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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,
LAWRENCE KUDLOW, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL TAPED SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 19-20, 1998 .STX

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: December 19, 1998, appointment with history.

HOUSE CLERK: (From videotape.) The resolution impeaching William Jefferson Clinton, president of the UnitedStates, for high crimes and misdemeanors --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was true history in the making. For the first time in our nation's history, an electedpresident -- Andrew Johnson succeeded Abraham Lincoln upon Lincoln's assassination -- has been impeached by the House ofRepresentatives.

Article I: "William Jefferson Clinton provided perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to the grand jury."Passed, 228, yes; 206, no.

Article II: "Perjurious testimony to questions and depositions on civil rights action." Failed, 229, no; 205,yes.

Article III: "William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional duty, has prevented, obstructed, andimpeded the administration of justice." Passed, 221, yes; 212, no.

Article IV: "Willfully made perjurious, false, misleading sworn statements in response to certain written requestsfor admission, sent by the House." Failed, no, 285; yes, 148.

So now it is official, part of our American heritage and the Clinton legacy; the 42nd president of the UnitedStates has been impeached.

Question: What is the impact of two articles of impeachment, perjury and obstruction of justice, being voted onaffirmatively on Saturday, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Very grave, John. What the House has said is the president of the United States is indicted forperjury and a conspiracy to obstruct justice in a federal investigation, and he did it before a federal grand jury. Whatthis says and the fact that the Republicans took such heat and such a beating from the press, the polls, the War Room, andeveryone, to send this over to the Senate, makes it virtually impossible for the Republicans in the Senate to cut any kindof insider deal to settle this thing. This is going to trial.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think if it were limited to the one article of grand jury perjury, it would have been easier todispense with, because, after all, that perjury comes down not whether the president admitted to this relationship, but thefact that he didn't go into details in saying who touched who, when, and where. And I don't think that would have passedthe dignity test, even what's left of it, on Capitol Hill.

But expanding it to the third article, on obstruction of justice, expands a potential trial, because you havedifferent witnesses with conflicting testimony; you have to call in the whole parade of people and quiz them. Frankly, Ithink it increases the pressure to reach some sort of censure. They may have to have opening arguments and launch into atrial, but I would think that rational minds will devise a tough censure that short-circuits a trial or shortcuts it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Larry, do you think these two articles reach the level of a conviction in the Senate?

MR. KUDLOW: Well, not yet, but I agree with Pat that it's really -- it raises the ante quite a bit. And I thinkyou're going to have a situation where the Senate's going to want to call people like Betty Currie and Bruce Lindsey andother people. Once that door is opened just a little bit, it's going to be all the way open. It's going to extend it.It's going to make it more serious. The whole trial atmosphere is going to change. And frankly, I don't think anybody cantell the outcome right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think a trial would cause gridlock in the Senate, Lawrence?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, it would -- it might. It doesn't have to. Impeachments in the past have proceeded for justa few hours a day, and the Senate has taken up other business. The Senate at any time, by its own decision, can pause totake up other business.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the two articles and their impact, versus one?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, it's peculiar that the article on perjury in the civil deposition, the thing that got all ofthis started, did not pass. And for the public -- the two-thirds of the public that supports Clinton remaining in office,it's going to be very peculiar to make the case to them that he should be removed from office for things that happenedafter that deposition, which was what brought us into this in the first place.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can we talk briefly about the partisan nature and the division in the House on this vote? It istrue that this is partially blunted by Republicans, who in at least one vote crossed over to the tune over 10 percent -- Ibelieve there are 81 who crossed over on --

MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm. (Affirmative.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- was it the second article or the fourth?

MR. BUCHANAN: The -- both the second and the fourth got beat badly. I think the fourth --

MS. CLIFT: Well, the second and the fourth didn't pass. I mean --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I understand that.

MS. CLIFT: They had no credibility at all. (Chuckles.)

MR. BUCHANAN: -- the fourth got beat worse.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which means that the Republicans crossed over --

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- whereas only 5 percent of the Democrats did. Does that relieve the partisan nature of the voteat all, would you say, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't think so, John. The president of the United States has been indicted basically on partyline, with five Democrats, I think, coming across in both votes, and Republicans, frankly -- some of them -- sloughing offon the obstruction of justice.

But clearly this is what makes it imperative that -- the Senate Republicans, John, will be cutting their throats ifthey move to some insider deal, after these people have gone through unshirted hell to get this over there. They can't doit.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but what -- going -- putting everybody through a trial --

MR. BUCHANAN: That is -- everybody can --

MS. CLIFT: -- where they are unlikely to win, just to please the right wing of the party --

MR. BUCHANAN: But Eleanor, what you don't --

MS. CLIFT: -- this is partisan-driven.

MR. BUCHANAN: But --

MS. CLIFT: And the fact that the Democrats staged a walkout, the fact that the Democrats are standing with thepresident --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Excuse me, Pat. Excuse me.

MS. CLIFT: -- makes it very different from President Nixon's experience.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the thunderbolt:

(Beginning of videotaped sequence from the House floor on Saturday, December 19th, 1998.)

SPEAKER-DESIGNATE ROBERT LIVINGSTON (R-LA): You, sir, may resign your post. (Jeers, shouts, chorus of noes fromrepresentatives.)

(Repeated striking of the gavel.)

(End of videotaped sequence.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Democrats booed the idea of Clinton resigning, but they did not know, nor did anyone elseknow, what Livingston had in mind at this stunning moment.

REP. ROBERT L. LIVINGSTON (R-LA): (From videotape.) So I must set the example that I hope President Clinton willfollow; I will not stand for speaker of the House on January 6th.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Will the Livingston resignation exert any leverage on President Clinton to do the same,Eleanor Clift?

MS. CLIFT: Oh, exactly not.

First of all, dressing up Mr. Livingston's resignation as an act of courage is totally misplaced. First of all,there is likely more to come, which is why he is running away from more exposure and embarrassment. And second, he waslosing support within his own Republican Caucus with the Taliban Republicans on a moral crusade wanting him out.

And the president is not going to run away from a fight that he is likely to win.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it not true that when Gingrich resigned, that brought momentum back to the --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, Bob --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- legislative activity of the Republicans?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, Bob Livingston showed how a man ought to behave when he is engaged in a personal scandalthat's deeply embarrassing, as opposed to the adolescent sitting in the Oval Office, who is as unmanly as he could be,lying and conniving and hiding for eight months.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Livingston's conduct involve crime?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it does not. It involves a personal scandal, which is strictly personal.

MR. O'DONNELL: But, Pat, the way Livingston should have behaved, in this of all years, is he never should havestood for speaker in the first place; he alone, knowing what his background --

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't disagree with that.

MS. CLIFT: Or if he can defend his behavior, to stand up and defend it.

MR. KUDLOW: Maybe so. Maybe so. But the fact remains --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Let me hear from Larry.

MR. KUDLOW: You may be right on that point. But the fact remains; politicians in this day don't act like that.And you have to give Livingston credit. He took a moral, almost a spiritual, position. Basically, he got up there, and heacknowledged this problem. And basically, the raised the bar of moral standards. And I think that is something we need.

MS. CLIFT: And do you think he would have done that if he thought he still had the votes in his caucus?

MR. KUDLOW: Eleanor, I don't -- I think --

MS. CLIFT: Oh, look --

MR. KUDLOW: -- Eleanor, it's a very good point.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Clears his throat.)

MR. BUCHANAN: The point is he did it.

MR. KUDLOW: And it's a very good point.

MS. CLIFT: Ah, come on.

MR. BUCHANAN: He did it.

MS. CLIFT: You know, there is morality also --

MR. KUDLOW: You have to acknowledge --

MS. CLIFT: -- in getting up and saying -- let me finish --

MR. KUDLOW: -- look, cut him a little slack.

MS. CLIFT: There is morality also in getting up and facing the criticism and facing the embarrassment, andapologizing, and getting up and fighting another day.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. What does Mr. Clinton himself think about resignation?

(Begin videotape clip.)

Q At what point do you consider that it's just not worth it and you'd consider resigning from office?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: (Chuckles, laughter.) Never. And I have no intention of resigning. It's never crossed mymind.

(End of videotape clip.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What are the virtues of a resignation for Clinton, Larry Kudlow?

MR. KUDLOW: Well, it depends what's out there. One virtue is he won't be raked over the coals if there is a lot-- additional evidence. The second virtue might be, he might be able to preserve his personal life, his family life, hismarried --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we are talking about the avoidance of shame? He is already --

MR. O'DONNELL: But -- yeah but, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- the first elected president ever to have been impeached?

MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah, but Jesse Jackson himself --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He could also become the first president ever having to have been convicted. You have tocalculate that.

MR. O'DONNELL: But no less a defender of Clinton than Jesse Jackson has said that Bill Clinton is immune to shame.So there is no value for him in resigning. He will never resign.

MS. CLIFT: Also, the odds are that he is going to prevail in the Senate. So why would he bow to this crusade?And second of all, the Republicans first say impeachment is no big deal, it's just a super punishment, we're just referringto the Senate; then they say it's so grave he ought to resign.

MR. BUCHANAN: Impeachment is a matter of law; resignation is a matter of honor. That is why he will not resign.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, give me the variables that could come into play, the factors that could --

MR. BUCHANAN: The only way he will resign is if they come down to him and say, "Sir, we've dropped under 34 votes,you're going out of here and you're going right to Starr's indictment."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the public polls, if they drop, and where would they have to drop to for him to take itseriously?

MR. BUCHANAN: Thirty-three senators.

MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah, and it would be five minutes before the vote. If you tell him the night before the vote thathe's losing, he'll stay on the phone all night. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Suppose there is a resignation of one, two or three of his Cabinet officers?

MR. KUDLOW: Sure. I mean, that could be one of the important triggers.

MS. CLIFT: Why are they going to be resigning?

MR. KUDLOW: The other trigger is additional evidence. The third trigger is the state of the country. Look, aresignation could save us a year's worth of painful trials in the Senate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is another methodology in the 25th Amendment for the country to evacuate a president.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Don't count on it, John.

MR. BUCHANAN: Who, Al Gore's going to say he's disabled, along with a majority of Congress?

MS. CLIFT: And this is really McCarthy-esque, citing the possibility of more evidence.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also, the United States Congress acting with Al Gore. But I think that's pretty far down the road.

Okay, this is what Clinton had to say about the Nixon resignation: "I think it's plain that the president shouldresign and spare the country the agony of this impeachment and removal proceeding." "I think the country could be spared alot of the agony and the government could worry about inflation and a lot of other problems if he would go on and resign."He said this in 1974. "No question that an admission of making false statements to government officials and interferingwith the FBI and the CIA is an impeachable offense."

Do you think that the recollection of those utterances by himself might incline him to reconsider resignation?

MR. O'DONNELL: I think I alone on this panel don't regret anything I said in 1974. (Laughing.)

MS. CLIFT: No, me, too. (Laughing.)

MR. O'DONNELL: Look, he's obviously not -- he's not going to resign. There's no chance of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you know, it is unrealistic that when the -- the leverage that can be brought to bear by pollsand the other variables we've discussed, it becomes very unrealistic for him to stay in office.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, as long as he's got 34 senators, he believes he can redeem himself -- because he's got twomore years -- even after the trial.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If he does resign, if he does resign, will this cause any economic trauma to the United States?And I would take note that when JFK was tragically assassinated, on the day of the assassination the market went down 2.8percent before it was shut down. Three days later it was up 4.5 percent, and six weeks later it was up 7.8 percent. Onthe day that Nixon made his resignation speech, the market went down 1.5 percent. One day later it was up under 1 percent,and for a period of six trading days it went down 7 percent. But that was because Jerry Ford failed to appoint, it isconstrued, Nelson Rockefeller as vice president. Then the market went up 7 percent. (Laughter.) Excuse me -- then themarket stabilized --

MR. BUCHANAN: How did the NASDAQ do? (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then the market stabilized and it actually went up.

MR. KUDLOW: But I think the point is the stock market is strong and the economy is very prosperous. This, by theway, avoids the resignation scenario. I don't think Mr. Clinton's resignation or any of this is going to affect themarket. Politics and government are not that important any more, as long as Alan Greenspan remains chairman of the Fed.

MR. O'DONNELL: And if he's removed from office, this transition would be even smoother. Al Gore is Bill Clinton;much closer than any of the vice presidents --

MS. CLIFT: I'll tell you, though, the Republicans, by forcing this on partisan lines, if the economy dips, I knowwho gets the blame in 2000.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: I am presuming here that we're not going to spend time talking about censurebecause it's practically out of the question.

MS. CLIFT: No, it isn't.

MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, not at all, John.

MS. CLIFT: Not at all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not at all?

MR. O'DONNELL: Not at all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Now you can speak to that for 10 seconds, sir.

MR. O'DONNELL: There are senators, Democratic senators, working on it right now. It will be difficult, but it'sbeing worked on right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are the odds of anything happening in the direction of censure?

MR. O'DONNELL: I'd say about a 60 percent chance.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: 60 percent! What would you say?

MS. CLIFT: I'd put it at 75, and Senator Bob Dole's got his hand in that one --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What would you say?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, I think the trial is going to start and go forward.

MS. CLIFT: Well, yeah, but that doesn't mean censure can't happen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, don't you think that -- you said earlier that you felt censure was out of the questionbecause of the magnitude of the hit on the judiciary system of the country --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I said -- I say --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- by reason of these impeachment articles.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. That is why they're not going to go to any kind of deal-cutting right now, before the trialbegins --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, after the trial it could be done?

MS. CLIFT (?): Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, then the magnitude of the offense is still there, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, it is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it would preclude it then.

Yes?

MR. KUDLOW: Look, Trent Lott and the Senate leadership, Republican Senate leadership, know that the spotlight ison them. They've had a really bad year with all the attention on Gingrich. In fact, they've had four bad years. They aredetermined they're --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying -- what's the percentage, 10? 20?

MR. KUDLOW: Oh, I think it's about 5 to 10 percent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Once again, Larry Kudlow, coming down from New York to do this show, is right on the money.(Laughter.)

We'll be right back.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Wag the Bagh?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) Earlier today I ordered America's armed forces to strike military andsecurity targets in Iraq. This situation presents a clear and present danger.

KOFI ANNAN (secretary-general of the United Nations): (From videotape.) This is a sad day for the United Nationsand for the world. My thoughts tonight are with the people of Iraq and with the 307 United Nations humanitarian workerswho remain in the country, and with all others whose lives are in danger.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: U.S. forces bombed Iraq this week in the largest military campaign undertaken by President Clintonsince he took office six years ago. The White House said the decision to attack was based on a report submitted to theU.N. Tuesday by UNSCOM -- U.N. Special Commission -- Chief Richard Butler.

The president told the nation Wednesday night that the attack was triggered by this Butler report. But is thattrue? The time line into the bombing itself shows that the president ordered airstrikes 48 hours before he saw the report.Former UNSCOM inspector Scott Ritter, furthermore, moved the date three weeks earlier -- not 48 hours, three weeks earlier.Ritter says that U.S. government sources confided in him three weeks ago that one of the two key factors behind the currentbombing is the Clinton impeachment. Quote, "You have no choice but to interpret this as "Wag the Dog," which is areference to the motion picture where a president concocts a war to protect himself against a sexual embarrassment.

More importantly, there is another report that was filed with the UNSCOM report: the International Atomic EnergyAgency report. The IAEA worked hand in glove with UNSCOM. The agency is charged with determining any Iraqi clandestinenuclear weapons capabilities. This week the IAEA filed a companion separate report, accompanying the UNSCOM report, thatwent largely unnoticed. In it, the IAEA gives Iraq a clean nuclear bill of health, describing Iraq's level of cooperationas, quote, "efficient and effective," unquote.

Why is it, then, that Commander in Chief Clinton cited the Iraqi nuclear program as a principal threat?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the worldwith nuclear arms, poison gas, or biological weapons.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The question is, if Mr. Clinton is falsifying the nuclear capability of Iraq, is he alsofalsifying its biological and chemical capability, overstating dangers, and exaggerating Iraq's noncompliance?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological weaponsprograms.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And if it is falsification, is it the equivalent of when he also looked us in the eye and saidthis?

PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen tome. I'm going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: In light of this, does the military operation truly have the smell of "Wag the Dog,"Lawrence O'Donnell?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, as the old-line lefty and antiwar protestor that I am, I naturally find myself in completeagreement with the Republican leader of the Senate, Trent Lott, when he said both the timing and the policy are subject toquestion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you think there's a smell there?

MR. O'DONNELL: Absolutely. I think -- I agree that, you know, all of his advisers advised him to do this. Butthey have advised him to do it before, and the question is, what made the final decision-maker, Bill Clinton, decide to doit on this day?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did the president lie about a phantom Iraqi nuclear capability?

MR. O'DONNELL: I wouldn't call it lying. I think it's an exaggerated element in the story. We certainly don'thave that as a worldwide policy, or we would have bombed Pakistan, you know, quite a while ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think it's because the word "nuclear" makes everyone start to sweat, and what we havehere is the big lie technique; you say it often enough, and people start to believe it --

MR. BUCHANAN: That's -- John, that's --

MS. CLIFT: John, you have lots of good reasons to go after the president; this is not a good reason. You'rereally reaching. You're using legalisms even more than the president does.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Eleanor, I think this -- I have to disagree -- excuse me, I have to disagree with you. Ithink it's probably more important than the reason he's been gone after.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the secretary of defense, William Cohen, and a career soldier, General Shelton, have both stakedtheir 30-year careers on the integrity of this mission.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I can recall --

MS. CLIFT: I think most American people understand that Saddam is a ruthless dictator who we have the right to --(inaudible due to cross talk).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I can recall government officers of comparable standing who stood around him in the Rose Gardenbefore he uttered that statement that we just heard.

MS. CLIFT: So it's a conspiracy on the left. (Chuckles.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, look, look, I think it -- you can't say, "A big lie." It's clearly an exaggeration. Thenuclear program's been taken care of, John, and he did not attack the gas plants and chemical plants for fear they wouldblow up and spread there.

But John, the real issue here and the one that's going to be coming up is this damnable -- excuse me -- sanctions,which have killed 239,000 children under 5 in the last 10 years. This the beginning of the end of this policy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well -- yeah. Actually, your figures are low; UNICEF says 750,000, and a quarter of a millionadults.

MR. KUDLOW: Well, okay, that's -- the humanitarian --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But I want to ask you this: Do you sense here that Richard Butler has been co-opted by the UnitedStates?

MR. KUDLOW: Well, yeah, I mean, that -- the circumstantial evidence suggests that. And Kofi Annan is leaking thatto various reporters.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you read the report in the Washington Post which said that he actually drafted the language ofthis flimsy, slipshod report, 10 pages --

MR. KUDLOW: With help -- with help from the National Security Council --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- which I happen to have read, with the help of Americans, behind closed doors on Monday at theU.S. mission in New York City? He drafted the language with them. Why was Butler --

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. KUDLOW: The answer --

MR. O'DONNELL: But was Butler trying to co-opt the Americans? Which way did the co-option go?

MS. CLIFT: No --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In either case, is it a happy marriage? It appears to be so with this administration, right?

MS. CLIFT: The British government and the U.S. government clearly wanted to move on this. They have had thisentrained since the last time Bill Clinton backed down more than a month ago. And so you're accusing people ofmanufacturing reasons to go in and exercise the bombing.

MR. KUDLOW: But the real issue here, you can't talk about this --

And now when the bombing -- please --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. Quickly.

MS. CLIFT: And now when the bombing is over, we need new thinking. The sanctions should be lifted and a newpolicy of engagement --

MR. O'DONNELL: You can't talk about this unless you deal with the collapse of the price of oil, which means thatthe Middle East situation is far less significant.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can I get you back on another program to talk about that?

We'll be right back with the predictions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction. Will Clinton serve out his full term?

MR. BUCHANAN: Almost surely, John, unless some new issue comes in that's dynamite.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm interpreting that as a yes.

Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Yes. And if they go through a trial and he's acquitted, he'll look better in the history books thanhis accusers.

MR. KUDLOW: I'm not sure. But the economy will prosper and so will the stock market, with him or without him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you playing this game or not?

MR. KUDLOW: I'm not sure. It's 50-50.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is sure?

MR. KUDLOW: Fifty-fifty.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty-fifty?

MR. KUDLOW: Fifty-fifty.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A cop-out.

MR. O'DONNELL: He will serve out his term, but he will probably have to sign his name on a censure deal brokeredin the Senate by Pat Moynihan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The IAEA, by the way, is 41 years old and has 2,200 workers. It's located in Vienna and is one ofthe most respected agencies in the world.

The answer is no, he will not serve out his term.

Next week, the long-awaited, much-anticipated 17th annual McLaughlin Group Year-End Awards.

Bye-bye.®FC¯END REGULAR SEGMENT

®FL¯ PBS SEGMENT

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three. Bulletin: Republican backbone regenerated. The Republican Party, an uncertaintrumpet, at best, and a mush pile, at worst, through much of the Clinton criminal spree has suddenly burst into its finesthour. It has become the party of principle, no matter what the potential cost. That is a rare and thrilling politicalphenomenon these days. Suddenly this is a party to cheer. After months of waffling. appeasement and division, the GOP hasaligned itself with the rule of law and the Constitution, and in doing so, handed the rogue president and his bankruptDemocratic Party its worst nightmare.

Question: Assuming that Ray Carrison is right, what accounts for the GOP's new principle? Principles. Living byprinciples. I ask you.

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, I have a lot of trouble with the assumption, John. (Laughter.) They're not living byprinciples. They, like the Democrats, are living by polls. Their polls of their base say THIS is what we must do in thissituation. The Democratic Party's polls of its base say THIS is what you must do in this situation. They're both playingthe polls.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that the elections have something to do with us, that they saw that theabandonment of principle really didn't work?

MR. BUCHANAN: The departure of Newt had something to do with this.

MR. KUDLOW: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: Because Newt would have worked out some kind of compromise. Excuse me. But listen, Carrison (sp)is a courageous columnist. And coming from him, it is a very high praise indeed, John. They deserve every bit of it.They stood up against the press, the establishment, the polls -- everything.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Are you saying that Newt and the people that he was surrounded with were toocrafty, too calculating, and too less adhering of principles?

MR. KUDLOW: Too compromised. Yes. Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think Newt, after that election, would have moved to a compromise and a censure.

MR. KUDLOW: Just say it. No, no -- (inaudible). Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say? Do you agree with that?

MR. KUDLOW: But if I had a dime for every time Mr. Gingrich flip-flopped during his speakership, I would be veryrich. But the point about -- that Carrison (sp) is making is they are off to the right start on the first principles. Butthey must continue now on taxes, on Social Security, on school choice, on late-term abortions, on things of that nature.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. No, but -- yeah, but the Republicans --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Affirmative action? On immigration policy?

MR. KUDLOW: So in other words, the first principles is the way for the Republicans to come back, and they have gotto stick to them now.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think they could also fall hard -- hoist on their petard?

MS. CLIFT: Yes. Yes. (Laughter.)

MR. KUDLOW: If you --

MS. CLIFT: That's what's going to happen; I mean, David Schippers, your favorite prosecutor, said, "We don't --shouldn't pay attention to a lousy election." I mean, the people in this country are essentially moderate, middle-groundpeople. And the Republican Party is veering right off to the far right --

MR. KUDLOW: They're exactly like me -- moderate, middle ground.

MS. CLIFT: -- paying attention to their core base of their rabid Republicans --

MR. KUDLOW: All I want is a moderate, middle-ground --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Excuse me. I want to ask Pat this: Will this bring back the angry white males --(chuckles) -- the adherence to principles?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think what it will do -- this will energize the Republican base, as nothing has happenedever since the Republicans took over the House of Representatives --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I ask you this: Is the timing right for this? Does the country want this?

MR. O'DONNELL: The country does not want this.

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. O'DONNELL: But the country -- three weeks into a Gore presidency, if Clinton is removed, the country will say,"Aha, this is better."

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. KUDLOW: All I am saying is --

(End of audio.)

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