR. O'DONNELL: No, it's Maria, it's Maria, it's Maria! (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: You just don't like him.

MS. CLIFT: Hillary. It's Hillary.

MR. O'DONNELL: Maria! (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Larry still hasn't gotten over it yet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is so painful to --

MS. CLIFT: Well, he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the true story? What is it that you have
against Arnold?

MS. CLIFT: He lives in California!

MR. BUCHANAN: He took a girlfriend away from him. (Laughs.)

MR. O'DONNELL: I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with more riveting McLaughlin
Group 2003 awards.

(Music: "Entry of the Gladiators.")

(Announcements.)

(Music: "Entry of the Gladiators.")

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Referring to the music.) Does that remind you of
Federico Fellini?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Chuckles.) "8-1/2." Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bummest Rap.

MR. BUCHANAN: Martha Stewart, who has been indicted for what appears
to be insider trading that she never committed. And they've ruined her
reputation and her company, and cost her hundreds of millions of
dollars. And I don't think she's done anything wrong.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Good choice. My --

MR. BUCHANAN: I could add the second choice is Montecore.

MS. CLIFT: Oh.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Montecore.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bum rap --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the bum rap? That he did it deliberately?

MR. BUCHANAN: He didn't do it deliberately.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MS. CLIFT: Okay. Don't water down your original choice.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I give it to Howard Dean. And the bum rap is that he's an
out-of-the-mainstream liberal. During his 12 years as governor, the
word "liberal" and "Howard Dean" never appeared in the same sentence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Great. Great insight.

Yes?

MR. BLANKLEY: You'll like this one. The Bummest Rap is that Blair
and Bush intentionally misled the public regarding the conditions of
weapons of mass destruction. They did not intentionally mislead the
public.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was just an accidental misleading.

MS. CLIFT: Just accidentally misled them. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. We got that.

Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: The Bummest Rap is that the CBS movie "The Reagans"
was somehow a hatchet job on the Reagans and that James Brolin's
brilliant performance was somehow influenced in a negative way by his smart,
liberal wife, who had no influence on that production at --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That aside, wasn't it a lousy production?

MR. O'DONNELL: I thought it was a great movie.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You did?

MR. O'DONNELL: And I'm glad to finally get a chance to say it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good. Well, you can stand by your convictions,
unenlightened as they are.

Bummest Rap: Martha Stewart -- and I'd like to expand on that -- and
her indictment. The decision to sell her ImClone stock was triggered
by a pre-established price level. When the stock fell below it, she
sold. It had nothing to do with insider trading.

Then she said, "I'm innocent." So that's the rap against her. It's
called prosecutorial malice.

Okay. Fairest Rap.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Dixie Chicks had it coming, John, for their
performance in London, trashing their own president on eve of war. They lost
a lot of record sales. Now they're back. But they had it coming.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, that belongs in a different category -- Biggest
Comeback.

Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: (Chuckling.) Right. Exactly.

Fairest Rap: that the administration cherry-picked and manipulated
evidence to build a case for an unnecessary war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: She got that wrong, I think. She probably didn't hear
my last one. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: No, I trumped your last one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, Tony!

MR. BLANKLEY: The Fairest Rap is that President Bush has failed to
use all of his powers to restrain the growth of the domestic government
programs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Spending has gone wild.

MR. BLANKLEY: Too high.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Twenty -- what is he, 26.7 percent higher than the
last year?

MR. BLANKLEY: When you take out for -- anti-terrorism stuff, the
number's not nearly as bad, but it's still higher --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if you take out the Defense budget, it's still
over 20 percent.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you speak to this?

MR. O'DONNELL: The Fairest Rap is that Howard Dean is the weakest of
the top-tier Democratic candidates who could run against George Bush.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. O'DONNELL: Mm-hmm. Which is not to say he won't beat him.

MS. CLIFT: (Chuckling.) Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. O'DONNELL: He just is definitely the weakest of the group.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Fairest Rap is Jeb Bush pandering to the
religious right in the Florida right-to-die case, ordering life support to
continue for brain-dead Terri Schiavo, despite a dozen judicial consenting
orders based on expert medical testimony that she will never recover
and it is okay to terminate life support.

Okay. Best Comeback, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Al Gore vaults from irrelevance to the center of
Democratic politics by endorsing Howard Dean and makes himself a potential
serious candidate against Hillary in 2008, should Mr. Dean, as appears
apparent, go down to a very bad defeat this coming year.

MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I just got to put in a word for Howard Dean. He's run
circles around all the other candidates, and they claim they're more
electable than he is? It doesn't add up.

But my Comeback of the Year goes to Essie Mae Washington-Williams,
Strom Thurmond's 78-year-old love child -- (laughter) -- who finally has
gotten recognition.

MR. BLANKLEY: Great.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, and you're right on target with that one.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think this -- that's the 15 Minutes --

(Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, does anybody want to point out that Dean has
shocked, surprised, dismayed and astonished so many times that no one
should be betting in any negative way on him right now?

MR. BUCHANAN: Would you like to bet, John? (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I would say I think you should withhold judgment.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, Dean has really pulled it out of the hat.

MR. BLANKLEY: Best Comeback: Senator McCain. After losing the
Republican primary, being -- having a lot of hostility in the party, he's
become a tremendous force within the Senate and a very substantial media
presence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: The Best Comeback was, once again, Seabiscuit --
(laughter) -- who was a comeback runner on the track, but came back this
year to inspire a great movie that'll probably get nominated.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For what?

MR. O'DONNELL: Best Picture.

MR. BLANKLEY: Best horse, right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. The Best Comeback is the Taliban in
Afghanistan.

Okay. Most Original -- you got that, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Most Original Thinker, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think I'm going to say -- and Tony's not going to
like that -- Yossi Beilin, with his Geneva proposal for peace in the
Middle East, which was gutsy and got support all over the world, including
Jimmy Carter.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most Original Thinker.

MS. CLIFT: I give it to Howard Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi,
who discovered the power of the Internet. And if the medium is the
message, then Joe Trippi is at least as responsible for the Dean campaign
as Dean himself.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Whether one agrees with it or not, the most original
thought came out of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, with the idea that
people of the same sex ought to get married -- (laughter) -- when it's
been the other way around for -- since the beginning of civilization.
So that's certainly original. (Laughter.)

MR. O'DONNELL: The Most Original Thinker was Tom McClintock, who did,
of all things, run on pure Republican conservative principles and of
course forced the entire Republican Party to desert him by doing that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Most Original Thinker is Army Lieutenant General
William "Jerry" Boykin, who said, quote, "George Bush was not elected
by a majority of the voters in the United States. He was appointed by
God," unquote. Very original thinking.

Okay. Most Stagnant Thinking, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Ariel Sharon and his wall encompassing Jerusalem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Paul Wolfowitz, deputy Defense secretary, and his
continuing grudge match against the allies that really prevents us from getting
the help we need in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Nancy Pelosi, a charming and beautiful woman, who
nonetheless continues to advocate the policies of FDR. And if he were
around, he would have advanced from there long ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: Dick Gephardt, who wins this award whenever he runs
for president. His thinking is completely stagnant and is not part of
even what the Democratic Party does when it is in a ruling position.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you tell that to James Clyburn --

MR. O'DONNELL: (Chuckles.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the black congressman from South Carolina, who has
selected Dick Gephardt as his endorsee?

MR. O'DONNELL: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Most Stagnant Thinkers: Yasser Arafat and Ariel
Sharon, the joint award for their mutual failure to conceive a peaceful
way out of the endless violence between the Israelis and the
Palestinians.

Okay. Best Photo Op, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: George Bush in flight suit, strutting around the deck
of the Abraham Lincoln. (Laughter.) It was unbeatable. It may have
backfired, John, but it was something else.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Saddam Hussein with the tongue depressor and the search
through his hair for lice.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Chuckles.)

MS. CLIFT: Unforgettable image.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see the condemnation that that got from a
cardinal working for the pope?

MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, who felt great sympathy for Saddam Hussein. I
think the cardinal needs to be inspected. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think Saddam Hussein was grateful for the medical
attention.

MR. BUCHANAN: Nice little anti-Catholic crack there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence? Quickly, quickly!

MR. BLANKLEY: Eleanor is exactly right. It is Saddam. It is the
photograph, the image that will be remembered and seen by more people and
have more of an impact on recent -- on coming-up history. Huge event.
Fabulous photo image.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!

MR. O'DONNELL: It was Saddam getting the tongue depressor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Best Photo Op was the kiss that was seen around
the world.

MS. CLIFT: Oh!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not Madonna, not Britney, Eleanor. Laura Bush and
Jacques Chirac.

MS. CLIFT: Oh! Oh.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Remember that?

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. The Enough Already Award, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The search for weapons of mass destruction.

MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Give it up, David Kay! (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: The trials and tribulations of Michael Jackson. Leave the
man alone. (Chuckles.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: The pathetic effort to falsely accuse the vice
president of giving favoritism to Halliburton, a company he no longer has any
relationship -- give it up!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: Al Sharpton, the convicted tax criminal that only the
press and the Democratic Party can treat as a realistic candidate for
president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Enough Already.

MR. O'DONNELL: Oh! It's way too much.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Enough Already: the New York fitness personality
John Basedow, for his "Fitness Made Simple" television ad. This is
advertising, all right -- ad nauseam. Enough already!

Did you ever see that?

MS. CLIFT: I've never seen it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Nope. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've never seen the ad?

MS. CLIFT: No. You have.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're one of the few.

MS. CLIFT: Okay.

MR. BUCHANAN: But I've had enough of it, John, already.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst Lie.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think National Review's cover store declaring
unpatriotic 12 conservatives and libertarians, including our old friend Robert
Novak, who's accused of hating Mr. Bush, because he simply opposed the
war in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Worst Lie: that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction and we were a mushroom cloud away from annihilation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Jacques Chirac saying that he's a friend of America and
trying to help us in international activities.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's winning, between Tony and Eleanor?

(Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I guess I have the swing vote, huh?

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

(Cross talk, laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll take care of that, Tony.

What have you got?

MR. O'DONNELL: Virtually everything out of the mouth of candidate
Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Laughter.) Essentially, that he would not borrow
any money, which he has already tried to do --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!

MR. O'DONNELL: -- that he would make the state whole after he
repealed the car tax, which he did not do; and that you could balance the
budget in California by doing an audit and finding the waste. All lies,
every one --

(Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: But he's so charming! (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. The Worst Lie: Donald Rumsfeld. Quote,
"We know where Iraq's WMD are. They're in the area around Tikrit and
Baghdad, and east, west, south and north somewhat," unquote.
(Laughter.)

He deserves two awards: Worst Lie and Best Pentagon Double-Speak.

Okay. Capitalist of the Year, Pat. Quickly!

MR. BUCHANAN: Halliburton.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Halliburton? (Laughter.)

Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: George Soros, for dedicating $15 million to beat Bush.

MR. BLANKLEY: Michael Khodorkovsky, the first capitalist martyr.
(Laughter.)

MR. O'DONNELL: Warren Buffett, for recognizing that California needs
to raise taxes to balance the budget.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: J.K. Rowling, the fifth book in her global
best-selling Harry Potter series making her the richest woman in Great Britain, I
think even eclipsing the queen of England. Am I right on that, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Mm-hmm. (Affirmative.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with Person of the Year.

(Music: "Entry of the Gladiators.")

(Announcements.)

(Music: "Entry of the Gladiators.")

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Here it is: Person of the Year, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's got to be George W. Bush, John. I mean,
he is the -- far and away the winner.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I give it to the American GI. No matter what you think of
the war -- and I don't think much of it -- they've done a superb job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated.

Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, certainly American GIs. For an individual, it's
got to be President Bush. He has both defined and executed on the
events that have dominated not only America but the world, and will
continue to do so. He is the dominant force on the planet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence, you go along with that?

MR. O'DONNELL: No. The Person of the Year -- and this is one of
those negative ones -- is Saddam Hussein, who by his foot-dragging on the
inspections put this war in motion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's enigmatic but interesting.

Vladimir Putin, the ruling force that Russia needs precisely at this
juncture in its political evolution. A blend of benign despot and
small-d democrat, he's consolidated his political hold on Russia's
parliament, kept conservatives and nationalists at bay, while drawing Russia
more and more towards the West. He has improved Russia's relations with
its breakaway republics, stemmed Chechen terrorism, brought the
oligarchs into line and emerged as a force on the world stage, soon to be
second to none. Last but not least, the Bush-Putin special relationship
makes him our man in Moscow.

Next week: the McLaughlin Group 2003 Awards, part two. Happy
holidays~! Bye-bye!

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Honorable Mention, Patrick.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I'm going to say General Tommy Franks. Everybody
said he couldn't win that war without the 4th Division in Turkey, he
didn't have enough troops, the planning was all wrong. He ran a picture
book campaign which will be studied in military history and --
brilliant. Three-week victory over a major country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we consent to all of those propositions, do
we not?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, except Tommy Franks is blamed for losing the battle
of Tora Bora in Afghanistan, which may have given free rein to Osama
bin Laden. But we'll leave that up to the historians.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's your selection, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: My selection is the Iranian woman who won the Nobel Peace
Prize. Her name is Shirin Ebadi, and she was the first female judge in
Iran, before the revolution and before the ayatollahs decided that
women were too irrational and emotional to hold such posts.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: She teaches at the University of Tehran.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: She's a lawyer. She takes on cases nobody else would.
And she champions Reform Islam.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: She believes that the Islamic religion can coexist with
freedom and rights for women.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has there been any research on that proposition?

MS. CLIFT: On Islam and women? Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, the irrationality of women. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: There's a lot of research, John. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: It's --

MR. O'DONNELL: Mostly anecdotal.

(Cross talk, laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: It's anecdotal. It's anecdotal research, and it's
comparative to men.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: I have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to talk about any of that?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, there are two co-winners of Honorable Mention.
One is Tony Blair, for giving the president all the support possible for
--

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the British are calling him Bush's poodle.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, they were calling him that many months ago. He's
still there. He's doing better. His poll numbers are going up. But
more important --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they going up?

MR. BLANKLEY: Than they were, sure. But more important than that, he
provided a key moral voice at a time throughout the world.

The other co-winner would be Rumsfeld, who executed on the president's
policy in Iraq and did so, I think, magnificently.

MR. O'DONNELL: My Honorable Mention for this year -- it's the last
time I can do this -- is Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who left us this year,
but who was the last American politician to run claiming the label
"liberal." It has become an accusation in America that you must deny --
that you're a liberal. And he was the last one to do it, and won
two-thirds of the vote in New York saying, "I am a liberal," explaining why
and running that way, honestly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was such a civilized man --

MR. O'DONNELL: Mm-hmm. (In agreement.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a great scholar.

And as part of that tradition, not perhaps as much scholarship, I
welcome James A. Baker III back on the scene. This is --

MR. O'DONNELL: Senior statesman.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is someone that the current crew can really use.
He's a smooth, polished, literate diplomat, and that's exactly what
this administration needs. And to see him on the scene -- and he's been
somewhat successful --

MR. O'DONNELL: Instant --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- particularly with those nations whom we have
offended by denying them access to bidding in Iraq.

MR. BUCHANAN: He is a real threat to the neoconservatives in power
right now, I'll tell you that, because if he succeeds with this, John, he
is the candidate to replace -- in my judgment, the natural to replace
Colin Powell, who has indicated, apparently, he will not serve a second
term in the Bush administration. If he gets in as secretary of State,
there will be a whole lot of shaking going on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's exactly what the president needs.

MR. BLANKLEY: He is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He performs very well. And he has the respect of all
the people that he deals with. He's an exquisite diplomat.

MR. O'DONNELL: He's gained more yards for them than anyone else has.

MS. CLIFT: I can't imagine that he would want to clean up Junior's
mess for four years, though, at his age and status in life.

MR. BLANKLEY: I can't imagine --

(Cross talk, laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we're going out on that line, Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Junior's the Person of the Year.

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