THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: MICHAEL BARONE, ELEANOR CLIFT, TONY BLANKLEY AND VAUGHN VERVERS
TAPED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2002
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER 2-3, 2002
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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: A different goodbye.
RICK KAHN (Paul Wellstone friend and campaign treasurer): (From videotape.) We are begging you all to help us win the Senate election for Paul Wellstone. We need to win this election for Paul Wellstone.
MARK WELLSTONE (son of Paul Wellstone): (From videotape. ) We will win! We will win! We will win! (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The memorial service was held a few days ago for the late Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife and daughter and three campaign aides and a pilot and copilot, all killed when their plane crashed last week while campaigning in Minnesota. The memorial liturgy resembled not only a pep rally, but the most energetic political event among Democrats since their Los Angeles convention in 2000, when Bill Clinton emerged from a long tunnel under a live camera and Al Gore embraced Tipper on stage.
But not everyone liked what they saw at the Wellstone memorial service.
MINNESOTA GOVERNOR JESSE VENTURA: (From videotape.) I feel used. I feel violated and duped over the fact that that turned into nothing more than a political rally, and -- like in the case of Senator Lott flying all the way up here and being booed, when he's supposed to be going to a memorial service. I think the Democrats should hang their head in shame.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Others defended how the mourners paid their respects.
JOE LOCKHART: (White House press secretary, Clinton administration): (From videotape.) Governor Ventura and some of the others, I mean, who I have respect for, to make a comment to say that somehow the family doesn't have the right to celebrate someone they've lost in the way they choose, that's just -- I mean, I think if anything, that will backfire on the Republicans.
DOUG HATTAWAY (Democratic strategist) (?): (From videotape.) These are family and friends of Paul Wellstone, who were deeply affected by this tragedy, and they also felt very strongly about the cause he was fighting for. They had every right to speak their minds.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Appropriate or not, did it work as political theater? Was it effective? Did it turn the Wellstone election into a more powerful reason to vote? Did it make Paul Wellstone into a kind of tragic martyr who died for classical liberal causes, all so that Democrats could hang on to his Senate seat and, in so doing, hang on to the Senate? Did it personalize the stakes involved and thus give them passionate life and energy?
Question: Did the Wellstone memorial energize grassroots Democrats? Forget the impact on Republicans and independent voters. The grassroots Democrats, were they energized? Michael?
MR. BARONE: Well, I was in Minnesota the day Paul Wellstone died and I was there a week before. I interviewed him and his Republican opponent, Norm Coleman. I think the Democrats were -- the Wellstone core was energized just by this heartbreaking, tragic event, the death of Paul Wellstone, his wife and daughter, and wanted desperately to try and win the Senate election in response.
I think what this event did was to energize Republicans who called up and contributed $150,000 to Norm Coleman in the course of this. It was broadcast live on all the Minneapolis, St. Paul, TV stations. And it also turned off a lot of those independents, including those young people that registered on Election Day to vote for Jesse Ventura in 1998. I think Ventura spoke authentically for them when -- they don't like this kind of partisan politics. And both -- tracking polls for both parties showed that this helped the Republicans and hurt the Democrats.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I don't think Paul Wellstone would have approved the bullying. But if you pack 20,000 people into a stadium with the kind of emotion following that death, I suppose somebody should have anticipated this. But booing Ventura, who has the power to appoint an independent here in the interim period, could -- he could create a lot of problems for the Democrats; that was really tactically stupid.
But the memorial service, but more so than the service is the death itself, I think, has fired up Democrats in Minnesota and across the country, particularly in the Midwest, and could have some spillover effect in Missouri, where Jean Carnahan lost her husband under similar circumstances, and it may remind voters there she's not just another Washington politician, and they may remember why they elected her in the first place --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MS. CLIFT: -- or she was appointed in the first place.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, this was the most political funeral process --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a great seafoam ensemble you have on.
MR. BLANKLEY: Thank you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that the right color?
MR. BLANKLEY: Some people think it's aquamarine.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I got it right, didn't I?
MR. BLANKLEY: It is seafoam, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seafoam, okay. Please continue.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. This was the most political funeral event since Marc Antony's funeral oration over the dead body of Julius Caesar. I think that this was a disadvantage to the Democrats. I think it was a lay-down hand to win this election after the death, until this event. Now I think you're going to see an increased Green vote, which will come out of Wellstone's -- out of Mondale's vote. I think you're going to see a lower independence vote, which is going to go towards Coleman, and it turns it into a toss-up race.
And in fact, Mondale is not a perfect fit with Wellstone. He comes out of the Hubert Humphrey wing. He and Wellstone were actually on opposite sides when the old Labor Party and the Democratic Party merged. His law firm represents a lot of interests that the Wellstone people have opposed. So, it's not really as neat a fit as some of the national people are suggesting.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn Ververs?
MR. VERVERS: Well, I think I've got to agree with almost everybody on this panel here. I think it did enter --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think Tony should cut more slack on the propriety aspect?
MR. VERVERS: Well, I think the booing went overboard a little bit. The singling out of Republicans individually in the crowd crossed that line --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I mean the whole feel of it. It was a pep rally --
MR. VERVERS: Well, you have to remember --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony is offended by that because he feels it's -- the propriety --
MR. VERVERS: We have to remember it didn't turn into that till later in the evening; things got a little out of hand later. I watched the beginning, and I thought it was very appropriate in the beginning. It kind of went that way later.
But I would say that there is a funny little twist to this. I think it energized Republicans, it confirmed a lot of what Republicans feel about Democrats in the first place. I think it energized Democrats, but I think it might actually end up hurting Democrats, because what did we hear all week? We heard about why did people love Paul Wellstone? Because he was principled. He was a liberal. He believed -- he was against the war. He stood up for those values. And I think Democrats are going to look around and look at other candidates and realize that not all of the other Democrats --
MR. BLANKLEY: Look, I'm not -- I'm not -- I'm not so convinced that this thing was all completely -- some of it was spontaneous, the crowd. After all, the vice president was disinvited before the event. Why would they disinvite him unless they were worried about --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well --
MR. BLANKLEY: -- him being embarrassed by a campaign rally that might happen there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in fact --
MR. BLANKLEY: The ads for Mondale were ready to run within hours. This has the sense of some planning --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he could have been disinvited -- if that's the right word.
MR. BLANKLEY: That's the word they used.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it was on the basis of the security requirement with 20,000 people.
MR. BLANKLEY: Which is ridiculous. The vice president and his Secret Service are the ones capable of determining the security. They can go anywhere. This was a decision made --
MR. BARONE: Well, Tony, I'd cut them --
MR. BLANKLEY: He's the president of the --
MR. BARONE: I'd cut them a little slack on that, Tony.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, exactly. (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: He's the president of the Senate.
MR. BARONE: They were planning a large number.
MR. BLANKLEY: He's the president of the Senate, and they chose to disinvite him, and I think that shows planning.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Republicans are trying to milk everything they can out of this event!
MR. BARONE: Now, Eleanor, let me have my turn here just for a second.
Wellstone's campaign manager, Jeff Blodgett, a very close friend -- and you couldn't help but empathize with him as he announced about the plane crash on Friday, October 25th -- apologized the next day for the way that the event had gone, and I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what did he precisely -- I didn't quite see that.
MR. BARONE: He was not specific, but he said if it offended some people, he was apologizing. They may have had a legitimate security reason for taking -- for not saying the vice president could come in, because it was a large number of people that would have to go through metal detectors.
I would say that I would fault neither the Republicans nor the Democrats for doing some political activity in the aftermath. This crash happened 11 days before the election. Minnesota law allows the substitution of a candidate and has a specific method for it. And I think the Wellstone family going to Walter Mondale was legitimate; the Republicans planning a campaign effort was legitimate. Both parties were entitled to go at that.
MS. CLIFT: A turgid prayer service would not be what I think Senator Wellstone would have wanted. He lived his life as a noisy activist, and that's what that rally is. And the fitting memorial to him is for the Democrats to keep that seat and for the Democrats to keep the Senate. And his family is carrying on that tradition.
The booing should be condemned. But that's a handful of people, as you point out, late in the evening. When you've got 20,000 people packed into a stadium with that kind of emotion --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can I get in here?
MR. BLANKLEY: Sure. Go ahead! (Chuckles.)
MS. CLIFT: Republicans are really trying to make this a referendum on how you conduct a memorial service.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to move on. But I want to make the point that this whole gathering, particularly the boys, were in a state of extreme trauma. This was a catastrophic event.
MR. : Absolutely.
MR. : Of course.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And when you're in extreme trauma, you have to be cut an enormous amount of slack because there are feelings of mourning and grief, but sometimes they're accompanied by rage. And there's a determination not to let this man truly die. And I think, therefore, we ought to just skip over the propriety of it, and I think on the basis of whether it worked, it certainly worked with that particular audience. And I think it even worked beyond. All the icons were there. The Kennedys was there, the Clintons were there. And I think it has an energizing effect across the country, to a considerable extent. And I think when people think about this the more, they will cut slack.
Okay, Fritz is back.
Standing in for Senator Wellstone is the Democratic warhorse Walter Fritz Mondale; 74 years of age. U.S. Army, two years. Lawyer. Four-year attorney general of Minnesota. Two-term U.S. senator from Minnesota. Vice president under Jimmy Carter, '77 to '81. Democratic candidate for president, '84, with Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, against Ronald Reagan; lost 49 states, carrying Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Ambassador to Japan, three years, under Bill Clinton. Now practicing law in Minnesota.
WALTER MONDALE (Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota): (From videotape.) I'm worried, very worried about the economy. I think it's slipping. I think there's a undercurrent of distrust about our nation's economy that requires strong change and reform. We have to educate our children. We have to give them a chance to go on to school. We need to stop this mindless assault on the environment. I think I know how to start being effective on the first day in the Senate. I've been there. I know the rules; I helped shape them. I was the president of the Senate for four years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does Fritz Mondale have to do in a debate with Coleman?
MR. BARONE: I think he has to show that he's future-oriented. He's got a distinguished past; he's widely respected in Minnesota. But I think that he's got to show that he wants the job, that he wants to do specific things in the job, and that he's thinking about the future and not just the laurels of the past.
MS. CLIFT: Right --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he's got to be lively, he's got to be on point, he's got to be very coherent.
MS. CLIFT: Right, he's got to make it clear he hasn't been parked on a golf course these last years. He was, after all, ambassador to Japan up until 1996. And I think he's got to make the point that if you want a lobbyist in Washington, which is essentially what a Senator is, who would be more effective? Who knows the game? Who knows their way around better, Walter Mondale or Norm Coleman? And I think that's the case he's got to make.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he can avoid catastrophic error before this run is over?
MR. VERVERS: Well, the thing he needs to do -- the best thing I read this week about this race was when Fritz Mondale last ran for office, 1984, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was the number one song in the country and the "Cosby Show" was just making its debut. He needs to show that he's moved beyond that point in time.
MR. BLANKLEY: You know, he's got to be able to finish a sentence --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What did you think of the videotape that you saw?
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I thought it was a good campaign ad for his opponent. I mean, that's a -- he's an old-looking 74. Now, it's interesting that only two years ago, by the way, he was doing polling to figure out whether he should run against Wellstone this time. So, now he's saying he's not been seeking the job. In fact, he has been testing the waters for a couple of years, so he thinks he's ready to run. I'm not so sure that people who watch him will think that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I'd like to know what we finally conclude. Did we finally conclude that the backlash here -- is that what I'm hearing, to some extent here? -- the backlash overpowered the positive energizing impact, the backlash of the Republicans?
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. BARONE: I think the Republicans and independents.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that way?
MS. CLIFT: No, I don't think so. I think Walter Mondale is an icon in the state, and I think he improves Democrats' chances of keeping that seat.
MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, voters under 40 don't even remember him, except as a name, cause he last ran in '84. So if you're under 40, you really don't really remember him. I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you say?
MR. VERVERS: This is not some Frank Lautenberg New Jersey situation. It's going to be much tougher for Walter Mondale to just come in and take this race. He may have a little bit of an edge, but this is truly -- nobody knows.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Lautenberg, in his first -- in his early appearances, was rambling and not sufficiently focused?
MR. VERVERS: I think he was okay, but I think his opponent was more rabid than he was, and I think that sort of helped to balance him out a little bit. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, you know, Mondale now is the same age that Ronald Reagan was when Mondale challenged Reagan for the presidency and said that Reagan was old --
MR. BLANKLEY: He's a year older, actually.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think --
MR. BLANKLEY: He's 74, Reagan was 73.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that the energizing impact is greater than the Republican backlash, but not by much.
When we come back: If the Democrats keep control of the Senate, do Republicans have anyone to blame but themselves?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Senate hot seats. The United States Senate today is even: 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans; 1 independent, Jim Jeffords, voting with the Democrats; and one vacancy -- Paul Wellstone. So, a one-seat net gain by either party on Tuesday means Senate control. Here are four races, and Republicans must carry them all to gain control.
First, Colorado. Incumbent Republican Wayne Allard versus Democrat attorney Tom Strickland. Question: Who wins?
MR. BARONE: Allard. New voters -- a lot of new voters, they're mostly Republicans. Allard wins.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Strickland wins. Allard has not been able to get high enough to be respectable for an incumbent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think the Republicans lose this seat. I think Allard has not made contact with the electorate, he's too low in the polls. And, although Strickland hasn't exploded, I think he's going to get by.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn?
MR. VERVERS: Two weeks ago I predicted Allard. I'm going to stick with that, but it's looking very dicey for me right now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five percent are undecideds, and I think they're going to go with Strickland. I'm calling it Strickland. I'm reversing my earlier view.
Okay, Missouri. Incumbent Democrat Jean Carnahan versus Republican former Representative Jim Talent. Question: Who wins?
I ask you, Michael.
MR. BARONE: I think Jim Talent performed very well in debate and will win.
MS. CLIFT: The only thing that will save Jean Carnahan is a huge turnout of minority voters. But right now, I think she's a casualty.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: The only thing that will save Carnahan is voter fraud in St. Louis. Republicans are monitoring closely. I think Talent holds on and wins the actual vote.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you count the number, out of five of us, that voted which way in the previous go around here?
MR. BLANKLEY: I probably did at the time. I don't remember it now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you?
MR. VERVERS: Probably.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who did we collectively vote for?
MR. BARONE: We voted two Allard and three Strickland.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. We're on Carnahan now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I know we're on Carnahan now, but that thought occurred to me. I'm going to do the computation. Have we done it so far? How are you calling this, again?
MR. BARONE: Talent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Talent.
MS. CLIFT: Talent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Talent.
MR. BLANKLEY: Talent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Talent.
MR. VERVERS: Another reversal for me. I'm going to have to go with Talent. I think the Wellstone thing actually hurt Carnahan a little bit. It reminded people why she -- how she's there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, she's now lagging by 5 percent. I'll call it Talent, as I did before.
Okay, New Hampshire. Open seat. Republican Representative John Sununu versus Democrat Governor Jeanne Shaheen. Who wins?
MR. BARONE: I'm going to go with Jeanne Shaheen, which is different from where I would have gone a week ago.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. BARONE: I think she's been picking up in the surveys. She's run some very tough, effective commercials. I think she's got the lead at the moment.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's a growing pocketbook issue up there?
MR. BARONE: Not necessarily.
MS. CLIFT: Jeanne Shaheen, who will, if she wins, become the first female governor to go to the U.S. Senate. I think the issue is pro-choice. It's a fiercely libertarian state, it's a pro-choice state, and they've discovered that John Sununu opposes abortion rights.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's two Shaheen, right?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think Sununu's going to pull it out because I think it's a fundamentally Republican state. I think that the Smith factor, the discontent over the primary will be smaller than the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know what Bob Smith did. He contacted the Manchester Union and they made it very clear that he disapproves of the write-in. Is that going to be enough to save Sununu?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think a combination of that plus it's going to dawn on those Republican voters that they're paying a very high price for their stiff-neckedness. I think they're going to vote with their party rather than with their passion.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So you're calling it Sununu.
MR. BLANKLEY: I'm calling it very close, Sununu.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn?
MR. VERVERS: I agree; very close, Sununu. I think the Smith thing is a little overblown. And I think the strength of the other Republicans on the ticket might actually help Sununu a little bit. The governor -- Republican gubernatorial candidate is way out in front.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think the pocketbook considerations are growing. And the announcement that the unemployment rate has gone up one-tenth of 1 percent, plus the 15-percent drop in consumer confidence over the course of one month is being felt in New Hampshire. I'm calling it now Shaheen.
Okay. South Dakota. Incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson versus Republican Republican Representative John Thune. Who wins? Michael?
MR. BARONE: This has been an even race for 18 months. I'll guess Thune, but that's just a guess.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what have you got to go on?
MR. BARONE: What have I got to go on? It went 60-38 for Bush in 2000.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the rap against Johnson?
MR. BARONE: Well, they've attacked him on a whole variety of issues.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which way did he vote on the Persian Gulf resolution?
MR. BARONE: He voted for it.
MS. CLIFT: Right. This is a surrogate contest, really, between President Bush and Tom Daschle. And I think the voters of South Dakota in the end have deeper affection for their own hometown majority leader. I think Johnson squeaks through, but I'm as iffy about my prediction as Michael is. It could go either way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought Johnson voted against that resolution.
MR. BARONE: No, he voted for it.
MR. BLANKLEY: He voted for it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He did?
MR. BARONE: Daschle and Johnson both voted for it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: This is the evenest for the longest Senate race we have. It could go either way. I think that Bush is going to come in and give it a blip up for a few hours. If he comes in late enough, Thune could perhaps skate by with a 1 percent win.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn?
MR. VERVERS: Well, if it really is a national referendum between Bush and Daschle, I think Johnson is in trouble because Bush beats Daschle in all four match-ups in the state. He's wildly popular there. I don't think it's necessarily that much of a referendum. I think I could flip a coin 10 times and come up with five heads and five tails.
I'll say Thune in a squeaker. Because there are so few voters, and Republicans have an edge in voter registration, I think that Thune might sneak by.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm calling it Thune, too.
What's the count?
MR. BARONE: What's the count here? Well, we're Thune majority.
MS. CLIFT: Right. Malone, Johnson. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Majority Thune.
Exit: Will the Senate remain Democratic or go Republican, and by how many seats either way?
MR. BARONE: Well, in accordance with my picks in the other ones, I also think Arkansas is going to switch parties; the Republicans will lose it. And I predict that Norm Coleman will beat Walter Mondale in an upset in Minnesota. That would give the Senate a one-vote Republican majority.
But I have no great confidence in my predictions in about five different races -- (laughter) -- so it could end up with 52 Democrats or 52 Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I give the edge to the Democrats to hang on, and I think they could add to their majority by one, perhaps two seats.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think the Republicans have a little bit more exposure than the Democrats. If the odds break down the middle, the Democrats hold the Senate. If the Republicans get a little lucky, they might sneak by.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Vaughn?
MR. VERVERS: I think that there are so many sneakers potentially out there -- you've got Georgia; North Carolina is even closing -- Elizabeth Dole looks to be in a little bit of trouble down there as we head into the last weekend. It could be -- it could go either way. And judging by the way our last election went, it's going to be a split country, so you're going to have the Democrats in charge by one seat.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the zeitgeist? Is there any issue, any trend out there? Is it a typical midterm election? Is it a status quo election? Or is it a typical midterm where the incumbent in the White House party loses votes?
MR. VERVERS: This is going to be --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a pocketbook election? Is it a national security election? Is Iraq receding? What is this?
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. : Bush is going to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does anybody know what kind of election this is?
MR. BLANKLEY: I do! (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Some people have called it a "Seinfeld election" -- it's an election about nothing.
MR. BLANKLEY: Let me tell you, in fact, the biggest political factor of the year is terrorism and Iraq, and that's why it's close. If it wasn't -- if it wasn't for that and Bush's high approval because of that, this would be a runaway for the Democrats. So that's the big political factor.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We got to get out. We got to get out.
How is this so far? Have you done the count?
MR. VERVERS: Have I done the count? By the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say Republican.
You're saying Democrat.
You're saying Republican?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I'm saying neither party has any break.
MS. CLIFT: One or the other! (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's abstaining.
MR. BLANKLEY: It's right down the middle.
MR. VERVERS: I'll say Democrat by one seat.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're saying Democrat, I'm saying Republican, so we have a draw -- it's two-two and an abstention.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction. The incumbent governor of Florida is Jeb Bush. He's being challenged by Bill McBride. Which way is it going to go?
MR. BARONE: I think it's going to go to Jeb Bush. He's well informed. He's worked very hard. And he walloped McBride in debate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor. No reasons, please.
MS. CLIFT: Jeb Bush.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jeb Bush.
MR. BLANKLEY: African-American paper, Broward Times, endorsed Bush. It's going to be Bush.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Bush.
MR. VERVERS: It's going to be Bush, but don't underestimate the anger of Democrats in that state against Jeb Bush. It's going to be closer than most people think.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is Jeb Bush, and not that close.
Next week: Why did they vote the way they voted?
END OF REGULAR SEGMENT PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Referenda rumble.
On Election Day, it's not only candidates' fates that voters will decide, it's also referenda fates across the nation. Here's a sample.
Oklahoma. Cockfighting; banned.
Florida. Pregnant pigs confined in crates and cages; banned.
California, city of Berkeley only. All coffee sold must be under any or all of these three conditions: quote-unquote, "organically- grown"; or, quote-unquote, "shade-grown" -- meaning under the canopy of trees, and not in tree-cleared plantations; or the coffee must be, quote, "fair-trade certified," unquote -- meaning growers must get equitable prices. Violators can be jailed for up to six months.
Question: Figure out this logic. Berkeley wants marijuana freedom but only politically correct coffee; is Berkeley libertarian or authoritarian or is it schizophrenic?
MR. VERVERS: Berkeley is Berkeley. It's completely schizophrenic. It's one of the last places in this country where you don't feel like you're in a country anymore. I went to school in Boulder; it was just like that and it was sort of a world unto its own.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
Okay. California statewide. Proposition 49. After-school programs must get taxpayer money. Arnold Schwarzenegger is hawking this proposition. Question: Is Schwarzenegger going to become a political candidate of any kind?
MR. BARONE: I think Schwarzenegger has become a political candidate and is likely to be the Republican candidate for governor of California in 2006, and -- assuming Gray Davis is reelected -- and I think he might very well win.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we all share the view that Schwarzenegger has the political DNA? I think we do feel that way. He's been involved in politics in one way or another for years.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, I agree. I think he's looking for a way to run. And this is a great referendum because it puts him on the side of --
MR. BLANKLEY: I think it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've had Reagan --
MS. CLIFT: -- women and children and families, and he doesn't have to figure out how to pay for it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Among actors, we've had Reagan, we've had Sonny Bono --
MR. BARONE: Senator George Murphy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: George Murphy. Who else came from that world? There was somebody else. Who was it? An actor.
MS. CLIFT: Fred Thompson.
MR. VERVERS: Fred Thompson.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Fred Thompson.
Okay. Massachusetts. State income tax; killed. Got that? They're killing their income tax.
MR. BARONE: If they vote for it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Will passage mean no more Massachusetts "Tax-achusetts"?
MR. BARONE: John, I don't think this is going to pass. The polls have showed this with under half. And as much as they dislike taxes in Massachusetts, I think there's enough big-government voters to pass it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are you reading on this?
MR. VERVERS: I tell you, it's Tax-achusetts, we'll stay Tax- achusetts. And New Hampshire people will still have a reason to live in that state. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. There are still enough smart people who realize that through taxes, you get to pay for services --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this --
MS. CLIFT: -- you get rid of services if you get rid of taxes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is this going to pull out a lot of those fat cat Republicans? And that vote will -- (laughter) --
MR. VERVERS: In Massachusetts --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- will neutralize the feminist vote for the female candidate against Mitt Romney? You got the logic?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I got the logic, you're talking about.
Let me go back to the other one in California --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We want to hit Nevada.
MR. BARKLEY: Let me say something about California.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!
MR. BLANKLEY: I think that the tax initiative in California that says they're going to earmark special revenue for something is crazy in a state that's got a $53 billion deficit over the next few years.
MR. : Vote no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Nevada.