THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT, MONICA CROWLEY AND CLARENCE PAGE TAPED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 4, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 5-6, 2008
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: The world is black. The world is white. (Music: Three Dog Night's "Black and White.")
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL, presidential candidate): (From videotape.) At this defining moment in history -- (cheers) -- you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do. (Cheers, applause.) You have done what the state of New Hampshire can do in five days. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The votes have been tallied. Barack Obama wins for the Democrats: Obama, 38 percent; Edwards, 30 (percent); Clinton, 29 (percent); Richardson, 2 (percent).
Question: What do you observe from this Democratic win, place and show sequence, Pat Buchanan? MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the first thing you observe is the Democrats got two and a half times as many people out to the caucuses as the Republicans did in what is a swing state. It was carried by George Bush. That tells you the upper Midwest is almost gone for the Republicans. Barack Obama has a tremendous movement going for him. He's got a cause going for him.
However, I don't think their victory in November is inevitable, as a lot of people do. I think Barack has not been hit hard. I think he's moved very far to the left. It's -- he's fine in the Democratic Party. But clearly, John, with the economy bad, the war bad, Bush unpopular, the Republicans unwanted, it really looks like a Democratic year if they can avoid a Hillary bloodbath with Obama after South Carolina. If they do that, all bets are off.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Well, he used the right word, "a movement." And he has inspired people to come out and vote, and he won all the groups across the board. The only group that Hillary did better among was older -- people over 65. He won women. He won young people.
So there's a sense of excitement about him. He's an inspirational candidate. And like Jack Kennedy, he's making a very clear appeal to generational change. He talks about the fierce urgency of now. He counsels against the people who advocate patience. And what it is reminiscent of is the Kennedy line "The torch has passed to new generation of Americans."
Whether he can sustain it in New Hampshire, you know, we'll see. Hillary Clinton could -- I don't want to say "comeback kid," but she has a base in New Hampshire, and this is far from over. But I think we're witnessing a phenomenon here in modern American politics.
MS. CROWLEY: Barack Obama is causing a national sensation. If you listen closely to his rhetoric, it's about as wispy and unsubstantial as cotton candy, and yet it doesn't matter, because what we have in Barack Obama is the perfect marriage of man and message. He was incredibly passionate in his appeals to all of those groups that Eleanor identified that he was able to deliver and take away from Senator Hillary Clinton.
You have an incredible passion gap between the Republicans and the Democrats, as Pat has pointed out.
Barack Obama has been the candidate who's been able to exploit that passion gap in the most effective way. Eleven months ago, nobody knew who this guy was coming out of Illinois. Here he is now the leading Democratic candidate for the nomination, beating the once-invincible Clinton war machine.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clinton knew who he -- excuse me, Clarence knew who he was.
MR. PAGE: I certainly did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You grew up with him?
MR. PAGE: Well, he's a little younger than me, John, but thank you. (Laughs.) No, he's been --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You grew up in Chicago.
MR. PAGE: Well, without going into my whole family history, let's say that Barack really came onto the political scene here back in the '90s -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you watch him in the legislature at all?
MR. PAGE: Yeah, and he was a very bright young man then who was a bridge builder, like he has said on the stump. He was very good at pulling together Republicans and Democrats to get things done, like ethics legislation in Illinois, John, not easily passed. But he pulled together the coalitions to do it. So people were watching him. And he also knew how to hook up with the old Democratic machine people as well as the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, listen to this.
Transcending race. Trans-race politicians. Obama represents a new era of powerful black politicians. They are above race and beyond race. According to the American Prospect, these new leaders are not what they used to be, called "race men." They argue that they don't need to concern themselves primarily with the uplift of their race. They appeal to black voters, to be sure, but to white ones, as well. They don't want to be just mayors or congressmen from majority-black districts; they want to be governors, senators and presidents.
Black leaders today include Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty, former Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., Congressman Arthur Davis of Alabama. Here's how the Nation describes them: They have been hailed not just as a development in black American politics, but as a repudiation of black American politics. Not just as different from Jesse Jackson, but the epitome of the anti-Jesse. Ivy League professionals, heirs to the civil rights movement who are determined to move beyond both the mood and the message of their forebears.
Question: There's more to Obama's win than Obama. There is also the political evolution of black America. That's what this piece says. Is it true?
MR. PAGE: Well, we always remember Jesse back in the early '80s said, "I'm a tree shaker, not a jelly maker." And indeed that was true. He and Al Sharpton are the tree shakers. But you've got the inside players, like the Barack Obamas, and this political generation now who are the jelly makers. They're inside the system. They're crossing over, outside the black community, because you can't depend just on black votes if you want to have any expansion of power, and that's what you're --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't there a cultural distinction between the two?
MR. PAGE: This goes back to an earlier session we had on this show, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR. PAGE: With a growing black middle class, you've got growing black middle class values. So you might see a reflection of that.
MR. BUCHANAN: John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN : Isn't this phenomenon bigger than Obama?
MS. CLIFT (?): Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we have now a context in America that will accept what it would not accept in the era of Jesse --
MS. CLIFT: Well, he's a bi-racial --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jesse had to do what Jesse did.
MS. CLIFT: He's a --
MR. PAGE: But you can see by that crowd there in Iowa, look behind Obama's head -- (inaudible) -- crowd there.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a true phenomenon? Is it a true -- MR. PAGE: I'd call it evolution, really. It's a political evolution.
Iowa -- (inaudible).
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John, John -- let me look, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about Harvard. We're talking about Yale.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the comparison is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about Duke.
MR. BUCHANAN: The comparison is this. Take Al Smith in 1928 -- very Irish Catholic. Joe Kennedy, Jack's dad, Irish Catholic, hard Irish versus the English. Then you get Jack Kennedy -- smooth, WASPy, Harvard. They've moved into, in other words, the establishment and the elite, and that's what Obama has done. Jesse and Sharpton are back in race politics. This guy's getting above it, because when you get above it, that's how you get the jobs that are the highest --
MS. CLIFT: Well, he's also a biracial candidate who grew up in Kansas. I mean, he is comfortable in these worlds. He does not make distinctions between them, and most Americans don't want to make distinctions anymore. And when you saw that tableau of this young family before the all-white Iowa voters, that sends a message to African-Americans that he can win, and I think you're going to see him do very well in South Carolina.
MR. BUCHANAN: You know, John --
MS. CLIFT: And he speaks to the music of politics. And Hillary Clinton speaking with her husband behind her, former secretary of State -- it was really figures from the past -- the contrast is dramatic.
MS. CROWLEY: Look, on the racial question, there are a couple of bigger trends going on. First, you do have this national -- or natural evolution of black voters away from strictly race-based politics. They're no longer that steeped in it. It's no longer their central organizing principle.
You also have the fact that a lot of blacks, particularly in the South, are more conservative, particularly on issues like abortion and school choice, so they're not as monolithic as they once were. And you've got a greater confidence in the African-American community that a black candidate can actually lead a national party and be president of the United States.
MS. CROWLEY: And it's not just Obama, but Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice.
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MS. CROWLEY: They have risen to the top of the U.S. government by talent and hard work, and Obama has proved he has too --
MR. BUCHANAN: He's got the best of both worlds as of now, John. John, he's got the best of both worlds as of now. He will really make a mistake if they get into too much of the "It's our turn" and they turn it into "This is a victory for black America" rather than "He's got that." He should stay above that, stay away from -- (inaudible) -- stay away from Jena and all that stuff.
MR. PAGE: And that's something he's worked very hard to stay away from. Exactly. Exactly --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did. He's stayed away. What else did he stay away from?
MR. BUCHANAN: He stayed away from the Duke rape case. He stays away from all these things, which is exactly right.
MS. CLIFT: Right. And he --
MR. PAGE: And that was a function of the Harold Washington mayoralty that was going on when Barack first came to Chicago. Harold Washington never said, "It's our turn." Some of his supporters did --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. PAGE: -- and it got nailed onto him anyway.
But you're absolutely right. You don't want to play that kind of politics.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --
MS. CROWLEY: And white voters have changed too, John. They're much more accepting of a black candidate, particularly one that doesn't peddle victimhood. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, everything is working. Everything is working for Obama. When we get to the general election, maybe that is not quite ripe yet for him.
MR. PAGE: (Off mike.) (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Hillary and Bill.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY, presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I am so ready for the rest of this campaign, and I am -- (cheers, applause) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With one four-year Bush Senior administration and two four-year Clinton administrations and two four-year Bush Junior administrations and the possibility of two more Clinton administrations, the total number of Clinton-Bush presidencies would be a gagging 28 years. The longevity of those dynasties itself is so off-putting that it might have been the critical factor in Hillary's imperfect Iowa showing.
But there could be something else working against her. Headlines on the front page of The Washington Times last week: "In Iowa, women cool to Hillary. Ambivalence attributed to ex-president." Hillary easily won the endorsement of Iowa's influential newspaper the Des Moines Register, with its editorial board made up almost entirely of women, but blue-collar working women in Iowa think otherwise. They are not so Hillary-happy, not because of Hillary but because of her philandering husband and co-campaigner and miracle-worker fundraiser. Quote, "Why would you waste your time to go see someone who is a big cheater? Why does she even want him to campaign for her, given the cheating he's done in his life?" unquote.
Question: In Iowa, Obama won more female votes than Hillary. Is the reason for this, A, pure candidate merits; B, Oprah's campaign help to Obama, thus okaying women to ignore gender, i.e., vote for Obama, not Hillary; C, Michelle, Malia and Sasha's appeal; or D, Hillary's cheating -- Bill Clinton, that is -- Bill Clinton's cheating rap, Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: I think it's the exhaustion of the Hillary message, which is Washington experience, which was then questioned as not really her experience but her husband's experience, at a time when the country is really so angry at the political class that they want radical transformation.
And so I think it's -- she bet on -- she gambled on the wrong message. If she'd gone out there, maybe, and said, "I'm running as the candidate of change. I'll be the first woman" -- instead she went out as a member of the establishment, a restoration of the Clinton years. People don't want to restore the past.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MS. CLIFT: They want to look to the future.
MS. CROWLEY: Right.
MS. CLIFT: She's going to have to retool her campaign very quickly in New Hampshire if she expects to regain the confidence of the voters.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Monica? MS. CROWLEY: The answer to your question is all of the above, plus the exhaustion factor of just the entire Clinton package, so to speak -- the shady fundraising, the -- Bill with the girl problems. Bill and Hillary Clinton ought to have known better, because they ran twice before, in '92 and '96, that the cardinal political sin, number one, is to run on the past. She tried to fix it at the midnight hour by proclaiming herself a change agent. It didn't wash, and it's not going to. She can try to reinvent herself going into the future, but it looks like a little bit of a lost cause.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think she should shed Bill? (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. PAGE: I don't that -- well, Bill's still an asset, but he wasn't enough. That was the problem.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you sure he's an asset?
MR. PAGE: Yeah, yeah, but he wasn't enough. That was the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Doesn't it emphasize the dynasty aspect of it?
MR. PAGE: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Twenty-eight years of Bush-Clinton?
MR. PAGE: Well, that's her fault. See, her problem was that there was too much of a sense of entitlement that she projected, that "Hey, I'm the walking experience up here, so" --
MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John --
MR. PAGE: -- "so let's just get past this primary and let me cross over now to the -- (inaudible)."
MR. BUCHANAN: John, tomorrow --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were you there for the Currier and Ives gothic portrait shot of the two of them standing there after the primary?
MR. BUCHANAN: "American Gothic." Yeah, what happened in Iowa --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Bill was helping her at all by being there?
MR. BUCHANAN: What happened in Iowa is that tomorrow beat yesterday. They don't want to go back to the 1990s; they are tired. We have seen this movie before. It is time to move on, and Barack looks fresh and new, and so does Huckabee.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --
MS. CLIFT: But there will be another gut check about Barack Obama. Do not write off Hillary Clinton. (Cross talk.) MR. BUCHANAN: The primary is coming, Eleanor.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Edwards' populist surge.
JOHN EDWARDS (Democratic former senator from North Carolina and presidential candidate): (From videotape.) Corporate greed has got a stranglehold on America, and unless and until we have a president in the proud tradition of Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, who has a little backbone, who has some strength, who has some fight, who's willing to stand up to these people, nothing will change. We will never have the America that all of us dream of.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does Edwards defeat of Hillary renew his political energy?
MS. CROWLEY: No. (Laughs.) He's facing two huge Goliaths here in Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom are going ahead, and they're going to leave them in the dust. The only reason he was so successful in Iowa is because he's been living there for the past four years. He never took apart his campaign apparatus from 2004, and the Iowa voters appreciated that and rewarded him. He's got no organization in New Hampshire, very little in South Carolina, although he's from a neighboring state. I don't see him going all the way.
MR. BUCHANAN: You know, a trial lawyer who gets $400 haircuts can't play the man with the hoe very effectively. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He came in second.
MR. BUCHANAN: I know he came in second; he came in second in 19 -- in 2004, and he was gone.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, he doesn't have the resources, really, to continue, and angry populism doesn't seem to be the message of the day. Optimistic populism, yes. MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the Republicans -- Huckabee, 34 percent; Romney, 25; McCain, 13; Thompson, 13; Paul, 10; Giuliani, 3.
MIKE HUCKABEE (former Republican governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate): (From videotape.) You know, I wasn't sure that I would ever be able to love a state as much as I love my home state of Arkansas -- (laughter) -- but tonight I love Iowa a whole lot. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How big a phenomenon is Huckabee?
I ask you, Clarence.
MR. PAGE: Almost as big as Chuck Norris there as future vice president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was that all about?
MR. PAGE: (Laughs.) What was that all about?
You know, though, that's the great thing about Huckabee as far as his outreach. You know, he's the happy culture warrior. That's what I call him. I mean, he's the guy who'll -- on the one hand, he's in favor of a return to conservative moral values, but he also plays the guitar in a rock band. He's got -- he's palling around with Chuck Norris. He's able to show that we can be comfortable with modern popular culture. I think that's part of his appeal. But he is a phenomenon. I think he does pull together the evangelicals, who were kind of adrift out there looking for a candidate, but I think he's still got a lot of impediments to run up against. He's caught up against his own party's establishment, and they're coming back --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's an excellent speaker.
MR. PAGE: Oh, yeah, and funny --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he's got a sense of humor for a Republican, which is a phenomenon in itself. MR. PAGE: That's right.
MS. CLIFT: He's from Hope, Arkansas -- he's from Hope, Arkansas like Bill Clinton, and Clinton has said from the beginning don't underestimate him because he knows how to give a speech and he can tell a joke -- attributes that a lot of Republicans don't have.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- wallet. He has a pleasing personality.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Romney's place showing.
MITT ROMNEY (former governor of Massachusetts, Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) Well, we won the silver. (Cheers, applause.) And congratulations to Governor Huckabee for winning the gold. Nice job. But you know, just as Dan Jansen pointed out, you win the silver in one event, it doesn't mean you're not going to come back and win the gold in the final event. And that we're going to do. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Will Romney win the gold in New Hampshire? I ask you, Clarence.
MR. PAGE: Ah, will he win the gold? Oh, you had to go and throw that on me now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Chuckles.)
MR. PAGE: I've got to say something that pundits never say in Washington, John: I don't know! (Laughter.) However --
MS. CLIFT: Well, the battle is with John McCain, because John McCain is now the resurgent candidate. I think he'd be much stronger than Mitt Romney.
When I look at Mitt Romney, I remember the bumper sticker when Rockefeller ran in West Virginia years ago. It said, "Make him spend it all." (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, here's the thing. Romney has to win New Hampshire. If he wins New Hampshire, McCain is out, and it becomes a Romney-Huckabee race, and Romney becomes the establishment alternative to Huckabee. But if Romney loses New Hampshire, he could lose Michigan to McCain, and it becomes a McCain-Huckabee race. There are only three guys in this race, John. South Carolina's decisive. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think Huckabee's going to win New Hampshire, do you?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't. But I think he's going to win South Carolina as of right now
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Christian Coalition is not in New Hampshire.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Christian Coalition doesn't exist anymore, but the evangelicals are still there, my friend.
MR. PAGE: That's right. (Cross talk, laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Whatever. You got the point. The Christians are not going to help him in New Hampshire.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, they help you in New Hampshire, but they're not like they are in Iowa.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They gave it to him, did they not, in Iowa.
MR. BUCHANAN: And let me tell you, they're much tougher in South Carolina, when you come down there, if you are not one of those folks, John. (Cross talk.)
MS. CROWLEY: Mike Huckabee is not going to be able to replicate what happened in Iowa for him in New Hampshire, possibly in South Carolina, but that's about it.
The problem for Mitt Romney is that he outspent Mike Huckabee 6- to-1 in the state of Iowa and only placed second and in fact was about nine points behind him. Romney's defeat shows that money really can't buy you love all the time in politics; it's critical but not decisive. He goes into New Hampshire, he has got to win in his backyard. Otherwise, he's toast. John McCain, I predict, is going to win.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, cynics like you, if you -- excuse the reference. Cynics like you said that Huckabee would not endure, and Huckabee won. Are you going to just put that aside?
MS. CLIFT: (Off mike.)
MS. CROWLEY: He won because -- well, I think a lot of Republicans around the country are going, "What the huck?!" after -- (laughter) -- they can't quite explain it.
Iowa is a very unique situation. Huckabee literally did it on a wing and prayer, little money, talking about his personal faith, and that really -- voters in Iowa are not -- (off mike).
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Huckabee -- (Cross talk.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. We can -- we don't have to worry about Huckabee anymore. Exit question: On a political probability scale, zero to 100, zero meaning zero chance and 100 meaning metaphysical certitude, what are the odds that Hillary will make a comeback win in New Hampshire?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, I think in New Hampshire, it's probably only one to three, but I still think she's even money or better for the nomination.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, one to three?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You held her as having been invincible.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, no, I said if you win Iowa -- if Obama wins Iowa --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You said going into Iowa that Hillary was unbeatable.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think, look, I think Hillary's still the the favorite for the nomination, but she's not the same favorite she was. Going into Iowa, she was more than two to one nationally ahead of Obama. You can't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, what odds do you give Hillary?
MS. CLIFT: She's got a big lead in New Hampshire, but it's shrinking by the day. I think she's got less than 50 percent chance in New Hampshire, but she's definitely very much still in the game.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is that lead shrinking?
MS. CLIFT: Because voters look at what happened in Iowa. But sometimes New Hampshire voters like to nullify what happened in Iowa.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's --
MS. CROWLEY: Right. Right.
MS. CLIFT: Sometimes they get on the bandwagon --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's her tergivisation -- you got that? Tergivisation.
MS. : Got it. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- her tergivisation on the Iraq war.
MS. CLIFT: Will you spell that, please?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On the Iraq war. Going back and forth, the oscillation on it, don't you think?
MS. CROWLEY: Look, I say Hillary 30 percent chance to win New Hampshire. It's all about momentum. At this point, they're going to send Bill and Hillary into New Hampshire standing on the railroad tracks trying to stop a speeding locomotive called Barack Obama.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They want change. The idea is we want change. That's what came barreling through all of Iowa, was it not?
MR. PAGE: This is true. And --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are her odds of --
MR. PAGE: It's also, I think, difficult for New Hampshire voters now to vote against Barack because he's got so much momentum. However, I think Hillary's -- excuse me, Eleanor's right --
MS. CLIFT: Eleanor. Hillary's okay. (Laughs.)
MR. PAGE: Not Hillary. Eleanor is right in terms of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: One out of three. One out of three --
MR. PAGE: -- the fact that New Hampshire folks do love to nullify Iowa, so I give them 50-50.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?
MR. PAGE: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You give her a 50-50.
MR. PAGE: I give her 50-50 with Barack.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think Pat's got it right. I think it's 33 percent. The invincibility patina has gone.
When we come back: Pakistan is in an uproar. Who killed Benazir Bhutto? And will Osama get the bomb?
Issue two: Pakistan's bomb. Benazir Bhutto's assassination two days after Christmas left a wake of chaos across Pakistan. Torched cars, ransacked banks, rioting mourners, effigies of Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, burned in the streets.
For his part, Musharraf blames Bhutto's death on al Qaeda operatives. Tuesday's Pakistan elections have been pushed back to February 18, opening up a new front of discord. Bhutto's party, the PPP, is now managed by Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and led by her 19-year-old son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a student matriculating at Oxford.
BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI: (From videotape.) I stand committed to the stability of the federation. My mother always said democracy is the best revenge.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The PPP is teaming up with Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister and long-time rival, in an effort to defeat Musharraf. The ongoing turmoil and the threat of a multi-dimensional civil war in Pakistan raised new concerns about the 60-plus nuclear warheads located at 12 different sites throughout Pakistan. Security analysts say these nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of al Qaeda terrorists. It cannot be ruled out, they say. For now, Musharraf says the weapons are secure, and he promises to rout the terrorists.
PAKISTANI PRESIDENT PERVEZ MUSHARRAF (Through interpreter.) (From videotape.) I also seek solidarity from the nation and cooperation and help. We will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Is it your felt intuition that Pakistan will fly apart? Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I'm not sure that it will. I think the army is one thing that will hold it together. I think Musharraf will try to hold it together. I think elections will produce some kind of party. There's a lot of interest trying to hold that place together. I think it will stick together.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I think the stakes are too high to let it fly apart. And I think that Musharraf is going to do whatever he has to to try to keep some cohesion. And letting the British come in and take part in the investigation of Bhutto's death is a good start. MS. CROWLEY: It's not going to fly apart, but we are seeing the accelerating encroachment by the Islamists into taking over this government and co-opting Musharraf.
MR. PAGE: Yeah, I agree. Pakistan is too dangerous to lose. The rest of the world can't let it fly apart. But the Islamists are already infiltrating at all levels there, especially the military.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It will not fly apart.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction.
We're almost out of time.
Will the trendy atheism of today increase or decrease?
MR. BUCHANAN: It will increase because we're moving more secular and because there's a lot of money in it.
MS. CLIFT: Yes, and in parallel with political independency.
MS. CROWLEY: Yes, I agree, it will be on the rise.
MR. PAGE: On the rise in the short term, but I foresee a reformation, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Science undergirding the argument for God is growing by the intelligent design dimension. Therefore, I will say it will stop in its tracks.
END OF REGULAR SEGMENT
PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Hispanics get bluer. (Music: "Blue Moon.")
Hispanics, America's fastest-growing minority group, are growing deeper blue, blue as in Democrat, every day. More than half, 57 percent, of Hispanic registered voters declare that their party affiliation is blue, Democratic, or if not committed Democratic, then leaning to the Democratic Party. What percentage is Republican? Twenty-three percent.
Latinos say that they get more concern and more interest from Democrats and that Democrats are better than Republicans when it comes to illegal immigration. In the 2008 presidential election, Hispanics will make up about 9 percent of eligible voters nationwide -- 9 percent.
Question: How significant is it that Hispanic 9 percent voting bloc exists?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, it's very significant. The Republican Party is importing the constituency that is going to euthanize the Republican Party. These are by and large poor folks coming into the country --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!
MR. BUCHANAN: They vote Democratic.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it have critical impact on the presidential election?
MS. CLIFT: Huge. George Bush won in 2000, 2004 with significant Hispanic support. He tried to do the right thing by that community. The angry rhetoric, generated mostly by the Republicans, have really turned off Hispanics to the party.
MS. CROWLEY: And President Bush and a lot of other Republicans made the mistake of trying to buy off this constituency, and it's backfired on their own. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: California, Texas and Florida. They're critical. Right or wrong?
MR. BUCHANAN: Arizona, Utah, Colorado.
MR. PAGE: "Lo siento, senor. No comprendo." (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Keep it up.
MR. PAGE: I already promised -- (inaudible). (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did they get the cutback?
MS. CLIFT: Oh, I think you got that in.
MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think so.