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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP


HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN



JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,


TONY BLANKLEY, AND MICHAEL BARONE



TAPED FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 1999


AIRED THE WEEKEND OF JANUARY 9-10, 1999



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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Rules of engagement.



SERGEANT-AT-ARMS OF THE U.S. SENATE: (From videotape.) Hear ye, hear ye,


hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment,


while the House of Representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the


United States articles of impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For the first time in the 223-year history of the


republic, an elected president has now been put on trial before the United


States Senate, a trial that will judge guilt or innocence, conviction or


acquittal, on accusations of perjury and obstruction of justice, as


outlined in articles of impeachment adopted by the U.S. House of


Representatives.



The rules governing the Senate impeachment trial have been adopted by a


bipartisan vote.



Question: What's the significance of this whole bipartisan deal, Pat


Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: I think that's the very problem. The Republicans, in this


search for bipartisanship, are handing out hostages and giving the capacity


maybe to circumscribe, maybe to shorten the trial, maybe to curtail


witnesses, to a Democratic minority, John, that thinks this impeachment


should never have been brought, that would throw it out if it had the power


to do so, that is never going to throw Bill Clinton out of office and put


him in the history books with Richard Nixon.



I think the Republican interest here is in a full, open, complete trial,


and let Clinton have his total defense, so the whole thing is on the


record. They should give nothing of that away for bipartisanship.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Unnecessarily circumscribed?



MR. BUCHANAN: I think they're moving in that direction.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the fix is in, Pat?



MR. BUCHANAN: I do believe in -- look, I think in part -- look, do you


think all those jurors are impartial, Chuck Schumer is open-minded on this


thing? These Democrats want this thing thrown out, and they want the House


Republicans forever discredited.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, what is your view?



MS. CLIFT: Well, listen, Chuck Schumer is as open-minded as Mr. Nickles


and Mr. Santorum and Mr. Grams.



And sure, politics is involved. This is a political procedure.



And in fact, what they have just decided here -- to put a fig leaf of


bipartisanship over this -- actually, that works against the president's


interest, because he was able to use the partisanship in the House to


undermine the legitimacy of the impeachment process.



What this tells me about the Senate is every one of those senators cares a


lot more about his or her future than they do about the president. And


those futures are going to hinge a lot on how they handle this.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This joint agreement was passed unanimously, Tony. What


do you think of it?



MR. BLANKLEY: I think Pat is a little too gloomy on this one, and


Eleanor's closer to the mark. I think that this separates Clinton from his


Democratic senators substantially. It starts the process with, I think,


the likely prospect of witnesses being called. I think the Republican


managers from the House are going to be -- are satisfied with this,


clearly. They -- and they're going to push for witnesses. I think they're


going to get the testimony. And it's the mixing up of the process. It's


the changing of the dynamic and seeing where it leads. So I think it is,


on balance, relatively bad news for the president.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael Barone?



MR. BARONE: Well, I think what's happened -- I think Eleanor's right.


The Senate Democrats have given up the partisanship card that -- the


Clinton White House has encouraged Democrats to kind of trash the process,


trash the institution, as they did in the House of Representatives, and


de-legitimize the verdict, so that the Clintonites can say, "Hey, it's just


partisan politics. It didn't matter." The Senate Democrats have declined


the invitation of the White House to partisanize it by doing things like


claiming that this crazy Bruce Ackerman theory that it's illegitimate


because a lame duck Congress voted it. They said no dice to that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see the way the New Republic knocked that right


out of the lot, by the way?



MR. BARONE: Well, and Senator Dianne Feinstein did the same thing --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.



MR. BARONE: -- many other Democrats. That's a ridiculous argument.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. Well, let me ask you --



MR. BARONE: And they furthermore are obviously not going to pursue the


course that some people said, of get up 51 votes for an adjournment


immediately, make this look like a Mickey Mouse thing. Senate Democrats


have decided not to operate that way. That's really significant.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We have a lot to talk about. I want to move


on. Let's go to one quick question before the exit question, and that is,


will the calling of witnesses help or hurt Bill Clinton, dominantly, Pat


Buchanan?



MR. BUCHANAN: Bill Clinton has nothing to gain from calling witnesses,


only --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?



MR. BUCHANAN: Look, he would like to have this voted up or down.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?



MR. BUCHANAN: Just what I said --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How are witnesses going to hurt him?



MR. BUCHANAN: Because if witnesses --



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.



MR. BUCHANAN: -- if witnesses are not called, and they vote on this


thing, he will be acquitted right now.



MS. CLIFT: Well --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean he's right now in an ahead position --



MR. BUCHANAN: He's in a --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and this introduces an uncertainty into the mix, and


it can only hurt him?



MR. BUCHANAN: What Clinton and the Democrats do not want is something


that's unchoreographed, unprogrammed, some surprise.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will it also dramatize this in a way that has not been


done before, to the press, to the public, and to the senators themselves --



MS. CLIFT: Well, wait a -- this --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if there are witnesses under even cross-examination?



MS. CLIFT: Well, first of all, they're talking about, first, if they do


witnesses -- and they yet have to vote on that -- that they would first


depose them in private and only bring them forward before the cameras if


everybody agreed. So we're several steps away.



So --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, wait a minute. I want to clarify --



MS. CLIFT: Wait, I want to say -- (inaudible due to cross talk) --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me clarify -- let me clarify this. Let me clarify


thins.



MS. CLIFT: (Yells.)



(Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that the process can be so hemmed-in that


no witnesses can be called?



MS. CLIFT: Yeah, they delayed the vote on witnesses --



(Cross talk.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that your worry, Pat?



MS. CLIFT: But what I want --



MR. BUCHANAN: That is my concern.



MS. CLIFT: Right.



MR. BUCHANAN: You've got to have witnesses, or you don't have a fair,


complete --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Finish, Eleanor.



MS. CLIFT: But it depends who the witnesses are, as to whether they're


going to help or hurt the president. I think Monica Lewinsky is a wash; I


think she's dangerous ground for the prosecution as well. I think Vernon


Jordan and Betty Currie could be powerful witnesses for the president.



MR. BLANKLEY: It could go either --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will witnesses help or hurt, dominantly, the president?



MR. BLANKLEY: Pat's exactly right, by definition. Right now there are


not 67 votes for conviction, and therefore this changes it, makes it


possible that there could be. So it's bad news for the president.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No repressed evidence is going to come forward, correct?



MR. BARONE: That's correct.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Nothing that's under seal right now?



MR. BUCHANAN: No, no, they've to vote.



MR. BARONE: Well, unless 51 -- unless 51 senators vote to bring it up.



MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that can be overridden, too.



MR. BARONE: So that could be overridden.



John, I think what Henry Hyde's managers are trying to do now is what


happened with the impeachment of Warren Hastings as governor general of


India in 1786. They presented evidence. They made arguments. The prime


minister was generally -- William Pitt the Younger -- was thought to be


against it. But as he was listening to the second count of impeachment, he


said to one of his friends, "It looks all very bad, doesn't it?" And he


changed his vote, and the impeachment of Warren Hastings went through the


House of Commons.



I don't think that's likely to happen in the U.S. Senate. I think Henry


Hyde is trying to make it happen, and I think the Clinton White House is --


(inaudible due to cross talk) --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, but you're saying that a true and proper


demonstration of evidence really turned his vote around?



MR. BARONE: It can sway votes on occasion. (Inaudible due to cross talk)


-- don't know.



MS. CLIFT: Yeah. You know, Republicans --



MR. BUCHANAN: What's going to happen to --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know that Bob Byrd has said that he has not


decided. Not only has he not --



MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct?



MR. BARONE: Yes.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has not decided.



MR. BARONE: I don't think Bill Clinton is confident which way Senator


Robert Byrd --



MR. BUCHANAN: John? John?



MR. BARONE: -- is going to vote as he begins his 41st year in the United


States Senate.



MR. BUCHANAN: The longer it goes on, the more different things can


happen, new evidence. Clinton wants this shoved off --



MS. CLIFT: Well, the biggest --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have got to get out. We want to talk about the


protagonist. So before we get to him, Bill Clinton himself, the exit


question: Which word better characterizes this trial, "traumatic" or


"cathartic"? (Laughter.)



MR. BUCHANAN: "Cathartic," if they have the whole trial and take it to


the end.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: Neither of those two; "political," "political." (Laughs.)



MR. BLANKLEY: I think "cathartic."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Joey ?)



MR. BARONE: Certainly "cathartic."



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think -- "cathartic" too.



MS. CLIFT: No. (Laughter)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back, Bill Clinton was asked what it feels


like to be impeached. His response was, "Not bad." (Laughter.) Does that


answer show him to be resilient or arrogant or both?



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Clinton Agonistes.



How this trial proceeds will depend on the players; the defendant Mr.


Clinton and his legal team, the 13 prosecutors or managers, the 100 Senate


jurors and the presiding judge. Foremost among these players is the


defendant himself, the protagonist, William Jefferson Clinton.



What is his frame of mind, his strategy of defense at the outset of this


trial? Does he want to fight back, or does he want to accept his


punishment, or both?



Okay. Clinton Rorschach test. The psychological and the emotional and


the strategic posture of the president as he faces trial is perhaps best


found in a recent conversation he had with an L.A. Times reporter at a


holiday Christmas party at the White House. Elizabeth Shogren asked Mr.


Clinton, "How does it feel to be impeached?" "Not bad," Mr. Clinton said.



That response did not translate well with even the defenders of Mr.


Clinton. And when Senate dean Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia,


was asked this week what he thought of Mr. Clinton's comment on how it


feels to be impeached -- namely, "not bad" -- said this:



SEN. ROBERT C. BYRD (D-WV): (From videotape.) I was sorry. I was sorry


that he gave that response. One cannot be flippant in this situation. And


there is a certain arrogance about it. And that has -- if I may say --


that has not helped the president.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At the Christmas party, Mr. Clinton did not seem


dispirited or disheartened, says Shogren. Clinton laughed about porn


magazine publisher Larry Flynt becoming a major influence in the Washington


political debate. Mr. Clinton also likened his plight to that of South


African President Neslon Mandela.



The overall impression from this is that Clinton sees himself as a victim


surrounded by tormentors, an image that he projected on the South Lawn of


the White House at a rally staged by himself on Saturday afternoon,


December 19, following the House adoption of two articles of impeachment


against him.



One hundred Democrats, after saying how earnestly they wanted to rebuke


the president for, quote, unquote, "dishonoring his office," trooped down


Pennsylvania Avenue to hail their newly impeached chief, behavior which


many see as contumacious defiance, including the influential Senator Byrd.



SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D-WV): (From videotape.) That was an egregious display


of shameless arrogance, the like of which I don't think I have seen. And I


would hope that in his own interests that he be more careful.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What word best describes the attitude that Mr.


Clinton has been portraying towards his impeachment?



Eleanor Clift.



MS. CLIFT: I think he is pretending that he is able to go about his job


as usual and that this is all just politics.



And frankly, John, you have taken a lot of disparate threads here and


woven them together in a very negative way, which I think is totally


unfair. This is a man who beat out the pope for most admired person in the


country. His approval rating shot up to 70 percent when the House


impeached him. That so-called "pep rally" was designed to head off calls


for his resignation which, you know, were -- which might have come. I


think it was totally appropriate. Unlike Richard Nixon, he wanted to show


that he has his party with him. And, you know, the fact that he dares to


do his job and the country wants him to do his job, I think is a mark of


his resilience and not arrogance.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about that, is that a touche item? He is the most


admired American, according to the polls.



MR. BLANKLEY: Every president is always automatically the most -- we


admire the president of the United States, whoever is in the office.



Look, the point -- I'm going to be the first revisionist on Clinton. I


think he's got a political tin ear. I think he is not the world's best


liar but the world's worst liar because everybody knows he's a liar. I


think that although he's got certain fabulous political skills, he is


proving to have -- he's lost at least three opportunities to have killed


this -- ended this thing; probably in March, again in August before the


testimony there, and the week after the election --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By doing what?



MR. BLANKLEY: By making a concessionary statement instead of an arrogant


statement in all three times.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor's position is that he is performing his duties as


though nothing has happened.



MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, is the problem with that, as he did this week, he


moved from place to place and he appears to be frantic, but does that also


not convey, particularly if he chooses to appear before the Senate and his


peers in the jury, will they not see him exhibiting the kind of perceived


arrogance that Senator Byrd talks about?



MR. BLANKLEY: You see, the point is, every press secretary -- one of his


rules is make the boss, you know, look like it's business as usual. There


are times when not to apply that rule, and a good politician knows -- and


Clinton ought to know that now is the time not to pretend that it's


business as usual because it's not business as usual. Therefore, he should


be showing some emotional --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from --



MR. BARONE: I think we may be seeing something in the nature of an


adolescent in need of adult supervision. I mean, for Bill Clinton to


compare his travails right now with those of Nelson Mandela, who spent 27


years in prison --



MS. CLIFT: That's not what he did, Michael.



MR. BARONE: Eleanor, let me talk, please!



MS. CLIFT: That's not what he did.



MR. BARONE: He did.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he compared his plight with the plight of Mandela.



MR. BARONE: The plight with Mandela --



MS. CLIFT: No he didn't.



MR. BARONE: -- 27 years in prison and came out with a saintly attitude


towards reconciliation. It's obscene.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: On this point -- on this point, he also compared himself


to Ulysses S. Grant.



MR. BARONE: Well he compared himself to Ulysses S. Grant because Grant


was attacked for corruption. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct. Do you think that was a fair comparison?



MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me defend Eleanor!



MS. CLIFT: Yeah! Come on!



MR. BARONE: I don't think it was a fair comparison either.



MR. BUCHANAN: John?



MR. BARONE: But the fact is, you know, Bob Byrd -- I think what happened


at this meeting of 100 senators on Friday -- which Trent Lott deserves


credit for pushing; most of the Democrats didn't want to go into this


bipartisan setting -- that helped to set the stage for the bipartisan


solution, and I think a key role was played by Senator Bob Byrd.



MS. CLIFT: Let Pat speak.



MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get a word in. Let me talk to this.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear Pat.



MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor -- he's right about the tin ear and the rally was


nonsense. But Eleanor is right, this is a guy --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- his political advisers on this?



MR. BUCHANAN: This is a man, whether you agree or disagree with him, who


has an extraordinary durability, who has stood up under the kind of


beating, frankly, which would crack most people; most people would fall


apart. I am astonished at how well he stands up under this fire. And the


fact that he does his job, I credit him for that. And frankly, I think he


ought to go up and deliver his State of the Union.



MS. CLIFT: And the lesson he learned from Mandela is that he was trying


to be generous to the people who were his enemies. That was the


comparison. And that is not --



MR. BARONE: And then he sends James Carville out after them. Is that


generosity, Eleanor? Is that reconciliation? Come on!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We all know that Clinton is a consummate Machiavellian.


We know that. But unfortunately, he has out-Machiavellianed himself.



Exit question: Will Clinton go before the Senate trial?



MR. BUCHANAN: Never! (Laughs.) Why would he go up there and be


questioned by those Republicans and put his presidency at risk?



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat --



MR. BUCHANAN: The only occasion would be if there were 80 votes set


against him, he would show up.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three of the members of the -- of the managers, all


appeared and won their individual prosecutions against judges.



MR. BUCHANAN: They are very tough --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All those three judges appeared before the Senate Chamber.



MR. BUCHANAN: They are tough, good -- those managers are terrific; they


range from good to outstanding.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you counsel the president to appear before the Senate?



MS. CLIFT: I think there are real questions about separation of powers,


and I don't think he should go up there. And second of all, that herd of


managers from the House -- (laughter) -- I mean, frankly, all that was


missing was white sheets.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly! Quickly!



MS. CLIFT: They were like night riders going over -- (inaudible) -- Bill


Clinton! (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you advise Clinton to go up before the Senate?



MR. BLANKLEY: No, I would not unless it was a "Hail Mary" desperation


move --



MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.



MR. BLANKLEY: -- which he currently doesn't need to make.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?



MR. BARONE: I agree. I would not advise Bill Clinton to go up there. I


think that he's better off staying away from the fact. He doesn't want any


witnesses, and I think one of the witnesses he doesn't want is himself.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think he's going to reach a point where he will decide


to go and will, in fact, go in front of the Senate jury.



Issue three: 13 House managers.



REP. HENRY HYDE: (From videotape.) The managers on the part of the House


of Representatives are here and present and ready to present the Articles


of Impeachment which have been preferred by the House of Representatives


against William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thirteen House members will manage, or prosecute, the


case against Bill Clinton. The prosecutors, or managers, all served on the


Judiciary Committee that sent the impeachment articles to the House. All


managers are male, white, Christian and lawyers. Almost two-thirds served


appointments as U.S. attorneys, i.e., prosecutors. Nearly half served in


the military. Eleven of the 13 won their districts with 55 percent or more


of the popular vote. Three of the 13, namely Hyde, Sensenbrenner, and


Gekas, successfully prosecuted judges, one each, in the U.S. Senate trials


following the impeachment of those judges in the House. Nine of the 13 are


baby boomers; the average age of the group is 52.



Question: Will these managers stick to evidence already published, or


will they try to introduce new evidence which is provided for under the


rules, under a rather circuitous process. What will they do, Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: My sense is the managers have some instinct to want to


expand beyond. Whether it'll be their judgement that they can push the 51


senators to that point, I'm not so sure right now. But I think they'd like


to be able to go beyond the public record.



MS. CLIFT: Yeah, Lindsey Graham is already waving the bloody shirt --


(laughter) -- and saying, let's get into unnamed evidence and bring out


allegations --



MR. BLANKLEY: Which allegations did you have in mind, Eleanor?



MS. CLIFT: -- that Ken Starr did not even see fit to include, and


allegations that are not part of the impeachment report, allegations that


go back a dozen or more years, that are total hearsay.



MR. BUCHANAN: But, you know, they could put the names -- in the total


amount number of names, they could put them in there, and then they go


through the depositions, then they vote on each witness. So I think


there's plenty of protection for the president against anything that is


outrageous.



MS. CLIFT: I would agree.



MR. BUCHANAN: At the same time, then, if it's relevant, they can bring


them in.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Jury of 100 peers.



CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM REHNQUIST: (From videotape.) Will all senators now


stand and raise your right hand? Do you solemnly swear --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fifty-five Republicans, 45 Democrats. Senate jurors.


They will sit in silence, passing questions in writing to presiding judge


William Rehnquist. They have all sworn themselves to, quote, "impartial


justice," unquote, described by Senator Robert Byrd.



SEN. BYRD: (From videotape.) And the individual himself should not


figure into it. One should completely forget personality, one should


completely forget political party, and remember his duties under the


Constitution.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senate juror impartiality will be put to the test by the


realization for 33 Senate jury men that their reelection is fewer than 22


months away, November 2000. Nineteen Republicans, 14 Democrats will be up.


Of the GOP 19, eight are seen as potentially vulnerable; Roth, Abraham,


Grams, DeWine, Santorum, Jeffords, Gorton and Ashcroft. If six of these


less-than-sure-bet GOP senators believed that they would worsen their


political jeopardy by a vote for conviction of a popular president, then


they could join the 45 Democrats and, with that 51 majority, call for an


adjournment vote, thus, cutting their election losses.



Only a simple majority is needed to adjourn and, thus, abort the trial.


Adjournment would lead to a censure vote in all probability, and thus, a


straight up-or-down acquittal or conviction vote would be eluded.



Question: Of the 100 senators, how many will vote acquittal on the basis


of their own narrow reelection interest rather than as statesmen? Michael


Barone.



MR. BARONE: I don't think any will, John. I mean, I hold to this view


that people here in the Congress, both in the Senate and in the House of


Representatives, have really been trying conscientiously, virtually all of


them, to do their duty.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you forget your own --



MR. BARONE: You don't forget it, John.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- constituency and your own career?



MR. BARONE: But the fact is you have got a situation here where you have


got plausible arguments, serious arguments saying, "For conviction,


perjury; against conviction; it doesn't rise to" --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you see --



MR. BARONE: -- the level --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- can you see that --



MR. BARONE: -- and you tend break ties in favor of the home time.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right.



MR. BARONE: It's a natural human tendency.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you see six Republicans defecting to vote for


adjournment with the 45 Democrats --



MR. BARONE: No. I don't think they'll go --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- thus, rendering the 51 majority?



MR. BARONE: No. I don't think they'll go with adjournment because I


think that would be seen as a cheap cut.



MR. BUCHANAN: No.



MS. CLIFT: I think --



MR. BARONE: They may go for acquittal.



MR. BUCHANAN: They will not -- I cannot believe that the Republicans --



MR. BARONE: I don't think so.



MR. BUCHANAN: -- will allow this thing to be adjourned without hearing


witnesses.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you feel that way?



MR. BLANKLEY: I agree with Pat. I think there is also a few Democrats


who are -- Bob Graham of Florida might well also be in the same position as


some of the Republicans you described.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Bob Kerrey, for other reasons?



MR. BLANKLEY: For other -- (powerful ?) -- reasons.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For merit reasons?



MR. BARONE: Chuck Robb of Virginia.



MR. BLANKLEY: For other reasons.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chuck Robb?



MR. BLANKLEY: (Inaudible) -- be political.



MS. CLIFT: I think support for censure is fading right now, and I think


the president's best deal now is to go for an acquittal and just, you know,


come out of this clean.



But you know, Republican senators --



MR. BARONE (?): Clean? (Laughter.)



MR. : Clean?



MR. BLANKLEY (?): I don't think he is going to come out --



MS. CLIFT: Yes, clean. (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. We all conclude --



MS. CLIFT: A clean acquittal without a censure! (Laughter.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We all conclude that the 100 senators are well-suited for


the task before them. We do not all conclude that the 13 managers,


prosecutors, are well-suited for the task before them.



MR. BUCHANAN: There is one dissenter.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But do you -- do you feel that well-suited?



MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, I think they are outstanding.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you?



MS. CLIFT: I think they put a right-wing zealous face on the Republican


Party --



MR. BLANKLEY (?): Right.



MS. CLIFT: -- which does not serve the party well in the future. (Laughs.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, they are all lawyers. Eight of them --



MS. CLIFT: They are all associated with the Christian Coalition.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And 75 percent --



MS. CLIFT: They have been driving this thing from the beginning.



MR. BLANKLEY: Look. Most of the men on that committee are very moderate


men in their manner and demeanor.



MS. CLIFT: They're so blinded by hatred of Clinton, they're willing to


destroy themselves.



MR. BARONE: They have --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.



MR. BARONE: They have -- Eleanor --



MR. BLANKLEY (?): That's not true.



MR. BARONE: -- give someone else a chance. The fact is they have


persevered through the month of November, when everybody said it was


politically impossible. They persevered over the idea of censure in


December, and they have gotten this farther than anybody thought, November


6th, they would be able to get it.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought they were also quite civil and patient, faced


with a good deal of demagoguery from the Democrats.



MR. BUCHANAN: They are political heroes because they stood up against the


press, the polls, everything, and did their duty.



MS. CLIFT: Right, they're heroes to the right wing of the Republican


Party -- (laughter) -- and that's it.



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



(Announcements.)



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the Senate trial be over within roughly six weeks,


let's say specifically by March 1?



MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it will.



MS. CLIFT: I think so, yes.



MR. BLANKLEY: Probably, but I'm not certain about it.



MR. BARONE: Yes, and well in time for St. Patrick's Day.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.



Next week, opening arguments. Will they be electrifying or a snooze?



Bye-bye.



®FCEND REGULAR SEGMENT



®FLPBS SEGMENT



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue five: Headlines in the dark.



PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) I'm ready to accept that.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The domestic press is riveted on the trial of William


Jefferson Clinton. But there is other news around the world, and some of


it is big. Here's what the BBC has been headlining.



"U.S. Improves Cuba Links." Washington has announced plans for more


contact between ordinary Americans and Cubans, but nothing major. And the


embargo stays.



"Confident Start for the Euro." Europe's new single currency enjoys a


strong debut.



"New Sex Scandal for Clinton." The BBC reports on an American tabloid


magazine story in the works that is comparing the DNA of President Clinton


with samples taken from the 13-year old son of an Arkansas prostitute to


test her allegations that Mr. Clinton is the boy's father.



"U.N. Inspectors Spied for the U.S." U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan


has evidence that U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq helped the United States


collect intelligence information. Iraq applauds this revelation as a


victory for the truth.



"Dole Quits Red Cross." Elizabeth Dole steps closer to a bid to become


the first female American president.



There you have it -- Cuba, the euro, a possible paternity claim against


Clinton, UNSCOM inspectors spying for the U.S., and E. Dole may run for


president. Question: we're talking proportionality here. We have Clinton


and impeachment and then we have these five stories. Which one suffered


the most because of the dominant -- dominant, if not overpowering --


coverage of Clinton, I ask you, Tony?



MR. BLANKLEY: I think the story that lost the most was the Iraq story.


That's the biggest story.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is that story?



MR. BLANKLEY: The fact that we're completely collapsing in having any


coherence. We're apologizing for spying on Saddam. It ought to be a major


story. Our foreign policy is in disarray.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that our audience was not surprised to hear that


the U.S. has had -- coopted the inspectors as spies, because they heard it


on this program, correct?



(Cross talk.)



MR. BARONE: As they well should.



MS. CLIFT: I don't think we were apologizing for spying. I think we were


bragging about it.



MR. BUCHANAN: Right.



MS. CLIFT: And I think the bigger story is that we don't seem to have


much of a policy towards --



MR. BLANKLEY: We have no policy there at all.



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the Elizabeth Dole --



MR. BUCHANAN: Aw, Elizabeth Dole got enormous national attention. What


are you talking about? She was all over the place --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it was just a little overpowered by the Clinton story.



MR. BUCHANAN: She retired from the Red Cross, and I've never seen such


publicity! (Laughs.)



MS. CLIFT: Yeah, Pat's watching --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you complaining over that, Patrick?



MR. BUCHANAN: No! I'm not complaining!



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think I notice a little bitterness in your voice,


Patrick -- (laughter) -- do you have an announcement?



MR. BARONE: Pat, do you have an announcement?



MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)



MR. BLANKLEY: She got more publicity --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait, one other story.



MR. BARONE: Well, the euro. One of the things that wasn't covered in the


coverage of the euro --



MR. BUCHANAN: It was just enormous coverage.



MR. BARONE: -- was the potential for inflation. You've got these


left-wing governments in Europe now. Some of them, like Britain, which is


not going into the euro, seem to be very fiscally responsible. Others,


like Germany -- you know, Oskar Lafontaine's going to be going here --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you talking about inflation here? In this country?



MR. BARONE: I think, not over the short term of the year, but over a near


term the possibility of a euro going in an inflationary direction could


destabilize world economy in a very worrisome way that would probably be --


(inaudible) --



MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, you'll be happy to know that Fred Bergstrom


agrees with you. I don't know whether you're lifting from him or he's


lifting from you.



####


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