"THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP"
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
TAPED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2006
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF AUGUST 12-13, 2006
Copyright (c) 2006 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service, please visit http://www.fednews.com or call(202)347-1400
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: U.K. Thwarts Terror Plot.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) This nation is at war with Islamic fascists.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That statement came after British authorities foiled a plot Thursday to blow up 10 passenger flights from Heathrow Airport in London to the U.S.
In response, the U.S. has raised the terror alert here to its highest level, red, for the first time for flights from the U.K. U.K. police arrested 24 suspects, all British citizens of Pakistani descent. The plotters intended to take on board liquid chemical explosives disguised as drinks and to detonate them with a modified disposable camera. Now airline passengers in the U.S. are scrambling to meet new security requirements.
MICHAEL CHERTOFF (secretary, Department of Homeland Security): (From videotape.) We are temporarily banning all liquids as carry-ons in aircraft cabins. Any liquids or gels have to be checked as part of baggage to go into the hold.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: British authorities say the terror plan could have caused casualties on a scale of the September 11 attacks. Even more, it has the earmark of September 11.
RICHARD CLARKE (former White House counterterrorism adviser): (From videotape.) We eliminated Nazi Germany and imperial Japan in under four years. But five years into this war against al Qaeda, they're out there still plotting major attacks against the United States.
Al Qaeda likes to do two and three attacks at the same time. Is there a plan for the United States? Is there a plan for the Pacific? Until the British tell us they're confident they got the whole thing, I would be worried.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At week's end, British authorities released one of the 24 suspects.
Question: Did the Heathrow plot have any chance of being carried out? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, given the magnitude of it -- their going after 10 aircraft; 24 people have been arrested in Britain; they're going after more there, others in Pakistan; there's talk they're in Italy -- given the size of it, the possibility of a leak was enormous. So it was a very risky plot in that sense.
But I'll tell you this. If they had done this with one or two planes and with less than 10 people or fewer than 10 people, I think there's a real chance this could have been a real disaster. This was a great piece of work by British intelligence.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The plot was known a year ago, July of 2005, and it was sat on for a year while further investigation proceeded. All the principals were known and they were under surveillance, constant surveillance. So was there any chance of this actually happening?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, because the Brits did not act soon enough last summer when the London bombings occurred, and they had some leaks there as well and they waited too long and they weren't able to foil them. And the fact that they moved so rapidly, really in the middle of the night, they had some sense that the practice runs were going to be undertaken this weekend and that the attacks themselves could happen. This was terrific work on the part of the British. And it was good old-fashioned police work, human intelligence, patience, and reaching out to the Muslim community, because the first tip came from a Muslim in Britain. And I think there's a lesson here for Americans, because we need to do a better job infiltrating these various communities. And I think the number of people who can even speak Arabic in our intelligence services has not increased appreciably in the last five years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this foiled terrorist plot have any potential for the upcoming November election?
MR. BLANKLEY: I'm hesitant to politicize it by even talking about that. I also think it's pretty hard to parse this far out. I mean, theoretically, I suppose it strengthens those people who are identified with being tough on terrorism. But I'm not convinced of that. I think this is probably a political wash.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not a net plus for Bush?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think it's much too soon. I mean, if there's a net plus, that's probably where it is. But I wouldn't make that argument yet.
MR. PAGE: I think Tony's right. It is a wash because, for one thing, we still have the Iraq war going on. And it's still a political issue as to how much the Iraq war is connected to the war on terror and whether it may actually be hampering the war on terror. So the debate is too complicated to try to parse exactly what impact this one episode will have. But over the next few weeks it is going to be part of the debate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, new Iraq invasion rationale. This week President Bush recast the war on al Qaeda as a war on Islamic fascists.
PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) This nation is at war with Islamic fascists.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a mistake to lump Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iraqi insurgency and the al Qaeda all in the same broad category of Islamic fascists? I ask you, Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: First of all, he did not recast it this week. He used the phrase Islamic fascist six or eight months ago, and I remember because we did an editorial commending him for using the phrase. So this is not new.
As to the legitimacy of using the word "fascist," I think it is legitimate for the following reason. I think fascism is basically authoritarian or undemocratic movement that uses excessive force domestically and abroad and believes in the moral superiority of a race, ethnicity, et cetera, as opposed to communism, which sees a class moral movement. So this is clearly in the category of fascism in either the Nazi or the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me give you an alternate --
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's a mistake, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- view from a piece of analysis and also opinion from one of our viewers. Quote: "Bush likes to grope for new rationales as a way to mask his failures. Thus the rationale for the Iraq invasion morphed from weapons of mass destruction to al Qaeda's links to Iraq to overthrowing a cruel tyrant to establishing a model democracy. Whenever the public is about to take note of a Bush failure, Bush invents a new rationale to divert attention."
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, two things. One, it's a non sequitur. And two, it's wrong factually because, as I pointed out, he's been using that term for six or eight months.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the term is terrible. I'll tell you why.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which term?
MR. BUCHANAN: Islamo-fascism, first, because fascism is a term of the left, a term of derogation.
It's a term of hate. You tie that to Islamo -- it's like how would you like Mussolini calling him a Christo-fascist? That would have been a terrible thing to do.
Second, al Qaeda is strictly terrorist. Hezbollah is social, political, military and terrorist. Syria is a state that's committed some acts of terrorism. If you don't distinguish these things, you can't have a sophisticated policy that deals differently with one than another than another. To put them all in one big bowl is the most foolish thing --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the political advantage that he sees in lumping them all together?
MR. BUCHANAN: They see it all as a war of civilizations, and that's what we want to avoid.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it give him carte blanche?
MR. BUCHANAN: It gives him carte blanche to do anything.
MS. CLIFT: I think Pat's exactly right. And the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda, and now we have turned Iraq into a training ground for al Qaeda and assorted terrorists, but to lump this all into one battle, us against the evildoers, it also cuts off any effort to reach out to the Muslim community. And again, a huge majority of Muslims are very worried about the radicalization within their faith. They need to be made friends with, not alienated with these kind of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are your thoughts on this?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, look Â
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Tony.
MR. PAGE: Well, also it's disinformation. It really tries to fog over a lot of complicated history and distinctions that should be made, as Pat mentioned, between actual states versus movements and terrorist groups. He's putting it all together. It's a rallying cry, and a dangerous one, because it does sound like a slur against Islam. That does not help you to make friends in the Muslim world. MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --
MR. PAGE: I know you say he doesn't intend to, but what does it sound like?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Tony in.
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, first of all, it's right that these different terrorist organizations have different methods. But the people they're appealing to for their recruits are all being appealed to by this fascist view of Islam. It is not, by the way, the pure and correct view of Islam. And to call them Islamo-fascists is to distinguish them from the millions of other Muslims who are not fascists.
MS. CLIFT: They don't like American --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are Islamists outraged by this?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, Islamists, i-s-t-s at the end, are not outraged except for having their name called correctly. Legitimate Muslims obviously oppose Islamo-fascism.
MS. CLIFT: These movements are as much in opposition to American foreign policy --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, they're not.
MS. CLIFT: -- and to Arab regimes that repress their people than it is about trying to take over the world with the Islamic religion.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, quickly.
MR. BUCHANAN: Islam is a religion of more than a billion people. And to put it with a term which is generally odious, like fascist, I think is a terrible mistake.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the human toll: U.S. military dead in Iraq, including suicides, 2,593; U.S. military amputeed, wounded, severely injured, injured, mentally ill, all now out of Iraq, 62,100; Iraqi civilians dead, 129,690.
Exit question: Is it time to get out of Iraq and get back to basics, which is fighting al Qaeda? Yes or no, Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, they are separate. I think we're doing a good job in the war on terror. The war in Iraq, I believe, is separate. But we are in there, whether we like it or not, and we ought to make a judgment by whether, if we pull out, it will be a disaster becoming a calamity. So they are separate issues.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: We are not doing a good job in the war on terror. What this plot shows us this week is that there are people out there with very big plans and they have the time and the inclination. And the fact that they haven't attacked for the last five years is not because President Bush is keeping us safer. It's because they're really methodically plotting something, and they don't want to do anything that's anti-climactic.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we should get out of Iraq and focus on al Qaeda.
MS. CLIFT: Iraq is different. Well, we need to get out of Iraq in a way to minimize the damage so we don't leave it in worse shape than when we found it. So that means over a period of time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: Pat is largely right. I say that Iraq and the other efforts are related but not identical. You have to judge each front of the war on its own merits. And we should not get out now because it would do more damage to American interests than staying in and making it work.
MR. PAGE: I want to bring back a phrase that was popular in the Vietnam era -- phased withdrawal. It's time to talk about how we are going to get out so that the Iraqis can take over. And that is really a matter of a pull-back, like what Congressman Murtha has been advocating. Right now I think we're actually in the way of both Iraq being able to take care of their own affairs and fighting the war on terrorism effectively.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, after three months pass and after the election, it will be a done deal when the Democrats take over the House.
MR. PAGE: Is that your prediction, John?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it ain't a done deal as long -- it's not a done deal as long as GWB is in the Oval Office.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I like your idea, but I think it's going to take care of itself if they take over the House, maybe the Senate, and maybe the White House in '08. That'll be something. And then you'll be in the wilderness.
MR. BUCHANAN: I already am. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back, is Joe Lieberman a spoiler?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Traitor Joe. NED LAMONT (Connecticut Democratic Senate candidate): (From videotape.) I want to say one thing, in all seriousness. I want to thank Senator Lieberman for this campaign. I want to thank him for the dignity and decency with which he's represented our state and our country for many, many years. And I'm hoping that over the course of the next few days, we'll all come to the conclusion that the party's going to stick together and we're going to go forward united. (Applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ned Lamont, now the official Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Connecticut in the upcoming November election, defeated incumbent Senator Joseph Lieberman by four percentage points in Tuesday's Connecticut Democratic primary. Senator Lieberman may be bloodied, but he's unbowed.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT): (From videotape.) Tomorrow morning our campaign will file the necessary petitions -- (applause) -- with the Connecticut secretary of state's office so that we can continue this campaign for a new politics of unity and purpose.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Are Republican incumbents who have supported Bush on Iraq as vulnerable this November as Lieberman? I ask you, Clarence.
MR. PAGE: I don't think so, because the Republicans are Republicans and Lieberman's not. And this is really a problem for Democrats right now, because it splits them in the way Scoop Jackson did in the older days between those who are more hawkish versus those more dovish, at a time when Democrats have their best shot of using Iraq as an issue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me just focus that sharply, what's going on now in the post-primary crux issue of the Lamont-Lieberman race. Lieberman, the independent, links Iraq and Heathrow.
Here's what he says: "If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a certain date, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them, and they will strike again."
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Lamont, the official candidate of the Democratic Party, says, quote, "Our force readiness to face another threat elsewhere in the world has been diminished because of our preoccupation with Iraq. Both anger at America around the world and the number of terrorists seeking to do us harm have increased. We are not stronger and safer because of Iraq. Just the opposite is unfortunately true."
My question to this panel is, where is the consensus of the country today in terms of these two propositions, Lieberman's and Lamont's? I ask you, Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, first, let me say if the Democratic Party was a vote on whether they're for or against Bush's Iraq policy, that's pretty good news for Bush, because 48 percent of the Democrats voted for Lieberman and his view of the issue. So I'm not convinced that that was --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where's the consensus?
MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, I don't think there is a consensus. I think the public is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's got to be some dominance on one side or the other.
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me -- I don't think there's a consensus. What there is -- there's a consensus of people who are displeased with the way Iraq's going. There is not a consensus to follow the Ned Lamont cut and run.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Ned Lamont --
MR. BLANKLEY: The public is ambiguous on that. MS. CLIFT: Ned Lamont is not calling for cut and run. He is calling for a phased withdrawal, a recognition over time --
MR. BLANKLEY: That's called cut and run.
MS. CLIFT: That is not cut and run.
MR. PAGE: Republicans call it cut and run.
MS. CLIFT: There was a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, where is the consensus today in America?
MS. CLIFT: It's Lamont. I mean, 60 percent of Americans think the war in Iraq is a mistake. The turnout was huge. We have winner- take-all politics. Fifty-two percent won in that race. And Lieberman shamefully is morphing into Dick Cheney. That is the Republican talking point to try to --
MR. BUCHANAN: But you know --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her finish.
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me -- to try to frame the Democrats as weak on national security. But voters are not --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, they are weak on national security.
MS. CLIFT: They are not weak on national security.
MR. PAGE: The Republicans think they're weak on national security.
MS. CLIFT: You think what the Republicans are doing now are making us stronger? The Democrats have a good case to make, and they're going to make it, and the country is going to listen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me talk to the politics of it. Lieberman's only chance is to do what he's doing now. He can't run on the politics of divisiveness and civic -- he turned out and he savaged Lamont right on the day of this attack that was exposed, very, very roughly, more toughly than Cheney and Bush. This is his --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it surprise you?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it did, because I think it's his one chance to win is to take and make the war an issue, make terror an issue, go after the Democratic Party and get, frankly -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't turn negative.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, he's got to turn negative. But that will show you -- if this were a Lieberman race, Republican-independent versus Lamont, Lieberman would win the race, in a blue state.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Lieberman is a sore loser?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, he's a sore loser. It's the only way he's going to win in November is to go after the guy that beat him.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not the high road.
MR. BUCHANAN: The high road will take him right down the tubes. It always does, John. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: His only chance is acting like a sore loser.
MR. BUCHANAN: The high road is the loser road.
MR. PAGE: Lowell Weicker did it, you know, and he won running as an independent after losing as the Republican incumbent.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --
MR. PAGE: It's Connecticut. What can you say?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but independents are angrier at Bush over the war even than Democrats. You cannot win as a pro-war independent. And the anger that was evidenced in Connecticut in this primary is going to wash away the Republican moderates, sadly, in Connecticut -- Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson. They are in trouble.
MR. BUCHANAN: But that's in the left wing -- it's in the left wing of the Democratic Party. That's very powerful.
MS. CLIFT: Then 60 percent of the country is left-wing Democratic Party, if you are going to frame it as pro-war and anti- war.
MR. BUCHANAN: Why aren't the Nelsons, the Democratic -- Nelson in Florida, Nelson in Nebraska -- why are they running as hawks?
MS. CLIFT: Because they're in red states.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the astonishing 43 percent turnout, astonishing for a primary? What does that tell you? MR. BUCHANAN: They're interested.
MS. CLIFT: It tells you that the country wants change, and that benefits Democrats.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it tell you that the Democrats are red hot on this matter, on this issue, on this issue of the war?
MR. PAGE: Yes.
MR. BLANKLEY: Primary votes are always indicative --
MS. CLIFT: The Democrats are going to get some spine in their backs.
MR. BLANKLEY: It's good news for the Democrats to see the high turnout in their primary.
MR. BUCHANAN: The country --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're going to be equally energized in a three-way contest, and you know what that means for Joe.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the first poll right now that came out, the Rasmussen, after the election shows Lieberman ahead by, what, three or four points in a three-way race. So it remains to be seen. But turnout will be the big question.
We don't know it yet.
MR. BUCHANAN: The question is whether Republicans -- if the Republicans get Schlesinger out of the race, Joe can win it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the worst-case scenario for the GOP for the coming year?
MR. BLANKLEY: The worst case?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst-case scenario -- the next two years.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're already looking at it. (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the worst --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democrats take over the House and/or the Senate, right?
MR. PAGE: Right, right. And you've got hearings, right.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, that will be good news for 2008 for the White House. If the Democrats take both houses, the Republicans look stronger in 2008.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bush --
MR. BUCHANAN: If the Republicans got all the houses, in 2008 they're gone.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democrats then get the lock on power in the House of Representatives and they take over, what, 100 different committees and subcommittees, the chairmanships. They can make life intolerable for Bush.
MR. BUCHANAN: And they can also look intolerable.
MR. BLANKLEY: Pat's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But suppose we are heading into a recession in 2007. Suppose that happens. Add that in the mix. MS. CLIFT: George Bush --
MR. BLANKLEY: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then it becomes a pocketbook election in 2008.
MS. CLIFT: George Bush will blame Nancy Pelosi. That's what they have in mind.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.) They control the White House, they control the House and they control the Senate.
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me say something. Pat's right. The ideal position for the Democrats going into 2008 is to weaken the Republican control in the House and Senate --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. BLANKLEY: -- but not take it. If they take it, they get partial responsibility for what happens.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another question for you. Was the rejection by the Democrats of Lieberman because they did not think he was acting like a good Democrat more than it was the war issue?
MS. CLIFT: It was more of a referendum on President Bush. Lieberman's approval rating is 56 percent in Connecticut. You know, he just got a little too close to President Bush. And anybody who's too close to President Bush is going to get burned.
MR. PAGE: That was how Ned Lamont turned this around in two months. He went from nowhere up to a superstar.
MS. CLIFT: Nelson versus Harris, Katherine Harris, is nothing.
MR. BUCHANAN: But look at Nebraska.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got a private conversation going on over here.
MR. PAGE: Thank you, teacher.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point of this? Let us in on this. What are you trying to say?
MR. BUCHANAN: The point is, Connecticut is a deep blue state. And what Eleanor says is true there, but Florida and Nebraska, which both Nelsons are running in, they're running as strong hawks on the war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but they're having second thoughts, Pat.
MR. PAGE: DeWine in Ohio is running as a hometown local senator. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you picking up the beat of what's out there? What is out there?
MR. BUCHANAN: People are interested in this election, John --
MR. PAGE: Well, Tony hit on something when he noted that the polls overwhelmingly show the public is tired of the war. But how do you interpret that? Does it mean leave? Does it mean stay? And that's where the contest is going to be. It's a war of words. The Republicans are going to paint Democrats as cut and run, but Democrats have got to show and make their argument.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You need a tidal wave in order for the Democrats to win the House of Representatives and a super tidal wave for them to win the Senate. So you can gauge this in terms of the size of the wave that you sense out there -- small, medium or large. Is it a large wave that you see, a big wave?
MS. CLIFT: Yes.
MR. PAGE: A large wave of discontent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is. And it's there already. You sense it out in Chicago.
MR. PAGE: I don't know about Chicago. Illinois is still just as blue as it was before.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Lieberman's worst problem is he looks like same old, same old, meaning same old doctrine, the same old doctrine on the war? People want something different. Lamont's bringing that forward.
MR. PAGE: People --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he at the right point?
MS. CLIFT: There is an anger that cannot be quieted, and it's about more than Iraq. It's about gas prices. It's still about Katrina. It's about everything this administration has done for the last couple of years.
MR. BLANKLEY: I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is the Lieberman-Lamont race a referendum on George Bush?
MR. BUCHANAN: It was a referendum on Bush in the Democratic Party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it be in 2008? MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, it'll be -- no, in 2006.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two thousand six.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it will be.
MS. CLIFT: It was a referendum in the Democratic Party, with a lot of independents participating. And they're the key.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking this year, 2006, the congressional election. Is it a referendum on George Bush?
MR. BLANKLEY: I wouldn't quite call it a referendum, but there's no doubt that if Bush's poll numbers are below 35, there's going to be a tidal against the Republicans.
If it's above 42, there's not going to be a tide.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the Democrats have successfully nationalized this congressional election, correct?
MR. PAGE: What it really showed was the intensity of anger and discontent on the Democratic side.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what's your answer?
MR. PAGE: It's so fierce, it's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a referendum on Bush?
MR. PAGE: It is, and on the war, especially on Bush's war policy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm with you, Clarence.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Fire storm inside the Israeli cabinet and military if there's an agreement and a cease-fire.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Olmert stays or goes?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, Olmert will stay, but there'll be a fire storm inside the military.
MS. CLIFT: Israel will get more cluster bombs shipped from the U.S., despite objections from the State Department.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: Whatever happens in the U.N., Hezbollah and Israel will still be fighting after the agreement, if it comes in the U.N.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence. MR. PAGE: John, back on the domestic front, this is the 10th anniversary month of welfare reform, and the Bush administration is going to be pushing through for some tougher regulations now to reach those who are not working yet, to push them to either training programs or to community service.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Pentagon has sent 3,500 more troops to Baghdad. This will do little to quell hostilities. So U.S. forces will be cut from 130,000 to 50,000. This will permit the funds from troop cuts to move to the reconstruction budget and personnel, none of this until after the election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Trust Me.
Harris Poll, July, 1,002 adults: "Do you trust these groups?" Yes: Doctors, teachers, scientists, police officers, professors, clergymen, military officers, judges, accountants, ordinary people, civil servants, bankers, the president, TV newscasters, athletes, journalists, Congress, pollsters, trade union leaders, stockbrokers, lawyers, actors.
The actors are the least trusted, and lawyers are next to them. This is in reverse order -- stockbrokers, and they're less trusted than trade union leaders, pollsters, Congress and journalists. Journalists stand 16 out of 22 in trust from the top.
What about that, Buchanan? Can't you help that along any? Are you doing anything with your column?
MR. BUCHANAN: If you put TV panelist and host, John, you could have gotten me down a little bit. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: TV newscasters are above ordinary journalists, thank you.
MR. BUCHANAN: We're not newscasters. (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: This is weird to me. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is Bush at 48 percent? Why is Bush at 48 percent here and --
MR. BUCHANAN: I'll tell you why, because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- he rates number 13 out of 22.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- he's under constant attack. He's under constant attack. Some of these other professions -- who constantly attacks scientists? END.