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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL:
PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC;
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK;
TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES;
VAUGHN VERVERS, NATIONAL JOURNAL HOTLINE

DATE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2004

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Shock and Awe II.

Fallujah, the city of mosques, the size of Albany, New York, now scorched-earth. Americans have taken over what had been the largest base for Iraq's insurgents. But it has come at a bloody price -- nearly 40 U.S. troops killed in the Fallujah battle, which lasted 11 days.

The month of November alone, with 10 days to go, is already the second-deadliest since the war began, with over 90 U.S. troops dead. In a classified report published by the New York Times, senior intelligence officers of the First Marine Expeditionary Force warned that unless the
U.S. maintains a sizable presence in Fallujah, the insurgency, which has shown, quote/unquote, "outstanding resilience," will rebound, January's elections will be disrupted, the training of Iraqi forces will be undercut, and terrorist recruitment vastly enhanced.

Others echo the latter point.

SHIBLEY TELHAMI (BROOKINGS INSTITUTION): (From videotape.) We have, yes, sent a signal that we're willing to crush an insurgency if need be. On the other hand, we've created far more enemies and far more hate
for the U.S., both in Iraq and outside.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At week's end, the U.S. death toll in Fallujah was 51.

Question: Let's assume that the United States has crushed the insurgency in Fallujah. Let's also assume that the Marine intelligence report is correct, that if the United States forces do not continue to occupy the city, the insurgents will regroup. Does this argue that the only
way to pacify Fallujah is to maintain the U.S. military occupation in force in Fallujah? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Temporarily yes, John. And you've raised one of the important points. There is clearly a down side to the victory in Fallujah; that's the collateral damage, the destruction of the city of mosques. And any number of people will probably be recruited to the
insurgency.

But the real problem here is the Iraqi police and the army. In Mosul, something like 80 percent of them apparently ran, the police, when the insurgents moved into that city and captured police stations. Unless
and until we can get a sufficient Iraqi force to do this occupation work and to do the command and control in places like Fallujah, we cannot win the war. But Fallujah was the necessary thing to do. You couldn't leave them with a sanctuary and base camp of operations.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: It's another echo of Vietnam. You destroy the village to save it. We might as well have dropped leaflets, told everybody to get out because we were going to carpet-bomb. That's essentially what
we've done. We've razed the city. And the whole point is that nobody can stand up to U.S. military strength. But what do you the day after and the month after? You have to hold the ground that you've taken in an insurgency.

And this is a rolling insurgency. They dispersed to other cities. There are not enough troops to put down the insurgency everywhere it is cropping up. And that goes back to the fundamental error of the Rumsfeld doctrine, and that is that you could go in with this light, mobile
force and not put the boots on the ground that are needed to do the job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's go to her point. If we maintain, Tony, the force strength necessary to pacify Fallujah, how are we going to handle the other hot spots that are springing up all over the place, particularly in the Sunni triangle?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I've always argued for --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We don't have the troop strength to do it.

MR. BLANKLEY: I've always argued we should increase the troop strength in Iraq, and we still need some more. Pat is largely right in his analysis. Eleanor is, of course, completely wrong in saying that we flattened the city.

MS. CLIFT: Thank you. (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: You're welcome. Just look at the pictures. The reason we lost 51 brave Marines is because we didn't flatten the city with air power, which we could have done, and some people thought we should have
done. Instead we did it at the minimal damage possible to take the city.

Now, there's been substantial damage, but we did not flatten the city. The city is perfectly repairable. We are going to need to keep the Marines or Army division in there at least through January, because I don't think we're going to have enough reliable Iraqi police in the short term.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Kofi Annan's letter to President Bush, to British Prime Minister Blair and to the Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi, sent two weeks ago: "Ultimately, the problem of insecurity can only be
addressed through dialogue and an inclusive political process. The threat or actual use of force not only risks deepening the sense of alienation of certain communities but would also reinforce perceptions among the Iraqi population of a continued military occupation."

The Fallujah offensive appears to have caused the spreading of the insurgency elsewhere. So is Kofi Annan right?

MR. VERVERS: I'm not sure it caused the spreading of insurgency. I think it caused it to be dispersed. It bought us a little bit of time. Who are you going to negotiate -- who are you going to have this dialogue with, I would ask Kofi Annan. Are you going to have it with these insurgents? How are you going to sit down? We couldn't -- you don't have anybody to talk to. They had no choice but to go in there and try to get rid of these guys, at least get them spread out to buy yourself some time. Is it going to be enough time to the elections? We'll see.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think what Annan may be referring to is getting our European allies into the act to assist with dialogue and also some of Zarqawi's --

MR. BUCHANAN: He is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of this -- some of Zarqawi's lower-level lieutenants?

MR. BUCHANAN: He is overloading the circuits, Mr. Annan is, and he is interfering here. And he's done it repeatedly, John. Let me tell you something. The whole U.N. situation is in difficult straits in this country. You not only have traditional conservatives against it. The neoconservatives are now against it. The administration is angry with it, and so is middle America. Kofi Annan is being less help than he is being --

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me add --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, let me --

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me add one quick point to that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. BLANKLEY: Not only everybody Pat said, but the U.N. employees are now going to vote no confidence in Annan because he's been covering up sexual abuse there. He is on the way out and he is, I think, just trying to cover --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to ask --

MS. CLIFT: That's scapegoating the U.N. at a time when you need -- it's the only world organization we have. And it's imprimatur on this venture will encourage the allies to come in. In fact, the French president has said that while he deplores the fact that we went into this
country and invaded this country, that he understands the need for stability and seems to be suggesting that he is going to help. So you don't want to dump all over the U.N. and the allies when you need them.

MR. BUCHANAN: But he ought to be more diplomatic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any indication --

MR. BUCHANAN: He ought to be more diplomatic, Eleanor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any indication that the Fallujah offensive of the United States and the others participating in this has crushed or broken the will of the insurgents so that they may not be expanding their area of aggression?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the Marine general --

MS. CLIFT: I don't see that.

MR. BLANKLEY: The Marine general in charge said he's broken the back of the insurgency. I think that that's been said by some other generals on background, to be a little overly optimistic. But there's no doubt they killed 1,200 to 1,500 mid-level lieutenants to Zarqawi. This was a very successful decimation of the middle-level ranks.

MS. CLIFT: And how many civilians did they kill? And you have to win over the civilian population or the insurgents can come right back in and get harbored.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's move on.

MR. BLANKLEY: This isn't Vietnam.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got an election coming --

MR. BLANKLEY: We haven't lost the civilians.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got an election coming up in less than two months in Iraq. Do you think now that the Sunnis are so estranged, by reason of Fallujah, by reason of the horrid videotape of the American soldier shooting the wounded and unarmed, purportedly unarmed, et cetera, in
a mosque, playing repeatedly on Arab television and on the net, all over the world, do you think that we have reached a point where the Sunnis are now going to stay out of the election process, denied of legitimacy? Because you're talking about 20 percent of the population. Your thoughts on that?

MR. VERVERS: I don't believe that there's a candidate yet from that segment of the population.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that means no election.

MR. VERVERS: I think that's a distinct possibility.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That means no election.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: A truncated election. It's going to probably mean a truncated Iraq.

MR. VERVERS: It's a troubled one, that's right.

MR. BUCHANAN: We don't know, John -- look, you had to do this. Everybody knows you're going in and there's going to be pain; there's going to be negative consequences. A lot of things you say are valid. But
you cannot let Fallujah, Ramadi and these other sanctuaries exist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know what happens if the elections don't take place.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're going to take place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The contention and the power struggle internally continue, and you're setting the stage for what we all think will inevitably happen, which is partitioning. True or false?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: True or false?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you may have a point. But, look, I think they're going to take place. They're going to take place in the north. They're going to take place in the Shi'a area. And it's not been decided that they're not going to take place in the Sunni --

MS. CLIFT: A truncated election and a truncated Iraq.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. BLANKLEY: The reason the Sunnis may yet participate is they know that if they don't, they're going to have the rest of the Shi'a and Kurdish country living in relative independence and a heavily occupied Sunni triangle indefinitely, and they're going to be cut out of the
progress. So they have a strong motivation to get in. We'll see whether they do or not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think that's going to deter them one bit, that process. I don't see that.

MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know, not all of the Sunnis are behind the fighting and the killing. And very few of them, I would guess, are behind Zarqawi. They may not like us, but they cannot like what Zarqawi is doing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the human toll: U.S. military dead in Iraq, 1,217; U.S. military amputeed, wounded, injured, mentally ill, all now out of Iraq, 30,600; Iraqi civilians dead, 100,000-plus, a conservative
and independent estimate from a Johns Hopkins University study.

Exit question: In terms of making Iraq more secure, has the offensive in Fallujah achieved its objective? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: We'll see. I'm not sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a second.

MR. BUCHANAN: Tentatively, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it's made Iraq, the whole country of Iraq --

MR. BUCHANAN: In the short term, yes; the long term, I don't know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Despite the breakouts elsewhere in the country.

MR. BUCHANAN: In the short term, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MS. CLIFT: No, it's finger in the dike unless we commit the troops to do the job. And the fact that that wounded Iraqi prisoner was lying there for 24 hours without food and water, wasn't guarded, is because we don't have even enough troops to guard the wounded that are taken
during combat. I mean, it's an outrage that they have left our troops so undersupplied.

MR. BLANKLEY: It's not an outrage. This guy is a terrorist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.

MR. BLANKLEY: This guy was a terrorist. It's not an outrage to leave him lying there in his blood. But, look, as far as --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the Marines should get to the bottom of this right away?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, they certainly should, and a quick review of the facts, because I think they're going to find out that they don't need to go to courts-martial. But we'll find out. Regarding your question --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They've got to get this off --

MR. BLANKLEY: Regarding your question, I don't think it makes Iraq secure. I think it moves us another step down towards the moment when we might get some security there. But obviously this alone doesn't deliver security.

MR. VERVERS: Momentarily it helps, but I think down the road these guys are going to come back someplace.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we're all correct that (it kind of factors out?).

Issue Two: Clearing the Decks.

It took less than one week. Six members of the Bush Cabinet resigned; six resignations approved. Outgoing: Attorney General Ashcroft, Commerce Secretary Evans, Agriculture Secretary Veneman, Education Secretary
Paige, Energy Secretary Abraham, Secretary of State Powell.

Incoming: Albert Gonzales, attorney general; Margaret Spellings, Education secretary; Condoleezza Rice, secretary of State.

Question: Powell is out; Rice is in. Is this a triumph for Rumsfeld and for Cheney? Tony Blankley.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, it's a triumph for Bush. He's broken the hearts of the Democrats twice. First he won election and now he's appointing his own people to his own offices. And it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the significance of my pairing Rumsfeld and Cheney?

MR. BLANKLEY: It certainly suggests more coherence at the senior level of his foreign-policy apparatus. You're going to continue to have options raised with the president. But it's going to be more like the
Nixon administration, where you did not have extended debates at the highest level once the president had made policy. And you may remember that administration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president does not like, quote/unquote, Monday morning quarterbacking. Right?

MR. VERVERS: He doesn't like that?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he's going to create a situation where he doesn't have any. Correct?

MR. VERVERS: Right. It's called winning. It's called "I won, and I'm going to put these people in that I want to put in." Elections have consequences.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So banish the dissenters, right?

MR. VERVERS: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why does he want that degree of power -- how shall I say this without it sounding like it's a negative?

MR. BUCHANAN: Unanimity.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why does he want that degree of authority, presidential authority, so that -- what does he see coming? Does he see Iran coming? Does he see North Korea coming? Does he want a straight shot into handling that, when there will doubtless be enormous national
tension?

MR. BUCHANAN: He wants to remove -- John, what he's been getting in his first term is they pick up the Post and the New York Times; somebody at the State Department is leaking and trashing him, and Powell is sort
of out there and not altogether on board, and you get other folks, especially the CIA.

So he sent people out there to CIA to purge the place of the Bush haters and to clean out the State Department, where he's not going to succeed. What he wants, John, is a sense of unanimity. When he says
something, orders will be carried out. And that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let me ask you a question. Is this foreign policy by a purge of the doubters?

MS. CLIFT: It's foreign policy by fiat. And what he's doing is shutting down any kind of dissent, any kind of opposing views. I mean, Condi Rice will go and do what she does best, which is to parrot the administration line. Nobody's quite sure what her views are.

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh --

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me, I want to finish here. She lined up with Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld either because she agreed with them or she got rolled. But whichever way, this solidifies Dick Cheney's hold on the government. He is the master of the universe here when it comes to foreign
policy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then we don't have to worry that much --

MS. CLIFT: And incompetence is so rewarded. I mean, Condi Rice --

MR. BLANKLEY: Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MS. CLIFT: -- didn't see terrorism coming. She went out and really lied about what she knew, what she didn't know, what the president knew, what he didn't know. She gets promoted. Colin Powell is out. And Donald Rumsfeld, who to me is the biggest incompetent in this
administration the way he's handled this war, gets to keep his job. I mean, it's an administration that doesn't admit mistakes and rewards incompetence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before we go to Tony, do you think that Colin Powell was sacked or do you think he quit on his own?

MS. CLIFT: Well, he apparently set out some conditions under which he would stay, which included greater engagement in the Middle East conflict between Israel and Palestine, and he was turned down. So he was not invited to stay.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So it was a de facto sacking, was it not?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because the president did not accept the terms.

MR. BLANKLEY: He always said he was going to be one-termer, and he was. He didn't turn into a two-termer, which he may have wanted and he didn't get.

I want to go back to what Eleanor said -- parroting. I think this is demeaning of Condoleezza Rice to say that she is parroting. Now, you can question --

MS. CLIFT: Okay, championing.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me finish my thought. You can question her managerial skills. I think that's very much yet to be determined whether she's going to be able to manage the State Department. But she is not a parrot. She was, in fact, the instructor to the president when he was
still governor on foreign policy --

MS. CLIFT: Then he's the parrot.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- and is very much her own person intellectually. And it's very unfair for you to say that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn, is there any polling being done on any of these issues?

MR. VERVERS: Well, I'm sure we're going to see some in the next few days after this all settles down. But, look, I mean, people who oppose Bush always underestimate the ability for him to lay out what he's
going to do and then carry through with it. I mean, you look at the Bush campaign, the way that was run, you look at his pattern of behavior, he's going to do what he says he's going to do.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this is not Cheney. This is George W. Bush is in charge of this show. That is the message that comes out from here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question, cueing off Buchanan. Has Bush installed a team that will really let Bush be Bush?

MR. BUCHANAN: Bush is czar. (Laughs.) You put it exactly right. There will be nobody saying no.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Whoever is whoever's brain, we're going to get four more years of the same.

MR. BLANKLEY: With Goss and Rice and Cheney and Rumsfeld, this is an all-Patton foreign-policy team, and it's the team that Bush wants.

MR. VERVERS: He's installed --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On to Berlin. (Laughter.)

MR. VERVERS: He's the CEO. What he says is going to be carried out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're all correct.

Issue Three: Lame Duckery.

Congress returned to Washington this week for a lame-duck session, the period between the November 2 elections and the January 3 swearing in of the new Congress, the date when the lame ducks who lose and retire
surrender their seats. This lame-duck session lasted five days and was the 13th lame-duck session in the nation's 228-year history.

Highlights: The raised-eyebrow maneuver. In the House, Republicans struck down an 11-year-old 1993 party rule that prevents a congressman from holding a leadership position if he or she is under indictment. Under this week's rule, a conviction is required.

Immediately this move puts a shield around Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whom a Texas grand jury might soon indict. The Republican majority leader and the Democratic minority leader hardly see eye to eye on this one.

HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER TOM DELAY (R-TX): (From videotape.) The Democrats have decided that they're going to use politics of personal destruction to gain power.

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From videotape.) It's just interesting that the first order of business following the election on the part of the Republican majority is to lower their ethical standards.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: The Republicans risk the perception that they're lowering their ethical standards in order to let Majority Leader Tom DeLay keep his leadership post. Is it smart politics for Republicans to take that risk? Vaughn.

MR. VERVERS: Of course it's smart politics. These guys won the election. Again, there are consequences to these elections. They are going to consolidate power. They're going to do what they can. I think the only risk in this is they are slowly turning themselves into the
Democrats of 20 years ago, where they just became the old rotten sort of top-heavy system.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose Tom DeLay, hopefully not, but he's indicted on a felony. Then there is great controversy and an extension of the trial. Does that mean that the Republicans are now going to have to endure that rather ugly phenomenon?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, it's not. Let me explain. The steering committee can still remove him if they need to.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that part of the deal, do you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. But the reason they did this is because you've got this partisan DA down in Texas. He brought a phony charge against Kay Bailey Hutchison when she was a freshman; had to drop it. He's threatened his own Democrats down there in different factions. And they're not going to let a Texas Democratic DA decide who the majority leader of the House is, and they shouldn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have the House Republicans played into the hands of the Democrats with this issue? I ask you.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think they have. I don't think they should have done it. If the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really? Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: Because it looks like they're making a privileged position for DeLay. If DeLay is indicted -- Tony is right about this guy -- DeLay could stand aside and still run the show from behind the scenes, which is what he should have done.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --

MS. CLIFT: I have no sympathy for Republicans complaining about a runaway prosecutor and partisan prosecutor after what they submitted Bill Clinton to.

MR. BLANKLEY: I thought you would have -- I would think you would have sympathy. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: No sympathy. It's payback.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. Okay, 7.4 to 8.2; the lame-duck Congress this week raised the national debt ceiling of the United States from $7.4 trillion to $8.2 trillion. Question: How does this
debt extension square with Mr. Bush's campaign promise to cut the deficit in half over the next four years? Now, don't give me green eye shade to explain this away, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I can. It's very simple.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I understand we're talking about the debt and not the deficit.

MR. BUCHANAN: But, look, even if Bush cuts it in half, you're going to raise that again, because you'll add more than $800 million -- or $800 billion -- in four years. That's going to be raised again, and Bush can still make his pledge.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On a related budget matter, a change in the figures for the cost of the war in Iraq, and those budget figures have changed in the following way -- and we will see that right there on the screen. It used to be $4 billion. Now it's $5.8 billion. It used to be a
billion dollars a week. Now the Iraq war costs $5.8 billion a month. Break that out over the cost of a week and you can see that as the Pentagon says, that's an increase of almost one-half. What's the political
significance of that?

MR. VERVERS: Well, John Kerry was a little bit low in his estimate of $200 billion this war is going to cost, it looks like. This is -- there's no end in sight. That's the problem.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the political impact?

MR. VERVERS: Well, the political impact is they're going to have to continue to spend money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we've got elections coming up in two years.

MR. VERVERS: Well, that's a long way off, but they can start worrying about it right now. You talk about the deficit. You talk about the debt. There are a lot of hawks in the Republican Party, budget hawks, who are out there trying to get away from this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that this argues -- first of all, he's got to have the elections take place in January. If he has the elections take place in January, he can begin a phased, staggered draw-down of troops. Is that the political answer to this for Bush?

MR. VERVERS: He's not going to be able to stop spending money on it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: The Clinton Library.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY): (From videotape.) The building is like my husband. It's open, it's expansive, it's welcoming, it's filled with life.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) A British magazine said it looked like a glorified house trailer. And I thought, "Well, that's about me. You know, I'm a little red and a little blue."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Clinton opened his $165 million library called the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock this week. Inside the library, 2 million photographs, 80 million documents, 21 million e-mails, 80,000 artifacts. On hand at the dedication, thousands of the Democratic faithful and foreign and domestic dignitaries, including ex-presidents.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) The president is not the kind to give up a fight. His staffers were known to say, "If Clinton were the Titanic, the iceberg would sink."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hollywood glitterati and rock stars also added to the festivities.

Here's a line from the library's exhibit on the Clinton impeachment. Quote: "The impeachment battle was not about the Constitution or the rule of law but was instead about a quest for power. The president's
opponents could not win at the ballot box," unquote.

Eleanor, you think that's a fair estimate, don't you?

MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, I was there with the Democratic faithful. I was there as a reporter. I got lots of Arkansas mud on my shoes. It was really a messy day. But Al Gore said to the president afterwards that 30 years ago it rained at Woodstock and people are still
talking about the concert, so forget the rain.

Look, I think the exhibit is entirely appropriate. By 1998, there were seven independent counsels of the Clinton administration spending $100 million, Ken Starr $70 million, he alone, resulting in one indictment
for public misconduct.

Let the public decide. Let the tourists decide whether this was an appropriate use of time and money.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you take note -- I don't know whether you saw the video -- but the president was sitting next to the president, Clinton next to Bush, and Clinton looked irate. Did you notice any of that?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, I saw that.

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. BLANKLEY: He was glaring. He was just staring.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was kind of puzzling. Maybe he was detached and thinking about his remarks. Maybe he was -- you know, it was very troubling, I'm sure, that it was raining a lot.

MR. BLANKLEY: Raining.

MS. CLIFT: It was raining. It was really --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the legacy of Bill Clinton?

MS. CLIFT: The presidents were all very gracious.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: When will Rumsfeld be out?

MR. BUCHANAN: By D-Day -- June 6th.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I think he's got another year in him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Not determined. It could be quite a while.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn.

MR. VERVERS: Thanksgiving next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: July 4th next year. Happy Thanksgiving. Gobble, Gobble.


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