THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,
TONY BLANKLEY, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL
TAPED FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 21-22, 1998
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Starr witness.
(Footage of Kenneth Starr being applauded at the hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on November 20, 1998.) A standing ovation for Kenneth Starr from a mixed audience at the end of a grueling 12-hour day Thursday. It was historic drama. Judge Starr appeared before the House Judiciary Committee this week to present, quote, "substantial and credible evidence," unquote, for the impeachment of William J. Clinton.
KENNETH STARR (Whitewater independent counsel): (From videotape.) The propriety of a relationship is not the concern of our office. The referral is instead about obstruction of justice, lying under oath, tampering with witnesses, and the misuse of power.
The president testified that he did not know that Vernon Jordan had met with Ms. Lewinsky and talked about the Jones case. That was untrue. He testified that he could not recall being alone with Ms. Lewinsky. That was untrue. He testified that he could not recall ever being in the Oval Office hallway with Miss Lewinsky, except perhaps when she was delivering pizza. That was untrue. He testified that he could not recall gifts exchanged between Ms. Lewinsky and him. That was untrue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Did the president's defenders put a dent in Starr's, quote, unquote, "credible and substantial evidence," Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: They did not, John. This was "Mr. Starr Goes to Washington." It was his day. He gave the lie to all these shills who have been portraying him as a fanatical Puritan zealot prosecutor. He shifted the focus away from sex to criminality of the president of the United States. And the astonishing thing: Not one Democrat stood up to defend the integrity, truthfulness, or innocence of the president of the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And no one denied any of the assertions, the factual assertions.
MR. BUCHANAN: They did not deny that the president of the United States had committed serial felony. It was a 10-strike for Ken Starr.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, the standing ovation from this "mixed audience" -- John, those were Republicans and Republican staff aides --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There were Democrats standing in the lay audience there -- that is, not up with the Judiciary Committee --
MS. CLIFT: Oh --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- who also applauded, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: You got their names, I am sure. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And maybe some of those may be your friends? (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, I doubt it. I doubt it.
Ken Starr was professorial and prissy. (Laughter.) And if you are inclined to think that he has brought a sterling case against the president, you think he acquitted himself well.
But let's remember what he said, that the president is exonerated of wrongdoing in Filegate and Travelgate, something he has apparently known for at least months, perhaps years, and chose not to divulge.
And secondly, to assert all of these so-called facts; you know, the president said he was never alone except perhaps when she was delivering pizza. This is the stuff of high crimes? This is what we are going to possibly impeach a president over? I don't think so.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley.
MR. BLANKLEY: Look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you going to take issue with Eleanor? (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Only in part. Loo, we were watching a parallel universe go on in that hearing room. On the one hand, you had Starr and the Republicans taking seriously serious charges. And on the other hand, you had the Democrats, and a very large percentage I suspect, of the American public, watching it, not as a serious impeachment process, but as the end of some sort of entertaining television episode.
And so there was an unreality for me. Yeah, if I were analyzing it as a lawyer, I'd say it was a 10 strike. But I am not sure that that's the consequence of the general public watching it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you have given us both a factual analysis, a juridical analysis and a political analysis?
MR. BLANKLEY: And an entertainment analysis.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And an entertainment -- is the entertainment part of political, really?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you had to reduce the two -- (laughter) -- and give them a 10 strike, what do you give him actually on the political side?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think he -- for those who were watching, he --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And dodged all the bullets?
MR. BLANKLEY: No. He did a swell job. But I am not sure that it's relevant to the larger question of what happens to the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you feel about this?
MR. O'DONNELL: I think he did more than dodge the bullets, John. I think the bullets bounced off of him. I thought the performance was flawless, very reasonable, well-reasoned, a very judicious presentation of a case against the president, a case that is and always has been, inadequate for removing him from office.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he exhibited brilliance?
MR. O'DONNELL: Yes. He removed any doubts, and I have had plenty, about what he has been up to and the possibilities of prosecutorial excess.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about bias?
MR. O'DONNELL: -- and bias; I have no qualms about that.
MR. BUCHANAN: John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you felt he was also fair throughout? Do you think that he exhibited a degree of jurisprudential excellence that would warrant his being appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States?
MR. O'DONNELL: Yes, but he never will be.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you really mean that?
MR. O'DONNELL: Yes.
MR. BUCHANAN: John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. BUCHANAN: I agree 100 percent. Let me say this; you know -- what did he say about Peter Rodino and Barbara Jordan: They had dignity in deportment even though they were partisan. What we saw in Barney Frank and Maxine Waters the student radical antics and tactics, disruption; you know, canned statements and assault tactics. I think that turned off many people that watched it and helped Starr immensely "dedemonize" himself and demonize --
MS. CLIFT: I beg to differ. You know, I watched the same hearings, Pat, and what stood out to me were those 21 Republicans, with the exception of Mary Bono, all white men. And the Democrats are --
MR. BUCHANAN: What is your problem with white men? (Laughter, cross talk.)
MS. CLIFT: The Democrats --
MR. BLANKLEY: It's not their fault.
MS. CLIFT: The Democrats --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. What is your point?
MS. CLIFT: The -- wait, I -- (cross talk) -- didn't get -- let me finish my point.
MR. O'DONNELL (?): She is accusing him of --
MS. CLIFT: The Democrats are a diverse --
MR. BLANKLEY: We are all born the way we are.
MS. CLIFT: -- the Democrats are a diverse group of people who are --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I'll say. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: -- more representative of America and who represent the attitudes of most Americans looking at these hearings.
These hearings are a circus --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- and the Republicans are going to --
MR. BUCHANAN: Maxine Waters made it a circus.
MS. CLIFT: No, she didn't. She pointed out that Ken Starr said a number of times, "I don't recall," "I have to search my memory," and she pointed out that when the president said that, Ken Starr said he was lying.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, Ken Starr has an Olympic memory. He was, I would say, perfect in that regard, almost without exception.
MR. O'DONNELL: The things he didn't remember were very detailed questions about very a elaborate case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which the Democrats were feeding up to him. And by the way, that Barney -- that Barney --
MR. O'DONNELL: Clinton doesn't remember being alone with Monica Lewinsky.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That Barney Frank act of interrupting people. He did me when I interviewed him on one of my other brilliant programs. It's very offensive, very annoying. Barney, take note.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Strategy and tactics. Democrats and Republicans each have an impeachment strategy. The Democratic strategy is to press for a political, poll-based result. The Republican strategy is to press for a judicial, fact-based result. Democrats implement their political strategy by this tactic: blast Starr for unfairness, misconduct, and coercion. Item: suppression of evidence favorable to Clinton.
(Begin video segment.)
MR. ABBE LOWELL (Democratic chief investigator, House Judiciary Committee): Your evidence also includes, does it not, Mr. Starr, that Mr. -- Miss Lewinsky gave you a statement in which she said, quote, neither the president nor Mr. Jordan or anyone on their behalf asked or encouraged her to lie.
MR. KENNETH STARR (Independen counsel): Mr. Chairman, may I respond? I'm trying to be brief, but --
REP. HYDE: Sure.
MR. STARR: Mr. Lowell, as you also know, on page 174 of our referral, we specifically say Miss Lewinsky has stated that the president never explicitly told her to lie.
MR. LOWELL: (From videotape.) And since you say "explicitly," I'd say that Miss Lewinsky's statement, that, quote, "No one told me to lie, no one offered me a job for my silence," is not equivocal, would you?
MR. STARR: I would say that it is utterly incomplete and grossly misleading. Her entire testimony is to the effect -- and I think this is a fair characterization of it -- is that the cover stories were, in fact, going to continue, that that was the understanding. But, yes, no one explicitly said -- you know, "You will lie," using the "L" word, rather, it was, "We will continue with cover stories which are not true."
(End video segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another trick that can be used, another tactic, is that in this instance Clinton might say to Lewinsky, look, I want you to tell the truth and by the way, let's sit down and review the truth. This is what happened, this is what happened, this is what happened, and he never says, "I want you to lie." You follow me? He reviews the truth.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, what he does --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's what means -- that's what Starr means -- when he says, "explicitly" no one ever said, "Use the word L-I-E."
MR. BLANKLEY: Same thing that the president did with Currie, his secretary. "Here are the facts." Everyone -- both of them know the facts aren't the facts. It's a way to give a guide to the person of how to lie in court later on.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
(Cross talk, laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But, but, but, you know, it's part of this trick game that he plays with words. Is that the way you understand it?
MR. O'DONNELL: If you listen to the great body of wiretaps that we've collected over the years in this country of the mafia talking about how they're going to testify, you will -- you never, ever heard John Gotti say, "Now, you're going to lie and you're going to -- but we can say this." (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Right. And -- and they --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you -- don't you think some of our -- Eleanor will be offended by any linkage here between the mafia and --
MR. BUCHANAN: But John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I don't think -- what did they get John Gotti on, tax charges? Because you don't get convicted for this sort of slippery language.
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, brother.
MS. CLIFT: And different people can put different interpretations on a set of facts.
MR. BLANKLEY: This is the Gotti defense of Clinton? He's no worse than Gotti?
MS. CLIFT: You all can look at it as malignant and others will look at it as benign.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's move it along. Item: calculated leaks.
DAVID KENDALL (President's attorney): (From videotape.) In fact, there has been no case remotely similar to this in terms of the massive leaking from the prosecutor's office. And I think we know that.
KENNETH STARR (Independent counsel): (From videotape.) I totally disagree with that. That's an accusation, and it's an unfair accusation. I completely reject it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you make of this conversation about leaks? Starr keeps emphasizing: why don't we let the litigation work itself through? He also emphasized that where the court has decided about the leaks, they've decided in Starr's favor, they've decided to exonerate Starr. Correct?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. I mean, I don't think Starr has anything much to worry about from the legal system, but Kendall wants to try -- this has been one of their themes from the beginning. And in fact, I thought Starr's response was absolutely right when he said the only stuff that leaked out was stuff that the White House also knew about.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But why the emphasis on --
MS. CLIFT: Starr is under investigation -- has three separate investigations looking at him -- for leaking, for --
MR. BLANKLEY: He's already been cleared on some of them; he's going to be cleared on the rest of them.
MS. CLIFT: How do you know he's going to be cleared? You just say this flatly? It hasn't been --
MR. BUCHANAN: This goes, again --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat? We've got to move on.
MR. BUCHANAN: This goes, again, to the -- here is the president's lawyer. He's not even defending the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: He said, "Maybe you guys leaked something." He's not defending the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The reason why -
MS. CLIFT: The president admitted that he had an affair and he lied about it, so there is no defense for that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on, Eleanor. I want to get to something else here. Tell me why, do you think, Lindsey -- not Lindsey, but -- what's his name, the -- Kendall brought this up.
MR. O'DONNELL: Because they have nothing else.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's one reason, but there's another reason.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he was laying a trap for Starr because right now the matter is --
MR. O'DONNELL: That's right -- (inaudible) -- perjury trap for him right there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, no, there is also a decision about to be made by Judge Johnson; correct?
MR. O'DONNELL: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he was hoping that Starr might say something that would get him in hot water with regard to the adjudication of that case.
Item: Bullying Monica. Bullying Monica.
(Begin video sequence.)
DAVID KENDALL (President's attorney): One of the reasons your agent held Ms. Lewinsky was that they wanted --
KENNETH STARR (Independent counsel): That is -- I have to interrupt. That premise is false.
MR. KENDALL: I did not mean to be offensive. Let me --
MR. STARR: That is false, and you know it to be false.
MR. KENDALL: Well, I'll rephrase the question.
MR. STARR: She was not held.
MR. KENDALL: During her sojourn with your agent -- (laughter) --
MR. STARR: Well, the Ritz-Carlton is a very pleasant place to have a sojourn.
MR. KENDALL: -- one of the purposes was to get Ms. Lewinsky to wear a recording device and surreptitiously record Mr. Jordan or the president, was it not?
MR. STARR: It was not.
(End of video sequence.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How were you affected by that exchange?
MR. O'DONNELL: I find it absurd. It is a standard prosecutorial device and advantage. The prosecutors and police play on the ignorance of people they are trying to arrest. But she was treated as regally as anyone I have ever heard of in that situation. The last person in trouble in a hotel room in Washington with the police was Marion Barry. If you want to compare that treatment in that hotel to -- (laughter) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That wasn't a bad hotel, though.
MR. O'DONNELL: It wasn't as good as the Ritz, John.
MS. CLIFT: But she is no Marion Barry. She is a young woman who was carrying on a consensual affair with someone. She does not deserve to be treated like a criminal.
MR. BUCHANAN: And Eleanor --
MS. CLIFT: -- wait a second -- and threatened and be told that if she contacts a lawyer, that she may not be able to get immunity. She was manhandled, and the Justice Department is looking at that.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I'll tell you who manhandled her, and it was not the FBI agent.
MS. CLIFT: Manhandling with permission is allowed, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Who abused this girl, and who tried to get her to commit perjury under oath and put her in danger of going to prison? It is your man in the White House.
MS. CLIFT: She -- no, she -- it's not my man. He's the president of this country. And that has not been proved, what you just said.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And played with the wires in her head. (Laughter.)
Item: More improper pressuring. Kendall then invoked -- get this -- Lewinsky's former lawyer, William Ginsburg, who authored a magazine article charging that prosecutors wanted Monica to wear a wire.
(Begin videotape segment.)
MR. KENDALL: -- familiar with Mr. Ginsburg's charge?
MR. STARR: Mr. Ginsburg was not known for his consistency of articulating positions. (Laughter.) Nor was he -- nor was he known for his consistency in dealing with facts. I would say that he was rather fast and loose with the facts. And if you are going to rely in this proceeding on a Time magazine essay by Bill Ginsburg, then I think the standards are not quite as lofty as I thought they would be this evening.
(End of videotape segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you make of that exchange, Tony Blankley?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, it's another example of the Democrats trying to bring up irrelevant, unreliable information to tar Starr with accusations that's he not guilty of, and it worked.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that backfired there by raising Ginsburg's name?
MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, no look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, is he that hard up?
MR. O'DONNELL: You've got to take a step back and recognize that all of these slaps looks like Starr is on the defensive -- there's this charge, there's that charge. It doesn't matter the legitimacy of it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Did Republicans implement their impeachment strategy; namely, they should press for a judicial, fact-based result, notably by the majority counsel, David Schippers.
(Begin videotape segment.)
DAVID SCHIPPERS (Majority Counsel, House Judiciary Committee): So when the president of the United States lies under oath -- civil or criminal case, grand jury or other -- and obstructs justice, he is effectively attacking the judicial branch of the United States constitutional government, isn't he?
MR. STARR: That is the way I would view it.
(End of videotape segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see a little bit more in the sub-text there than immediately meets the eye? And if you need help, let me know. (Laughter.)
MR. O'DONNELL: I will need help on that. But I do see incredible overstatement. This was not an attack on the judicial system. This was a piece of perjury in a civil case that has been settled.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it's also joined to a rather extensive cover-up. And bear in mind that Schippers has all of those collected and consolidated telephone numbers where he can make a pretty good case.
But his saying that this is a constitutional challenge against the judicial branch of government, therefore, that moves it a little bit out beyond just the narrow range of perjury; it is a defamation against a branch of government.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Am I right or wrong? Is that what's going on here?
MR. BUCHANAN: What he's saying is this is very large, this is the president of the United States; he's engaged in an assault on the judicial system of this country.
MS. CLIFT: Well, what he's trying to do is insulate him from the argument that whatever the president did was not an assault on the republic, it was private behavior. So now he's saying it's assault on the judicial system. And I must say Mr. Schippers; any pretense of independence -- at the end, he says what an honor it is to be in the same room --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. (In agreement.)
MS. CLIFT: -- as Mr. Starr and encouraged --
MR. BLANKLEY: He is just an honest man. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: You know, it's partisanship to the extreme.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is one more piece here, Eleanor. I regarded that as mostly expository by the way, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I am pleased. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Schippers said Starr has -- you know, I mean what Schippers said. Schippers said Starr had been vilified simply for doing his job.
(Begin videotape segment.)
MR. SCHIPPERS: The independent counsel job, you didn't seek that, did you?
MR. STARR: Absolutely not.
MR. SCHIPPERS: You were asked to take it. And you tried to leave, and your staff begged you to stay, and you did stay. Is that right?
MR. STARR: All of that is true. I never sought this job. I am reminded of the old song about taking a job -- (laughter) -- and what you then do with it.
MR. SCHIPPERS: Well, I have been an attorney for almost 40 years, and I want to say I am proud to be in the same room with you and your staff.
(End of videotape segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By way of a one-word answer. Exit: Politically, which side came out ahead, Ken Starr or "all the president's men"? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think Ken Starr solidified the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee for impeachment.
MS. CLIFT: He may have done that, but there are not the votes in the House, Pat. This is a dead-end letter for the Republicans. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who won Thursday?
MS. CLIFT: Ken Starr did better than expected. (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Starr won Thursday, but they are still behind in the larger game.
MR. O'DONNELL: Starr won the day; Clinton wins the war.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten strikes for Starr.
When we come back, if Clinton is Butthead, who is Beavis?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: I love you, Butthead?
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee released tapes of phone conversations between Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp, surreptitiously recorded by Tripp. The tapes have been analyzed extensively, particularly with armchair psychoanalysis of Lewinsky and Tripp.
(Begin tape-recorded segment.)
MS. LEWINSKY: The worst thing I could say.
MS. TRIPP: "Do you love me?"
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No.
MS. TRIPP: "I love you."
MS. LEWINSKY: Yep.
MS. TRIPP: You didn't.
MS. LEWINSKY: I did. We are getting off, and I am like: "All right, I love you Butthead." (Laughs.)
MS. TRIPP: (Inaudible) --
MS. LEWINSKY: I called him Butthead.
(End of tape-recorded segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But we are more interested here in President Bill Clinton than in Monica Lewinsky or Linda Tripp. Let's hear a few Monica Lewinsky insights into the "big creep."
During her tumultuous two-year relationship with the president, Lewinsky saw more of Clinton's personality than most of us ever will. For instance, Monica was privy to Clinton's spiritual side. On January 15th, 1998, less than a week before this story broke in the media, Monica was convinced that Clinton's days of philandering with young women were over. Why? because he made a bargain with God: "Let me win the '96 election, and I'll keep my hands off the interns."
(Begin tape-recorded segment.)
MS. LEWINSKY: I think he is more religious now than he was before. And I think he something -- made some kind of pact with God or whatever, with the election. And I think he has sort of reached this point in his life where it's kind of like -- you know, he says it all the time -- he has fewer days ahead of him than behind him.
MS. TRIPP: (Laughs.) Yeah.
MS. LEWINSKY: And -- but it's true.
MS. TRIPP: That is true.
MS. LEWINSKY: And I think -- I'll tell you, I don't think he'll touch another young girl, like my age young, ever again.
MS. TRIPP: You don't think?
MS. LEWINSKY: I don't think he will ever -- because I think it does -- I think it does -- if he allowed himself -- and I'm sure there are moments -- I think it makes him sick. It makes him sick to know that he has caused this.
(End of audio tape sequence.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What does this exchange add to our understanding of Bill Clinton, Lawrence O'Donnell?
MR. O'DONNELL: Well, I want very much to believe the suggestion that it makes him sick to think about what he's done with her. I fear -- I fear that it's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the dress episode -- the dress episode occurred afterwards.
MR. O'DONNELL: -- I fear that it doesn't. He looks completely untroubled by the whole thing to me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that there is no real self-loathing on his part? You think that's feigned?
MR. O'DONNELL: I think that might have been feigned for Monica, as a lot of his feelings were feigned for Monica's -- (chuckles) --
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. BUCHANAN: You know -- (off mike) --
MS. CLIFT: Well, we know from the tapes and from the testimony that he anguished over this, that he talked to his minister about it before it became public, that he tried to end it. And I mean, I -- if -- he would be inhuman if he did not feel remorse, and I believe he does.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is your insight into Bill Clinton from that tape?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, not just from that tape. I believe that he is -- believes in God and believes that God has been helping him out all his life. I find that credible.
On the other --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he tells Monica, in fact, that he cut a deal with God -- (laughter) --
MR. BLANKLEY: I mean, if you looked at his life, how else --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that if God let him win the election in '96, he would --
MR. BLANKLEY: I mean, if you looked at his life, how else to explain all of his unlikely successes, if he didn't have God on his side? (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: I think God has been delivering; that's right. And I don't understand that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!
MR. BUCHANAN: But I'll say this: Look, you -- my suggestion is, what in heaven's name is Clinton thinking of, doing what he's doing?
But secondly, this is voyeurism. Listening to all this, this young girl talking about it, crying on the phone --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Pat, it could -- it --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- is awful.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, exactly, and you shouldn't be listening to it. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, Pat, it could be compulsive.
Exit question: After hearing these tapes, give me one word to describe the character or temperament of Bill Clinton -- one word, quickly. Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: Totally self-indulgent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Self-indulgent.
MS. CLIFT: Self-indulgent's right, but these tapes are about Linda Tripp, too. She's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that's what you give --
MS. CLIFT: She's the evil creature betraying a friend. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Oh, yeah.
MS. CLIFT: Huge betrayal here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We know that she's just a devil. (Laughter.)
All right, what about you?
MR. BLANKLEY: An aging roue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: An aging roue? How about a libertine? How about a wastrel?
MR. BLANKLEY: I like roue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A knave? A rogue? (Laughter.)
What do you say?
MR. O'DONNELL: Possibly the most reckless president we've ever had.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: My insight from these tapes, these particular tapes, is that Bill Clinton is loathsome.
When we come back, we'll have predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Kosovo war comes back in the spring.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: House Democrats will expand their leadership structure to compensate for the diversity gap with Republicans. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: The House will pass the Democratic version of HMO Patients Bill of Rights next year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you think the Republicans are going to take that issue away from the Democrats? Dream on!
MR. BLANKLEY: No, the Democrats are going to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, the Democrats are going to --
MR. BLANKLEY: -- get the Republicans to support their version.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: Senator Bob Kerrey will not run for president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're harsh!
Rep. Rick Lazio, Congressman from Long Island, will seek the Senate seat of the retiring Daniel Patrick Moynihan if Rudy Giuliani declines to run. Lazio might then face Andrew Cuomo as his Democratic opponent -- a dream race, but not as evenly matched as Cuomo-Giuliani.
Next week, Happy Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble!