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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP


HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN


JOINED BY:


MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,


PATRICK BUCHANAN, AND ELEANOR CLIFT


TAPED FRIDAY, OCTOBER 23, 1998


AIRED THE WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 24-25, 1998


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Peace breakthrough.


After nine days of grueling talks and a marathon 21-hour final negotiating session, President Clinton, with the help of King Hussein of Jordan and Clinton's new key negotiator, George Tenet, CIA director, brokered historic concessions this week from Israelis and Palestinians. Early Friday morning Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat announced that they had agreed to an incremental land-for-peace deal. Key points:


One, repeal the Palestinian National Council charter clauses calling for the destruction of Israel.


Two, CIA-supervised Palestinian-Israeli security plan.


Three, Israeli withdrawal from 13 percent more of West Bank territory.


Four, transfer of 14 percent of West Bank from joint control to Palestinian control.


Five, two safe passage corridors between Gaza and the West Bank.


Six, Israeli third-phase troop pullout from the West Bank.


Seven, Israeli release of 750 Palestinian prisoners.


Eight, Palestinian airport okayed for Gaza.


Negotiations also focused on the immediate release of Jonathan Pollard, an American serving a life sentence for spying on behalf of Israel. President Clinton's staff denied any linkage between the agreement and the release of Pollard.


Question: Is this a good deal for all parties, Pat Buchanan?


MR. BUCHANAN: It is a good deal for all parties concerned, John. It's a victory for Clinton. I think the Palestinians are getting something. I think Netanyahu goes home with that agreement to lift the thing in the covenant, which is very, very helpful.


But I'll tell you what it does point to. It points to very, very serious final negotiations, very tough, because the Israelis really had to go to the wall to give up this 13 percent. In any final negotiations, it's going to take much greater concessions than that.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about control of Jerusalem, whether it's going to be a split control or exclusive Israeli control?


MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, no, the -- Jerusalem will remain united. It's a question whether they get a "Vatican City" enclave in Arab East Jerusalem as the capital and much more territory for the West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state. It doesn't look to me like Sharon and Netanyahu are really willing to give up much more.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Those are the tough issues yet to come.


Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Right. When you see how hard it was to get this agreement, which really just implements what was already agreed upon, you do understand what lies ahead is much more difficult. I agree with that.


But this was a terrific human drama: You have a president with impeachment proceedings swirling around him. You have King Hussein, who leaves his sick bed where he is undergoing chemotherapy to come and get personally involved. And then you have the emergence of the CIA chief, somebody who typically would operate in the shadows. The CIA is going to take an out-front role in monitoring the surveillance of terrorism between these two countries, and that each country would look to an American spy agency for this kind of help, I think, is truly revolutionary.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, how about that, Tony? When I said, "Is this is a good deal for all parties?" what about the party of the CIA? Is it a good deal for them?


MR. BLANKLEY: No, it's a bad deal for the CIA because they shouldn't be getting themselves involved in between, being arbiters. They are supposed to be a private -- a secret organization, and they're being forced out in public.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And in addition to that, I believe they are also going to be used to monitor checkpoints, boundary checkpoints.


MR. BLANKLEY: Well, when you look at the head of the CIA today, he doesn't have the stature of an Allen Dulles. He is a staff man who has come up through the ranks from Congress, and I wonder whether he is as vigorously fighting for the institutional interests of the agency as some of his predecessors might have.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is also said that George Tenet is a Clinton lap dog. Are you saying that, too? (Laughter.)


MR. BLANKLEY: No, not a "lap dog." I said he came from the staff of Congress, and he doesn't have a lot of independent standing in the community over many decades.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, now wait a minute. Are you denying that he is a Clinton lap dog? (Laughter.)


MR. BLANKLEY: I am neither confirming nor denying that. (Laughter.)


MR. BUCHANAN: Go ahead. Go ahead, Tony!


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quite Clintonian I must say.


MR. BLANKLEY (?): Well --


MR. BARONE: John, first of all, I want to scotch the rumor that when Netanyahu was resisting the administration demands, they were referring to him as the "Kvetcher in the Wye." (Laughter.) Not true. So we'll leave that one --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's W-Y-E.


MR. BLANKLEY: W-Y-E.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.


Patrick?


MR. BARONE: No. I think -- you know, we talk about the Mideast peace process, but you wonder just how much peace there is here. One of the terms that came up here was the "covenant," that the PLO is supposedly going to repeal this covenant.


They promised to do that before. They have never delivered. I wonder whether they'll deliver this time. I mean, the fact is that in their schools, when they are speaking in Arabic, many of the Palestinian leaders -- and Yasser Arafat gives this a wink and a nod -- call for the destruction of Israel.


The fact is how can you have a permanent peaceful status between one people that wants to live with another and the other one that doesn't -- (inaudible) --


MS. CLIFT: Now, Michael, they --


MR. BARONE: -- the fact is that they have maps in their schools that show Israel as nonexistent.


Yasser Arafat needs to stand up more strongly against this for the long run --


MS. CLIFT: Well, I like --


MR. BARONE: -- for this to work. And Tony --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear Pat. I want to hear Pat.


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the point is, I think what the Palestinians were holding that out was a final concession in order to get more of the land of the West Bank. They've given up a good deal, the Palestinians have, in my judgment --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they --


MR. BUCHANAN: -- and they don't have much left to give.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But -- the Israelis or the Palestinians?


MR. BUCHANAN: The Palestinians don't have much left to give.


MR. BARONE: No, no, that -- the covenant's just one thing. They've got to stand up against this idea that's widely circulated in what people call the "Arab street" and in Palestinian society, of people wanting to destroy Israel. Instead of giving it a sort of a weak and a wink and a -- (inaudible due to cross talk) -- this thing does.


MS. CLIFT: You know, Michael, you may --


(Cross talk.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, this -- what happened on Friday was not a wink and a nod.


MS. CLIFT: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Yes?


MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Michael --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a clear statement of intent.


MR. BARONE: It was a step in the right direction, but many more steps need to be taken.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a clear statement of intent, as one of the codicils of binding agreement.


Now let me continue. There were two glaring mistakes in this. One was this usage of the CIA.


MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a total perversion of their mission.


MR. BARONE: Yeah.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it will lead to real trouble.


MS. CLIFT: Well, wait a second --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Number two -- just a moment, please.


MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The second mistake was the omission of any declaration on the part of Israel to forego additional settlements. We have been beating that drum in the United States for over two, three years. And Netanyahu --


MR. BARONE: John, they can't put settlements on lands they don't have.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- all Netanyahu does is resist!


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I -- listen, it used to be America said, "The settlements are illegal." We no longer say that now. We no longer threaten to cut back --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that because Clinton is weak?


MS. CLIFT: Well --


MR. BUCHANAN: It is -- Clinton -- look, everybody -- the Congress of the United States and Bill Clinton are both terribly weak when it comes to Netanyahu and when it comes to settlements.


MS. CLIFT: Well, and if Clinton is weak, then every other American president has been weak on this issue.


MR. BUCHANAN: No, not all of them.


MS. CLIFT: But the CIA -- the Israelis and the Palestinians both want the CIA in there. They see them as --


MR. BARONE: Which is reason enough for them not to be going there. Which is --


(Cross talk.)


MR. BUCHANAN: They should not --


MS. CLIFT: The CIA is looking for work to do. This is far better work than -- let me finish. This is far --


(Cross talk.)


MR. BARONE: This is the kind of work Senator Pat Moynihan calls bureaucratic -- (inaudible due to cross talk).


MS. CLIFT: Michael, this is far better work for them to do than building an institution.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You agree with me on the CIA?


MR. BARONE: Yeah.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Can you imagine, Eleanor, if Mohammed over there turns on his cellular telephone and his head blows off?


MR. BUCHANAN: Yup.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The CIA has to step in to determine whether that action was taken by the Israelis or perhaps by his own Palestinian --


MS. CLIFT: Fine. I think --


MR. BUCHANAN: They are -- when you put them in -- John --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How could that possibly be resolved?


MR. BARONE: This is not a task for which this agency is suited --


(Cross talk.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We got to get out.


MS. CLIFT: Who would you rather have do it? The Vatican?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out. Exit: Will this deal help Clinton's political fortunes? I ask you, Pat.


MR. BUCHANAN: It's going to help him for about the next 10 days, yes.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Which takes us through the election, Mr. Buchanan! (Laughs.)


MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) That's till Monday. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: Of course it will help him. He's being a president. He's being effective. That's why his approval ratings are where they are.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: I have a contrary view; I think every time the president is seen publicly, it doesn't necessarily help the Democrats. So although the event is good, he's getting good press out of it, my sense, listening to focus groups, is the people -- an awful lot of people get angry when they see his face. So you have to see how those two balance out.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we all agree, by the way, that he escaped a speeding political and --


MR. BUCHANAN: On the --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- not a real bullet, a speeding political bullet, by the Pollard deal not going forward?


MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, he -- if he had --


MR. BARONE: No, we don't know what's going to happen with Pollard.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, if --


 


MR. BARONE: I think it's entirely possible that the administration could rethink the Pollard thing and release Mr. Pollard. And there is a policy ground for doing so. Pollard has a much stiffer sentence than anybody in American history has ever had for spying on (sic) a friendly power.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right --


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, wait a minute, wait a minute; listen --


MR. BARONE: I'm pretty sure of that. It just is highly justified --


(Cross talk.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- 13 spies that have been apprehended in recent years and you will all find that they were exposed to exactly the same kind of treatment.


MR. BLANKLEY: John, for a friendly power.


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, wait a minute --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Rosenbergs were working for a friendly power.


MR. BARONE: They were not working for a friendly power.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who were they working for?


MR. BLANKLEY: They were working for the Soviet Union.


MS. CLIFT: Soviet Union.


MR. BUCHANAN: Michael? Michael, look. There is some evidence that what Mr. Pollard took not only went to Israel, but went to other countries as well and put at risk Americans.


MR. BARONE: No, I'm not saying that -- (inaudible due to cross talk) --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What year were the Pollards -- what year were the Pollards electrocuted?


MR. BLANKLEY: The Rosenbergs?


MS. CLIFT: The Rosenbergs!


MR. BUCHANAN: They haven't been yet!


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me, the Rosenbergs.


MR. BARONE: 1950 -- '53.


MR. BUCHANAN: 1953.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were we not then -- what was our status with --


MR. BUCHANAN: We were at war in Korea, it was just about ending, and it was the summer because I remember coming home and -- (inaudible due to cross talk).


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what was our stance with the Soviet Union then? Were they not friendly allies?


MR. BUCHANAN: In '53? Are you kidding?


MR. BLANKLEY: They were not friendly allies in 1953; they were deadly adversaries. They were deadly adversaries.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they were not enemies!


MR. BUCHANAN: They certainly were!


MR. BLANKLEY: In 1943 they were our allies.


MR. BUCHANAN: That was the depth of the Cold War! It was at the end of the Korean War! What are you talking about?


MS. CLIFT: Right. We need a history lesson here, John.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were they working definitely for the --


MR. BLANKLEY: Soviet Union. No question.


MR. BUCHANAN: It's come out in the Venona papers, or whatever they are, that they were. Definitely.


MR. BARONE: No question.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back: How many Senate seats will the Republicans take from the Democrats one week from Tuesday?


(Announcements.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Look, can we get something straight? The Rosenbergs spied for an ally because they spied during World War II.


MR. BARONE: But they were tried and convicted as spies afterwards.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, well, does this all turn on the date that -- when I used the word execution? Is that what this turns on?


MR. BARONE: I think so.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Let's -- well, let's say we're all right. (Laughter.)


Issue two: The U.S. Senate 1998 election one week from Tuesday -- who wins, who loses?


The United States Senate is today led by Republicans, 55 Republicans, 45 Democrats. Each of the 100 members of the U.S. Senate is elected to a six-year term, and every two years, roughly one-third of the senators face reelection. This year, 1998, November 3rd, one week from Tuesday, 34 Senate seats will be voted on. Nineteen of these Senate seats are sure bets, meaning that either the incumbent senator or, if the incumbent senator is retiring, that senator's party will keep the seat.


Here are the 19 sure bets, as judged by The McLaughlin Group: Alabama: Incumbent Shelby wins; stays Republican. Alaska: Incumbent Murkowsky wins; stays Republican. Arizona: Incumbent McCain wins; stays Republican. Connecticut: Incumbent Dodd wins; stays Democratic. Florida: Incumbent Graham wins, stays Democratic. Hawaii, incumbent Inouye wins, stays Democratic; Idaho, open seat, incumbent Republican Dirk Kempthorne is leaving the Senate to run for governor; Republican Congressman Mike Crapo wins, Idaho stays Republican.


Iowa, incumbent Grassley wins, stays Republican; Kansas, incumbent Brownback wins, stays Republican; Louisiana, incumbent Breaux wins, stays Democratic; Maryland, incumbent Mikulski wins, stays Democratic; New Hampshire, incumbent Gregg wins, stays Republican; North Dakota, incumbent Dorgan wins, stays Democratic.


Oklahoma, incumbent Nickles wins, stays Republican; Oregon, incumbent Wyden wins, stays Democratic; Pennsylvania, incumbent Specter wins, stays Republican; South Dakota, incumbent Daschle wins, stays Democratic; Utah, incumbent Bennett wins, stays Republican; Vermont, incumbent Leahy wins, stays Democratic.


Okay. Of the 34 seats up on November 3rd, the foregoing are the 19 sure bets. Ten Republican seats stay Republican, nine Democratic seats stay Democratic. No change. Does anyone have any dispute with that? No? Good. (Laughter.)


Moving on. The remaining 15 seats are either competitive or very competitive. First, the competitives. There are seven of these. Arkansas: An open seat, incumbent Democrat Dale Bumpers retiring. Contenders: Ex-representative and Democrat Blanche Lambert Lincoln versus Republican Fay Boozman. I ask you, Pat, who's going to win.


MR. BUCHANAN: I think the Democrat will win.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Lincoln wins, and she becomes the second young woman in the Senate with -- bringing young children, twins. It's a new age for women in politics.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: I'm calling Fay Boozman. He's close, from about a 30 point lead down to about a four-point lead, she's under 50 percent, and it's doable for him.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know you like Boozman, but his name is pronounced Boozman, Tony.


MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: I think Blanche Lambert Lincoln is going to take it. Tony's doing a little wishful thinking.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin says Lincoln. The Group votes 4 to 1 Lincoln. Arkansas stays Democratic.


Colorado, incumbent Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell versus Democrat Dottie Lamm. Pat.


MR. BUCHANAN: The American Indian rides his motorcycle to victory, John. (Laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Dottie Lamm is going to make a heroic effort -- (laughter) -- but she is going to fall short. (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: The Republican.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Nighthorse rides.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin says Campbell. The Group votes 5-0 Campbell. Colorado stays Republican.


Georgia. Incumbent Republican Paul Coverdell versus Democrat Michael Coles. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Coverdell has been a great success as a senator. He wins going away. I don't even know if he should be on this list.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MR. BLANKLEY: Michael Cole, who is going to be 0-2. The cookie man took on Gingrich and now Coverdell. (Laughter.) I am afraid he is going to lose. (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.


MR. BLANKLEY: For one time in my life, Eleanor's right; Cole loses. (Laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Tough cookies; it's Coverdell.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin also says Coverdell. The Group's 5-0 Coverdell. Georgia stays Republican.


Illinois. Incumbent Democrat Carol Moseley-Braun versus Republican Peter Fitzgerald. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Bye-bye Braun. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: She made a lot of mistakes. And Fitzgerald has spent $10 million of his own money. He it outspending her 6-1. Hopeless.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Fitzgerald is going to win big.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Put a fork in it; Fitzgerald wins.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin says Fitzgerald. The Group votes 5-0 Fitzgerald. Illinois goes Republican.


Indiana. Open seat. Republican incumbent Dan Coats retiring. Contenders: Ex-Governor and Democrat Evan Bayh versus Republican Paul Helmke.


Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Bayh's got it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Bayh, a rising star for the Democrats. (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Bayh.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Bayh wins the seat his father won 36 years ago.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Group votes 5-0. McLaughlin says Bayh also. Bayh. Indiana goes Democratic.


Missouri. Incumbent Republican Kit Bond versus Democrat Jay Nixon.


Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Bond's got it. Nixon's got a lot of problems in his own party.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Nah, Nixon comes close but doesn't make it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: It's Bond. It looked close earlier, but it's not close now.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I like the way you said "Bond" -- (laughter) -- like "James" --


MR. BLANKLEY: James. (Laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- "James Bond." McLaughlin -- what do you say, Michael?


MR. BARONE: In fact, "Missourah," they call it. Kit Bond.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin also says Bond. The Group votes 5-0 Bond, and Missouri stays Republican.


Ohio, an open seat. Incumbent Democrat John Glenn retiring. Contenders: Republican Governor George Voinovich versus Democrat Mary Boyle.


Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: It's not even a contest. Voinovich.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Now Voinovich, a good-guy Republican, wins.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Completely Voinovich.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Despite Eleanor's kiss of death, Voinovich.


MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.) (Laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why Voinovich? Why, why, why?


MR. BARONE: Why, why? He has a lot of Serbo-Croatian --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Aren't there a ?) -- lot of German Catholics out there?


MR. BARONE: Well, he is very popular with the Croatian Catholics.


MR. BLANKLEY (?): He's popular with governors.


MR. BARONE: He's popular with governors.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A lot of family values people, right?


McLaughlin says Voinovich. The Group votes 5-0 Voinovich. Ohio goes Republican.


Okay. Beyond the seven competitive races, there are eight very competitive races. These are:


California. Incumbent Barbara Boxer versus Republican Matt Fong. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Bye-bye, Barbara. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: Oh, Boxer's coming on strong. Her ads on guns and choice are going to, I think, bring her over the finish line.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What else will help Barbara Boxer, Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: None. I don't think anything will. I think Fong --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about Gray Davis's coattails?


MR. BLANKLEY: I think he is going to win, but I don't think he is going to have coattails. I think Fong is going to hold on and win.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.


Michael?


MR. BARONE: California will elect its second Asian American senator Matt Fong.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin also says Fong, but the race will tighten. The Group votes 4-1 Fong. California goes Republican.


Kentucky an open seat. Incumbent Democrat Wendell Ford retiring. Contenders: Republican Representative Jim Bunning versus Democrat Representative Scotty Baesler.


Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: The big hall of fame right-hander takes it, John; Jim Bunning.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: You can't beat the athlete's aura. (Laughter.) (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Actually, they are both former athletes, but Bunning will win.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Bunning. That's a race that switched after August 17th, and it looks like Bunning.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. In this very competitive race, the Group heartily votes 5-0 Bunning. Kentucky goes Republican.


Nevada. Incumbent Harry Reid versus Republican Representative John Ensign. I think I said -- it should be Democrat Harry Reid --


MR. BARONE: A Democrat.


MR. BUCHANAN: A Democrat.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- versus Republican John Ensign.


Moving forward, we have here -- Pat, what do we have?


MR. BUCHANAN: Ex-Senator Reid; he is going to lose. (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Yeah. The state is full of new-money Republicans, and I think they are going to put a Republican in office.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the registration has switched from Democrat to Republican. Ensign's run a very strong campaign. He's going to win.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey! Sleeper, huh? You're predicting a win there?


What do you think?


MR. BARONE: I think Harry Reid is a tough guy and he's going to squeak it out.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin says Reid; the group unadvisably chooses to vote 3 to 2 Ensign, though, correct? (Laughter.) Nevada goes Republican.


New York: Incumbent Alfonse D'Amato versus Democratic Representative Charles "Chuck" Schumer. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, this is really uplifting in terms of its rhetoric, I think. (Laughter.) Not since the Webster-Hayne debate have we seen this. (Laughter.)


Big Al -- I think Al's going to take it. He's got an awful lot of money. He's extremely tough, and Schumer's too weak upstate and won't get enough in the city.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: D'Amato is very good at hiding who he really is. People think he's a lot more moderate. Only one in six voters understand he opposes abortion rights. I think he's -- you can't extinguish Al D'Amato, I'm afraid.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: D'Amato is going to do well enough in the boroughs to be able to match that with his big win upstate, and he will hold on.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he's got more money.


Michael?


MR. BARONE: Well, Alfonse D'Amato -- he's endorsed by both the Right-to-Life Party and the Human Rights Campaign.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ah.


MR. BARONE: I gave up betting against Al D'Amato a long time ago.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. McLaughlin also says D'Amati (sic). And what you overlook, Barone, which surprises me -- it doesn't surprise me, it saddens me; but, you know, you wrote the almanac -- the support of Ed Koch. (Laughter.) I think that that --


MR. BARONE: Well, he's got ads with Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani at the same time, even though they're not --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ed Koch is a several-time panelist of this show. I don't know whether you knew that. He sat right in your chair, Pat, when you were --


MR. BUCHANAN: My chair?! (Laughter.)


MS. CLIFT: Well, he didn't help Al Gore!


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, that is critically helpful to Mr. D'Amato.


The group votes 5 to nothing, Al D'Amato. What do you think of that? Tell that to Hillary. New York stays Republican.


North Carolina: Incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth versus Democrat John Edwards, a tight race. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Very, very close, but I think Lauch wins it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: I think Faircloth loses. He's been a terrible senator, out of touch with the voters.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, what's happening?


MR. BLANKLEY: He's been a wonderful senator. I fear he's going to lose. He had to change pollsters recently, I think. It's -- unfortunately, it's slipping away from him.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Faircloth's opponent has the support of the black community.


MR. BARONE: Well, he's also --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But will it materialize on Election Day?


MR. BARONE: He's a -- the turnout will not help the Democrats. But this is a trial lawyer. He's putting in his trial lawyer money, and he's got that. That's one of the bulwarks now of the Democratic Party nationally, especially in the South. I think Edwards will win.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We're running late here. McLaughlin says Faircloth. The group votes 3 to 2 Edwards. North Carolina goes Democratic, according to the vote on this platform.


South Carolina: Incumbent Democrat Ernest Hollings versus Representative -- Republican Representative Bob Inglis. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Inglis has not got the traction, even though this is a very Republican state. The economic nationalist Fritz Hollings wins. (Laughs.)


(Laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Old South versus New South. I think the Old South rises again!~ I think Hollings pulls it out.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are you calling this, Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Hollings, the old pro, hangs on.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Inglis has banned himself from spending a lot of money. Hollings -- 32 years the junior senator from South Carolina, longest serving junior senator in history. (Laughter.) I think he'll win.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McLaughlin says Hollings. The group votes 5 to nothing, Hollings. South Carolina stays Democratic.


We're running very late. Please limit your comments.


Washington: Incumbent Democrat Patty Murray versus Republican Representative Linda Smith. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: That's my upset. Linda Smith.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Patty Murray.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Patty.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Linda Smith.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Due to an infusion of funds from the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee to Linda Smith, McLaughlin says Smith. The groups votes 3 to 2, Smith. Washington goes Republican. Close call.


And finally, Wisconsin: Incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold versus Republican Mark Neumann. Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Neumann's going to take it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: I think Neumann's going to take it, too, because Feingold is standing on principles and not taking money --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.


MR. BLANKLEY: It's an absolute flip, and I'm calling it for Feingold.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You are? Even though he's -- he doesn't take PAC money?


MR. BARONE: Neumann. This is an upset from what we thought earlier this year. Eleanor's right about the money.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you've lurched into the truth somehow, Michael. McLaughlin says Neumann. The group votes 4 to 1, Neumann; Wisconsin goes Republican.


Okay. Now let's look at the totals of the individual panelists. Buchanan says Republicans will gain six seats. Clift says Republicans will gain three seats. Blankley says Republicans will gain four seats. Barone says Republicans will gain four seats. McLaughlin says Republicans will gain five seats.


Now let's look at the group tally. Of the 15 seats still in play -- today, that is, before the election -- six seats are held by Republicans and nine seats are held by Democrats. The group says that these seats will shift. After the November 3rd election, 11 of these seats -- not six, 11 -- will be held by Republicans, and four seats, not nine, will be held by the Democrats. This means that the Republican Party -- music to Pat's ears -- (laughter) -- will gain a net five seats in the United States Senate. Therefore, in 1999, two months from now, the new ratio of Republicans to Democrats in the U.S. Senate will be 60 Republicans to 40 Democrats.


We'll be right back with predictions.


(Announcements.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat?


MR. BUCHANAN: Newt and/or Trent Lott will be challenged for the leadership of their respective houses come January.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it overdue?


MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.


MS. CLIFT: (Chuckles.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Medical marijuana initiatives in five states and the District of Columbia will pass.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Kosovo will break out in war in the springtime again, when the freedom fighters leave Albania and back into Kosovo.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?


MR. BARONE: Missile defense will be a big issue next Congress.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the year 1999, beginning two short months from now, the U.S. trade deficit will be over $300 billion.


Next week: dissension in the ranks. How can Commander-in-Chief Clinton command if he commands only disrespect from the military?


Bye-bye!


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Democrats about-face on the budget. Congress made it official this week -- the House and Senate passed and the president signed into law a 4,000-page, 38-pound, 18-inch-high, $520 billion spending package, finally completing the 1999 budget process. But the mood among congressional Democrats was markedly different from last week's euphoria exhibited at the White House photo op and victory jubilation.


This week, Democrats complain that they had been left out of the negotiations.


SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D-WV): Do I know what's in the bill? Are you kidding? No! But only God knows what's in this monstrosity. Only God knows.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey says, "This is clearly not government of, by and for the people. It is more like government by four people." That's F-O-U-R.


Byrd also spoke for many of his fellow Democrats when he condemned Clinton's "faux" spin, declaring the budget a victory.


SEN. BYRD: I was invited down there, to the White House. I didn't go. I didn't consider that a victory. I'm not going to be a prop -- a back-up prop -- for that kind of victory.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are the Democrats, Tony, squealing about the budget?


MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I'm not sure -- I mean, I understand why Byrd is, because he's an institutionalist and he doesn't like the sloppy process, and it is a sloppy legislative process. It's the same process, though, we've seen for years, at the end of the year when you don't know what's in the omnibus bill, so I'm not sure why he's --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, is it possible that the Democrats are squealing because they didn't get the pork?


MR. BLANKLEY: No, I think it was --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Republicans got the pork! (Laughter.)



MR. BLANKLEY: No, there was pork around on both sides.


MR. BUCHANAN: There was pork all over the place!


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There wasn't that much pork on the Democratic side, was there?


MR. BARONE: Oh, I mean, I think Senator Byrd has obviously got a correct point when he says this is a somewhat ridiculous way to do business. He's also protesting against the fact that the negotiators, which were representing the speaker, Trent Lott -- and people speaking on behalf of the president -- excluded all the committee chairmen. Byrd is ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. You know, overall, in the longer run, though, what we've seen is this -- with the Republican Congress the budget's gone down from 22 to 20 percent of GDP. That's a victory that defeats the Democrats.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me break in with this. How is this going to play out on the campaign trail: a plus for the Democrats or a plus for the Republicans or a plus for both? I ask you.


MS. CLIFT: The budget is a plus for both. But it's a huge victory for the Democrats.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, I ask you.


MR. BUCHANAN: It's a victory for Clinton and it's a defeat for the Republican agenda.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, a plus for the Republicans? The pork! Think of the pork!


MR. BLANKLEY: It's not a plus for either side, and it's invisible to the public.


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