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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, OCTOBER 28, 2005
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 29-30, 2005

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Justice Obstructed.

PATRICK FITZGERALD (special counsel): (From videotape.) Mr. Libby's story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true. It was false. He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter, and then he lied about it afterwards under oath and repeatedly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: After a two-year-long investigation into the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, the ax fell Friday on Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. The charges: Obstruction of justice, one count; making false statements, two counts; perjury, two counts -- all punishable by up to 30 years in prison and $1 million-plus fine.

Karl Rove, Bush's political adviser, was not indicted but is not out of legal jeopardy. Special prosecutor Fitzgerald said Friday that the investigation would be kept open and on call if needed. And also, if needed, a second grand jury would be empaneled. Fitzgerald emphasized that all the above is normal procedure and should not be construed as anything but.

On Friday, Lewis Libby resigned from his office as assistant to the president, chief of staff to the vice president and assistant to the vice president for national security affairs.

Question: What's the political significance of the obstruction of justice, false statements and the perjury charges against Scooter Libby? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's a devastating blow to the career and life of Scooter Libby, no question about it. It's a blow to the vice president. It's a blow to the administration.

But, John, I think, when you consider what they were looking at, the administration has dodged a bullet. The independent -- the special prosecutor did not indicate any conspiracy. He's got a very narrow charge of a series of lies that obstruct justice. Nobody, the special prosecutor said, has violated the original law he was investigating, deliberately outing a CIA agent. It's going to be continued. But this fellow says, "I want to get back to Chicago."

I think, overall, I mean, nobody could expect -- this isn't good news, but this is the best possible outcome I could have seen for this investigation, looking at it last weekend.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that it amounts to an exoneration of Vice President Cheney and other high officials in the administration?

MS. CLIFT: No. Absolutely not. I think this is a wedge into the larger story, which is how this administration misled us into war. Now, the prosecutor is doing his job, and he can only bring charges on what he can prove in a court of law. But there's also a court of public opinion. And when we start exploring the lies that Mr. Libby put forth, we also see them against the backdrop of lies that his boss, Vice President Cheney, put forth.

And why did Scooter Libby lie to the grand jury? He was protecting his boss in an election year and he was protecting the evidence that they put out to lead us into war. And Vice President Cheney was the chief salesman. And so we're going to see that split screen of Vice President Cheney saying, "Joe Wilson? Joe Wilson? I didn't know. Who is Joe Wilson?" when we know from this indictment that behind the scenes they were obsessed with Joe Wilson and attempting to discredit him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this essentially a charge of a one-man cover- up by reason of obstruction of justice?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I don't know. I mean, the underlying charges -- I mean, the charges --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When you add the three of them up, isn't it really a cover-up he's talking about?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, it's perjury and obstruction of justice. These are serious felonies. And if the evidence supports it for conviction, there should be the sentence that the sentencing guidelines require.

As far as a cover-up, he's covering up himself. I mean, that's a little duplicating. If he's committing a -- if he's perjuring his own conduct, then he's covering up what he was denying. I think it's going a little fancy to say that.

But I want to make another point, to answer your first question. Politically, I agree with Pat that this was as much of a dodge of a bullet as anyone could have expected.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BLANKLEY: But --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He could have shut down the grand jury.

MR. BLANKLEY: But the big question remaining is whether Libby is going to go through a full trial, in which case that trial is probably going to hit sometime next year, not that far away from the election, or whether perhaps he will at some point plead guilty and continue his loyalty to the team.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you imagine who's going to be called up at a trial of Libby, if there is one, at any time and what a catastrophe that will be for this administration? Suppose, for example, reasonably enough, the vice president is called up to give testimony. Is that the last thing that the Republicans want?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's the last thing they want in an election year, that's for sure. It's the last thing they want in general. But in an election year, this is really going to put the Republicans on the defensive. They already were on the defensive because of Tom DeLay and Bill Frist and those kind of events that have a cumulative effect on the American public. It's one of the reasons, I believe, that the Bush administration is suffering its lowest approval ratings since he's been in office. So I think it's a real issue here, particularly if you get the CIA under oath and they have to testify, for example, that they had to go through all of Valerie Plame's history and alert everybody with whom she might have dealt with who may be in jeopardy as a result of her being outed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the real question here will Scooter Libby be a G. Gordon Liddy? What does that mean?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. G. Gordon --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did G. Gordon Liddy do?

MR. BLANKLEY: G. Gordon Liddy refused to testify and served a long prison sentence during Watergate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In connection with Watergate.

MR. BLANKLEY: Watergate. And exactly my point before was that presumably -- Libby is a very smart man. He must have understood when he was testifying that he might get caught in perjury. It was before the election --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two counts.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes -- before the election. So he was obviously, I presume, trying to be loyal to something -- the president, the vice president, the institution.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, 30 years in prison and over a million dollars in fine has a way of sobering somebody up, does it not? Will he be a G. Gordon Liddy, do you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: I have no idea. But he's been obviously willing to take his chances with perjury out of loyalty. Perhaps he'll be willing to take his chances.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me tell you where --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, hold on, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you where you're wrong, please. Look, you are talking about bringing in this big broad thing. Listen to Fitzgerald. It is as narrow as it can be. Eleanor, he's not going to prosecute the case for the war. That's going to have to be done by somebody else. MS. CLIFT: I said that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think he's squeezing Libby with this?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obviously he's squeezing him, but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he want a deal with Libby?

MR. BUCHANAN: What he -- he's going to go into court and say, "Russert said this and you said that. Cooper said this and you said that." It's very narrow because he wants a conviction.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think Libby is --

MR. BUCHANAN: This is not a big --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think Libby is getting the Judith Miller treatment?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, he's going to be squeezed, of course. But the trial --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If he squeezes, what is Libby going to do? When you're faced with that kind of a --

MR. BUCHANAN: You know what he's going to do? He's going to demand evidence from the Central Intelligence Agency files. They're going to have to litigate all this stuff. This could be drawn out for months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Libby going to stand firm?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He will?

MR. BUCHANAN: I believe he will.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gordon Liddy -- how many years would that be?

MR. BUCHANAN: Gordon Liddy -- they gave him 20.

MS. CLIFT: He'll plead --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he emphasized all day today the importance of this charge, the gravity of it.

MS. CLIFT: He'll plead it out --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That means the judge at sentencing would take that into consideration. MR. BUCHANAN: They will immunize him. They'll immunize him after conviction.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If he is imprisoned in the last week of George Bush's term, he will be pardoned.

MS. CLIFT: He'll plead it out and he'll get a pardon eventually.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I agree with that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Don't throw the net too wide.

MR. FITZGERALD: (From videotape.) This indictment is not about the war. This indictment is not about the propriety of the war. And people who believe fervently in the war effort, people who oppose it, people who have mixed feelings about it, should not look to this indictment for any resolution of how they feel or any vindication of how they feel.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this statement rule out an Iraq connection with this case? In other words, did he say this case rules out any future Iraq connection? I ask you.

MR. BUCHANAN: What he's saying, in effect, is, look, the job of pointing out that they lied in the administration or made it up, cherry-picked intelligence, is the Congress's --

MS. CLIFT: I agree with that, Pat. I'm not disagreeing.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- is the Congress's job. What he's saying is, "I am not going to do the job of the Congress of the United States. I've indicted this guy on these five narrow counts. I'm going to prove it and convict him, and that's what I'm to do."

MS. CLIFT: That's right. His job is not to indict the entire administration. It's to get charges that he can convict in a court of law. But he has opened the door for a much more aggressive media, and I think the media is going to continue looking --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- MS. CLIFT: Wait a second. And if the Democrats ever win back a house of Congress, there will be a serious look at this entire thing --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. CLIFT: -- because we have passed the 2,000 dead in this war. There is no end in sight. And this is not playing house.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let me ask you a question.

MS. CLIFT: This is serious business.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think this is what's at play here, that this administration decided that Joe Wilson's piece in the New York Times, in which Joe Wilson said that the report that there was Niger, what, materials for uranium for Saddam Hussein was baloney, that Joe Wilson had to be shut down and all Wilsons that come along have to be shut down, and that's what we're going to do? So when this investigation continues, it's possible that will emerge as the new centerpiece, and then you're back into violation of classified data, the big time. Is that where this is really going?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: From the administration's point of view, Joe Wilson was a stalking horse for the CIA. The CIA in their mind was trying to place the blame on the administration for the faulty intelligence. And they were responding to the CIA's charges. This was their way of undercutting the credibility of somebody whom they thought was speaking out on behalf of the CIA. The conflict was between the administration, the Bush administration, and the CIA, between politicians and politicians, but bureaucrats and bureaucrats as well. And that was where the conflict came.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's positively brilliant.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You read the interview of Judy Miller, and that comes out in that interview.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me just make a point here, because anybody who was watching TV last week or the week before, not our show but all the shows, would have noticed the dream of all the president's opponents and so many journalists in this town was that this prosecution was going to get them to prosecute the president for lying us into war. And we still hear that. But the fact -- the quote you just ran from Fitzgerald tells you it's not going to happen. This is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He didn't say that. He said you cannot construe from this case -- MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that there is an Iraq connection. But he doesn't say you cannot construe from any future --

MS. CLIFT: That's because we all know --

MR. BUCHANAN: This is the --

MS. CLIFT: -- we all know in Washington -- we all know in Washington that they cherry-picked and they exaggerated the case for war.

MR. BLANKLEY: You know --

MS. CLIFT: The documents -- the documents, the Niger documents, were forged.

MR. BLANKLEY: We've had --

MS. CLIFT: Let me finish.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, please.

MS. CLIFT: And we're finally getting the reporting that shows that it was the Italian government, the CIA that forged those documents.

MR. BLANKLEY: You guys can --

MS. CLIFT: And we need to get to the bottom of this.

MR. BLANKLEY: You guys can re-debate the war as long as you want, but you're not going to be able to do it on the back of this prosecutor.

MS. CLIFT: I agree. It's not his job.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's President Bush's response to Friday's grim news.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) While we're all saddened by today's news, we remain wholly focused on the many issues and opportunities facing this country. I've got a job to do, and so do the people who work in the White House. We've got a job to protect the American people, and that's what we'll continue working hard to do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: John -- well, he's going to move forward. You're going to get a Supreme Court nominee. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not a bad --

MR. BUCHANAN: Fundamental point, John. Look, if Fitzgerald wanted to do what a lot of folks wanted him to do, he could have gone with a conspiracy charge --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- to violate the civil rights of Joe Wilson and brought a lot of stuff in. He said no. It is simply lying.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know what the difference is between this and Whitewater? Fitzgerald -- what's his name? Not Fitzgerald but --

MR. BUCHANAN: Walsh? Walsh? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, the Clinton investigation.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Ken Starr.

MR. BUCHANAN: Ken Starr.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ken Starr. That whole team there was not in the same class with this team.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These guys are really good. And he has many of them. What has he got, 20 investigators?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got a lot of them. (Laughs.)

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 this scandal will go beyond Friday's Libby indictment?

MR. BUCHANAN: I would give it, John, a two to three; no more.

MS. CLIFT: I would give it a seven. We still have a media and we still have a Congress.

MR. BLANKLEY: Pat's got it right; about a two.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I give it a six or seven. This is not over by a long shot.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a seven.

Issue Two: Justice Denied.

"I have steadfastly maintained that the independence of the executive branch be preserved and its confidential documents and information not be released to further a confirmation process. I have decided that seeking my confirmation should yield."

Harriet Miers this week withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court. The official reason: Senators on the Judiciary Committee planned to grill her about her service in the White House. Ms. Miers believes that such interrogation would endanger the separation of the executive branch from the legislative branch.

President Bush, quote/unquote, "reluctantly" accepted her withdrawal.

Question: What was the decisive factor in the withdrawal of Harriet Miers' nomination? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: The deadline of the indictments the next day; the notion that it was a fight over executive privilege is a cover story. She wasn't doing well in her murder boards in the White House. She didn't have the votes on Capitol Hill. And the right wing really lost it when they discovered a speech she made in 1993 where she suggested women should have self-determination, which suggested she favored reproductive rights.

But the real reason was getting her out of there, they now can send up a right-winger, re-energize their base. And they're going to need their base to get through the next weeks and months because of the indictment. And that's what this is about.

MR. BLANKLEY: The reason why she failed was because she couldn't convince anybody, including the people operating her murder board in the White House or any senator, even loyal -- the only people that she was competent for the job or that there was any evidence that she was a reliable conservative, and the fact was that they had to remove her for substantive and for philosophical reasons. And it's wonderful news for the president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, well, it was really -- the real reason was because mean conservatives like you and Buchanan defamed this lovely lady.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Overall it's been a brutal week for President Bush: Iraq, 2,000 military dead benchmark crossed; Harriet Miers, the ultra-Bush loyalist, Supreme Court nomination now a nullity, not a nomination; the Libby indictment. And before this week, we've had a succession of wicked Bush woes: Katrina and FEMA; David Safavian, procurement officer within the White House, indicted; Social Security private accounts; Medicare prescription drugs down; Bush guest-worker illegal status splitting the GOP; astronomical federal debt and deficit; gas prices up and down and up, probably going to stay up; Tom DeLay indicted; Bill Frist investigation.

Question: Altogether, is President Bush a permanent lame duck, frozen in a cryonic vat? I ask you, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: No. I think he's in a fairly deep rut right now, but he's got 39 months left. And I think this week he got rid of a big problem with getting rid of Miers. If he appoints a good one -- and now he's calling for budget cuts -- I think he's going to get most of his base back. He's around 40, 42 percent approval. He could easily be up into the high 40s in a month.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the second-term hex. That's h-e-x, hex. In second terms, the presidential roof falls in. President Eisenhower said that the sixth year of his presidency was the, quote, "worst" of his life -- of his life. Ronald Reagan's approval ratings plummeted in 1986, exactly midpoint in his second term. The Iran-contra scandal engulfed his presidency. But Reagan beat the hex through crisis management, which was structured, I hate to say it, by Pat Buchanan, the White House communications director to Ronald Reagan.

In a brand-new book, "Saving the Reagan Presidency," author David Abshire tells how. Here is the prose, slightly edited down. "Pat Buchanan saw that the White House system could not effectively deal with the Iran-contra affair. He also knew from his days in the Nixon administration how a presidency could be destroyed by a cover-up. On December 12, 1986, Buchanan wrote the following to his boss, Chief of Staff Donald Regan, who had had no such Watergate experience. Buchanan: 'At this time'" -- this is a quote from Buchanan -- "'At this time, I cannot conceive of a communications plan that will allow White House business to go forward uninterrupted by Iran-contra issues. I offer instead a two-track White House mechanism to get past the crunch: Appoint a special counselor to head a SWAT team to deal exclusively with the Iran-contra issue. The special counselor should have standing equal to the chief of staff and direct access to the president, be able to command White House resources, the president's schedule, sign-off authority on his speeches, and be equipped to provide the president with sage advice on legal and legislative matters with a full staff.' The plan was implemented like the Magna Carta. Reagan also cleaned house, notably exchanging Donald Regan for Howard Baker. He took full responsibility, Reagan did, a de facto apology for Iran-contra in a TV address."

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: (From videotape.) I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, do you want to add to that, what else he did? Didn't you have to heal some divides between -- schisms within the White House staff? Didn't you recommend that? MR. BUCHANAN: Well, yeah, we recommended he bring in Abshire, he bring in a team to deal with that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David Abshire.

MR. BUCHANAN: David Abshire. They could deal with all that on a daily basis, all the problems attendant to that, and the White House and the president can get about our business. You know, the problem with this -- the difference here, Iran-contra went right to the credibility of the president of the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does anything in the current assemblage of woes do that?

MR. BUCHANAN: No. This president is untouched, I think, in any way. I mean, he was not touched the way Reagan was by Iran-contra. Tony --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Iran-contra had full focus --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Wait a minute.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is no full-focus issue here.

MR. BUCHANAN: It went right into the Oval Office. This has not gone to President Bush yet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with that?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I do not. In the first place, this does go, it seems to me, to the war in Iraq, like it or not, which is the central decision of the Bush administration. And Reagan had a huge advantage, which is that after this he could set this aside and move beyond it and fight the Cold War and end the Cold War.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you think --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Bush has to go back to the war in Iraq. That's a huge difference between the Reagan situation --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you think Iran-contra -- the Iran problem -- the Iraq problem -- for heaven's sake -- the Iraq problem is going to be back.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's going to be back.

MS. CLIFT: It's continuing.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It still is there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know it's still there, but you think it's going to be refocused perhaps in this investigation. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I think it'll come up again. But I think Iraq --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question; one-word answer. Will the Reagan model work for Bush? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: He needs a different model.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he get a model like that?

MS. CLIFT: Bush is in denial. He's adopting Pat Buchanan's idea that "Libby is just one person. We dodged the bullet, and now it's business as usual. Give me Karl Rove."

MR. BLANKLEY: No --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he, in fact, make anything like an apology for anything? And should he?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I think his problem is with his base. It's not with the scandal in the Oval Office.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It can work, with modifications. I do think it can work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're right, Mort.

Issue Three: Full-Court Dress.

RICK REILLY (Sports Illustrated columnist): (From videotape.) This is playing to the anxiety that rich suburban white people have about NBA stars. They see a tattoo and they think gang-banger. They see corn-rows; they see bling. They think thug. It's not true.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is true is that the NBA has a new dress code for professional basketball players that is very controversial. The National Basketball Association wants athletes to upgrade their off-court image -- no more T-shirts, chains, pendants, medallions worn outside players' clothing, sunglasses indoors, sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, music headphones.

Instead: Collared shirts, dress slacks, shoes, socks, sport jackets. Players are expected to meet the dress code when entering or leaving an NBA game or other NBA-sponsored event, and if they are on the bench, not participating in a game. DAVID STERN (NBA commissioner): (From videotape.) We want players to feel good about what they do and professional about it, and we want people to perceive them as going to work.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So says NBA Commissioner Dan (sic/means David) Stern. Stern says players who fail to meet the dress code can face fines or suspensions, or even getting bounced out of the NBA.

Question: Is the gangster image projected by some NBA players detrimental to the sport? I ask you, Tony Blankley.

MR. BLANKLEY: No. Look, it's not golf or tennis. People who like basketball like all this stuff. They're playing to the image. And the kids who watch basketball want to see them dressed up like "gangstas."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where's the money?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The money comes out of television, and their television audience has fallen off the edge of a cliff. They're down 35 or 40 percent for the season. And even in the playoffs, they're down dramatically.

MR. BLANKLEY: But it's not because of the way they dress.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, it's because of the image of the game. And the fact is that, you know, television money is what makes all these sports. You lose television money and you're done for.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we talking about branding here? You damage the brand and you weaken your revenues. Is that true?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. The television contracts in football are going up. The television contracts here are going down dramatically.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, therefore --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's what supports the big contracts.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are the demographics of the revenue producers for NBA?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obviously it's young folks. But, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Young folks?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, you taught at a Jesuit high school, and I did, where we had a severe dress code. There was a reason for it. IBM has a dress code. Other people do. Others don't. I think Mort's point is very well-taken. Look, there's a huge battle on for the sports revenue, and these guys are losing it. One of the reasons are these outfits. They're driving off a lot of their middle-class audience, and they want to bring them back. And it's fair for them to do.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but seeing --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's talking about --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The TV revenues of Jesuit high schools have dropped off dramatically, too, Pat. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Since he left, they're gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, that reminds me of a fellow Jesuit who said, when I said, "Do you ever prepare for teaching a class?" he says, "No." He says, "I don't prepare for classes. I don't want to put myself on an uneven footing with the students." (Laughter.) What do you think of that?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but, you know, seeing a bunch of guys sitting in suits when they're not playing in an arena where nobody else is wearing suits is so artificial. It'd be like if you guys came in in short pants.

MR. BLANKLEY: You're absolutely right. You're absolutely right, Eleanor.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you taking into consideration that the big money here, as he said, is the television money?

MR. BLANKLEY: I understand --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it's the television audience. This is not the young audience. It's the television audience.

MR. BUCHANAN: But they watch television.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but a lot of middle-age and older folk watch basketball, and they don't like to see that.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's my point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They don't like to see the -- that's your point; I know it is. Did you mention television as the heart of this?

MR. BUCHANAN: Where do you think they get their revenue?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think this is being dismissed because what you see at the games is mostly young people. True?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Even --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that doesn't reflect the true revenue audience. MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right. Even the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They've done their research.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right. They know. Now, why did the players go along with it? Because they know that this is where their bread is being buttered.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So they're going to clean up their act?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, they've agreed to do this, absolutely. And they're going to do a lot of --

MR. BUCHANAN: Bring back Rodman.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do all of the Republican horrors mean that the House will be lost by them next year? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: Not quite.

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. BLANKLEY: It's now a possibility.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes. Happy Halloween. Trick or treat. Bye bye.

END.