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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 8-9, 2008

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DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Hail to the Chief.

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, tonight is your answer.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The popular vote for President-elect Obama was 53 percent -- 64 million votes; for John McCain, 46 percent -- 57 million votes. The electoral vote for President-elect Obama was 349; for Senator John McCain, 163, with 26 electoral votes still up in the air, Missouri and North Carolina.

Question: Was Obama's victory a landslide, a blowout, both, or neither? Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: It was neither of those, John. It was a clear, decisive victory, like Clinton's two victories, more than his first and not equal to his second. But they got two dozen House seats and they added six Senates. And so he clearly has a big victory, and I think he's got a mandate for himself.

He has a mandate, I think, for universal health care. He's got a mandate to get out of Iraq. He's got a mandate for a middle-class tax cut. And there's no doubt about it; this was a clear, decisive victory. But it was not a blowout.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, was it a landslide?

MS. CLIFT: This is a potentially realigning election. Barack Obama won eight states that President Bush had covered. The Democrats have won two now southern states -- Virginia, North Carolina. They've made inroads in the West and the Southwest. The last Republican congressman in New England was defeated, Chris Shays, a very wonderful human being. I am sad to see him go. The Republican Party is now a white people's party anchored in a handful of states in the South.

And I say the potential for realignment. Obama won two to one among young people. And it's not only a lost election for Republicans. It's a lost generation. But whether this comes into fruition will all depend on how Barack Obama governs, and will he perform? And there's a lot of promise attached to him, and we'll see if he's able to deliver.

MS. CROWLEY: Obama won because this year was a change election year. He also ran a 21st century campaign where John McCain was running a 20th century campaign. And the Republicans have yet to update their message, update their ideas, and bring it into the 21st century the way Obama was able to do on the Internet, energizing young people. So there's a lot of work for the Republican Party to do.

But also, keep in mind that as well as Obama did, 57 million people either voted for McCain or against Obama. In his election night speech, he made a point of saying, "For all of those who didn't vote for me, I hear you and I want to bring you on board, and I want to be the president of everyone." And that was certainly a wonderful, unifying message. The question is, can he do it?

And Eleanor, you raised the question of governing. He's never governed before. He's never been an executive before. So the big challenge for him is governing, bringing everybody together and governing in a very effective executive way. And there's no track record of performance by him on that. MR. PAGE: Well, the big challenge for him is the challenge for any president right now, and that is economic collapse, two wars, and maybe another one starting on another front. I mean, it could hardly be the worst of times. But he -- I think he did have a landslide. I don't know the difference between a landslide and a blowout, but 7 percent gap, according to the figures you just used. That's --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you talking about the popular vote was a landslide and a blowout? I agree with you.

MR. PAGE: The figures you just showed showed a 7 percent gap. That's huge for our election.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was certainly --

MR. PAGE: Most of our elections are decided much closer than that.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It was an Electoral College blowout.

MR. PAGE: And the Pew Trust survey of the polls showed him winning every demographic group except for voters over age 65. The younger they got, the more voted for him, like Eleanor said.

What struck me was he did best among those who made more than $100,000 a year. Sorry, Joe the Plumber. But he also did very well among those under $50,000, doing better than Kerry and Gore. He improved the Democrats' turnout in all these categories.

MR. BUCHANAN: But wait a minute. Look, George H.W. Bush won by eight points and he won by seven.

MR. PAGE: Yeah -- '88.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's '88.

MR. PAGE: Against Dukakis, right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Against Dukakis.

MR. PAGE: Well, we could call that a blowout or a landslide.

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't call it either. It's a clear-cut victory. It's not Reagan victory.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What were the surprises?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's not LBJ victory and not, of course, Nixon- Agnew '72 victory.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What were the surprises in the stats that came out? MR. BUCHANAN: I think --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll tell you what one surprise was -- the independents' vote. It was split down the middle between the two of them. What was the other surprise?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, the two surprises -- look, he won African- American vote. For them it was a night of joy and celebration, expectation and hope. Anybody who's got African-American friends knows that. It was terrific.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: But also among young people, for a lot of young people, I think this is probably like the Kennedy election was for the young people of our generation, or an awful lot of them.

MR. PAGE: And that's okay. That's okay.

MS. CLIFT: And the way that he won, which Monica touched on, creating this Internet community. He didn't just use them as an ATM machine.

There are millions of people out there who feel they are part of this and want to be part of it. And his challenge now is to keep that grassroots army that he has created activated and generated so they'll be there during the tough times ahead.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president-elect called a meeting for this past Friday and he said that we are facing the greatest economic crisis of our lifetime. How do you think he conducted himself at the meeting, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he was -- unlike the campaign, at the end of the campaign he was just really at the top of his game. He was more careful here, controlled, watching his verbiage. He didn't take a lot of questions. He had a touch of humor, but he was very careful about what he said. He was --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he make any news?

MR. BUCHANAN: In this sense. He was FDR saying, in effect, "Look, I'm not president yet. This thing is headed down, and Mr. Hoover is in that office." (Laughter.) "He's making the decisions, and I'm going out on my boat." But he did say he'd like to have a stimulus --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know if he -- did he make any news at the press conference?

MS. CLIFT: The news he made is that he's not going to be actively engaged as a parallel president during this period. And I think that's probably smart. He's also trying to lower expectations. And people are just ga-ga around the world thinking that he's going to be able to change everything overnight, and he's basically trying to tamp all this down. And he showed some wit.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he conducted himself --

MS. CLIFT: And the best question was about the dog. They want to get a rescue dog.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -- MS. CROWLEY: We've got all this economic bad news coming. We've got the world roiling and seething, and everybody is on the puppy watch.

I think that he did very well in his first appearance before the press. And he only took a handful of questions, which shows that he's going to tightly control his own image and his White House. And I think that's smart at this point.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he look to you --

MS. CROWLEY: The question is -- wait. The question is something that Eleanor picked up on where the staff now is trying to tamp down expectations. But he never tamped down on the whole imagery of him as the messiah and the anointed one.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he --

MS. CROWLEY: And now, all of a sudden, now that the problems --

MR. PAGE: And you want him to do that? (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: -- and the issues are going to -- no, but he sold himself as the guy who could fix everything. And now everybody's saying, "Well, wait a minute." He puts his pants on one leg at a time, like everyone else.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Excuse me. Let me get in here, will you? Did he look like --

MS. CLIFT: Would you have taken away the American flags? How would you have tamped down -- I mean, I don't get that.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did he look like a Washington outsider, or did he look like the perfect Washington insider?

MR. PAGE: I think he --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Number one, when in doubt, call a blue-ribbon committee. He did that, right?

MR. PAGE: Right.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he said Joe Biden will head it up. Did he say that?

MR. PAGE: Yeah. Well, I don't know if he said Joe Biden will head it up, but --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, how did he --

MR. PAGE: Well, contrast him -- DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How did he change any kind of an image we have? I don't think he did.

MR. PAGE: Well, John --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We all feel that he's -- (inaudible) -- politician.

MR. PAGE: John, contrast him with Bill Clinton's transition. For one thing, Bill Clinton made the mistake of not switching modes, and he thought he was still running for office. Somebody fires off a question, "How about gays in the military?" And he stops and says, "Oh, yeah, of course, I'm going to stick by that promise. We need every able-bodied person we can get." And look what happened.

MR. BUCHANAN: You know, John, you have a point.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's my point?

MR. BUCHANAN: Your point is this. He did; there's no doubt about it. He got force behind him. You've got Paul Volcker, the ultimate establishment, tremendously respected. He steeped himself in talented, experienced, knowledgeable people, very familiar with the Beltway.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Washington insiders.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, not all Washington --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he (spoke to ?) Rubin too.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, but they're very talented people.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Obama's victory a mandate?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's a mandate for him to lead. It's a mandate on Iraq for a middle-class tax cut and health care, yes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, you certainly need a proper definition of a mandate, and I'll give it to you now.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The ratification by the voters of a specific campaign platform, a series of clear policy positions comprising an agenda -- a specific campaign platform.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's exactly what I said -- exactly what I said.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the specific campaign platform?

MS. CLIFT: Well, it's -- MR. BUCHANAN: Universal health care, middle-class tax cuts, get out of Iraq.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The middle-class tax cuts -- clearly he's focusing on the middle class very hard.

MS. CLIFT: And a green --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that for political reasons?

MS. CLIFT: All of the things Pat said, and --

MR. PAGE: For political reasons --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or for need?

MR. PAGE: Of course we need it.

MS. CLIFT: All of --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I know, but what about --

MS. CLIFT: All of the things Pat --

MR. PAGE: He's shifting the priorities --

MS. CLIFT: All of the things Pat said, plus I would throw in job creation and a green alternative energy bill, environment mandate.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.

)

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- not declare, "Drill, baby, drill." Those days are over. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: Your question was, is this a mandate, right? And, yes, Obama won. But 57 million Americans told him to take a hike. They voted against him. And the Democratic majorities in the Congress were solidified, but this was not a 1980 kind of landslide. And so all of the things that you're talking about, they're still going to put -- the brakes put on, I think, Obama's worst liberal tendencies by the remaining conservative and Republican voices in the Congress.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Rahm Emanuel.

Rahm Emanuel is a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He has represented Illinois' fifth congressional district for three terms. That district covers the north side of Chicago. President-elect Obama has chosen Emanuel to serve as his White House chief of staff, the single most critical position that the president must fill. From 1993 to 1998, Emanuel served as a political and policy aide to President Bill Clinton. He also backed and advised Hillary Clinton in her presidential bid.

Emanuel is rated as extremely liberal by the ADA, Americans for Democratic Action, the premier liberal rating system. Rahm scores 90 points out of a high of 100. The ACU, on the other hand, the American Conservative Union, the premier conservative rating system, gives Rahm a 4 on a 100-point scale.

Your people, Buchanan, the ACU, American Conservative Union, they give Emanuel a 4.

MR. BUCHANAN: This guy Emanuel --

MS. CLIFT: Let's let the other guy --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let Pat speak.

MR. BUCHANAN: This guy is the Tom DeLay of the Democratic Party.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Meaning what? MR. BUCHANAN: He's a mean, tough, ruthless --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The enforcer? The enforcer?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yep. And he's very accomplished, very able.

MR. PAGE: He's not an ideologue, though. He's not an ideologue.

MR. BUCHANAN: But he's no sweetheart, I'll tell you that.

MS. CLIFT: No. And Obama doesn't need a sweetheart in that position. Rahm Emanuel is a political operative, but he's not an ideologue. He co-authored with Bruce Reed of the DLC, the middle-of- the-road Democratic Leadership Council, a book called "The Plan," which is all of the Democratic ideas that basically Senator and now President-elect Obama espouses. So you can go read it and you can calm down, Pat.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question --

MR. BUCHANAN: Will he bring us together, Eleanor? (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: They're middle-of-the-road ideas. They're middle-of- the-road ideas. They are not far left ideas.

MS. CLIFT: He's a deal-maker. He's a deal-maker.

MR. PAGE: And John, when you speak of Rahm Emanuel's district, be night. That's where Wrigley Field is located, that great shrine of the Cubs. This is not a radical hotbed. You know, he represents his constituents. That's why he's a liberal.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where's Page from?

MR. PAGE: Where's Page from? Well, I happen to come from that same district. (Laughs.) So he does well.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What signal does Rahm Emanuel's appointment send about President Obama's relations with Congress? Can you speak to that?

MR. PAGE: Of course. Yeah, it shows he's going to be tough.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point? The Congress is going to be totally Democratic.

MR. PAGE: He's going to be tough.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very tough on a Democratic president -- true or false? MR. PAGE: Look, Emanuel has -- Obama has got to reel in Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and Rahm Emanuel is the guy to do it. They know he plays hardball. When he was asked, "What does Rahm mean?" he says, "Hebrew for 'Screw you.'" He's that kind of a personality. (Laughter.) Although he didn't say "screw." I'm cleaning it up for TV.

MS. CLIFT: Harry Reid --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let him finish. Let him finish.

MR. PAGE: He's the exact opposite of Obama when it comes to temperament. And this shows he's not a softie. He's going to have tight message control and a tight plan for getting things --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is his nickname not Rahm, but "Rahmbo"?

MR. PAGE: "Rahmbo," that's it.

MS. CROWLEY: Listen, listen, here's the problem for Barack Obama. And, yes, he does know how the White House works, Emanuel, and he does know how Congress works and all the machinery, so that could be an asset. The problem for Obama is that he ran as a post-partisan guy --

MR. PAGE: Oh, here we go. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: -- who was going to be transcendent and bring a new sense --

MS. CLIFT: He --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MS. CROWLEY: Pardon me. Let me just --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on for one minute, Eleanor.

MS. CROWLEY: He was going to --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, this is going to open a big door for you.

Okay. Rush on Rahm.

RUSH LIMBAUGH (radio talk show host): (From audiotape.) He is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old- fashioned Chicago thug. On the night of the Clinton election, Rahm Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign -- Rahm Emanuel grabbed a steak knife and he began rattling off a list of betrayers. And as he listed their names, he shouted, "Dead, dead, dead." And he plunged the steak knife into the table after every name. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Are conservatives up in arms -- this is such a keen grasp of the obvious -- (laughter) -- about the Obama triumph? And does the Emanuel appointment only add fuel to the fire? Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: That's the most enforced listening to Rush Limbaugh I've had in my lifetime. (Laughs.)

Rahm Emanuel helped Bill Clinton put through the trade deals, welfare reform. He is a pragmatic politician. And he has given up a lot here. He was on track to be the next speaker of the House. His family is in Chicago. His mother has said, up until this point, he's the least successful of her three sons. One is an acclaimed physician. Another was a Hollywood agent who was the model for Ari on "The Entourage." And so --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead, Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Barack Obama promised politics of change. This is -- Rahm Emanuel is one of the most brutal, partisan sons of guns. He once told the Republicans to go "F" themselves, all right? This is the guy that's going to help Obama --

MR. PAGE: Kind of like Dick Cheney.

MS. CROWLEY: -- reach across the aisle? I don't think so, in addition to the fact that Obama spent all of his time on Friday talking about the economic mess, which originated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Rahm Emanuel sat on the board of Freddie Mac from 2000 to 2001, made a lot of money, got a lot of campaign contributions for them. So he's already compromised.

MR. BUCHANAN: Conservatives will love --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they both were bottomless pits for the Democratic Party, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: Conservatives will love this for this reason. You've got -- this guy is a -- I hate to use --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is Emanuel.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. This guy is a vicious, savage partisan. What it says to conservatives, "Ha, now we don't have to wait. We are back in battle with them. They started the fight. They picked this guy. Let's go at him."

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: The honeymoon is over.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: You're operating from such a weakened position.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay, that's -- we do just fine from there. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: And the radio talk show hosts have nothing to talk about except Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, that's just first, Eleanor. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Pretty pathetic. Why don't you --

MR. PAGE: Conservatives have got to rebuild their movement on something other than attacking Obama and his people. That's how you lost the election.

MS. CLIFT: That 57 million people that Monica refers to, they're going to give this administration a lot more room to maneuver than she is. (Laughs.) MS. CROWLEY: Maybe. We'll see.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have to disagree with most of the expressions of --

MS. CLIFT: This is a transformational moment in American history.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- these vigorous denunciations of Rahm. I think Rahm is a first-class choice.

MR. PAGE: I agree.

MS. CLIFT: Absolutely. Hear, hear.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think he's there for the Democratic Congress. Don't you understand?

MR. PAGE: Absolutely.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's there to keep that Democratic Congress in line.

MR. PAGE: John, I would never cross Rahm. I value my life, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The left wingers in the Democratic Party he can speak to, because he's a liberal himself. And he can quiet them down so that Obama can --

MR. BUCHANAN: No one here -- nobody here will deny the guy's toughness and competence -- nobody.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Three forces are involved in producing legislation -- the president, public opinion and the Congress. How will this affect the president-elect?

MR. BUCHANAN: The president-elect has a public mandate; there's no doubt about it. The country wants him to succeed. And I think he's got an awful lot of --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it's not a specific mandate.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got some specific --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he have a personal mandate?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got a personal mandate, and I think some issues mandates, as I've already mentioned.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I helped you get there, Pat, but you got there -- a personal mandate. MS. CLIFT: Right. And the Democratic Congress is not going to run amok. Senator Harry Reid is a pro-life Mormon, for God's sakes, and he's up for re-election in 2010. Do you think he's going to go running off where Monica thinks he's going to go running off?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, absolutely. (Laughs.) Of course he is.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Reid's treatment of Lieberman?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, and this is a case in point. They're stripping him of his committee chairmanship of Homeland Security.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that vile? Isn't that vile?

MS. CROWLEY: What, like this is a surprise? This is how the Democrats rule, and this is how they're going to rule with this trifecta, this rampaging majority in the Congress and Democratic president.

MR. PAGE: Unlike the Republicans --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, were you going to make another point?

MS. CROWLEY: No, that's it. I'm done.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, go ahead.

MR. PAGE: No, the big problem that Obama has got to deal with is high expectations. I agree with Monica on that. He's got to tamp them down. And he's already started. His speech the other night talked about sacrifice. It talked about "We've got tough times ahead; we've got to pull together." He was quoting from Dr. King's final speech, in fact, just before King was assassinated. But he said, "We will get there."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is he's got a personal mandate. And that's the best kind, because he's got room to maneuver. It's not anything specific. It's not even health insurance. It's him.

Issue Two: Capitalism Tethered.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) Both developed and developing nations will be represented. And together we will work to strengthen and modernize our nations' financial systems so we can help ensure that this crisis doesn't happen again.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: An international finance summit -- it's now on the world's agenda. The date is fixed, not only within 2008, as French President Nicolas Sarkozy demanded, but only 11 days after our own presidential election -- November the 15th. World leaders will then discuss how to reshape the architecture of the global economic system. President Sarkozy says that the Washington summit is needed to, quote-unquote, "reform the capitalist system." British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has described the, quote-unquote, "guiding principles" to be addressed at the summit. They are transparency, sound banking, responsibility, integrity, and -- get this -- "global governance," unquote. He called for these principles to, quote-unquote, "root out" hidden lending around the world. Get this -- to accomplish these goals, Brown said, quote, "We need cross-border supervision of financial institutions."

Should Obama see to it that he's wired in but unnoticed?

MR. BUCHANAN: He should not commit himself to any second Bretton Woods.

MS. CLIFT: Informally meet with these leaders, but no official role.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CROWLEY: I agree.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: No. Plausible deniability.

MR. PAGE: I agree -- one president at a time.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Definitely.

He can do it without even showing his hand.

Issue Three: World Reacts to the Obama Win.

GORDON BROWN (British prime minister): (From videotape.) This is a moment that will live in history, as long as history books are written. I've talked to Senator Obama on many occasions, and I know that he is a true friend of Britain.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The world at large saluted President-elect Barack Obama this week. So did Russia. But the biggest part of the message was far from congratulatory. U.S. relations with Russia are at a post-Cold War low. Recently Russia penetrated Georgia with its military. Since then, the U.S. and Russia have exchanged harsh words.

In addition, the U.S. plans to install a missile defense system in Poland, and Poland shares a border with the Russian enclaves with Kaliningrad. And that intention has provoked Russia. This week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threw down the gauntlet to the U.S. president-elect. Medvedev declared that U.S. missiles in Poland would be matched by Russian missiles in Kaliningrad.

Quote: "The Russian Iskander missile system will be deployed in the Kaliningrad region to neutralize, when necessary, the missile shield of the U.S. We are also planning to use the resources of the Russian naval fleet in Kaliningrad for these purposes," unquote.

Question: Is this just the first in a series of foreign policy challenges that Joe Biden foretold? Let's try to redeem Joe. What do you think, Clarence?

MR. PAGE: Yeah, I think this is a test, but it's a minor test. This is like a pop quiz for Medvedev right now. He was speaking in a much more conciliatory fashion hours later. But right now he wants to try to present a bit of saber-rattling. This is the Russian style. You've always got to talk tough with them.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Monica?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I do think it'll probably be the first test that Obama is going to face; might even happen during his transition period. But, look, the second part of this Russian equation is, yeah, Medvedev said he was going to put missiles right up against the Polish border.

Vladimir Putin is now saying that he'd like to have the presidency back. So he's willing to rewrite the Russian constitution in order to grab power. I mean, he's running things anyway. But I think it's going to be a serious challenge for Barack Obama. These are tests of a guy who has no foreign policy experience. And America's enemies know it, and they're going to try to flesh out --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Now, this is what the --

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't lose any sleep over this one, because he said nothing new. He said this all, and he said it to President Bush. And I don't believe the Obama foreign policy apparatus is in favor of extending our missile shield. They think it's too expensive and they don't think it will work. So it's kind of a non-issue.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, this is what Obama will do. Obama will make it clear to the Polish government that they should have a referendum of the people. The referendum of the people will certainly shoot down, so to speak, the missiles that we are contemplating putting in Poland. That will defuse the crisis and it will go ahead. The time to deal with Russia is now. Do you agree with me?

MR. BUCHANAN: I agree. You're exactly right, John. The Russians are reacting for our having gotten into their face, and now they're acting like Russians and getting into our face. And I think that's a great idea. Let the Poles and Czechs vote on this shield and get rid of it. The shield is not worth losing a relationship. Frankly, we could establish a solid working relationship with these guys.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, elsewhere, letters from around the world poured in to President-elect Obama. French President Nicolas Sarkozy: "With the world in turmoil and doubt, the American people, faithful to the values that have always defined America's identity, have expressed with force their faith and progress in the future," unquote.

This is a very ungrateful question. I'm going to give it anyway. Have the French, and the Europeans generally, used America as a scapegoat for racism when, in fact, there is more racism in the average European country, whether it's Germany or Italy or Britain?

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly right. Look, America has done more to deal with the problems of race than any First World country in history. Look at Japan. Look at Russia. Look at Britain. And then you look at the United States and see what we've done. We've got a lot to be proud of.

MS. CLIFT: Well, this is a time for some self-congratulations. But the European countries have more homogeneous populations than we have. We have a diversity that we are finally now -- MR. BUCHANAN: The French have got 8 million Arabs -- 8 million.

MS. CLIFT: And a German newspaper had a headline, "Obama Resurrects American Dream."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, the answer of the Republican Party to Barack Obama? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's in the hunt.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He's part of the future, if they have one.

MS. CROWLEY: He's one of them, yes.

MR. PAGE: Him versus Palin, 2012.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.

Bye-bye.



END.

e not far left ideas.

MS. CLIFT: He's a deal-maker. He's a deal-maker.

MR. PAGE: And John, when you speak of Rahm Emanuel's district, be night. That's where Wrigley Field is located, that great shrine of the Cubs. This is not a radical hotbed. You know, he represents his constituents. That's why he's a liberal.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where's Page from?

MR. PAGE: Where's Page from? Well, I happen to come from that same district. (Laughs.) So he does well.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What signal does Rahm Emanuel's appointment send about President Obama's relations with Congress? Can you speak to that?

MR. PAGE: Of course. Yeah, it shows he's going to be tough.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point? The Congress is going to be totally Democratic.

MR. PAGE: He's going to be tough.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very tough on a Democratic president -- true or false? MR. PAGE: Look, Emanuel has -- Obama has got to reel in Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and Rahm Emanuel is the guy to do it. They know he plays hardball. When he was asked, "What does Rahm mean?" he says, "Hebrew for 'Screw you.'" He's that kind of a personality. (Laughter.) Although he didn't say "screw." I'm cleaning it up for TV.

MS. CLIFT: Harry Reid --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let him finish. Let him finish.

MR. PAGE: He's the exact opposite of Obama when it comes to temperament. And this shows he's not a softie. He's going to have tight message control and a tight plan for getting things --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is his nickname not Rahm, but "Rahmbo"?

MR. PAGE: "Rahmbo," that's it.

MS. CROWLEY: Listen, listen, here's the problem for Barack Obama. And, yes, he does know how the White House works, Emanuel, and he does know how Congress works and all the machinery, so that could be an asset. The problem for Obama is that he ran as a post-partisan guy --

MR. PAGE: Oh, here we go. (Laughs.)

MS. CROWLEY: -- who was going to be transcendent and bring a new sense --

MS. CLIFT: He --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MS. CROWLEY: Pardon me. Let me just --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on for one minute, Eleanor.

MS. CROWLEY: He was going to --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, this is going to open a big door for you.

Okay. Rush on Rahm.

RUSH LIMBAUGH (radio talk show host): (From audiotape.) He is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old- fashioned Chicago thug. On the night of the Clinton election, Rahm Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign -- Rahm Emanuel grabbed a steak knife and he began rattling off a list of betrayers. And as he listed their names, he shouted, "Dead, dead, dead." And he plunged the steak knife into the table after every name. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Are conservatives up in arms -- this is such a keen grasp of the obvious -- (laughter) -- about the Obama triumph? And does the Emanuel appointment only add fuel to the fire? Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: That's the most enforced listening to Rush Limbaugh I've had in my lifetime. (Laughs.)

Rahm Emanuel helped Bill Clinton put through the trade deals, welfare reform. He is a pragmatic politician. And he has given up a lot here. He was on track to be the next speaker of the House. His family is in Chicago. His mother has said, up until this point, he's the least successful of her three sons. One is an acclaimed physician. Another was a Hollywood agent who was the model for Ari on "The Entourage." And so --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead, Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: Barack Obama promised politics of change. This is -- Rahm Emanuel is one of the most brutal, partisan sons of guns. He once told the Republicans to go "F" themselves, all right? This is the guy that's going to help Obama --

MR. PAGE: Kind of like Dick Cheney.

MS. CROWLEY: -- reach across the aisle? I don't think so, in addition to the fact that Obama spent all of his time on Friday talking about the economic mess, which originated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Rahm Emanuel sat on the board of Freddie Mac from 2000 to 2001, made a lot of money, got a lot of campaign contributions for them. So he's already compromised.

MR. BUCHANAN: Conservatives will love --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they both were bottomless pits for the Democratic Party, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: Conservatives will love this for this reason. You've got -- this guy is a -- I hate to use --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is Emanuel.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. This guy is a vicious, savage partisan. What it says to conservatives, "Ha, now we don't have to wait. We are back in battle with them. They started the fight. They picked this guy. Let's go at him."

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: The honeymoon is over.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: You're operating from such a weakened position.

MR. BUCHANAN: Okay, that's -- we do just fine from there. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: And the radio talk show hosts have nothing to talk about except Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, that's just first, Eleanor. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Pretty pathetic. Why don't you --

MR. PAGE: Conservatives have got to rebuild their movement on something other than attacking Obama and his people. That's how you lost the election.

MS. CLIFT: That 57 million people that Monica refers to, they're going to give this administration a lot more room to maneuver than she is. (Laughs.) MS. CROWLEY: Maybe. We'll see.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have to disagree with most of the expressions of --

MS. CLIFT: This is a transformational moment in American history.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- these vigorous denunciations of Rahm. I think Rahm is a first-class choice.

MR. PAGE: I agree.

MS. CLIFT: Absolutely. Hear, hear.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think he's there for the Democratic Congress. Don't you understand?

MR. PAGE: Absolutely.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's there to keep that Democratic Congress in line.

MR. PAGE: John, I would never cross Rahm. I value my life, John.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The left wingers in the Democratic Party he can speak to, because he's a liberal himself. And he can quiet them down so that Obama can --

MR. BUCHANAN: No one here -- nobody here will deny the guy's toughness and competence -- nobody.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question. Three forces are involved in producing legislation -- the president, public opinion and the Congress. How will this affect the president-elect?

MR. BUCHANAN: The president-elect has a public mandate; there's no doubt about it. The country wants him to succeed. And I think he's got an awful lot of --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it's not a specific mandate.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got some specific --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does he have a personal mandate?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got a personal mandate, and I think some issues mandates, as I've already mentioned.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I helped you get there, Pat, but you got there -- a personal mandate. MS. CLIFT: Right. And the Democratic Congress is not going to run amok. Senator Harry Reid is a pro-life Mormon, for God's sakes, and he's up for re-election in 2010. Do you think he's going to go running off where Monica thinks he's going to go running off?

MS. CROWLEY: Yes, absolutely. (Laughs.) Of course he is.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Reid's treatment of Lieberman?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, and this is a case in point. They're stripping him of his committee chairmanship of Homeland Security.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't that vile? Isn't that vile?

MS. CROWLEY: What, like this is a surprise? This is how the Democrats rule, and this is how they're going to rule with this trifecta, this rampaging majority in the Congress and Democratic president.

MR. PAGE: Unlike the Republicans --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, were you going to make another point?

MS. CROWLEY: No, that's it. I'm done.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, go ahead.

MR. PAGE: No, the big problem that Obama has got to deal with is high expectations. I agree with Monica on that. He's got to tamp them down. And he's already started. His speech the other night talked about sacrifice. It talked about "We've got tough times ahead; we've got to pull together." He was quoting from Dr. King's final speech, in fact, just before King was assassinated. But he said, "We will get there."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is he's got a personal mandate. And that's the best kind, because he's got room to maneuver. It's not anything specific. It's not even health insurance. It's him.

Issue Two: Capitalism Tethered.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: (From videotape.) Both developed and developing nations will be represented. And together we will work to strengthen and modernize our nations' financial systems so we can help ensure that this crisis doesn't happen again.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: An international finance summit -- it's now on the world's agenda. The date is fixed, not only within 2008, as French President Nicolas Sarkozy demanded, but only 11 days after our own presidential election -- November the 15th. World leaders will then discuss how to reshape the architecture of the global economic system. President Sarkozy says that the Washington summit is needed to, quote-unquote, "reform the capitalist system." British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has described the, quote-unquote, "guiding principles" to be addressed at the summit. They are transparency, sound banking, responsibility, integrity, and -- get this -- "global governance," unquote. He called for these principles to, quote-unquote, "root out" hidden lending around the world. Get this -- to accomplish these goals, Brown said, quote, "We need cross-border supervision of financial institutions."

Should Obama see to it that he's wired in but unnoticed?

MR. BUCHANAN: He should not commit himself to any second Bretton Woods.

MS. CLIFT: Informally meet with these leaders, but no official role.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CROWLEY: I agree.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: No. Plausible deniability.

MR. PAGE: I agree -- one president at a time.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Definitely.

He can do it without even showing his hand.

Issue Three: World Reacts to the Obama Win.

GORDON BROWN (British prime minister): (From videotape.) This is a moment that will live in history, as long as history books are written. I've talked to Senator Obama on many occasions, and I know that he is a true friend of Britain.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The world at large saluted President-elect Barack Obama this week. So did Russia. But the biggest part of the message was far from congratulatory. U.S. relations with Russia are at a post-Cold War low. Recently Russia penetrated Georgia with its military. Since then, the U.S. and Russia have exchanged harsh words.

In addition, the U.S. plans to install a missile defense system in Poland, and Poland shares a border with the Russian enclaves with Kaliningrad. And that intention has provoked Russia. This week, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threw down the gauntlet to the U.S. president-elect. Medvedev declared that U.S. missiles in Poland would be matched by Russian missiles in Kaliningrad.

Quote: "The Russian Iskander missile system will be deployed in the Kaliningrad region to neutralize, when necessary, the missile shield of the U.S. We are also planning to use the resources of the Russian naval fleet in Kaliningrad for these purposes," unquote.

Question: Is this just the first in a series of foreign policy challenges that Joe Biden foretold? Let's try to redeem Joe. What do you think, Clarence?

MR. PAGE: Yeah, I think this is a test, but it's a minor test. This is like a pop quiz for Medvedev right now. He was speaking in a much more conciliatory fashion hours later. But right now he wants to try to present a bit of saber-rattling. This is the Russian style. You've always got to talk tough with them.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Monica?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I do think it'll probably be the first test that Obama is going to face; might even happen during his transition period. But, look, the second part of this Russian equation is, yeah, Medvedev said he was going to put missiles right up against the Polish border.

Vladimir Putin is now saying that he'd like to have the presidency back. So he's willing to rewrite the Russian constitution in order to grab power. I mean, he's running things anyway. But I think it's going to be a serious challenge for Barack Obama. These are tests of a guy who has no foreign policy experience. And America's enemies know it, and they're going to try to flesh out --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Now, this is what the --

MS. CLIFT: I wouldn't lose any sleep over this one, because he said nothing new. He said this all, and he said it to President Bush. And I don't believe the Obama foreign policy apparatus is in favor of extending our missile shield. They think it's too expensive and they don't think it will work. So it's kind of a non-issue.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, this is what Obama will do. Obama will make it clear to the Polish government that they should have a referendum of the people. The referendum of the people will certainly shoot down, so to speak, the missiles that we are contemplating putting in Poland. That will defuse the crisis and it will go ahead. The time to deal with Russia is now. Do you agree with me?

MR. BUCHANAN: I agree. You're exactly right, John. The Russians are reacting for our having gotten into their face, and now they're acting like Russians and getting into our face. And I think that's a great idea. Let the Poles and Czechs vote on this shield and get rid of it. The shield is not worth losing a relationship. Frankly, we could establish a solid working relationship with these guys.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, elsewhere, letters from around the world poured in to President-elect Obama. French President Nicolas Sarkozy: "With the world in turmoil and doubt, the American people, faithful to the values that have always defined America's identity, have expressed with force their faith and progress in the future," unquote.

This is a very ungrateful question. I'm going to give it anyway. Have the French, and the Europeans generally, used America as a scapegoat for racism when, in fact, there is more racism in the average European country, whether it's Germany or Italy or Britain?

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly right. Look, America has done more to deal with the problems of race than any First World country in history. Look at Japan. Look at Russia. Look at Britain. And then you look at the United States and see what we've done. We've got a lot to be proud of.

MS. CLIFT: Well, this is a time for some self-congratulations. But the European countries have more homogeneous populations than we have. We have a diversity that we are finally now -- MR. BUCHANAN: The French have got 8 million Arabs -- 8 million.

MS. CLIFT: And a German newspaper had a headline, "Obama Resurrects American Dream."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, the answer of the Republican Party to Barack Obama? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's in the hunt.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He's part of the future, if they have one.

MS. CROWLEY: He's one of them, yes.

MR. PAGE: Him versus Palin, 2012.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.

Bye-bye.



END.