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ANNOUNCER: It's the 25th annual McLaughlin Group year-end awards, 2006. Here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Biggest winner of 2006. Patrick Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. Eighteen months ago he was mayor of Tehran. Nobody knew him. He is now the toast of the Arab and Islamic world -- defies the United States, mocks the Holocaust. He's a big winner in Iraq, unfortunately.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: I agree with that, but domestically, the Senate Democrats, who won the majority by a whisker, and the old bulls in the House, who will chair the committees that will finally investigate the administration and put some sort of accountability into the war in Iraq.


MR. BLANKLEY: The beautiful and charming Nancy Pelosi, without doubt, taking back the House, the highest-ranked woman in the country, and positioned to dominate American politics.


MR. O'DONNELL: Tony's right; Nancy Pelosi, the first woman, the first Italian-American and the first Californian to be speaker of the House.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The envelope please, Tony. (Laughter.) Thank you very much.

MR. BLANKLEY: You're welcome.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I noticed you're staring at my jacket.

MR. BLANKLEY: It's a very handsome jacket. I covet it. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do covet it?

MR. BLANKLEY: I do covet it, yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Last time we raised this subject, you told me it belongs on a horse.


MR. BLANKLEY: Well, nothing wrong with that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A stallion, no doubt.

MR. BLANKLEY: Our horses are well-dressed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The biggest winner of 2006: Nancy Pelosi, of course; but with her, an award to the Democratic Party for sweeping the House, ending 12 years of its GOP control, winning the Senate, reversing GOP dominance in the total of the nation's governors, and augmenting its Democratic dominance in state legislatures. Easily the Democrats are the biggest winner of '06.

Okay, biggest loser. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: George W. Bush -- lost both houses of Congress, annus horribilis, down to 30 percent. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I agree with Bush. His legacy, his Republican majority, everything has shredded. But you've got to put George Allen in there. He was going to be a presidential candidate. Now he's lost his Senate seat and his political future.


MR. BLANKLEY: Regretfully, it's President George Bush, both on the domestic front, on the foreign policy front. This has been about as bad a year as a president could have and still be alive. But he's got two left, and I look forward to most improved next year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very courageous of you, Tony.

MR. O'DONNELL: Michael Richards, the former Seinfeld cast member, who, in a few minutes on a stand-up comedy stage in Hollywood, ended his career.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The biggest loser of 2006: Karl Rove, political assistant to President Bush. He's off the pedestal and into the political cemetery -- down and dirty.

Okay, best politician. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Vladimir Putin, John. Vladimir's at 81 percent approval -- restores autocracy to Russia; restores Russia's position, frankly, in the world vis-a-vis the United States.


MS. CLIFT: Best politician: Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, two women who have maneuvered themselves to the pinnacle of power after all of the male domination -- hurray.


MR. BLANKLEY: Rahm Emanuel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He managed what has usually been an uncontrollable chaos brilliantly. And he is a queen maker, having gotten Pelosi made speaker.


MR. O'DONNELL: Mike Bloomberg has the second-most difficult job in American government -- Republican mayor of a Democratic city; is much more popular than Rudy Giuliani ever was before 9/11.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he has national ambitions?

MR. O'DONNELL: I'm not sure he has national ambitions, but he sure has national potential if he wants to run.


MR. O'DONNELL: He can run for president of the United States and he can self-finance as an independent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Under what banner?

MR. O'DONNELL: He would go independent if he really wanted to do it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the cover of New York magazine.

MR. O'DONNELL: They're pushing it. New York's pushing it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New York is pushing it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Good luck.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We could do worse than Mike Bloomberg as president.

MR. O'DONNELL: We've done worse than Mike Bloomberg. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best politician of 2006 -- get this, O'Donnell -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold showed Oscar- worthy political dexterity when he shifted to the political center and he won re-election in a wholly and wildly anti-Republican year -- dazzling.

Okay, worst politician, Pat. MR. BUCHANAN: Sorry to say, Senator George Allen, aka Macacawitz, who last year was the conservative favorite to be in the running for president of the United States.


MS. CLIFT: I'm going to give it to Bill Frist, who led a do- nothing Senate and also squandered his chance to have a presidential future.


MR. BLANKLEY: A nice man, but Denny Hastert. Not only did he lose the House, but he was constantly given advice on actions to take during the year; did nothing. He went down with the Titanic never even trying to bail water.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst politician.

MR. O'DONNELL: Tony's right about Denny Hastert, but you have to keep Tom DeLay in the picture. He got driven out of the House of Representatives by a prosecutor and was kind of the leading edge of Republican collapse in the House of Representatives this year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst politician: George W. Bush. His approval rating has stayed below 40 percent virtually all year. On handling the war in Iraq, his approval rating has him 21 percent. Mr. Bush squandered the GOP's majority in Congress, a majority that had taken Reagan and Gingrich how many years? Years to put together. You endured that, right?

MR. BLANKLEY: We endured it? We triumphed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, most defining political moment, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: President George Bush, the day after losing the election, fires his secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, in a press conference right up there that defined a losing war, a losing party and a losing election.


MS. CLIFT: The midterm elections, which have changed the political landscape and changed the way we're looking at the war in Iraq; also the revolt of the generals, led by Major John Batiste, who had led the First Armored Division in Iraq, who blew the whistle on Rumsfeld and again transformed the debate on Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. When the generals speak, the president really should listen to them, because he said he would.

Tony. MR. BLANKLEY: Senator Allen's macaca moment, an unforced error that symbolized all the unforced errors the Republicans made to give the Democrats the House back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're getting a lot of macaca here today, are we not? (Laughter.)

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, there's more macaca.

MR. BLANKLEY: It was that kind of a year.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's more macaca ?

MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah. It was the defining political moment because the macaca moment was the thing that said to the Democrats anything is possible. George Allen was supposed to be the big winner, and he started to fall and everything fell after that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I would endorse that. I think the most defining political moment has to be Allen and his mockery of the man of South Asian descent. It cost him his seat in the United States Senate and quite possibly the Republican nomination for president. Allen mocked the man, quote-unquote, with the word macaca, as has been noted here.

Okay, turncoat of the year, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The neoconservatives, John. In Vanity Fair, they all turned and denounced Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld for messing up their cake-walk war.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that incredible?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is incredible.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are there any limits to hypocrisy?

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: I agree. I had so many contenders for turncoat, though. Joe Lieberman, of course, left the Democratic Party, became an independent; and also Bob Woodward, who wrote two flattering books about the presidency and leading up to war and then wrote a book that basically said Bush was not telling the truth about how bad things are. Bob Woodward helped change the debate on Iraq as well.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're turning on Woodward.

MS. CLIFT: No, I'm not turning on Woodward. Woodward turned on them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think? MR. BLANKLEY: Well, let's get serious -- Gwyneth Paltrow for going -- (laughter) -- for making a fortune in America and going to England and turning on both America and capitalism.


MR. O'DONNELL: Pat's right.

It doesn't get better than Richard Perle turning on Bush over the Iraq war. But most recently, Colin Powell is perceived in the White House to be one of the big turncoats of the year because he's finally speaking his mind about what is possible in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Turncoat of the year -- get this spin here -- Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist. He made millions off his access to the Republican establishment. He's been caught. But instead of taking his secrets with him to the grave, Abramoff has been ratting out Republican lawmakers to cut his own jail time -- turncoat of the year.

Okay, most boring, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Joseph Lieberman-Cal Coolidge trophy this year, John, goes to Speaker Dennis Hastert, the charismatic congressman from Illinois. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: You know, I'm giving it to Condoleezza Rice, because the contrast between what she is and what she could be is just so dramatic. She has this wonderful platform, all of these diplomatic opportunities, and all she does is sort of repeat this sort of pedantic language that means nothing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ivory tower.

MS. CLIFT: A shame.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ivory tower doctrinaire, right?

MS. CLIFT: Right.


MR. BLANKLEY: John Edwards, who repeats endlessly his Tobacco Road view of America. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, apple pie?

MR. BLANKLEY: And it gets tedious. He's Johnny One Note, and it'll lead him to oblivion eventually. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Sam Bodman.


MR. O'DONNELL: Pat doesn't know who it is.


MR. O'DONNELL: He is the Energy secretary of the United States of America.

MR. BUCHANAN: I knew I'd heard his name.

MR. O'DONNELL: A not unimportant position; no one even knows he is there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he may be boring, but he's also extremely talented and he's extremely effective.

Most boring: Harry Reid, jointly with Bill Frist, the minority and majority leaders of the United States Senate, two dull duds; a joint award.

Okay, most charismatic, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: For the men, Barack Obama; for women, Segolene Royal, John, the socialist candidate for president of France -- va, va, voom.


MS. CLIFT: The women think Barack Obama is charismatic too. He gets my nomination.

MR. BLANKLEY: Muqtada al-Sadr, charismatic both literally in that he is blood heir to ayatollahs and in his personality as he rallies the violent forces against our government ally in Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ayatollah Sistani?

MR. BLANKLEY: No -- al-Sadr.


MR. O'DONNELL: Barack Obama. He is operating at a charisma level we haven't seen since JFK. But I want to jump on Pat's bandwagon about Segolene. I'm with her too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most charismatic: Actress Angelina Jolie. She has the presence, she has the social commitment and she has the magnetism of other historic leading ladies from Hollywood's golden age. In a movie when actors and actresses at the same time appear with Jolie, the audience watches Jolie.

We'll be right back.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, bummest rap. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The false, malicious, vicious charge that three Duke lacrosse players assaulted that gal. Mike Nifong and that stripper ought to themselves be in the dock.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.


MS. CLIFT: That Michael J. Fox exaggerated his symptoms of Parkinson's to make the very effective television ad that helped turn the race in Missouri towards the Democrats.


MR. BLANKLEY: I agree with Pat's, but the false charge that Senator Allen was anti-black. It was a malicious campaign to mischaracterize a decent man.


MR. O'DONNELL: That John Kerry meant to insult the troops when he flubbed the line in the prepared speech that he was making.


MR. O'DONNELL: Bum rap.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bummest rap: Likening George W. Bush to Harry Truman. That's a bum rap on Truman. A few years ago, Bush boosters tried to elevate Bush's stature by likening him to Ronald Reagan. Now it's Truman -- both analogies flat-out wrong. If anything, George Bush is more like Herbert Hoover.

Okay, fairest rap. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Against the Republicans, that they did not live up to their principles or support policies they said they would. And so they got their comeuppance deservedly.


MS. CLIFT: Fairest rap, that Donald Rumsfeld is a disaster and had to go. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: That Rahm Emanuel lied when he said during the campaign that he knew nothing about the Foley scandal.

The evidence has now come out that he did.


MR. O'DONNELL: That Bush is one of the worst presidents we've ever had.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fairest rap: Don Rumsfeld. He just retired as secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld set out to show that the U.S. had overcome the legacy of Vietnam. He ended up creating a quagmire.

Okay, best comeback, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Best comeback: Unfortunately, John, it is the Taliban.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Taliban.

MR. BUCHANAN: They are back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think they're back in full force?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think they're back in serious force, yeah.


MS. CLIFT: Al Gore, who is now in contention as a possible presidential candidate and who is leading a campaign to recognize the potential danger of global warming. Hurray that he is back.


MR. BLANKLEY: My answer is similar to Pat's Taliban. In this case it's the House Democrats, who have come back after 12 years to take the central power of American politics back.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence O'Donnell.
MR. O'DONNELL: Jerry Brown, who was elected California's attorney general 50 years to the day after his father won the same office. Jerry could be on his way back to the governorship. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best comeback -- I'm showing you up, O'Donnell -- Tom Cruise, (in style ?) with the host of this program on Mission Impossible I. You saw that, right?

Who started out 2006 looking like a Hollywood pariah, but he ended the year in charge of running his own studio and a storybook wedding to Katie in Italy and a --

MR. BUCHANAN: Were you there? Were you at the wedding?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I didn't make it -- (laughter) -- and a -- (inaudible). I was in the helicopter circling around. (Laughter.)

Were you there?

MR. O'DONNELL: No, I didn't make it -- not on the list.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, most original thinker.

MR. BUCHANAN: One of your favorites, John -- General William Odom. He was right about the first Gulf War and he's right about the second Gulf war as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he got terrific response to --

MR. BUCHANAN: He ought to have a good response to it. I've read his six myths, yeah.



MS. CLIFT: I give the thinking cap to Jerry Brown, now attorney general of California. He's been governor. He's been mayor of Oakland. He keeps reinventing himself. And he credits his three and a half years of Jesuit training and he quotes the 12th Rule: Let him in all things seek his greater mortification and continuing abegnation, which I think means politics is a form of self- flagellation. (Laughter.) I'm not sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, good luck with him with that.


MR. BLANKLEY: My old boss, Newt Gingrich, almost every week has discussions about what's wrong with the country and how to fix it, winning people over who say, We wish we had someone who had those kind of ideas in the White House.

MR. O'DONNELL: Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, who has given us the best explanations of how the world came to be in the grip of violent religious extremism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most original thinker: Al Gore. He turned to a documentary film to make his case for taking action on global warming. An Inconvenient Truth, he called it. It was extreme originality at work -- extreme in the good sense.

Patrick, most stagnant thinker.

MR. BUCHANAN: Senator John McCain. Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you talking about putting more troops in Iraq?

MR. BUCHANAN: Just more troops, more troops, more troops, more troops. It's always more violence, always more war.


MS. CLIFT: George W. Bush -- Stay the course, Go shopping more, and also Don Rumsfeld -- Stuff happens and War is complicated.


MR. BLANKLEY: Denny Hastert, I hate to say once again. He inherited a vibrant conservative agenda in 1998 and added nothing to it.


MR. O'DONNELL: Karl Rove, who thought he could still work the wedge issues and the turnout machine in the congressional elections against a national wave of revulsion for what the White House was up to and the House and Senate Republicans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most stagnant thinker: Condoleezza Rice, secretary of State. Condi ended up 2006 as she began it, stuck in ruts with no workable plans for Iraq or Iran or Israel-Palestine. And with so much access to the president's ear so much of the time, Rice deserves sacking more than Rumsfeld.

Patrick, best photo op.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're in trouble, fellow, for that one. (Laughs.)

One million illegal aliens march under Mexican flags, kill Bush's amnesty bill, sell Buchanan's book.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: That was a photo op? (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) One million Mexicans? (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Okay. I'm going to go with Britney Spears flashing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.


MR. BLANKLEY: Something with his most effective photo op -- the bombing, regretfully, of the golden mosque in Samarra, which triggered the sectarian war that had not yet started until then. It was a stunningly effective event.


MR. O'DONNELL: Best photo op of the year was Mel Gibson's mug shot.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best photo op: The kiss, George Bush's and Joe Lieberman's peck on the cheek. During the Connecticut Democratic primary it was mercilessly exploited by Lieberman challenger Ned Lamont, to everyone's delight on this program -- more copy.

Enough Already award, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton. Enough, girls. (Laughs.)


MS. CLIFT: Bush and Cheney in general, and in particular no more racist rants from celebrities.


MR. BLANKLEY: All those people and their lawyers who are offended by every expression of individualism in America.


MR. O'DONNELL: The Enough Already award goes to Donald Trump.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Donald Trump. Are you going to expand on that?

MR. O'DONNELL: How much more of him can we take? MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it's self-evident?

Enough already -- the death of Princess Diana 10 years ago. The so-called definitive investigation, alas, is now over. To the conspiracy theorists, enough already.

Okay, worst lie, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: That Pope Benedict deliberately insulted Islam -- false.


MS. CLIFT: President George W. Bush -- Absolutely, we're winning.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence -- excuse me. Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I hate to say this. I agree with Eleanor, but on the proposition that he was going to keep Rumsfeld and not fire him when it came out that -- and he admitted that he was already planning his replacement. It wasn't the worst lie, but for a president, he should never be so brazen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, come, come, come, come. That's trivial, don't you think?

MR. BLANKLEY: I just designated it the worst, I guess.

MR. O'DONNELL: Tony's right. It was the worst provable lie of the year that Bush says, a week before the election, Rumsfeld's going to stay on till the end of the administration. A day after the election, he's gone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was an okay falsification. A worse lie is We're making progress in Iraq. President Bush and company repeated this lie so often that it's almost as if they think Goebbels was right -- Repeat the big lies often enough and people will believe it.

Okay, capitalist of the year, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Warren Buffett gives away $40 billion to the Gates Foundation and shows what a capitalist ought to do with his money.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, he's not giving it away in one lump sum.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) It's a lot more than I've seen John McLaughlin give away as a share of his wealth. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, maybe a couple of billion a year, but, you know.

Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: The two kids who started YouTube and then sold it to Google for $1.65 billion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know the name of it? Oh, YouTube.

MS. CLIFT: YouTube. (Laughs.)


MR. BLANKLEY: Milton Friedman, who died this year and made capitalism possible around the world.


MR. O'DONNELL: It's Warren Buffett and his gracious, egoless giving away of the money. He didn't set up a Buffett foundation. He gave it to the Gates Foundation. And he's a very strong supporter of inheritance taxes and gives the lie to the Republican argument that if you tax the rich too much, they'll just stop working and producing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All this Buffett talk is good, but I'll give you a different level of magnitude. Capitalist of the year: The People's Republic of China. The PRC's entrepreneurship is creating a massive shift in the global economy. Never in modern history has so much wealth been transferred so fast.

We'll be right back with person of the year.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, here it is: Person of the year.


MR. BUCHANAN: Time magazine did a complete cop-out, making you and me and the digital revolution person of the year. The person of the year is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who dominated the news in the Middle East and is the big winner as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I couldn't agree with you more on Time copping out with these collective wins. They should go back to their old formula.


MS. CLIFT: As representative of Newsweek, I couldn't agree with you more as well.

My candidate would be Virginia Senator-elect MFEMF Webb, former combat veteran, novelist, won the race and has the stamina and the imagination to help lead the campaign to get this country out of Iraq. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: I agree with Pat; Ahmadinejad. He has confounded Europe and American diplomacy and is moving Iran quickly towards possession of nuclear weapons.


MR. O'DONNELL: It was the year of collapse -- collapse of the mythology that we could win in Iraq and collapse of Republican control of the Congress. And George Bush generated all of that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he's person of the year?

MR. O'DONNELL: George W. Bush.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Person of the year for distinguished statesmanship and brutal candor at a time of grave national peril, MFEMF A. Baker III, for his stewardship of the Iraq Study Group and the ISG's effort to find a way out of the Iraq quagmire.

Next week, the McLaughlin Group 2006 awards, part two.

Merry Christmas. Bye-bye.