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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, JUNE 20, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JUNE 21-22, 2008

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DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One -- Obama U-Turn.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (From webcast.): We've made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election. This means we'll be forgoing more than $80 million in public funds during the final months of this election.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barack Obama this week became the first U.S. presidential candidate since Richard Nixon to rely solely on private money to run for the White House. Obama has rejected public funds. Republican nominee John McCain takes strong issue with Obama for this action. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE (From videotape.): I'm especially disturbed by this decision of Senator Obama's, because he signed his name on a piece of paper. He signed his name himself on a piece of paper that said that he would -- if I, the Republican nominee, took public financing in the general election, that he would too.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's Obama's November agreement that McCain refers to. Quote -- "If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election," unquote.

This week on his webcast, Obama gave his explanation for reversing his position, namely that the system does not work.

SEN. OBAMA: (From webcast.) The public financing of presidential elections, as it exists today, is broken.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The consumer rights watchdog Public Citizen says that Obama's explanation falsifies reality and reveals hypocrisy. Quote -- "This decision is hypocrisy at its worst. The reasons Senator Obama has given are insincere. The system of public financing for general elections, as opposed to primary elections, is not broken. It works. The only reason that he has done this is because he can raise more money than McCain," unquote.

Question -- Why did Obama break his word? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama's got a machine that's got 1.5 million contributors, 3 million contributions. He can roll up funds three, four, five times what John McCain can and roll over him and force McCain to defend red states that are close. And he can beat him. It's an avenue to the presidency of the United States. And there would be nothing wrong with Obama saying that, "Look, I didn't realize so many millions of people wanted us there. I think this is a better solution. That's why I'm changing my mind."

Instead he gave us this phony answer, which I think is hurting his credibility and his character to a degree and the idea he can be trusted. He's damaged his most important asset, which is his character and credibility, when, if he told the truth, we all know why he did it. He can raise tens, hundreds of millions of dollars without it.

MS. CLIFT: And he can raise those hundreds of millions of dollars from ordinary citizens around the country who will not exert undue influence on his administration.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Through the Net. Through the Net.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. So it is the purpose of public financing is to get contributions that don't influence, untowardly influence, the political process. That's what he needs to lead with. Sure, it's hypocritical, because he thought that he would stay under public financing.

There are a lot of people who worked for John Kerry who are involved in the Obama campaign, and they remember the August of 2004 when the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth arrived on the scene, and Kerry, who was playing by the rules, didn't have any money to fight back because he needed to save the money for the general election.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which he didn't use at the proper time, when he could have won the election in the Ohio race.

MS. CLIFT: Because he was remembering what happened to Al Gore, who didn't have enough money at the closing end of the campaign. So everybody's fighting the last campaign. But Obama will take a little bit of a hit here, but it's nothing compared to the huge financial advantage that he gains.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: My point with her was that Kerry had the money and he should have spent the money, but it wasn't his fault, to make a long story short.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, here's the problem for Barack Obama. This is his fourth major flip-flop. First he was for talking to terrorist states before he was against it. He was for an undivided Jerusalem before he was against it. He was against NAFTA. Now he's for it. And now he was against public financing -- or for it before he was against it.

The problem for Obama is that this guy is running on his judgment. He's running on this pure politics. He was going to be the savior of the universe. And now he looks more and more every day, every position he changes, like a regular politician.

His statement there about the reason he was going to go off the public financing system was so disingenuous. He says, "The money system is broken." No, it's not. And the second excuse -- "Well, I'm going to get hit like John Kerry with these 527 groups who are going to smear me" -- first of all --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who are they?

MS. CROWLEY: These are independent groups that put out ads and so forth on behalf -- ostensibly on behalf of the candidate. They're not controlled. The idea --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he, in fact -- is his campaign, in fact, now running those against McCain?

MS. CROWLEY: No, there is not a single 527 operating on behalf of John McCain. In fact, I think he --

(Cross-talk.) MS. CROWLEY: And there are no 527s even starting to be in existence on behalf of John McCain.

MR. PAGE: It doesn't take long.

MS. CROWLEY: And the idea that Barack Obama can't fend off attacks is ridiculous.

MR. PAGE: Well, the system is broken, as John McCain knows. He's been embroiled in a controversy with the FEC, which doesn't even have its full membership right now because of arguments up on Capitol Hill. This issue is not a major controversy, even as much as the Jerusalem flip-flop, if you will, because this has not been an issue that has turned elections.

You could say the campaign finance system has been broken from the beginning, as Obama is showing. He now has a system that is accountable to the public. It's accountable to small donors. You've got instant reporting on the Web now. The post-Watergate reforms have been falling apart for years.

MR. BUCHANAN: Clarence, why didn't he say that? If he said just what you said --

MR. PAGE: Well, he didn't say it, Pat, because --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- if he said, "Look, I'm getting all these little contributions. That's the way it ought to go. I think it's a better system."

MR. PAGE: He didn't say it --

MR. BUCHANAN: He said, "Look, I'm giving up $85 million."

MR. PAGE: Nobody was surprised by this move, first of all. We've been predicting it for weeks, haven't we?

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's show the candidates --

MS. CLIFT: He also did say to his supporters, "You and I can do this together." So, I mean, I think he said, "Yes, we can," and they can. MR. BUCHANAN: We can forget public financing.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The candidates' fund-raising total as of now -- Obama, $265,439,277; McCain, $96,654,783. What does that tell you, Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: It tells you he's got a three-to-one advantage coming into the primaries. He's got a lot of money on hand. And when that machine goes into effect, you won't believe the amount of money it's going to turn out. He'll be running ads, as he's doing now, North Dakota, Montana, Nevada; make the Republicans defend red states and make McCain -- it's like what Reagan did in the Cold War; spend enough money to break them.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Serious question -- Do you think we're on the threshold of our first $1 billion presidential campaign, total, both sides?

MR. PAGE: Absolutely.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It could be reached?

MR. PAGE: The cost is going up. It's like the Indy 500 track. It only gets faster.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right on. Capitalism works. Exit question -- On a political damage scale of zero to 10, how damaging is this reversal to Obama? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: The reversal is --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Never mind what she said.

MR. BUCHANAN: The reversal is a three and the gain is an eight. (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The reversal is a three.

MR. BUCHANAN: And the gain of money is an eight.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you taking into consideration what it's building upon, as was presented by Monica?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, the three -- it hurts him, but he got an eight with all his money.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: When do you reach critical mass, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: When you reach 10. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, the damage is a two. I don't see the public getting worked up over the fact that they're going to fund his campaign with small donations and the taxpayers as a whole do not have to fund it. And the financial reward is enormous, as Pat said.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Obama is coming across as an artful dodger?

MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.) Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.

MS. CROWLEY: I think that this --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that bad?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's very good, John -- right on. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: This reversal may not -- I think the damage on this is a six. Why? Because it feeds into this perception that the exalted candidate here, the guy who's going to bring this purity of politics to Washington -- go into the temple and clear out all of the money-changers -- is right there, knee-deep with all of the money.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that his ratio entis? That's his rationale for being, that he's different. But he's no different. Is he worse than different?

MR. PAGE: He's different. Come on, come on.

MS. CLIFT: Who else could raise that kind of money from the general public? (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Absolutely. And besides, you haven't said what's wrong with what he's doing. There's nothing wrong with what he's doing.

MS. CLIFT: There's nothing wrong with it.

MR. PAGE: This is just as clean, if not more so, than the post- Watergate reforms.

MR. BUCHANAN: Clarence is right. He's coming off as a tough customer. He's saying, "Look, I know what you guys did to Kerry. Okay, I'm out of the system, and I'm going to whip these guys."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, you see this as a plus.

MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, I think it's a plus in a lot of ways. The Democrats say, "We've got a fighter."

MS. CLIFT: The Democrats have come off of two elections --

MR. BUCHANAN: They've got a guy to break the rules. MS. CLIFT: The Democrats have come off of two elections that they should have won. Al Gore should not have been defeated by George know-nothing Bush, and John Kerry should have won the last election. And so the Democrats this time are going to -- they're going to be tough. They're going to rebut everything.

MS. CROWLEY: Shouldn't it be a liberal argument to say, "We're blowing a billion dollars on a presidential campaign" --

MR. PAGE: Don't tell liberals what their argument ought to be.

MS. CROWLEY: -- (inaudible) -- elsewhere.

MR. PAGE: Monica, I don't think --

MS. CLIFT: Since when (do you see ?) Republicans worried about how much the candidates are spending?

MR. PAGE: Thank you.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out.

(Cross-talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hypocrisy means being -- trying to appear better than you really are. And the question is whether Obama has somehow suddenly fallen into that tank. And that, too, is too close to call.

When we come back, does national security dictate that we drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or not? Is that not sufficiently a compelling reason -- national security?

(Announcements.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two -- $135 a barrel, $4 a gallon.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) We should expand oil production by permitting exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president is pushing hard for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR. But Republican presidential nominee John McCain says ANWR is off-limits.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I believe that ANWR is one of the pristine areas of the world, and I have opposed it. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Mr. Bush says the ANWR penetration he's talking about is practically microscopic in size.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) A drilling footprint of less than 2,000 acres -- less than one-tenth of 1 percent of this distant Alaskan terrain. America could produce an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But John McCain says the ANWR output will have little impact; quote-unquote, "not that impactful."

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I also believe that the amount of energy that could be recovered from that area is not that impactful.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mr. Bush argues against Mr. McCain by translating ANWR oil volume into a Mideast equivalent.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) That is roughly the equivalent of two decades of imported oil from Saudi Arabia.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- Who is right on the merits of drilling in ANWR, Bush or McCain? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: John McCain is right in this iteration of John McCain. He has subsequently said that he would consider -- possibly reconsider opening ANWR, now that he's reversed himself on drilling. In particular, he now favors offshore drilling off the coast of Florida and other states.

Look, you would get a year's worth of oil out of ANWR. Even if they were to give it the go-ahead today, which is not going to happen because the Democrats would filibuster against it, you wouldn't get any impact, to use McCain's words, until --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about on the market, Eleanor, in the stock market?

MS. CLIFT: -- the end of the first term of his presidency.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that that would --

MS. CLIFT: This is a --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- turn the speculators really loose?

MS. CLIFT: No. We cannot drill our way out of this predicament. We need to get alternative forms of transportation, alternative forms of oil.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is a liberal fetish and this is liberal obstructionism. MS. CLIFT: It's a conservative fetish.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, we are drilling in Prudhoe Bay.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're into fetish now. Welcome to the mosh pit.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, listen, we are drilling in Prudhoe Bay. We're drilling on the North Slope. This is drilling on land. It can be done safely.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's environmental extremism when this country has a serious economic and national security problem that we are not allowed to drill on land as far away from Washington, D.C. as you can get.

MS. CLIFT: And global warming, is that also -- worry about that, is that environmental extremism?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think that is economic fraudulence.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let me let Monica in, and then you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Thank you, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the story on this? What's the political impact on McCain?

MS. CROWLEY: We've got to -- oh, well, look, we've got to drill. It's just common sense to be extricating the resources out of the ground within the borders of the United States. You increase supply that way. You can do it in environmentally sound ways. The technology exists for that.

Nature is very resilient and very tough. I don't know if you ever watch the National Geographic Channel, John, but nature knows how to adapt to these things. We can do it. We should be doing it, in addition to other things -- nuclear, wind, solar, sugar, ethanol, all of it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think McCain is --

MR. PAGE: Now I'm starting to agree with you on that last part.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- going to dance away from --

MR. PAGE: I'm sorry. What was that again?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is McCain going to dance away from his position? MR. PAGE: Against his position. I think he already has. I think he wants to have it both ways. He wants to be against drilling in ANWR, but he also wants to please conservatives by saying, "Well, I'm open to the possibility in the future." You know, the fact of the matter is -- let's carve out a sensible center here. The fact is it is a small footprint. It is a small --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a big deal, contrary to McCain.

MR. PAGE: -- area that would be hurt. But it's also got a very small impact. McCain's right; it wouldn't be that impactful. It would be years.

I think four years is optimistic as to some impact --

(Cross-talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, everything you wanted to know about ANWR now. The refuge is rich in oil; and adding to its attraction, it's in American ground. Size matters. The entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a whopping 20 million acres, about the size of 20 million football fields. But the proposed set-aside for oil drilling is 2,000 acres. That's 0.01 percent, one one-hundredth of all ANWR.

If you measure the drill site, not against ANWR, the refuge, but against Alaska, the state, the drill area is 0.0005 percent -- five ten-thousandths of the Alaskan state; oil rich, with 17 billion barrels of oil underground.

A new bill is before the House, H.R. 6017. It permits drilling in the protected refuge. The governor of Alaska is Sarah Palin. Governor Palin is behind the bill 100 percent.

ALASKA GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN (R): (From videotape.) It is our oil. It is federal land, though, so we need Congress to see the light and quit relying on unstable -- these foreign regimes that aren't real friendly to America, asking them to increase production for America's security needs and for our energy needs to be met. That's ridiculous. It's nonsensical.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- Is there a larger issue here, namely, a states' right issue, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: There certainly is. The people -- I mean, who will best preserve the beauty of Alaska if not the people who have moved up there --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- live there and love it?

MS. CLIFT: But they --

MR. BUCHANAN: They ought to have some say-so, more than some environmentalist in beads. They're out here in Washington, D.C. roiling for caribou 6,000 miles away. MS. CLIFT: Environmentalists don't wear beads anymore. You're a little behind the times. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you keep up with this.

MS. CLIFT: Look, the fact that the people in Alaska benefit financially hugely from this exploration --

MR. BUCHANAN: What do you mean?

MS. CLIFT: -- gives them -- they get money right in the pockets. And it seems to me, as a citizen of the United States --

MR. BUCHANAN: Is there something wrong with that?

MS. CLIFT: Yes, if they're despoiling the planet which the rest of us depend on.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: It's 2,000 acres they're going to drill in.

MR. PAGE: They're talking about federal land.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Pat, exit question --

MR. BUCHANAN: They're drilling all over Texas.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the upshot going to be? Will we drill in Alaska? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think we will, but not this year.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: No, absolutely not.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, we will, and the Rocky Mountain oil.

MR. PAGE: It's not going to happen.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's going to happen before Bush leaves office.

Issue Three -- Identity Politics.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I have the courage, the wisdom, the experience, and most importantly, the oldness necessary -- (laughter) -- the oldness it takes to protect America. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seventy-one-year-old Republican presidential nominee John McCain lampooned himself on "Saturday Night Live." His strategy is identity politics, not party politics. His presidential run is not focused on party platform Republican or even him as the official Republican standard-bearer; rather, it focuses on McCain the person, McCain the maverick, in all of his individuality, idiosyncrasy and sincerity. He concentrates on experience, values, and the dictates of conscience.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) If I'm elected president, I intend every day to prove myself worthy of the office of our country and of your respect.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- What is McCain's best hope for winning in November? Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: You mean, beyond prayer? (Laughs.) He's got to tailor his message to a couple of big core conservative themes -- Number one, keeping the size of government under control, keeping taxes low, real energy reform geared toward energy independence. He also has to talk about fighting the War on Terror, keeping it on offense, and appointing conservative judges. If he does all of those things --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got to do --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me feed you, Pat. Don't you think that he's doing a good job in this identity politics, which focuses on character and temperament? And hasn't he somehow separated himself enough from Bush? Hasn't he really become --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, he can win.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- not an anti-Republican, but an a-Republican? He's kind of the true maverick. It's taking hold.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the very fact --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: In other words, the opposite of what we have in Obama --

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay, there's a point --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that covers the whole landscape is McCain. Yes or no?

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: There's a point in there, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's bleached himself out. He has somehow become the universal anti-Obama candidate. MS. CLIFT: That was the McCain of 2000. The McCain of 2008 is lining up with Bush on the war, on drilling. He's abandoned the positions that made him a maverick.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that doesn't seem to have taken hold. He seems to have --

MS. CLIFT: And he's fallen behind in the polls.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has done individuation, does he not?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, here's what he has to do. What he has to do, you can summarize in a single sentence. He's got to win a large share of the Hillary Democrats. And he's got to win all the conservative Republicans and the Hillary Democrats, and then he'll win. But Obama is reaching them. And McCain is going back and forth. He ought to use some of your issues, but he's got to go for the Hillary Democrats. If he can cut those in half --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with me that it's the personal -- it's the identity politics and not the platform politics, not the Republican Party politics --

MR. BUCHANAN: We heard you.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is (now ?) working for him.

MR. BUCHANAN: The idea of a maverick. He's independent. He's not Bush. He's against -- (inaudible). That helps him.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that? What about that?

MR. PAGE: He needs to strengthen that, though, by coming out strong on some economic issue, because that is where the Hillary Democrats are right now. Pat is right that those are the new Reagan Democrats, you could say, those folks who are in the middle and still shopping around and reachable. They like him on national security, but he hasn't given them anything as far as the bread-and-butter issues.

MS. CLIFT: The only reason he's competitive is because of his personal narrative and the fact that he's seen as a maverick who stands up to his party.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's all he needs. That's all he needs.

MS. CLIFT: But he's not standing up to his party. He's folded on tax cuts. MR. BUCHANAN: John --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also --

MS. CLIFT: He's folded on offshore drilling.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also the future first lady, Mrs. McCain. Have you seen her?

MR. PAGE: Lovely lady.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: A big addition there.

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Ireland's rejection of the EU treaty, John, will be followed up by a forced vote in Great Britain, and I think it'll put Gordon Brown on the spot against the conservatives. And the EU constitution is now dead.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Democrats are getting so bullish about picking up seats in the Senate, they can see five. And now they're even looking at Elizabeth Dole's seat and Mitch McConnell's seat. They're getting shaky.

MS. CROWLEY: John McCain will support drilling in ANWR within one month.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Barack Obama's biggest problem going into his town hall meeting coming up with John McCain is the same one that Kerry and Gore had, which is the possibility of overconfidence.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The cost of the recession crisis worldwide, the credit crisis, will reach $1,250,000,000,000.

Bye-bye.

END.

drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, ANWR. But Republican presidential nominee John McCain says ANWR is off-limits.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I believe that ANWR is one of the pristine areas of the world, and I have opposed it. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Mr. Bush says the ANWR penetration he's talking about is practically microscopic in size.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) A drilling footprint of less than 2,000 acres -- less than one-tenth of 1 percent of this distant Alaskan terrain. America could produce an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But John McCain says the ANWR output will have little impact; quote-unquote, "not that impactful."

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I also believe that the amount of energy that could be recovered from that area is not that impactful.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mr. Bush argues against Mr. McCain by translating ANWR oil volume into a Mideast equivalent.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) That is roughly the equivalent of two decades of imported oil from Saudi Arabia.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- Who is right on the merits of drilling in ANWR, Bush or McCain? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: John McCain is right in this iteration of John McCain. He has subsequently said that he would consider -- possibly reconsider opening ANWR, now that he's reversed himself on drilling. In particular, he now favors offshore drilling off the coast of Florida and other states.

Look, you would get a year's worth of oil out of ANWR. Even if they were to give it the go-ahead today, which is not going to happen because the Democrats would filibuster against it, you wouldn't get any impact, to use McCain's words, until --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about on the market, Eleanor, in the stock market?

MS. CLIFT: -- the end of the first term of his presidency.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think that that would --

MS. CLIFT: This is a --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- turn the speculators really loose?

MS. CLIFT: No. We cannot drill our way out of this predicament. We need to get alternative forms of transportation, alternative forms of oil.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is a liberal fetish and this is liberal obstructionism. MS. CLIFT: It's a conservative fetish.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, we are drilling in Prudhoe Bay.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're into fetish now. Welcome to the mosh pit.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, listen, we are drilling in Prudhoe Bay. We're drilling on the North Slope. This is drilling on land. It can be done safely.

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's environmental extremism when this country has a serious economic and national security problem that we are not allowed to drill on land as far away from Washington, D.C. as you can get.

MS. CLIFT: And global warming, is that also -- worry about that, is that environmental extremism?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think that is economic fraudulence.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let me let Monica in, and then you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Thank you, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the story on this? What's the political impact on McCain?

MS. CROWLEY: We've got to -- oh, well, look, we've got to drill. It's just common sense to be extricating the resources out of the ground within the borders of the United States. You increase supply that way. You can do it in environmentally sound ways. The technology exists for that.

Nature is very resilient and very tough. I don't know if you ever watch the National Geographic Channel, John, but nature knows how to adapt to these things. We can do it. We should be doing it, in addition to other things -- nuclear, wind, solar, sugar, ethanol, all of it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think McCain is --

MR. PAGE: Now I'm starting to agree with you on that last part.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- going to dance away from --

MR. PAGE: I'm sorry. What was that again?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is McCain going to dance away from his position? MR. PAGE: Against his position. I think he already has. I think he wants to have it both ways. He wants to be against drilling in ANWR, but he also wants to please conservatives by saying, "Well, I'm open to the possibility in the future." You know, the fact of the matter is -- let's carve out a sensible center here. The fact is it is a small footprint. It is a small --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a big deal, contrary to McCain.

MR. PAGE: -- area that would be hurt. But it's also got a very small impact. McCain's right; it wouldn't be that impactful. It would be years.

I think four years is optimistic as to some impact --

(Cross-talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, everything you wanted to know about ANWR now. The refuge is rich in oil; and adding to its attraction, it's in American ground. Size matters. The entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is a whopping 20 million acres, about the size of 20 million football fields. But the proposed set-aside for oil drilling is 2,000 acres. That's 0.01 percent, one one-hundredth of all ANWR.

If you measure the drill site, not against ANWR, the refuge, but against Alaska, the state, the drill area is 0.0005 percent -- five ten-thousandths of the Alaskan state; oil rich, with 17 billion barrels of oil underground.

A new bill is before the House, H.R. 6017. It permits drilling in the protected refuge. The governor of Alaska is Sarah Palin. Governor Palin is behind the bill 100 percent.

ALASKA GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN (R): (From videotape.) It is our oil. It is federal land, though, so we need Congress to see the light and quit relying on unstable -- these foreign regimes that aren't real friendly to America, asking them to increase production for America's security needs and for our energy needs to be met. That's ridiculous. It's nonsensical.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- Is there a larger issue here, namely, a states' right issue, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: There certainly is. The people -- I mean, who will best preserve the beauty of Alaska if not the people who have moved up there --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- live there and love it?

MS. CLIFT: But they --

MR. BUCHANAN: They ought to have some say-so, more than some environmentalist in beads. They're out here in Washington, D.C. roiling for caribou 6,000 miles away. MS. CLIFT: Environmentalists don't wear beads anymore. You're a little behind the times. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you keep up with this.

MS. CLIFT: Look, the fact that the people in Alaska benefit financially hugely from this exploration --

MR. BUCHANAN: What do you mean?

MS. CLIFT: -- gives them -- they get money right in the pockets. And it seems to me, as a citizen of the United States --

MR. BUCHANAN: Is there something wrong with that?

MS. CLIFT: Yes, if they're despoiling the planet which the rest of us depend on.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: It's 2,000 acres they're going to drill in.

MR. PAGE: They're talking about federal land.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Pat, exit question --

MR. BUCHANAN: They're drilling all over Texas.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the upshot going to be? Will we drill in Alaska? Yes or no.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think we will, but not this year.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: No, absolutely not.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, we will, and the Rocky Mountain oil.

MR. PAGE: It's not going to happen.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's going to happen before Bush leaves office.

Issue Three -- Identity Politics.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I have the courage, the wisdom, the experience, and most importantly, the oldness necessary -- (laughter) -- the oldness it takes to protect America. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seventy-one-year-old Republican presidential nominee John McCain lampooned himself on "Saturday Night Live." His strategy is identity politics, not party politics. His presidential run is not focused on party platform Republican or even him as the official Republican standard-bearer; rather, it focuses on McCain the person, McCain the maverick, in all of his individuality, idiosyncrasy and sincerity. He concentrates on experience, values, and the dictates of conscience.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) If I'm elected president, I intend every day to prove myself worthy of the office of our country and of your respect.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question -- What is McCain's best hope for winning in November? Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: You mean, beyond prayer? (Laughs.) He's got to tailor his message to a couple of big core conservative themes -- Number one, keeping the size of government under control, keeping taxes low, real energy reform geared toward energy independence. He also has to talk about fighting the War on Terror, keeping it on offense, and appointing conservative judges. If he does all of those things --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got to do --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me feed you, Pat. Don't you think that he's doing a good job in this identity politics, which focuses on character and temperament? And hasn't he somehow separated himself enough from Bush? Hasn't he really become --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, he can win.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- not an anti-Republican, but an a-Republican? He's kind of the true maverick. It's taking hold.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the very fact --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: In other words, the opposite of what we have in Obama --

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay, there's a point --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that covers the whole landscape is McCain. Yes or no?

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: There's a point in there, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's bleached himself out. He has somehow become the universal anti-Obama candidate. MS. CLIFT: That was the McCain of 2000. The McCain of 2008 is lining up with Bush on the war, on drilling. He's abandoned the positions that made him a maverick.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that doesn't seem to have taken hold. He seems to have --

MS. CLIFT: And he's fallen behind in the polls.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has done individuation, does he not?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, here's what he has to do. What he has to do, you can summarize in a single sentence. He's got to win a large share of the Hillary Democrats. And he's got to win all the conservative Republicans and the Hillary Democrats, and then he'll win. But Obama is reaching them. And McCain is going back and forth. He ought to use some of your issues, but he's got to go for the Hillary Democrats. If he can cut those in half --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with me that it's the personal -- it's the identity politics and not the platform politics, not the Republican Party politics --

MR. BUCHANAN: We heard you.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is (now ?) working for him.

MR. BUCHANAN: The idea of a maverick. He's independent. He's not Bush. He's against -- (inaudible). That helps him.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that? What about that?

MR. PAGE: He needs to strengthen that, though, by coming out strong on some economic issue, because that is where the Hillary Democrats are right now. Pat is right that those are the new Reagan Democrats, you could say, those folks who are in the middle and still shopping around and reachable. They like him on national security, but he hasn't given them anything as far as the bread-and-butter issues.

MS. CLIFT: The only reason he's competitive is because of his personal narrative and the fact that he's seen as a maverick who stands up to his party.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's all he needs. That's all he needs.

MS. CLIFT: But he's not standing up to his party. He's folded on tax cuts. MR. BUCHANAN: John --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also --

MS. CLIFT: He's folded on offshore drilling.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Also the future first lady, Mrs. McCain. Have you seen her?

MR. PAGE: Lovely lady.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: A big addition there.

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Ireland's rejection of the EU treaty, John, will be followed up by a forced vote in Great Britain, and I think it'll put Gordon Brown on the spot against the conservatives. And the EU constitution is now dead.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Democrats are getting so bullish about picking up seats in the Senate, they can see five. And now they're even looking at Elizabeth Dole's seat and Mitch McConnell's seat. They're getting shaky.

MS. CROWLEY: John McCain will support drilling in ANWR within one month.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Barack Obama's biggest problem going into his town hall meeting coming up with John McCain is the same one that Kerry and Gore had, which is the possibility of overconfidence.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The cost of the recession crisis worldwide, the credit crisis, will reach $1,250,000,000,000.

Bye-bye.

END.