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"THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP" HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MAY 3-4, 2008

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DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One -- Wright On.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's former pastor, delivered a defiant address this week in Washington at the National Press Club. Reverend Wright was asked about this assertion he made shortly after 9/11.

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT: (From videotape.) We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: In response this week, Dr. Wright did not back off. In fact, he said that his statements were based on the Bible.

REV. WRIGHT: (From videotape.) You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic, divisive principles.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pastor Wright was also asked about his previous charge that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as a form of genocide against African-Americans. Again, Wright this week did not back down.

REV. WRIGHT: (From videotape.) Based on the Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- Is Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, deliberately trying to torpedo Obama's campaign? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: No. What the pastor is trying to do, John, is rehabilitate himself, and he doesn't care if it damages Obama. What he did was a selfish and shameful thing, very damaging to Obama. He then went out and said, "Obama is just basically divorcing himself from me because he's a politician, so he's got to do it, wink, wink."

And I think this thing has been very hurtful to Obama in this sense. It has drawn him out of the middle of "He's one of us, a regular guy" over onto the left, where he's got a wacko preacher. He's got this Weatherman bomber friend of his. His wife has never known America to be something to be proud of. And I think it's been overall the most damaging thing to happen to Obama this entire campaign.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Look, I think Reverend Wright is a man of an outsized ego. He was offended that his disciple seemed to distance himself in that speech in Philadelphia.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do we know that? How do we know that he was offended?

MS. CLIFT: I think it's pretty apparent that he was a ticking bomb from then, and also earlier, when he was disinvited from Obama's announcement ceremony. And so, yeah, he was rehabilitating himself, and this was a chance to get Obama back.

But, look, I think Senator Obama handled this the best way that he could. And one of the lingering doubts about him is whether he can land a punch. And he acted decisively, eloquently, showed a little bit of passion, which we haven't seen in him. He's been criticized for being too remote and too cool. So I think that he has reassured the voters and the super-delegates that he is a man that can't be pushed around, that he's tough enough for the job.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's pick that up. Hold on, Monica.

Okay, Obama's dangerous gambit. Senator Obama has now tried to divorce himself from this nightmare former pastor.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL, Democratic presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I've known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person I met 20 years ago. He was never my spiritual mentor. He was my pastor. And so, to some extent, how the press characterized in the past that relationship, I think, wasn't accurate.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- So Obama is saying that Wright is a master of concealment over those 20 years, a gifted chameleon. He has hidden his true colors for two decades from Obama. Can voters trust a man who doesn't know his own pastor's beliefs when, as president, he must make lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court, appointments to his Cabinet? Would he misjudge foreign leaders and adversaries? Would voters think that Obama is just too inexperienced to be the most powerful man in the world?

MS. CROWLEY: All good questions, John, and all questions that have percolated up in light of this Jeremiah Wright stuff. I mean, this pastor (ambition tour ?) has been wholly destructive to the Obama campaign. Look, Reverend Wright, in those clips over the past weekend, his whole theme was "A change is coming. I can feel it." Barack Obama's theme, his slogan for his campaign, is "A change we can believe in."

We know what Jeremiah Wright's version of change is -- black liberation theology that casts America as a villain, a destructive force in the world rather than a force for moral good. The question for Barack Obama, which he has failed to address, is how much of Jeremiah Wright's version of change for America and the world is similar to yours? Where do you agree with him? Where do you disagree with him, and why? This was a call for specificity from Barack Obama, which he has not yet given.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have we established that he was close, that these two men were close? Have we established that?

MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely -- 20 years, sat in the pews.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He officiated -- Wright officiated the marriage --

MS. CROWLEY: Married them, baptized their kids.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- baptized both children. Is he more than just a pastor? MS. CROWLEY: Of course. He was a close friend and confidant, by Obama's own description.

In fact, in his Philadelphia speech, he said, "I can't disavow this man. He is a part of me." So the question now is --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he counsel Obama?

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let her finish.

(Cross-talk.)

MS. CLIFT: This is ridiculous.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor. Let's go to Clarence.

MR. PAGE: I'd like to know where you're getting all this.

MS. CLIFT: Right, exactly.

MR. PAGE: The fact of the matter is, this is a church with 7,000 members on the rolls. Nobody has said Obama spent that much time with Reverend Wright. He does talk about him in his first book, back when they first met 20 years ago. But, you know, even Wright didn't give a direct answer when asked how often did Obama go to church.

The fact of the matter is Obama initially was concerned about getting black support. That was a big reason why he didn't want to make a big break with Reverend Wright right away. But they knew they had a problem around the time of his announcement, Obama's announcement, back when they asked Wright to step aside --

MR. BUCHANAN: But Clarence, do you think Obama is really credible when he says, "I had no idea about this," and everybody did? He sounds either non-credible --

(Cross-talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on. Let Pat finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- non-credible or clueless. MR. PAGE: Let me answer that and my dear friend Monica. Does anybody think that Obama's critics are really credible when they say that Obama believes what Reverend Wright believes?

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. PAGE: I mean, Wright -- a lot of people do.

MS. CLIFT: Monica --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, please. Hold on.

MS. CLIFT: Monica just said that this is a radical black liberation theology that she is suggesting that Barack Obama would bring to the White House.

MS. CROWLEY: No --

MS. CLIFT: Nobody thinks he is a secret radical.

MS. CROWLEY: I did not say that. I said Obama is running as a blank slate. He's not filled in the question marks, and people can only assume that Wright --

MS. CLIFT: And he's going to have a covey of black nationalists on the way to the White House. That's what you're suggesting.

MS. CROWLEY: That's not what I'm saying.

MR. PAGE: Monica, you do make a good point in that he should answer the question for people who don't know him that well.

MS. CROWLEY: Correct.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, here is Wright's view --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- of Obama. Quote -- "We both know that if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected. Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls," unquote. Question -- Has Wright really saved Obama? Clarence Page.

MR. PAGE: I think Wright may have provided Obama with something of a Sister Soulja moment. It would have been more of that if Obama had broken earlier. But at least he did give Obama cover --

MR. BUCHANAN: Clarence, he's saying Obama is a phony, that Obama basically agrees with him.

(Cross-talk.) DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me finish. Look, he's saying he's a phony. "He basically agrees with me, but he's a politician, so he's got to say the things he's saying."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a pragmatist?

MR. BUCHANAN: That is what ticked off --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Hold it, Eleanor. That is what ticked off Obama more than anything and drove him out to make that statement.

MS. CLIFT: And you're saying that Reverend Wright is therefore credible -- the man you just called a wacko about two minutes earlier. (Laughter.) And I believe that Senator Obama got up there and said, "I speak for myself; he doesn't speak for me."

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Why did he not know about this wacko, as we describe him, when he knew him 20 years?

MR. PAGE: Okay, okay, let me repeat.

MS. CLIFT: Because you didn't know --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on.

MS. CLIFT: Because you didn't know what the priests in your church were doing all those years you sat in the pews.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. What about a credible wacko?

Okay, does this put the Rubik's cube together? Less than a year ago, Obama and Wright attended a big conference at Hampton University in Virginia. Eight thousand people were in attendance, most of them Christian ministers, observant ones. And Obama said this from the podium. Wright may be closer to the truth. Obama's own earlier words may validate Wright.

SEN. OBAMA: (From videotape.) I've got to give a special shout out to my pastor, the guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He's a friend and a great leader.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question -- Taken by itself, the Jeremiah Wright storm is not enough to derail Obama's nomination. I think we all agree. But there is the trifecta. We have Wrightgate. We have Rezkogate. MR. PAGE: Which has not bubbled up into anything, I point out.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Rezko's on trial this week and he's going to testify this week.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.

)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we have Bittergate, the Pennsylvania fiasco.

MR. BUCHANAN: And you've got --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does the trifecta have the power to derail Obama's nomination?

MR. BUCHANAN: The answer, I believe, is no. But you've got William Ayers. What has happened, however, is that Obama has been driven out of the center of politics, and we're going to see in Indiana and North Carolina whether he can sustain it or whether the bottom is about to drop out.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear his description of his relationship in that clip with Wright?

MR. BUCHANAN: That proves he is --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was counseled by Wright.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, we saw it. That proves --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's a friend of Wright.

MR. BUCHANAN: We saw it, John. That proves he is either non- credible or clueless.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wright comforts Michelle when she's sorrowing.

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MS. CROWLEY: Over him.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, does that satisfy you that they have --

MS. CLIFT: He is the man that brought him to Jesus, which he writes about at great length.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, whose side are you on? MS. CLIFT: He is a man --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You are decrying his --

MS. CLIFT: There's more than one side, John. He is a man who served honorably in the U.S. military, which a lot of his critics have not. He was so highly regarded, he became a medical corpsman. He was in the detail that took care of President Lyndon John after he left office. He's won all kinds of awards. He's erudite.

He lost it in that Press Club appearance because he's in a battle. He's leaving the stage. It's a generational tug of war. He's seeing his apostle making money with his book, stealing the title from him.

MR. BUCHANAN: He lost it a long time ago.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this question turn on the veracity of Obama, namely that he says, "I didn't know about this side of this man"?

MS. CROWLEY: This is what is undermining his campaign more than anything else, even more than the individual crazy statements by Jeremiah Wright; that is the disingenuousness that you're talking about. Barack Obama for 15 months has flourished in this campaign as the transcendent Messiah/hope guy.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unifier.

MS. CROWLEY: Now he looks like a regular pol, sellout guy, on a par with the Clintons. And it's not working for him.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have -- go ahead.

MR. PAGE: Well, I was going to say, I don't think that Obama's credibility is shot. I think everybody was asking for a man who could transcend race, bring the races together. You know, Jeremiah Wright's views are not that unusual out in the black community, especially in the south side of Chicago. They were somewhat blindsided by Wright's behavior. And, believe me, people in Wright's congregation are disappointed with his behavior, because --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, do you think --

MR. PAGE: I want to make one quick point. You know, black folks in Wright's congregation and elsewhere love Wright. They also love Obama. They don't love the way Wright has been acting towards Obama. And that's why Obama has cover now to break his relationship with Wright.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've got two questions for you. One, do you think Obama trims? MR. PAGE: On the truth? Well, what person running for office does not? But I think if you look around, his trim rate has been pretty low compared to some of the other --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I've got another question, and the other question for you is this. Do you think that while it can be said Wright got him into this mess, Wright got him out, because Wright said he was a pragmatist? Do you think that that's --

MR. BUCHANAN: He said he's a cynical politician, in effect. "I'm a pastor telling the truth and he's a cynical politician not telling the truth."

MR. PAGE: What he said, Pat, was something quite unremarkable, but it was read into.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, when you call a guy a politician, what you're saying is, "Look, wink, wink, he's got to say these things."

(Cross-talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you have the deep character issue about Obama. And he moved it away from that. He says he's behaving like a politician.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you're wrong.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's the lesser of two evils. Do you understand?

MR. BUCHANAN: This is what drove Obama to denounce him -- "because he called me a politician."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know that. You don't know that.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's what Obama said.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got the whole sequence wrong.

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama said it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got the sequence wrong.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. It wasn't that he called him a politician. It was that he said, "He's saying things that he doesn't mean." And I think Obama reacted to that quite well. And I also want to point out, for all of the anchors you've just hung around Obama's neck, they're nothing compared to George W. Bush in the fall around John McCain's neck if Obama gets the nomination.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That makes me feel better. (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: And the economy. MS. CROWLEY: In terms of --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CROWLEY: You're saying did Wright save him from the character issue, but he raised another whole character issue for Barack Obama, which is, has he been lying to us to get elected? And that makes him --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know --

MS. CROWLEY: -- a conventional politician --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know --

MS. CROWLEY: -- which takes away his whole shtick.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know -- all he said was Obama is a pragmatist. Obama is --

MS. CROWLEY: He said, "He's saying what he needs to say to get elected."

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- does not do that?

MS. CROWLEY: But doesn't that equalize Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I think it gets him out of the character problem.

Issue Two -- Shield Us.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): (From videotape.) The longer I serve in Congress, the more firmly I believe in the wisdom of our founders, especially as it pertains to the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right on, Mike. But Thomas Jefferson said this. "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost," unquote." So is the press free today, really free? Journalists argue not quite. Why? Because, if ordered by a court, journalists can be forced to reveal anonymous sources. So reporters have argued in court for a federal shield law for years now, a law that would protect the media from being coerced into disclosing confidential sources, sources that are willing to provide sensitive information only if those sources are not identified.

Some state laws provide journalists such protection, but there is no federal law, mostly because of national security concerns. But times are changing, especially for Republicans. GOP nominee John McCain has announced his support for a national shield law for journalists. But he does so cautiously, because disclosure of certain classified information could threaten national security.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ, Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I must confess there have been times when I worry that the press's interest in getting a scoop occasionally conflicts with other important priorities -- priorities, even the first concern of every American, the security of our nation.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the Arizona senator still comes down on the side of a shield for journalists.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) But it's also a license to do good, to disclose injustice and unlawfulness and inequities, and to encourage their swift correction. Despite concerns I have about the legislation, I have narrowly decided to support it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a heavy burden, isn't it, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Heavy burden? Well, first of all, John McCain is going to welcome any opportunity he can find to separate himself from the White House, because the White House is opposed to a shield law.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: And he now shares this position with the two Democrats that are running, which is where he wants to be, because he's fishing for the same pool of Democrats and independents. But it's also the right position to take, and I think it's one of the reasons that John McCain is admired in the journalistic community. He's a straight talker.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you notice that Jefferson put no limits on that? He said --

MS. CROWLEY: I saw that. John McCain -- he thinks he's being smart here, but this is beyond dumb for him, for two reasons. First of all, this is such a typical mistake conservatives make, especially when they're running for high office. They think that if they can do something to placate the press, the press will be nice to them, be on their side; never happens, no way. McCain has schmoozed the press for a long time -- back in the plane and on the bus, taking bites out of their donuts -- but they still write negative stories about him.

Number two, he is running as the national security candidate in this race. You have had -- over the past couple of years you've had The New York Times, The Washington Post, other big newspapers splash the NSA wiretap story on the front page, data mining, the swift financial tracking of terrorists. You've had all these other stories, national security --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point?

MS. CLIFT: Monica is not a journalist.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point?

MS. CROWLEY: There is a balance to be made under journalistic responsibility not to splash state secrets on the front page, especially --

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, John, let me get into this.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're against the shield law.

MS. CROWLEY: I am against the shield law.

MS. CLIFT: But she's not a journalist.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I am a journalist. Look, the press is not above the law. As a presidential assistant, I had to testify to the grand jury about what the president said. As a journalist I don't? That's preposterous.

MS. CLIFT: We have an administration that shouldn't be above the law. And every one of the instances that Monica cited there, just about, are areas where --

MR. BUCHANAN: Neither should you be above the law.

MS. CLIFT: -- are areas where the American people, represented by the press --

MR. BUCHANAN: Who elected you to represent the American people?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: We're talking about writing the law.

MS. CLIFT: The press is an important part of the democracy, Pat.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let Clarence in.

MR. BUCHANAN: But you're not elected by anybody. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, let Clarence in.

MR. PAGE: I'm enjoying this, really.

MS. CLIFT: The media is not elected, but they are part of the democracy. And there have been many --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, will you let Clarence in? Go ahead.

MR. PAGE: That's why we have lawmakers to write the law. And the fact is, those were good stories you mentioned.

There are others we could talk about as well, because a free press is supposed to be a check on government. That was what Jefferson was talking about.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a one-word answer. Will Congress enact a law, a federal shield law, for the press? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: No. And if they do, the president will veto it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: If not this Congress, they will once we get a new administration, McCain or a Democrat.

MS. CROWLEY: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And what?

MS. CROWLEY: But will veto.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?

MS. CLIFT: Bush is gone.

MR. PAGE: Not this session; maybe the next one.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence is right; the next session.

Okay, the human toll -- U.S. military dead in Iraq, 4,065, one- half 24 years of age and under; U.S. military amputeed, wounded, severely injured, injured, mentally ill, 93,665.

Issue Three -- Where's Your Card?

The U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled that it is constitutional to card voters, not for legal age but for personal identification; namely, that you are who you say you are. The decision was six to three.

Now Indiana's critical primary is coming up Tuesday, and Indiana's voter identification law is one of the strictest in the nation -- no ID, no ballot. The Supreme Court has now said that the Indiana ID requirement is perfectly legal. The GOP loves that decision of the high court, and the Democrats condemn it.

HOWARD DEAN (chairman, Democratic National Committee): (From videotape.) They upheld the right of the Republican Party to restrict the rights of people to vote. I think that was a terrible mistake. And frankly, it was an affront to American democracy.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democrats argue that the Supreme Court's ruling is bad, that it will disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, the minorities. These citizens are the citizens who are all less likely to have adequate ID and, by the way, most likely to vote Democratic.

Question -- Is this ruling a major blow, a minor blow, or no blow for Democrats this fall? I ask you, Pat. You must be rejoicing, you Republicans. I mean, the constituency there is largely Democratic.

MR. BUCHANAN: A lot of illegal aliens are going to be deprived of their right to vote, John.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, come on.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, this is a good law --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let him finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is a good law. It's on the books in 26 states. Indiana offers photographs to people to put on their ID. It stops a lot of voter cheating and fraud, which is a very, very good thing.

MR. PAGE: A lot? How much?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, enough. When you look at what happened in Florida, Clarence --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- numbers on that.

MR. BUCHANAN: When you look at what happened in Florida --

MR. PAGE: How many people go to the trouble of faking their citizenship in order to vote? They're not buying liquor or something important here. It's just a vote.

MR. BUCHANAN: Get a photograph, Clarence, and you can vote. That's all it says. Twenty-six states --

MS. CLIFT: There was not --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, maybe what you're overlooking is organized voting. MR. PAGE: Organized voting?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you want to organize the voters and you don't have this law, you can really organize them.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- there's a whole bunch of people saying, "Oh, boy, I can't wait to sneak in without an ID and vote."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What we need is a national identity card. Isn't that what we all need?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. PAGE: Right, right.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this move us towards it?

MS. CLIFT: No, this is a voter suppression act by another name.

MS. CROWLEY: Oh, come on.

MR. PAGE: Hear, hear.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. And there was no evidence at all of any phony voting. And this is an attempt, really, to control the electorate --

MR. PAGE: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: -- which is what you said in your set-up.

MR. PAGE: It's very simple.

MS. CLIFT: It's the poor and the minorities --

(Cross-talk.)

MS. CLIFT: They don't have the wherewithal to take a day off work to go get their picture taken, and they don't have a driver's license.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have I lost control of this group here? Have I lost control?

MR. PAGE: We're still your beloved children, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish. All of you relinquish. Are we arguing here how sizable the phenomenon is of false voting?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, it's come up in the course of this conversation. But this ruling by the Supreme Court is a completely common-sense ruling. Nobody's preventing anybody from voting. If you're of age, the state provides photo identification. All you have to do is produce it. The state provides it. Prove who you are. MR. PAGE: In some states --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's saying it's --

MS. CROWLEY: The Democratic mantra is, "Vote early and often.

"

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He says it's an unnecessary exercise of state and federal authority.

(Cross-talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to this?

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- government repression.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to this?

MS. CROWLEY: It's a common-sense decision. As Pat points out --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: John, it was a 7-2 decision. Bob Dornan had his election stolen by illegal aliens; a few hundred votes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What party is he a member of?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's a Republican Party --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he a known conservative?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's a conservative. The illegal aliens stole it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he a flamer?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He is.

MS. CLIFT: His election was stolen just like yours was, Pat. The voters made a decision.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did you say, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I said Dornan's election was stolen just like Pat's was. (Laughs.) DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very clear.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- go back and forth. You know, when Democrats in power, they get rid of the law.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look at Dick Daley's Chicago, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, does anyone --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look at Dick Daley's Chicago.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- aside from myself --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- about vote-stealing, look at Florida and Katharine Harris.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does anyone besides myself favor a national identity card?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. PAGE: Not that I know of, John.

MR. BUCHANAN: Don't need it.

MS. CROWLEY: No.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What members of Congress want one?

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, a lot of folks. Some of the illegal immigration guys do.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's from Tennessee?

MR. BUCHANAN: Lamar Alexander.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He likes it. He wrote an op-ed piece on it. What are the benefits of a national identity card?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you can find illegal aliens a lot easier when you say, "Give me your national ID" and they ain't got it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So I would think you would favor that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, no, I don't favor taking away civil liberties of citizens simply because we can't enforce the law against illegal aliens.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: When did this develop in you? MR. BUCHANAN: This libertarian streak?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Civil liberties.

MR. BUCHANAN: It was late in life. (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you a true libertarian?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you read Reason Magazine?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. I'm a traditionalist, John. You know that.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: North Carolina Tuesday.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hillary upset.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Obama.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Obama by a slimmer margin.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Obama by a slimmer margin.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Answer -- Obama.

Indiana Tuesday.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hillary big.

MS. CLIFT: Clinton.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Hillary by four.

MR. PAGE: Hillary.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama narrowly.

Bye-bye.

END.

nd you have the deep character issue about Obama. And he moved it away from that. He says he's behaving like a politician.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, you're wrong.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's the lesser of two evils. Do you understand?

MR. BUCHANAN: This is what drove Obama to denounce him -- "because he called me a politician."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know that. You don't know that.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's what Obama said.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got the whole sequence wrong.

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama said it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You've got the sequence wrong.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. It wasn't that he called him a politician. It was that he said, "He's saying things that he doesn't mean." And I think Obama reacted to that quite well. And I also want to point out, for all of the anchors you've just hung around Obama's neck, they're nothing compared to George W. Bush in the fall around John McCain's neck if Obama gets the nomination.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That makes me feel better. (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: And the economy. MS. CROWLEY: In terms of --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MS. CROWLEY: You're saying did Wright save him from the character issue, but he raised another whole character issue for Barack Obama, which is, has he been lying to us to get elected? And that makes him --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know --

MS. CROWLEY: -- a conventional politician --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know --

MS. CROWLEY: -- which takes away his whole shtick.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know -- all he said was Obama is a pragmatist. Obama is --

MS. CROWLEY: He said, "He's saying what he needs to say to get elected."

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- does not do that?

MS. CROWLEY: But doesn't that equalize Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I think it gets him out of the character problem.

Issue Two -- Shield Us.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): (From videotape.) The longer I serve in Congress, the more firmly I believe in the wisdom of our founders, especially as it pertains to the First Amendment and freedom of the press.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right on, Mike. But Thomas Jefferson said this. "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost," unquote." So is the press free today, really free? Journalists argue not quite. Why? Because, if ordered by a court, journalists can be forced to reveal anonymous sources. So reporters have argued in court for a federal shield law for years now, a law that would protect the media from being coerced into disclosing confidential sources, sources that are willing to provide sensitive information only if those sources are not identified.

Some state laws provide journalists such protection, but there is no federal law, mostly because of national security concerns. But times are changing, especially for Republicans. GOP nominee John McCain has announced his support for a national shield law for journalists. But he does so cautiously, because disclosure of certain classified information could threaten national security.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ, Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) I must confess there have been times when I worry that the press's interest in getting a scoop occasionally conflicts with other important priorities -- priorities, even the first concern of every American, the security of our nation.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the Arizona senator still comes down on the side of a shield for journalists.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) But it's also a license to do good, to disclose injustice and unlawfulness and inequities, and to encourage their swift correction. Despite concerns I have about the legislation, I have narrowly decided to support it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a heavy burden, isn't it, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Heavy burden? Well, first of all, John McCain is going to welcome any opportunity he can find to separate himself from the White House, because the White House is opposed to a shield law.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MS. CLIFT: And he now shares this position with the two Democrats that are running, which is where he wants to be, because he's fishing for the same pool of Democrats and independents. But it's also the right position to take, and I think it's one of the reasons that John McCain is admired in the journalistic community. He's a straight talker.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you notice that Jefferson put no limits on that? He said --

MS. CROWLEY: I saw that. John McCain -- he thinks he's being smart here, but this is beyond dumb for him, for two reasons. First of all, this is such a typical mistake conservatives make, especially when they're running for high office. They think that if they can do something to placate the press, the press will be nice to them, be on their side; never happens, no way. McCain has schmoozed the press for a long time -- back in the plane and on the bus, taking bites out of their donuts -- but they still write negative stories about him.

Number two, he is running as the national security candidate in this race. You have had -- over the past couple of years you've had The New York Times, The Washington Post, other big newspapers splash the NSA wiretap story on the front page, data mining, the swift financial tracking of terrorists. You've had all these other stories, national security --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point?

MS. CLIFT: Monica is not a journalist.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point?

MS. CROWLEY: There is a balance to be made under journalistic responsibility not to splash state secrets on the front page, especially --

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, John, let me get into this.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're against the shield law.

MS. CROWLEY: I am against the shield law.

MS. CLIFT: But she's not a journalist.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I am a journalist. Look, the press is not above the law. As a presidential assistant, I had to testify to the grand jury about what the president said. As a journalist I don't? That's preposterous.

MS. CLIFT: We have an administration that shouldn't be above the law. And every one of the instances that Monica cited there, just about, are areas where --

MR. BUCHANAN: Neither should you be above the law.

MS. CLIFT: -- are areas where the American people, represented by the press --

MR. BUCHANAN: Who elected you to represent the American people?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: We're talking about writing the law.

MS. CLIFT: The press is an important part of the democracy, Pat.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let Clarence in.

MR. BUCHANAN: But you're not elected by anybody. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, let Clarence in.

MR. PAGE: I'm enjoying this, really.

MS. CLIFT: The media is not elected, but they are part of the democracy. And there have been many --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, will you let Clarence in? Go ahead.

MR. PAGE: That's why we have lawmakers to write the law. And the fact is, those were good stories you mentioned.

There are others we could talk about as well, because a free press is supposed to be a check on government. That was what Jefferson was talking about.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me a one-word answer. Will Congress enact a law, a federal shield law, for the press? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: No. And if they do, the president will veto it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: If not this Congress, they will once we get a new administration, McCain or a Democrat.

MS. CROWLEY: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And what?

MS. CROWLEY: But will veto.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes or no?

MS. CLIFT: Bush is gone.

MR. PAGE: Not this session; maybe the next one.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence is right; the next session.

Okay, the human toll -- U.S. military dead in Iraq, 4,065, one- half 24 years of age and under; U.S. military amputeed, wounded, severely injured, injured, mentally ill, 93,665.

Issue Three -- Where's Your Card?

The U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled that it is constitutional to card voters, not for legal age but for personal identification; namely, that you are who you say you are. The decision was six to three.

Now Indiana's critical primary is coming up Tuesday, and Indiana's voter identification law is one of the strictest in the nation -- no ID, no ballot. The Supreme Court has now said that the Indiana ID requirement is perfectly legal. The GOP loves that decision of the high court, and the Democrats condemn it.

HOWARD DEAN (chairman, Democratic National Committee): (From videotape.) They upheld the right of the Republican Party to restrict the rights of people to vote. I think that was a terrible mistake. And frankly, it was an affront to American democracy.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democrats argue that the Supreme Court's ruling is bad, that it will disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, the minorities. These citizens are the citizens who are all less likely to have adequate ID and, by the way, most likely to vote Democratic.

Question -- Is this ruling a major blow, a minor blow, or no blow for Democrats this fall? I ask you, Pat. You must be rejoicing, you Republicans. I mean, the constituency there is largely Democratic.

MR. BUCHANAN: A lot of illegal aliens are going to be deprived of their right to vote, John.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, come on.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, this is a good law --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let him finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is a good law. It's on the books in 26 states. Indiana offers photographs to people to put on their ID. It stops a lot of voter cheating and fraud, which is a very, very good thing.

MR. PAGE: A lot? How much?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, enough. When you look at what happened in Florida, Clarence --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- numbers on that.

MR. BUCHANAN: When you look at what happened in Florida --

MR. PAGE: How many people go to the trouble of faking their citizenship in order to vote? They're not buying liquor or something important here. It's just a vote.

MR. BUCHANAN: Get a photograph, Clarence, and you can vote. That's all it says. Twenty-six states --

MS. CLIFT: There was not --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, maybe what you're overlooking is organized voting. MR. PAGE: Organized voting?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you want to organize the voters and you don't have this law, you can really organize them.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- there's a whole bunch of people saying, "Oh, boy, I can't wait to sneak in without an ID and vote."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What we need is a national identity card. Isn't that what we all need?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. PAGE: Right, right.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this move us towards it?

MS. CLIFT: No, this is a voter suppression act by another name.

MS. CROWLEY: Oh, come on.

MR. PAGE: Hear, hear.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. And there was no evidence at all of any phony voting. And this is an attempt, really, to control the electorate --

MR. PAGE: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: -- which is what you said in your set-up.

MR. PAGE: It's very simple.

MS. CLIFT: It's the poor and the minorities --

(Cross-talk.)

MS. CLIFT: They don't have the wherewithal to take a day off work to go get their picture taken, and they don't have a driver's license.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have I lost control of this group here? Have I lost control?

MR. PAGE: We're still your beloved children, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish. All of you relinquish. Are we arguing here how sizable the phenomenon is of false voting?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, it's come up in the course of this conversation. But this ruling by the Supreme Court is a completely common-sense ruling. Nobody's preventing anybody from voting. If you're of age, the state provides photo identification. All you have to do is produce it. The state provides it. Prove who you are. MR. PAGE: In some states --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's saying it's --

MS. CROWLEY: The Democratic mantra is, "Vote early and often.

"

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He says it's an unnecessary exercise of state and federal authority.

(Cross-talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to this?

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- government repression.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to this?

MS. CROWLEY: It's a common-sense decision. As Pat points out --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: John, it was a 7-2 decision. Bob Dornan had his election stolen by illegal aliens; a few hundred votes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What party is he a member of?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's a Republican Party --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he a known conservative?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's a conservative. The illegal aliens stole it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he a flamer?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He is.

MS. CLIFT: His election was stolen just like yours was, Pat. The voters made a decision.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did you say, Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: I said Dornan's election was stolen just like Pat's was. (Laughs.) DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very clear.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- go back and forth. You know, when Democrats in power, they get rid of the law.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look at Dick Daley's Chicago, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, does anyone --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look at Dick Daley's Chicago.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- aside from myself --

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- about vote-stealing, look at Florida and Katharine Harris.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does anyone besides myself favor a national identity card?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. PAGE: Not that I know of, John.

MR. BUCHANAN: Don't need it.

MS. CROWLEY: No.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What members of Congress want one?

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, a lot of folks. Some of the illegal immigration guys do.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's from Tennessee?

MR. BUCHANAN: Lamar Alexander.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He likes it. He wrote an op-ed piece on it. What are the benefits of a national identity card?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you can find illegal aliens a lot easier when you say, "Give me your national ID" and they ain't got it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So I would think you would favor that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, no, I don't favor taking away civil liberties of citizens simply because we can't enforce the law against illegal aliens.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: When did this develop in you? MR. BUCHANAN: This libertarian streak?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Civil liberties.

MR. BUCHANAN: It was late in life. (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you a true libertarian?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you read Reason Magazine?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. I'm a traditionalist, John. You know that.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: North Carolina Tuesday.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hillary upset.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Obama.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Obama by a slimmer margin.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Obama by a slimmer margin.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Answer -- Obama.

Indiana Tuesday.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hillary big.

MS. CLIFT: Clinton.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Hillary by four.

MR. PAGE: Hillary.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama narrowly.

Bye-bye.

END.