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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN,
ELEANOR CLIFT AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL

TAPED: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 6-7, 2003


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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Spiraling out of control.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE (former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations): (From videotape.) I think that Iraq -- we have to be clear about this -- is now shaping up as the worst foreign policy problem that the United States has faced since the end of the Vietnam War.

But this is a hellishly difficult problem . . . because the first four months since the president declared victory have been absolutely terrible for the United States.

Any place in the country is vulnerable or will be vulnerable.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke brokered the peace accords among the warring states of Bosnia-Hercegovina, Serbia and Croatia, and he served as U.S ambassador to the U.N., among other critical postings.

August was hell month in Iraq: three massive and deadly terror bombings, the first at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, killing 19; the next at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing the U.N.'s esteemed envoy to Iraq and Kofi Annan's trusted intermediary Sergio Vieira (de) Mello, and 22 others; the latest at the holiest Shi'a shrine in Iraq, the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, killing up to 125, including a beloved Shi'ite cleric, mourned this week by tens of thousands of inconsolable Shi'a faithful.

Any sense of progress towards stability seems shattered. Firefights, highway mines, car bombs, ambushes, sniper shootings, rocket attacks, sabotage -- U.S. officials say the guerrillas seem able to strike anywhere and at any time, and get away with it.

And Iraq has now become a mecca, pulling anti-American terror groups from outside as well, with one purpose: kill the American occupiers.

"Unless this situation changes soon and radically, the United States may end up fighting a third Gulf War against the Iraqi people. It is far from clear that the United States can win this kind of asymmetric war." So warns military analyst Anthony Cordesman.

Question: What does Cordesman mean when he says, in effect, that it is a long shot that the U.S. can win an asymmetric war? What is asymmetric about it, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, what is asymmetric about it, John, it's what's called fourth-generation warfare, where you go back, in effect, to one-on-one warfare, the pre-mechanized warfare, pre-cavalry units and all that. And that's a theory of warfare, which is exactly what we face there. I think Cordesman is right.

But John, the key thing is, the president, I believe, has made a decision. When he goes back to the U.N., it is a humiliation, it is a climb down, it is the beginning of a retreat. But what George Bush is saying, in effect: "I'm not going to fight a third Gulf War, guerrilla terrorist war, to pacify and democratize Iraq."

I think we are seeing the beginning of the retreat of American empire from Mesopotamia. I think he's going to turn over -- it over politically to the U.N. Militarily, we will control it until we can turn it over to the Iraqis and foreign troops. The United States is beginning its pullout from Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: All those dreamers who were going to transform the Middle East by taking down Saddam Hussein and planting democracy, I think, are going to be disappointed in President Bush.

I agree with you, Pat; I don't think this president wants to go into 2004, October of 2004, with 140,000 American troops as targets in Iraq. But he wants the U.N. to bail him out, but you can't dismiss the world and insult the world and then expect them to come and clean up your mess. The program that he's gone to the U.N. with now is not enough. It's smoke and mirrors. He's not yielding real control. He'll have to make serious concessions, including sharing some of those fat Halliburton contracts with other countries if they want other countries to put their young men, women, on the line.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, it sounds as though that Cordesman is saying -- well, let's refer back to Holbrooke. Holbrooke says this is the worst instance of a problem of this magnitude since the Vietnam War.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, in a certain sense, he's absolutely right, if you see, as I do, the Iraqi battle or war as part of the war on terrorism. Now, I know there's a difference. Some people think it's a separate venture. I see it as the president sees it, as one. In which case, we are in a desperate fight to try to drain the swamp of jihadist mentality in the Middle East and reduce eventually the danger of terrorism to America. And that's the theory behind going into Iraq and then being able to influence Syria and Iran and try to change the culture there if we can. So, I wouldn't be gleeful if we're not doing well, because then we are losing the war on terrorism.

As you know, Newsweek, your magazine, just this week pointed out that bin Laden is busy trying to get biological weapons he can deliver here. So, there's a huge danger. It's more than Vietnam. We're in greater danger than we were doing World War II, and we have to win, one way or the other.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence, I'll get to you in a moment.

But first, here's retired Marine general Anthony Zinni. He says, quote:

"There is no strategy or mechanism for putting the pieces together. We're in danger of failing. My contemporaries, our feelings and sensitivities were forged on the battlefields of Vietnam, where we heard the garbage and the lies, and we saw the sacrifice. I ask you, is it happening again?"

Now, General Zinni, as you know, was General Tommy Franks' predecessor as head of the Central Command in the Middle East, and he endorsed President Bush in 2000. What do you think of all of this that we're hearing now?

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, the answer is that, no, not exactly; it's not happening again. This is a situation in which -- Iraq is a picture big enough that it depends on what part of it you're looking at when you're talking. Colin Powell gave a speech on Friday, where he talked about all of the universities in Iraq are up and running and open; all of the hospitals are open and now almost fully stocked on medicines, in many cases, in conditions better than before the war. So this -- in Vietnam, you had nothing good to say. Here, there are some things good to say.

But it is also very clear, and I think Pat's right, that the Bush exit strategy has begun. It's a U.N. exit strategy. And in the end, Bush should take whatever deal he can get from the French or the Germans. He's asking them to come into a live-fire situation that they did not create to take the heat off American soldiers being killed. What price do you charge people to do that for you? You take whatever deal they offer.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the French don't want to go in unless -- they certainly don't want to go in in a military capacity. They want the political situation to be written up in advance and in cement, and they also want the economic situation to be written up in advance and in cement.

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, they want --

MS. CLIFT: The French and the Germans --

MR. O'DONNELL: What is wrong with that? What other terms would you expect them to want to have?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why should you put their men -- why should they put their men, as they say, in the line of fire? They are not mercenaries, and they have to report to a government that has some control of the action.

MR. BUCHANAN: John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to move on.

MS. CLIFT: The French and the Germans are not going to send troops regardless, but that's not what this game is about.

MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think (they are ?).

MS. CLIFT: You don't want the French to veto a resolution. This is about --

MR. BUCHANAN: But John, what is the cause --

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me! This is about getting troops from India, Pakistan and Turkey. You can laugh about that, but that's where -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MR. BlANKLEY: You guys agree on this.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Let's give the military casualties tally: 287 U.S. dead, 1,461 U.S. wounded, and the Iraq cost thus far is $130 billion. Some of that is in the pipeline.

Exit: On a humiliation scale from zero to 10, zero meaning no affront to dignity whatsoever, 10 meaning utterly humbling, how great a humiliation is it for the U.S. to have to go hat in hand to the U.N. Security Council now? Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is probably a 6 or a 7 now, John, but when you get down to the demands of the French and the Germans and all the rest of it, they're going to hold the president's head underwater. And I think it's going to be down to a 9 or a 10. I think we're coming out of there the way Reagan came out of Lebanon after the Marine blast. But I'll tell you, this is huge. It is huge. It is the beginning of the retreat of American empire.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: I'm not going to go that far, but I think this is an embarrassment for the ideological hawks in the Bush administration. But it's the right thing to do. They should have done it a long time ago. So I'm not going to be gleeful over the reversal; I'm just glad they're doing it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Dan Obey -- or Dave Obey has written the president, calling upon him to remove Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld in the interest of procuring some kind of resolution to this horrible problem.

MS. CLIFT: President Bush never admits he's wrong. And firing his top advisers would concede he made a huge mistake. He's not going to do that.

MR. BLANKLEY: It depends -- first of all, whether anything is humiliating or not doesn't matter. He's got to do the right policy and take whatever lumps he gets. So that shouldn't be a factor in his calculation, and I trust it won't be. But the question is, what is a good policy? Going to the U.N., if we don't maintain control, then we may end up losing control over a policy that can still be very successful, and it would be a mistake to do that. He went to the U.N. before the war, he couldn't get what they wanted, so he left the U.N. and did it himself. He could easily reject this round if he doesn't get what he wants. I still have confidence in the president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the humiliation scale rating?

MR. O'DONNELL: In governing choices, as in life, there is never any humiliation in doing the right thing. There is zero humiliation in moving this burden to the U.N.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the humiliation happens to be, Lawrence, for your information, right now, I think, at about a 10.

When we come back: Will it be the World Wrestling Federation next as a commercial extravaganza, exploiting patriotism at the national mall?

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Let the games begin. For their first major debate, post-Labor Day, of Campaign 2004, eight of the nine Democratic candidates gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Thursday night. It quickly turned into a Bush-bashing pile-on.

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO): (From videotape.) This president is a miserable failure. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) He is a miserable failure.

This president doesn't get it. He's a unilateralist. He thinks he knows all the answers. He doesn't respect others.

He's a miserable failure on this issue and he must be replaced in the election. (Cheers, applause.)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA): (From videotape.) And the swagger of a president who says, "Bring 'em on!" does not bring our troops peace or safety.

GOV. HOWARD DEAN (D-VT): (From videotape.) We were wrong to go in without the United Nations. Now we need their help, and that's not a surprise.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): (From videotape.) The only Spanish he speaks when it comes to jobs is "Hasta la vista." (Laughter, applause.)

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT): (From videotape.) All of us on this stage agree that the Bush economic policy has been a powerful failure. It has stifled the American dream.

I want to say something about what Governor Dean said, which is that he would not have bilateral trade agreements with any country that did not observe fully American standards. So,if that ever happened, I'd say that the Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Isn't it a little bit early for the Democrats to go after Bush? Don't they have to defeat one another in the primaries first?

I ask you, Lawrence.

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, they're all auditioning for the job of running against Bush, so it is exactly what they should be doing. These Democratic audiences are sitting there saying, "Which one of these guys can beat him? Which one of these guys has the stuff?" So that's exactly what they should be doing.

And it's very clear now that we've got a three-person race here in Dean, Kerry, Gephardt. And now the clock is just ticking on when are the Edwardses and the others going to drop out and get the clarification that the party needs on who the real possibilities are here.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me tell you why the red meat came out there, and especially Gephardt with that -- really, I mean, it was a brutal statement to make about the president of the United States --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it the most brutal you've ever heard?

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: For a candidate -- I mean, at this time, it certainly is. Here's what's happening. Somebody has got to emerge who can stop Dean. It's only going to be one guy. Gephardt made his bid for that by going for this rabid, Bush-hating crowd. And he's got to get into that crowd. If he beats Kerry out for that, he's got a fighting chance to take the nomination, because I think the anti-Dean element of the Democratic Party is larger, even if it's less passionate, than the pro-Dean element. And I think he did a good job for himself --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who? Gephardt?

MR. BUCHANAN: He hurt himself for the general, but he helped himself to get the nomination.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who, Gephardt?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yep.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Gephardt actually is going after a field that has already been captured by Dean.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got to get some passionate people, because on paper, he's better than Dean.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a typical pile-on. And to show which one is the better qualified for the job, it depends on which one can hit Bush the harder.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, Democrats really want to defeat Bush. They think what's happening in Iraq is scary, they think he's lost 3- 1/2 million jobs under his presidency and they think he's vulnerable. So, Lawrence is right. They want to look at these guys and see who's electable. Frankly, if Dean continues with the way he's surging now, why would they want an anti-Dean candidate? Why would you want to bloody up the one guy who --

MR. BUCHANAN: If I'm Gephardt, I want an anti-Dean candidate! (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Well! (Laughs.)

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, I completely agree that it was the right strategy for them to show how they can attack the president. On the other hand, as well as that, at some point, they need to undercut the top guy --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, yeah.

MR. BLANKLEY: -- and the only guy who went after him is the guy who I think is already effectively out of the race, Lieberman. And I think that Kerry and Gephardt, as effective as they were in their attack on Bush, missed an opportunity to -- (inaudible) --

MR. O'DONNELL: The only way to undercut Dean --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but if you undercut -- if you undercut Dean, all you do is generate more excitement among his followers on the Internet, and his contributions go up. It's very difficult to go after him, but he --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, if that's the theory, then the rest of them ought to resign right now.

MR. BUCHANAN: Tony, if you attack Dean -- if you attack Dean, you hurt Dean and hurt yourself --

MR. O'DONNELL: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- and number three rises.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Dean too far --

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, you don't want to tick off his constituency, you want to take it.

MS. CLIFT: No. He's not too far left. (Laughs.)

MR. O'DONNELL: You don't want to hurt Dean -- you do not hurt Dean by attacking him.

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. O'DONNELL: Dean does not get hurt by being attacked. The reason Dean surged is because he was the original hard-core Bush critic.

MR. BUCHANAN: First guy out there.

MR. O'DONNELL: So, for them to compete with Dean, the way to do it is to try to compete with him in terms of an articulate Bush criticism, which I don't think Gephardt's were.

MR. BUCHANAN: But they want Dean's constituency eventually to come to them --

MR. O'DONNELL: That's correct.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- so you don't do that by attacking Dean.

MR. O'DONNELL: You cannot do this without the --

MR. BUCHANAN: Let somebody else be the -- (word inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Is Dean too far outside the mainstream to defeat Bush?

MR. BUCHANAN: He will be so painted by Rove, Bush and the $100 (million) or $200 million between February and June that he will be painted so far left, I mean, he'll make McGovern look like Goldwater.

MS. CLIFT: Well, Rove --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are the swing voters going to be pivotal in 2004? Answer: No. The electorate is extremely --

MS. CLIFT: There's another theory that's of bases. The bases are going to decide this one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct.

MS. CLIFT: Look, Rove is going to try to make Dean look like a Frenchman -- (laughter) -- but what he has demonstrated in these primaries is that he knows how to fight back, and that's what -- I think that's his big attraction.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. So the person who energizes the base the better will win, and that's going to be Dean.

MS. CLIFT: I agree.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And can Dean beat Bush? Would you say "no" to that?

MR. O'DONNELL: I will not say "no" to anything about Howard Dean now. (Laughter.) I've revised my position.

MS. CLIFT: Good.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.

MR. O'DONNELL: I think the guy can theoretically win both the nomination and can theoretically win the presidency, as can John Kerry. I think that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And we all agree that right now, Dean has the edge in winning the nomination by reason of the fact that the -- this election is becoming extremely polarized, with no middle, and it's going to be the base of blue collar, and Dean has been successful in energizing his base. Is that correct?

MR. BUCHANAN: He's run a beautiful campaign. It is tough; it is aggressive --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we think that he will get the nomination at this point?

MR. BUCHANAN: I would bet on him right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say yes? You say yes?

MS. CLIFT: And every --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You say yes? (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think about a sixty percent chance.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you're still holding out for Kerry?

MR. O'DONNELL: I -- if I have to bet, I will bet on Kerry to win and Dean to place. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Kerry's now down around --

MR. BUCHANAN: I would bet on Gephardt -- (inaudible). (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- he's scraping the bottom of the barrel in New Hampshire --

MS. CLIFT: Well, Kerry's not out of this, but --

MR. O'DONNELL: It's not bottom of the barrel. Second is not bottom of the barrel.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. The answer is it's Dean at this point. (Laughter.) So, we can see that he advanced -- he's the candidate that advanced himself the most.

Issue three: America, land of the free, home of the bought. The National Mall, America's common. Its robust space and sweeping vista was originally envisioned by Pierre L'Enfant, the architect commissioned by George Washington to design the federal city.

The Mall is both solemn and grand, the site of four presidential monuments, three American war memorials, the Smithsonian Institution, views of the Capitol, the White House, all making the Mall a place for what Pierre L'Enfant said it was created for: remembrance, observance, protest. Civil rights marches, antiwar demonstrations, 4th of July celebrations presidential inaugurations, all held here.

But on Thursday, a new usage was added, commercialism, thanks to the National Football League, the Pepsi Corporation, Reebok, and Coors Light. The rock concert was ostensibly thrown to show support for America's military personnel, fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Over footage of Thursday's events.) Actually, the event was a commercial extravaganza to sell products, including a new football season, featuring pop goddess Britney Spears, shown here getting "de- panted," rock dinosaur Aerosmith, and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

The scene: 130,000 attendees, less than half the 300,000 organizers predicted; 1,000 police officers, plus security from 35 other agencies; sponsors' billboards draped upon the elegant facades of the Smithsonian; giant TV Jumbotrons, on which the crowd could view commercials from the sponsors.

The NFL coughed up $10 million, Pepsi 2.5 million (dollars), to rent out the Mall for four days.

Although the official policy of the National Park Service excludes any commercial advertising from America's hallowed grounds -- even small-time t-shirt vendors are banned -- football was given a pass. And despite a ban on alcohol, the Park Service caved to the NFL and served up beer and wine to 2,000 VIP fat cats.

Question: Event organizers of all kinds use the Mall. We have seen the AIDS quilt, civil rights rallies, anti-gun rallies. What makes this different, Eleanor Clift?

MS CLIFT: This was one giant commercial for Pepsi -- and Vanilla Pepsi, at that! In terms of wretched excess and crassness, it was right up there with the Lincoln Bedroom.

The corporate largess -- these are corporations that donate to the Republican Party. The rules were bent for them. And it was -- you know, it's just overdone. It's sickening.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the military was used as television props.

MS. CLIFT: They emptied out the Pentagon so that they would have the first rows all with military. If I were in the military, I would resent being used as a prop.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The -- even the uniforms chosen by the Pentagon -- and they were very much involved in this -- were chosen to look particularly good on television. (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: Look, Eleanor and John --

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, they didn't look particularly good. Tom Shales' review in The Washington Post was exactly right; this thing was a horrible, lip-synching show put together with the worst commercial instincts possible.

MR. BLANKLEY: And let me say that we finally agree on something. You're right on this.

There's a bigger problem with the Mall than even this commercialization, which is against the rules and should -- this should not be a precedent. The bigger problem is the development of the Mall with a very poor management technique. Different museums are using different styles for their security. Big buildings are being proposed in places that shouldn't be. The country needs to take a --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you moving away from the subject at hand?

MS. CLIFT: Yes.

MR. BUCHANAN: Right.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I'm talking about the Mall and the sacredness of that place and the fact that the country should start paying attention to maintaining it in its architecture, as well as getting rid of the commercialism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did Karl Rove play a role in this?

MS. CLIFT: Well, somebody --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president had some things to say at the end.

MS. CLIFT: Somebody decided to change the rules, and I doubt it was a bureaucrat in the Interior Department.

MR. BUCHANAN: And the president, in effect, threw out the first ball, sort of -- (laughing) -- said, you know, "Let's play football." And my guess, getting him on national television there, there might have been some sort of trade-off about getting some of these folks on the Mall, John.

But I do agree with Tony. I think this is sacred, hallowed ground. And they've allowed a lot of people with clout to move in, not only this commercial thing, but to move buildings, everything else on there, so it's getting cluttered up. It should have been almost a clean run.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, you've lived in this city for years.

MR. BUCHANAN: I was born and raised --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Washington, D.C. has become vulgarized?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And do you think it's a loss?

MR. BUCHANAN: I do.

MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: I was down there at a rally when I was about that high, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a serious question, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- Father Patrick Peyton's Rosary Crusade. I was right in there when I was about eight years old.

(Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any solemnity left in this city?

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it is going down hill, you're exactly right. And Britney Spears is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's even going down hill in the United States Congress where we have marshals rounding up Democrats to come back into a meeting.

MR. BUCHANAN: Britney Spears is over the hill, too, at 22.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, well her career is in a slump.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: The way you say it, though, Pat, is "Britney Spears is so over." (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shall we take note of the fact that the NFL seating now cost $52.50 a ticket, and this 6 percent recent rise --

MR. BUCHANAN: That keeps the riffraff out.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this is all designed to generate buzz so they can fill their stadia.

MR. O'DONNELL: It was pure business all the way through, start to finish.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pure business.

MR. O'DONNELL: But it was not -- you know --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't seem particularly concerned about it, though.

MR. O'DONNELL: Well, listen, my first time on the Mall was for a peace demonstration during the Vietnam War where the cast of "Hair" was up on the stage performing. (Laughter.) So I have a higher tolerance for these things. But this was just a really bad show, terrible show.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And this is so different, for example, from anything that Bob Hope ever did for the USO. He did it for a cause, he didn't do it for a commercial product or to sell them.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So, have we exhausted that?

MS. CLIFT: So, how do we feel about Vanilla Pepsi?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit: How indignant should the American people be that their hallowed ground has been despoiled by this kind of gross, crass commercialism -- tacky also?

MR. BUCHANAN: They should move to lock-and-load rage.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lock-and-load rage. That's pretty good.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the NFL has promised to re-seed the Mall. So I think it's about a 7 of outrage.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, and of course $10 million to them is peanuts, we know that.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BLANKLEY: They should be peeved.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Peeved? The American people.

MR. BLANKLEY: Peeved.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. O'DONNELL: John, I think they can calm down, because you're so peeved, no one is going to dare --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)

MR. O'DONNELL: -- dare do this again!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Extreme peeved. (Laughter.)

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions.

Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: The evening of recriminations over Iraq is about to begin. Heads will roll, I believe, at the Pentagon. My guess is the first one to go will be Douglas Feith.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: The administration says it's going to ask for $60 billion more for Iraq. By the end of this year, it will be closer to $100 billion.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: By next late spring or summer, Americans will still be controlling policy in Iraq. We'll have about 40,000 less Americans, about 80,000 more Iraqis, about 40,000 more other foreigners, without the U.N. involvement. It will be all right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence? Quickly!

MR. O'DONNELL: Same as Eleanor. The president's request for budget in Iraq will be higher than $70 billion -- his first request.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict all of FCC Chairman Powell's rules changes on media ownership will survive congressional challenge except one; the raising of the TV network station ownership cap from 35 to 45 percent. That will not make it.

Bye-bye.

PBS SEGMENT

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Schwarzenegger unmasked. The press was still referencing this week the interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger published in the naughty skin magazine "Oui" 25 years ago. And now he's acknowledged that he smoked pot, had group sex, and didn't object to dating a girl who was unshapely and somewhat overweight, as long as she satisfied his venereal preferences. Some observers said that the interview would do in Schwarzenegger's candidacy.

Question: Has he ridden out that storm? Lawrence O'Donnell?

MR. O'DONNELL: No, he hasn't. We are a very tolerant state in California, but his problem is, of course, as it always is in these things, he's had three different stories. The first story was, "I don't remember doing any of these" -- no, his first story was, "I was wild and crazy," which is, in effect, acknowledging the interview. His second one was, "I don't remember doing any of those interviews." The third one is some mix of it all. And so he's in a string of lies now about this article.

And the claiming that he doesn't remember it is ridiculous, because I remember reading it at the time and in the months that it was published because it is such stunning material to read.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But isn't -- this is really going away. And you know California is "live and let live."

MR. O'DONNELL: His treatment of it isn't going away.

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. O'DONNELL: They keep chasing it in California because of the several --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but does it have any bite?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, it does. It has this bite. And I don't know what Larry was doing reading that stuff as a teenager -- (laughter) -- but here's what it's got, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!

MR. BUCHANAN: Arnold needs to get into the right wing, the conservative, the traditional people, and these are folks who will really be put off by that, so it inhibits him from moving over and taking away from McClintock. And if he doesn't, Larry's prediction's going to be true; he's going to lose to Bustamante.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what do you think about those youthful indiscretions? Do you think they were all that serious?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, they certainly would have gotten me in trouble at Gonzaga High School. (Laughter.) ####

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