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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

TAPED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2005
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 1-2, 2005

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: DeLay'd to Rest.

REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX): (From videotape.) I have violated no law, no regulation, no rule of the House. I have done nothing unlawful, unethical or, I might add, unprecedented. My defense in this case will not be technical or legalistic. It will be categorical and absolute. I am innocent.

This act is the product of a coordinated, premeditated campaign of political retribution, the all-too-predictable result of a vengeful investigation led by a partisan fanatic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The, quote/unquote, "partisan fanatic" is Travis County, Texas District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who led an investigation of the Republican House majority leader, resulting in one count criminal conspiracy handed down by a Texas grand jury on Wednesday.

TRAVIS COUNTY (TEXAS) DISTRICT ATTORNEY RONNIE EARLE: (From videotape.) The indictment describes a scheme whereby corporate money, which cannot be given to candidates in Texas, was sent to the Republican National Committee, where it was exchanged for money raised from individuals and then sent to those Texas legislative candidates. Criminal conspiracy is a state jail felony punishable by six months to two years in the state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because of this grand jury indictment, Mr. DeLay has had to step aside as House majority leader.

Question: Is there anything suspicious about the timing of this indictment? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: There really is, John. This man has gone after his scalp. He's charged Tom DeLay with criminal conspiracy but no criminal act. What DeLay is alleged to have done is legal if you raise corporate money and legal if you told the RNC to spend it, but you can't connect the two.

The timing of it is suspicious. It's the last day of the grand jury. I think, however, he has destroyed a career, because DeLay has had to stand down simply because he's been indicted. I don't think he's going to be convicted.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, DeLay's got bigger problems beyond Ronnie Earle. But in defense of Ronnie Earle, he has had a long career in Texas as a prosecutor, 38 years. He's indicted -- I believe it's 12 Republicans and -- or 12 Democrats -- well, more Republicans than Democrats. So he goes after whoever is in power.

I agree with you, he's got to come up with the evidence to make this charge stick, and he may not be able to. But DeLay is involved in a web of corruption here in Washington. He's tied into the lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, who is the subject of a criminal investigation. And his career, I think, was -- his career days were numbered in any event because of all of the sleaze as well as the ethical violations that he has engaged in over the years. And he's been admonished three times by the Ethics Committee. I won't go into the details, but, you know, it really stinks.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Roy Blunt.

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP ROY BLUNT (R-MO): (From videotape.) I think largely because of his effectiveness as a leader, he became a target. We all believe that he will return, once this indictment is out of the way, to be the leader again. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So says Mr. DeLay's replacement, Missouri Representative Roy Blunt, 55 years of age. Blunt has served in Congress since 1997, as majority whip since 2003. He's known as a compromiser, low-key, respected and affable. He has close ties to President George Bush.

Question: Does acting leader Blunt have the skills to keep the House GOP unified, Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, he's a very skilled player. He's respected. He's conservative, which is important, because a lot of the members don't want to have a moderate in the leadership position, even temporarily.

I've got to go just back briefly. The Democrats are going to be using the word -- what was the word you were using?

MR. BUCHANAN: Corruption.

MR. BLANKLEY: Corruption. Thank you.

MS. CLIFT: Corruption. Cronyism. Incompetence.

MR. BLANKLEY: Thank you. Thank you, my dear.

MS. CLIFT: I've got lots. (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: They've chosen these words, and they're going to repeat them, and their friends in the media are going to repeat them, whether or not there's any corruption there. So people need to be on guard that we are now in a message campaign in which they're going to use syllables to try to replace facts that don't exist regarding DeLay.

As far as Ronnie Earle, it's true that he's prosecuted Democrats, but they've always been opponents of his. And, of course, until fairly recently, most of the players in Texas were Democrats. So it's a false claim that he is impartial. He's always used his power to go after political enemies, whether in his party or another one. Tom DeLay is one of his political enemies. He's gone after him and done -- Pat may be right; I'm not 100 percent sure. Pat may be right. He's done tremendous damage to DeLay's career, even after DeLay is acquitted.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he accept lavish travel whose expenses were paid for by Abramoff?

MR. BUCHANAN: St. Andrew's golf course.

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, you say lavish travel.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One hundred thousand dollars. MR. BLANKLEY: I used to work up on the Hill. There are rules of what you can and can't do. And there's no demonstration that he knowingly did anything that the rules don't allow.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.

)

MR. BLANKLEY: And Nancy Pelosi's people, all of the -- most of the members travel under corporate money. They try to do it legally, because they're not idiots. They check with their lawyers to make sure they can do it legally. And that's, to the best of my knowledge, what DeLay did.

MS. CLIFT: It's Mort's turn to speak, but I think --

MR. BLANKLEY: And no one has proven to the contrary.

MS. CLIFT: It's Mort's turn to speak, but I think that we need to repeat what the Ethics Committee has admonished him for -- in effect, handing out favors to energy lobbyists --

MR. BLANKLEY: They didn't use the word "in effect," did they?

MS. CLIFT: -- in the midst -- excuse me -- in the midst of --

MR. BLANKLEY: They didn't use the word "in effect."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, she's misquoting them.

MS. CLIFT: In the midst of writing the energy bill, he was handing out favors and access to energy lobbyists. Second, he bribed or tried to bribe a member of Congress whose son was running, offering campaign contributions to get that gentleman's vote -- Nick Smith, I believe -- for the Medicare bill. And third, he used the Homeland Security Department and the FAA to go after Texas legislators who were interfering with his plan to gerrymand --

MR. BLANKLEY: The Ethics Committee --

MS. CLIFT: -- the Texas legislature. How can you defend this man?

MR. BLANKLEY: The Ethics Committee --

MS. CLIFT: He has gone over the line -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, hold on.

MR. BLANKLEY: Because you misrepresented --

MS. CLIFT: -- time after time.

MR. BLANKLEY: The Ethics Committee never said he bribed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Let's change the subject.

MR. BLANKLEY: They didn't use the word "bribe."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another White House embarrassment --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- never an ally of Newt Gingrich, who should be your primary person to --

MR. BLANKLEY: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, please. Please. No mob rule here. To move on to you, Mort, another White House embarrassment: Scooter Libby, chief of staff to the vice president of the United States, has been named as the leaker of the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame to the New York Times reporter, Judith Miller.

Question -- hello, West Wing -- how much of a wallop does this revelation carry with it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I actually don't think it carries much of a wallop unless we know more about what the facts are. At least as far as what we've been able to find out so far --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "We" at the U.S. News & World Report?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: U.S. News, but just in general --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You at the Daily News? Which part of your empire is involved?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: One of each. I found out about Judy Miller from the Daily News because she's in New York, and I found out about the national issue from U.S. News & World Report. No, but going to -- this is a serious matter. What he said was that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "He" being Scooter?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: What Scooter Libby said was when he was asked how come Joe Wilson happened to be sent to investigate in Niger what was going on there with respect to the uranium, the yellow cake, he mentioned that he was -- it was his wife, he said, who was instrumental in his being appointed. At least as far as we know, the name wasn't mentioned. It doesn't mean that he didn't identify her, because the question is what exactly did he say? And we don't know the answer to that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Libby let her keep -- cool her heels in jail for three months if it is all as you described?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, there is now some dispute as to what kind of release he gave to her. He gave release to her through his lawyers, apparently.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And this time she spoke to him directly. There were two issues. One is that she was given the release by him personally. And two is she was allowed to testify in a very narrow way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're getting very retail on this program.

MR. BUCHANAN: You don't need to get retail. You've got a good point here. Let me just make this. She obviously had to talk to Scooter Libby in the last year and a half. Did she at that time say, "Look, I'm under pressure to testify," and did Scooter Libby say, "You can't do that"? If he did, he has a problem in terms of obstruction of justice. What did those two say to each other for that year and a half? I don't know. But this thing is as fishy as it can be.

MS. CLIFT: I agree.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if, as I say, Scooter has his case to make against what she says, why would he let her rot in jail for three months?

MR. BUCHANAN: Why would he? Exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Especially when he signed a piece of paper --

MR. BUCHANAN: Why wouldn't he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that the president gave out, whereby you are supposed to release to everybody anything you know about this matter?

MR. BUCHANAN: He not only signed that --

MS. CLIFT: Look --

MR. BUCHANAN: Hold it, Eleanor. He not only signed that. Why did he not say, "Judy, go ahead and testify; that paper represents what I think"?

MS. CLIFT: There are lots of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the worst-case scenario, Eleanor? What's the worst-case scenario? MS. CLIFT: There are lots of intricacies here, because Judy Miller was really part of the sales effort with the war. And I hope we learn more next week. But at the very least, we know that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove were in the middle of spreading around the name and outing a CIA agent, and they lied about it because the White House said they had nothing to do with it. The president said anybody involved in this should be fired.

Let's see if he lives up to his word.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You are making a lot of assumptions here, if I may say so.

MS. CLIFT: I'm stating the facts.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, they did not -- you do not know that they lied about it. There's absolutely no evidence --

MS. CLIFT: They said they had nothing to do with it.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The White House made a statement, okay, about it. These people did not --

MS. CLIFT: They're not the White House.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, they did not say --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly. Exit question --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You are overstating what the facts are. We don't know what the facts are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On a political --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: What you are saying is overstating it.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think so.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: On a political probability scale, zero to 10, zero meaning zero probability, 10 meaning metaphysical certitude, how probable is it that Tom DeLay will be the Republican Dan Rostenkowski, meaning that he not only is the center of a political scandal but he ends up behind bars? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: You know, I think it's a political indictment. I think it's only zero to one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: I think that we have to wait and see what comes out of the Washington-centered scandal, which is far more threatening to him. I say it's a four to a five.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Behind bars -- 0.0001.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The three centers of government -- the House, the indictment of DeLay; the Senate, the investigation of Bill Frist on insider trading; and now we have Scooter Libby and possibly revealing the identity of a CIA agent, and we have a man by the name of Safavian. Do you know who he is?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, he was the head of procurement for the administration and recently resigned under, shall we say, a serious cloud of --

MR. BUCHANAN: He was arrested.

MS. CLIFT: He was arrested.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David Safavian?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was in charge of procurement.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know that of the $200 billion, $20 billion, I believe, has already been put up for single-bidder contracts for New Orleans?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: No-bid.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it hasn't gone through the Small Business Administration.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, in fairness, they have to move pretty quickly to make some responses.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We want to know --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But you're making a very important point here, which is that there is, somehow or other, an atmosphere of sleaze that is beginning to descend on this administration. And I think that could be very damaging if it turns out that there is a major break in the DeLay case that goes against them. I don't think that'll happen myself, but this is beginning to accumulate. And at some point it becomes not a question of what the facts are, just a question of the repetition of it in the media.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the impact on the Republican Party, Tony?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's bad.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, at this point the party is in chaos and confusion. Leadership is lacking. They have to reformulate. Whether the atmospherics, these negative atmospherics, will have an effect in the election, it's too early to tell, because the Democrats have nothing to offer. Can they win simply on an atmospherics issue? I think the Republicans will try to get back on their agenda.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Pedal to the Metal.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) We can all pitch in by using -- by being better conservers of energy. I mean, people just need to recognize that these storms have caused disruption and that, if they're able to maybe not drive on a trip that's not essential, that would be helpful.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At this time of year, Americans normally consume 9 million barrels of gasoline every day. The week before Hurricane Katrina stormed ashore, motorists burned 9.4 million barrels of gas. So this year the gasoline appetite grew by 400,000 barrels a day.

Until now, the cornerstone of President Bush's energy policy has been to feed the growing appetite by increasing production, not decreasing consumption. That's why there's a big political battle over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to increase production.

But in Katrina's aftermath, with gas prices soaring to $3 a gallon and beyond, Americans are being asked to cut back. That sounds patriotic and noble, right? Well, let's see. That cutback comes at a price steeper than short-term savings and gas supplies.

Listen closely. Item: Consumer-led economy. In 2001, Americans made 496 shopping trips annually. Those shopping sprees fuel our consumer-led economy. The vast majority were made by automobiles. Cutbacks in shopping trips mean less consumer spending, and that puts the brakes on the entire economy.

Item: Health-care spending. It's one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, and no wonder. The average family makes 47 trips a year for medical visits, up from 18 in 1990 -- over a 250 percent increase.

Item: Travel and restaurant industry. Since 1990, the number of vacations taken by car has multiplied from two per year to eight per year, a 400 percent increase. That translates to a lot of needed consumer spending on hotels, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, gyms, spas, night clubs, theaters, haberdashers, et cetera.

Question: What happened to gasoline consumption in the interval after the Katrina attack but before Bush's plea for America to ease off the throttle? Do you know? It was 9.4 before Katrina, then Katrina, and then the barrels went down. I'll give you that clue. Do you know what they dropped by?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Probably by about 600,000 or 700,000 barrels a day.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're exactly right -- 600,000. That's why you are where you are, Mort. Now, I want to ask you the question. You've seen my cogent analysis of the demerits of this idea of conserving gasoline. Why not let the market do it the way the market did it after Katrina, when the price of gas went up?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, that's a short-term hit. It is very difficult in America to really cut back on gasoline consumption, because people go to work and go shopping in their cars. We do not have public transportation in the way that Europe does.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we need that for the macroeconomy and the microeconomy.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, we do need -- absolutely, because it is the sole means of transportation both to jobs, to schools and to entertainment. So it is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forget the means. I'm talking about consumption, consumption, consumption.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm talking consumption, yes. But the other part of it is when gasoline prices go up, if they go up by 50 cents a gallon, people use 20 gallons a week. Okay, that's $10 a week or $500 a year. And for a couple, that's $1,000 a year. For the poor people or the people earning relatively --

MS. CLIFT: Your argument is irrational.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, quickly. Let Eleanor in. MR. ZUCKERMAN: It really hurts a lot. So it really disproportionately hits the poor.

MS. CLIFT: Your argument is irrational, because you're assuming that the president's words actually mean something. That was empty rhetoric. He's not putting any specifics out there. He's not calling for higher fuel standards.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, as a concept, is it bad? As a concept.

MS. CLIFT: No, no. Oil is a limited resource --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it create false consciences in the American people?

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So now they think that if they visit Aunt Helen, who lives in the woods and her hair has grown long and her nails are long and she needs visits because she's ill, and they won't make that trip because the president --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants us to conserve gasoline.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a quick --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Do you have an aunt like that, by the way? I'd like to meet her. (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make a quick point. Free-market prices maintain equilibrium of supply and demand. Let the price go up. People will make individual decisions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BLANKLEY: And they will cut back. They did when the prices went up. Some did; some didn't. The idea of hortatory calls for conservation never work.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, they are all buying Eleanor Clift Priuses and they're not buying my Navigators anymore.

MS. CLIFT: Right. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: The market is working. People will not drive when the price goes up --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you agree --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- but they'll put investment and money into oil. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's the exit question, and it sums it all up. On a wimp scale, from zero to 10, zero meaning zero wimpage whatsoever -- Arnold Schwarzenegger -- and 10 meaning total, irrefutable wimpishness -- Neville Chamberlain -- what's the wimp rating of assigning a wimpishness to Bush's gas conservation flip-flop?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's about an eight. It's a Lord Halifax wimpishness, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, it's just meaningless, what he said. If he somehow --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But was he a wimp to do it? Was he a wimp to do it?

MS. CLIFT: No. I mean, he's -- no. I mean, anything in that direction is good, but it's meaningless.

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't think it was the most Schwarzenegger-like moment of his career.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what do you give him -- a four, five, six?

MR. BLANKLEY: Seven.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's not a -- I don't think it's a wimpish move. At a time when we are faced with an energy crisis, this is what the president should do at this time. You don't want to give him any credit for anything in this thing. I do agree it's not the greatest and most effective thing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll tell you this. I give him credit for going to the field the way he has done on these seven or eight or nine and hopefully more trips down there. The scale of this is incredible. This gives him the opportunity to prioritize the expenditures and the budget of this government. And he's doing a terrific job, and his polls thankfully reflect it. He deserves it for what he's doing. He's coming out of the sinkhole.

Issue Three: Court Stats.

SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: (From videotape.) What Daniel Webster termed "the miracle of our Constitution" is not something that happens every generation. But every generation, in its turn, must accept the responsibility of supporting and defending the Constitution and bearing true faith and allegiance to it. That is the oath that I just took. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On its face, the 78-22 Senate vote tally in favor of John Roberts' nomination to be chief justice may seem impressive. But, in fact, it is one of the tightest margins for a Supreme Court justice in almost two decades. In that time, only Clarence Thomas had a closer vote, 52-48. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter, Anthony Kennedy were all confirmed with margins much wider than John Roberts' 78-22.

Even the dedicated conservative Antonin Scalia was confirmed with no negative votes -- 98-0.

But with intense polarization of the Bush presidency, beginning with the razor-thin and contested 2000 presidential election, things are now different. Every one of the 55 Republicans in the Senate voted for Roberts. Democratic senators evenly split, 22-22. James Jeffords, the independent, voted for Roberts.

Exit question: The president's next selection will be to replace Justice O'Connor. Will the next person be an O'Connor or will the next person be a Scalia or a female Scalia?

MR. BUCHANAN: My guess is a female Scalia, because we need a bench-clearing brawl to help the president out, John.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, a woman with a clear right-wing paper trail.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, Scalia.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I think it'll be a version of O'Connor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A woman and a moderate.

Issue Four: Home Alone.

John Hinckley Jr., the would-be assassin of President Ronald Reagan, wants to go home alone. Hinckley shot Reagan in 1981, almost 25 years ago. President Reagan was seriously wounded. Also James Brady, Reagan's press secretary, was permanently disabled. One Secret Service agent and one DC policeman were also wounded.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington DC. Over the course of time, Hinckley was allowed unsupervised visits of varying length with his parents, but only in Washington-area hotels.

Hinckley is now 50 years old and he wants to visit his parents at their home, three hours away, for week-long periods, unsupervised. In hearings last week, Hinckley's therapist argued that such visits were safe. "Each increased level of freedom is very therapeutic for him. Unlike most of his peers at the hospital, Mr. Hinckley was symptom- free for a decade," testified Dr. Sidney Binks, the psychologist.

Hinckley suffered from depression and psychosis when he shot Reagan under the delusional belief that the shooting would impress actress Jodie Foster, on whom he was fixated.

Question: Is Hinckley likely to be a danger now? I ask you, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Nobody knows. But as a mere matter of deterrence to future people and for the conduct he did, he should either have been hanged or locked in a cage forever, and he should stay in a cage.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks to the Brady bill, he couldn't buy a gun and he couldn't pass a background check.

MR. BLANKLEY: And criminals don't need the Brady bill to get a gun.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: His only recourse would be the criminal black market. How likely is that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, I don't know. I mean, how can you make a measurement on what this guy's mental condition is?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard of cruel and unusual punishment?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you heard what the psychologist or the therapist said who's been taking care of him?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But the issue was in terms of his relationship with women. He had a long relationship with another woman who was in that institution.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's not deviant, is it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, in fact, in his case it was provocative, because his relationship with Jodie Foster was what triggered --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you believe that cures can be effected and people --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I do. I do. He may very well be cured.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Twenty-five years he's been in detention.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. Listen, and, of course, it's such a high- profile case. Everybody's afraid to take a chance with him. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you working for Ronald Reagan at the time?

MR. BUCHANAN: Not at the time, but Brady --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shortly thereafter.

MR. BUCHANAN: Brady was a friend of mine, and he's suffered for life horribly and his family has; those officers have. Look, this was an outrageous thing. He should have been declared by reason of insanity and locked up for life. Tony's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he should have been executed?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I said --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the insanity plea --

MR. BUCHANAN: I said so at the time, and his father wrote me a letter, and it was a very moving letter. And his parents are wonderful people and they're supportive of him. But I'll be honest. You are taking a risk by letting this fellow out, in my judgment, and it's a risk we should not take.

MS. CLIFT: Well, fortunately, we live in a country that does recognize serious mental illness, and I think that his care has been appropriate. And in terms of giving him week-long unsupervised visits --

MR. BUCHANAN: What happens if he kills somebody?

MS. CLIFT: -- what about a supervised visit? Maybe that's a compromise.

MR. BUCHANAN: What happens if he kills somebody, Eleanor? What happens if he shoots somebody? Who's going to take responsibility -- the doctors, the judges? Who takes responsibility?

MS. CLIFT: I think our society has a system set up, and I suspect that he's not going to get past the parole board or whoever makes this decision. I doubt that he will ever get this wish.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will DeLay be back as majority leader, or is he through forever in that role? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's through.

MS. CLIFT: He's through.

MR. BLANKLEY: Too close to call.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: He will come back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's through. Bye bye. END.