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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: MICHELLE BERNARD, INDEPENDENT WOMEN'S FORUM; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; HISHAM MELHEM, AL ARABIYAH TAPED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JANUARY 31-FEBRUARY 1, 2009

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DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Post-Partisan Politics? You Be the Judge.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) The workers who are returning home to tell their husbands and wives and children that they no longer have a job, and all those who live in fear that their job will be next on the cutting blocks, they need help now.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama has spent much of his first week in office reaching out to Republicans. He has been straining to forge a bipartisan consensus, notably on the Obama $825 billion stimulus package. Democrats assert that the money infusion would produce up to 4 million jobs, but that immediacy is essential.

REP. DAVID OBEY (D-WI): (From videotape.) Every week that we delay is another 100,000 or more people unemployed.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republicans think otherwise. In slashing attacks, Republicans critiqued the bill, especially for its alleged fat content: Infrastructure -- highways, bridges, et cetera -- $366 billion; jobless benefits and Medicaid, $180 billion; health care for the poor and unemployed, $127 billion; local school districts, $41 billion; federal buildings, $7.7 billion; Amtrak, $1 billion; digital TV conversion, $650 million; federal cars, $600 million; global warming research, $400 million; sexually transmitted disease prevention, $335 million; National Endowment for the Arts, $50 million.

Republicans, every single one of them, said no to the above.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): (From videotape.) It's merely a wish list of long-standing liberal Democrat priorities that have little to do with putting our economy back on its feet.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI): (From videotape.) Spending -- just plain old spending.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republicans were joined by 11 House Democrats who also voted no. It was an early and crippling setback for President Obama. He had wanted to sign an economic stimulus deal into law by mid-February, two weeks from now.

Question: What does this party-line vote say about the supposedly post-partisan politics of Obama's presidency? Michelle Bernard.

MS. BERNARD: It says Republicans are finally doing their job. They are going back to basics -- limited government. We had spend-all on everything you could imagine during the Bush presidency. Republicans -- you know, they sort of lost their way, and I think that they decided to band together, look for the pork in this bill.

They're not saying, "No, we don't want to stimulate the economy," but what they are saying is "We need to cut the pork out and actually do things that are going to stimulate the economy," not paying, you know, $100 million for sod on the National Mall.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've gone from post-partisan to most partisan in nine days, Eleanor. (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Calm down, John. These Republicans in the House are mostly irrelevant. They represent conservative, safe districts. They're the ones who survived the Democratic wins in '06 and '08. They're playing to their base. They're playing to Rush Limbaugh. And when the bill goes over to the Senate and comes back, they'll say it's been modified and they'll be able to vote for it. This was basically just a free vote for the base, and pretty soon they'll be saying, "We voted against it before we voted for it."

MS. CROWLEY: I mean, that's --

MS. CLIFT: And Obama -- excuse me -- and Obama is still going to get his stimulus package by the middle of February and it'll be a very big victory.

MS. BERNARD: Without all the extraneous stuff in it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica.

MS. CROWLEY: You can't marginalize this vote, Eleanor, by saying it was playing to the base. Only 42 percent of the American people currently support this monstrosity, and public support is eroding every single day.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think that's accurate.

MS. CROWLEY: Look, this is a huge -- yes, it is. Poll after poll now is showing this. Look, the Republicans rediscovered their manhood and they got their groove back. This is the spending bill that ate Tokyo, with about 10 percent, actually a little less than 10 percent, directly related to stimulus.

The American people do not want to go down the road of socialism. They do not want to go down the road of increased spending. And by 50 percent in the latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll shows that they would prefer cutting taxes to increasing spending. The Republicans, yes, they lost the vote because the Democrats have these big majorities, but I'm telling you that they're right there with the American people.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hisham Melhem.

MR. MELHEM: I'll tell you, you know, post-partisan is as illusionary as post-ideology. I mean, there's no such thing. We like to listen to phrases that sound great, like "We're not red states or blue states." But essentially you cannot expect the Republicans not to be Republicans. And I think, notwithstanding their diminishing numbers -- they are strong only in five states, as I hear -- they're going to give him a hard time. And I think everybody's preparing for the midterm elections.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the Republicans decided to let this boondoggle, if that's what it is, rest entirely on the shoulders of Barack Obama. There was not one defection.

MS. CLIFT: There are a handful of things you can ridicule in the House bill. They'll probably get taken out in the Senate bill. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Doesn't it look more like a budget than a stimulus?

MS. CLIFT: No, it doesn't. It's actually a pretty well- organized bill. The largest amount goes to food stamps, unemployment benefits, infrastructure. And it is a pretty well put-together bill. And last I checked, the Republicans didn't have an alternative other than to say no.

MS. BERNARD: No, they do. They do. And this is --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let --

MS. CROWLEY: The alternative bill -- excuse me --

MS. CLIFT: Monica, you had your turn. I get to finish.

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

MS. CLIFT: I get to finish. The Republican objections are mostly ideological. They think that helping people with their health insurance costs is a back-door way to universal health care, and they want more tax cuts. But they lost the election.

Get over it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did the Republicans propose?

MS. CROWLEY: The Republicans offered a competing bill that went down in defeat because they didn't have the votes --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tax cuts.

MS. CROWLEY: -- comprised almost entirely of tax cuts. Tax cuts --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: For individuals and businesses.

MS. CROWLEY: Individuals and tax relief for businesses.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did the Democrats do with it?

MS. CROWLEY: Tax cuts are the only proven remedy in the history of western civilization to pull an economy out of a recession. What the Democrats have proposed and passed in the House is such a huge monstrosity, laden down with all kinds of incredible pork-barrel spending, that it's going to stifle whatever kind of recovery we might --

MS. BERNARD: I am --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democrats voted it down, 266 to 170.

MS. BERNARD: Yes.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So that further enforces the view that this is partisan, correct?

MS. BERNARD: I mean, it was partisan. I will say that the Democrats -- that the Republicans in Congress, though, most of them have said that they're not blaming this on the president; they're blaming this on their Democratic colleagues. They didn't want to trounce the bill. They wanted to better the bill. I mean, no one can explain how whatever the figure was for STD prevention stimulates the economy. MS. CROWLEY: That's right.

MS. BERNARD: You know, how many jobs does that create for, you know --

MS. CLIFT: I can tell you --

MS. BERNARD: Trojan wants that bill -- the bill.

MS. CLIFT: I agree that that was something that should be taken out because people like you can ridicule it. But --

MS. BERNARD: How does it stimulate the economy? It is a legitimate line of inquiry.

MS. CLIFT: Planned reproductive rights are very helpful in --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ladies, let me in.

Okay, $18 billion to Wall Street bankers.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) At a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them, that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful. They have to start acting in a more responsible fashion if we are to, together, get this economy rolling again. There will be time for them to make profits and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: On Thursday, President Obama blasted CEO payouts. He called them bonuses, even though most of those payouts were commissions on sales. His anger stemmed from the news that in 2008 New York City security industry employees received over $18 billion commissions, not bonuses.

It's been noted that Obama's stern rebuke comes from a president, namely Obama, who backed out on a signed agreement to use public funds for his campaign and instead raised -- get this -- three-quarters of a billion dollars, $742 million, a history-making amount that some think delivered him the presidency.

Question: So who's right -- Obama, for his denunciation, or capitalists who believe in risks and in rewards? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: John, you must have stayed up all night to find that connection between raising money over the Internet --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have another one too.

MS. CLIFT: -- in some small sums. (Laughter.) Look, what the Wall Street masters of the universe did is unconscionable. And at the very least, they should have had some public relations advisers telling them how bad the optics are on this. I think the president is right to crack down. The American people are outraged by the disparity between the fact that they go off with their bonuses and their millions while the American taxpayer has to bail them out.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hisham.

MR. MELHEM: I don't think the president was only reflecting the frustration of many, many Americans, but I think also he was reflecting a historic fact. If you leave unbridled capitalism to do its own thing, the invisible hand, without checking it once in a while, then you end up with a situation like this.

The history of capitalism -- that's what I studied in school -- shows that once in a while government or centralized authority has to intervene to check this unbridled --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You favor managed capitalism?

MR. MELHEM: Not managed like the Europeans sometimes, you know, but not an unbridled laissez faire. I mean, that shows --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do they have in Lebanon? You represent a newspaper that's published in Lebanon.

MR. MELHEM: Yes. And, you know, we have a capital system there.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How capitalist is the system?

MR. MELHEM: I mean, it's very capitalistic, believe me. (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: More capitalistic than we are?

MR. MELHEM: It's too unbridled.

MS. BERNARD: Right now. (Laughter.)

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's very unbridled -- not bridled at all.

MR. MELHEM: Yes, very unbridled. We have banking secrecy. We have all sorts of things. We have a lot of corruption. We don't have sometimes, you know, regulations, as people argue here. But listen, really, this is the history of capitalism. There is nothing wrong with that. If you go back to the 1930s, sometimes the state has to intervene, as long as the intervention is limited.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Multiple-choice question: Is Obama more of a, A, post-partisan politician; B, a penny-pinching populist; or C, a spend-whatever-it-takes pragmatist? Michelle Bernard.

MS. BERNARD: D, none of the above, or all of the above, or a little bit of all of the above. I think Obama is a pragmatist who realizes that there's no cookie-cutter answer to how we get out of this dilemma. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's not an ideologue.

MS. BERNARD: And he knows that we have to do something. He knows that we absolutely --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think he's an ideologue.

MS. BERNARD: Probably on some issues; not on everything. I think he seems to be a pragmatist and looks at things on an issue-by- issue basis. I think that he realizes that he has to reach out to Republicans. He has to reach out across the aisle. He needs to be a centrist. You will hear in the speeches that he gives, even as recently as this week, when he was reaching out to people who believe in the free market, when he said, "Government cannot do everything. Business is the engine of this economy."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think pragmatism is a dirty word, despite the fact that James tried to doctor it up with his philosophy of pragmatism?

MS. BERNARD: No, I don't think it's a dirty word.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do not.

MS. BERNARD: It's the same as being a realist.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: He's a pragmatist on his way to progressive goals, and he's facing an economic crisis that we have really no prescription that we know how to get out of it. And he's doing the best he can based on the advice of economists across the political spectrum, and he would like to have bipartisan support. If he doesn't get it, he'll go it alone with the Democrats.

MS. CROWLEY: I think -- well, I think, listen, the bipartisanship went in the other direction in opposing this trillion- dollar --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know why he wants bipartisanship?

MS. CROWLEY: I think that Barack Obama -- yes. You want to know why? If this bill was so great, then Barack Obama should have wanted to shut out the Republicans and take all the credit. He knows it's a loser. He knows it's a stinker.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: He wants to share the blame?

MS. CROWLEY: Share the blame when this thing goes down -- absolutely. And this is why I think, back to your multiple-choice question, that he is a classic big-government liberal who is wheeling this $1 trillion boondoggle as a trojan horse for socialism.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: A callous pragmatist, right?

MS. CROWLEY: No, I think a very smart pragmatist.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say, Hisham?

MR. MELHEM: I think he's a smart realist. (Laughter.) Seriously, I mean, look, even --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, that -- huh?

MR. MELHEM: Even the Republicans, in the last few months of the Bush administration, realized that the state has to intervene. Things really went on too far. There was no regulation and no control. And that's why we ended up with this crisis. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think Obama has redeemed himself by being a pragmatist.

Issue Two: Hello, Islam.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries. And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that Americans are not your enemy.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is from an interview this week with an Arabic language news channel, Mr. Obama's first sit-down interview as U.S. president. Hisham Melhem of Al Arabiyah, sitting at my right today and an old hand on the Group, conducted the interview and asked President Obama what his directives were to George Mitchell, just appointed by President Obama as the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) What I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating. And we don't always know all the factors that are involved. So let's listen.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does George Mitchell's special envoy to the Middle East status mean that Obama intends to be more of a broker in the Middle East than was his predecessor, George Bush? Hisham Melhem. Welcome, by the way.

MR. MELHEM: Thank you; appreciate it. Obviously, that's the first question I asked him: "Are you going to be essentially like Bill Clinton? Are you going to propose ideas? Are you going to propose parameters? Or are you going to be essentially like George Bush, asking both sides to come up with their own ideas?"

And I think he's going to be more activist. To what extent, we really don't know. And I think he was very cautious on purpose because he's expecting the Israeli elections soon -- in a few days, in fact -- and he doesn't want to influence the elections in a way that would hurt him and help the people that he does not necessarily want to see winning.

But sending Mitchell was a signal in itself. When you mention to people like us in the Middle East Mitchell, people remember the most important recommendations in his famous report of 2001, when he went there, sent by --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Mideast report.

MR. MELHEM: Yes -- by Bill Clinton at that time, after the -- DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What were those recommendations?

MR. MELHEM: The most important one: The Israelis should stop all settlement activities, all kinds of settlement activities, full- stop, including --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has that been ignored?

MR. MELHEM: Absolutely, completely. On the other hand, the Palestinians were supposed to stop acts of violence against the Israelis. These --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's been ignored too.

MR. MELHEM: That's been ignored too, sure, because of the occupation in part, but also for a variety of reasons; the rise of Hamas and all that. The problem is that that incredibly important report, which was really done by Warren Rudman and George Mitchell -- these are respectable senators who know the situation --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Clinton run with that, or did he put it in the bottom drawer?

MR. MELHEM: It was not Clinton at that time. It was George Bush who was elected after, after the report was issued. It was George Bush who ignored it; I mean, effectively ignored it.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. MELHEM: And then George Bush talked about the division of two states and did nothing. And that's why he was criticized by Obama before the interview and before the -- when he said, "I'm not going to wait until the end of my first term or my second term to engage."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, in the first one --

MR. MELHEM: This is implicit critique of George Bush.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he gives you an interview, an extended interview, a good interview, a great interview, and he gets into this question of Muslims' relationship -- the cultural divide between the United States and other countries like us and Islamism -- quite remarkable. So he is going to play a big broker role.

MR. MELHEM: I think he was building up to that date when he is going to give an address from the heart of a Muslim capital.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: How did it go over with the Muslim world, the interview?

MR. MELHEM: The overall reaction was extremely positive; especially the clincher to me and to many people was when he said, "You cannot demonize me. Members of my family are also Muslims, and I lived in Muslim countries." He was referring to Indonesia, of course, his childhood. He is going to make it extremely difficult, not only for those crazies in al Qaeda, but even leaders such as -- (inaudible) -- to demonize the United States or to demonize him.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to let you in in just a minute. I want to hear Hisham Melhem's confirmation that President Obama will visit -- get this -- a capital city of a Muslim country within his first 100 days.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) We're going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that's going to be Jakarta?

MR. MELHEM: That's the buzz. These are the speculations.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's Indonesia.

MR. MELHEM: That's Indonesia.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that like going home for him?

MR. MELHEM: Well, I mean, it would be personal. It would be emotional. It would be emotive. It would be full circle. And then Indonesia is the largest Muslim country, and it's a safe country in the sense that, if he goes to an Arab country or to Turkey or whatever, there will be jealousy.

There will be protests or --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Okay, with time running out, Hisham asked whether the U.S. can tolerate a nuclear Iran.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) The Iranian people are a great people. The Persian civilization is a great civilization. Iran has acted in ways that's not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region -- their threats against Israel; their pursuit of a nuclear weapon, which could potentially set off an arms race in the region that would make everybody less safe; their support of terrorist organizations in the past.

But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are but where there are potential avenues for progress. If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fists, they will find an extended hand from us.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Obama has made several overtures to Iran by suggesting the two nations should talk. How is Iran responding? Do you have something to say about that, Monica?

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah, because Obama in this interview was as conciliatory as possible to the Iranians and other tyrants around the Middle East in elsewhere, and he was essentially asking the Iranians for a change in style. He said, "If you just unclench your fist, it'll be easier for us to engage in a dialogue."

The Iranians -- a couple of hours later, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went before a group of militants and laid out a whole set of conditions that he demanded from the United States, including a formal apology for unspecified crimes against Iran, and also that the United States back out of the Middle East, essentially leaving the Middle East to the mercy of Tehran.

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

MS. CROWLEY: So I think that Obama has stars in his eyes if he thinks that he can just magically open a dialogue and expect immediate results, especially when the Iranians are within a year of having a nuclear weapon. If they're that close, they're not going to do anything to give that up. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does that assume that Ahmadinejad is running the show? Ahmadinejad is running for re-election.

MS. CLIFT: Right, he's running for re-election.

MR. MELHEM: This is electioneering. This is electioneering. He said that. But then his foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, in Davos, said something else. "If the Americans are willing, if they translate their words into deeds, we are willing to open up too."

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the -- all right --

MR. MELHEM: Nobody speaks for Iran --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Obama will permit -- I believe this was the Clinton position -- nuclear civilian energy, civilian for electricity, and they stop down the cycle?

MR. MELHEM: We've done it with North Korea.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: They stop down the cycle before it becomes fissionable.

MR. MELHEM: We've done it to North Korea. I mean, that's the offer to North Korea, which is a worse regime, as far as I'm concerned. Both of them are bad.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the United States population, the people of the United States, can live with that?

MR. MELHEM: I'm not sure yet. But I'll tell you what --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Israel can?

MR. MELHEM: Israel is another issue. The problem is --

MS. CROWLEY: Or Saudi Arabia, or Jordan, or Egypt.

MR. MELHEM: Look, there is no immediate military solution to this thing, and everybody knows that.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they going to stop the cycle before the uranium becomes fissionable?

MR. MELHEM: They stop it for three years --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it will yield electricity, and then they can have the IAEA in there 24 hours a day.

MR. MELHEM: Look, briefly, the Bush administration's isolation of Iran, saying we're going to hide before Europeans when we talk to the Iranians, not engage with them, did not stop the nuclear program in Iran. That's Obama's argument. "Let's go and talk to the Iranians. If they insist on their program, we will be in a much better position diplomatically."

MS. CLIFT: You can't argue that the Bush policy of isolating your enemies worked for the last eight years. And so Obama pledged in his inaugural address that there would be a new way forward with the Muslim world and a new way forward in terms of aggressive diplomacy. Keep your eye on Hillary.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Bye-Bye, Blago.

Rod Blagojevich is out as Illinois governor after his conviction in the State Senate impeachment trial on Thursday. The conviction was unanimous. Not a single senator out of the 59 in the chamber voted against conviction. Blagojevich was prevented from bringing witnesses, and only four snippets of the taped conversations were allowed as evidence. Former Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was sworn in as Illinois' new governor.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR PAT QUINN (D): (From videotape.) For the people of Illinois, the ordeal is over.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How badly has the image of Illinois been blemished? I ask you, Michelle.

MS. BERNARD: It's pretty bad. (Laughs.) It has been political theater like no one could possibly imagine. It has gone on and on and on. And what happened earlier this week is not the end of it. He is going to go through a criminal trial. Who knows what's going to happen? And quite frankly, if the tapes that come out when he does go to trial look terrible and somehow he outsmarts the jury system and gets a not guilty, Illinois will be the laughingstock of the nation yet again.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, about two months ago, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald appeared on national television with a federal criminal complaint on corruption charges. That greased the skids of Blagojevich's impeachment trial.

PATRICK FITZGERALD (U.S. attorney): Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low. Governor Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree. The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Blagojevich has not been indicted on any of the charges made in the criminal complaint. Fitzgerald has until early April to bring an indictment.

Question: Has Blagojevich been railroaded?

MS. CLIFT: I think Fitzgerald has collected stuff on him for the last four years. Assuming this goes to trial, I think he will make his case. But I'm getting tired of kicking him around, Blagojevich; I mean, enough already. I think he has some serious mental issues of sort of --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think about Fitzgerald --

MS. CLIFT: -- grandiosity.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- going before national microphones and reading snippets, segments, of a transcript of recorded conversations -- not the whole thing, but snippets -- and declaring that Lincoln would turn over in his grave and the level of corruption was -- I'm using my language to describe what he said -- equivalently monstrous? Now, what is that in our society where the special prosecutor will -- does that taint a possible jury pool?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, it might. I mean, we don't know. I agree with Eleanor; Fitzgerald has been on Blago's case now for years. So whether or not he can actually bring an indictment on the specific allegations in the selling of the Senate seat or whether he has a whole range of charges to bring against this guy is a different issue.

Blago went on "The View" and CBS and NBC and the whole thing Monday, when his impeachment trial started. And the case he was making is exactly that. But the standard in an impeachment trial is different than in a criminal case, so Fitzgerald really has to ratchet it up and release some real evidence.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of Fitzgerald's behavior --

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I mean --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- going before TV nationally, internationally, and saying the things he said --

MS. CROWLEY: And calling it a criminal crime spree.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- on a complaint?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, listen, when he was -- this was right after he was arrested, so he needed to say something.

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does anyone think that any members of the legislature in Chicago are involved with this?

MS. CLIFT: I think -- no, I think they wanted to shut this down, because they didn't really want him bringing witnesses, because other people could be involved. Pay to play is sort of embedded --

DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, there could be another motive.

MS. CLIFT: -- in the system. So they -- by embarrassing him, they avoided embarrassment of themselves. But it doesn't mean that he's innocent. DR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye-bye.



END.