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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT, AND JAMES HARDING

TAPED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2005
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 29-30, 2005


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Exit Signs. The cost of the Iraq war continues to grow. U.S. troops on Wednesday suffered their deadliest day since the start of the war: 37 American soldiers dead, 31 in a helicopter crash near the Jordanian border. For the week, 44 American soldiers dead. On the dollar cost of the war, the White House said on Tuesday it needs an additional $80 billion, almost entirely for Iraq, bringing the total price tag of the war to $300 billion.

The carnage in Iraq grows more horrifying by the day. The red ink gets redder. Americans are now saying enough is enough. When asked whether it was worth going to war in Iraq, 39 percent say yes, a new low. There's a demand now for an exit strategy and a schedule. Forty-seven percent of Americans want U.S. troops out of Iraq within a year.

European members of the coalition are also saying enough is enough. Ukraine is withdrawing its 1,600 troops from Iraq within five months, a move backed by new President Viktor Yushchenko. Poland is cutting its troop presence by a third, from 2,400 to 1,700, within a month. The Netherlands' 1,400 troops will be out within the next two months. Portugal will withdraw its 120-man police force within two weeks. Hungary has already pulled its 300 troops from Iraq, and Spain withdrew all of its troops last year. France, Germany and Belgium have never sent any military to Iraq, and are now refusing to take part in a new training mission in Baghdad. Also, Tony Blair wants his troops out. He's calling for, quote, unquote, "timelines" to turn over large parts of Iraq to Iraqi security forces, laying the groundwork for a complete withdrawal.

On Friday, five more U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq, bringing the total dead for the week to 49. On another matter, in an interview published Friday, President Bush was asked whether the United States would pull its troops from Iraq if the newly elected government requests it. He said, quote, "Absolutely. This is a sovereign government. They're on their feet."

Question. President Bush has consistently told the public he will stay in Iraq, quote, "as long as it takes." Unquote. So which is it? We leave when they tell us to leave, or we stay as long as it takes?

Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: The president's exactly right. When the Shi'a emerge from this election extremely strong and dominant, if Ayatollah Sistani tells us it's time for the Americans to go, we would have to go and begin to program our departure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that likely?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it's not likely for this reason: The American military force at this point is the only force that stands between the insurgency and retaking Baghdad. So they are not going to ask the Americans to go. But I think where the president is headed and this country is headed is to put pressure on the Iraqis -- you're going to have to eventually defend your own democracy and liberty -- to train and equip their military as rapidly as they can, and to look to a time when the United States can begin its withdrawal at the earliest possible point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: If training the Iraqis is the answer, the numbers there are evidently way too low for them to assume any kind of responsibility. And the question is, do we stay knowing the American bodybags continue, or do we find another way out? I think everybody wants to go through the election this weekend, but I think it's been pretty obvious for at least half a year that this war is unwinnable, and people are beginning to talk not about cutting and running, but finding a graceful exit strategy, a la Vietnam, where you declare victory, but you declare victory in a way that it's not such an outright lie. And finding that balance is going to be very difficult.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, the Pentagon announced this week that American troops are likely to face a fierce insurgency in Iraq for at least another and will remain in Iraq at current force levels, which is 157,000, for as long as two to five more years.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So how does this -- how does this conform to what we've just heard.

MR. BLANKLEY: You mean from the panel? This panel has been for about a year and a half predicting an exit strategy almost weekly, and I've been predicting not an exit strategy. There hasn't been one. There isn't an exit strategy. The president merely said the obvious, that if they kicked us out, we'd leave. But nobody believes that that's going to happen. And in fact, I don't believe the president has an exit strategy. I think what he said at the beginning and has said every time he's been asked is the truth -- we're going to stay as long as it takes. And these are all fantasy exit strategies that people who opposed the war before the war started keep projecting onto the president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the consensus view among U.S. intelligence agencies? Do you know, James Harding. And welcome back.

MR. HARDING: Always nice to see you. I certainly don't know whether there's a consensus view on it. In my experience with the U.S. intelligence, there's not a consensus view.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want me to enlighten you?

MR. HARDING: Yes, I'd be --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sectarian fighting will increase following the elections, and civil war is a distinct possibility.

MR. HARDING: Well, it's been the case that people in intelligence have been warning that there are a range of possibilities, and civil war is the worst possible outcome and one that becomes increasingly likely.

I'd just like to say, I think this has been an increasingly disconcerting month. And the reason is that the gap between the official reality and the real reality seems to be getting ever wider, whether it is the 15 or so countries who have either scaled back or pulled out of Iraq; whether it is the real numbers of Iraqis who are trained and can take over from U.S. troops. Even this week, the fact that Tony Blair was talking about timelines for drawing down troops, and then when the president was asked about the same thing, it seemed the president and Tony Blair had not consulted on this issue. I mean, it's very disconcerting.

And I have to say I agree with Tony; I don't think people really are talking about the exit strategy yet in the White House. I think this is something that people are talking about in the press. But in the White House, they think they're going to be there for a long time to come.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Blair is talking about an exit strategy?

MR. HARDING: Blair was talking about a redeployment more than an exit strategy. He's saying that there are 14 out of the 18 provinces which are stable and which can be handed over quite quickly to Iraqi forces. But there are four provinces where greater numbers of U.S. and coalition troops are needed. So I think he's not talking about a reduction of numbers.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a Sunni -- it is not a American-Iraqi war, it is a Sunni-American war. And not all the Sunnis are for this war. But I'll tell you, John, I don't understand why a Sunni, for example, would brave fire and explosives to go to the polls to participate in an election which are going to put the Shi'a in charge of his country forever. So I think you've got a long-term permanent problem with the Sunnis.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's also plans by the Pentagon for a permanent base in Iraq. Did you notice that?

MR. BUCHANAN: They have plans for four or five major bases --

MS. CLIFT: Well, yeah. I mean, I think they have designs on 14 bases in Iraq, which is one of the reasons why I think Tony may be right, that they're not looking for an immediate way out.

But I don't think the American public is going to sustain the kind of casualties we're seeing now into the summer. And if this continues, it's going to color the president's whole domestic agenda. And it seems to me that at some point they're going to decide that this is unwinnable and they're going to find a Vietnam-like declare victory and get out, and let them -- let the Sunnis and the Shi'ites have at it.

MR. BUCHANAN: The people will force -- Tony, in my judgment -- the American people, if there's no -- if they don't see anything happening in four months, six months, eight months, the American people will force an exit strategy, in my judgment, on the president or the president will lose --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If they believe that the game is not worth the candle.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, if they cannot -- if the president cannot demonstrate that we're making progress in training greater and greater number of Iraqis and working down the insurgency, and at least beginning to draw American troops, they won't go for an endless war. I don't believe it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Condoleezza Rice was confirmed for the post of secretary of State this week, but there were 13 votes against her, and that was the largest number of votes against in a 150 years. Was this not a rebuke to the administration on its policy in Iraq, do you think, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: It's a vote of no confidence in the U.S. foreign policy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a rebuke?

MS. CLIFT: Oh, absolutely. And I think there was some sharp questioning of Condoleezza Rice. But what's amazing to me is the administration continues in sort of a parallel reality ignoring what's going on on the ground in Iraq and sort of acting as though it's just the messengers or it's people opposed to the war and not reporting the real facts.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the Democrats were saying, "don't blame us, blame the Republicans" in the way they rebuked Condoleezza Rice so that it would be very clear to the American people and the world that this is a Republican rap, not a Democratic rap?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I think -- I mean, I think the public knows the Democrats overall haven't supported this. I think it's noteworthy that shrewd politicians like Hillary Clinton voted to confirm Dr. Rice and others, such as Boxer and the disheartened Mr. Kerry and -- with the exception of Evan Bayh, the lineup of the most liberal Democratic senators voted against her. I think that it doesn't work to the advantage of the Democratic Party to pick on that woman.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You attended the press conference of the president this week. Now you characterized that as a presidential clarification rather than a presidential press conference. What did you mean by that?

MR. HARDING: Well, it was quite interesting. When he came in -- you know, it was very clear what the message is from the moment the president walks in. His first sentence was this is a project, the ending of tyranny in the world, which will take generations. And so clearly he wanted to get the message out that he wasn't going to start a rolling revolution around the world over the next four years.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was he revoking his inaugural address?

MR. HARDING: I think he was very concerned that a large number of people -- not internationally, but here at home and within his own party -- were hugely alarmed by his inaugural address.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was that alarm justified on the basis of the inaugural address?

MR. HARDING: Yes, it was because what it said was we are a party that is not only committed to ending tyranny, but we will stand up for dissent and for dissidents everywhere. And if the U.S. does not deliver on that promise, then both the word of the U.S. and also the lives of dissenters and dissidents --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it surprise you how tin the ear is of this administration, what a tin ear they have? Do you remember we went through -- we have "Old Europe" and "New Europe?" In other words, the speech was crafted so poorly --

MR. HARDING: No, the speech was beautifully --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the inaugural address --

MR. HARDING: The speech was beautifully crafted. I have to say I thought it was lyrical and uplifting. The problem was, how can a president who first pictured himself as a maker of a humble foreign policy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it was --

MR. HARDING: -- then become so Manichaean, utopian --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was crafted poorly because it left either a confused or an erroneous impression. That's a poor speech.

MR. BUCHANAN: It wasn't confused at all, John.

MS. CLIFT: Well, I want to go -- I want to go back -- I want to go back --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?

MR. BUCHANAN: It was not confused.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor speak.

MS. CLIFT: I want to go back to the notion that Democrats were picking on that woman. Condoleezza Rice has done nothing to demonstrate that she should be rewarded by being elevated to secretary of State. She was a major architect of the Iraq war. She was supposedly in charge, put in charge of the Iraq reconstruction. She didn't cover herself with glory in the pre-9/11. What, other than her loyalty to President Bush, makes her qualified to be secretary of State?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Senator Edward Kennedy this week said that right after the elections we should draw down at least 12,000 troops because the U.S. occupation in Iraq is what is feeding the insurgency. Is he right on both counts? Number one, begin the troop draw down now. Number two, our troops are making the insurgency bigger and worse.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, clearly the insurgency is a Sunni uprising against the American presence, John, but the American presence is now the only thing that prevents that expanded insurgency from winning the war. I do not think the president should announce right after this election that we're drawing down troops. But I think he's got to tell the Iraqis that, look, we are turning around and coming out; your democracy is going to be, in the near future, your own business; you're going to win it or you're going to lose it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that the American occupation is not making the insurgency bigger and worse?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is the cause of the insurgency, but it's the only thing that prevents the insurgency --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you call that situation, besides a dilemma?

MR. BUCHANAN: That is exactly what it is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What else is it?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a conundrum. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: When Secretary Rumsfeld was asked if we needed more troops in Iraq, he said no, because they would only become targets, which begs the question of what they're doing there now.

Senator Kennedy is right, but it's still a minority view even within the Democratic Party.

MR. BLANKLEY: I want to get --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MS. CLIFT: But after this election, more people are going to come out and call for an exit strategy.

MR. BLANKLEY: It's also true that the American invasion on D-Day caused increased production of Nazi materiel. Of course the insurgency is responding to our presence there, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be there to get the job done we want to do and to defeat the insurgency.

As far as Kennedy's statement is concerned -- by the way, we're running a cartoon this weekend in the Washington Times showing a car sinking in a river with Iraq in the back, and Kennedy running out saying, "I'm getting out of here." I think it was disgraceful for him to say on the weekend before the election, one of the most famous names in American politics, to have him undercutting the election in Iraq by saying we're getting out was an absolute disgrace.

MS. CLIFT: Maybe we should do a cartoon of Bush with his drunken driving charge and associate that with Iraq, just to follow up on your --

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, when you edit a paper, go ahead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to move on.

What did you think of his mindless comparison of World War II with the Iraqi war?

MR. HARDING: Tony's?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. BLANKLEY: Mindless?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mindless.

MS. CLIFT: Mindless.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was mindless.

MR. BLANKLEY: It was a classic point.

MR. HARDING: You know the comparison I thought was interesting, which I haven't seen made but I wonder about, is the comparison between Bush and his father. Here is a man who said that he would end tyranny, he would stand up for people who are democratic activists, and yet when you think back to it, wasn't that exactly the claim that was made against his father, that his father said he would stand up for people in Iraq, and then abandoned them. And I just wonder how it's possible that the son of the father could make such a speech without thinking -- (inaudible) -- example.

MR. BLANKLEY: America has done that too many times. We let the Hungarians in '56 think --

MR. HARDING: True.

MR. BLANKLEY: That was one of the reasons I spoke negatively last week about the speech. I thought it raised expectations we couldn't possibly deliver on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the problem also with the father was that he excited, he animated the Shi'ites to rebel, and then we proceeded to evacuate the area.

MR. HARDING: Yeah. And abandon them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And 100,000, I believe, Shi'ites were killed by Saddam. And one of the --

MR. BUCHANAN: In a massacre. This is why the Shi'a feel that they're being compensated now, because the Americans are finishing off the Sunnis and turning the country over to them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think Kennedy is right.

When we come back, what does the United States need from Sunday's elections in Iraq to be satisfied that Iraq is on the right track?

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Iraq elections.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) People are voting. And this is a part of a process to write a constitution and then elect a permanent assembly. And it's exciting times for the Iraqi people.

And I anticipate a grand moment in Iraqi history.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The "grand moment" the president refers to is this Sunday's national elections in Iraq. Some 7 million Iraqis may cast ballots at one of the 5,200 polling centers nationwide.

If elected, the government will serve for 10 months, until December 2005, and will write a new constitution and select the country's prime minister.

The bad news is that the Sunnis will boycott the election. The good news is that a number of Sunni leaders have agreed that if and after the new government is elected, they will take an active role in drafting the constitution, and will accept cabinet and ministry positions.

Reciprocally, Shi'ite leaders say they will reach out to the Sunnis and will keep the new government secular, not theocratic. Iraqi Kurds have said they will work with the Shi'ite majority government.

Question: What does the United States need from Sunday's election in Iraq to be satisfied that Iraq is on the right track, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: We need an excellent turnout from the Shi'a, which we're going to get, an excellent turnout from the Kurds. I think you need to see television pictures of heroic Sunnis braving fire and braving the potential explosives, going to the polls to vote, John. I think this is a wonderful thing taking place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's going to have a dramatic impact across the Middle East when Al-Jazeera and everyone shows these Iraqis doing that.

But I do think this: I'm not sure about the permanent impact. But I do think it's going to be a great day.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it was a good answer, Pat, but somewhat imprecise. (Laughter.)

The imprecision exists when you say a big Shi'a turnout. There are two kinds of Shi'as. There are secular Shi'as, and there are religious Shi'as.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're coming out, John, because it's going to give them the country and because Ali Sistani --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What percentage --

MR. BUCHANAN: They'll get a 70 percent turnout among the Shi'a, because everything is riding on it. Their interests are there. The ayatollah has told them to go out. It's the first time. I think it's going to be a --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. You know that Allawi is running, his party is running -- Allawi, the current prime minister.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know that he leads the secular Shi'as?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of a turnout does he have to get in order for the United States to be satisfied that this country is going to be held by people --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got to get --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- who will make a constitution that will --

MR. BUCHANAN: He has got to get more than he's going to get, because I don't think he's going to win it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he get 20 percent? If he gets 20 percent, and the Kurds come in with 20 percent --

MR. BUCHANAN: I think --

MS. CLIFT: Well, Mullah Sistani has blessed one of the slates, and it looks like that's the slate that's going to win.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hakim.

MS. CLIFT: And unless --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Win what? How much of a percentage?

MS. CLIFT: Oh, I don't know how much of a percentage, but the key thing --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that is what governs the win.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. The key thing to look at is the turnout among the Sunni Arabs. If you don't get a turnout among them, you're only having an election among the groups that aren't part of the insurgency, and it doesn't move us away from civil war. And I would pay attention to the deal-making after the election as well, because if Sistani and company play it smart, they may bring Allawi in as a strongman front man.

MR. HARDING: I agree with her regarding the deal-making. I think that's key, how shrewdly they make the appointments and respect other groups. But I don't think the Sunni vote is the most important. I think we're going to get a good enough turnout, and I agree with Pat, it's going to be the images of people going to vote that matters most.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Sunni vote and the irregular votes -- remember, there are a hundred parties -- would add up to pretty close to 20 percent. Sistani will get -- if he gets more than 40 percent, that means trouble. If he gets under 40 percent of the vote, the total vote, that means trouble. If the Kurds go along with Allawi and Allawi gets 20 percent, that's 40 percent, then that means that the signs are good that the constitution that will be drawn will not be a religious document, but it will be a political document.

Issue three: Before the curtain comes down -- June 1991.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MCLAUGHLIN'S APPEARANCE ON THE TONIGHT SHOW, HOSTED BY JOHNNY CARSON.)

JOHNNY CARSON (Tonight Show host): Will you welcome, please, John McLaughlin. (Applause, music.)

John. Good to see you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's great to see you.

MR. CARSON: Good to see you.

I referred to you earlier -- I don't know whether you saw the opening monologue -- as really kind of the referee of the show you do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, I heard the disrespectful tone. (Laughter.)

MR. CARSON: Yeah! (Laughs.) Done with the greatest respect.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a lot of talk about you in Washington, also, Johnny.

MR. CARSON: Oh, give me a break. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The politicians are all saying, "We won't have Johnny to kick us around anymore!"

(Laughter, applause.)

MR. CARSON: That's what we're here for!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're --

MR. CARSON: That's my job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, you're clearly -- you're an institution like Broadway or baseball. You're like the U.S. Congress -- oh, I really shouldn't say that about anybody!

MR. CARSON: No, no. Please, please. You were -- you were doing so well until you got there. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. CARSON: Give me a little comment on Pat Buchanan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Pat Buchanan would be here, except he's off giving a lecture tonight to the Friendly Sons of the Spanish Inquisition. (Laughter.) Pat is -- he's a columnist. He was a speechwriter for Richard Nixon. He's --

MR. CARSON: Pat's just a little to the right of Attila the Hun.

And you have Eleanor Clift, on occasion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift, who is a fine reporter for Newsweek Magazine. She's very liberal. In fact, she wanted to be here tonight, too, to say hello to you and congratulate you on entering your 30th year.

MR. CARSON: Oh, thanks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But she went to New York in protest of the parade there. She wanted to throw herself in front of the Schwarzkopf motorcade. (Laughter, applause.)

MR. CARSON: I wish we had more time. I'd like to do this again with you some night, if you'd like to come out here --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'd be delighted.

MR. CARSON: It's good to see you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good to see you, and congratulations on your achievement.

MR. CARSON: Thank you. Yeah, we're going to stay in for a while. We're not leaving this week, you know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Great. I'm glad I got here before the curtain comes down. (Laughter.)

MR. CARSON: (Laughs.)

(END OF VIDEO CLIP OF TONIGHT SHOW.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I was thrilled to be on this show 10 months before the curtain came down. Johnny Carson took his show seriously, but he didn't take himself seriously. He was a special man, extraordinarily gifted. Original, shy and reserved, but not reclusive. One of society's acute observers who took in the scene, the passing parade; he saw it for what it was and he brought America along with him.

I want to say more about him and the phenomenon of Johnny Carson, but I'll do that next week. But I want to ask you, Pat, do you take umbrage at Johnny Carson referring to you as "to the right of Attila the Hun" -- more properly pronounced Attila (pronounced ATT' ila) the Hun.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) Not at all, John. I thought it was a good exchange. But I do notice that when you were on there, the ratings sank. (Laughter.) Sank like a stone. It's one of the things that moved Mr. Carson over the -- off the air a little bit earlier (than he'd hoped ?) (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very good, Pat.

MS. CLIFT: Well, when Johnny said, "I'll be back," I'm hoping they'll make an exception for him. I'd welcome him back. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He came into my dressing room -- my dressing room -- the guest dressing room before the show, and I was flattered because he didn't do that routinely, and he talked to me about Russia. Apparently Johnny was a Russophile. My wife tells me that he even spoke the language. But he talked about Gorbachev and perestroika and how the government was being turned inside out. Quite a guy.

MR. BUCHANAN: Unifying figure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Americans get Zarqawi, and soon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Within a month?

MR. BUCHANAN: Soon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Twice as many votes against Alberto Gonzales for attorney general as were against Condi Rice.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really!?

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, I'd say three.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: About three times.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!

MR. BLANKLEY: He's barely going to win it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly! Oh, that's your prediction?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.

MR. HARDING: Sorry to say, my prediction is that the casualty rate is going to go up after this election in Iraq rather than down.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Bush will soon put his shoulder where his mouth is on the Middle East peace plan, and it will work.

Bye-bye!

(END REGULAR SEGMENT. BEGIN PBS.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Austria Boots "Ahnuld."

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: (From videotape.) I love Austria, and I love the Austrian people. But I always knew that America was the place for me.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Governor, America may soon be the ONLY place for you. Currently, Arnold Schwarzenegger has dual citizenship -- U.S. and Austrian. An effort in his native land seeks to strip Arnold of his Austrian citizenship. Why? The death penalty. It's illegal in Austria and throughout Europe, and massively unpopular. Last week, Governor Schwarzenegger rejected a clemency bid from Donald Beardslee, a convicted murderer who's been on California's death row for 20 years. Beardslee was lethally injected, and that didn't sit well with Peter Pilz, a top official in Austria's Green Party. Quote: "Schwarzenegger is possibly the most prominent Austrian abroad, and he shapes the picture of Austria. I don't want that picture shaped by someone who commits state murder. No Austrian citizen may take part in it or arrange it," unquote.

In response, Schwarzenegger called his refusal of clemency the hardest day of his life, and quote, "I did not have a choice since I represent as governor a population which is overwhelmingly for the death penalty," unquote.

Question: Is there a hidden agenda at work here, do you think, James.

MR. HARDING: No. (Laughter, cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you understand what I'm talking about?

MR. HARDING: I know. I absolutely do. I think that Arnold Schwarzenegger's problem is that he wants to be more American and less Austrian. But I have to say that Herr Pilz is not going to help get the Hatch Amendment through Congress. (Laughter.) He's simply -- he's simply stating an opinion of many Europeans, and I'm afraid that Arnold Schwarzenegger was simply doing what he has to do.


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