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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANELISTS:
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE;
MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR;
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC;
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, FINANCIAL TIMES


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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, The McLaughlin Group, the American original. For over two decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

The McLaughlin Group is brought to you by Mississippi Development Authority. Visit Mississippi.org to see what we can do for you.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: E.Unique!

(Begin videotaped segment.)

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (D-IL) (Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.): In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent while extending a hand abroad.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The European Union. It's a super-national organization with 27 members combined into one giant hyper-power. Together, this hyper-power makes up about 30 percent of the world's gross domestic product -- GDP. The total population of the E.U., 500 million. That's 14 percent of the total world population. Primary religions include Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish. The union has its own flag and anthem and currency.

The member countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

(End videotaped segment.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Forget hyper-power, let's talk superpower. Is the European Union a superpower? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it's not, John. Certainly, it is an economic superpower. It's got an economy as large or larger than that of the United States, but you had two Balkan wars -- (too many ?) Balkan wars in which they had to call in the Americans because they couldn't deal with it. These used to be countries that had million-man armies. They no longer do. They've been a strategic dependency of the United States since the entire Cold War and ever since then as well.

I think they also, John -- all the native populations -- native-born populations of the European countries are dying. It's a very rich continent. It's self -- you know, it's a very rich continent, but it basically is fading away and it's dying. Europe today is yesterday. The future belongs to Asia.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a drag on the United States?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's a dependency of the United States, and quite frankly we should have dissolved NATO at the end of the Cold War. Why should 300 million Americans defend 500 million Europeans from 150 million Russians?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chrystia Freeland, is it a superpower?

MS. FREELAND: I don't think there are any superpowers anymore. I think we live in a very multi-polar world.

But I would disagree with Pat very strongly about the relevance of Europe, not vis-a-vis Asia, but the relevance of Europe to the United States. I think that one of the things we've learned from the Bush years is America, albeit the most powerful military power on the globe, is not powerful enough to go it alone. And I think one of the things we're hearing very strongly from both the candidates and from the American people is they want a United States which is more engaged with the world. Europe is the obvious first place to start that engagement. It shares America's democratic values. It's also an open capitalist economy at a time when actually what we're seeing, contrary to what we expected after the end of the Cold War, is the rise of authoritarian states all over the world.

So I actually think what we're going to see in the next presidency, whoever is elected, is a much more active relationship between the U.S. and Europe.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. I mean, I do agree with Chrystia. To the extent that Europe matters to the United States still, it is because of their shared values, economic and political, and especially now that so many of the crucial states in Europe -- whether it's Italy or Germany, the U.K., France -- now have center-right governments there whose leaders tend to be increasingly pro-American. So to that extent, the United States really should be increasing its focus on Europe.

The problem is that when it comes to really crucial security issues, John, over the last couple of years, Europe has shown itself to be really limited in terms of its ability and willingness to project power. Two quick examples: The Iranian nuclear negotiations -- the Europeans have been put in charge of that. They've dithered and talked and talked and dithered, and essentially those talks have failed and now we're on the brink of a nuclear crisis with Iran. And the second quick example is the fact that the Europeans in dealing with Afghanistan -- this is essentially a NATO operation and the Europeans are so very reticent to increase their troops.

MS. FREELAND: Can I make a --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's no military -- there's no military force over there to speak of in the E.U., so it doesn't qualify for superpower status on that basis alone.

MR. PAGE: Well, they're an economic superpower.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Furthermore, there's no unified foreign policy and you must have a unified foreign policy to have any superpower status.

MR. PAGE: Right.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So is it really -- is the question really now decided or do you want --

MR. PAGE: Well, they're an economic superpower precisely because they're not a military -- (inaudible) -- afraid of being the big military superpower in the world, and that -- we have more arms and more people under arms than all of the E.U. and --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Ireland's in recession. France is in recession. Spain is in recession.

MR. PAGE: Oh, well, all of Europe's in recession right now. The Brits are talking about, you know, dealing with the national emotional recession they're going through right now. But this is something that's international -- it's an international cycle that's going on.

Asia is certainly growing, but right now, because our economy is in a recessive state, South Asia, China, Japan -- they're having trouble as well.

MS. FREELAND: If I could just --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before you do that, I want to first of all hear from this authority, the head of the Atlantic Council.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

It's an organization dedicated to promoting the American-European alliance. The council's cash flow is pumped in from individual sponsors, grants and endowments. The council's CEO and president is Frederick Kempe.

FREDERICK KEMPE (President, Atlantic Council): We believe that although U.S.-European cooperation may have saved the world, that the world won't be safe without it. And we believe that's true on just about any issue you can think of.

(End videotaped segment.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this hype or is the alliance vital to keep the United States and the world safe?

Chrystia Freeland, to go back to your point, what do you think?

MS. FREELAND: Well, just to go back to our previous conversation, what I think is really interesting right now is I don't think that Europe is as militarily impotent as we were suggesting. Actually the Europeans do have some troops, they do have some weapons. What they have had over the past eight years is a free pass. They've had a really easy excuse to not deploy their military might, which is to say, "The Americans are acting unilaterally, they haven't given us a seat at the table, so why --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. FREELAND: Hang on, hang on, Pat. Just let me finish. Let me finish.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right.

MS. FREELAND: -- "so why should we act?" And the next president is going to really be able to ask the Europeans to step up to the plate and say --

MR. BUCHANAN: This -- let's talk military --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, quickly.

MS. FREELAND: -- "If we give you a voice, are you prepared to act?"

MR. BUCHANAN: -- they were useless in Korea; they were useless in Vietnam. They were useless in the two Gulf wars. They were even useless in the Balkans, for heaven's sakes --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right in their backyard.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- Bosnia and they couldn't handle it. They were all trapped and we had to go in and rescue the great mighty Europe.

MS. FREELAND: Pat, have you guys been so good --

MR. BUCHANAN: Huh?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Washington to E.U.: "Be gone."

Get this: Kempe says that the Washington crowd does not appreciate the E.U. In fact, Washington, like Buchanan, wants the E.U. to butt out. Quote, "This town doesn't understand the importance of the E.U. Some people in Washington just wish it would go away" -- like Buchanan. (Laughter.) "But it won't. It's getting more strategic and more involved in security issues," unquote.

Question: Is Kempe right? Is Washington -- should Washington butt out -- take the view the E.U. should butt out?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. Look, the E.U. is an economic power. We have democratic values and culture and civilization. But as a military power, it is useless. It has no unity. As Henry Kissinger said, "You can't pick up the phone and call somebody and say, 'Let's go.' You need 27" --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would we be better off by developing an alliance with Russia? Russia has the oil. And with South America? Latin America has the oil.

MR. PAGE: (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: No, because Russia remains the enemy, John. I mean --

MR. PAGE: No!

MS. CROWLEY: -- yes. It -- every -- the Russians right now are behind every hostile threat -- state-based threat to the United States of America, including Iran, Syria --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean -- and that includes the sainted Medvedev?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, absolutely, because he's essentially a puppet of Putin, who remains pulling the strings.

MR. PAGE: The Cold War lives!

MS. CROWLEY: But look -- no, but NATO I do not think has out-used -- outlived its usefulness for this very point, because the Russians remain a threat. Look, they're extorting Eastern Europe with this oil supply. They continue to encroach in the Caucuses. They're supporting Iran, they're supporting Syria. They continue to prop up North Korea through the Chinese. The Russians remain a big threat, and NATO stands there as a bulwark.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will the European Union ever become a true superpower? Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: It never will. Nationalism is already tearing it apart. The Irish, who are the beneficiaries of it, have voted against their constitution. It is not going to get stronger and more united. I think it's going to fragment even more than it's doing right now. It's at a stop point, and it's going to recede.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think they're going to unify and become a superpower?

MS. FREELAND: I think actually what we're seeing is Europe coming closer and closer together, and the integration of Eastern Europe into the European Union is really one of the most phenomenal political processes of the past decade.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How come they have such low defense budget spending?

MS. FREELAND: Because they have you guys.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's exactly right.

(Cross talk.)

MS. FREELAND: If other people are going to spend the money, why spend it yourself?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, and look at the amount of work we do around the world.

MS. FREELAND: (Inaudible) -- health care and pensions for old people and stuff like that.

MR. PAGE: And long vacations. I love those long vacations.

MS. CROWLEY: I think --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CROWLEY: (Laughs.) Yes, it is. I think if you're talking about the E.U. becoming a superpower, I think you have to decide what category of power you're really talking about -- what platform of power you're talking about. Economics -- you know, many of these Eastern European countries -- Western European countries, too -- they've sort of shunted off the socialist -- (inaudible) -- and they've put in a lot of reforms that are making them more competitive economically.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, and they're doing a good job in Darfur and Kenya and Zimbabwe, are they not?

MS. CROWLEY: Oh -- come on, John --

MR. BUCHANAN: In Zimbabwe?

MS. CROWLEY: -- you cannot be serious.

MR. PAGE: You're being facetious there, aren't you, John? (Laughs.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that when they're called on?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, and they won't even increase their troop levels in the NATO operation in Afghanistan. So when it -- militarily, when push comes to shove, they do not step up to the game.

MS. FREELAND: (Inaudible.)

MR. PAGE: Well, we haven't pushed and shoved, really. I mean, you know, we have been picking up the freight because -- well, the current administration has such a unilateralist policy. And the Europeans -- why should they jump out there and be aggressive on the military side when the U.S. is going to pick up the freight for them?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this going to become a true superpower with the military capacity, et cetera?

MR. PAGE: Not at this rate. Not with the military capacity, but they're doing great economically in the long run -- they've got a dip right now. But as Chrystia mentioned, you know --

(Cross talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Chrystia mentioned the currency and the fact that they've got their currency in.

MR. PAGE: Which is a lot better than our currency, isn't it?

MS. FREELAND: Because that's so -- that's obviously a great strength of the European Union, John. I'm glad you mentioned it.

MR. PAGE: Mm hmm.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The --

MS. FREELAND: And that's --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- European Union will never become a true superpower, notwithstanding their currency uniformity.

When we come back, is John McCain suffering from an Internet deficit?

(Announcements.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Yes we can!

(Begin videotaped segment.)

SEN. OBAMA: It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom. Yes we can! Yes we can!

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This video has been seen on YouTube over 8 million times. It was produced by hip-hop musician will.i.am and airs on YouTube. Barack Obama is the candidate of the YouTube era, as Obama himself and his campaign have their own channel on YouTube with over 1,100 videos. These videos have been seen over 50 million times. And Obama has his own website, BarackObama.com, which hosts even more videos.

(End videotaped segment.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Has the Obama campaign set a new gold standard for political use of the Internet, Clarence Page?

MR. PAGE: No doubt about it. He's advanced what Howard Dean did four years ago and taken it to the ultimate level, both as a propaganda campaign tool, if you will, also as a fundraising tool, as we have seen, and as a -- you know, generating national conversation. But the one thing --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- something else?

MR. PAGE: Well, the one thing --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The operatus (ph) of a campaign.

MR. PAGE: Yeah. Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Moving people around.

MR. PAGE: Right.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sending them to different key locations.

MR. PAGE: That's right. These meet-ups, like Howard Dean did, have grow into a more sophisticated level.

The one weakness, though, that we have seen is with -- Obama's weakness with reaching blue-collar Americans and older Americans who aren't part of that wired generation. Even though older people are using the Web more and more, they haven't been caught up in that same Web -- net-roots culture the same way Obama's younger supporters have.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, isn't it a closed loop? He's really talking to the saved, and he's talking to them repeatedly? And there's another --

MR. PAGE: That's a good --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- but there's another downside --

MR. PAGE: Sometimes that's good, though, in terms of going back to the wealth for fundraising, with those small donors who are nowhere near reaching their maximum donation.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there another downside?

MR. PAGE: Another downside to that -- talking to each other?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: To the net?

MR. PAGE: Well, maybe --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a billboard for not only positive comments but for negative comments.

MR. PAGE: Well, that's okay, though.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And those negative comments can be brutal.

MR. PAGE: Sometimes it's okay to take some negative comments, John. You know, while he --

(Cross talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well why make it easy -- why make it easy for them to register their comments to a worldwide audience?

(Cross talk.)

MS. CROWLEY: They never see it anyway. You can't --

(Cross talk).

MR. BUCHANAN: You can't stop that. You can't stop it, John.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: They do in China, maybe, for the Olympics, but you can't stop that in the USA.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Is there more downsides than there are pluses?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes. Yes, and I'll --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying that?

MS. CROWLEY: -- I will tell you what the downside is because we've seen it, and the Obama campaign has actually had to deal with this in a very aggressive way. They put up this phenomenal website, very interactive -- they've, like, lit a fire under the interaction of getting people involved, raising money off this website.

However, they also set up a brand new part of this website where people can post their own blogs, and the downside to this is that the Obama team has had to remove a lot of these blogs because they're either reverse-racist, they're anti-Semitic. There's all kinds of really inflammatory stuff that's being posted -- not on behalf of Barack Obama but by people who just want the venue. And that is the downside.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well. So they're curtailing freedom of the press, because each of those bloggers regard themselves as press people. Journalism is everywhere, right?

(Cross talk.)

MR. PAGE: It's a private space, though.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you. The silver standard, though -- the silver standard of the Internet is Ron Paul.

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why? Because he's got these folks -- Libertarian, who are very conversant with him. He put together an incredible fundraising effort even he wasn't aware of. They got tremendous crowds out. And John, he's going to have -- as I mentioned, he's going to have a big rally out at that Republican Convention for --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Chrystia. I'm going to throw this to you. McCain and the Internet: McCain admits that he doesn't send e-mails, and he is now just learning how to Google. (Laughter.) But McCain can turn out solid political Internet video. So why bother learning the net now? Watch.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

MR. : (Inaudible.) We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ) (Presumptive Republican presidential nominee.): Keep that faith. Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong. Do not yield. Do not flinch. Stand up. We're Americans. We're Americans, and we'll never surrender. They will.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is one of Senator McCain's 200 YouTube videos, compared to Obama's 1,100. On the viewership scale, McCain has 4 million views, compared to Obama's 58 million views.

(End videotaped segment.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Obviously Obama's presence on the Internet is robust and McCain's presence is puny. But there's a downside to Obama's overwhelming dominance. What is the downside?

I'll ask you. We've already covered this to some extent.

MS. FREELAND: I actually disagree with the premise of the question. I don't think there's a downside for Obama to his use of the Internet.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the negative -- how about the negatives that appear there?

MS. FREELAND: The Internet is the new medium of communication, and the Obama campaign has really mastered it, although McCain hasn't been as bad as you might have expected. They've started to produce, as you've shown, some pretty hip videos. But what they haven't done, which the Obama team has really done -- which shows they get the Internet -- is they've been interactive and they have allowed their community to produce material for them. That's the real idea of the Internet -- the social networking, the user-generated content.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, and I --

MS. FREELAND: And you don't see McCain doing that yet.

MS. CROWLEY: And that's because McCain is -- he is of a different generation and he doesn't quite get -- I mean, he's trying to get it, and God love him for doing this, right? But the --

(Cross talk.)

MS. CROWLEY: -- the political idea has been controlled to --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point?

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And they feel that it's a lower expanse of wild frontier --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point? What's the point?

MS. CROWLEY: That --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That McCain is with it? That McCain is not with it?

MS. CROWLEY: That McCain -- he's getting up to speed. He's getting with it, but he still refers to Google as "the Google," and it calls to mind President Bush referring to the "Internets."

(Cross talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what is your position? You think that the Internet is --

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think that Republicans by and large are a little bit slower on the uptake getting onto that than the Democrats are.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Multiple choice exit question. How much overall political advantage does the Internet provide Obama? A, zero percent; B, 25 percent; C, 50 percent; D, 75 percent; E, 100 percent advantage.

MR. BUCHANAN: About 25 (percent) to 50 percent.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama has more political power?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama has crossed a continental divide, and the Republicans and McCain -- we're still on this side.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Chrystia?

MS. FREELAND: Fifty percent because it gave him the money.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty percent?

MS. CROWLEY: I'd say about 30 percent.

MR. PAGE: The communication, money, image all together -- 75 percent advantage.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Doha round of trade negotiations is not only dead, John, they are not coming back for years and years and years. Protectionism is on the rise in China, India and the good old USA.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

Chrystia?

MS. FREELAND: One of the consequences of the Beijing Olympics will be a renewed focus on the environment as people see the pollution in Beijing and some athletes refuse to compete.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about turnout?

MS. FREELAND: Turnout of who?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: People, for the Olympics.

MR. BUCHANAN: There will be lots of Chinese out there, John.

MS. FREELAND: There's going to be a lot of turnout.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, now that Iran is being pushed out of Iraq by the success of the surge, look for Tehran to develop new spheres of influence including in Central and South America. They're doing a lot of financial and tactical support for Hezbollah in Latin America, and they're also cultivating a lot of the leftist regimes like Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: One more thing to worry about.

MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely.

MR. PAGE: Well, look for a bump up in the economy after Labor Day when fuel prices will be down, confidence will be back up, but it won't be quick enough to affect the election in November because it takes about three or four months for an economic shift to settle in with the electorate. So as far as --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the bottom line?

MR. PAGE: The bottom line is that the economy is still going to be an issue in November even if there is a slight bump up after Labor Day.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are we saying -- what does that do to the certitude of an Obama landslide?

MR. PAGE: Well, Obama right now is benefitting from the economic discontent --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that McCain is finished? (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: I'm not saying -- I'm not going to say he's finished, John, no, because look at the polling. You can see, McCain can be a good --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will anyone on this stage say McCain is finished?

MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely not.

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. PAGE: No.

MS. CROWLEY: Go in the other direction.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think Obama's got problems.

MR. PAGE: Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the problem?

MR. BUCHANAN: The problem is hubris. (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hubris?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. Obama --

MR. PAGE: Too much confidence.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: To the Greek tragedy and back!

MR. BUCHANAN: He's acting -- he's acted --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: "We are the people we've been waiting for." (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict --

MR. PAGE: Maybe we are.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict -- hold it --

MR. PAGE: Sorry.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I predict that Turkey's current political crisis will continue on its deadly track and degenerate into near anarchy.

Don't forget to download a McLaughlin Group podcast at McLauglin.com. Bye-bye!

####



CROWLEY: Well, and they won't even increase their troop levels in the NATO operation in Afghanistan. So when it -- militarily, when push comes to shove, they do not step up to the game.

MS. FREELAND: (Inaudible.)

MR. PAGE: Well, we haven't pushed and shoved, really. I mean, you know, we have been picking up the freight because -- well, the current administration has such a unilateralist policy. And the Europeans -- why should they jump out there and be aggressive on the military side when the U.S. is going to pick up the freight for them?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this going to become a true superpower with the military capacity, et cetera?

MR. PAGE: Not at this rate. Not with the military capacity, but they're doing great economically in the long run -- they've got a dip right now. But as Chrystia mentioned, you know --

(Cross talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Chrystia mentioned the currency and the fact that they've got their currency in.

MR. PAGE: Which is a lot better than our currency, isn't it?

MS. FREELAND: Because that's so -- that's obviously a great strength of the European Union, John. I'm glad you mentioned it.

MR. PAGE: Mm hmm.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The --

MS. FREELAND: And that's --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- European Union will never become a true superpower, notwithstanding their currency uniformity.

When we come back, is John McCain suffering from an Internet deficit?

(Announcements.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Yes we can!

(Begin videotaped segment.)

SEN. OBAMA: It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation. Yes we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom. Yes we can! Yes we can!

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This video has been seen on YouTube over 8 million times. It was produced by hip-hop musician will.i.am and airs on YouTube. Barack Obama is the candidate of the YouTube era, as Obama himself and his campaign have their own channel on YouTube with over 1,100 videos. These videos have been seen over 50 million times. And Obama has his own website, BarackObama.com, which hosts even more videos.

(End videotaped segment.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Has the Obama campaign set a new gold standard for political use of the Internet, Clarence Page?

MR. PAGE: No doubt about it. He's advanced what Howard Dean did four years ago and taken it to the ultimate level, both as a propaganda campaign tool, if you will, also as a fundraising tool, as we have seen, and as a -- you know, generating national conversation. But the one thing --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- something else?

MR. PAGE: Well, the one thing --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The operatus (ph) of a campaign.

MR. PAGE: Yeah. Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Moving people around.

MR. PAGE: Right.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Sending them to different key locations.

MR. PAGE: That's right. These meet-ups, like Howard Dean did, have grow into a more sophisticated level.

The one weakness, though, that we have seen is with -- Obama's weakness with reaching blue-collar Americans and older Americans who aren't part of that wired generation. Even though older people are using the Web more and more, they haven't been caught up in that same Web -- net-roots culture the same way Obama's younger supporters have.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, isn't it a closed loop? He's really talking to the saved, and he's talking to them repeatedly? And there's another --

MR. PAGE: That's a good --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- but there's another downside --

MR. PAGE: Sometimes that's good, though, in terms of going back to the wealth for fundraising, with those small donors who are nowhere near reaching their maximum donation.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there another downside?

MR. PAGE: Another downside to that -- talking to each other?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: To the net?

MR. PAGE: Well, maybe --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a billboard for not only positive comments but for negative comments.

MR. PAGE: Well, that's okay, though.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And those negative comments can be brutal.

MR. PAGE: Sometimes it's okay to take some negative comments, John. You know, while he --

(Cross talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well why make it easy -- why make it easy for them to register their comments to a worldwide audience?

(Cross talk.)

MS. CROWLEY: They never see it anyway. You can't --

(Cross talk).

MR. BUCHANAN: You can't stop that. You can't stop it, John.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: They do in China, maybe, for the Olympics, but you can't stop that in the USA.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Is there more downsides than there are pluses?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes. Yes, and I'll --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying that?

MS. CROWLEY: -- I will tell you what the downside is because we've seen it, and the Obama campaign has actually had to deal with this in a very aggressive way. They put up this phenomenal website, very interactive -- they've, like, lit a fire under the interaction of getting people involved, raising money off this website.

However, they also set up a brand new part of this website where people can post their own blogs, and the downside to this is that the Obama team has had to remove a lot of these blogs because they're either reverse-racist, they're anti-Semitic. There's all kinds of really inflammatory stuff that's being posted -- not on behalf of Barack Obama but by people who just want the venue. And that is the downside.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well. So they're curtailing freedom of the press, because each of those bloggers regard themselves as press people. Journalism is everywhere, right?

(Cross talk.)

MR. PAGE: It's a private space, though.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you. The silver standard, though -- the silver standard of the Internet is Ron Paul.

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why? Because he's got these folks -- Libertarian, who are very conversant with him. He put together an incredible fundraising effort even he wasn't aware of. They got tremendous crowds out. And John, he's going to have -- as I mentioned, he's going to have a big rally out at that Republican Convention for --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Chrystia. I'm going to throw this to you. McCain and the Internet: McCain admits that he doesn't send e-mails, and he is now just learning how to Google. (Laughter.) But McCain can turn out solid political Internet video. So why bother learning the net now? Watch.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

MR. : (Inaudible.) We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ) (Presumptive Republican presidential nominee.): Keep that faith. Keep your courage. Stick together. Stay strong. Do not yield. Do not flinch. Stand up. We're Americans. We're Americans, and we'll never surrender. They will.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is one of Senator McCain's 200 YouTube videos, compared to Obama's 1,100. On the viewership scale, McCain has 4 million views, compared to Obama's 58 million views.

(End videotaped segment.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Obviously Obama's presence on the Internet is robust and McCain's presence is puny. But there's a downside to Obama's overwhelming dominance. What is the downside?

I'll ask you. We've already covered this to some extent.

MS. FREELAND: I actually disagree with the premise of the question. I don't think there's a downside for Obama to his use of the Internet.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the negative -- how about the negatives that appear there?

MS. FREELAND: The Internet is the new medium of communication, and the Obama campaign has really mastered it, although McCain hasn't been as bad as you might have expected. They've started to produce, as you've shown, some pretty hip videos. But what they haven't done, which the Obama team has really done -- which shows they get the Internet -- is they've been interactive and they have allowed their community to produce material for them. That's the real idea of the Internet -- the social networking, the user-generated content.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, and I --

MS. FREELAND: And you don't see McCain doing that yet.

MS. CROWLEY: And that's because McCain is -- he is of a different generation and he doesn't quite get -- I mean, he's trying to get it, and God love him for doing this, right? But the --

(Cross talk.)

MS. CROWLEY: -- the political idea has been controlled to --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point?

MS. CROWLEY: Right. And they feel that it's a lower expanse of wild frontier --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point? What's the point?

MS. CROWLEY: That --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That McCain is with it? That McCain is not with it?

MS. CROWLEY: That McCain -- he's getting up to speed. He's getting with it, but he still refers to Google as "the Google," and it calls to mind President Bush referring to the "Internets."

(Cross talk.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what is your position? You think that the Internet is --

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think that Republicans by and large are a little bit slower on the uptake getting onto that than the Democrats are.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Multiple choice exit question. How much overall political advantage does the Internet provide Obama? A, zero percent; B, 25 percent; C, 50 percent; D, 75 percent; E, 100 percent advantage.

MR. BUCHANAN: About 25 (percent) to 50 percent.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama has more political power?

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama has crossed a continental divide, and the Republicans and McCain -- we're still on this side.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Chrystia?

MS. FREELAND: Fifty percent because it gave him the money.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty percent?

MS. CROWLEY: I'd say about 30 percent.

MR. PAGE: The communication, money, image all together -- 75 percent advantage.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Doha round of trade negotiations is not only dead, John, they are not coming back for years and years and years. Protectionism is on the rise in China, India and the good old USA.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

Chrystia?

MS. FREELAND: One of the consequences of the Beijing Olympics will be a renewed focus on the environment as people see the pollution in Beijing and some athletes refuse to compete.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about turnout?

MS. FREELAND: Turnout of who?

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: People, for the Olympics.

MR. BUCHANAN: There will be lots of Chinese out there, John.

MS. FREELAND: There's going to be a lot of turnout.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, now that Iran is being pushed out of Iraq by the success of the surge, look for Tehran to develop new spheres of influence including in Central and South America. They're doing a lot of financial and tactical support for Hezbollah in Latin America, and they're also cultivating a lot of the leftist regimes like Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: One more thing to worry about.

MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely.

MR. PAGE: Well, look for a bump up in the economy after Labor Day when fuel prices will be down, confidence will be back up, but it won't be quick enough to affect the election in November because it takes about three or four months for an economic shift to settle in with the electorate. So as far as --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the bottom line?

MR. PAGE: The bottom line is that the economy is still going to be an issue in November even if there is a slight bump up after Labor Day.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are we saying -- what does that do to the certitude of an Obama landslide?

MR. PAGE: Well, Obama right now is benefitting from the economic discontent --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that McCain is finished? (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: I'm not saying -- I'm not going to say he's finished, John, no, because look at the polling. You can see, McCain can be a good --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will anyone on this stage say McCain is finished?

MS. CROWLEY: Absolutely not.

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MR. PAGE: No.

MS. CROWLEY: Go in the other direction.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think Obama's got problems.

MR. PAGE: Yeah.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the problem?

MR. BUCHANAN: The problem is hubris. (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hubris?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. Obama --

MR. PAGE: Too much confidence.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: To the Greek tragedy and back!

MR. BUCHANAN: He's acting -- he's acted --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: "We are the people we've been waiting for." (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict --

MR. PAGE: Maybe we are.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict -- hold it --

MR. PAGE: Sorry.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- I predict that Turkey's current political crisis will continue on its deadly track and degenerate into near anarchy.

Don't forget to download a McLaughlin Group podcast at McLauglin.com. Bye-bye!

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