MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Election Afterglow

Ten weeks from now, the president and the first lady will be dancing again, at their second inaugural gala, January the 20th. The mood then will be different from what it was this week, when only half of the nation felt ecstatic.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) We had a long night -- and a great night. (Cheers, applause.) The voters turned out in record numbers and delivered an historic victory. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the other half, crushed.

SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D-MA, presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America. We worked hard, and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The electoral vote count was Bush, 286; Kerry, 252. The key swing state was Ohio, which went for Bush by a razor- thin 136,000 votes. Out of a total 5-1/2 million cast in Ohio, those 136,000 votes make up 2.5 percent of Ohio's total vote. If that 2.5 percent had voted for Kerry, Ohio's 20 electoral votes would have been added to his 252, and with 272 votes, John Kerry would be president- elect.

Why Ohio chose Bush over Kerry we'll talk about later. The national popular vote margin for Bush was 3-1/2 million votes -- a substantial, persuasive and unarguable volume in a tense political climate -- seven times greater than Al Gore's 2000 popular-vote- winning margin. Also, Mr. Bush's 51 percentage of the popular vote in the nation makes him the first president in 16 years to cross that 50 percent marker.

Question: Does President Bush have a mandate, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, on the issues of taxes and on values and on leadership in the war on terror, he has a dramatic mandate. Voters by 5 and 4 to 1 approved of him on these issues. He has a renewed contract to deal with the issues of jobs, education and Iraq. Those voters who thought Iraq was the number-one issue voted 3 to 1 for John Kerry. So I think the president's got in part a mandate, in part a renewed contract.

But what this was, John, was a massive repudiation by middle America and rural America of the contemptuous attitude of a big media and liberal elite.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know what a mandate is?

MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: I know what a mandate is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you define a mandate?

MR. BUCHANAN: A mandate is an assignment to do certain things in certain areas, given to you by the people. On taxes, on the war on terror, and on values especially, this president has a clear mandate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me give you a definition of a mandate, okay? Voters' ratification of a specific campaign platform, a series of clear policy positions or proposals comprising an agenda.

Now the question is, was that produced by President Bush?

MS. CLIFT: You're asking me?


MS. CLIFT: He's going to claim that he has a mandate. I don't think he has one. The country is divided. And this notion that this is a massive repudiation of values -- I think this is values very narrowly defined on sexual identity and opposition to abortion. Frankly, if you go into the Bible Belt, there are more porn parlors and strip joints than there are in blue-collar America, I might add. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he advance a --

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Very few obstacles to this president. He's got a near filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. All he has to pick off is some of those scared Democrats who looked at Tom Daschle losing. Democrats in red states are not going to stand up to this president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he have a clear second-term agenda that he campaigned on? Or was it -- was this a terrifically personalized campaign deriding his opponent, and what does that leave him with? What's the mandate that he has, the mandate to do what?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, I'll answer the question. First, I got to tell you I got -- despite the fact that I got hundreds of e-mails urging me to gloat on this show, I'm too big a man to do that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're going to be gloat-free?

MR. BLANKLEY: I'm going to be gloat-free.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I think you just gloated, Tony. Just gloated! (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: (Chuckles.) But look, so -- yes, he has a specific mandate. He talked about Social Security. He's had the guts to talk about it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ownership.

MR. BLANKLEY: Ownership.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that's kind of fuzzy, isn't it? Or is it?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, it's a fairly specific proposal. And --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is all of this sufficient to constitute a clear statement of policy agendas?

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, let me tell you what a mandate -- a mandate is whatever an elected official can turn it into. But he's got a plausible claim on Social Security on the domestic side, on the ownership society concept, on making permanent the tax cuts. And he obviously has a mandate on his foreign policy, which is what everybody in the country has said for a year this election was about, which is to fight the war on terrorism aggressively with preemptive war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you say, Lawrence, that according to the definition that you saw, which is an accepted definition, that he doesn't have a classic mandate, but he has a leadership mandate because there's no one there to challenge him? He's got a leadership mandate, does he not?

MR. O'DONNELL: No, this mandate talk is ridiculous. And Tony just loosely used the word "everybody" -- (chuckles) -- which is very funny in a county where 49 percent said we've had this guy for four years and we don't want him for another minute. That's 49 percent. He has strength through the Republican Senate. That pickup in the Senate is very, very important. That's where all the strength's going to come from.

But he's -- the government's bankrupt. It can't do anything he's been talking about. He had a Social Security commission recommend options back when there was a gigantic surplus. None of their work is relevant to this deficit situation. But the big problem the country now has, which is going to produce a serious discussion of secession over the next 20 years, is that the segment of the country that pays for the federal government is now being governed by the people who don't pay for the federal government.

MR. BLANKLEY: Did you say secession?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. O'DONNELL: Yes, yes.

MR. BLANKLEY: Are you calling for civil war?

MR. O'DONNELL: Ninety -- not war; you can secede without firing a shot.

MR. BLANKLEY: Not if you have a Lincoln in the White House.

MR. O'DONNELL: Ninety percent of the red states are welfare client states of the federal government. They collect more from the federal government than they send in. New York and California, Connecticut, the states that are blue are all the states that are paying for the bulk of everything this government does, from the ward of Social Security to everything else, and the people in those states don't like what this government is doing.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Off mike.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish!

MR. O'DONNELL: That cannot hold.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Are you saying that the American people did not give George Bush a blank check?

MR. O'DONNELL: Forty-nine percent said we don't want to see him anymore.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. So 55 million didn't give him a blank check, but what about the majority? The majority said we trust you enough so that you have a blank check.

MR. O'DONNELL: Yes. The people who vote for him do vote for him blindly because he said nothing about what he would do about Social Security. Now we're going to find out.

MR. BUCHANAN: Blindly? What is this blind voting? John, you know, when Franklin Roosevelt --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let's hear from Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: You know, in 1932, Roosevelt won a landslide, and someone said, well, the American people have spoken, and in his own good time, Franklin will tell us what they have said.

This president ought to run and act like he has a mandate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're not talking about that.

MS. CLIFT: To do what?

MR. O'DONNELL: He will do that. That he will do.

MR. BUCHANAN: Listen, he won a clear-cut victory in hard times, difficult times, wartime.

MS. CLIFT: To do what?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Okay, this is what they said about themselves. The vice president and the president see the election results this way.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: (From videotape.) President Bush ran forthrightly on a clear agenda for this nation's future, and the nation responded by giving him a mandate.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Bush in for a second honeymoon? Does he have a renewed mandate?

I ask you, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, George W. Bush should do and will do what he believes is right. I think he's got -- he can interpret it as a mandate. He won the election. He ought to go ahead and not be deterred by all these people who are saying you got to reach out to us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he get a national mandate?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, he got a national mandate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's speak in terms of geography. Let's speak in terms of the wealthiest and most populous cities along the West Coast, he didn't get the West Coast.

MR. BUCHANAN: He carried the suburbs and he carried the rural areas --

MR. BLANKLEY: I've never heard --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute! Let's take a look at the electoral map, okay? How does that look to you?

MR. BLANKLEY: It looks like --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, the red states are Bush and the blue states are Kerry. What do you think of that?

MR. BLANKLEY: Not only that, most of the --

MR. BUCHANAN: Take a look at the counties. Look at the counties. The whole country is red, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you realize, Patrick, that there is in the eyes of many who look at the situation in America today a growing sectionalism, which is what he's talking about to some extent?

MR. BUCHANAN: I agree there is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And do you realize that there is open contempt between some regions of the country and others? Do you realize that?

MR. BUCHANAN: I know that.


MS. CLIFT: There is geographical division, but you've got a lot of groups, demographic groups, pitted against each other.


MS. CLIFT: The president has primarily white men, he has rural voters, and he has the religious right --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's take a look at the map --

MR. BLANKLEY: And he has the Hispanic voters now.

MR. BUCHANAN: And married women --

MS. CLIFT: And the Democrats have single women, minorities and young people.

MR. BLANKLEY: He has a majority. It's called -- in a democracy, it's called a majority. And a minority that says that it will call for a civil war --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute! Would you say it's more accurate to say that the president has a regional mandate rather than a national mandate?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, it would not be accurate to say that.

MR. O'DONNELL: He doesn't have any mandate. But look, he thought he had a mandate when he got 49 percent of the vote last time. So this guy's going to definitely behalf like he's got one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's look at the map again. Put it up. Put up the map. There it is. Now, do you see where the blues are?

MR. BUCHANAN: His point -- look, you're right about the states -- New York pays taxes, California. But the taxpayers in New York and California vote Republican. Most of your taxpayers who earn good incomes, say about $50,000, vote Republican.

MR. O'DONNELL: That's not true.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did Ronald Reagan get in his reelection bid?

MR. O'DONNELL: That's not what happened in the --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, Ronald Reagan carried every state but Minnesota, and he thinks they stole that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He carried 49 states, so it was an equally distributed national mandate, was it not?

MR. BUCHANAN: So did Nixon. So did Nixon. But look at the Senate and House votes --

MR. O'DONNELL: The highest-income voters voted for Kerry.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't deny that the president has a leadership mandate, but that's not to be confused with a national mandate. And what he's talking about, the sectionalism in the United States, led to the Civil War; it was not just slavery, you know that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, we would win this time.

MR. BLANKLEY: Jack Kennedy won by what, 112,000 votes. Your relative served admirably in that administration.

MR. O'DONNELL: He didn't have a mandate. He didn't have a mandate.

MR. BLANKLEY: And it started a whole new era in -- and positive era in American politics. The idea that winning by 3.5 million votes is a sectional, not a national, question --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are there deep regional differences in the United States?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, this is a wonderful country. (Cross talk.) And other than a few sore losers --

MS. CLIFT: No --

MR. BLANKLEY: -- the American people are going to be supporting and recognize they've elected him the new president.

MR. BUCHANAN: There are cultural, social --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there partisan -- is there intense partisan conflict?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, there is cultural, social and -- there's no doubt there are cultural, social and deep moral differences between blue folks, if you will, and red folks in America, especially when you see those evangelical Christians coming out and voting something like --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

MS. CLIFT: And just as the Supreme Court gave Bush the first -- his first term, the Massachusetts Supreme Court handed him this term --

MR. BUCHANAN: Margaret Marshall was indispensable.

MS. CLIFT: -- by putting gay marriage on the political map and letting the Republicans exploit it for all its worth.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Okay. Come January, 2005, when Congress reconvenes, will Bush still have fresh wind in his sails from the reelection victory? Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. And the Democrats are demoralized, and understandably so.


MS. CLIFT: Yes. The tax cuts are going to be made permanent, but he's going to bump into reality on the rest of his agenda. Privatizing Social Security is impossible with any kind of fiscal responsibility in mind.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, what do you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: He's certainly going to have wind in his sails. He's taking on a very substantial set of issues. If he accomplishes them, he'll become an even more historic figure. So I don't know whether he gets it all done, but each big accomplishment he does gain will give him even more wind in his sail. That's the idea of spending capital to gain accomplishments --

MS. CLIFT: And who pays for it? (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: The whole nation pays for it.

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

MR. O'DONNELL: The wind in his sails in January is entirely dependent on how the battle goes in Fallujah and whether we actually are close to having an election -- anything that resembles an election in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I will cue off that and say that looming Iraq situation will probably steal away the fresh air in his sails.

When we come back, values rule.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Values Rule

The top criterion in choosing a president this year was moral values; so said 22 percent of all voters. Of that 22 percent of all voters, 80 percent voted for President Bush. That means that some 21 million voters voted primarily on values and voted for Bush. And they were voting for one value more than any other: the value of traditional marriage between one woman and one man. Mr. Bush's proposed same-sex marriage ban amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was rejected four months ago by the Senate, struck the evangelical Christian community like a lightning bolt.

Reverend Jerry Johnston, an evangelical pastor in Kansas, describes the power of the issue of gay marriage among evangelicals, who now make up 40 percent of the U-S population.

REV. JERRY JOHNSTON: (From videotape.) And you're talking about, you know, 80 million people; you're talking about a good 350,000 churches. And I can tell you, these people did not stop talking about it. We all know this was a cause; it was a hill worth dying for. And it was that kind of spirit, I believe, that delivered a significant impact on this election. And I think even more than that, it sent a message to the American people that we're going to be able to build on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can build on it and vote on it. Statewide constitutional gay marriage bans were on the ballot in 11 states, and passed easily in all 11 states. One of those states: Ohio.

Question: Was this presidential election decided by the anti-gay vote? Tony Blankley?

MR. BLANKLEY: That vote -- it's not an anti-gay vote -- (light laughter) -- it's not an anti-gay vote. It's against sanctifying same-sex marriage, which is completely different from intolerance against people of different sexual orientations. But that certainly got out the voters in a way that nothing else would have. However, it was Bush's other features, including his leadership in war, that attracted these people in the first place. I think a lot of people in the Democratic Party have focused just on this one issue. And while that was the element that got more people out to vote, the whole set of values of the president --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, let's hear from Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: You take the gay marriage off the ballot in those states, and Kerry would be president. It's as simple as that.


The next frontier. Reverend Johnston's statement that evangelicals will, quote, "build on" their success in this election means one thing: judicial appointments.

REVEREND JERRY JOHNSTON (Kansas evangelical pastor): And now the great glee we have of appointing Supreme Court justices that would share the version of America of a conservative viewpoint, I mean, I can't tell you how happy of a day this is.

Question: Can the GOP cement forever, do you think, Eleanor, the allegiance of the evangelical voters by appointing Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and make other decisions?

MS. CLIFT: Well, this is the one area where Bush can very cleanly deliver to these voters who supported him. And he did not answer the question in the debate whether he approved of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. He dodged that question. And by having probably three appointments over the next three -- four years, he will put in place a Bush court that we will be talking about a generation from now. And I think that it will move to the right. Whether it will go so far as to overturn Roe v. Wade, which --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. CLIFT: -- has been settled law for over 30 years, if they did that, they would trigger a revolution in this country that would finally respond to Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is where the war comes, John. All right, this is where the war comes. Eleanor's right. This is where the war is really going to come. The president, I believe, has got to appoint strict constructionists and conservatives to the court, and every one of them's going to be asked, "What would you do about Roe v. Wade?" "How do you feel about Roe v. Wade."

I think the president's got to step up and make these appointments. It will be a battle that will make the Robert Bork battle, you know, look like a tea party. But I think the president has got to do it. If he doesn't do it, the sense of despair among the evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics -- frankly, folks like me who voted for Bush because of the court issue -- I think will be total.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, Bush --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got to move. He's got some great judges down there on the Fourth Circuit, Wilkinson, Luttig.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president is not going to turn over his presidency to evangelicals.

MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, yes, he is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he is not.

(Cross talk.)

MR. O'DONNELL: He already has.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No. No. They have served their purpose.

MR. BLANKLEY: Don't be ridiculous.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible) -- chief judge of the Fourth Circuit, he was an outstanding judge, a brilliant man, and I think I know how he would vote.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think they have become a political liability?

MR. O'DONNELL: I think the Bush court will overturn Roe. It will do it within these next four years. Absolutely. Then your blue and red map is going to be the blue states where abortion is legal, because Roe simply sends it back to the states. And again, you're going to have a country saying to itself, what is the relationship between California and Texas? And it's -- it will start to become virtually none.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Bigger values. Some evangelical clerics believe that the moral values net as it is cast today is too circumscribed, too shallow.

REV. C. WELTON GADDY (president, Interfaith Alliance): (From videotape.) You're not hearing today a discussion on the values of war and peace, economic disparities and educational disparities in our nation. You're hearing a focus on a very narrow definition of values.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's the opinion of Reverend C. Welton Gaddy, head of the Interfaith Alliance and himself an evangelical Christian.

Question: Are we defining -- are you defining, Buchanan and the other evangelicals, values too narrowly? Do you understand?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. Let me say this, John. What we believe is vitally important, if you're talking about -- the destruction of 42 million unborn children is far more important than whether or not the minimum wage is raised by 50 cents an hour.


MR. BUCHANAN: You can define values your way, and that's fine and vote for your values guy, Kerry. We define what we believe is vital and important in terms of values our way and we vote our way.

MS. CLIFT: And you craft it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You work -- wait a minute. You work -- you work for --

MS. CLIFT: You craft it in such a way that it becomes a political issue because the legislation on partial-birth abortion was crafted without any provision for the health of a mother, putting the unborn fetus above the health and the life of the mother, so that Democrats would not vote for it, so that it would become a campaign issue.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me get --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you a question.

MS. CLIFT: The most cynical behavior.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that there's moral value, moral content, moral dimension, moral volume in war and peace consideration? Do you think it's also present in distributive justice? Do we hear any of that -- any of that -- from the evangelical community --

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, let me answer one question.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- as Gaddy says? He says they concentrate on one area of moral concern and the rest of it, does it -- doesn't -- gets short shrift. Does he have a point?

MR. BLANKLEY: John, as I was -- he has a point because it was a point I was making previously, that you can't just narrowcast your definition of morals or values. It's a different set of things for different people. The voters determine what, for each one, is the set that they care about. And yes, obviously war and peace is a moral issue, and yes, economic issues can be a moral issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think they're buried -- they're buried under this?

MR. BLANKLEY: But I happen to think that in this election --


MR. BLANKLEY: -- there were certain issues that probably brought out more voters.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, first of all, Karl Rove had to get the president to sign off on a constitutional amendment. Then he had to get the House to vote for it. Then he let the Senate vote against it --

MR. BLANKLEY: He didn't let the Senate vote against it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and that gave it the elevation so that this -- this was the big fulcrum that gave the president his presidency.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, Margaret Marshall did it, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So is that Machiavellian?

MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah. Yes, and they worked hard to get gay marriage on the ballot, for example. But look, you're never going to get that side of the world to look at the protection of their pensions, for example, as a moral issue, and the lies that corporate America has constructed in order to evade pension responsibilities. It is a moral issue.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. O'DONNELL: But they're never going to see it that way.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction. Who is the Democratic Party leader for the next four years, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: The titular leader is either Clinton or Kerry. I believe it's Bill Clinton.


MS. CLIFT: The titular leader is John Kerry, but it's Hillary Clinton behind the scenes, by default. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You said it.

Go ahead. Quickly.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think Howard Dean will emerge --


MR. BLANKLEY: -- and his organization.

MR. O'DONNELL: John Kerry's the first losing presidential candidate to not be unemployed. He is going to be the functional leader in the United States Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bill Clinton is back.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Winners and Losers

SEN. KERRY: (From videotape.) In an American election, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as Americans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A pious sentiment, John, but let's get realistic. There are election losers. Here's one on my right, Lawrence O'Donnell.

MR. O'DONNELL: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to name another election loser?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, another sad election loser that day was my daughter, Elizabeth (sp), who was running for president of the fifth grade. So it was a complete wipeout for us that day.

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, no. Now for that, I'm sorry.

MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah. And -- but I think the big loser in the presidential campaign was the truth. There was an unprecedented level of lying and distortion, whatever word people want to use for it.

John Kerry came out and said he's for preemptive war, that nothing would stop him from doing preemptive war; and he identified in one debate what he called a global test, where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you're doing what you're doing, and you can prove to the world you did it for legitimate reason. That was lied about the next day as being requiring the approval of France. And people went along. The press went along with this, not exposing it for what it was.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Bruce Springsteen was a winner because he delivered Wisconsin to John Kerry?

MR. BLANKLEY: (Chuckles.) No, I don't think so. I think the biggest loser in this election are moderate Clinton Democrats. I think the energy has now moved to the left side of the Democratic Party and that the Democratic Leadership Council and the centrists and the Liebermans and Evan Bayhs and the rest are going to lose out in the competition for the leadership of the Democratic Party over the next few years.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think, John, the big winners were -- and Lawrence will not like this -- the swift boat vets, undoubtedly, the ones that took Kerry down.

Big loser: big media and especially CBS, "60 Minutes" and Dan Rather. I think they've suffered real permanent damage.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Hillary a winner?

MS. CLIFT: Hillary's a winner because people are already sporting Hillary 2008 buttons. But another winner is Teresa Heinz Kerry, who I think never really was lusting after the White House. She's going to go back to her life and her lifestyle and be a lot happier.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Hillary's too liberal or will be deemed such by the Democrats, so that she will not be nominated and that she cannot -- she -- because she cannot carry the red states?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I don't think the struggle is over liberal -- I don't think anybody looks at Kerry's message and says he was too liberal. He didn't say anything clearly enough. The Democrats don't have a clear message. (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: You think? You think?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is going to warn you even more, O'Donnell. Don't you think, Patrick, that Zell Miller was a winner because he crossed lines in his party, and he wound up in the winning camp?

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, he's a huge winner, and let me tell you also what -- a winner. The Republican convention was one of the most disciplined, focused and, as Tony said, ruthless, purposeful and successful I've ever seen, I ever seen.

MR. O'DONNELL: (Chuckles.) It sure was. That's --

MR. BUCHANAN: Zell Miller's a winner. And I think John Edwards is a bit of a loser.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was Karl Rove one of the biggest winners --

MR. BUCHANAN: Huge. Huge winner.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that sinister genius --

MR. BLANKLEY: He's not sinister, but he is a genius.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that cunning mastermind?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, yeah, he --

MS. CLIFT: I'm speaking up, on part of the women, to Laura Bush -- big winner. She helped deliver this victory for the president --

MR. BUCHANAN: She did indeed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very, very true.

MS. CLIFT: -- because she's a very calming influence in his life. No -- nothing not to like about Laura Bush.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bush is the big winner. #### END_