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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP


HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY,


PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,


AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL



TAPED FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1998


AIRED THE WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 26-27, 1998



.STX



 


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Clinton abroad.



BRITISH JOURNALIST: (From videotape.) He is head of the last superpower. He's got our destiny in his hands as well.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Brits were back this week, and this time the tone was ominous. Clinton's troubles are Britain's troubles. The president squirmed and so did the world.



Bill Clinton's four-hour videotape grand jury testimony, the mother of all soap operas, played out on television sets last Monday across the planet. And also made available on Monday on the World Wide Web were 3,200 additional pages of the Starr report, two volumes of remarkably detailed legal and related analyses released by the U.S. Congress along with the videotape.



The impact overseas? Anger, ridicule, worry.



Austria: "The Clinton era is already over. If he doesn't throw in the towel himself, we face two years of total political paralysis."



Poland: "The resignation of Bill Clinton would help world peace and stability much more than his continuing to fight for his office."



Malaysia: "For a president who is effete, impeachment is the answer."



(Quoting from various headlines.) United Kingdom: "We had sex on crutches." "Get the children out of the room; our president is on the telly." "I thought it was spinach." "The laughingstock of the world"



Britain's Sun newspaper, with its 10 million readers, had a field day -- 11 full pages on the story.



"Clinton sweats it out." (Quoting from The Guardian.) "There are two possible solutions to breaking this unhappy deadlock. The first would be to resign, the other to abandon his pinhead sophistry about what constitutes sexual relations."



Hong Kong: On a giant TV screen outside a shopping mall, passers-by watched Clinton's testimony carried live.



Singapore: "Clinton should quit with grace -- a quick, dignified exit."



Egypt: "Monica tells about her love meetings in the Oval Office."



Italy: "Clinton vietato ai minori -- Clinton prohibited to minors."



Germany: "Poor Clinton. Today television will pull his pants down."



The Clinton scandal "makes me want to throw up," says Chancellor Helmut Kohl.



France agrees. "We're all German chancellors now. All of this is worthy of vomiting."



More France: "It's the end of the American dream. It's the end of that mythical America, the last hope of the free world against all the totalitarianism of the 20th century." So says L'Evenement de Jeudi, with its creative snicker.



Question: Do you think that such foreign reaction is offset, Pat Buchanan, by the warm standing ovation the president received on Monday at the United Nations and by Nelson Mandela's kind words to him at the White House this week?



MR. BUCHANAN: John, you've got to separate these foreign journalists from foreign leaders who do not want America destabilized and most of whom want this thing to go away and don't want Clinton to leave. Now, Clinton is diminished and distracted, but the United States remains the number one superpower, the number one financial power, the number one economic power, and Clinton is still in charge. All these editorials, John, don't add up to a hill of beans as far as Clinton's future is concerned here in America.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Pat says it very well, and on this one, Pat, I'm an America-firster, too. Look, the world wants a stable America with an effective president, and that standing ovation in a world body which usually barely claps was a show of defiance by the world to let us know that they think it's ridiculous that we have a sex-obsessed special prosecutor and a band of Taliban Republicans trying to hijack the world's agenda.



And that's what the Americans are telling -- the American people are telling us in poll after poll, as well. They want this to be put behind us, it doesn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, let's pay attention to real issues.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you know, don't you, Tony, that the United Nations gave Fidel Castro twice the standing ovation that they gave to Clinton?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the U.N. doesn't represent European opinion any more than it represents the United States opinion. They like our money, they like to be able to travel first class on our money, and that's what that ovation was about, but -



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you conclude from this world press? Do you think that this should be a cause of concern to us, and if so, why?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, I don't care what advice Europeans give us as to how to run our government. I do care about how they see the moral authority of our leader, because that's what we provide. Combined with our power monetarily, financially, diplomatically, but without the moral leadership that only the president can provide, I think the world is in a dangerous condition where we can't coordinate for good, and it won't -- it'll persist until he's gone.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is page C-16 from the Wall Street Journal the day after Clinton's grand jury testimony -- a lengthy, almost full-page article starting with the headline, "Overseas stock markets drop as investors worry about Clinton scandal." That's the first in a series of three operations that caused this drop. The second one is Japan banks, and the third is a European group called EMI. But they single out, both in the body of the story and the headline, that these markets are destabilized by the Clinton scandal. Now, can anyone really contend that there is not active damage as well as what was agreed upon last week, active and real and serious tarnish on the image of the American presidency?



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, first of all, John, as you know, almost all reporting on market behavior is largely guesswork. They don't really know what moves that market.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, reporters, yes, but when they cite world authorities, I think we have to show these economists -- as much as we hold them in derision -- we have to show them some -- we have to accord them some respect.



MR. BLANKLEY (?): (You ?) -- cannot --



MR. O'DONNELL: But international power has always been based on two things, money and guns. We have more than anyone else.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.



MR. O'DONNELL: We have more power.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me try this out on Buchanan to see whether I can get some lever that will get him --



MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) Right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- off his seat. (Laughter.)



Number one, Netanyahu is going to meet with the president next week. The story out of New York, where he is this weekend, is that Netanyahu feels as though he has the president by the short hairs. Those are the hairs, Patrick, at the nape of the neck, lest you be confused. (Laughter.) He feels he has the upper hand --



MR. BUCHANAN: Get away from that Starr report.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he feels that Clinton will cut any deal in order to make himself, Clinton, look good at this perilous time in regard to the Middle East; and, therefore, Netanyahu can play the cards that Netanyahu wants to play. What do you think of that?



MR. BUCHANAN: There is truth in that. Look -- but Netanyahu has had -- (the whip hand ?) -- over Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright ever since they backed down from that deal they cut over there in London. And Netanyahu knows he's dealing with an even weaker president; that this president, even at his strength, couldn't stand up to Benjamin Netanyahu.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: Right. I mean, I think the administration has made a decision, in effect, that there's not going to be any progress as long as Netanyahu is in power, that he is completely intransigent.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that of course doesn't address my question.



MS. CLIFT: And -- plus the fact that this -- well, he was having trouble with Netanyahu before this. Netanyahu has had his own problems with scandal. I mean, who is he to sit in judgment of Bill Clinton?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me try a different question, and I'll try it on you. It's quite likely that the NATO forces are going to bomb Milosevic over there because of the Kosovo problem. But before that, Bob Dole is arguing that we make a unilateral strike against Milosevic and the Serbs for the way they are treating the Kosovars.



Now do you think that this is going to inspire -- you're shaking your heads --



MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think this is going to inspire comfort when the president does decide to use unilateral force, if he does, particularly when it is now universally recognized that what he did in Khartoum was erroneous because Khartoum has been totally decoupled from Bin Laden?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, your question relates to my first answer, which is when the president of the United States does not have the moral authority, then the conduct he may have that might in theory be the right act is not taken as the right act. And that's going to be the problem.



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. The moral --



MR. BLANKLEY: The -- (word inaudible) - won't be seen as -- (inaudible).



MS. CLIFT: -- the moral authority compared to what or who?



MR. BLANKLEY: Ronald Reagan, George Bush.



MS. CLIFT: We are still -- Ronald Reagan isn't president --



MR. BLANKLEY: No, you asked me --



MS. CLIFT: -- anymore.



MR. BLANKLEY: -- what to compare it with.



MS. CLIFT: We have one president, and we have one superpower, and this country still has the moral suasion to lead the world. And, John, you --



MR. BLANKLEY: No, it doesn't have the moral suasion --



MS. CLIFT: -- conveniently gloss over the facts. I understand Russia did go along with the fact that if there is a use of force in Kosovo, they are going along with that. That's a big step.



MR. BUCHANAN: They'd better --



MS. CLIFT: So there is painstaking work going on behind the scenes -- (cross talk) -- (inaudible) --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the American people are going to be comfortable in a decision to use military force when the decision is made by this particular commander-in-chief, who is in such universal disgrace?



MR. BUCHANAN: It will automatically be suspect. They will support the airstrike, but I'll tell you this: We better think through what comes at the end of it if these airstrikes don't work.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question, quick answer. Summary exit question. Should Americans worry about foreign reaction to our crisis? Pat Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: Tony's exactly right when he says this has diminished America, but we shouldn't take --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should we worry about it?



MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, we should be worried about it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should we worry about it?



MS. CLIFT: Oh, they're snickering and enjoying it, but when Nelson Mandela comes over and puts his arm around the president and world leaders support him, that's the real power.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should we worry about it?



MR. BLANKLEY: We should worry. And the last time he endorsed somebody, it was Fidel Castro, when he --



MR. BUCHANAN: And Qadhafi.



MR. BLANKLEY: And Qadhafi. So I don't care about --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should we worry about it?



MR. O'DONNELL: We should worry only at --



MS. CLIFT: Mandela's a great leader.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor.



MR. O'DONNELL: We should worry only at the margin, which is to say terrorism could be slightly encouraged -- because they are always acting irrationally -- it could be slightly encouraged by the perception that there's a weakened president.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think we should worry a lot.



When we come back, perjury plus.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Perjury plus.



PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (In a series of statements from videotape.) I have been blessed and advantaged in my life with a good memory. I don't remember. I didn't keep records. My memory is not clear. I do not remember when they were or at what time of day they were or what the facts were. I just don't recall that. I just don't remember that. That doesn't mean that my memory is accurate. I don't remember when they were, but just don't remember it. Well, again, I don't recall. I do not remember exactly what the nature of the conversation was. I don't have any memory of that whatever. I don't have independent memory of that. I would be inclined to trust his memory over mine. Well, I don't recall whether I did or not. I don't remember exactly what I did say. I have no recollection of that whatever. I certainly have no memory of doing that. I have no recollection of that whatever. You asked me if I remember; I don't. All I can tell you is I didn't remember all the details of all this. I don't have any memory of this as I sit here today.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: During four hours of grand jury testimony, Mr. Clinton answered 286 substantive questions, and his, quote-unquote, blessed memory failed 123 times. Forty-three percent. On average, more than once every two minutes. We've sampled 21 lapses just now; 102 remain for your review, Patrick, and your review, Eleanor.



Members of Congress are deeply troubled by the suspicious volume of Mr. Clinton's claimed memory lapses. Lawmakers recall Watergate, when one defendant was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for a single lapse of memory, and he served eight months for that one failure to remember.



Question: What are the odds that at least one or some of these Clinton evasions, 123, will be proven to constitute perjury? I ask you, Eleanor, for your objective opinion.



MS. CLIFT: John, okay, lawyers are not like you and me. Or maybe they're like you; they're not me. But this was a lawyerly presentation on the part of the president and even lying, in that setting, does not necessarily constitute perjury. You have to go into state of mind and all of that, plus the fact it has to be a lie that is material to the outcome of the case. This doesn't rise to that level.



And secondly, Ken Starr's investigation was predicated on Linda Tripp manipulating Monica Lewinsky to implicate Vernon Jordan -- an implication that has not been borne out -- so this whole investigation was built on a legal fraud.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, you know, I -- back when I worked for the Democrats in the Senate I was in meetings with Bill Clinton where I didn't think he remembered anything that he had said in the previous meeting on the same subject, so I have a lot of sympathy for the possible truth in his faulty memory. But I do believe that the House Judiciary Committee --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a minute -- let me hear this again. When the president says, "I don't remember agreeing to any such deal," when he was talking up there to other senators on the Hill, you -- you felt he was telling the truth?



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, you know, that kind of thing used to happen all the time.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's got a very good memory, he said so himself; and so does Vernon Jordan.



MR. BLANKLEY: That's one of the great exaggerations, John.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?



MR. BLANKLEY: First of all, just one technical correction. In a grand jury, you don't need materiality. All of those lies are, in fact, perjury in a grand jury. But more generally, I think when he says he forgets, he's lying, and when he says he remembers, he's lying, and eventually they're going to build courthouses with a picture of Lady Justice representing truth, and a gargoyle of Clinton representing anti-truth. And, you can't listen to this man testify without believing he's a natural-born liar and he's going to die that way.



MR. BUCHANAN: John, you and I know the fellow that went to prison for eight months for saying twice, "I can't recall" about whether he knew --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it twice or once?



MR. BUCHANAN: Twice, and what Donald Segretti was doing --



Look, this thing is so obvious that it is now going to go right to the United States Senate and it's going to be up to those senators whether they've got the courage to look at that and say, look, that fellow lied to the grand jury repeatedly; he certainly could recall and he was saying he didn't.



MS. CLIFT: Pat -- right. The federal prosecutors brought 50,000 cases of criminal action last year; 87 of them were for perjury. That's a very difficult case to make, and usually when they make it, it's because there's some underlying crime that's so hideous.



(Cross talk.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.



MS. CLIFT: When this is the only crime, it doesn't -- it doesn't rise to that level.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out, and I would point out that on September the 22nd, which is this week, there was an excellent op-ed piece by Dick Thornburgh on how serious perjury has to be taken, and a history of cases which will not give comfort to the president and his staff.



Exit -- that's September the 22nd, the Wall Street Journal -- if it can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bill Clinton committed perjury in his testimony before the grand jury, in even one instance, a la Alger Hiss, should he be required to leave office, Pat Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: You cannot be a perjurer and be chief law enforcement officer of the United States.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a yes, he should be required.



Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Alger Hiss was accused of treason. Clinton is accused of covering up an illicit sexual affair that hurt nobody except his family. The answer is no.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Alger Hiss was convicted because -- not because of treason -- correct me if I'm wrong, Pat -- but because he was a perjurer.



MR. BUCHANAN: It was because of perjury. He was convicted of perjury.



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was convicted of perjury.



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Perjury is what counts --



MS. CLIFT: But because he was thought to have committed treason --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My question to you is: Should he be required to leave office?



MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, he should. It'll be a close call in the Senate.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the grounds of perjury?



MR. BUCHANAN: Obstruction of justice --



MR. BLANKLEY: It'll be a close call. There will be a lot of senators who will see it's sufficient, but --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the Senate? So we're beyond the House. We've gone through impeachment.



MR. BLANKLEY: I'm thinking we're getting there.



MR. O'DONNELL: John, over this particular perjury, I would have a lot of trouble making this decision. I think I'd be the last holdout senator, and in the end, I would vote against impeachment.



MR. BUCHANAN: Against conviction.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You would?



MR. O'DONNELL: I would. I would have trouble with this particular piece of perjury --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think a perjurer can be president of the United States?



MR. O'DONNELL: I think this particular perjurer can serve out the next two years to no particular harm.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're part of that same generation, aren't you?



MR. O'DONNELL: Yes, that -- yes, that's --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, we've got to give you some lessons in civics.



MR. BUCHANAN: John, do you think -- do you think that --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three -- the answer is: One act of perjury will do it, and it should do it.



Yes?



MR. BUCHANAN: Would they let Nixon get away with 123 of these things?



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, forget it!



Issue three: Reflections on the crisis.



FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER: (From videotape.) I have deplored and been deeply embarrassed about what has occurred to this president.



My own opinion is that the president has not been truthful in the deposition given in the Paula Jones case or in the interrogation by the grand jury.



FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH: (From videotape.) (In progress) -- but to say this office is strong; it's bigger than any one person. And I'm afraid -- I'm afraid for now it's been diminished.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What inferences do you draw from these remarks by Messrs Carter and Bush, Lawrence O'Donnell?



MR. O'DONNELL: I think Jimmy Carter is absolutely right, that his predicted outcome -- that it'll go to the Senate, the Senate will vote against --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He says that in another -- in another bite.



MR. O'DONNELL: He -- yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But what about here? He feels he has not been truthful in the deposition given to Paula Jones. What's he saying?



MR. BUCHANAN: John, that's devastating. He is saying that the president of the United States lied to the grand jury, which is an impeachable offense.



MS. CLIFT: Well, yeah, Pat, most Americans don't think he was truthful, and they've gotten beyond that.



MR. BUCHANAN: To the grand jury?!



MS. CLIFT: Yes, to the grand jury. What's more interesting was George Bush's comment --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The polls are deceptive, Eleanor. The national polls overskew Los Angeles and the big population centers like New York. If you go district by district, Eleanor, as these congressmen are doing, those polls are not helping the president all that much at all.



Okay, all deliberate speed:



REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO, House minority leader): (From videotape.) (In progress) -- can resolve in a bipartisan effort to do the work that needs to be done in the next 30 days in the House.



FORMER SENATOR ROBERT DOLE (R-KS): (From videotape.) I think everybody ought to take a deep breath. I mean, this is not going to go away this week or 30 days.



I thought it was premature to talk about censure. We're in the very early stages of a proceeding that's going to last for a while. And the president himself kept this going for eight months. Now to say, "We ought to wrap it up in 30 days" -- it's not going to happen.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What inferences do you draw from these remarks by Messrs Gephardt and Dole, Tony Blankley?



MR. BLANKLEY: I think Gephardt is technically right, that if he wanted to make a deal, it could be done in less than 30 days. But Dole is substantively right that the ingredients for making an agreement are not going to be there. You have to go through the process for several months at least.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No deal?



MR. BLANKLEY: No deal for several months at least.



MR. O'DONNELL: Exactly. There is no possibility.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you see there?



MR. BUCHANAN: I think what Gephardt is doing -- Gephardt, his strategy is, "Let's get this over with," but what Dole is predicting is right on the mark. This is going to take months and months and months.



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. The only way there is a deal is if the Republicans begin to pay a price if the people think they are dragging it out. And the November elections are going to tell us a lot -- (inaudible) -- far.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear Dole knock Clinton, saying, "Clinton has kept this going for eight months, and now he wants a resolution in 30 days"? Come off it!



Okay. What will Congress do?



GEN. COLIN POWELL: (From videotape.) I am disappointed and upset by what's happened in recent months, upset by the situation the president has gotten himself into and gotten the country into. But I am always bullish on our constitutional system and our ability to work our way through these problems.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What inferences do you draw from these remarks by Colin Powell, Pat Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: You know, I just think that's sort of a careful statement of the situation such as it is. And I don't draw a great deal from it, other than the fact he's telling the truth about --



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he calls upon the constitutional system. What does that tell you?



MS. CLIFT: He got more worked up about gays in the military. I thought that was a pretty restrained comment, frankly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he made two points. He says that the situation, the president has brought on himself, unlike Eleanor who is blaming the impeachment on the Republicans. You know?



MR. O'DONNELL: Mmm-hmm. (In agreement.)



MS. CLIFT: Yeah --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Like Hillary; that's the new tactic.



I am asking you this: I am asking you whether Powell, in mentioning the constitutional system, is also suggesting that he sees this going into impeachment and he favors letting this run its course "a la Dole"?



MR. O'DONNELL: I think he probably does. But I don't think any of these comments by the elders will have any effect on public opinion. It's too late; public opinion has formed. If they spoke up in the last week of January, they would have been much more -- (influential ?).



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The market will probably have more effect on public opinion.



Okay. Harold Ickes.



HAROLD ICKES (former deputy White House chief of staff): (From videotape.) There is an iron rule in this city; the cover-up is always worse than the crime. This underscores that iron rule.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What inferences do you draw from Harold Ickes's remarks? And who is Harold Ickes, I ask you Lawrence O'Donnell?



MR. O'DONNELL: Harold Ickes is the former deputy White House chief of staff.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A big friend of Clinton and Hillary.



MR. O'DONNELL: A big friend of Clinton, worked -- has known him for a long time --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear what he said there?



MR. O'DONNELL: He, as far as I can tell, said there was a cover-up. I don't know how else you can here that. I don't know why he is admitting that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does that mean coming from Ickes?



MR. O'DONNELL: It's "The Twilight Zone" time; it's one of the -- (inaudible) -- (laughter).



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that Ickes is going before the grand jury. Is he sending a signal of some magnitude and velocity to the White House?



MR. BUCHANAN: Well, Ickes -- there may be a special prosecutor looking at Mr. Ickes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's what I mean.



MR. BUCHANAN: You think -- (you know ?) -- you've seen any -- (inaudible) --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the signal, "Hey, don't look for support from me; I am not going to jail"? Is that what he is saying?



MR. BUCHANAN: Is he's saying that, "I can deal with you fellas"? I don't know because --



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Well, I don't see where the news is. Clinton himself said he'd have to be an exhibitionist if he didn't try to cover up what he did.



The one thing Democrats have going for them is Republicans have a gift for overplaying their hand, and that's exactly what you're doing and they're doing. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you remember how Ickes left the White House? He's said he read it in a column in the New York Times.



MR. O'DONNELL: That's right. He was upset about not being promoted --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. That's not designed to win friends and influence staff, is it? Okay -- Rodham rides again!



HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: (From videotape.) They'd rather spend their time dividing our country, diverting our resources, doing anything but focusing on the real problems of America.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What inferences do you draw from Hillary Clinton's remarks, Tony Blankley?



MR. BLANKLEY: She's projecting, because in fact, it's Clinton and Hillary who are trying to divert the public's attention from the primary business of protecting our government from his corruption.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, yes, but I want to know from Eleanor, which conspiracy is back? Is it the vast right wing conspiracy or is it the vast anti-Arkansas conspiracy?



MS. CLIFT: John, there are a lot of people who elected this president, women in the forefront, African Americans, who think that this is a political coup with a legal gloss on it. Her message is heard among people who actually vote.



MR. BUCHANAN: Her -- her message is it's all politics, it's all politics. That's the party line.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.



(Announcements.)



What percentage of House Democrats will support an inquiry into impeachment, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: Between 20 and 25 on the floor.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: That's probably right, because it looks like you're just opening it up for more information.



MR. BLANKLEY: 40 percent.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forty!



MR. BLANKLEY: About 100 members, Democratic members.



MR. O'DONNELL: No more than 10 percent.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is 35 percent. (Laughter.) Bye bye!



 


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PBS SEGMENT


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Bully pulpit versus church pulpit.



PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) To let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, and in the end, the word of my hands, be pleasing.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a novel use of the presidential bully pulpit, and like most other matters in the history-making Clinton affair, unprecedented. A bully pulpit to church pulpit. Why the appeal to church? Exculpation. Mr. Clinton's embrace of the clergy began August the 17th, the same day as his taped grand jury appearance, with the Reverend Jesse Jackson visit with the first family. While Mr. Clinton parried prosecutors, the Reverend Jackson consoled Chelsea and Hillary. The Reverend Jackson had this to say about Mr. Clinton's moral and legal transgressions:



REV. JESSE JACKSON: (From videotape.) But what he's also clear on and Hillary's clear on is that they believe that matters of faith and fidelity are essentially private, and matters of public policy are something different.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But not all religious leaders are ready to absolve Mr. Clinton of wrongdoing. Listen to the evangelist diocesan newspaper from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany: "It is time for Mr. Clinton to resign the office he has disgraced through his many perversions and endless mendacity." The Protestant publication "World," Asheville, North Carolina, says on its August 29 cover, quote, "Time to resign." Davenport, Iowa's "Catholic Messenger" calls Clinton a, quote, "world-class manipulator." "Jewish Week," New York City, reminds readers that Judaism requires a higher morality from leaders than from the rest of us and says that by resigning, Mr. Clinton could, quote, "put concern for country above self."



Question: How do you explain Clinton's clergy reception at the White House and the blasts of negative opinion from the religious press? Eleanor Clift.



MS. CLIFT: Well, last time I checked, we had separation of church and state, and I don't think we adopt all of the positions of various churches on a lot of social issues. Secondly, it always surprises me that people who call themselves Christians are the last who want to forgive. Now, I think the president has a long history of being religious, he especially likes the forgiveness part, and I'm not in the business of questioning people's motives.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Clinton crossing church/state lines in invoking the clergy to defend him?



MR. BLANKLEY: No, but the --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the point of that?



MR. BLANKLEY: -- but the point is that the clergy --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Especially when they go on television and they talk about the pastoral process, not necessarily saying he should stay or go, but, you know, they're out there, et cetera.



MR. BLANKLEY: The clergy has a responsibility to speak up on a moral basis and judge him since he is asking to be judged by them. And that's the danger for Clinton, as we've seen, that some members of the church are going to come forward and make that moral judgment against him.



MR. BUCHANAN: I think that those Catholics in Albany were dead right, and I think the prophetic responsibility of the cardinals has been terribly lax in this, John, in the Catholic Church. They were off the air.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Their silence is to be condemned, Pat. All seven cardinals?



MR. BUCHANAN: Well, listen, they're pathetic. They're pathetic.



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