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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; CHRYSTIA FREELAND, FINANCIAL TIMES TAPED: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 9-10, 2008

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: John Sidney McCain III.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ, Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I know I have a responsibility, if I am, as I hope to be, the Republican nominee for president, to unite the party and prepare for the great contest in November. And I am acutely aware that I cannot succeed in that endeavor, nor can our party prevail over the challenge we will face from either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, without the support of dedicated conservatives.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Thursday afternoon at about 1:00 eastern time, Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race. Two hours later, John McCain took the microphone at the same CPAC podium -- the Conservative Political Action Committee -- and he addressed the Buchanan brigades.

Question: Is McCain now the de facto GOP presidential nominee? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Unless a major event intervenes, McCain is going to march straight to the nomination. Mike Huckabee is the longest of long shots. Not only that, but McCain has set his strategy, John. The campaign is going to be about the war in Iraq. It's going to be about the Democrats allegedly raising the white flag of surrender, pulling out, abandoning what 4,000 guys have died for, and John McCain staying the course until victory is achieved.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Yes, he is the de facto nominee, and I think he will be formidable. But first I want to welcome Pat and the Buchanan brigades to the 21st century. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, he's arrived.

MS. CLIFT: Right, yes. And, look, I think McCain is actually a formidable figure. The country may be looking for a father figure. We don't know what's going to unfold over the coming year. And baby boomers are having a hard enough time having doctors who are younger than they are, and they may gravitate to this gentleman.

And the way that he won this nomination -- the comeback, the principled man, man of courage -- I mean, I think he is a good candidate. It's hard for Pat to accept. But I think the fact that he is tied to the most unpopular part of the Bush legacy, the war, is going to be a very hard hurdle for him to overcome.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he shows no signs of backing off that.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, he could not possibly back off.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He said it will affect generations to come if we withdraw prematurely.

Okay. McCain disdain.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) On the issue of illegal immigration, a position which -- (chorus of boos) -- which -- (continued chorus of boos mixed with cheers) -- a position which obviously still provokes the outspoken opposition of many conservatives, I stood my ground, aware that my position would imperil my campaign. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What was McCain's most significant concession to conservatives in his CPAC appearance? I ask you, Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, John McCain could have greeted the conservatives at this conference the way he greets the press every day. "Good morning, jerks." But he didn't. And what he did was try to -- well, look, what you saw was as humble an entreaty as you will ever get from John McCain. And he hit three points that are very important to conservatives -- tax cuts, judicial appointments, and illegal immigration. And as you saw in that clip, look, two out of three isn't bad for John McCain.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he concede on it?

MS. CROWLEY: But the most passionate point for the conservative base is illegal immigration.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did he concede on illegal immigration? How did he get out of it?

MS. CROWLEY: Border first. Border enforcement first --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Border first.

MS. CROWLEY: -- which he has been talking about now for months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was that deft?

MS. CROWLEY: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He didn't sacrifice his position on immigration.

MS. CROWLEY: No, he didn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He just said we'll do the border first.

MS. CROWLEY: And, look, he went to the conservatives, to his credit, and basically paraphrased Popeye: "I am what I am. I'm not going to change." The dilemma for conservatives is there are very few cards to play. If they try to work some leverage against McCain to try to get him to change -- first of all, McCain isn't going to change, but let's say he does.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, on general amnesty?

MS. CROWLEY: On immigration, for example. Let's say he does, which I don't think he will. If he does, then he becomes a flip- flopper, which then becomes a weapon for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama to use against him, and makes him more vulnerable.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. The winsome McCain. SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) Thank you for inviting me. It's been a little while since I've had the honor of addressing you, and I appreciate very much your courtesy to me today. You know, we should do this more often. (Laughter, applause.) I hope you'll pardon my absence last year and understand that I intended no personal insult to any of you. I was merely preoccupied with the business of trying to escape the distinction of preseason front-runner for the Republican nomination.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does McCain win conservatives to win the GOP nomination? And did he get them from this appearance at this gathering? Chrystia.

MS. FREELAND: I think McCain needs the conservatives to not cause problems for him. And this is a very interesting situation for the Republican Party, because as Eleanor said, something really incredible has happened, which is, if you think about where the United States is right now -- the economy slowing down, probably entering a recession; war in Iraq, even if you think it's a great idea in the long term, certainly not going well right now; very unpopular Republican administration -- it should be a cake walk for the Democrats. And yet the Republicans seem to be coalescing around a guy who stands a real chance.

So the question is, does the conservative base feel that McCain, who actually, on most issues, has an extremely conservative voting record, because he doesn't touch certain emotional points, they say, "No, we don't want you. We prefer Hillary or Barack to be president."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the -- doesn't he need the conservatives from an arithmetic point of view?

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MS. FREELAND: He needs them not to really cause him big problems.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, he --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can he win without the conservative vote?

MS. FREELAND: Can he win what, the nomination or the presidency?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got the nomination.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The nomination.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, he needs their energy, enthusiasm -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, not the nomination. I'm talking about the presidency.

MR. BUCHANAN: He needs their energy, enthusiasm and fire. And if they don't put it behind him, they've got to put it in attacks on the Democratic nominee, be it Obama or Hillary. Look, the Republicans -- it's a very even country. He needs everything. And the enthusiasm of Christians and conservatives is essential.

MS. FREELAND: What he also needs is for them not to force him to assume such conservative positions --

MR. BUCHANAN: He won't do that.

MS. FREELAND: -- in the race for the nomination that he becomes unpalatable or flip-flops --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to ask you a question.

MS. CLIFT: The conservatives --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to ask you this question.

MS. CLIFT: All right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To win the election, it seems to me, he needs the Latino vote. Now he's taken this position which is very agreeable to Latinos, which goes to your point. If he reverses that position on immigration, he will lose the Latino vote, will he not?

MS. CLIFT: However much he adjusts his position, the Democrats are still so much better on that, and the excitement in the Latino community is much better.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you're right --

MS. CLIFT: But in terms of the conservatives, conservatives are going to start seeing virtues in John McCain that they might have overlooked before, because if it's Hillary Clinton, she will unify the party. And if it's Barack Obama, the generational choice will be so stark, it'll be like Dwight Eisenhower versus John F. Kennedy.

MR. BUCHANAN: Barack Obama will lose much of the Latino vote to McCain, because the Latinos don't care about the border fence. They care about no return to Mexico. And McCain is with them on all --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on. This is an exit question. You can develop it. Exit question: Who should McCain pick as his running mate? MR. BUCHANAN: McCain should pick as his running mate a blue- state individual who can deliver a good state out of Hillary's base or Kerry's base, something like that. He should not go South, I think, because I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a name. Give me a name.

MR. BUCHANAN: I mean, look, I'll tell you, Tom Ridge would be outstanding if he were pro-life.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not Huckabee.

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Huckabee just gives him what he should already have.

MS. CLIFT: Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota, who I mentioned on this show a couple of weeks ago, and I named him from the wrong state. I apologize, Minnesota.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, you got mail on that.

MS. CLIFT: I know. I got a lot of mail on that. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They were surprised at you, weren't they?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. But, you know, I'm from Queens. I do confuse some of those states out there. I apologize.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, so you're sticking with Pawlenty.

What about you?

MS. CROWLEY: Look, there is still a lot of thunder on the right with regard to John McCain. The McCain nomination did not materialize out of thin air, and it wasn't derived solely from moderates and independents. A lot of Republicans voted for John McCain, and a decent number of conservatives did too. Conservatives have a choice to make. Are they going to sit home, fume about John McCain, try to fight him, stew in their own frustration, or are they going to grow up and deal realistically with the options that they have?

McCain can try to heal that rift by picking somebody as his vice president who will be an executive, because you've got a senator at the top of the ticket; you need an executive. So you need a governor. Somebody from the Northeast would help -- Mitt Romney.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What gender?

MS. CROWLEY: Mitt Romney --

MS. CLIFT: No way.

MS. CROWLEY: -- because he's also stronger on illegal immigration as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mitt Romney?

MS. CROWLEY: If McCain can see his way past the personal animus, Romney would be the choice.

MR. BUCHANAN: It would be a smart move.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to speak to this? Who should be his running mate?

MS. FREELAND: I think it shouldn't be Huckabee, and he should resist pressure to sort of balance the ticket for evangelicals.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Huckabee has been ruled out. Go ahead. Keep talking.

MS. FREELAND: I think if he can, he should pick someone with executive experience. If he can find a Republican woman, governor, that would be ideal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You hit the nail right on the head -- a Republican governor, female.

Issue Two: Bowed, But Unbroken.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY (Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I will continue to stand for conservative principles. I'll fight alongside you for all the things we believe in. If this were only about me, I'd go on. But it's never been only about me. I entered this race because I love America. And because I love America, in this time of war, I feel I have to now stand aside for our party and for our country.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Did Romney's language here open the door already for a run in 2012? Now, I know you selected him as the vice presidential running mate for John McCain.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, I did. I did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right?

MS. CROWLEY: But I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that the nasties are too great between them?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, if McCain, who's a pretty temperamental guy, can get past it, Romney would be the inspired choice.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think McCain is the ultimate pragmatist when push comes to shove, and likewise Romney?

MS. CROWLEY: Romney more so, I think, than McCain in a selection like this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, wait a minute. Don't undercut your hero.

MS. CROWLEY: I think -- listen, I think Mitt Romney --

MS. CLIFT: Of course he's a pragmatist. Because McCain is a pragmatist, he will not pick a guy who flamed out on the campaign trail. McCain was so weak for much of this process, and Romney was unable to catch on. He couldn't even carry voters who care about the economy.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me disagree for this reason. Romney did well in Michigan. And Romney may -- I don't think he can carry Massachusetts. But if you can carry Michigan --

MS. CLIFT: He was born in Michigan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay. But if you carry Michigan and pull that out of the Democratic base, you don't need Ohio. If I were McCain, I would be -- look, it's his last shot.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point?

MR. BUCHANAN: I would take a hard look at Mitt Romney and see if you can't get by your animus the way Jack Kennedy did with Lyndon Johnson.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would Mitt Romney stay in line as vice president? MR. BUCHANAN: Sure, he would.

MS. CLIFT: Of course he would.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I agree with you. I agree with you.

MS. CLIFT: And --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, hold on. "I'm here."

FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE (Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I still believe that this thing is a long way from being settled. And now that the field is down to two, our chances have substantially improved.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear what he said?

MS. FREELAND: I think he said his chances are substantially improved.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. He said our chances. Who is the "our"? "Our chances are substantially improved."

MR. BUCHANAN: Ed Rollins is the other one. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ed Rollins?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's his manager.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ed Rollins. Okay.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, here's what he's got to do, John.

MS. FREELAND: All those hard-core conservatives who have not shown a very great propensity to support John McCain. And the question is, can they be pragmatic? Can they say, "John McCain is the guy who's going to win the nomination and the guy who can realistically become president?"

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, but look, Huckabee was -- he showed himself to be immensely politically talented, but he's not going to be the Republican nominee for president. He's just not.

MS. FREELAND: And he's good on the campaign trail.

MS. CROWLEY: He did very well on Super Tuesday.

MS. FREELAND: He has great one-liners.

MS. CROWLEY: But he's a regional candidate. He can influence the nomination still in sort of -- (inaudible) -- but he's not going to win it. MR. BUCHANAN: Here's his problem going forward, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's got about, what, 200 delegates?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got almost 200. Here's his problem going forward. If he wants to get the nomination, he's got to start taking down McCain to rally conservatives. But if you take down McCain, or try to, you're not going to be vice president. So he's got a dilemma there.

And my guess is he ought to resolve it by getting out soon.

MS. CLIFT: Right. And he's king of the evangelicals, and he'll probably end up with a talk show. He's very facile and he's charming -- good for television.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're not putting down talk shows, are you?

MS. CLIFT: No. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: No, no.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will we miss Romney before this race is over, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think you will. I think he ran a good race. I know he's criticized for flip-flopping and all that. But I think he grew tremendously during this. I think he's a good man and I think he's a great strategic asset of the party.

MS. CLIFT: He's the ultimate changeling, and that's what caught up with him.

MS. FREELAND: Well, I think what he learned in this race is the difference between business strategy and politics. And he ran a campaign that was very much how you might run a business market campaign. He thought you tack in one direction for the nomination. "I'll be able to tack in another direction if I become president." And he showed one really excellent business skill this week, which is he knew when to cut his losses. And he moved out very gracefully. There's a Shakespearean line, "Nothing became his life like the leaving of it." I think Mitt leaves on a real high. And he will be a force in the party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think his Mormonism killed his candidacy?

MS. FREELAND: His Mormonism?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mormonism.

MS. CLIFT: No. MS. FREELAND: No, I think it was his inauthenticity.

MS. CROWLEY: John, you know what --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think they calculated that he's unelectable because of his Mormonism?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. FREELAND: It wasn't a plus, but I think his bigger problem was the perceived inauthenticity.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. FREELAND: He had run from the beginning as the guy who knows business and who can fix the economy. He would be in a very strong position right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think his Mormonism has evaporated --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think it's a problem in the Deep South. But by the time he got down there, his strategy of winning Iowa, winning New Hampshire, had failed. He did a great job coming back. I think there is resistance in the Deep South, and he's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was Huckabee the spoiler?

MR. BUCHANAN: Huckabee was the spoiler.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Huckabee attacked him three times in three different locations, correct?

MR. BUCHANAN: I know. He did siphon off enough votes to kill him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he siphoned off enough votes. He was the spoiler.

Issue Three: Tsunami Tuesday.

Super Tuesday's faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was history-making. Fifteen million votes were cast, and the difference between the two final Democratic contenders was a mere 50,000 votes -- less than one-half of 1 percent: Hillary, 7,347,971; Barack, 7,294,851. That's votes cast.

Okay, now the delegates. There are two kinds, standard and super. The standard delegates are party members who are pledged to vote for either Hillary or Barack at the national convention in August, when the Democratic nominee will be officially chosen. The super-delegates are unpledged, which means that they have the freedom to vote for either Hillary or Barack at the convention, regardless of any earlier commitment to either candidate. The total number of delegates, both standard and super, is 4,049. To win the nomination, the candidate must, of course, win one-half of that number plus one, 2,025. So who won more standard delegates on Super Tuesday, Hillary or Barack? Neither. As we go to press, it's an exact draw -- Hillary, 839; Barack, 839.

If you combine the standard delegate count with the current expected super-delegate count -- again, that is, if the super- delegates vote as they have said they will vote -- here's what you get: Hillary, 1,158; Barack, 1,072. With over 20 primaries to go, that figure is true. Do you understand?

Question: Are the Democrats headed for a brokered convention? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Maybe so. But it's still possible that one or the other would achieve a significant lead in delegates. In either case, the final decision is likely to fall into the hands of those super- delegates. And frankly, that's very risky. If they are seen as overturning the will of the people one way or the other, they would risk a revolution in the party reminiscent of Florida 2000. So events seem to be forcing these two candidates to run together, and that is full of risk as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To unify the party going into the convention, they should do it -- rather than have a brokered convention, one has to yield to the other. Will Obama yield to Hillary or will Hillary yield to Obama?

MS. CLIFT: Not until everything plays out, including perhaps a rerun of the elections in Michigan and Florida, which could --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will Texas decide it with its big Hispanic vote?

MS. CLIFT: On March 4, Texas and Ohio could --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pennsylvania.

MS. CLIFT: Pennsylvania on April 22nd could be the showdown. It used to be a showdown primary in the past.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, we now have Hillary putting $5 million of someone's money, and Obama curiously asks which one put the money in; that should be made clear.

MS. CLIFT: Marital rights, common property. Presumably it comes from their joint --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, it was -- I don't know whether he was preparing himself for Rezko, which is going to happen in 18 days. MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John -- well, I think -- look, I think Eleanor is basically right. I do believe this, though. Hillary is winning the big states.

And if she wins Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the big states, and moves ahead, I think the super-delegates move to her. I do agree there's going to be enormous pressure to put Barack Obama on that ticket if Hillary wins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is he asking where Hillary's money comes from --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's probably got --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- or making that clear to the press?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's probably got --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The press almost prompted him with that question.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?

MS. CLIFT: First of all --

MR. BUCHANAN: She said it was her own money.

MS. CLIFT: -- the fact that her campaign is running out of money is quite stunning. Secondly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who said that? Who said that?

MS. CLIFT: The fact that she had to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's getting new money from the Net.

MS. CROWLEY: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: Let me finish, please. Secondly, when the Clintons came to Washington, they didn't even own a house. And now they're very wealthy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's wealthy? MS. CLIFT: And he has this web of connections that introduce possible conflict.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's about $35 (million), or what is it?

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's not bad for working on the public payroll your whole life.

MS. CLIFT: And so it's fair for Obama and/or --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More than that; I understand $50 (million) -- 5- 0. Or maybe that's combined.

MS. CLIFT: It's fair for --

MS. CROWLEY: The reason --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They list their holdings separately.

MR. BUCHANAN: But they've been on the public payroll their whole life.

MS. CLIFT: It's fair for Obama and/or the Republicans to raise questions about potential conflicts of interest. That's out there, and now it's going to be explored.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. What's the real reason why Romney stepped out of the race?

MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.) Oh, you're going to come back to the last --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I know you've got something to say on that.

MS. CROWLEY: The real reason is because conservatives came to him way too late. Conservatives were like Paris Hilton at Bungalow Eight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What, are they just whiners?

MS. CROWLEY: "Oh, I love Rudy. Oh, wait. I love Fred Thompson. Oh, wait. I love Mike Huckabee." By the time their fickle heart got to Mitt Romney, it was too late for him. That was the reason why, because it didn't give him enough time.

MS. CLIFT: He was late coming --

MS. CROWLEY: Getting back to the money, though -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are you always befouling your own nest, your conservative nest? Why do you befoul it?

MS. CROWLEY: You asked the question also about Hillary's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four --

MS. CROWLEY: -- money. The reason Obama raised it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four --

MS. CROWLEY: -- is because the Clintons have never disclosed where a lot of that money is coming from. Bill is sitting on corporate boards. He's in these murky consulting deals with a lot of companies, like Yucaipa --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The dirty money --

MS. CROWLEY: What is he doing for that money?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The dirty money is not just Rezko. The dirty money is the Clintons' money. Is that what's implied?

MS. CROWLEY: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Bloomberg's Moment -- Yes.

NEW YORK MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I): (From videotape.) I've got the greatest job in the world, and I'm going to keep doing it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, a Democrat turned Republican turned independent, he wants to be U.S. president and has been showing ankle for a year. His time has now come. Republicans are splintered because McCain has alienated the GOP conservative base. Democrats are splintered because of the Clinton- Obama fight. So this is Bloomberg's moment, and he will run for U.S. president as an independent. True or false?

MR. BUCHANAN: If you think Bloomberg is going to get the conservative vote, John -- (laughs) -- you'd better go back to Politics 101.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he run?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he's not going to run. He wouldn't win a single state if he did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've always been averse to independent candidacies.

MR. BUCHANAN: I ran one myself, John. (Laughs.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: McCain's staking a claim to the independent vote. And if it's Obama, he clearly won't get in. Maybe if it's Hillary on the other half, he'll be tempted. But I think he's a rational man. It is irrational for him to get in the race.

MR. BUCHANAN: He'd have to run to the left of Hillary.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to rephrase the question.

Does the divided condition of both the Democratic and Republican parties create a political opening for a winning independent ticket?

MS. CROWLEY: No, I don't think it's possible. Michael Bloomberg is a pragmatist. He's a billionaire for a reason. He's going to look at this in a cold, calculating way. I agree totally with what Eleanor had to say. McCain's got appeal to moderates and independents. That was Bloomberg's whole shtick. And if the Democrats nominate Barack Obama, that's his shtick too.

MS. FREELAND: Never say never. And there have been lots of turnarounds, and things that we predicted have not come true. But I think what Bloomberg was looking for was a race with very polarizing candidates on both sides who were not good at appealing to the center. And as it happens, there's an excellent possibility the Republicans will choose someone, John McCain, who has great appeal for independents. And if the Democrats choose Obama, they'll have a candidate who can do that too.

What Bloomberg doesn't want to do is to be a spoiler. He wants to be a serious national figure who contributes to the national debate. If he doesn't feel he can do that with his candidacy, he won't do it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's not making any noises in New York?

MS. FREELAND: Of course he's making noises, and the people around him are making noises.

MR. BUCHANAN: Even Zuckerman, John --

MS. FREELAND: But I think the odds are lower now than they were before.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's managing his campaign, or his pseudo- campaign, or his preparatory campaign?

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John, our friend Mort Zuckerman, who was very, very high on him sitting in that chair repeatedly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. MR. BUCHANAN: I talked to Mort. He is less convinced that Bloomberg is going to run.

MS. FREELAND: The --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: After the events of this week, after Super Tuesday?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I was up in New York after the events, I think, of Tuesday, yeah.

MS. FREELAND: Super Tuesday and McCain. I mean, the odds -- the rationale for a Bloomberg campaign is decreasing. And the thing it's important to remember about Mike Bloomberg is he is serious. He doesn't -- I think that he would run even if he didn't think he could win.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bloomberg would not win a single state.

MS. FREELAND: He wants to make a positive --

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't care what he wants.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before we go to predictions -- Pat, excuse me.

MS. FREELAND: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. Before we go to predictions, I'm still not clear. Who's going to yield to whom, Obama to Clinton or Clinton to Obama?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama will yield to Clinton.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't know about the other one, whether Clinton would yield to Obama as VP, but I think she should.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean seniority rules?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, she's been there.

MS. CLIFT: Right. Obama can afford an eight-year apprenticeship. He's the clear heir apparent for the Democrats. Does he want to spend the time in the White House or casting a zillion votes on Capitol Hill --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: -- that people can attack him for?

MS. CROWLEY: I agree. Out of the two -- and it would be a draw -- but he would be the one to yield. And if he were to do so graciously, then he becomes the leading Democratic voice, especially if McCain gets elected president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the force majeure that's going to make him yield? I still don't see it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Super-delegates.

MS. FREELAND: I think, actually, it's too early to ask the question. And I think the question is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you attacking my question?

MS. FREELAND: No, the question is being put out there by the Clinton campaign, because what they're really worried about is that people will not support Hillary -- Democrats won't support Hillary -- because they got so excited about Obama. So it's very helpful for Hillary Clinton for people to be saying, "Don't worry about it."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is --

MS. FREELAND: "Barack will be her vice president. It'll be both of them. It'll be a dream ticket."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is, it's too close to call.

Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Democratic attack on McCain will begin, and the theme will be "McCain represents Bush's third term, except he'll give us 100 years in Iraq."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: McCain's missed vote on the economic stimulus package will come back to haunt him in the fall.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: The upcoming Lebanese parliamentary session to elect a new Lebanese president has become a tug of war between Syria, the Arab League and Iran, and Iran will prevail.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chrystia.

MS. FREELAND: The Fed will continue to lower interest rates.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Robert Mugabe, the head of state for 28 years in Zimbabwe, will handily win re-election again next month but will resign from office before July of 2009.

Bye-bye. (PBS segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Five: Girl Power.

Get this. In high school science, which gender excels, girls or boys? Answer: Girls. Two Long Island high school girls proved the stereotype that boys are better than girls in science wrong. Girls won top honors, $100,000, at the Siemens Company mass technology and science competition. This marked the first time girls took home the contest's top prize.

JANELLE SCHLOSSBERGER (first-place winner): (From videotape.) It shows other young women that anything is possible, that any of your dreams, if there is a brick wall, that you can jump over it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The gender struggle pivots on power.

AMANDA MARINOFF (first-place winner): (From videotape.) I think I've always had a passion for science because it's very empowering.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is girl power the future? I ask you, Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: It sure looks that way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean on this set.

MS. CLIFT: On this set. But, look, the gains that women have made across all the professions are really dramatic. And in engineering and science, once they're encouraged, I think they're going to take their full place in those fields as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you notice any relaxation of rigor with the girls here, Pat, three out of four? By the way, you know, this could be an all-girl orchestrate with the exception of me.

MR. BUCHANAN: I felt under pressure the entire show as badly as you did, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did they hold back from each other?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. No, no. I had a tough time getting in and making any comments.

END.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think you will. I think he ran a good race. I know he's criticized for flip-flopping and all that. But I think he grew tremendously during this. I think he's a good man and I think he's a great strategic asset of the party.

MS. CLIFT: He's the ultimate changeling, and that's what caught up with him.

MS. FREELAND: Well, I think what he learned in this race is the difference between business strategy and politics. And he ran a campaign that was very much how you might run a business market campaign. He thought you tack in one direction for the nomination. "I'll be able to tack in another direction if I become president." And he showed one really excellent business skill this week, which is he knew when to cut his losses. And he moved out very gracefully. There's a Shakespearean line, "Nothing became his life like the leaving of it." I think Mitt leaves on a real high. And he will be a force in the party.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think his Mormonism killed his candidacy?

MS. FREELAND: His Mormonism?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mormonism.

MS. CLIFT: No. MS. FREELAND: No, I think it was his inauthenticity.

MS. CROWLEY: John, you know what --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think they calculated that he's unelectable because of his Mormonism?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. FREELAND: It wasn't a plus, but I think his bigger problem was the perceived inauthenticity.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MS. FREELAND: He had run from the beginning as the guy who knows business and who can fix the economy. He would be in a very strong position right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think his Mormonism has evaporated --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think it's a problem in the Deep South. But by the time he got down there, his strategy of winning Iowa, winning New Hampshire, had failed. He did a great job coming back. I think there is resistance in the Deep South, and he's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was Huckabee the spoiler?

MR. BUCHANAN: Huckabee was the spoiler.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Huckabee attacked him three times in three different locations, correct?

MR. BUCHANAN: I know. He did siphon off enough votes to kill him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he siphoned off enough votes. He was the spoiler.

Issue Three: Tsunami Tuesday.

Super Tuesday's faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was history-making. Fifteen million votes were cast, and the difference between the two final Democratic contenders was a mere 50,000 votes -- less than one-half of 1 percent: Hillary, 7,347,971; Barack, 7,294,851. That's votes cast.

Okay, now the delegates. There are two kinds, standard and super. The standard delegates are party members who are pledged to vote for either Hillary or Barack at the national convention in August, when the Democratic nominee will be officially chosen. The super-delegates are unpledged, which means that they have the freedom to vote for either Hillary or Barack at the convention, regardless of any earlier commitment to either candidate. The total number of delegates, both standard and super, is 4,049. To win the nomination, the candidate must, of course, win one-half of that number plus one, 2,025. So who won more standard delegates on Super Tuesday, Hillary or Barack? Neither. As we go to press, it's an exact draw -- Hillary, 839; Barack, 839.

If you combine the standard delegate count with the current expected super-delegate count -- again, that is, if the super- delegates vote as they have said they will vote -- here's what you get: Hillary, 1,158; Barack, 1,072. With over 20 primaries to go, that figure is true. Do you understand?

Question: Are the Democrats headed for a brokered convention? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Maybe so. But it's still possible that one or the other would achieve a significant lead in delegates. In either case, the final decision is likely to fall into the hands of those super- delegates. And frankly, that's very risky. If they are seen as overturning the will of the people one way or the other, they would risk a revolution in the party reminiscent of Florida 2000. So events seem to be forcing these two candidates to run together, and that is full of risk as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To unify the party going into the convention, they should do it -- rather than have a brokered convention, one has to yield to the other. Will Obama yield to Hillary or will Hillary yield to Obama?

MS. CLIFT: Not until everything plays out, including perhaps a rerun of the elections in Michigan and Florida, which could --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will Texas decide it with its big Hispanic vote?

MS. CLIFT: On March 4, Texas and Ohio could --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pennsylvania.

MS. CLIFT: Pennsylvania on April 22nd could be the showdown. It used to be a showdown primary in the past.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, we now have Hillary putting $5 million of someone's money, and Obama curiously asks which one put the money in; that should be made clear.

MS. CLIFT: Marital rights, common property. Presumably it comes from their joint --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, it was -- I don't know whether he was preparing himself for Rezko, which is going to happen in 18 days. MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John -- well, I think -- look, I think Eleanor is basically right. I do believe this, though. Hillary is winning the big states.

And if she wins Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the big states, and moves ahead, I think the super-delegates move to her. I do agree there's going to be enormous pressure to put Barack Obama on that ticket if Hillary wins.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why is he asking where Hillary's money comes from --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's probably got --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- or making that clear to the press?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's probably got --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The press almost prompted him with that question.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?

MS. CLIFT: First of all --

MR. BUCHANAN: She said it was her own money.

MS. CLIFT: -- the fact that her campaign is running out of money is quite stunning. Secondly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who said that? Who said that?

MS. CLIFT: The fact that she had to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's getting new money from the Net.

MS. CROWLEY: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: Let me finish, please. Secondly, when the Clintons came to Washington, they didn't even own a house. And now they're very wealthy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's wealthy? MS. CLIFT: And he has this web of connections that introduce possible conflict.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's about $35 (million), or what is it?

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's not bad for working on the public payroll your whole life.

MS. CLIFT: And so it's fair for Obama and/or --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: More than that; I understand $50 (million) -- 5- 0. Or maybe that's combined.

MS. CLIFT: It's fair for --

MS. CROWLEY: The reason --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They list their holdings separately.

MR. BUCHANAN: But they've been on the public payroll their whole life.

MS. CLIFT: It's fair for Obama and/or the Republicans to raise questions about potential conflicts of interest. That's out there, and now it's going to be explored.

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. What's the real reason why Romney stepped out of the race?

MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.) Oh, you're going to come back to the last --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I know you've got something to say on that.

MS. CROWLEY: The real reason is because conservatives came to him way too late. Conservatives were like Paris Hilton at Bungalow Eight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What, are they just whiners?

MS. CROWLEY: "Oh, I love Rudy. Oh, wait. I love Fred Thompson. Oh, wait. I love Mike Huckabee." By the time their fickle heart got to Mitt Romney, it was too late for him. That was the reason why, because it didn't give him enough time.

MS. CLIFT: He was late coming --

MS. CROWLEY: Getting back to the money, though -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are you always befouling your own nest, your conservative nest? Why do you befoul it?

MS. CROWLEY: You asked the question also about Hillary's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four --

MS. CROWLEY: -- money. The reason Obama raised it --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four --

MS. CROWLEY: -- is because the Clintons have never disclosed where a lot of that money is coming from. Bill is sitting on corporate boards. He's in these murky consulting deals with a lot of companies, like Yucaipa --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The dirty money --

MS. CROWLEY: What is he doing for that money?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The dirty money is not just Rezko. The dirty money is the Clintons' money. Is that what's implied?

MS. CROWLEY: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Bloomberg's Moment -- Yes.

NEW YORK MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I): (From videotape.) I've got the greatest job in the world, and I'm going to keep doing it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, a Democrat turned Republican turned independent, he wants to be U.S. president and has been showing ankle for a year. His time has now come. Republicans are splintered because McCain has alienated the GOP conservative base. Democrats are splintered because of the Clinton- Obama fight. So this is Bloomberg's moment, and he will run for U.S. president as an independent. True or false?

MR. BUCHANAN: If you think Bloomberg is going to get the conservative vote, John -- (laughs) -- you'd better go back to Politics 101.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he run?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he's not going to run. He wouldn't win a single state if he did.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've always been averse to independent candidacies.

MR. BUCHANAN: I ran one myself, John. (Laughs.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: McCain's staking a claim to the independent vote. And if it's Obama, he clearly won't get in. Maybe if it's Hillary on the other half, he'll be tempted. But I think he's a rational man. It is irrational for him to get in the race.

MR. BUCHANAN: He'd have to run to the left of Hillary.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to rephrase the question.

Does the divided condition of both the Democratic and Republican parties create a political opening for a winning independent ticket?

MS. CROWLEY: No, I don't think it's possible. Michael Bloomberg is a pragmatist. He's a billionaire for a reason. He's going to look at this in a cold, calculating way. I agree totally with what Eleanor had to say. McCain's got appeal to moderates and independents. That was Bloomberg's whole shtick. And if the Democrats nominate Barack Obama, that's his shtick too.

MS. FREELAND: Never say never. And there have been lots of turnarounds, and things that we predicted have not come true. But I think what Bloomberg was looking for was a race with very polarizing candidates on both sides who were not good at appealing to the center. And as it happens, there's an excellent possibility the Republicans will choose someone, John McCain, who has great appeal for independents. And if the Democrats choose Obama, they'll have a candidate who can do that too.

What Bloomberg doesn't want to do is to be a spoiler. He wants to be a serious national figure who contributes to the national debate. If he doesn't feel he can do that with his candidacy, he won't do it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's not making any noises in New York?

MS. FREELAND: Of course he's making noises, and the people around him are making noises.

MR. BUCHANAN: Even Zuckerman, John --

MS. FREELAND: But I think the odds are lower now than they were before.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's managing his campaign, or his pseudo- campaign, or his preparatory campaign?

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John, our friend Mort Zuckerman, who was very, very high on him sitting in that chair repeatedly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. MR. BUCHANAN: I talked to Mort. He is less convinced that Bloomberg is going to run.

MS. FREELAND: The --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: After the events of this week, after Super Tuesday?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I was up in New York after the events, I think, of Tuesday, yeah.

MS. FREELAND: Super Tuesday and McCain. I mean, the odds -- the rationale for a Bloomberg campaign is decreasing. And the thing it's important to remember about Mike Bloomberg is he is serious. He doesn't -- I think that he would run even if he didn't think he could win.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bloomberg would not win a single state.

MS. FREELAND: He wants to make a positive --

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't care what he wants.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before we go to predictions -- Pat, excuse me.

MS. FREELAND: I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. Before we go to predictions, I'm still not clear. Who's going to yield to whom, Obama to Clinton or Clinton to Obama?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama will yield to Clinton.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't know about the other one, whether Clinton would yield to Obama as VP, but I think she should.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean seniority rules?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, she's been there.

MS. CLIFT: Right. Obama can afford an eight-year apprenticeship. He's the clear heir apparent for the Democrats. Does he want to spend the time in the White House or casting a zillion votes on Capitol Hill --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: -- that people can attack him for?

MS. CROWLEY: I agree. Out of the two -- and it would be a draw -- but he would be the one to yield. And if he were to do so graciously, then he becomes the leading Democratic voice, especially if McCain gets elected president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the force majeure that's going to make him yield? I still don't see it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Super-delegates.

MS. FREELAND: I think, actually, it's too early to ask the question. And I think the question is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you attacking my question?

MS. FREELAND: No, the question is being put out there by the Clinton campaign, because what they're really worried about is that people will not support Hillary -- Democrats won't support Hillary -- because they got so excited about Obama. So it's very helpful for Hillary Clinton for people to be saying, "Don't worry about it."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is --

MS. FREELAND: "Barack will be her vice president. It'll be both of them. It'll be a dream ticket."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is, it's too close to call.

Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Democratic attack on McCain will begin, and the theme will be "McCain represents Bush's third term, except he'll give us 100 years in Iraq."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: McCain's missed vote on the economic stimulus package will come back to haunt him in the fall.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: The upcoming Lebanese parliamentary session to elect a new Lebanese president has become a tug of war between Syria, the Arab League and Iran, and Iran will prevail.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chrystia.

MS. FREELAND: The Fed will continue to lower interest rates.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Robert Mugabe, the head of state for 28 years in Zimbabwe, will handily win re-election again next month but will resign from office before July of 2009.

Bye-bye. (PBS segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Five: Girl Power.

Get this. In high school science, which gender excels, girls or boys? Answer: Girls. Two Long Island high school girls proved the stereotype that boys are better than girls in science wrong. Girls won top honors, $100,000, at the Siemens Company mass technology and science competition. This marked the first time girls took home the contest's top prize.

JANELLE SCHLOSSBERGER (first-place winner): (From videotape.) It shows other young women that anything is possible, that any of your dreams, if there is a brick wall, that you can jump over it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The gender struggle pivots on power.

AMANDA MARINOFF (first-place winner): (From videotape.) I think I've always had a passion for science because it's very empowering.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is girl power the future? I ask you, Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: It sure looks that way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean on this set.

MS. CLIFT: On this set. But, look, the gains that women have made across all the professions are really dramatic. And in engineering and science, once they're encouraged, I think they're going to take their full place in those fields as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you notice any relaxation of rigor with the girls here, Pat, three out of four? By the way, you know, this could be an all-girl orchestrate with the exception of me.

MR. BUCHANAN: I felt under pressure the entire show as badly as you did, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did they hold back from each other?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. No, no. I had a tough time getting in and making any comments.

END.