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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; CAROLINE DANIEL, THE FINANCIAL TIMES

TAPED: FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2006
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JUNE 3-4, 2006

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Iraq Horror.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) This is just a reminder for troops, either in Iraq or throughout our military, that there are high standards expected of them and that there are strong rules of engagement. The Haditha incident is under investigation. Obviously the allegations are very troubling for me.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The terrible event occurred six months ago, in November of last year. NBC News correspondent Richard Engle pieced together, from wide-ranging interviews, the timeline of a civilian massacre in Iraq, allegedly perpetrated by U.S. Marines. 7:15 a.m. -- a Marine convoy is blown apart by an IED, an improvised explosive device. A Marine is killed.

7:25 a.m. -- Marines search for the bomber and storm a house across from the attack. They shoot as they approach. The grisly aftermath is purportedly shown in this video, shot by a local journalism student. Abdul Hamid (ph), a 76-year-old man, blind and in a wheelchair, his 66-year-old wife, and five of their relatives are killed. The house also catches on fire during the raid.

The Marines then move on to the house next door, owned by Younis Hamid. Eight people inside are killed, including five children. One girl hid under the bed and survived.

GIRL: (From videotape.) They came in and shot all of us. I pretended I was dead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Marines then moved to a taxi cab parked at the side of the road. All five occupants -- four university students and the driver -- are shot dead.

Witnesses say two hours elapsed, with U.S. helicopters and other Marines arriving.

10:30 a.m. -- Marines storm the house of Eid Ahmed, separating out four men and kill them.

In the entire horror, 24 persons are killed. Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman and a 37-year veteran of the Marine Corps himself, John Murtha, says the civilians were killed in, quote- unquote, "cold blood."

Question: How serious are these war crimes? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, if the allegations, as you've described them, prove to be true, this is really a grave crisis, John. It will deeply damage the Marine Corps. It will deeply divide this country. It will damage morale in America. It'll be exploited by our enemies. And in addition to that, I think it will accelerate the demand of Americans that we get out of there.

The truth is we've got the prime minister of Iraq is saying that Americans routinely shoot civilians. Karzai is denouncing us in some extent in Afghanistan because of an incident there, an accident where apparently Americans shot someone.

This is reaching critical mass. I think, John, it could be terrible if true. But we do not know the truth of this right now. We do not know if what you put up there was really done by those Marines for sure. There ought not to be a rush to judgment. But I've got a sickening feeling about it because I do remember My Lai. You and I were in the White House at that time. And if true, this is worse than My Lai for the United States. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of a propaganda victory have we handed to the al Qaeda, if this is all true?

MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, atrocities happen in every war. And what matters is how you deal with it. And the impulse initially here was to cover it up. Now the administration is trying to really get out the facts, and that's the right approach.

But what this does is it questions our rationale for continued U.S. presence in Iraq. We are no longer a welcomed liberation army. And I think the administration has a strong stake in convincing people that this is an isolated incident, and there are apparently a couple of other incidents also under investigation.

And what the administration does not want to happen is for this to be seen as reflective of an attitude about a war gone bad or a war that shouldn't have been fought in the first place. Americans already look at Iraq as a war that doesn't make us safer. They think we're there to make the lives of Iraqi people better. If it looks like we're making their lives worse -- we're not alleviating their misery -- you know, why are we there? And I think Pat is right. It raises the pressure to find an exit plan over the next year or two at least.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, why did it take Time Magazine to reveal these atrocities, if that's what they are?

MR. BLANKLEY: I have no idea.

Look, to answer your first question, this is -- if the allegations are true, they're individual crimes for the men who committed them and individual tragedies for the victims. But as Eleanor correctly stated, these things unfortunately happen when you put young men under the stress of battle. In World War II, plenty of American GIs shot cold-bloodedly German POWs.

The point is, this is going to be used and it's already being used by the opponents of the president, domestically and abroad, as a blood libel, not just against these young men, but against the military service and against the country. I've already been on one show this week where they were tarring the entire honor of the American men and women in uniform. It's going to be -- Pat's correct; it's going to be a propaganda catastrophe for the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was there --

MR. BLANKLEY: And the overreporting of it by a gleeful media is more damaging to the country than any other single fact.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, was there a cover-up of this atrocity by the Marine Corps itself? MS. DANIEL: That is something which has actually been looked into at the moment as part of the Pentagon investigation. And I think what's really interesting about it is whether it does show a sort of culture of complicity in the military about these sorts of incidents. You have --

MR. BLANKLEY: There you are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MS. DANIEL: You had that earlier with Pat Tillman last year, you know, the NFL football star who died in Afghanistan. And there was a botched investigation into his death. They basically told Senator McCain that he'd been killed in friendly fire -- sorry; he'd been killed in the course of battle, but he was killed in friendly fire.

So we've seen this before with the military. So I think there's a wider point about accountability here --

MR. BLANKLEY: This is --

MS. DANIEL: -- which is how many people --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MS. DANIEL: -- which is how many people have actually been convicted higher up the military for things like Abu Ghraib. And we'll have to see what will happen with this incident.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean there is a culture of complicity in the military?

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, this is what I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, she's --

MS. DANIEL: I think it raises questions about that, certainly.

MR. BLANKLEY: This is my point. Our military is probably undoubtedly more pristine and careful regarding this than any other military in history, even than the British, who are also punctilious in their traditions of honorable combat.

But it's already being used -- "a culture." There's never been an army that has fought more honorably and has taken less collateral damage than --

MS. CLIFT: Two things.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Two things.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- and to see the tarring of our entire military by people who are only too glad to see this happen to this country -- only too glad.

MS. CLIFT: I haven't seen the tarring of our military --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MS. CLIFT: -- on any of these shows. I think there is an acknowledgement of the reality that this is an administration that put troops in, didn't equip them, and left them there and they're overstretched. That is --

MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, that's nonsense.

MS. CLIFT: That is part of it. And secondly, in terms of the punctiliousness of traditions, this is what this country is about. We are not going to act as barbarous as our enemies.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me --

MS. CLIFT: And if we do, we lose every shred of moral high ground that we have left.

MR. BLANKLEY: We've been --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat in, Tony.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me talk about the culture of the Marine Corps. These guys are tough kids. I know a lot of kids I grew up with went into the Marine Corps. They believe in one another. And these guys in Iraq not only believe in one another; they go into battle again and again with one another. And when one of them gets in trouble, they stand by him.

There's a healthy family culture to these fellows that obviously runs into trouble when one of their guys gets into trouble. The natural tendency of a Marine is to stand by his buddy and get him out. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But naturally that comes into conflict with another idea of America, which is we've got to do justice even to our friends and members of our families. This is a very, very tough, tough situation for these Marines. It's going to be tough for the Corps.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want --

MS. CLIFT: There's confusion about the rules of engagement because you have an administration that basically said the Geneva conventions don't matter --

MR. BLANKLEY: They never said that regarding combat.

MS. CLIFT: -- that pushed --

MR. BLANKLEY: They never said that regarding combat.

MS. CLIFT: That was a climate that was set up --

MR. BLANKLEY: You see this tarring --

MS. CLIFT: That was a climate that was --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish. Let her finish. MS. CLIFT: That was a climate that was set --

MR. BLANKLEY: It's a libel against the Marine Corps.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, tar away. Go ahead.

MS. CLIFT: It's a climate that was set at the very top. And torture policies were pushed beyond where they should be.

MR. BLANKLEY: You see what's happening?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, hold on, Tony. I want to hear from Caroline.

MR. BLANKLEY: Outrageous.

MS. CLIFT: So there is a climate --

MR. BLANKLEY: Outrageous.

MS. CLIFT: -- that has been set. That's not outrageous. It's reality, whether you like it or not.

MS. DANIEL: I think it's still worth asking the question why it took so long -- you know, a media outlet to actually ask questions about the incident and to investigate it. So I think -- I'm not saying that there's a cover-up; that's being looked at. And finally we are having an administration we're seeing far more open about it. We have three different investigations underway into this incident. And they're doing it as openly as they can.

MR. BUCHANAN: But there is a media culture of condemnation, too. And there's a media culture, "Aha, we got 'em," and, "Aha, we're going to put these guys on" --

MS. CLIFT: That hasn't been --

MR. BUCHANAN: There's no doubt about that.

MS. CLIFT: -- the spirit of the reporting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think, Pat --

MS. CLIFT: That hasn't been the spirit. It's not the spirit on this show, and it has not been --

MR. BUCHANAN: I didn't say it was here on this show, but there is a sense, "Aha, we caught 'em."

MS. CLIFT: I don't see that at all. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there is also a sense that the media has been manipulated. For example, one Marine Corps officer, Captain Jeffrey Pool, told Time that the allegations of civilian murders were, quote, "al Qaeda in Iraq propaganda." Another Marine officer, Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Martin-Hing, dismissed the incident as deaths caused when insurgents placed the civilians in the line of fire. Both are public affairs officers, and both lied to the press about the killings.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, there is truth, John, to what -- listen, al Qaeda is going to seize on that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You cannot defend the Marines --

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- on the basis of concealing facts from the public that the public ought to know about.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, you can't -- look, I understand --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a culture of arrogance.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it isn't. It is a familial culture.

They're a very Catholic group, the Marine Corps used to be, John. You stand by your buddies --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we invoking religion to defend --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I'm just saying these guys are like kids who belong to a family, and they defend one another. I'm not saying it's right, but I'm saying you've got to understand people who try to take care of their own.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, let me --

MR. BLANKLEY: General Marshall and Eisenhower's army did not put out press releases every time there was an incident like this during World War II, and they were hardly anything less than honorable leaders.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But let me advance this a little bit beyond --

MS. CLIFT: Well, you think it should be covered up is what you're saying.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. Hold on.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think it should be prosecuted internally.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did the commandant sit on the facts? It appears as though he did. Now, what we have seen so far from this administration is other forms of censorship. We have seen military domestic spying. We've seen electronic eavesdropping. We've seen data mining. We've seen press manipulation and censorship. Has it all gone a little bit too far --

MR. BUCHANAN: I believe in censorship.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in denying the public what they ought to know? I ask you.

MS. DANIEL: I think -- I wouldn't put it in that wide a perspective necessarily. You certainly have an administration which has been very protective of presidential authority and what sort of information they want to have available to the public. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do the military have the right to conceal from the public --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this kind of data?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do they have the right to?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. Since, look, we send kids to fight and die in battle, then the leaders of the government have got to do what is necessary so that they can do their job. Military censorship was used all during World War II. There's an argument for it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, more Iraq bad news. Item: Insurgent attacks up; 630 per week on average, the highest level ever, says the Pentagon.

Item: Press death toll. A CBS cameraman and a sound man were both killed in Baghdad on Monday by a car bomb. CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier was seriously wounded.

Item: More U.S. troops. Three thousand five hundred soldiers, more soldiers, a full armored brigade, are being sent into Iraq, many of whom will deploy to the western city of Ramadi.

GENERAL BARRY MCCAFFREY (U.S. Army, retired): (From videotape.) It's a giant armed, angry city, a handful of Marines under daily attack.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How bad is this collection of news items? Caroline Daniel.

MS. DANIEL: The administration wanted it to be a great week for Iraq with the creation of the unity government. It's now looking like a terrible week for Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Rumsfeld's reality spasm. Quote: "It's unnatural to have foreign forces in a country. To the extent that you have too many, you can feed an insurgency. To the extent that you have too few, political progress cannot go forward."

Question: The secretary of Defense says if you have too many troops, you can feed an insurgency. So if we can't win it with more troops, how can the Iraq war be won? Caroline.

MS. DANIEL: It is a conundrum, I have to say, for the administration. I'm glad I'm not sitting in President Bush's shoes looking at this. I think what will happen is you'll have the Iraqis calling for U.S. troops to come out, and that's what will be dictating some of the time line of withdrawal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, I want to ask you, how can the Iraq war be won if Rumsfeld says you put too many troops in there, you put a large number of troops in there, you feed the insurgency?

MR. BLANKLEY: I have great respect for Secretary Rumsfeld. I and a lot of people have disagreed for years now about how many troops we should have there. We need to have more combat troops so that we can simultaneously go into those places up rivers, in Ramadi and other places, to suppress the insurgents. I think we need more troops, not less.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you hear what Rumsfeld says? You feed the insurgency.

MR. BLANKLEY: I understand that for various reasons the secretary of Defense and the president have decided to fight this war at the level they have. I think they're mistaken in that. They should have more troops.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. BLANKLEY: And a lot of very wise generals think likewise.

MS. CLIFT: The U.S. troops are sitting ducks in Iraq. They go up and down the roadways and they're --

MR. BLANKLEY: They're not sitting ducks.

MS. CLIFT: They don't need --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.

MR. BLANKLEY: They're warriors. They're not sitting ducks.

MS. CLIFT: They're sitting ducks. They do not engage in combat. They go up and down these roads, and they're vulnerable to the IEDs.

MR. BLANKLEY: This is scandalous.

MS. CLIFT: And this is not a war that is being properly fought to win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's Bush's --

MS. CLIFT: And what's going to happen is we're going to disengage in a fairly respectable way over the next year or two. Call it a victory, but it is a failure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's Bush's strategy now? Pat, I ask you. If you can't win with troops, what is Bush's strategy? MS. CLIFT: There's no respectable way to continue to kill young people.

MR. BUCHANAN: The only strategy -- look, look, what we do have going for us is this. Unlike Vietnam, the insurgents have no program or plan for government or the future. They are killers out there. They want to disrupt and destroy.

I think the United States can help wear them down, but eventually we are going to have to pull our guys out. This war is winnable, I think, John, but ultimately it is going to have to be won by the Iraqis themselves or it's not going to be won.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean the Bush strategy is to prop up an Iraqi government with the expectation that it can create an army.

MR. BUCHANAN: Until they create an army and get the army in the field, and we ought to push them to do that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The problem with that, Pat, is that the military and the security forces over there are riddled with militia and with insurgents.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I am more and more pessimistic. I agree with you. But I do not think you can be in despair.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let's cut to the chase, Pat. This is an exit question.

Is this war now unwinnable?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As many, if not all, in recent memory, guerrillas' wars are unwinnable.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you are saying the insurgents are going to win. I don't believe they necessarily are. My guess is, in the long run, the Shi'a are going to win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this war unwinnable?

MS. CLIFT: We cannot win a war of attrition. And what we're doing is managing the difference between failure and catastrophic failure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think this war is unwinnable?

MR. BLANKLEY: Insurgency wars are winnable. General MacArthur won it in the Philippines. The British won it in Malaysia. This is winnable; made more difficult by fifth columnists.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this war winnable?

MS. DANIEL: It is winnable if the Iraqi government comes together properly, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you heard what I said, that if they want to build an army, they've already got security forces riddled with militias and with insurgents. How does it square up? Also, insurgencies against occupiers in Algeria, Vietnam, Belgian Congo, Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia, Afghanistan, East Timor have all been quite successful. Guerrilla wars, I don't think, can be won, certainly in the context we are in now. My feeling is that this war is unwinnable.

Issue Two: Paulson -- A Panacea?

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) The American economy is powerful, productive and prosperous. And I look forward to working with Hank Paulson to keep it that way. HENRY PAULSON (secretary of Treasury nominee): (From videotape.) Our economy's strength is rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit and the competitive zeal of the American people and in our free and open market. It is truly a marvel. But we cannot take it for granted. We must take steps to maintain our competitive edge in the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Henry Paulson is President Bush's nominee for secretary of the Treasury. He will succeed the departing John Snow. Paulson is the chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, where he has worked for more than 32 years, eight years as CEO. In the Nixon White House, he was an assistant to John Ehrlichman, one of President Nixon's top two advisers.

Like President Bush, Mr. Paulson values highly tax cuts and globalization. Unlike President Bush, Mr. Paulson is a lifelong champion of environmental causes. He chairs the board of directors at the Nature Conservancy, the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the environment. He also supports the Kyoto Protocol, the international global warming treaty that President Bush questions.

Question: Why is Secretary Snow leaving the Treasury Department? Caroline Daniel.

MS. DANIEL: Well, rumors of his imminent departure have been around for about a year and a half. He's the most talked about Treasury secretary in terms of when he was about to leave. He's been criticized for a long time for not doing enough to sell the economy to the American people.

But also he's leaving because I think the White House for a long time wanted a stronger, tougher figure to represent the economic policy of the administration, whatever that policy actually is right now. And what you're seeing is Bush knows that his legacy is going to be determined both by Iraq and by the economy, and he needs someone who's better to come in and sell it. And Hank Paulson is a very successful banker who they hope can actually do a better job than John Snow was seen to be doing.

MS. CLIFT: Well, they practically had to beg him to take the job. And I assume he got some guarantees that he's going to have more input than poor John Snow had, who was really in the outer, outer circle.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's a question for you -- the economic downsize that we have today, record trade deficit, record current accounts deficit, record budget deficit, global currency imbalances, global imbalance in trade, inflation bugaboos and jobless recovery. To his credit, however, the president secured a 5.3 percent last- quarter growth rate, which was quite helpful. But if you were the CEO of Goldman Sachs, would you really want to trade that job for all of these above woes? MR. BUCHANAN: John, Paulson is the Texan who rode into the Alamo, and I think he's headed for real trouble, because the things you point out are correct. The dollar is falling. The markets are shaky. Moreover, there can be no real change in the Bush policy. It's set in stone. It is tax cuts. He's not going to raise taxes at all. He's got a budget deficit which is going to change only marginally. So this fellow is in here without real power and authority to change things, but he's got to defend --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he also going to really, in point of fact, echo and enforce, maybe enforce, the policies of John Snow?

MR. BLANKLEY: No. I mean, John Snow, I don't think he had any real policy. The policy was being run out of the West Wing at that time.

Look, I think this is a very important appointment. And I commend Paulson for taking it, because, along with all the problems you pointed out, there's concerns that there may be difficulties in the world financial markets. And he is probably as good a man as we can have to be able to manage and calm any problems that may emerge around the globe. So he is well-positioned, if we're battening down the hatches, to be the man trusted by the markets from China to Europe.

MS. CLIFT: He's an excellent appointment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why does the president not get --

MS. CLIFT: He's an excellent appointment, and is also a huge environmentalist. He was on the cover of Vanity Fair with Al Gore. He worries about global warming. He may be able to actually make an impact in this administration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why doesn't President Bush get the credit that he deserves for the macroeconomy growth rate?

MS. DANIEL: Well, this is a question that the White House keeps scratching their head about. Karl Rove's answer to that is that Iraq overshadows absolutely everything else in the economy, even the good news. And I guess gas prices continue to overshadow sort of economic data and the sort of, you know, pocketbook issues.

MR. BUCHANAN: Working-class folks are not participating quite as well as those who are in the market, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think Tony's got a very good point. If we're going to have a crisis, it's going to be an international financial crisis. And Rubin, to his credit, handled that fairly well. And Paulson would be a guy much better positioned, with much more knowledge, much more heft, to deal with it. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's no change anticipated, contrary to what Mr. Blankley has said, in our fiscal policy, our trade policy or our monetary policy, is there? What is he going to change that's any different from Snow?

MS. DANIEL: I think you could see him change China policy. He's much more interested -- when he was at Goldman Sachs, he spent -- he had 70 trips over to China in the last 15 years. There is a void in the administration in terms of thinking about China. I think he's going to --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's going to manage the fall of the dollar.

MS. DANIEL: -- (grab?) China.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the economy going to go up or down? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's going to go down. He's going to manage the fall of the dollar.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I think working-class people are going to continue to get squeezed. And let's hope he cares about that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And a jobless economy.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say? Up or down?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, economies always go up and down.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: We're four years into a recovery and we've got very good growth right now. So for the time being, things are good. But there's a lot of clouds on the horizon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How can you be so decisive in some of your opinions on this program and indecisive when you're asked a direct question?

MR. BLANKLEY: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the economy going to go up or down?

MS. DANIEL: It's going to go down probably in the second half of this year, at least compared to the first half of this year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seriously down?

MS. DANIEL: No, I think it will be 3, 4 percent growth compared with 5.3 percent in the first --

MR. BLANKLEY: Growth means --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Still an up-growth cycle.

MR. BLANKLEY: Technically.

MS. DANIEL: In fact, John Snow -- if you look at the past Treasury secretaries the last 25 years, John Snow actually had one of the best records of any Treasury secretary during his time in office.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You work for the Financial Times. Should I buy gold?

MS. DANIEL: No. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No?

MR. BUCHANAN: You should have bought gold. But it dropped about $100.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's the gold bug right here.

Issue Three: English Only.

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): English is part of our national identity. It's part of our blood. It's part of our spirit. It's part of who we are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: English must be America's national language: so voted the U.S. Senate as part of the immigration reform bill now headed for House-Senate conference. But some senators see a dark side to making English our official national language.

SEN. KEN SALAZAR (D-CO): (From videotape.) We have example after example, personal examples we can cite, about people who have been the victims of language discrimination.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will there be a grand bargain between the House and the Senate? Will the House say yes, English must be the official language, in order to permit the Senate to have some kind of a path to amnesty or citizenship?

MR. BUCHANAN: There's going to be no bargain. English should be our official language. But all they're saying is national language.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: The language issue is phony. They'd be much better served if they encouraged everybody to learn another language.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it break the logjam? Yes or no?

MR. BLANKLEY: It won't. Look, English should be the official language, but I think we could expand it to American.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it break the logjam?

MS. DANIEL: No, it's a silly symbolic issue which I don't think will change anything very fundamentally.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it will have to break the logjam. They can't leave this undone --

MR. BUCHANAN: Watch.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- legislatively undone. MR. BUCHANAN: Watch.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: There's a dead heat in Mexico. If Obrador loses the election, there will be riots in the streets.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obrador, meaning the conservative.

MR. BUCHANAN: Obrador is the leftist.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Leftist.

MS. CLIFT: Henry Paulson will push for carbon trading to alleviate global warming.

MR. BLANKLEY: This is just a guess. I think Hillary's going to switch positions on Iraq sometime this summer and come out against the war.

MS. DANIEL: Hank Paulson will push for entitlement reform after the next election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In next Tuesday's special election to fill Duke Cunningham's California House seat, the winner will be Democrat Francine Busby, meaning the Democrats will then need a net 14-seat win in November to seize the House majority.

Bye-bye.

END.