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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP


HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



YEAR-END AWARDS, PART TWO



JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,


CLARENCE PAGE, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL



TAPED DECEMBER 9, 1998


AIRED THE WEEKEND OF JANUARY 1, 1999



.STX



 


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COPYRIGHT* 1998 BY FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE GROUP, INC., WASHINGTON, DC 20045, USA. NO PORTION OF THIS TRANSCRIPT MAY BE COPIED, SOLD, OR RETRANSMITTED WITHOUT THE WRITTEN AUTHORITY OF FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE GROUP, INC..



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ANNOUNCER: GE is proud to support the McLaughlin Group. From plastics to power generation, GE: We bring good things to life.



(Music: "Entry of the Gladiators.")



ANNOUNCER: It's the 17th annual McLaughlin Group Year-End Awards, 1998, part two.



Now here's the master of ceremonies, John McLaughlin.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The envelope, please, Clarence.



MR. PAGE: Yes. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The envelope, please.



MR. PAGE: (Laughing.) Yeah.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, you're perfecting that handoff. (Laughter.)



MR. PAGE: I'm working on it. Thank you.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's a big improvement over last week.



MR. BUCHANAN: He's with Pricewaterhouse.



MR. PAGE: Just like (Rita Hatcher ?), John. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's see what we got here.



Destined for political stardom in '99, Pat Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: Someone that's got the best shot at it is a fellow named J.C. Watts, who's a minority member, who is from Oklahoma, was a quarterback, has just joined the leadership of the Republican Party -- articulate, charismatic, Christian, conservative -- a real chance for stardom.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you're absolutely right, Pat.



Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Gray Davis, new governor of California, who, despite his name, will act with great color in fashioning a practical reform agenda for education and restoring California public schools to the prominence they had a generation ago.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I believe that, too.



MS. CLIFT: Okay.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?



MR. PAGE: This is my worst category, John; you know that. Year after year -- (laughter) -- I have predicted rising stars who have just plummeted, boom, over the brink into oblivion by Valentine's Day. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why, you put a hex on them --



MR. PAGE: I don't -- it wasn't intentional. (Laughter.)



(Laughing.) So I say with great trepidation that I agree; J.C. Watts is a rising star.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You like J.C. Watts?



MR. PAGE: I like J.C. Watts --



MR. BUCHANAN: Well, he's in trouble. He's in trouble there.



MR. PAGE: He's in trouble now!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you like his philosophy, Clarence?



MR. PAGE: I'm sorry?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You like his philosophy?



MR. PAGE: You know something, John? He's farther to the left than you think.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?



MR. PAGE: Yes. I'm not going to say he's to the left, but he's more progressive than you think.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I hope he continues to disguise that. (Laughter.)



Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, J.C. Watts was my first choice, too, but let me add Rudy Giuliani, who as mayor of New York will be the kingmaker in the Republican presidential primary in New York state.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, don't forget George Pataki's out there, too.



MR. O'DONNELL: But Giuliani wins you the city.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Destined for political stardom in '99: Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, a personable, progressive policy-maker; steady-as-you-go temperament, great vote-getter, daughter of Bobby and Ethel, bearer of the Kennedy magic name, Pat.



Destined for political oblivion, Patrick Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: Boris Yeltsin, if he's not already there. He's down at about 2 percent approval rating in Russia. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Dick Armey. He barely held on to his job. Who's even heard his name in the last several weeks? I think he's been totally overtaken in the Republican leadership.



 


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence Page?



MR. PAGE: Destined for oblivion, John, is one of my previous rising stars: Willie Brown of San Francisco. (Chuckles.)



MS. CLIFT: No!~ (Chuckles.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Willie Brown has got problems, doesn't he?



MR. PAGE: He's got problems, but now that I've predicted his oblivion, he'll have a great comeback. I'm serious.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence O'Donnell?



MR. O'DONNELL: Here's one who has one foot in oblivion already: Newt Gingrich.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Destined for political oblivion in '99: Patricia Ireland and her organization, NOW, sleepwalking to its political grave because of double-standard obeisance to your favorite, Bill Clinton.



MS. CLIFT: Dream on, John! It won't happen. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best political theater, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: I think launching a 77-year-old man into space -- John Glenn going back, after 36 years, into space -- was the best political theater of the year.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor --



MR. O'DONNELL: That was science. That wasn't theater. (Laughter.)



MR. BUCHANAN: It was theater, too. (Laughter.) Yeah.



MS. CLIFT: I kind of liked Election Night 1998, when all the pundits were proven wrong and the Democrats confounded everybody and rewrote history, picking up seats in the House of Representatives -- first time since 1934 the president's party wins seats.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?



MR. PAGE: Well, unfortunately, I've got to agree with Pat again. (Laughter.)



MR. BUCHANAN: Okay.



MR. PAGE: I think -- I thought the Glenn space launch was great theater, but good theater. It was for a good purpose, but it certainly helped to build political support now for the International Space Station, a very worthy project.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. And Glenn looked like a cool dude --



MR. PAGE: He was all right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- like you, here on this set.



MR. PAGE: He was very entertaining. Thank you, John.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman's speech in the Senate criticizing President Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal -- the first Democrat to do so.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Best political theater?



MR. O'DONNELL: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The winner is actually the Tripp-Lewinsky tapes, the best political theater since Nixon's "expletive deleted" tapes.



MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worst political theater, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: Al Gore goes to Malaysia and gets -- (laughs) -- goes to dinner, insults his host, and walks out of dinner and torpedoes the Asian summit. Bad, overdone, was not Reagan; 180 degrees opposite.



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're off the track, Pat.



MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was dangerous, but welcome.



MS. CLIFT: Right. Yeah, the host is a pretty nasty dictator, I think, and democracy's --



MR. BUCHANAN: Well, don't go.



MS. CLIFT: Well, you -- there was a summit being held there. Lots of other people were going -- lots of reasons to be there.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, worst political theater?



MS. CLIFT: The Linda Tripp tapes, which gave girl talk a bad name. (Chuckles.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm.



Worst political theater?



MR. PAGE: I've got to say Dr. Kevorkian on "60 Minutes," John. Whatever you may think of assisted suicide, this was obviously designed to bring Kevorkian back into the headlines, and it worked, and I think it distorted the debate more than helped it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he wants a show trial, and this will probably give it to him.



MR. PAGE: It's a show.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: The Judiciary Committee putting two convicted perjurers under oath to tell us the importance of perjury in --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you remember this one? The worst political theater award, the town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio, where Secretary of State Albright, Secretary of Defense Cohen, and National Security Adviser Berger, booed off the stage last February while trying to generate backing for a Clinton bombing of Iraq. The event, by the way, was exclusively covered by CNN under a White House-CNN-brokered backstairs deal.



MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)



MS. CLIFT: Shocking! Shocking!



MR. O'DONNELL: Great deal for us!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Your network, Pat.



MR. O'DONNELL: It was good for us!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The second-most damning political -- the second-most damning political scandal, Pat Buchanan.



MR. BUCHANAN: Loral and Hughes helping the communist Chinese in one way or another launch satellites, improve their missiles, and maybe even perfect the kind of missiles that are targeted on the United States.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excellent.



Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: Independent counsel Donald Smaltz spending $17 million prosecuting a case that lacked evidence. He had no evidence of serious wrong-doing, and it ended in the acquittal -- as it should -- of former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he got a half a dozen related convictions.



MR. PAGE: I agree with Eleanor. And I want to add the election campaign finance debacle for both parties. I don't expect any reform to come out of it, which is the sad part of it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The second-most damning political scandal.



MR. O'DONNELL: The Clinton-Gore fundraising practices in the last campaign. And the third such story is the Dole campaign fundraising practices in the last campaign.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we've gotten absolution for that now, right?



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, not from me. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we know what's important.



MR. O'DONNELL: Hang in there. Hang in there. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The second-most damning scandal, Jay Kim, Republican congressman seeking reelection in California, found guilty of receiving over a quarter of a million dollars in illegal campaign contributions from both corporations and foreign nationals, sentenced in March to two months in detention, one year probation, and a $5,000 fine. He lost the primary because he could not leave DC to campaign while on home detention, and he had to wear an electronic -- (laughs) -- ankle bracelet. (Laughter.)



Most underreported story of 1998, Pat.



MR. BUCHANAN: The Chinese communist military build-up, which is being undertaken with the assist of our friend Israel and of Russia, and the money being used is the United States trade surplus with China, which will hit $60 billion. We are putting in store real problems for America.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: That's easy. The pope's visit to Cuba. All of the network anchors came back to cover Lewinsky, and the pope's visit has resulted in some real change. Christmas is legal in Cuba again. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, you know, I like this formal attire -- new year's. (Laughter.)



MS. CLIFT: Oh, that's -- from now on, John. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very becoming. I think we should do this every week. What do you think?



MS. CLIFT: Okay. If you pay for my wardrobe, fine. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughing.) The most underreported story.



MR. PAGE: Underreported story of the year, Social Security, Patients' Bill of Rights, education, the environment -- every story here out of Washington except Monica. Everything else got short shrift.



MR. O'DONNELL: The under-reported story of the year is the almost total irrelevance of almost everything that Washington is concerned with. (Laughter.) That was obscured by the most over-reported story of the year.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The most under-reported story, the December 31, 1999, deadline to relinquish the Panama Canal and U.S. military bases, to the Panamanians, to fulfill a 1977 treaty brokered by Jimmy Carter between the U.S. and Panama, a big story that's been almost totally overlooked -- and with consequences.



Pat, most over-reported story?



MR. BUCHANAN: Well, wall-to-wall Monica on all the little networks. But the second most over-reported, they are still doing the JonBenet Ramsey thing. Give us a break. Give us a break, John. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's an unsolved crime.



MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. (Laughs.) That's why they're dealing with it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: Well, I agree with Pat on both those. And I will add, the orgy of publicity surrounding Seinfeld's last episode, most of it generated by Hollywood.



MR. PAGE: Well, Pat --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?



MR. PAGE: -- the next time you have JonBenet Ramsey as a story on your other program -- (laughs) -- I'll remind you of it next year.



MR. BUCHANAN: We have never done it this last year, not this last year.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, quickly? We're over.



MR. PAGE: Viagra.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Viagra? Over-reported?



MR. PAGE: Viagra, over-reported. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ah, you can never over-report Viagra. (Laughter.)



MR. PAGE: It's true. Over-reported.



MR. O'DONNELL: The second most-over-reported story is the "new" Hillary Clinton.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The new Hillary Clinton.



Eleanor was right. The winner is the hoopla over the last episode of "Seinfeld"; over-reported story and underwhelming episode, I might add.



Biggest government waste, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: Some $200 billion in IMF-U.S. bank bailouts, five or six countries, shipping all this money abroad. At the same time manufacturing jobs in the United States lost 200,000 this year alone.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oy! Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Hey, that's nothing compared to $465 million funneled to Newt Gingrich's district for Lockheed Martin to build seven C-130s that the Air Force doesn't even want.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Clears throat.) Eleanor, those votes are not prohibited.



MR. : Well --



(Laughter.)



MS. CLIFT: Everybody has no -- (laughter) -- (laughs) --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they --



MR. PAGE: We don't read them on the air, though!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I mean, they are forbidden. (Laughter.)



MS. CLIFT: Well, I wanted to get the name of the plane right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly! Quickly! The biggest government waste?



MR. PAGE: The biggest government waste, John, was to spend money printing the Starr report, when the very next week it was in all the bookstores in the world and on the Internet. (Laughter.) And it was everywhere. They should have made money. I mean, here they were spending tax dollars printing the darned thing.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you have got to pay for them. I mean, it's all recoverable.



MR. PAGE: They could have sold them on the street. That's right. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, Lawrence.



MR. O'DONNELL: The biggest government waste is the budget of the Central Intelligence Agency.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Fasten your seat belts. The Biggest Government Waste Award goes to the money spent for maintaining our U.S. Military and fleet in the Persian Gulf region; a whopping, a cool $50 billion a year to exhibit our superpower hubris to the world and making us look in the process like tin-pot dictators. How do you like those apples, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: The arrogance of power. Mm-hmm.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Laughter.)



Okay, best government dollar spent. Best government dollar.



MR. BUCHANAN: CIA dollars spent on intelligence that enabled us to prevent happening at other embassies what happened in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: The initial funding for school districts to begin hiring the 100,000 new teachers.



MR. PAGE: I'll buy that. New teachers. (Laughter.)



MS. CLIFT: Good.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you going to buy that?



MR. PAGE: I'll buy that: new teachers.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're going to stand pat with that.



MR. PAGE: Absolutely.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.



Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Nothing flashy. The same thing it's been for the last 50 years: Social Security.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best government dollar spent is anti-missile defense research. We need defense, especially in an era when American capitalists sell the Chinese the means to destroy us. Right, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The boldest political tactic, Pat.



MR. BUCHANAN: You're going to like this, Eleanor: Bill Clinton stepping into the Wye accords, and good --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wye -- W-Y-E --



MR. BUCHANAN: W-Y-E. And good policy makes for good politics.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: Hmm, I do like that. I will add Dr. Kevorkian televising the moment of death to spur a debate on the right to die.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really? There you are.



MR. O'DONNELL: There you go.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chew on that, Mr. Page. (Laughter.)



MR. O'DONNELL: Bad theater, bold tactic.



MS. CLIFT: Right. (Laughter.)



MR. PAGE: Well, this was a bold tactic: the Republican leadership decision to cave in to Clinton on the budget deal and instead to put all their chips with Monica, resulting in their losing seats in the House in the November election. Bold, but wrong.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.



MR. O'DONNELL: Clinton deciding that his survival in office depended on the definition of "sexual relations".



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I will give you true boldness -- (laughter) -- a dual award for boldest political move: Benjamin Netanyahu's demand at the Maryland peace summit that convicted Jonathan Pollard be released, then Ariel Sharon's demand that Pollard be released immediately and fly back to Israel on the same plane with himself -- (laughs) -- and Netanyahu. I mean, that is real boldness. (Laughter.)



We'll be right back with more McLaughlin Group '98 awards.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here we go. Best idea of '98, Pat.



MR. BUCHANAN: Greenspan's intervention with three interest rate cuts that saved the Goldilocks economy and kept the market booming.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: Compassionate conservatism practiced by Texas Governor George W. Bush and other smart Republican governors.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.



MR. PAGE: The Kentucky legislature repealed a law that prevented clergymen from carrying concealed weapons in their churches.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can now carry them.



MR. PAGE: They can now carry them, yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, right on!



MR. PAGE: For their own protection.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who was it, Kentucky?



MR. PAGE: Kentucky.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right on, Kentucky.



MR. O'DONNELL: There you go.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.



MR. O'DONNELL: The notion advanced by Kurt Anderson (sp) in February's New Yorker that politics has become a subset of entertainment. And that explains why Clinton survives scandals. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. Interesting. Interesting.



MR. BUCHANAN: The clock is running.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best idea of '98 was the reintroduction of the Volkswagen Beetle, a superb concept in a decade yearning to go retro.



MR. PAGE: Did you buy one, John?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst idea of -- they are beautifully designed.



MR. PAGE: They are lovely. They are.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I have no financial investment in that company.



MR. PAGE: That's a disclaimer.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst idea of '98, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: All those Beetles are built in Mexico, I'll inform you, John. The worst idea was "60 Minutes" --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't miss an opportunity, do you?



MR. BUCHANAN: No, no; every shot, every shot you can get.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. (Laughter.)



MR. BUCHANAN: "60 Minutes" --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want us to sent this tape around to any --



MR. BUCHANAN: -- and Mike Wallace putting that obscene film of that man being put to death by Dr. Kevorkian on national television; decadent and sick.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think I agree with you on that, either. We have been around this once before, but there is more to be said on that.



MR. BUCHANAN: Say it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughter.) I mean, knowledge --



MR. PAGE (?): (You didn't defer to him, right ?)?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it's very rare when knowledge is not helpful --



MR. BUCHANAN: It's not knowledge.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in the overall human scheme of things.



The worst idea?



MS. CLIFT: The worst idea is Southern Baptists' vote to require wives to submit graciously to their husbands. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think they are onto something down there?



MS. CLIFT: No, I don't. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.



MR. PAGE: In that spirit, Eleanor, the worst idea of '98 was a Dennis Rodman-Carmen Electra marriage, all four days of it. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The worst idea?



MR. O'DONNELL: The worst idea was Bill Clinton asking Dick Morris, the day the Lewinsky scandal broke, to run a poll for him on how he should answer -- (the question ?). (Laughter.) He should have asked Doug Schoen (sp), who would not have told anyone about it. And Morris is out there telling everybody he did it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bill Clinton governs under three different postulates: number one, polls; number two, media; and number three, triangulation.



And unfortunately, Mr. Blair in London -- I don't know why I am digressing on this -- (laughter, cross talk) -- is now being reprimanded for moving in the same direction by the columnists over there.



The worst idea of '98 was New York Senator Al D'Amato calling his opponent, Congressman Chuck Schumer, a "putz-head." (Laughter.)



The "Sorry to see you go" Award, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: Barry Goldwater and the slow fade-away of Joe DiMaggio: "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A lonely nation turns its eyes to you."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Senator Moynihan -- he won't be leaving until 2000 -- but he said he is not going to run again. And it's the end of an era of quirky intellectual bipartisanship. We'll miss him.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you'll miss him as a source up --



MS. CLIFT: Absolutely. (Laughter.)



MR. PAGE: I agree with all that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is your comment?



MR. PAGE: Well, I am going to miss Ellen DeGeneres. Maybe she'll be back. I don't know. We'll see. But certainly, Senator Moynihan though, is a great loss up on Capitol Hill.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence, do you want to echo that?



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, Moynihan is not gone yet.



MS. CLIFT: That's right.



MR. O'DONNELL: So "sorry to see you go," for me, is Frank Sinatra.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The "Sorry to see you go" Award goes to Phil Hartman, genius impressionist and comedian, who brilliantly impersonated Patrick


Buchanan on a "Saturday Night Live"'s takeoff of the McLaughlin Group.



Andy Warhol's 15 minutes of fame award, Pat.



 


 


MR. BUCHANAN: William Ginsburg -- (laughter) -- first attorney for Monica, he did five Sunday talk shows on one day; a malpractice attorney fired for malpractice.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Kathleen Willey, the other "other woman." (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?



MR. PAGE: What ever happened to Tara Lipinsky?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, what did --



MR. PAGE: I wonder what happened. Well, anyway, yes, right up there with Bill Ginsburg -- (laughs) --



MR. O'DONNELL: Bill Ginsburg was my first choice, but Sam Dash is my second, who, I think, did actually have exactly 15 minutes of fame this year. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame award goes to Abe Hirschfeld, the millionaire parking lot magnate from New York who offered $1 million to Paula Jones to settle her suit with Bill Clinton.



Best spin of the year, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: "My answers were all legally correct." (Laughs.) That of Bill Clinton.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Bill Clinton's initial claim to his wife and others that he was merely ministering to a troubled young person. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence Page?



MR. PAGE: "It depends on what your definition -- "



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, I'm very proud of you for that! Very proud of you! (Laughter.)



Clarence?



MR. PAGE: No, I got to repeat it, you know, "It depends on what your definition of 'is' is" -- that was truly the ultimate moment of spin, waffling, et cetera, et cetera.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about his answer to one of the 81 questions, the first one, "Do you regard yourself as the chief law enforcement officer of this country?" And the president's refinements on that!



MR. O'DONNELL: Well, a very presidential answer. The best spin was that whole Cargill machine arguing that the scandal is all about sex and nothing but sex.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The best spin of the year was the Democrats for their spinning the results of the November congressional elections as being a referendum on Bill Clinton and his impeachment. This, after having spun the election before November 3rd as anything but a referendum on Bill Clinton. Did you follow that?



MR. BUCHANAN: I followed that. I followed that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most honest, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: Ryutaro Hashimoto, the Japanese prime minister, when he lost a few seats, he got up and said, "It is all my fault, I apologize to all of you and I resign," setting therefore an example, Eleanor, for other leaders in the Western World.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he did something else, too. He cried.



MR. BUCHANAN: He wept.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He broke into tears.



MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. But he was honorable.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was honorable.



Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Yeah, and look where the Japanese economy is today, compared to us. (Laughs.) I give it to former MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann who said, memorably, "The presidency isn't really in crisis, but we're going to say so because we have a graphic." (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence?



MR. PAGE: I'd be giving it to the folks who testified for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Committee this year, particularly a couple of former South African leaders who refused to reconcile. At least they were being honest.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.



Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Scott Ritter, the former U.N. arms inspector in Iraq who quit and told the truth about what we were doing and what we weren't doing there.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A what who quit?



MR. O'DONNELL: Scott Ritter, the arms inspector --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know that, but --



MR. O'DONNELL: But then he told the truth about what we were actually accomplishing and what we were not accomplishing.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. And that was very honest of him to do so.



MR. O'DONNELL: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think he was a bit of a Boy Scout, do you?



MR. O'DONNELL: I think he was honest, John.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there are two schools of thought on that.



Most honest: Ken Starr, who oozes integrity and declines to use any of the intellectual dishonesty employed by the opposition.



Most overrated, Pat.



MR. BUCHANAN: You just hit on it, John: the Democrats' claim that November was a referendum that they don't want impeachment. It was utterly overrated. So was the Democratic victory.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: George W. Bush. Maybe he can live up to all these expectations. But he's being crowned two years before the election.



MR. PAGE: That was pretty good. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, Clarence.



MR. PAGE: Quickly. I think the --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You need more time, Clarence?



MR. PAGE: -- the virtues of the NBA strike. How about that?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not bad!



MR. PAGE: Not bad. (Laughter.) I think Eleanor's right about George W. Bush, but I also think this is the category that the Seinfeld final episode belongs in. Most overrated.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most overrated.



Leonardo DiCaprio, both as an actor and a teen idol -- just a flash in the pan.



Most underrated, Pat.



MR. BUCHANAN: Matt Drudge, who's done some outstanding work and is rapped and criticized.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: The INS -- (laughter) -- who, despite all the criticism it takes from you and others, is still doing a valiant job.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.



MR. PAGE: Joe Lockhart, presidential press secretary. I think he's going to do a great job.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence.



MR. O'DONNELL: Paul Wellstone's presidential campaign, which will pull Gore to the left.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lowell "Bud" Paxton's (sp) seventh TV network and (PAX ?) TV which premiered August the 31st, family-friendly programming, a real comer in the broadcasting world. Paxton (sp), by the way, is the gentleman who brought us Home Shopping Network.



We'll be right back with New Year's resolutions.



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the web, McLaughlin.com. Web-heads, it's your turn again. What was the best political theater of 1998? The worst? Who gets the Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame award? We'll spotlight your nominees on McLaughlin.com. You get that, Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: I got it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. (Laughter.)



New Year's resolutions 1999: truth time. Patrick Buchanan, we hope you're going to tell us what your resolution is about seeking other areas of --



MR. BUCHANAN: No, it's about this show, John. (Laughter.) I tend to look in the teleprompter and pick off your predictions before you give it -- (laughter) -- and I have a tendency to give them when I don't have one. And so I pledge to try not to do that any more in 1999. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I would support that, because your thievery is embarrassing to me.



MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: I resolve to do weight-lifting and strength training to build muscles so I can continue to hold my own in this arena, a program I've already begun, by the way.



MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)



MS. CLIFT: And I also resolve not to point out all the times Pat Buchanan and I agree. We might offend his supporters and mine. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!



MR. PAGE: Okay, I'm going to try to quit smoking, again, and finish a book I've been working on for the last 10 years or so. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good. We wish you well.



MR. PAGE: Thank you.



MR. O'DONNELL: I resolve to read the Oxford English Dictionary from cover to cover now that discussions of politics turn on the meanings of the words like "is." (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To go totally liquid before December 31, '99, when the computer bug may devour my meager portfolio in total. (Laughter.)



Happy New Year! Bye-bye!



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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Macropredictions. Pat Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: I think, John, we were wrong about the economy this year; it did come back. I think this coming year the economy's going down and these imports are coming in. They are killing manufacturing jobs left and right. Boeing is dropped 48,000. There's going to be a tremendous conflict inside the Democratic Party between unions and your friend Wellstone and the others, challenging Gore to protect some of these American industries, and there's going to be a battle royal.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now look, I heard your speech on television, the Chicago --



MR. BUCHANAN: Council on Foreign Relations.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. And Ryan's introduction of you. And I'm beginning to wonder whether you're going to become a Johnny One Note, you know? (Laughter.) I mean, even here at this session we've heard about trade and your views on trade three or four times.



MR. BUCHANAN: John, what did you want me to talk to the Foreign Relations Council about? A cultural war? (Laughs.)



MS. CLIFT: Right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I mean, I want to -- I don't want you to become a Steve Forbes, although Steve is doing better -- (laughter) -- you know, a Johnny One Note.



MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) Okay.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean -- but looking at you, you're representing the group when you march forward -- (laughter) --



MR. O'DONNELL: Not this side of the group.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in a way, in a way.



Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Well, on trade, even unions understand that jobs are being created at the rate of 150,000 more a month, which dwarfs the jobs that are being lost. I think the battle royal is going to be with the Republican Party, not Democrats.



But my real prediction is 1999 goes out not with a bang, but with a whimper, because the Y2K problem does not materialize.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?



MS. CLIFT: Really. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You and Michael Bloomberg. Dream on!



MR. PAGE: We'll come back to you in 2001, Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: Okay.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm almost tempted to say that's subversive.



Clarence?



MR. PAGE: Oh, I'm just blown away by that prediction. I --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!



MR. PAGE: Okay. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want more time? (To Mr. O'Donnell.) I'll go to you. (Laughter.) Lawrence? (To Mr. Page.) I'll get back to you.



MR. PAGE: Okay. Thank you, John. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?



MR. O'DONNELL: Al Gore will be the next president of the United States, but he will never have a Democratic Senate; therefore, we will continue with divided government.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he have a Democratic House?



MR. O'DONNELL: He might, but it won't matter that much, because --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he have a Democratic House in the year 2001?



MR. O'DONNELL: That's -- possibly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Possibly?



MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We know that.



MR. O'DONNELL: But it's not that important.



MR. BUCHANAN: It's not going to be --



MR. O'DONNELL: It's not going to be that important because the Senate will control, and it will be a Republican Senate.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chinese militarism -- take note of this; you can use this in one of your columns -- will show itself within two years, centering on Taiwan and Taiwan's fate. The Chinese aggression will spark a new superpower regional arms race, the U.S. vs. China, in Asia and a brush with war, but no war.



MR. O'DONNELL: Oh, look out. A big --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with that?



MR. BUCHANAN: I think it might be a little early. The Chinese are coming for Taiwan, but that's a little soon.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two years?



MR. BUCHANAN: I think it might be even a little longer, because look, they are building anti-ship weapons, all these things, but they are no match for the U.S. right now.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to turn to this cool dude here on my left.



(Cross talk.)



MR. PAGE: Okay. A big upheaval in Cuba next year.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A big upheaval?



MR. PAGE: A big upheaval in Cuba. I can go no farther. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me repeat -- (laughter) --



MR. BUCHANAN: The CIA told him to let it go at that. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me repeat my --



MR. BUCHANAN: That's correct.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Clarence -- (cross talk, laughter) -- the final question -- (inaudible) -- good advice to Bill Clinton --



MS. CLIFT: Right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- "take the embargo of Cuba, and that will help in the rehabilitation of his legacy." And I think you will agree with that.



MR. PAGE: Yes, absolutely.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with that?



MS. CLIFT: I think he should do it. But the real question is what does it do to the Florida electoral vote? Does Gore just kiss it good-bye now that Jeb Bush is governor? Maybe that helps the Cubans gain their freedom. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there's -- you know, Cuba has aged like everybody else, and newer generations take over.



MR. O'DONNELL: That's right.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with me?



MR. O'DONNELL: I agree.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about you?



MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think she is right. You'd lose Florida for Gore if you do that. So you are going to support the embargo, is that right -- when you're out there?



MR. BUCHANAN: We will look at the embargo, John. (Laughter.)



MS. CLIFT: He is head of Republicans for Gore. (Laughter.)



 


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