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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT TAPED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2007 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 29-30, 2007

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Crime Scene.

U.S. crime is up -- way up. FBI numbers this week show that in two years, crime has surged; and not just any kind of crime, violent crime -- murder, robbery, forcible rape, assault. These crimes have risen by 4 percent. Murders in large cities have escalated by 7 percent. Violent crimes committed across the country for 2006 add up to almost one and a half million crimes.

Crime is so abundant now that it conditions our daily behavior. Americans think twice before going out after dark, walking alone at midnight, say, downtown, even in Washington, or even answering the doorbell, night or day. The dimension of U.S. crime is also reflected by the size of our prison population. It's been called a homegrown gulag, "a vast network of prisons, jails and supermax tombs for the living dead. The network has metastasized into the largest detention system in the advanced industrial world," writes David Lazare.

Today the U.S. population at large is 5 percent of the world's population. But our prisons hold 25 percent of the world's prisoners. That means that our total prison population surpasses all other nations by as much as 12 times.

Within the last 30 years, the number of federal prisoners has increased by -- get this -- 500 percent; 2.2 million Americans are locked up in federal prisons. Another 5 million are on probation or parole. That puts 3 percent of the U.S. population under criminal justice supervision in America.

Question: Can it be argued that the increase in violent crime demonstrates that our huge prison population does not make us safer? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, John, because crime is going up, but it is not at record levels. It was much higher in 1970s and 1980s. Since then we have tripled the jail and prison population. And John, you cannot get away from the idea, which is true, that this is predominantly a minority phenomenon. Forty percent of young African-American males between 16 and 35 are in jail, in prison or on parole. They commit violent crimes at seven times the rate of white folks; Hispanics at three times the rate.

These are terrible numbers. But this is half the prison population in America there. I think, John, it's terrible to have all those folks in prison. But I'll tell you, if you think that's bad, why don't you let half of them out?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has it caused a backlash, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, taking 100,000 cops off the streets, which was the Clinton era investment in keeping us safe, doesn't help. The Bush administration has cut back on crime-fighting at the Justice Department. They've switched everything to counterterrorism. You have a much greater chance of being killed by a homicidal maniac than you have by getting killed by a terrorist.

Secondly, the people who are in on drug charges and the three- strikes-you're-out people are from the '80s. They're all coming out. So you have this sort of returnee population. They can't find jobs. And so the conditions are set for them to return to criminal activity. And demographically there are more young people.

But, you know, the population you're talking about, we've cut back on opportunities. They're caught in the grip of poverty. Everybody tries to ridicule the fact that you want to intervene and get at the root causes. But everything from after-school programs to parenting classes to all of the things that government ought to be doing has all been cut back to the bone, tragically.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democrat Barack Obama said Friday that as president he would relax drug sentencing laws in the justice system as part of his crime policy, doubtless because the decriminalization of drugs, especially soft drugs like marijuana and Ecstasy, would greatly reduce that population.

What do you think of that idea?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think it was a bad idea in the '60s and it's still a bad idea to decriminalize what you call soft drugs, which are gateways to other drugs --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, escalators?

MR. BLANKLEY: -- and which, on their own, are debilitating. And if we legalize or decriminalize them, young people are going to be more likely to use them and ruin their lives.

Now, as far as the nature of the crime, Pat's right. Gang activity, which is largely minority -- and Eleanor is right; the demographics are going up because of immigration. Young people tend to be immigrants. And when you have young people, you have more crime.

One of the reasons crime went down in the '80s and '90s, our population was getting older. The baby boomers -- you know, there used to be a professor, Ernest von der Harg (sp), who argued that violent crimes are committed by young men. And a violent young male criminal should be put in prison until he's 40, because after 40 he doesn't commit violent crimes. He's too fat and slow.

And so when you have younger people, younger men, coming along, you see crime rates going up. We've got younger men coming along. In any demographic category, younger men are the ones who commit crimes. And I would also point out, we're not spending enough on law enforcement. Eleanor's right, although Clinton never put 100,000 cops; he put about 30-some thousand cops on the street.

But the vast problem with law enforcement isn't at the federal level. It's at the state and local level, where most of the cops are. We're not putting enough money into it, and they're short-staffed in all the major -- most of the major cities.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Drunk driving used to warrant a fine. Today it warrants a jail sentence because it's become so socially unacceptable. That plays a role here, too, the variations in sentencing. We now have stiffer sentencing, we have mandatory sentencing, and we have other phenomena like that. This subject is loaded with anomalies. MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. I do think that there are certain areas where we could reform this, including reducing the minimum sentences for possession of drugs, as distinct from the sale of drugs. And that has been one of the things that's contributed to it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you like Barack's idea.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't like Barack's idea, by and large, because I don't think that's the way to handle it for that specific thing, which actually brought a lot of people into the penal system, which is a very, very difficult thing for people to escape from, once they get out of prison, in terms of getting jobs, as Eleanor says.

MS. CLIFT: Exactly.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a huge issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about recidivism?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, one in three who have been in crimes are back in prison within a matter of three years. So there is a huge recidivist rate within that population. Nevertheless, these numbers are a little bit deceptive, because the crime rate has gone down --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But we're talking about violent crimes. I think he's talking about the universal crime rate.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just say one thing.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're very right to do this, John.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just say one thing.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're right to do this issue. Hillary -- I mean -- Eleanor makes a very good point.

MS. CLIFT: I'll accept Hillary. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you call her Hillary?

MR. BUCHANAN: By mistake. But, look, in the last -- since 9/11, 100,000 Americans have been murdered, half a million American women have been raped, not one by an Islamic terrorist. This is a hellacious social problem which, quite frankly, we ought to look at terrorism, but this is a far more serious natural problem. If we get killed, it's probably going to be by a fellow American.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much does incarceration cost the U.S. taxpayers?

Sixty billion dollars -- that's 6-0, "b" as in "boy," billion dollars a year to put criminals behind bars. Congress is not ignoring the issue. Next week solons on Capitol Hill will examine reasons behind our huge prison population. Meanwhile, this week President Bush announced that his budget for 2008 for Iraq and Afghanistan is $190 billion. Question: Our combined spending, therefore, on wars and prisons is a whopping quarter of a trillion dollars. We can't afford health care for all our citizens, and we say Social Security is going bankrupt, but we can spend a quarter of a trillion dollars for wars and jails. What does that say about our priorities?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It does say that the first obligation of a government is to protect the security of its inhabitants and of its people, and you either do it at home against crime and abroad against --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there something else at work? Is there something in the culture? Is it hip-hop? Is it Hollywood?

MR. BLANKLEY: John, the premise --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I'll tell you what it is in the culture. It is the failure of marriage. In the communities that Pat was referring to before -- I didn't call him Hillary -- Pat -- the biggest problem is that, you know, two out of three children in the African-American community are still born to families without fathers. And that is one thing we have to encourage with federal policy. We have to encourage marriage.

MR. BLANKLEY: But the premise of your question is wrong. We spend more per capita on health care in America than any other country in the world.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: By far.

MR. BLANKLEY: So it's not a question of short-changing health care. You can argue --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There are 47 million who don't have any health care insurance.

MR. BLANKLEY: You can argue whether we're spending it efficiently, but we're spending more per capita on health care than any other country in the world.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what's the point?

MS. CLIFT: We're talking priorities. It suggests that those priorities are very short-sighted. We're paying $50 billion, whatever it is, to keep people in jail when giving them opportunities as youngsters --

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't want to give a rapist an opportunity to get out of prison.

MS. CLIFT: We're not talking about rapists at age five and six, which is when they need the opportunities to be made available. MR. BLANKLEY: If you don't put them in prison once they've committed the crime, they're on the street.

MR. BUCHANAN: All these government programs --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Eleanor, put them in prison and throw away the key. That's Tony for you.

MR. BLANKLEY: That's it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, John, look, all of these governments Eleanor's talking about, what are they? They're all substitutes for the family, which has collapsed. You mentioned illegitimacy -- 67 percent, 70 percent. It was 8 percent in the African-American community in the 1940s. So the family collapses and every other problem --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Pat, maybe it's a political issue. Maybe democracy has collapsed.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Wait a minute.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe democracy has collapsed.

MR. BUCHANAN: Democracy reflects what people want, and we've gone through a social-cultural revolution.

MS. CLIFT: Until you figure out how to fix families --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: In New York City, the major crime rate, including murder, dropped by over a third in the last five or six years. So it is not all the way around the country. What David Letterman once said about New York City was it had the largest population around whom you didn't make a sudden move. It's changed completely. The crime rate has gone -- we had 2,500 murders in New York City in the year 1993. We're going to have over 400 this year. It's a huge drop. So it is not all around the country. A lot of it has to do with the professionalism of the police department.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's going to benefit from this politically in the presidential election?

MR. BUCHANAN: Rudy.

MS. CLIFT: Well, it's always a political football.

MR. BUCHANAN: Rudy. If crime is the issue, Rudy benefits, I mean, because he's got a good record in New York.

MS. CLIFT: Pat, shall I call you Rudy? You called me Hillary. I'll call you Rudy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Should we decriminalize soft drugs? Yes or no, Pat Buchanan. MR. BUCHANAN: No, we shouldn't. But people aren't put in prison for using marijuana, John.

MS. CLIFT: Yes, they are. They're put in prison for long sentences, longer sentences than the dealers, because they don't get at the dealers.

MR. BUCHANAN: You mean, for using marijuana?

MS. CLIFT: Soft drugs should at the least be decriminalized.

MR. BUCHANAN: Half the country would be in prison, including some of our presidential candidates.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to my question?

MS. CLIFT: They should be decriminalized, yes.

MR. BLANKLEY: If you have appeared to make the investment in drug rehabilitation for all the people who would get probation for treatment, you could make a case for it. But it's vastly expensive.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I mean, certainly not for the distributors or the sellers of it. But at the very least, the sentences should be reduced.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about soft drugs.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, soft drugs. I would decriminalize soft drugs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It would reduce the size of the drug bureaucracy. It would eliminate or it would curb cartels, criminal cartels. And it would reduce the prison population. It's a good idea, and that idea has come.

MR. BLANKLEY: It would increase addiction. It would increase addiction.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Read, by the way, the study of this, the good treatment of this in a magazine called Foreign Policy.

Issue Two: Exit Iraq Now.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

TIM RUSSERT (NBC News): Governor Richardson, you have said that you will bring home all troops within a year. You've heard your three other opponents say they can't do it in four years. How can you do it in one year?

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON (D): Their position basically is changing the mission. My position is to end the war.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the 13th debate of Democratic presidential contenders this week, Bill Richardson declared that his position on Iraq is not, quote-unquote, "the mission" in Iraq. Rather his position is, quote-unquote, "to end the war." And the way to end the war, he says, is to bring all our U.S. troops out.

GOV. RICHARDSON: (From videotape.) The American people want us to end this war. Our kids are dying. And my position is this, that you cannot start the reconciliation of Iraq, a political settlement, until we get all our troops out, because they have become targets.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Richardson is saying Iraqis must not focus on Americans. They must not target them, as they're currently doing. They must engage each other in Iraq and reconcile. Americans in Iraq interfere with reconciliation and interfere with a consequent political infrastructure. Americans become the target. Do you understand the argument? And do you agree with it, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: He makes a valid point that there is no middle ground of this scaling back the force. If you have a smaller group of Americans, then how do they protect themselves? The only way you can change the mission is to have them go back into the fortified bases.

So I think he makes a valid point. If you're going to get out, you've got to get out. But he does leave behind enough troops to guard the embassy. It's the largest American embassy in the world, by the way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. I'm going to go to you, Tony.

Okay, not one troop left. Richardson does not want even one American soldier left behind in his full-scale withdrawal of Iraq.

GOV. RICHARDSON: (From videotape.) I believe what is fundamental here is that leaving any troop behind will prevent us from moving forward to secure some kind of stability in the region. I would invite Iran. I would invite Syria. You cannot deal with the Iraq issue alone.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question, to repeat: Richardson wants a complete break, no troops left behind. U.S. troops' presence will shift the center of gravity. That center must remain on the two dominant warring parties, Shi'a and Sunni. Again, does Richardson's analysis make sense? I ask you.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, it doesn't make any sense at all. If we -- the only thing stopping a major civil war is the presence of American troops. When we leave, they won't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Come, come, come.

MR. BLANKLEY: When we leave, they won't reconcile. They will reconcile to have a fight amongst each other, and they will suck in Turkey and Iran and Egypt, and it'll be a conflagration in there that may even turn nuclear. So it's the worst possible plan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If they are concentrating on themselves and not us, if the focus shifts back to them and away from us, the target, the argument is there may be an uptick of violence, but it will be relatively transient, as opposed to the ongoing erosion, corruption erosion that now exists by reason of the fact that we are the target. What do you think?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I don't think we are the only target. Obviously, if you have a civil war, an internecine war, you have each, the Sunnis and the Shi'ites, targeting each other.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it has a limit on it. MR. ZUCKERMAN: But let me just say that if we pull out of Iraq, in my judgment, we will not end the war. We will just redirect it. The Shi'ites, the Iranians, will come in in southern Iraq, as they already are trying to, and that will not end. We face a real, real crisis here. It is not easy to get out. But we are going to have to find a way to get out at minimum damage to our national security.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Pat.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And this is the maximum damage, in my view.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Well, I don't know. Okay --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know. Nobody knows this for sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the logistics of withdrawal.

GOV. RICHARDSON: (From videotape.) We have been able to move our troops, within three months, 240,000 in and out of Iraq through Kuwait. This is what I would do. I would bring them out through roads, through Kuwait and through Turkey.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, what do you think of that?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I tend to agree with Richardson on this. The presence of the Americans is the reason why we have an insurgency. But I agree with Mort and I agree with Tony; you pull the Americans out and the result will be a civil war in which the guys with the most guns, the most energy, the most fire --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think we're in now, Pat? What do you think we're in now?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, what I'm saying is that is what is going to happen, and it's going to be a bloodbath. And some tough thug is going to be in charge. And then you better not have a little group of Americans there, because you'll have an Alamo finish.

MS. CLIFT: But one of the central dilemmas of Iraq is whenever we leave, whether it's six months from now or three years from now, that they've got to have this civil war. And so we may be forestalling it, but it may be an inevitability.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me answer your question, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me -- first of all, let me point out what the history is a little bit. The Vietnam troop exit is as follows: April of '69, there were 543,000 in country.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In March of '73, all troops were out. Nixon's average monthly exit was 11,800.

MR. BUCHANAN: One hundred and thirty thousand. What are you talking about? Monthly? Okay. Yearly it was over 130,000.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about monthly. Okay, with a possible Iraq exit that he's talking about, Richardson, July '08 we have 130,000 -- that's next year -- in country. Three are 130,000 left next year in July. In January '09, when Bush's term ends, with all the troops out, the average monthly exit needed for total withdrawal is 18,600. You put them together and you see that the difference is about 6,800 --

MR. BLANKLEY: And it's more significant --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- more for Bush to withdraw than for Nixon. What do you think of those numbers, Pat, before I go to Tony?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think this. Look, I think if you wanted to get out, you can get them all out. You're going to leave behind a lot of equipment. You take out your tanks. We can get out of there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary says the maximum is two to three brigades.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you, look at the Brits.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's about 600 --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look at the Brits, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- 6,000.

MR. BUCHANAN: They're hiding in an airport now because they don't got enough to hold any territory.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me just point out that Hillary's probably right. The most dangerous thing to do is a retreat under fire, which is what it would end up being. You've got a two-lane road going through Basra. We have no certainty we could even go through Turkey if we wanted to.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have an airport.

MR. BLANKLEY: You've got to move them out largely through trucks, through flatbed trucks. And Richardson cannot move the men out safely that fast.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to take a piece of this?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. I mean, if you think that countries like Saudi Arabia and all the other allies that we ostensibly have in that region are just going to stand by while we cut and run -- I hate to use that phrase -- it is going to have devastating political consequences for us in the region. It'll put wind at the back of all the people who are our enemies and take the wind out of the sails of those who are our friends.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We need a political reconciliation.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree that we do.

MS. CLIFT: You don't --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree that we do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: His route is to political reconciliation. Right now -- MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know that.

MR. BUCHANAN: You can't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- we have a political bloodbath, a political one going on. To get out of it --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, if you leave --

MS. CLIFT: You don't call it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: You don't call it cut and run. You say we're ending the occupation and we are withdrawing in an orderly basis, and you work it out with whatever shell of government --

MR. BLANKLEY: It's a retreat. It's a retreat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It makes possible a reconciliation that cannot occur while we're there.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You don't know that, John.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me say, look, once we leave, we don't decide anything political. They decide it, and the people that decide it are the guys with the guns and who are tough. And that's the people who are going to win it.

MS. CLIFT: They're deciding it now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is worse, the prolonged bloodbath that we're going through now or an uptick in violence, were we to leave rapidly?

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm beginning to think we're going to have to get out of there, John, and let the place go to hell in a hand basket.

MS. CLIFT: I think it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I don't think that would take place.

MR. BUCHANAN: You don't? You think it will be a wonderful --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's no resolution now. As Abizaid said on this air -- we played it recently -- Abizaid said the Iraqis are not going to get in until the Americans get out. He said we are doing their duty for them, and they know it.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's right. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, foreign investment in the U.S. This is a change, of course, here. Three Mideast nations announced last week acquisitions of huge stakes in western financial institutions: Dubai, the NASDAQ stock market, nearly 20 percent; Qatar, the London Stock Exchange, 20 percent; the United Arab Emirates, Carlyle Group, 7.5 percent; and last May, China acquired a percent of Blackstone.

Does this agree with you? Do you agree with that? Do you think it's okay? Does it bother you?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It doesn't really bother me. Here's what bothers me. What bothers me is that this country has lost its position as the preeminent source of capital in the world. And the Middle East has it and China has a trillion dollars in assets. The Middle East are accumulating $5 trillion in assets because we have mismanaged our economy.

I do not fear this, I have to tell you. I'm glad that they're willing to invest with us. I wish we had the money to invest with them.

MR. BUCHANAN: What do you mean, invest? They're going to buy up the United States of America.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: They're not going to do anything of the sort.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're going to have $17 trillion in sovereign wealth funds in 2015. What do you do when they buy General Motors and Microsoft?

MS. CLIFT: Well, live by the sword, die by the sword. We're a capitalist country, right?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We've been doing it all around the world.

MR. BLANKLEY: Do you want us to die as a country?

MS. CLIFT: I'm saying this is the philosophy of this country --

MR. BLANKLEY: We ought to take action --

MS. CLIFT: -- that we are capitalist and we have open markets.

MR. BLANKLEY: We should --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor finish, Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: She said literally live by the sword, die by the sword of capitalism.

MS. CLIFT: I said live --

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me say that if it came to it, I'd be protectionism over dying in a marketplace. MR. BUCHANAN: That's what's coming. Protectionism is coming, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The human toll: U.S. military --

MS. CLIFT: Pat Buchanan, 2012.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The human toll: U.S. military dead in Iraq, 3,801. One-half of those dead are 24 years of age and under. U.S. military amputees, wounded, severely injured, injured, mentally ill, 82,612.

Issue Three: Welcome to America.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

LEE BOLLINGER (Columbia University president): (From videotape.) Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator. When you come to a place like this, this makes you, quite simply, ridiculous. You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD (Iranian president): I think the text read by the dear gentleman here more than addressing me was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here. In a university environment, we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk, so that the truth is eventually revealed by all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Was Bollinger's introduction of Ahmadinejad any way to introduce a guest, Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. He has no obligation to be polite. This was a propaganda effort by Ahmadinejad. And the president of the university -- I don't know how effective he was, but he had every right. Keep in mind, Oscar Wilde said a gentleman never insults somebody else unintentionally. But this was intentionally insulting and perfectly legitimate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: Well, he followed an act of bravery, which was issuing the invitation, and then he followed it with an act of cowardice, probably because he got so much heat for inviting Ahmadinejad.

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, well-heeled alumni?

MS. CLIFT: He just handed Ahmadinejad the chance to say the only sensible thing he said all week.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you don't invite a man there if you're going to insult him at the beginning. If you didn't want him there, don't invite him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it was boorish behavior on --

MR. BUCHANAN: It was boorish behavior.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: More than that, he made Ahmadinejad look good on Iranian television -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: True. True.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- which was not easy to do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: U.S.-Soviet collision. Kosovo declares independence in December. The Soviet -- excuse me -- Russia recognizes Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdniester Republics, all of which have broken away from their respective countries. What is happening in Europe, in Belgium and places like that, is the breakup of nations.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: The Republican power grab in California to change the rules from winner take all in the primary to proportional representation will fail.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: The Burmese military government is losing the confidence of their rank-and-file troops and are very vulnerable to a coup from a colonel and younger general level.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's news you're giving us.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, it's not quite news, but it may become news.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Within the next two months, the United Nations will vote a third regime of sanctions against Iran, a much more rigid regime, because they see the runaway program of Iran in terms of their nuclear capabilities. And not only will China and Russia vote for it, but Germany will join with England and France to also pass a stronger regime of sanctions against Iran.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why doesn't the U.N. do what the IAEA advises that it do, and that's nothing? The International Atomic Energy Commission, which is now in Iran.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The reason why I gave it the two months is because the work that the IAEA is going to be doing -- all the questions that they're going to want to have answered have to be answered within that period. And if it isn't, it's going to promote this kind of sanctions regime out of the U.N.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary Clinton will turn her experience of failure on health care reform in '93 into a major vote-getting in '08.

Ramadam Karim. Bye-bye. END.