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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

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

TAPED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2004
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 29-31, 2004

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Closure at Last.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) The senator's willingness to trade principle for political convenience makes it clear that John Kerry is the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE): (From videotape.) And the president's shifting explanations and excuses and attacks on me demonstrate once again that this president believes the buck stops everywhere but with the president of the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Passions are high, issues raw. It's still a photo finish, too close to call, and maybe a repeat of chaotic Election 2000, or worse, like a perfect tie, 269 electoral votes to 269. Also, while incredibly tight now, this election has many big variables that can swing
wide either way. That could create a blowout, a landslide. Forecasting election '04 is all but impossible because these big variables are also big unknowables:

Question: Will the election be a blowout or a nail-biter? Pat Buchanan. And one feature of this, as an unknowable big variable, is an unforeseen fateful event. Will you include in your response to my question the impact of the Osama bin Laden tape as an unforeseen, possibly fateful event in this election?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think clearly the bin Laden tape will focus the country over the weekend on the war on terror, which would tend to help Mr. Bush. But the fact that Osama is alive and well, I'm not sure that does.

But John, I disagree with you. I don't think it's going to be a blowout. I don't think it's going to be a nail-biter. And what it comes down to is this: John Kerry has got to win Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, all three. He then has to win two of three states -- Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin. He then has to carry New Mexico or New Hampshire.

And if he carries one or the other, he then has to win Hawaii, and that is why the vice president of the United States, Mr. Cheney, and Mr. Al Gore are going to Hawaii. Kerry has to draw to an inside straight, John. But the polls at the end of the week appear to be moving nationally back incrementally toward the president, so Kerry's got a tremendous uphill battle.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Osama bin Laden on that tape, aired by Al Jazeera Friday, said, "Your security" -- speaking about the people in the United States -- "is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands." And he goes on to say, "Bush cannot protect you."

Eleanor, what do you think these variables are going to bring us to next Tuesday?

MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, I think the empirical evidence suggests that Kerry should win. You have a whole new universe of voters who tend to go for the challenger. You have a president stuck at 47, 48 percent, which is essentially what he won with in 2000. He's been a slave to his base. They're going to turn out with great enthusiasm. But he hasn't really been able to go beyond that. The wrong-track numbers among the undecideds, who will probably decide this race, is astronomical, like 70 percent.

Now, this tape that comes at the last weekend, it could shift the undecideds in one direction or another. I'm actually -- based on the reaction of my Republican-oriented colleagues in the green room as they watched the tape, you would think there was a disclaimer at the end that said, "I'm George W. Bush and I approved this message" -- (laughter) -- because the thought is, among the pro-Bush crowd, is that this shifts the message to terrorism --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: -- which is the president's strong suit. But, you know, Kerry can point out that we haven't caught Mr. Osama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. And we're going to get a gloss on what the tape really means from the distinguished Lawrence O'Donnell in a moment, i.e., this emphasis on Osama in the tape, issuing the tape. It focuses emphasis on Osama bin Laden, you know, the man who's been hiding in the tall grass that President Bush has chosen to sidelight -- sidestep -- sideline, in order to focus on -- I don't want to steal your lines here, but I can see that warming up in you.

By the way, on Tuesday the total number of actual voters could climb to 120 million, as opposed to what it was four years ago, 106 million. But before we proceed further, let's see what this reserve power is.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) If one candidate's trying to scare you and the other one's trying to get you to think, if one candidate's appealing to your fears and the other one's appealing to your hopes, you'd better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two months removed from triple bypass surgery, Bill Clinton hit the campaign trail to fire up the Democratic base. He was there with Bruce Springsteen, as you know. What do you think of the impact of the president on this race, President Clinton? And what do you think of the original question put to the panel?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think Pat had it about right in assessing the general dynamics of the election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean it's moving a little bit towards Bush?

MR. BLANKLEY: Incrementally. The inside-straight analogy is a good one. On the other hand, these things tend to move in a direction, and so all of those numbers in those close states in the Midwest, where Bush is looking pretty good, a two-point move across the board could put them all in Kerry's camp. So it's very much up for grabs.

All of the unknown -- we don't know whether the voter turnout rate is going to be 55 or 58 or 59 percent. That difference is bigger than the margin of error between -- the margin between the two candidates. So it is unknowable. I like Bush's position marginally better in the competition, but not much. As far as --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking battleground states.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, and overall. I mean, obviously the battleground states are going to decide it. As far as President Clinton is concerned, or Schwarzenegger or Springsteen or any of these others, they're marginally useful for energizing the base. I don't think they're a big deal either way, but they do get the base a little bit more motivated. I thought Clinton certainly was enviably slim in his appearance. (Laughter.)

MR. LAUER: Mmm-hmm. Are you going to take that to heart?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I'm not going to go quite to that extreme unless I have to, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I don't know whether you can improve on what I see here today, Tony. I mean, this is a tableau, sartorial tableau.

Do you want to put all this together?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, I agree with Pat's point that the Osama tape cuts both ways. I mean, for the Bush side, the idea is "We're the guys to protect you from Osama." And from the Kerry side it's "Why haven't they captured him? What is he doing out there in a position to be issuing videotapes at the close of American elections? Who let that happen?"

And if I have to guess, between now and Tuesday that's going to be the argument that is more dominant in that. But when you go to the voter-turnout issue, there's a certain mystery about who these new voters are and how reliable they are. And so, in that context, possibly the most important tape of the week is the Eminem tape that has come out, this great music video he's done, where he's urging his people to go out and vote, who've never voted before. And that's the big mystery is what are they going to do, and is Eminem and Springsteen and those people going to be able to get that vote out. If they do, then you could see this thing break for Kerry in a significant way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What argues that they will get out?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, the registration. There's been a huge registration --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right, but only 50 percent of registrants in the normal conditions actually vote.

MR. O'DONNELL: And then the argument is, these are not normal conditions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. O'DONNELL: This is wartime.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is driving them?

MR. O'DONNELL: Eminem speaks to the draft-age youth who are voting for the first time in their lives during wartime.

MR. BLANKLEY: What about the --

MR. O'DONNELL: So that may or may not be --

MR. BLANKLEY: What about the Snicker kids, as opposed to the M&Ms?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you a question. Let me ask you all a question, because it's a profound question. It's a very insightful question. What is it that motivates people to vote? Is it a sense of satisfaction, or is it more anger? I'll start with you.

MR. O'DONNELL: This election has a tremendous amount of anger on both sides, but it also has a lot of self-interest.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is there more anger?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's more anger --

MR. O'DONNELL: It's about equal on both sides.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think so?

MR. O'DONNELL: It's extremely intense.

MR. BLANKLEY: It's not only anger. It's also fear, fear on both sides -- for the anti-Bush voters, fear of Bush; and from the Republican side, a lot of fear of what happens if John Kerry were president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's going on in Osama's head to issue this tape now? Is he trying to play off the fear of the American people in the sense that the president has focused on the wrong adversary, namely Osama bin Laden, and he wants to remind the voters that it is the wrong adversary, therefore you vote for Kerry?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think the biggest mistake any of us can make is to try to get inside the brain of a 14th century fanatic. I don't think any of us --

MR. O'DONNELL: But it's our job.

MR. BLANKLEY: It's close, but none of us are qualified to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have a high calling.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me bring one point back to earth, this big registration. The Washington Post on Friday announced the final nationwide increase in registration -- 3 percent.

MR. O'DONNELL: That's big.

MR. BLANKLEY: Three percent --

MR. O'DONNELL: That's huge.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Of 120 million, that's about 5 million voters.

MR. BLANKLEY: That brings us back to 1 percent more than in 1996. So for all of the hoopla -- and the turnout factor, admittedly we don't know. But it's only 3 percent -- it was 68 percent in 2000; it's at 71 percent now. It was at 70 percent registered in --

MS. CLIFT: Bush's base --

MR. BUCHANAN: Bin Laden --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Eleanor, then Pat.

MS. CLIFT: Bush's base is loyal to him and they're going to turn out. But the intensity -- there's much more intensity on the Democratic side.

MR. BLANKLEY: You don't know our base. Our base is very intense.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but it only goes so far. Bush has not expanded that base.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think they're going to find a lot of moderate Republicans who are going to say nothing to anyone, hold their nose and pull the lever for Kerry, and then vote a straight Republican ticket.

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't believe it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that? It's called ticket-splitting --

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I believe that Bush will get the highest percentage of the Republican vote since Reagan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's get out.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me say about bin Laden, John, that clearly is designed as a taunt to the United States and the American people on the eve of the election, for him to be over there shooting his mouth off about Bush and Kerry.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat --

MR. BUCHANAN: Whatever it is, it is a taunt and it is "I am here" --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and "I am alive" --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and "Take a look at the first pictures of me in two years."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We know that he is a strategic genius in this game. We know that, because we have accomplished everything he wanted in the world. We have put the Muslim population against us.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, just let me finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants to draw attention to himself -- with the knowledge that that's going to help Bush? I doubt it, because he's telling the American voter, "Bush has focused on Saddam, but I am your enemy."

MR. O'DONNELL: Why wouldn't he want to help Bush?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think that's right. I think John is right, basically, in the sense that he says, "I am here and I am alive." But clearly he didn't anticipate Bush coming into Afghanistan and doing what Bush did there. I think he's probably delighted we're in Iraq, but he's saying, "I am here."

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, this has been the best two years, three years, in the history of this modern jihadist movement.

MR. BLANKLEY: You don't know that to be true.

MS. CLIFT: I know that by --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the human --

MR. BLANKLEY: The Muslims --

MS. CLIFT: I do know that.

MR. BLANKLEY: The Muslims in the Middle East were cheering in the streets the morning of September 11th, long before Bush had taken any actions at all.

MS. CLIFT: We've created --

MR. BLANKLEY: They were plenty aroused long before --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --

MS. CLIFT: With 100,000 dead --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me --

MS. CLIFT: With 100,000 dead Iraqis, we have created a generation --

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, now you've taken --

MS. CLIFT: -- we have created --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, will you create a rump session and carry this out out there?

MS. CLIFT: -- a generation of bin Ladens.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The human toll: U.S. military dead in Iraq, including suicides, 1,107; U.S. military amputeed, wounded, injured, mentally ill, all now out of Iraq, 29,550; Iraqi civilians dead, 100,000 -- a Johns Hopkins University study just released, an independent and conservative estimate.

Exit: Who won the week, Bush or Kerry?

MR. BUCHANAN: Kerry --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not the election, the week.

MR. BUCHANAN: Kerry won the first two days strongly with the explosives. But Bush came back later in the week, John, and by Friday Bush was moving back ahead significantly -- a small lead, I should say, in the overnight polls. So I think it was narrowly to Bush.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: It was Kerry; first of all, the missing explosives --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: -- which revealed that the administration certainly didn't secure the weapons in Iraq; secondly, Prime Minister Allawi accusing the U.S. coalition troops of neglect in allowing an Iraqi convoy to travel unarmed and unprotected; third, request for 70 more billion dollars to pay for the war; and then Rudy Giuliani out there blaming the troops for not finding the weapons and saying the commander-in-chief is innocent. I mean, that is really, really rich.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) She's talking about the 380 tons of explosives -- not weapons of mass destruction; standard explosives, a little bit upgraded from dynamite. And that will be used in curbside bombings against our soldiers.

MR. O'DONNELL: And also necessary to detonate nuclear weapons. There's very little of this stuff in the world. You can build a nuclear weapon easier than you can get your hands on this stuff.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me answer the question. That was a story that broke well for Kerry. By Friday you had the major ordnance manager at the Pentagon explaining that he had taken 250 tons of this stuff himself. I think that story is somewhere between neutral and backfired on Kerry.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can just dismiss 380 remaining tons?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, no -- of the 380, 250 --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know what 380 tons look like?

MR. BLANKLEY: Bigger even than this whole show.

MS. CLIFT: There is video --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's move on.

MR. O'DONNELL: The problem is, we have videotape of what he left behind and what the American military left behind, which is now missing. Look, Eleanor is absolutely right, word for word, on Kerry winning the week, and --

MR. BLANKLEY: That's why the Washington Post tracking poll showed Bush up two points over the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm judging by the news. I think the news has been dominantly less helpful to Bush than it has to Kerry.

MR. O'DONNELL: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm giving the week to Kerry.

Issue Two: Deadlock, We Love You.

FORMER REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX): (From videotape.) The conservative base is very anxious. They see spending out of control. They think Republicans are spending like the Democrats, and they're getting very angry about it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's Republican Dick Armey, former House majority leader, nine months ago. Today the deficit and the anger are even worse. So, what's the cure for reckless, wanton government spending? The answer
is -- brace yourself -- deadlock. That's right -- deadlock.

Deadlock is good. Deadlock is when the government -- the White House, the Senate, and the House -- is under two political-party control, not one. When that happens, spending by the government goes way down because the White House fights with Congress and vice-versa, creating a spending standstill -- a deadlock.

At present, the House of Representatives is Republican. The Senate is Republican. The president is Republican. So Republican George Bush gets his way on spending. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts
absolutely. And Mr. Bush has the deficit to prove it: $413 billion dollars this year alone. This vast volume of money owed brings with it troubling consequences, as John Kerry is quick to point out.

SEN. KERRY: (From videotape.) A child born today will inherit a $20,000 debt -- a birth tax that he or she had no part in creating.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Back to deadlock. Look at the Clinton history. President Clinton left office with a record surplus -- $230 billion. Why? Deadlock. From '94 to 2000, his last six years in office, Democrat Clinton
had to work with a Republican Senate and a Republican House. On the other hand, Republican Bush, as noted, had a Republican House and a Republican Senate for most of his term, all in sync -- no deadlock. Result: Clinton's
$230 billion surplus was drained away and replaced by Bush's $413 billion deficit.

Question: Why do Americans love divided government? Tony Blankley.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, first of all, your history is incomplete, because in the Reagan years, when the Democrats controlled Congress and the Republicans controlled the White House, we had the biggest deficits as a percentage of GDP in our history. So it depends who the individuals are. It's not a question of whether it's simply divided or not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That was a deviation.

MR. BLANKLEY: That was eight years of deviation, right. But, look, the public generally has in recent years liked the idea of one party keeping an eye on the other.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To prevent what? Pork spending.

MR. BLANKLEY: To generally watch over, whether it's corruption or whether it's excessive spending. That has been something, I think, in the last 15 years the public has liked. But we're in a different age now where we have to be able to act coherently as a nation at war. And I don't think the appeal of bickering Congress and White House is nearly as appealing now as it was in the peaceful '90s.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the observe of that position could be taken, namely, that during times of war is when you really could benefit by deadlock, by a Congress that would resist any impulse, especially if it comes from a militarist administration?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, you wouldn't make that argument during World War II. But in this situation, a little bit more inhibition might have been very, very helpful. But I would argue that the two years that preceded those glorious six years that you illustrated, the Democratic control of White House, Senate and House of Representatives produced the increased revenue by raising the top tax rate that the Republicans never would have done, without which we never would have had that budget surplus. And the Republicans were able to control the more extreme Democratic ideas at the time, like Hillary Clinton's health plan. So that was an example, I think, of one party controlling all three and doing a great job of it.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, there's no doubt about it that if the president of the United States lost this election, I think the Republican Congress would revert more to its fiscal conservatism. They've gone along with No Child Left Behind. They've gone along with all those --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did I hear you correctly?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. There's no doubt about it that you have a point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That we would have --

MR. BUCHANAN: That you would have -- Kerry will try to spend a trillion dollars more than Bush. But I doubt the Republican Congress would let him do it. There's no doubt about it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, so we see it at work.

MS. CLIFT: The Republican Congress has not said no to the president at all, and he hasn't vetoed anything, and it's out of control. And whoever is the president on January 20th is going to have to confront a mess in a war that's out of control and a deficit that's out of control. And I think you're right; the Republicans will be happy to restrain John Kerry's spending.

MR. BLANKLEY: Just keep --

MR. CLIFT: They don't have the guts to say no to Mr. Tinhorn Bush.

MR. BLANKLEY: Keep in mind --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) I don't think I said that.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- a notional President Kerry, if he's at all popular --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Notional? What's that?

MR. BLANKLEY: -- he starts off with -- it's not going to happen. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Hypothetical.

MR. BLANKLEY: He starts off with 200 and whatever number of House members the Democrats are. He only has to pick up 15 to 25 moderate to liberal Republicans, who will be in districts that Kerry would have won in this notional concept. And they very well may vote with the Democrats, and there won't be enough base solid conservative Republicans to --

MR. O'DONNELL: But the chairmen --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think anybody who's worried by Kerry as a president should lose sight of the fact that this Congress is almost certainly going to remain -- the Senate's going to remain Republican and the House will remain Republican.

MR. BUCHANAN: The House will.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the House will.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In order for the Senate to transform itself into a Democratic Senate, the Democrats would have to pick up seven of nine of the truly contested Senate races.

MR. BLANKLEY: But the Senate --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I think that is a very long shot. You don't --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I take it as a long shot. It is a possibility they can get the Senate. I think the House is out of reach right now. But I do believe Republicans would become more conservative, more traditional, if the president lost. But unfortunately, John, to you, he's not going to lose.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't lose my central point, that the Senate and the House will hem Kerry in when Kerry becomes president.

MR. BUCHANAN: I agree with that. But --

MS. CLIFT: It'll be a repeat of the Clinton experience with a Republican Congress, which was actually quite a happy time for America.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it better --

MR. O'DONNELL: There's not one House Republican chairman who will advance any Kerry legislation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MR. BUCHANAN: It's bring back Newt time, right, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Not that far. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Today Republicans control the U.S. Senate; the Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives; the Republicans control the White House. After Tuesday, will it be single-party government or will it be divided-party government?

MR. BUCHANAN: The Republicans will control all three institutions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I think the Dems get the White House, and they may get the Senate.

MR. BLANKLEY: The White House is probably a flip of the coin, but I'd give it to Bush. The Republicans will pick up two or three seats in the Senate and hold the House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's going to be single-party government, all the way across.

MR. BLANKLEY: Probably.

MR. O'DONNELL: Kerry will get the White House. The Senate will probably remain net unchanged. And there will be a small pickup by Democrats in the House, bright candidates like Beth Troutman in North Carolina; pick up two or three in the House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. So you think it's better than 50-50 percent that the GOP will lose control of the White House.

MR. O'DONNELL: Absolutely. But they will keep control of the government, because that resides --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I don't want to get ahead of our prediction coming up, but I think you're in the right church.

Issue three: The Curse of the Bambino.

The ghost of Babe Ruth, the Bambino, is at rest. Baseball history says that when the Boston Red Sox sold legendary slugger Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1920, the Red Sox brought a curse on themselves -- and that
curse kept them from winning a World Series. But on Wednesday night the curse vanished, right in the middle of a full lunar eclipse. In a four-game rout, Boston swept the St. Louis Cardinals to win the Series.

Question: Will the magic of the Boston Red Sox win rub off on the Boston native running for president? John Kerry believes it will.

SEN. KERRY: (From videotape.) About a year ago, when things weren't going so well in my campaign, somebody called a radio talk show and they said, thinking they were just cutting me right to the quick, they said, "John Kerry won't be president until the Red Sox win the World Series." (Cheers.) Well, we're on our way. We're on our way.

By the way, the St. Louis stadium where the Sox clinched the World Series is named Busch.

Question: Has the Red Sox' win rubbed off on Kerry? Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Boston winning in Busch stadium -- you couldn't ask for a clearer omen than that. I was up in Fenway Park last weekend for the first two games, and there was a lot of great positive Kerry energy up there. The city wants this to happen. And the same people who were urging on those Red Sox are urging on John Kerry.

MR. BLANKLEY: I would just point out that he is not a Boston native. I believe he claims he was born in Denver, Colorado. So I don't know what bearing that might have on --

MR. O'DONNELL: That's because his father was in the military at the time. It's a Boston family.

MR. BLANKLEY: (Inaudible.)

MR. O'DONNELL: No, no, no.

MR. BLANKLEY: How old was he when he moved to Boston?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that a little footnotey?

MR. BLANKLEY: A little footnotey, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, with Colorado in contention, I think it's okay to say he's from Colorado.

MR. BLANKLEY: He just can't be from both.

MS. CLIFT: Look, it's really nice to see John Kerry exuberant, smiling, a natural smile. I mean, I think this has really energized him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor --

MS. CLIFT: And maybe he can end the curse of the Massachusetts liberals since John Kennedy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, don't get carried away with John Kerry and baseball. Watch the big pitch. Lest you think Mr. Kerry is baseball-proficient, take a look at this performance at Fenway Park, on the eve of the Democratic Convention. (Videotape of pitch by Kerry.) What do you think of that, Eleanor? It was a little limp, wasn't it?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He even walked off the mound.

MR. O'DONNELL: Let me tell you what happened.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He walked about two yards towards the plate.

MS. CLIFT: Maybe baseball is not his sport. Let's go mountain climbing or surfboarding.

MR. O'DONNELL: It is his sport. I can tell you exactly what happened.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's hear it.

MR. O'DONNELL: The guy's got a great arm. What happened was he met that soldier ahead of time and he actually could tell -- everyone there knew that the soldier was actually extremely nervous about going out there in front of the crowd, and Kerry was trying to pull back a little on the ball when he was throwing it to him to make it easy for him. And, of course, when you do that, the ball's not going to go straight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One word: Who wins more electoral votes on Tuesday?

MR. BUCHANAN: Four more years -- Bush.

MS. CLIFT: Kerry.

MR. BLANKLEY: Bush by a whisker.

MR. O'DONNELL: John Kerry.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: John Kerry. Bye bye.


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