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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP


HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,


ELEANOR CLIFT AND BILL SAMMON



TAPED FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1998


AIRED THE WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 14-15, 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. GE is proud to support "The McLaughlin Group": "From aircraft engines to appliances, GE, we bring good things to life."



Here's the host, John McLaughlin.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: War.



(War-related video clips are shown, followed by President Clinton.)



PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) If the inspectors are not permitted to visit suspect sites or monitor compliance at known production facilities, they may as well be in Baltimore, not Baghdad. We have a duty to seize, not shirk, the responsibilities of leadership.



MIN. TARIQ AZIZ (Iraq's deputy prime minister): (From videotape.) Go and ask the men and women in the street whether they are scared of the American bombing. They are not, for the simple reason, not because they are defiant -- they are human beings; they are fathers and mothers, and they would like to live in peace -- but they are not scared because it makes no difference to them.



Sanctions is a war by itself. It's killing Iraqis, and it's destroying Iraq.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Clinton and Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz reached an impasse this week. President Clinton says Iraq has not met its obligations under the U.N. resolutions. Aziz says Iraq has been cooperative but will never be in compliance, as the U.S. sees it, because the U.S. wants Saddam out of power, and it sees sanctions as a way of accomplishing that.



So the U.S. again is exercising its brute strength against a militarily inferior and vastly disadvantaged foe. Justification for a U.S. attack on Iraq is thin and unfocused, many believe.



So what are the negatives of the U.S. bombing of Iraq?



Negative number one; no U.N. authorization for air strikes. A precondition for the use of force by the U.S. is U.N. authorization. Without such Security Council authorization, U.S. military action under the charter amounts to aggression.



Negative number two; 200 million incensed Arabs. Inflamed Arabs include, not only those in the streets of Baghdad, but our friends and their populations: the king of Saudi Arabia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt; King Hussein of Jordan, who last month lent his negotiating prestige to spur the Maryland Middle East peace accords. U.S. bombing civilians will spark moral outrage against local Arab governments in the region, seen to be kowtowing to the U.S.



Negative number three; Middle East peace. Will a U.S. strike against the Arab state of Iraq be seen by Arabs generally as an Israeli action, executed by Israel's agent, the U.S.? Would that put the final, dooming touch on the stalled Maryland agreement and the troubled peace process?



Negative number four: U.S. citizens' safety. The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide travel advisory, the second-highest travel risk warning issued by the department, citing the August 7th bombing in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. The advisory cautions Americans traveling worldwide against retaliatory attacks occasioned by U.S. airstrikes on Afghanistan and the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, particularly the latter, which is now seen by most authorities as a tragic mistake, but not by any means necessarily an "innocent", quote, unquote, mistake.



At week's end, foreign ministers from eight Arab countries issued a statement: Quote, "The Iraqi government is held responsible for any breakdowns and tragedies that might arise from its refusal to back down from its decision to stop cooperating with the Special Committee of UNSCOM," closed quote.



The Arab ministers call for a diplomatic solution to the crisis and affirm the following: Quote, "Iraq's sovereignty, its territorial integrity, its regional security all must be preserved," unquote. The ministers made no mention of the use of military force as a possible remedy or option.



Question: Is bombing Iraq a good idea or a bad idea, Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: I think it's a good idea, John, but if and only if it's followed up by other steps, more drastic steps, because bombing alone will not get rid of Saddam Hussein. Cruise missiles and bombers are very unlikely to do it, unless they get very lucky. We should go farther and do -- as Paul Wolfowitz has suggested, create a southern no-fly, no-drive zone, a safe haven for opponents of Saddam Hussein. We should be prepared to introduce ground troops.



If we're not prepared to do those things, then we ought to call it all off, take the action of the French, appease the Iraqis and try to live with them, and hope that nuclear deterrence can prevent them from using these terrible weapons on our friends in the Middle East.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift?



MS. CLIFT: I think a symbolic show of strength would be foolish. I agree with Michael that this has got to be a sustained effort to get at his -- at Saddam's support structure.



And second of all, Saddam has driven everybody to the edge here, the -- breaking his word with the U.N. Kofi Annan is the last person willing to negotiate with him, and he's not going anywhere near this crisis. The French and the Russians are being very quiet about their objections. And I think the words you quoted from those eight Arab states are basically a hands-off.



Clinton has more approval to go ahead with military force now than at any time since the Gulf War.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Bombing -- standing alone is neither good nor bad. It's a question of whether it accomplishes a strategic objective. I'm not sure what the president sees as the strategic objective. He's changed it a number of times from getting rid of Saddam to getting him to get rid of all of his weapons to getting him -- us to be able to sort of control most of his mass-destruction weapons --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, does he think that he's going to remove the weapons of mass destruction?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, that --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is no. He said this is not what we can do. So it seems to be kind of a theater of the absurd motivation, does it not?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I would call it a French farce. But I think "theater of the absurd" would also do.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.



(To Mr. Sammon.) Do you have any problem with those negatives I listed -- for example, no authorization from the United Nations, which makes us an aggressor, or the fact that we have also the other negatives obtaining there -- plus the loss of human life?



MR. SAMMON: I think there are some negatives, and I think some of them are valid. But the bottom line is, Clinton has really no choice. Saddam has pushed us around for years and months now. And every time we've gone to the brink and pulled back, he looks better for it; we look worse for it. And there's a critical mass that's been reached this time. It's almost like we've got to do something, or he's really won, if he gets away with it one more time.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, do you see the point that this is not just a bilateral event between the Iraqis and us; this involves the Arabs, 200 million? Are they going to sit silently by and not have feelings? Will that not hurt the peace process?



MR. BARONE: John, John, look --



MS. CLIFT: First of all --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will this not pose a threat to their local governments?



MS. CLIFT: No, no --



MR. BARONE: John, you said the same things during the Gulf War -- that the Arab --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I did not say it during the Gulf War. We had people on board.



MR. BARONE: -- that the Arab stream was going to dry up.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But there's nobody on board here.



MS. CLIFT: That's untrue.



MR. BARONE: This administration needs to make some diplomatic efforts to get U.N. authorization for this. I think they should be able to manipulate it. The French and the Russians are not actively opposing it, if they were in the first place --



MS. CLIFT: Look, the president --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from Tony. I want to move it along.



MR. BLANKLEY: If we could accomplish the strategic objective of getting rid of the implements of mass destruction, then offending the Arabs, I think, would be a price worth paying.



If, on the other hand, this is simply a symbolic act to make us feel good, then it would be idiotic to offend potential allies.



MS. CLIFT: The Arabs --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just a moment. Regarding the weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons are not an issue; Butler has said that. What's an issue is biochemical. Biochemicals is a low level of technology. They've been around since World War I. If we were to scrub Iraq totally clean of them, they could be remanufactured within three weeks in a home in downtown Baghdad. Am I right or wrong?



MS. CLIFT: I don't --



MR. SAMMON: Tell that to the Kurds up north. And they've been -- had these weapons used against them.



I think it's legitimate to get rid of them and then to keep the inspectors in there to make sure they're not reconstituted in three weeks' time.



MS. CLIFT: Well, listen, the goals of the administration are really pretty clear, and that's to raise the price for Saddam if he wants to keep making these weapons. And --



MR. BLANKLEY: But he's ultimately -- (inaudible due to cross talk) --



(Cross talk.)


MS. CLIFT: -- wait a second. Wait a second.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are human lives at stake. Let me -- let me --



MS. CLIFT: Of course there are. That's why we don't want him to have anthrax and --



(Cross talk.)



MR. BARONE: There are human lives at stake, John. John, but look, the key here is --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to --



MR. BARONE: -- the problem is not just getting rid of the weapons, the real problem is who has the will to use them? That will is the will of Saddam Hussein. This is an evil man who is determined to do great evil to other people, and it's the responsibility of the United States to do what they can to stop it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he hasn't done it in 10 years, has he? He didn't do it during the war.



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I agree that he's a sinister criminal, but in point of fact, you don't have to demonize him.



MR. BARONE: He has a track record of sacrificing his own people, acting with willing disregard for others, of invading other countries and activities of that sort.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We don't deny that. We don't deny that.



MR. BARONE: If we can stop him, we should stop him.



MS. CLIFT: He lost the war and this is the price he pays.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, another -- we can't stop him if there is such collateral human and material damage that it flaunts --



MR. BARONE: What, poll ratings down among the Arabs? That's not --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me try this on the two jingoes on this panel, another negative on U.S. bombings.



Negative number five: Morality shunted aside. A military strike under present conditions is intrinsicly immoral. Under the terms of a just war -- and this is not a war -- the aggressor must be actual, not threatening, not anticipated. The aggression must be actual to justify such a massive use of destructive force.



All seven cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States have condemned the use of military force by the U.S. to compel compliance by Iraq. The prelates also urged a, quote, "more narrowly targeted embargo," unquote, so as not to destroy the lives of innocent civilians. Later, Pope John II echoed the prelates' condemnation and urged lifting the sanctions on Iraq.



Military strikes, in other words, by a civilized power, indeed, a superpower, under these conditions, with its collateral human and material damage, are unspeakably immoral.



Is anyone paying attention to the moral dictates that have been guiding civilized policy-making, including our own diplomacy through the years?



I ask you, Bill Sammon.



MR. SAMMON: What's more moral, taking some casualties now, or waiting until he reconstitutes his weapons, and then you can almost be assured that he will take more causalities then. Based on his track record, we have to assume that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I just got finished telling you, and I don't know why it hasn't penetrated, that he can remanufacture in three weeks, even if we scrub them clean, because it's a low level of technology.



MR. SAMMON: Not with our inspectors in there doing their job!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In point of fact, Jimmy Carter says that the Persian Gulf War cost Iraq 180,000 -- 180,000 -- civilian lives. I believe that's the figure. The lowest figure is 5,000 and it climbs to 15,000. Since then, we have taken the lives -- with our sanctions -- of over 750,000 children under the age of five and 300,000 adults, according to UNICEF.



MS. CLIFT: John, we --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The infrastructure damage -- it creates typhus, it creates all kinds of disease. They don't have pharmaceutical. There's no proportionality.



Do you agree with me?



MR. BLANKLEY: Not entirely. I still take the point that these weapons in the hands of Saddam he's shown -- he hasn't used them against others; he's used them against his own people, and the danger there entitles us to take very severe action. But I would emphasize that it's not moral if we're not going to be effective in our action.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we have no one on our side except the Brits --



MR. BARONE: John, he --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and the Brits are --



MS. CLIFT: John, do you seriously think if there is an air campaign that people are going to go into the streets and countries are going to condemn America for taking that action? The world wants to be rid of Saddam Hussein --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I do. I think that what we are undertaking is like shooting ducks in a pond.



MS. CLIFT: No.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's unspeakably immoral.



MR. BARONE: John. John!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit: What is the U.S. covert policy towards Iraq?



I ask you.



MR. BARONE: I hope our covert policy is to take the further steps that I believe should be taken, but I fear that it's not.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Our overt policy is to get him to let the inspectors back in. Our covert and our hope is that the regime will be destabilized and he will be overthrown.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, our covert policy has been inert, if it's been in existence at all. Obviously, the desire to covertly undermine Saddam has failed repeatedly, and there's no evidence that I've heard of that there's an active program going on now.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a covert policy? What is our covert intent?



MR. SAMMON: Reinvigorate the Iraqi National Congress so that he is undermined from within. That's our covert policy.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No reinvigoration is possible as long as you have such a sad state of affairs induced by these ongoing sanctions. You've got to get economic growth going there and you've got to change the sanctions, as the pope said, do as we did on COCOM on strategic goods.



But the point I want to make here is --



MR. BARONE: What, he's going to turn into a moderate Democrat now?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I didn't say that. But there is -- this is obviously not working; in 7-1/2 years it hasn't worked!



MS. CLIFT: Well wait a second! When the --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's the same fundamental flaw as our sanctions on Fidel!



MR. BARONE: We have to get rid of this man.



MS. CLIFT: When the U.N. --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The sanctions are totally untargeted! There are no rewards, as we had when the Korean sanctions were in place.



MS. CLIFT: John, when the U.N. --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is no point of --



MS. CLIFT: When the U.N. created UNSCOM to go in there and disarm Saddam, which were the grounds of ending the Gulf War and he lost, they thought they'd be completed in a matter of months. He doesn't want them to see those inspection sites for a reason.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back, dissension in the ranks. How can the commander-in-chief command if he commands little but disrespect from his soldiers?



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Dissension in the military ranks.



"Clinton has weakened the services and fostered a corrosive anti-military culture. Should Mr. Clinton lead us into military conflict, he would do so without any trust. Mr. Clinton has demonstrated that he will risk war, terrorist attacks, and our lives just to save his dysfunctional administration. Should we be asked to follow a morally defective leader with a demonstrated disregard for his troops?" A harsh judgment of the president from the pen of Major Daniel Rabil, Marine Reservist. What Major Rabil is echoing is the doubt and disgust towards Commander-in-Chief Clinton spreading through military ranks, present and retired. And Rabil, along with others still in uniform, risks being decommissioned for his public statements, or worse.



Item: Army blast. Back in 1995, Colonel James McDonough, now retired Army, led the first U.S. forces into Bosnia. While McDonough was doing that, President Clinton was in the Oval Office Annex engaging in oral sex with Monica Lewinsky. And as that activity was taking place, was on the telephone discussing Bosnia with the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Operations panel, Alabama Republican Sonny Callahan.



"The act of casual sex at a moment of great importance smacks of callous indifference, sophomoric arrogance, and reckless disregard of the sanctity of U.S. soldiers' lives. Clinton's behavior was so bizarre and contemptuous of their stake in the matter that it might have shaken their trust in their commander-in-chief," so says Colonel McDonough, who now works for Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey in the White House.



Item: More Army blasting.



"I was doing fine at my Army retirement ceremony until presented a certificate of appreciation signed by Bill Clinton, commander-in-chief. As the signatory's name was read, an audible chuckle rose from the audience, representing ranks from private to general, across multiple armed services, inclusive of civilians, active and retired. After the retirement festivities, I wrote a letter to Mr. Clinton returning that certificate in four pieces. Simply stated, I have honorably adhered to the oath my father administered at my commissioning over 27 years ago. Values are fundamental, necessary and non-negotiable. Mr. Clinton, character is important, and you've negotiated yours away. I urge the Army to adopt making Mr. Clinton's certificate optional at future retirements so as not to embarrass soldiers." So says Army Colonel John Baer, recently retired.



Finally, there is this:



COLIN POWELL (U.S. Army, retired; former chairman, Joint Chiefs): (From videotape.) We're very, very disappointed in the president. What he did was disgraceful; it disgraced the Oval Office, it disgraced the presidency, and it disgraced him.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What is the root of the dissension in the military ranks today towards Mr. Clinton?



Tony Blankley?



MR. BLANKLEY: Well obviously, it's Clinton's history going back to his draft-dodging days; going to his policies where he's been undercutting military spending while putting them out on long assignments, requiring them to be away from home for a long time; pilots who are not getting sufficient training. His policy and his character and his attitude toward the military has been contemptuous from his youth to this moment, and it justifies the kind of hostility that exists.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you say that this dissension is immediately caused by the double standard perception; that they are held, as we had seen by the -- particularly the sex cases in the military recently, to the most rigorous standards, and he flaunts those standards as commander in chief and gets away with it; is that the principal source of dissension?



MR. BLANKLEY: It's not the principal, it's the most recent. And I can say, just from personal conversations with people I've known in the military, that it exists. That sentiment exists.



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there dissension in the ranks -- I ask you this, Eleanor -- caused by the fact that officers now have to discipline subordinates, particularly enlisted men, for condemning the president, when they're supposed to keep their mouth shut? Is that causing dissension in the ranks?



MS. CLIFT: Listen, maybe they think he got away with adultery and they can't. But you know, there have always been different rules in the military. It's a free country; once you're retired, you can tear up your certificate and you can say what you want. But you're from the military and you speak out against a president, you should either be court-martialed or you should resign. And that is the military culture. And it is something that most members of the military honor and respect.



MR. BARONE: John, I think there's also some other damage that's going on here. Obviously, members of the military should obey orders and recognize a civilian commander in chief.



MR. SAMMON: And they will. And they will.



MR. BARONE: And they will. And I think they've performed that way in the past. They will again. But the fact is that military people -- they don't get a vote on the president, but they do have the option of exit. And one of the things that's happening now that's mystifying the military leaders: reenlistment rates are going way down. Despite the fact that they've added more money for the pilots last summer, the quality of the recruitment is going down. We're having very --



(Cross talk.)



MS. CLIFT: Oh, that is not --



MR. BARONE: We're having very serious problems with the culture of the military.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could not that be traceable to something entirely different, namely a rather good macroeconomy?



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Right. That's not Clinton' fault.



MR. BARONE: Well, it seems -- John, it has gone on -- Eleanor, why don't you let me talk for a minute?



MS. CLIFT: (Chuckles.)



MR. BARONE: The fact is that it has gone on despite the fact that Congress has added more money. And there is a real problem inside the service on reenlistments, I'm told by many people that are familiar with it, because they sense a sort of culture of lying. The Joint Chiefs are supposed to obey what the president says. There's testimony on readiness. This has to change.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bill --



MS. CLIFT: That is nonsensical -- that there's a culture of lying within the military and they're not re-upping for that.



MR. BLANKLEY: No, only those who are in contact with Clinton.



MS. CLIFT: Well, that also is a statement that is totally ludicrous. Why don't you all read the election returns?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What would put an end -- would you -- let me let Bill in here before we --



MR. BLANKLEY: The chiefs testified incorrectly to Congress this year, at the behest of the president of the United States.



MS. CLIFT: This country has confidence in this president's leadership.



MR. BLANKLEY: And they admitted it, and they admitted it in subsequent testimony.



MS. CLIFT: We may be in the midst of war --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on. I want to let Bill in here. Bill, do you think this dissension has reached the level of being dangerous? We certainly know that the military forces in this country will not mutiny.



MR. SAMMON: Correct.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is too much of a history of honor and --



MR. SAMMON: These are a group of professionals. They're not going to break down over having a commander in chief that they don't particularly like.



But they always disliked Bill Clinton, and it goes back to November of '95 -- that's a great example -- when they were massing on the border of Bosnia, at the Sava River, preparing to pontoon-bridge across into Bosnia, where the land mines were waiting for them. The snow was there. At the very same time, President Clinton's in the warmth of the Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky, you know, talking on the telephone with a congressman about the Bosnia deployment. Don't think that goes unnoticed by the rank and file. Now, they are commanded by generals --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you there, then?



MR. SAMMON: I was there. I was privileged to be with them at the time. And those generals that were leading those troops made their bones during the Vietnam war, and they're acutely aware of the fact that Clinton dodged a bullet on that one. So it's the commanders and the rank and file troops that really don't like this guy.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that --



MS. CLIFT: They don't like him, and they never will like him. But they are professionals. And I must say lumping in Colin Powell with all those other people -- you know, Colin Powell said what everybody believes, the president acted in a disgraceful way. But to suggest that he shares the sentiments of the other people you quoted, I don't think he would be very happy with that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he was misincluded? He did say he has disgraced the presidency, he has disgraced himself and he has disgraced the nation. Do you think he was misincluded, as she alleges?



MR. BLANKLEY: No, Eleanor, unfortunately, is wrong on this.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)



MR. BLANKLEY: When I saw General Powell make that statement some time ago, it struck me immediately. I was surprised that he was saying it, but in fact he did and it's part of this collection of statements.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I was surprised at the strength of his denunciation.



MR. BLANKLEY: Well, remember that he served as joint chief under President Clinton for the first nine months of his administration.



MS. CLIFT: Who is going to disagree with him that President Clinton disgraced himself and that we all agree on that? But taking it another level to military insubordination is not there.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, coming from Powell, the triple-disgrace utterance was extremely powerful. And I don't think, Eleanor, as much as I would like to agree with you, that it was misincluded.



We'll be right back with predictions.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Michael?



MR. BARONE: The Kyoto so-called global summit treaty will not be approved by the Senate this Congress.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent prediction.



Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Al D'Amato will not run for the Senate in 2000, but he will champion anti-hate legislation in New York.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.



MR. BLANKLEY: Bob Livingston, the new speaker, will unfairly be given some very tough rounds by both the media and the Democrats attacking him.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bill Sammon.



MR. SAMMON: National press, restless with its wall-to-wall positive coverage of Jesse Ventura, will now look for a scandal on him.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Janet Reno will not appoint a special prosecutor to look into the campaign funding of Bill Clinton.



Bye-bye.



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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Hulkster for president. The successful campaign of former pro-wrestler, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, for governor of Minnesota may have started a trend. The wrestler Hulk Hogan, who calls himself "Hollywood," has tossed his hat into the presidential ring for the White House in the year 2000.



TERRY BOLLEA (Wrestler, Hulk Hogan actor): (From videotape.) If I can get America behind me, just like Minnesota got behind Jesse, we shall turn the page. We shall give America a brand new start, and Hollywood and all my people that love America shall take us into the new millennium on a brand new start.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The announcement came this past Monday night during a World Championship Wrestling program. The 45-year-old, 6-foot, 8-inch, 275-pound "Hogan" -- real name Terry Bollea -- has named possible running mates Lee Iacocca, Oprah or his brother "Bubba."



A spokesman for World Championship Wrestling says Hogan's bid for office is serious. But unlike Ventura, who was mayor of a Minneapolis suburb, Hogan, a college dropout, has never held elective office.



Question: What do pro wrestling and the U.S. presidency have in common?



Eleanor Clift?



MS. CLIFT: Body blocks! And I think Hulk Hogan is better at it than Clinton!



Look, he's not serious; Hogan is not serious. But Jesse Ventura is very serious. And do you know he got more liberals voting for him than Hubert Humphrey's son did, and Ventura won every voting bloc except conservatives and seniors. He's got a mix of issues that's very appealing. If he governs well, he could be a serious political figure.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about this as an answer to my question as to what both have in common: fakery.



MR. BLANKLEY: Of course. But I'd like to talk about Governor-elect Ventura just for a moment because he is being very astute in his early play-out. He's told all of the administration to stay on the job indefinitely, so he's not going to be stuck without administrators in his new regime. And he, by the way, got the elderly vote along with the youth vote, and he's being taken increasingly seriously by Minnesota people who are following it closely, and will soon be by Washington as well.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are there any other similarities between Bill Clinton and Hulk Hogan?



I ask you, Bill Sammon.



MR. SAMMON: Well, they're both showmen. And the thing is --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Showmen or charlatans?



MR. SAMMON: Well, perhaps both. But it's dangerous to say that Hulk Hogan isn't serious because I think that's what we were saying about Jesse Ventura a month ago.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)



MR. SAMMON: So I think you have to remember --



MR. BARONE: Some people!



MR. SAMMON: A lot of people were saying that. You have to remember that American culture is obsessed with strong, almost cartoonish figures like this, and now they're going on the political stage.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question for you. Why was the turnout so big in Minnesota for Ventura? What was it?



MR. BARONE: Well, young voters especially -- he got --



MR. SAMMON: Eighty percent young voters -- 80 percent turnout. A much higher percentage of young voters.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of -- what was the total --



MR. BARONE: (Fifty-two ?) percent --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was almost a 60 percent turnout.



MR. BARONE: Yeah, Minnesota typically is one of our highest turnout states.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because of young voters?



MR. BARONE: Young voters, I think, especially --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why do they like him?



MR. BARONE: Ventura? I think he's --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's anti-tax.



MS. CLIFT: He's pro-choice and pro-gay rights!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a Libertarian.



MR. BARONE: He's a Libertarian in many respects and he --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ah! The wave of the future! Finally, Libertarianism.



MR. BARONE: You'll need every bit of it.



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