Share

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, SEPTEMBER 5, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 6-7, 2008

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright (c) 2008 by Federal News Service, Inc., Ste. 500 1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA. Federal News Service is a private firm not affiliated with the federal government. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's official duties. For information on subscribing to the FNS Internet Service, please visit http://www.fednews.com or call(202)347-1400
-----------------------------------------------------------------


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Listen Up, Barack.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ, Republican presidential nominee): (From videotape.) A word to Senator Obama and his supporters. We are fellow Americans, and that's an association that means more to me than any other. (Cheers, applause.) We're dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights.

Question: What is Senator McCain saying euphemistically to Senator Barack Obama and his supporters, Pat? MR. BUCHANAN: Well, he says we're all good Americans. We're all patriots. That's not exactly the message that was coming out of the rest of that convention, however, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he's saying more than that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, no --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's he saying?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're all created equal. What does that say?

MR. BUCHANAN: We're all children of God, and that means all races, creatures, et cetera.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: But John, what John McCain and Cindy McCain were doing was contrasting themselves as two people with Michelle Obama and Barack Obama. And that's what this convention was about, to portray McCain as this warrior hero who has suffered for his country and who's prepared to lead the nation in these terrible times, and Barack Obama is basically an amiable lightweight who goes to Europe and appeases our critics.

And I think the -- that's the contrast. It's to make it personal, to get it away from party and to get it back to the two people. You know, as people say, "I don't vote for the party; I vote for the man." That's what they want. If they can get it on the man, they may be able to win. If it's on the party, goodbye and good luck.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McCain is saying that the Republicans are not playing the race card. Isn't that what he's really saying?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, he's taking race off the table, and he's also trying to inoculate himself against charges that he's attacking Barack Obama's patriotism. It's an example of how he's run his campaign of late. He says one thing, and the campaign apparatchiks do another. He's already launched his character assassination ad campaign against Barack Obama.

But last night, or Thursday night, was really about appealing to independents, because he can't win if he just revs up the Republican base. And so he said a lot of things that were very appealing. He's running on his personal biography and he hopes that his biography and the compelling story of his running mate will obscure the fact that they haven't offered much of an economic vision and the fact that this running mate is to the hard right on social issues and really does not appeal to the independents that he needs to win the election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who played the race card already? MS. CROWLEY: Well, certainly not Senator McCain.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who did?

MS. CROWLEY: I don't know. I don't know how to answer that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Didn't Obama?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, Senator Obama -- well, but that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know what I'm talking about?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, but I think that what Senator McCain did Thursday night in his speech was eliminate that. I mean, that is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he nullified it in both directions.

MS. CROWLEY: It is a neutralized issue. And, you know, when you watched Senator McCain on Thursday, his speech isn't fluid. His movements aren't graceful. But he did as well as John McCain could do in terms of oration, in terms of delivering a message. And the message was essentially to try not to bury Senator Obama but to try to coopt what has made Senator Obama so successful so far, which is the message of change and also the message of post-partisanship.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you recall when Obama did play the race card?

MR. PAGE: Why don't you tell me?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you recall it?

MR. PAGE: Tell me, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It came up on this program.

MR. PAGE: Are you referring --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to refresh my own recollection.

MR. PAGE: Are you referring to the time that he said --

MR. BUCHANAN: "I don't look like the guys on the dollar bill."

MR. PAGE: Are you referring to the time that -- yeah, the dollar bill statement --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.

MR. PAGE: -- that his face doesn't look like those on the dollar bills?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. MR. PAGE: Well, gee whiz, John, I mean, that's an observation. Barack Obama is not white.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You on this program at that time said it was playing the race card, did you not?

MR. PAGE: Well, the race card traditionally, in my old tradition from old school last century, is you play the race card in order to arouse people's sentiments against a minority candidate. Barack Obama was acknowledging the fact there's on the Internet and all sorts of shadow campaigns out there to make him somehow un-American, somehow un-mainstream, aka un-white. I mean, that's not exactly playing the race card.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we've moved past that?

MR. PAGE: Well, we've moved past -- well, most Americans have.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Most Americans have?

MR. PAGE: Most Americans have. You've still got surveys showing 15 percent say it makes a difference.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a critical mass of American voters out there that could blow the election for Obama on the basis of race?

MR. PAGE: Well, but that would be true of anything. Just the fact he's from Chicago is something they aren't going to like. I mean, you know, any factor at the margins can make a difference. I think Obama --

MR. PAGE: If anything --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.) Do you think that there has been a slackening of the power of this point, of the race card? Do you think it's lost a lot of its octane in the course of this race?

MR. PAGE: Well, essentially, in the context of the McCain campaign, he had the race card played against him back in 2000, you will recall, when there were these rumors going around that he was -- that he had a black child; totally false. But it's like --

MS. CLIFT: But he does. He adopted that black child -- exactly.

MR. PAGE: Yeah, adopted dark-skinned child from India, yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the race issue --

MS. CLIFT: John McCain is not a racist.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, the race issue --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor in.

MS. CLIFT: John McCain is not a racist by any stretch of the imagination. And playing the race card overtly is not acceptable in modern American politics. But it is a subset, under this sort of differentness that they're trying to surround Barack Obama with. And for every voter, older voter, perhaps, who it might make a difference, there are two voters under 30 who think voting for a mixed-race person is an asset.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is grossly unfair. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's unfair?

MR. BUCHANAN: This is unfair.

MS. CLIFT: What's unfair?

MR. BUCHANAN: I'll tell you what it is. Look, Barack Obama is winning the African-American vote, 94 to 1, based upon race. He beat Hillary 9 to 1 based upon race.

MR. PAGE: Wait a minute, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hold it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Pat --

MR. PAGE: Don't say based on race, Pat. Initially Hillary was beating him, and he was black then; he's black now. Don't say blacks have voted for him just because he's black. They're voting for him because they think he can win and they agree with his principles, okay?

MS. CLIFT: What about all the Catholics who supported Kennedy?

MR. BUCHANAN: Are you going to let me finish, John?

MR. PAGE: Now you can finish. I had to correct that.

MR. BUCHANAN: But let me say this. Let me give you some --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But I said to you a couple of weeks ago -- I said blacks vote for blacks.

MR. PAGE: That's not true, John. If that was true, Hillary Clinton would have been leading Barack Obama all along among black voters. She was not. She was beating him two to one until Iowa came along.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking about in the booth.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, I --

MR. PAGE: Until Iowa came along, she was beating him among black voters.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, can I talk about the white voters?

MS. CLIFT: There's nothing wrong with racial pride.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, go ahead. Go ahead.

MR. BUCHANAN: Hold it, Eleanor. We heard you. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, let --

MS. CLIFT: There's nothing wrong with racial pride. And all the Catholics voted for JFK.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay, if all white --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right --

MS. CLIFT: That's all I want to say.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --

MR. BUCHANAN: Hold it, John. Let me finish the point. Twenty percent of white folks -- no, 8 percent of white folks are voting on race, and they are split. There are liberals who are voting for Barack Obama because he's black, but there are no black folks voting for John McCain because he's white. Let's get it straight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Irish Catholics all voted for Kennedy --

MR. BUCHANAN: They voted -- that's right, they voted about four to one for Kennedy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. "We Republicans blew it."

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost -- we lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. (Applause.) My friends, I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not. (Applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: When was the last time a party's nominee scolded the party delegates like that?

MS. CROWLEY: He did -- McCain did a most extraordinary thing, and I think unprecedented in modern times, which is gently criticized the party whose nomination he just accepted. What he's doing is transcending party there. He was talking over the heads of those delegates, straight to those undecided voters that are going to decide this election.

He also pulled off the nearly impossible here with the selection of Sarah Palin and in his speech, which is that he has rebranded the Republican Party as populist, as reformist, anti-establishment, anti- corruption, and -- dare I say it -- hip and cool, which is everything that the Obama ticket --

(Cross-talk.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's the perfect person to do this.

MS. CROWLEY: It's hard to imagine that John McCain and Sarah Palin are hip and cool, but they've re-energized this party and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it working? Is it working?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's working, yes.

MS. CROWLEY: It is working now, because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is working?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's declared --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Republicans are looking like the Democrats.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he's compared --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Look at all the money Obama has.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, he's declared -- what McCain did was declare his independence of Bush-Cheney and his statement with Palin that "We are coming to Washington to reform what Cheney and Bush have given us."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Okay, globalism is good.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.

) Opening new markets and preparing workers to compete in the world economy is essential to our future prosperity.

My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We're going to help workers who've lost a job that won't come back find a new one that won't go away. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear that? He likes globalism.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, John, John McCain doesn't know a great deal about globalism, economics. John, let me tell you, we're going to lose every manufacturing job in this country for the simple reason --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Come, come, come, come, come.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- in the global economy, because it's far cheaper to make goods abroad than it is to make them here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know. We've heard the harangue, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: And we've lost --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But globalism is here. He looks out in front on this issue. He does not look his age.

MR. BUCHANAN: How does he explain how we lost 3.2 million jobs in eight years under George Bush -- manufacturing?

MS. CLIFT: Pat, you're not the candidate, though. John McCain is.

MR. BUCHANAN: I know he is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to get into this? Don't you think he's way out in front on this, and he looks good? He's on top of the issues. He's looking forward. Globalism is here. We've got to retrain our people.

MR. PAGE: John McCain, former Vietnam POW, helped open the doors to trade with Vietnam. I mean, he's always been a globalist in many ways. And that's just the reality of the modern world. My dear friend, Pat, with all due respect, this is the way we're going. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another McCain virtue. Okay, McCain on education.

SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) Education is the civil rights issue of this century. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does that mean? I ask you. A civil rights issue.

MS. CROWLEY: Because then he went on to talk about the need for choice in public education -- school vouchers, charter schools, all of these things that the Republicans have been touting for a long time. And frankly, a lot of African-Americans around the country --

MR. PAGE: A majority.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, a majority of African-Americans in the South --

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MS. CROWLEY: Exactly -- in the South and in the inner cities, John, support.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's talking also implicitly about a change in affirmative action, that affirmative action will focus on income more than it will or perhaps only on that and not on race?

MR. PAGE: Yeah, implicitly but not explicitly. He has said he likes Army-style, Pentagon-style affirmative action, which broadens the pool of talent for consideration, but doesn't practice quotas. It's a little more complicated, but it is a consensus-building idea, and it works.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he hinting it by saying that education is the civil rights issue of this century?

MR. PAGE: Yeah. And he's not the first person to say that. I was personally delighted to hear him say it, because there are a lot of black folks, as Monica mentioned, who are upset with the teachers' unions for getting in the way on this thing.

MS. CLIFT: This is an issue that Barack Obama should have gotten there first on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.

MS. CLIFT: And it was a missed opportunity. As far as affirmative action, John McCain will treat that through the back door through Supreme Court nominations.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this forward-looking on McCain's part? MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: I thought this was good.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, he's against affirmative action. He's supporting a resolution in Arizona which overturns affirmative action. McCain is.

MR. PAGE: Which will be on the ballot now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, in its present form -- in its present form.

MR. BUCHANAN: It dumps it over racial and ethnic and sex affirmative action. He wants to dump it over in Arizona.

MS. CLIFT: Which are all Pat's issues.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the reason why affirmative action should move from minorities and blacks to those who have low income?

MR. PAGE: I thought Pat was going to say that McCain supports gender affirmative action for his running mate. But I'm sorry -- what was your question again? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who was your running mate, by the way? What was her name -- Lola?

MR. BUCHANAN: Ezola Foster.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened to her?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, she's still living in California. She's an African-American gal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did she choose to run for your vice presidential candidate?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, she was a very, very conservative black woman from South-Central. She had a wonderful story.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Any career?

MR. BUCHANAN: Pardon?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has she had any career since she abandoned ship with you?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I mean, once they leave they pretty much -- (laughter) -- yes, she does have a career, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McCain saved by country. SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I'm not running for president because I think I'm blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. (Cheers, applause.) My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her as long as I draw breath, so help me God. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Was this McCain's finest moment of the hour? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think McCain was above his game, I think, and he probably helped himself. And he put himself in a position where he didn't have to rival Barack Obama in the previous week. So he handled himself well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Changing questions for Eleanor. Did the Republican Convention accomplish what it had to do -- namely, stimulate the base and close the enthusiasm gap with the Democrats?

MS. CLIFT: Right. The Sarah Palin pick gave McCain an opportunity to get a second look, which he might not otherwise have had. And I think they come out of the convention not quite tied, but they've got an opportunity. He's a credible contender.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did they close the enthusiasm gap?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, they did. I mean, I still think they have a little work to do on that, but the base is now jacked, and now you have the swing voters taking a second look at this ticket.

And let's keep in mind that there are people out there who may have felt guilty not voting for Obama because of the historic nature of his run, and now there's a woman on the Republican ticket, which also makes that a historic ticket.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, even you, Clarence, believe that the Republicans closed the enthusiasm gap with the Democrats.

MR. PAGE: I think they definitely closed the enthusiasm gap after weeks of building enthusiasm for negative reasons; you know, portraying Obama as dangerous. Palin gave them something positive to believe in, gave them their voice. However, she has now become an issue, and investigative reporters --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, an issue with Gloria Steinem.

MR. PAGE: No, investigative reporters are on their way to Alaska looking at her positions on -- her flip-flop on the Bridge to Nowhere, her trying to fire a librarian for refusing to censor, et cetera, et cetera.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bring it on. Bring it on. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Well, you know, you don't want your running mate to be the issue, and that's what's happened.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Bridge to Nowhere -- that bridge closed the gap.

Issue Two: Que Sarah, Sarah.

ALASKA GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN (Republican vice presidential nominee): (From videotape.) I've learned quickly these last few days that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. (Chorus of boos.) But -- now here's a little news flash. Here's a little news flash for those reporters and commentators. I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Sarah Palin too good to be true? Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Well, she's a political natural and she can stick the knife in with a smile, and she certainly delivered in her speech. But the question is, is she all she pretends to be? Her reformist credentials are being nibbled around the edges, and she is way over to the right.

She's where Pat is on social issues, and that's -- the majority of the country, I don't think, favors opposition to abortion without exceptions for rape and incest. And she doesn't want to keep the polar bears on the endangered species list. She's suing the administration to get them off the endangered species list. And the Bush administration is hardly radical environmentally.

So she's far right. And her personality and her compelling story and all the family drama kind of obscure where she is on the positions. And it's up to the Democrats now to point out --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --

MS. CLIFT: -- how out of mainstream she is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, by Eleanor Clift's gauge, she's far right.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, by most people's gauge --

MR. PAGE: Not just Eleanor. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: -- not just Eleanor. Pat would tell you she's far right.

MR. PAGE: By John McCain's gauge.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, not in relation to where you are on --

MS. CLIFT: A lot of people compare her to Dan Quayle, but she's more like Marilyn Quayle, who is a lot harder-edged and ideological than her husband.

MR. BUCHANAN: She's at 80 percent approval in Alaska. She's a tremendously successful executive. She hammered the oil company up there. She went after the corrupt Republican establishment. She's at 57 percent approval now. She's got a wonderful personality. She's a good executive. She does lack foreign policy experience.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did she try to initiate any anti-abortion legislation or regulation?

MR. BUCHANAN: You can't -- that's all up, John -- that's going to be Roe v. Wade.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, did she try to do it in any part of her career, in her administrative capacity up there? MR. BUCHANAN: Where she wins on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No? No? No?

MR. BUCHANAN: She had a baby that has Down Syndrome and she elected to keep that baby. And that is testimony that this is a right-to-life woman, and she won't deny it. She's feminist for life in Alaska.

MS. CROWLEY: She is Ann-Margret in "Kitten with a Whip." (Laughter.) She is fabulous, okay? And it raises the question, where has she been? The Republican Party has been craving somebody new and fresh and dynamic.

MR. PAGE: All two years of her governorship.

MS. CROWLEY: And you know what? When she -- when this race first began, who would have thought that Barack Obama would be the boring one? She has jazzed the base. She has electrified the country. People who are undecided in their votes are going to look at her. And it's not just women.

You know, there's an assumption out there that McCain chose her in a cynical attempt to try to attract these Hillary voters. That's only partly true. The real reason he chose her is because she's a fabulous leader and executive, as Pat points out, but she is also one of the people who is going to decide this election. That is the swing voters who like their guns and like their religion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Sarah's triple play.

GOV. PALIN: (From videotape.) I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. (Cheers, applause.)

It's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the state senate.

There are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Overall in this speech, did Sarah's satirizings of Obama help or hurt Republicans? I ask you.

MR. PAGE: Well, for those who know what a community organizer does, she kind of relinquished her populist credentials, because community organizers do go up against the establishment, against corporations, against downtown governments that are trying to roll over neighborhoods and all. But she got -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they don't have any legally enforceable --

MR. PAGE: She got some good lines out of there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- responsibilities.

MR. PAGE: That was your question. You were asking me how she makes Republicans look. They look like plutocrats. That's what it is. We saw that last week --

MS. CLIFT: A little bit too much --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She looked like a plutocrat?

MR. PAGE: Yeah. She's sticking up for the fat cats who want to roll over communities.

MS. CLIFT: It was a little like schoolyard taunts. But again, because she has this sort of charming personality, I thought she pulled it off. It was a partisan rally. And as Barack Obama said --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How long do you think she's going to get away with playing the personality card over substance and issues?

MS. CLIFT: Well, she will be tested over the coming weeks, and she'll be --

MR. BUCHANAN: She's got more executive experience than all the other three candidates combined.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: The Supporting Cast.

RUDY GIULIANI (former New York mayor and former Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) With John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they're going to shake up Washington? (Cheers, applause.)

He is the least-experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years. (Cheers, applause.) Not a personal attack; a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything -- nothing, nada. (Cheers, applause.) Nada. Nothing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: When Giuliani says Obama has never done anything -- nothing, zilch, nada -- is he right? I ask you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Well, he has co-sponsored legislation, both in Illinois and here in Washington. And he's run a campaign, a very big and successful campaign, which doesn't count for nothing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's used the word "major" legislation.

MR. PAGE: Well, of course. "Major" is in the eye of the beholder.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And so did Sarah. She was with "major" legislation.

MR. PAGE: As I've said on this show before, passing ethics legislation in Illinois is no small feat. And the legislation he passed here, including a bill with John McCain, which John McCain raised --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about this not voting 160 times? State legislatures never not vote.

MR. PAGE: That's Illinois. That's Illinois. They do about 1,100 bills on average each year. At least half of them go in as voting present. That's the way it works there. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me carry this a step further. He never wrote anything in the -- I don't think he has any signed material in the Harvard Law Review, even though he was either president of the Law Review --

MR. PAGE: He was president of the Law Review, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- president of the Law Review, not editor in chief but president of it.

MR. PAGE: That's correct.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Number two, he has never committed himself to any kind of a brief that has lasted. Is it true, is it true that the reason why he did this is he didn't want to be "Borked" -- B-O-R-K -- who was the victim of his own previous --

MR. PAGE: Paper trail.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- written opinions in matters of law? Therefore, he didn't produce any matters of law.

MR. PAGE: Well, if that's a sin, you've got a lot of sinners in Washington, I'll tell you. No, he could have gotten to any white-shoe law firm in Manhattan with that Harvard degree and that background.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know. I know.

MR. PAGE: Instead he went out to the community. Give him some credit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the argument is that he cannot hold a job. (Laughter.) He goes from one job to another.

MR. PAGE: That's what my mother always said about me, too, with journalism. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wasn't maxima cum laude? What was he?

MR. BUCHANAN: Summa cum laude.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wasn't summa. He was --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, cum laude, okay? Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was cum laude.

MR. BUCHANAN: The point is, John, he has accomplished nothing --

MR. PAGE: Nothing. Oh, right. MR. BUCHANAN: -- nothing serious.

MR. PAGE: He's such a slacker.

MR. BUCHANAN: And that's an exaggeration. That's an exaggeration, I admit. But it's based on truth, and that's what --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Obama has a low boredom threshold?

MS. CLIFT: Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seriously.

MS. CLIFT: Obama appeals to the higher angels of our nature, which is something very few politicians are able to do. Rudy Giuliani hasn't treaded that hallowed land for a long time.

MR. BUCHANAN: But he's accomplished something.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's done something.

MS. CLIFT: And when he stood up there lacerating and mocking Obama -- of course, it's a partisan convention, but it's all part of the politics of resentment that the Republicans are trying to reinvent from the days of Nixon and acting as though all of these rich white Republican delegates are sitting there --

MR. BUCHANAN: The race card. She's playing the race card.

MS. CLIFT: -- claiming that the Democrats are looking down their nose at regular people. I mean, it's ludicrous on its face.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I don't think --

MS. CLIFT: And Barack Obama has stood the test of a year-long voting process --

MS. CROWLEY: Come on --

MS. CLIFT: -- in a democracy that has awarded him the nomination. And so --

MR. PAGE: Not Giuliani, I might add. His campaign kind of collapsed, didn't it?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me get on the record as saying that there's nothing wrong with having a low boredom threshold. I suffer from that. That's why I constantly move this program around. You're next. MR. PAGE: If he was that easily bored, he wouldn't be where he is, John. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: What Rudy --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, Michelle may be the one that has --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe she has a sense of mission and she has the resoluteness.

MS. CROWLEY: What Rudy Giuliani was really saying there, when he was saying that Obama hasn't done anything, was he was alluding to that lack of executive experience. When you are a legislator, you can hide behind -- whether you're a U.S. senator -- and this applies to McCain as well as Obama -- you can hide behind 99 others. When you are an executive, you are out there on a limb. You're risk-taking. What he was saying is that Obama has never had that experience. He's never had to lead. He's never run anything. That was the point.

MR. PAGE: Unlike George W. Bush, who's gotten us into the wonderful situation we're in now. (Laughter.)

MS. CROWLEY: He was a governor, though, before he became president.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. PAGE: You know as well as I do why senators and congressmen don't win, because they've got this big paper trail behind them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Next week, House and Senate races.

Bye-bye.



END.

. He's supporting a resolution in Arizona which overturns affirmative action. McCain is.

MR. PAGE: Which will be on the ballot now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, in its present form -- in its present form.

MR. BUCHANAN: It dumps it over racial and ethnic and sex affirmative action. He wants to dump it over in Arizona.

MS. CLIFT: Which are all Pat's issues.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is the reason why affirmative action should move from minorities and blacks to those who have low income?

MR. PAGE: I thought Pat was going to say that McCain supports gender affirmative action for his running mate. But I'm sorry -- what was your question again? (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who was your running mate, by the way? What was her name -- Lola?

MR. BUCHANAN: Ezola Foster.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened to her?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, she's still living in California. She's an African-American gal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did she choose to run for your vice presidential candidate?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, she was a very, very conservative black woman from South-Central. She had a wonderful story.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Any career?

MR. BUCHANAN: Pardon?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has she had any career since she abandoned ship with you?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I mean, once they leave they pretty much -- (laughter) -- yes, she does have a career, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McCain saved by country. SEN. MCCAIN: (From videotape.) I'm not running for president because I think I'm blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. (Cheers, applause.) My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her as long as I draw breath, so help me God. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Was this McCain's finest moment of the hour? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think McCain was above his game, I think, and he probably helped himself. And he put himself in a position where he didn't have to rival Barack Obama in the previous week. So he handled himself well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Changing questions for Eleanor. Did the Republican Convention accomplish what it had to do -- namely, stimulate the base and close the enthusiasm gap with the Democrats?

MS. CLIFT: Right. The Sarah Palin pick gave McCain an opportunity to get a second look, which he might not otherwise have had. And I think they come out of the convention not quite tied, but they've got an opportunity. He's a credible contender.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did they close the enthusiasm gap?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, they did. I mean, I still think they have a little work to do on that, but the base is now jacked, and now you have the swing voters taking a second look at this ticket.

And let's keep in mind that there are people out there who may have felt guilty not voting for Obama because of the historic nature of his run, and now there's a woman on the Republican ticket, which also makes that a historic ticket.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, even you, Clarence, believe that the Republicans closed the enthusiasm gap with the Democrats.

MR. PAGE: I think they definitely closed the enthusiasm gap after weeks of building enthusiasm for negative reasons; you know, portraying Obama as dangerous. Palin gave them something positive to believe in, gave them their voice. However, she has now become an issue, and investigative reporters --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, an issue with Gloria Steinem.

MR. PAGE: No, investigative reporters are on their way to Alaska looking at her positions on -- her flip-flop on the Bridge to Nowhere, her trying to fire a librarian for refusing to censor, et cetera, et cetera.

MR. BUCHANAN: Bring it on. Bring it on. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Well, you know, you don't want your running mate to be the issue, and that's what's happened.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Bridge to Nowhere -- that bridge closed the gap.

Issue Two: Que Sarah, Sarah.

ALASKA GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN (Republican vice presidential nominee): (From videotape.) I've learned quickly these last few days that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. (Chorus of boos.) But -- now here's a little news flash. Here's a little news flash for those reporters and commentators. I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Sarah Palin too good to be true? Eleanor. MS. CLIFT: Well, she's a political natural and she can stick the knife in with a smile, and she certainly delivered in her speech. But the question is, is she all she pretends to be? Her reformist credentials are being nibbled around the edges, and she is way over to the right.

She's where Pat is on social issues, and that's -- the majority of the country, I don't think, favors opposition to abortion without exceptions for rape and incest. And she doesn't want to keep the polar bears on the endangered species list. She's suing the administration to get them off the endangered species list. And the Bush administration is hardly radical environmentally.

So she's far right. And her personality and her compelling story and all the family drama kind of obscure where she is on the positions. And it's up to the Democrats now to point out --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean --

MS. CLIFT: -- how out of mainstream she is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, by Eleanor Clift's gauge, she's far right.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, by most people's gauge --

MR. PAGE: Not just Eleanor. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: -- not just Eleanor. Pat would tell you she's far right.

MR. PAGE: By John McCain's gauge.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, not in relation to where you are on --

MS. CLIFT: A lot of people compare her to Dan Quayle, but she's more like Marilyn Quayle, who is a lot harder-edged and ideological than her husband.

MR. BUCHANAN: She's at 80 percent approval in Alaska. She's a tremendously successful executive. She hammered the oil company up there. She went after the corrupt Republican establishment. She's at 57 percent approval now. She's got a wonderful personality. She's a good executive. She does lack foreign policy experience.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did she try to initiate any anti-abortion legislation or regulation?

MR. BUCHANAN: You can't -- that's all up, John -- that's going to be Roe v. Wade.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, did she try to do it in any part of her career, in her administrative capacity up there? MR. BUCHANAN: Where she wins on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No? No? No?

MR. BUCHANAN: She had a baby that has Down Syndrome and she elected to keep that baby. And that is testimony that this is a right-to-life woman, and she won't deny it. She's feminist for life in Alaska.

MS. CROWLEY: She is Ann-Margret in "Kitten with a Whip." (Laughter.) She is fabulous, okay? And it raises the question, where has she been? The Republican Party has been craving somebody new and fresh and dynamic.

MR. PAGE: All two years of her governorship.

MS. CROWLEY: And you know what? When she -- when this race first began, who would have thought that Barack Obama would be the boring one? She has jazzed the base. She has electrified the country. People who are undecided in their votes are going to look at her. And it's not just women.

You know, there's an assumption out there that McCain chose her in a cynical attempt to try to attract these Hillary voters. That's only partly true. The real reason he chose her is because she's a fabulous leader and executive, as Pat points out, but she is also one of the people who is going to decide this election. That is the swing voters who like their guns and like their religion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Sarah's triple play.

GOV. PALIN: (From videotape.) I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. (Cheers, applause.)

It's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the state senate.

There are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change. (Cheers, applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Overall in this speech, did Sarah's satirizings of Obama help or hurt Republicans? I ask you.

MR. PAGE: Well, for those who know what a community organizer does, she kind of relinquished her populist credentials, because community organizers do go up against the establishment, against corporations, against downtown governments that are trying to roll over neighborhoods and all. But she got -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they don't have any legally enforceable --

MR. PAGE: She got some good lines out of there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- responsibilities.

MR. PAGE: That was your question. You were asking me how she makes Republicans look. They look like plutocrats. That's what it is. We saw that last week --

MS. CLIFT: A little bit too much --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She looked like a plutocrat?

MR. PAGE: Yeah. She's sticking up for the fat cats who want to roll over communities.

MS. CLIFT: It was a little like schoolyard taunts. But again, because she has this sort of charming personality, I thought she pulled it off. It was a partisan rally. And as Barack Obama said --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How long do you think she's going to get away with playing the personality card over substance and issues?

MS. CLIFT: Well, she will be tested over the coming weeks, and she'll be --

MR. BUCHANAN: She's got more executive experience than all the other three candidates combined.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: The Supporting Cast.

RUDY GIULIANI (former New York mayor and former Republican presidential candidate): (From videotape.) With John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they're going to shake up Washington? (Cheers, applause.)

He is the least-experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years. (Cheers, applause.) Not a personal attack; a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything -- nothing, nada. (Cheers, applause.) Nada. Nothing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: When Giuliani says Obama has never done anything -- nothing, zilch, nada -- is he right? I ask you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Well, he has co-sponsored legislation, both in Illinois and here in Washington. And he's run a campaign, a very big and successful campaign, which doesn't count for nothing.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's used the word "major" legislation.

MR. PAGE: Well, of course. "Major" is in the eye of the beholder.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And so did Sarah. She was with "major" legislation.

MR. PAGE: As I've said on this show before, passing ethics legislation in Illinois is no small feat. And the legislation he passed here, including a bill with John McCain, which John McCain raised --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about this not voting 160 times? State legislatures never not vote.

MR. PAGE: That's Illinois. That's Illinois. They do about 1,100 bills on average each year. At least half of them go in as voting present. That's the way it works there. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me carry this a step further. He never wrote anything in the -- I don't think he has any signed material in the Harvard Law Review, even though he was either president of the Law Review --

MR. PAGE: He was president of the Law Review, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- president of the Law Review, not editor in chief but president of it.

MR. PAGE: That's correct.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Number two, he has never committed himself to any kind of a brief that has lasted. Is it true, is it true that the reason why he did this is he didn't want to be "Borked" -- B-O-R-K -- who was the victim of his own previous --

MR. PAGE: Paper trail.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- written opinions in matters of law? Therefore, he didn't produce any matters of law.

MR. PAGE: Well, if that's a sin, you've got a lot of sinners in Washington, I'll tell you. No, he could have gotten to any white-shoe law firm in Manhattan with that Harvard degree and that background.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know. I know.

MR. PAGE: Instead he went out to the community. Give him some credit.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the argument is that he cannot hold a job. (Laughter.) He goes from one job to another.

MR. PAGE: That's what my mother always said about me, too, with journalism. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wasn't maxima cum laude? What was he?

MR. BUCHANAN: Summa cum laude.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wasn't summa. He was --

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, cum laude, okay? Look --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He was cum laude.

MR. BUCHANAN: The point is, John, he has accomplished nothing --

MR. PAGE: Nothing. Oh, right. MR. BUCHANAN: -- nothing serious.

MR. PAGE: He's such a slacker.

MR. BUCHANAN: And that's an exaggeration. That's an exaggeration, I admit. But it's based on truth, and that's what --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Obama has a low boredom threshold?

MS. CLIFT: Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seriously.

MS. CLIFT: Obama appeals to the higher angels of our nature, which is something very few politicians are able to do. Rudy Giuliani hasn't treaded that hallowed land for a long time.

MR. BUCHANAN: But he's accomplished something.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's done something.

MS. CLIFT: And when he stood up there lacerating and mocking Obama -- of course, it's a partisan convention, but it's all part of the politics of resentment that the Republicans are trying to reinvent from the days of Nixon and acting as though all of these rich white Republican delegates are sitting there --

MR. BUCHANAN: The race card. She's playing the race card.

MS. CLIFT: -- claiming that the Democrats are looking down their nose at regular people. I mean, it's ludicrous on its face.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, I don't think --

MS. CLIFT: And Barack Obama has stood the test of a year-long voting process --

MS. CROWLEY: Come on --

MS. CLIFT: -- in a democracy that has awarded him the nomination. And so --

MR. PAGE: Not Giuliani, I might add. His campaign kind of collapsed, didn't it?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me get on the record as saying that there's nothing wrong with having a low boredom threshold. I suffer from that. That's why I constantly move this program around. You're next. MR. PAGE: If he was that easily bored, he wouldn't be where he is, John. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: What Rudy --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, Michelle may be the one that has --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Maybe she has a sense of mission and she has the resoluteness.

MS. CROWLEY: What Rudy Giuliani was really saying there, when he was saying that Obama hasn't done anything, was he was alluding to that lack of executive experience. When you are a legislator, you can hide behind -- whether you're a U.S. senator -- and this applies to McCain as well as Obama -- you can hide behind 99 others. When you are an executive, you are out there on a limb. You're risk-taking. What he was saying is that Obama has never had that experience. He's never had to lead. He's never run anything. That was the point.

MR. PAGE: Unlike George W. Bush, who's gotten us into the wonderful situation we're in now. (Laughter.)

MS. CROWLEY: He was a governor, though, before he became president.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. PAGE: You know as well as I do why senators and congressmen don't win, because they've got this big paper trail behind them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Next week, House and Senate races.

Bye-bye.



END.