THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN,
ELEANOR CLIFT AND CLARENCE PAGE
TAPED FRIDAY & SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6-7, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 7-8, 1998
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ANNOUNCER: From the nation's capital, the McLaughlin Group, an unrehearsed program presenting inside opinions and forecasts on major issues of the day. Sponsored by GE: "GE is proud to support the McLaughlin Group. From lighting to financial services, GE, we bring good things to life."
Here's the host, John McLaughlin.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: A House divided against itself cannot stand.
HOUSE SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA): (From videotape.) Well, look, I'm the speaker, so I'll take responsibility. We should probably have aggressively pushed cutting taxes and saving Social Security much harder than we did this year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was a bolt out of the blue. At 3:15 on Friday afternoon, Newton Leroy Gingrich made his decision; he would resign as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Within an hour, the decision was public.
No matter how much Republicans, including Gingrich, had tried to spin it, Tuesday's midterm election was a debacle for the GOP, not because of the numbers -- the status quo was largely confirmed; the House and Senate, plus two-thirds of the nation's governorships, still in GOP hands -- rather, it was because expectations had skyrocketed irrationally, not only among Republicans but also 99 percent of pundits, plus the press, generally.
So Gingrich's blood was in the water.
REP. JAMES T. WALSH (R-NY): (From videotape.) We, as a party, cannot have our spokesman go on TV and immediately alienate 50 percent of the American public.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In an extraordinary conference call with Republican members on Friday afternoon, Gingrich poured out his heart and his bile:
"I think, for the future of the party, it makes a lot more sense for me not to be a candidate for speaker. We have to get the bitterness out. It is clear that as long as I'm around, that won't happen. I have always put the party ahead of my own ambitions. I'm willing to lead, but I'm not willing to preside over people who are cannibals. I spent 40 years of my life getting us here."
On Saturday afternoon, Gingrich reiterated his concern about party cannibalism.
SPEAKER GINGRICH: (From videotape.) I could hardly stand by and allow the party to cannibalize itself.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gingrich's cannibalism remarks echoed former Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright, who in 1989, when he resigned under Gingrich fire, said, quote, "This mindless cannibalism must stop." Ironically, of course, it was Newt Gingrich who brought down Jim Wright. Question: did the speaker do the right thing, and did he do it in the right way, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I believe he did the right thing. He is a deeply controversial man, he does alienate a significant part of the country, so he cannot be the voice and the face of the party because he gets in the way of the message. But I regret that he did it the wrong way. This was abrupt, it was rancorous, it was bitter. If Newt Gingrich had stood up on Wednesday and said, "Look, I'm the leader of this party and I've led it down to an unfortunate defeat. We've achieved great things. I take responsibility. I will resign the speakership," I think he would have been a sensation this week.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: Well, look, for all the noble talk, he stepped aside immediately because he was hemorrhaging support. Other people were standing up to challenge him and it was clear he wasn't going to win. Second, when Jim Wright talked about cannibals, they were from the other party. These are the cannibals within the Republican Party going after Newt Gingrich and they're the people he created. They're the radicals that he created in his own image, many of them elected in 1994, and he, in the end, couldn't control them. Let's see if whoever succeeds him is able to control the; it's very difficult.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley?
MR. BLANKLEY: Just one minor correction, Eleanor. I think -- the whip count that was going -- I think Newt could have won the vote, but he judged that it wasn't worth winning because of the rancor that existed.
I think he probably made the right decision, but I'm not sure. We know the detriments that he brings to the table, but people forget the assets. Depending on how events flow, his tactical skills and his experience may be missed, but I think on balance, it's probably the case that he did the right thing to just step down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he do it the right way?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think so. I mean, the cannibalism phrase was a throwaway line in a conference call. I think his public statement -- and also on Saturday afternoon, when he said it -- but I think by and large he took the high road --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear Buchanan say he was rancorous?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, I heard that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Buchanan overstating it?
MR. BLANKLEY: I heard Buchanan saying it was rancorous. I didn't hear Newt being rancorous, though.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So Buchanan did overstate a little, yeah. (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Of course. You're right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to comment on this, Clarence Page? did he do the right thing?
MR. PAGE: I think he did the right thing for his party and for the state of crisis that the leadership has been in since Tuesday's election. I don't know if "cannibal" was the right metaphor; I would have used "circular firing squad," because this is what's happened with the leadership shooting at each other.
MS. CLIFT: That's about right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, he couldn't really deal very effectively with the White House, he couldn't deal very effectively with his congressional Democrats' opposition, and he couldn't deal very effectively with the moderate Republicans. He had lost the ability to deal -- you can correct me in a moment -- (laughter) -- with his back-bench bombers that had helped him so much with the Contract With America, plus the fact, as was pointed out on the screen by that congressman, the American people had very little positive response towards him. So he was really quite impotent politically, was he not?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think largely you're right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did I say that was wrong?
MR. BLANKLEY: His work with the moderates. The moderates are going to miss Newt Gingrich because the next person, whoever it is, who is speaker will probably be less listening to them than he is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was this good news or bad news for Bill Clinton?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I mean, I think we thought that the president's future might be imperiled further after this election. Instead, one of his chief nemeses is leaving. I think it's good news for Bill Clinton. Clinton has the high card.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think --
MS. CLIFT: Forget impeachment!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think that Gingrich was the principal unifier of the Democratic Party? Now he's gone.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the Democrats lose a big fat target. I just want to point out, you know, Newt Gingrich spent $6.5 million to win his House seat against a Democrat who spent $10,000.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Newt Gingrich was the best fund-raiser --
MS. CLIFT: A man of excesses.
MR. BUCHANAN: Newt Gingrich was the best fund-raiser in the country for the Republican Party and for the Democratic Party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The big story here is also how easily he went. Now, is that going to prove to be any kind of a prototypical, exemplary action for the president, do you think? Will it be construed that way in the middle of the impeachment --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When there is true rancor, will someone not say, "Well, look how easily Gingrich went and we're okay."
MS. CLIFT: No. No --
MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, John, the presidency is a constitutional office. Newt's got to get reelected. I agree with Tony, he could have been reelected, but he simply could not have won the House.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, we know that the Constitution specifies, at least implicitly, that the speaker does not have to be a member of the House of Representatives; correct?
MR. BLANKLEY: That's correct.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So I would like to know whether there's anybody out there who might serve as speaker? Are there any ideas here? Do you want me to help you out?
MR. : (Inaudible) -- Paxon.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Paxon? Oh no. No.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I mean, I don't think there -- look, it's going to be --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Bob Dole?
MS. CLIFT: That's not going to happen!
MR. PAGE: That's not going to happen! (Chuckles.)
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, why would the members of the House bring Bob Dole back --
MS. CLIFT: That's nonsensical --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know what's going to happen. Who would have said that this string of events was going to happen?
MS. CLIFT: I will predict here and now that Bob Dole will not be the speaker. I'm very comfortable with that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Jack Kemp? Jack Kemp?
MS. CLIFT: No. No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Dick Cheney?
MR. BUCHANAN: Why would they go outside?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Dave Gergen? He's had every job in government.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: You're going the wrong direction. You're going the wrong direction.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He doesn't have a job now to speak of, does he?
You know Dave. Would you like to see Dave as speaker?
MR. BLANKLEY: No! (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: No! (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: He's too moderate -- he's too moderate anyway. You know, you went in the wrong direction with the moderates there like David Gergen or Bob Dole, even.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what about Kemp? What about Kemp?
MR. PAGE: Jack Kemp is in the right direction. First of all, you don't have to go outside Congress. It's going to be a conservative.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we now in waste of time, academic discussion?
MR. BLANKLEY (?): It is going to be a member.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Then I will ask you the following question: What's going to happen to Newt?
MR. PAGE: To Newt? A House historian would be a good future for him. But seriously -- I can imagine him and Daniel Patrick Moynihan perhaps going off and lecturing together for awhile.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: White collar crime. Get some independent means in there and then do what? What's going to happen?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think he is probably going to pause for awhile; as he said, hunt for some dinosaur bones. But eventually I think he's going to get back into trying to talk about the issues --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he run for president?
MR. BLANKLEY: I have never thought he was going to, but many people do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you predicting he won't?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think -- John, he's going to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should he run for president, Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think not this election cycle.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We all agree with that.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't agree.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we know he is not going to --
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't agree with that. I am telling you; he is the best fund-raiser in the party. If he goes to Republican rallies, he gets thousands cheering. And you have got to realize, there are going to be about eight people in that race. If you divide it up a lot of ways, he could win it.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. But, you know, making money --
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think he can win the general.
MS. CLIFT: -- at Republican rallies is going to be very short-lived. When you are no longer in an elected position, I don't see how he keeps that going. He should be teaching in some nice college somewhere, which is what he started doing recently.
MR. BLANKLEY: No, he is going to do more than that. He is going to try to speak publicly and refocus his beliefs back onto the political system.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who or what did the most to undo Newt Gingrich?
MR. PAGE: Well, there was a big decision made weeks ago by the Republicans in the House, to put all their guns on the impeachment issue and to cave into Clinton on the budget.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a -- I want to ask --
MR. BLANKLEY (?): Newt's staff had lost the right way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- let me ask you this. This is a little bit pensive --
MR. BUCHANAN: Brutus and taxes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- but I want to ask this question.
Do you think that particularly in the last year or so, Newt Gingrich decided that he had to up his popularity rating because he had a long-term ambition, which was to be president of the United States, and he chose to mute the Republican agenda in an effort to enhance his popularity, and he chose also to mute the possible confrontations with the president of the United States, an extremely popular figure, in order to enhance his popularity? And that might have been a tragic flaw?
MR. BLANKLEY: No. (Laughter.) I think that -- Newt muted the policy-confrontation increase. He understood they had an 11-vote majority and knew he couldn't pass much through with that kind of a very weak majority. And that kind of forced this kind of rope-a-dope agenda of the last two years.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. You know -- and what he did is he lurched back and forth --
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MS. CLIFT: -- trying to please the moderates and trying to please the conservatives. But in the end, he fell for Monica Lewinsky in a bigger way than Bill Clinton did. (Laughter.) (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: You know, John --
MR. PAGE: Another Clinton -- (word inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is succeed --
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- who are the possible successors to Newt Gingrich?
MR. BUCHANAN: Right now it is -- Congressman Bob Livingston and Chris Cox are the two in the race. But there is a real possibility somebody else could get in, John, so I think that's why it's still wide open.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the effort to unseat Dick Armey?
MS. CLIFT: I think Dick Armey is a goner. I am not sure Steve Largent, who has stepped up and said he wants that seat, is going to be the one. There could be more entrants. But Dick Armey, I think, we can safely say is going to be retired as majority whip.
MR. BUCHANAN: Majority leader.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's going to happen to Tom DeLay?
MS. CLIFT: Majority leader.
MR. BLANKLEY: Tom DeLay will stay where he is as the majority whip.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Boehner?
MR. BUCHANAN: He's gone.
MS. CLIFT: Gone. (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Boehner is going to have a very difficult time holding onto his position.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is going to succeed him?
MR. BLANKLEY: I would think that Mr. Watts may make a run at that job.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Jennifer Dunn?
MS. CLIFT: Jennifer Dunn.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Jennifer Dunn going to figure in the top leadership of the Republican Party?
MS. CLIFT: Yes. Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As what?
MS. CLIFT: I don't know where, but she is safely on her way. She is going to be speaker someday.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. The exit question is, "Who will succeed Newt Gingrich?" Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: I just simply think it's entirely too early to call. But Livingston clearly has the inside track, but I don't know that the winner is even in the race yet.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Too close to call between Livingston and Cox. But Cox is very media savvy. He invited cameras in to watch him working the phones. He is the New Age contestant.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Livingston is ahead, but it's too soon to say. Cox could make the run.
MR. BUCHANAN: And I agree. I'd be very surprised, though, if Livingston doesn't get it, because he is ahead, and it's his to lose at this point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's in all probability Livingston, and I'll go with Livingston.
What is deficient in Livingston?
MR. PAGE: He has got a hot temper --
MS. CLIFT: Hot temper. (Off mike.) (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want help?
MR. BUCHANAN: Charisma. (Chuckles.)
MR. PAGE: Hot temper, and he's not a team player.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's charismatically challenged!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The speaker of the House of Representatives is -- besides his ability to manage, which I think Livingston has considerably of --
MR. BUCHANAN: Communicate --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- he also has to be the principal spokesman for the Republican agenda. Now that is obviously not his strong suit, true?
MR. BUCHANAN: Communication's --
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I disagree. You're basing it on the speech he read yesterday or the day before -- whatever it was -- he announced his speech -- his position. But in fact, normally he speaks spontaneously and he's really quite good.
MS. CLIFT: He's been in the Congress for 21 years. Most people have never heard of him. And he's not a comfortable front man. I think he's very capable --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, let me tell you something. The day that Newt was elected speaker in November of '94, when he only had 26 percent name I.D. By the next February he had a 96. The job --
MS. CLIFT: Well, inside the Beltway, everybody knew who Newt Gingrich was.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. When we come back, in last Tuesday's election, did the White House play the race card?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Election trends.
Before the elections, polls correctly predicted a low turnout.
But the 37 percent of the electorate who pulled levers on Tuesday was no less a percentage than the average percentage from earlier off-year elections. Reason this year? Hispanics and blacks chiefly.
Of last Tuesday's voters, Hispanics made up 5 percent, a growing and powerful force in American politics. Fifty-nine percent of Hispanics voted Democratic; 35 percent voted Republican. In Texas, Hispanics were key to the reelection of Governor George W. Bush.
GOVERNOR GEORGE W. BUSH (Texas): (From videotape.) Believe I showed people that you can adhere to a conservative philosophy and win a sizeable portion of the Hispanic vote.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bush knows what he's talking about. He got 49 percent of the Hispanic vote, plus, by the way, 27 percent of blacks and 65 percent of women.
Back to Governor Bush. Polls this week show that in the year 2000 presidential face-off, Bush defeats Gore by 14 percent. This margin surprises some Republicans in view of Gore's non-stop and inventive campaigning.
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: (From videotape.) We make the tough decisions, they take depositions! We find real solutions, they launch prosecutions! We know our future's nearing, we (sic) want to hold more hearings! We say let's heal our nation, they call for more investigations! (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Taking the spotlight off the Bush-Gore 2000 race for a moment, do the Democrats deserve special recognition, even from people like Pat Buchanan -- (laughter) -- for mobilizing Hispanics to vote in such numbers? For example, as I pointed here, Bush in Texas got 49 percent of the Hispanic vote.
I ask you, Tony.
MR. BLANKLEY: I mean, of course. But look, I mean, in politics you do a couple of things in a campaign; you try to get people to want to vote for you, you find who they are, and you get them to the polls. That third point is Politics 101. And of course, everyone has a right to get their own voters to the polls. I don't know why some Republicans, frankly, wandered around town complaining that it seemed unfair that the black and Hispanic vote was got out for the Democratic Party.
MR. PAGE: Horrors. Horrors. What a shock! (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: And, you know, Al Gore actually delivered that "Bullworth" riff in Spanish. And he spoke Spanish at rallies in the Bronx and Los Angeles. I mean, knowing Spanish is now a prerequisite to running.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's onto something with this rap business? (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Ah -- (laughs).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you do!
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. PAGE: That, to you, is rap, John?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it's a cross between Jesse Jackson and Warren Harding's return to normalcy stuff. (Laughter.) You go back -- look --
MR. PAGE: Rope-a-dope.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, let me talk about the Hispanic vote and the black vote. Republican governors have always been able at times to do extremely well there, but when you run in a presidential election, it is an entirely different thing. With regard to the Hispanic vote, let me tell you the Republican problem. More -- by millions, they're becoming citizens and the ones that are becoming citizens are very poor or they're working class and they believe in government. And so they vote for the party of government. Republicans are importing, quite frankly, their own ultimate demise.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but you're --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it should be pointed out that George Bush cannot win an election with a coalition such as he built in Texas. He's got to get the white males on board, the estranged white males, 45 years of age and --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, he'll get them,(?? but to get them??), he's going to lose the Hispanic and black vote in a national election.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but I think ???? me to believe that you could do this with that kind of a coalition.
MR. PAGE: One thing Pat is missing, though --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Furthermore, that the Hispanics are not equally spread throughout the United States.
MR. PAGE: Right. One thing Pat is missing, and you really ought to take credit for it, Pat, because you were part of it, which is that the national Republican Party is different from the state and local party. The campaigns are run differently, for the last 30 years -- the big problem is the Republicans are too dependent upon TV commercials and not on grassroots organizing, getting out that vote like the Democrats did.
MS. CLIFT: You're right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Okay. Since you're doing so well, Clarence, we're going to give you your own issue.
MR. : ???
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay -- the race card! (Laughter.)
MR. ??????? (White House spokesman): (From videotape.) We are getting reports, still very spotty and sporadic, of Republican efforts, in fact, to try to scare African Americans --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In a sudden, 11th-hour flurry of accusations before last Tuesday's election, Democrats charged that Republicans were using -- get this -- "armed guards and video cameras" to scare blacks away from the polls. The president's spokesman said the White House had gotten its information directly from the unquestionably reliable Democratic National Committee. Scare radio ads pressed the effort to spur an outraged black turnout.
AD ANNOUNCER: (From videotape.) When you don't vote, you let another church explode. When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister. When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school lunches and Head Start.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Even the president, who had maintained a Hillary-dictated low profile throughout the campaign, surfaced on Sunday at a black church in Maryland to tell the faithful that the Republicans were up to no good.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) We got news yesterday that there's actually an effort to keep African Americans and other minority voters from voting, and voter intimidation in Maryland and six or seven other states --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democratic strategy worked magnificently. A staggering 11 percent of all voters in Tuesday's election were blacks. That's a 20 percent increase of black voters over 1994, the last mid-term election.
Question: Does the White House race baiting, Clarence, alone explain the high African American turnout?
MR. PAGE: I wouldn't call it race baiting, John. I would call it good grass-roots campaigning. That's what it's all about. Tony spoke to it earlier.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the way they do it in Chicago, where you're from? Is that the way they do it?
MR. PAGE: Remember what Machiavelli said; given a choice, it's better to be feared than loved? Use love, use fear, whatever you've got. You've got to get that vote out. Yes, they do do that in Chicago.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we get serious? Do you have any ethical problem with this?
MR. BLANKLEY: I do. Look. This is an old tactic the Democrats used. What's new about it is that the president of the United States is willing to stand up publicly and use the tactic, as opposed to letting the back-room boys do it.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. BUCHANAN: John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He also had reinforcement from the attorney general. We don't have time to get into her statement during this, but it was supportive, the way she supported him in Travelgate and in Filegate.
MS. CLIFT: Wait a second.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, John, this was rankest demagoguery.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind?
MR. BUCHANAN: Rankest demagoguery.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rankest? R-a-n-k-e-s-t?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MR. PAGE: It's successful demagoguery.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most corrupt.
MR. BLANKLEY: The most rank. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. Republicans were talking about videotaping voters in black districts, which is against the Voting Rights Act.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.
MS. CLIFT: Secondly, Republicans --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three.
MS. CLIFT: -- are squealing about race baiting, when they pioneered it.
MS. CLIFT: Eleanor, we've got to get in. We've got to get in, Eleanor.
Issue three: Is impeachment dead, or does it still have a pulse?
REP. HENRY HYDE (R-IL) (House Judiciary Committee chairman): (From videotape.) We could just look away from this awful mess and let it disappear, but our duty demands that we look further.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde made clear on Thursday that he will move forward with the impeachment process, election or no election -- in which voter exit polls, by the way, indicated that 58 percent of the electorate think Congress should drop its "impeach the president" inquiry. The chairman has all intentions of staying the course.
REP. HYDE: (From videotape.) With the president's cooperation, we will meet our goal of finishing by the end of the year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chairman Hyde also announced the following. One, most Starr grand jury witnesses will not be required to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. Two, Judge Starr will be invited to appear in public session November 19. Three, the president gets a letter from the committee asking him to admit or deny 81 facts that appear to be established by the record now before the committee, in order to narrow the issues and bring earlier closure.
Question: What's Clinton's best move now? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Clinton's best move, I think, is to answer those 81 questions. Let me tell you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you seen the questions? (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: I've seen some of those things. If he defies the thing -- look, 85 percent of those who voted Republican want Clinton impeached -- (inaudible due to cross talk).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: And the Democrats did better in the election. Clinton has the high cards. And what Hyde is looking for now is the impeachment equivalent of "peace with honor". And maybe --
MR. PAGE: Yeah. Look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!
MS. CLIFT: -- Judge Starr will be the goad, if he can't make the case.
MR. PAGE: Look, the president would be a fool to answer those questions.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. PAGE: It's a "Go to Jail" card question. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right. What he should do is stall and keep moving around the country bringing up different issues --
MR. PAGE: Funny how things have reversed. Remember when it was the Republicans who wanted to drag things out --
MR. BUCHANAN: Pick one or two -- (laughter) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For God's sake, don't answer those questions. Right?
MS. CLIFT: He already answered those questions!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions.
MR. BUCHANAN: Moynihan is retiring in the year 2000 in the New York Senate. Guess who will take a look at the Senate race? Mr. Alfonse D'Amato, and also the Mayor of New York, Mr. Giuliani. Very interesting. I think D'Amato might even be able to beat him in a Republican primary.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting!
MS. CLIFT: I can throw at least three other names into that hat! (Laughter.)
The South Carolina Republican Party is going to put pressure on Strom Thurmond to resign so that the incoming Democratic governor doesn't get the opportunity to appoint a Democratic senator, should Strom not fill out his term.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: In that upcoming Senate race in New York, I believe that Hillary will get into it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?
MR. PAGE: In the wake of Tuesday's election, the star of J.C. Watts is now going to rise as well. You'll see him in the mix next week.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Retiring New York Congressman Bill Paxon will throw his hat in the ring to become the next chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Next week. Thomas Jefferson: Does the DNA from his father's brother prove that Jefferson, not his uncle, fathered a son by a black slave, Sally Hemings, as a recent study claims, or is this junk science and bunk history politically designed to give Clinton political cover during his impeachment inquiry?
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PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: "Get ready to rumble!"
GOV.-ELECT JESSE VENTURA (Reform Party-Minnesota): (From videotape.) This is a challenge, something to tackle. Why is my credibility good? because I tell the truth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Former pro wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura is now governor-elect of Minnesota. The Reform party candidate pulled a stunning upset over two politically experienced opponents, including Hubert Humphrey's son Skip.
The 47-year-old 6-foot-5 250-pound Ventura was born James Giannos (sp) in Minneapolis. Giannos (sp) chose his stage name "Ventura" from a California road map. Ventura says his outsider status, along with his anti-government popular stance, gives him credibility with voters.
Ventura appealed most to young male voters under 30, high-school graduates fed up with politics.
MR. : (From videotape.) You know, we are tired of the way politics is being played. The Clinton thing, you know, that brought a lot of attention to the politics, so maybe people who weren't paying attention started paying attention now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ventura who, as noted, ran on Ross Perot's Reform Party line, is not without qualification. A former Navy Seal who served two years in Vietnam and a tour in Korea, 11 years as a professional wrestler, a radio sports talk-show host and currently, high-school football coach. Also, he served four years as mayor of a Minneapolis suburb, '91 to '94.
Question: Is Jesse "The Body" the future of the body politic? I ask you, Clarence "The Body" Page? (Laughter.)
MR. PAGE: (Laughs.) I mean, you couldn't played it (good enough).
You know, the thing is he is an exciting guy who shows you how to get young voters out, who nobody else was paying any attention to. But, you know, he is going to have to wrestle real good to wrestle that party away from Ross Perot. I suspect Ventura is well-positioned now to be their nominee for president next time.
You remember what happened the last time somebody besides Perot was about to be nominated? Perot suddenly stepped back in and said: "Okay, that's it, buddy. Off the stage."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My God --
MR. PAGE: (?) a big guy. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (?) --
MR. PAGE: He (has got) a big guy to deal with now, doesn't he?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "The Body" now calls himself "The Mind" -- (laughter) -- as the Reform Party candidate for president. (Laughter.)
Pat, do you think they're onto something out there in Minnesota?
MR. BUCHANAN: (John, they're) right. (?) onto something. Minnesota had the highest turnout in the country.
MR. BLANKLEY: That's right.
MR. BUCHANAN: This guy is a mayor for four years. He's got a terrific record. Simply because he is a wrestler doesn't mean he should be denied the right. I think it's a terrific thing (was) done. It ought to bring out more folks --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: (?) point out that Ross Perot refused to give him any money and really paid no attention to him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why?
MS. CLIFT: Because he doesn't want anybody really muscling in on his territory.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he is the guy to muscle in, right? (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Literally. Literally. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: (?) the point is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Get "The Old Body" out there. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (?), do you want to say something? We're going out.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, look. I thought the political class was sneering at this guy on election night. I remember a time when an old actor called Ronald Reagan was laughed at --
MR. BUCHANAN (?): Oh, yeah. Right.
MR. BLANKLEY: -- because he wasn't a professional politician. He made a pretty good politician. I think Ventura may make a pretty good politician.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you know about him, besides what we put on the screen?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, he looks to be a solid libertarian. I think he is potential Republican. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He is in favor of getting rid of gun control, and he also wants more government. There you are, Pat; he's your man! (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: You know, actually Dick Lamm --