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
The rules governing the Senate impeachment trial have been adopted by a
Question: What's the significance of this whole bipartisan deal, Pat
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
MR. BUCHANAN: Bill Clinton has nothing to gain from calling witnesses,
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 --
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.
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
MS. CLIFT: (Yells.)
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 --
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,
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
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
MR. BUCHANAN: "Cathartic," if they have the whole trial and take it to
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?
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
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?
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
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
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
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
MS. CLIFT: I would agree.
MR. BUCHANAN: At the same time, then, if it's relevant, they can bring
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
®FC¯END REGULAR 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
"Confident Start for the Euro." Europe's new single currency enjoys a
"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?
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
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 --
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.