THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, JAMES CARNEY,
ELEANOR CLIFT, AND DAVID GERGEN
TAPED FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF JUNE 27-28, 1998
TRANSCRIPT BY: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE
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ANNOUNCER: From the nation's capital, the McLaughlin Group, an unrehearsed program presenting inside opinions and forecasts on major issues of the day. "GE is proud to support the McLaughlin Group. From lighting to financial services, GE: We bring good things to life."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: The Islamic Bomb.
At the start of his landmark visit to China, at an official welcoming ceremony, President Clinton was given the key to the ancient imperial capital Xian.
Clinton brings with him to China a tough talking points list, but is it tough enough? Will it include, for example, the Islamic bomb?
HENRY KISSINGER (former U.S. secretary of state): (From videotape.) I think the danger in these developments, especially of the Pakistani weapon, is that it will lead to further proliferation, or that perhaps some of the other Moslem countries will help finance the Pakistani program, in order to turn this into a potential Islamic bomb.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Islamic bomb? What is that? Do Pakistan's recent nuclear tests mark the beginning of a new nuclear arms race, driven not by political ideology -- Soviet communism versus the West -- but by religion or culture? Does Pakistan's nuclear power, now overt, serve to defend only Pakistan against India? Or will Pakistani deterrence cover the entire Islamic world, from Morocco to Indonesia?
SEN. DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN (D-NY): (From videotape.) There will now be the Islamic bomb. It will spread to Iran, to Iraq. And we will be on the verge of nuclear war for the first time since 1963 and the Cuban missile crisis. And the powers involved will have an -- will have none of the sense of reserve and responsibility that the Soviet Union and the United States had.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Pakistan could not have made nuclear weapons on its own. Who helped? China -- indispensably. For 15 years, China has been feeding the design, the materials, and the specifications for the bombs Pakistan exploded.
The question now is, after Pakistan, will China take on another Islamic nuclear client like Iran or Libya?
Question: Does the world confront a breathtaking new geopolitical grand design; the creation of a Chinese Islamic axis, Muslim nations becoming nuclear satellites of China? And will Clinton raise this horrid specter with Jiang? Will Clinton be able to put it to rest so that we can all breathe more easily? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: You can breathe more easily right now, John. (Laughter.) There is no Islamic bomb any more than France has a Catholic bomb or we have got a Christian evangelical bomb.
Look, the Islamic world is divided up. We have got hostile enemies in Iran and Sudan. But there are about 1 billion Moslem people, and there must be a score of nations. Many of them are friends of the United States. There are certain people who want a return to a new Cold War between Islam and the West. If we don't make an enemy of these people, they won't be enemies of ours.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There you are, Eleanor; very reassuring.
MS. CLIFT: I couldn't say it any better than Pat Buchanan just said it. (Laughter.)
With all due respect to Senator Moynihan and Henry Kissinger, they are in a time warp. I mean, Senator Moynihan was ambassador to India in the '70s, and I think that's -- maybe he is going back to his feelings created then.
China has been a very responsible player in recent years. They have cooled their relationship with Iran in terms of sending missile technology. They have agreed not to cooperate anymore with the Pakistan nuclear development. They have at least as great an interest in maintaining stability in that region of the world as the U.S.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "They don't want an Islamic bomb"; what do you think of that argument, Jay?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I have to say --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way, congratulations, Jay. I see that nuptials are in the offing.
MR. CARNEY: It's true, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I was interested --
MR. CARNEY: I am following your example. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, thank you. You can't do any better than that. (Laughter.)
And I was interested to see in the Washington Post that Claire Shipman proposed to you.
MR. CARNEY: It's true. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How did you happen to arrange that?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't know. She has taken leave of her senses, clearly, John, but I am not going to pass up the opportunity.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. Well, congratulations!
MR. CARNEY: Thank you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're a very fortunate young man.
MR. CARNEY: I have to say --
MR. GERGEN: There are a lot of women in this town who feel a lot safer today than they did two weeks ago. (Laughter.) (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Congratulations.
MR. CARNEY: Thank you very much.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead now. Do you have an answer for this question?
MR. CARNEY: It's a serious issue. I have to say it's a banner day when Pat Buchanan and Eleanor Clift agree on an issue. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. CARNEY: And I have to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Someone's been lobotomized. (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: -- I have to chime in.
You know, I think there is an effort here to try to demonize China, not that China is guilt-free. Certainly, it helped Pakistan get to the point where it could explode a nuclear device, and that has destabilized the region. But China's relationship with the United States, relationship with the Islamic world; all of these relationships are much more complicated than Pat Moynihan would have us believe. And I am surprised because Moynihan is usually a much more subtle thinker than that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he is also a bit of a provocateur.
MR. CARNEY: That's true.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of this idea of an Islamic bomb; namely, that China will develop a number of Islamic nuclear clients?
MR. GERGEN: I think there's a distinct danger, but not the one you're describing. I think the Chinese do not present a threat to us, unless we turn them into an enemy, like Pat says. The Chinese right now have what, 13 missiles that can possibly hit the United States? That's not really much of an offensive threat. We have two submarines off the coast of China -- two U.S. submarines can take out the entire Chinese military (establishment ?).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the real threat?
MR. GERGEN: But the real threat is a loose nuke or an individual nuke in the hands of a terrorist nation like Iran, and that is a danger.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm.
MR. GERGEN: And for that, we ought to be building a defense initiative. We ought to be building a shield against that.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm.
MR. GERGEN: And the real threat is something like a biological weapon coming out of one of these countries, and we ought to be building civil defense against --
MS. CLIFT: Well, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, so far, I think the five of us are in concurrence that the "Islamic bomb" is an alarmist view, at best --
MR. BUCHANAN: This is Samuel -- this is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and that it is inherently implausible at worst.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, this is Samuel Huntington's idea of the clash of civilizations. In other words, the future Cold Wars are going to be between the so-called democratic Christian West and Islam and China and --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MR. BUCHANAN: And I just think it doesn't hold, because the Islamic countries are very, very diverse. Many of them are much more pro-U.S. than they are pro-China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, but I don't want to leave this -- let this go just yet.
Okay, Israel and the Islamic bomb: The foreign minister from Iran sees another dimension to the Pakistani bomb, namely, Israel. Quote, "Muslims now feel more confident that Pakistan's nuclear capability would play a role of deterrence to Israel's nuclear capability," unquote. So says Iran's foreign minister.
Israel hears what Iran has to say. With this Iranian development, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu vented his worries to Chinese President Jiang Zemin recently. Quote, "I told him" -- Jiang -- "he should do everything he can to avert the major danger to Israel of allowing Iran to control nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles."
Netanyahu uttered those words in Beijing on a visit there.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is the Islamic bomb a threat to Israel?
MR. GERGEN: Absolutely, and that's where Senator Moynihan is absolutely right. So is Henry Kissinger. With a few nuclear weapons, you can put Israel in great jeopardy --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you're -- we're talking about the Islamic bomb in kind of collective sense --
MR. BUCHANAN: No --
MS. CLIFT: But --
MR. GERGEN: I understand. If you had Iraq or Iran with -- (inaudible due to cross talk) -- so I'm the same with --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. So when does the Islamic bomb begin to become an Islamic bomb?
MR. CARNEY: But it doesn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When Iran gets it? When Iraq gets it? When Libya gets it? When Syria gets it?
MS. CLIFT: John, of course it would be a threat if those countries got it; but the momentum is going the other way. When Jiang was in this country last year, he agreed to stop selling the high-speed cruise missiles to Iran.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. We're very reassured by that, aren't we.
MS. CLIFT: They have pulled out from helping with the nuclear reactor. They're building a subway in Teheran. And the administration has intelligence which shows the Iranians are very unhappy about this. So it's contained for the moment.
MR. CARNEY: And not only that, John. I mean, the link here was the suggestion that Iran would somehow benefit by Pakistan having the bomb, that the Pakistani bomb would be a pan-Islamic bomb, which the Pakistani government has already refuted and said that they have no interest in being an umbrella in a NATO kind of situation to the Islamic countries. That's just not going to happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're reassured by that, but remember that Pakistan is broke, and --
MR. BUCHANAN: But John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- people can pay big money for nuclear bombs.
MR. BUCHANAN: But look.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another Arab nation, another Muslim nation could.
Do you want to say something?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. Now look, look. Iran and Pakistan are rivals. Iran does have enormous money. If they've got a nuclear weapon now, they probably bought it from Kazakhstan or some other country. And look, Iran is eventually going to get one of these things, and when they do have it, it's a national bomb, and then there is a problem with --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I hope it's evident from this discussion that the number-one agenda item on President Clinton's list has got to be national security, particularly nuclear proliferation.
Okay, before we move off this completely, China and North Korea. President Clinton is now on an historic trip to China. And in his very first public statement after arriving, he cited two foreign policy hot zones, Korea and South Asia, issues he'll revisit in public and/or private often while in China.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON (From videotape): We Americans admire your accomplishments, your economy, your hard work, creativity and vision, your efforts against hunger and poverty, your work with us on peace and stability in Korea and South Asia.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For well over a decade, North Korea has been exporting ballistic missiles and ballistic missile parts, many of which have been imported by Iran, Iraq, Syria. North Korea says it will continue to export ballistic missiles and parts unless the U.S. lifts its stringent economic sanctions against North Korea. The economy of North Korea is in shambles, and the holdout Stalinist regime there says hard currency is sorely needed, currency gained from exporting missiles and missile parts.
So, North Korea has dictated a deal to the U.S. "If the United States really wants to prevent our missile exports, it should lift the economic embargo as early as possible and make a compensation for the losses to be caused by discontinued missile export." So says the Korean Central News Agency.
But the State Department says, in order for U.S. sanctions to be lifted, North Korea has to stop missile production first.
First question --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible). (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that deal was offered by North Korea 10 days ago. Should we strike a deal with North Korea, Jay Carney?
MR. CARNEY: I think we will strike a deal. In fact, speaking with administration sources, they say: "Look, the price of a deal" -- which is not lifting the embargo but paying for oil supplies and helping them out financially -- "is not that high compared to the benefit."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there any precedent to paying a country not to export weaponry?
MR. CARNEY: No. But there is a precedent --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a second; think back now. I mean, you know the Cyrillic alphabet. Aren't we paying Russia, and haven't we been paying Russia, for five years not to export nuclear technology?
MR. CARNEY: Well, we've been paying for the uranium --
MR. BUCHANAN: Ukraine.
MR. CARNEY: -- in Ukraine and other countries. So sure, there is. And you have to think of the greater good, which is not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that under the Nunn-Lugar bill, the act?
MR. BUCHANAN: John?
MR. CARNEY: I think so, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Doesn't that provide for that?
MR. BUCHANAN: You're missing really a (key ?) -- first, I don't think we should submit to extortion. We ought to carry out our deal. But second, they key point here --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Let me hear it again.
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't think we should submit to extortion. We should carry out our original deal on oil and nuclear reactors.
But the key thing in China is, the Chinese are going to tell us, "We will not export 'missilery' to Iran if you stop providing weapons to Taiwan." That's going to be the big push in China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And what are we going to do? What are we going to do?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's going to be very interesting to see what he does. I don't know.
MS. CLIFT: Well, he is not going to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who is "he"?
MS. CLIFT: -- the president is not going to betray Taiwan because that's too politically loaded an issue.
MR. BUCHANAN: Otherwise he'd do it. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: But on North Korea -- (laughter) -- you know, it's not a bad idea. (Laughter.) It would be a good deal to strike if it weren't for the (word inaudible) --
MR. BUCHANAN: Sell them out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean to compensate --
MS. CLIFT: No, we're not going to sell them out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- compensate North Korea for curtailing their missile sales?
MS. CLIFT: The point is that we made a deal with North Korea. When they forewent their nuclear program --
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.
MS. CLIFT: -- the U.S. agreed to lift the sanctions if they lived up to it. We've reneged on that deal. So that's nor extortion. They are just trying to get their side of the deal fulfilled.
MR. BUCHANAN: They're trying to get more.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Everybody except Buchanan on this panel believes that it is cheaper than trying -- it's a cost-effective arms control. It's cheaper than trying to create deterrent strategies.
MR. GERGEN: John?
MR. BUCHANAN: Keep the deal we had, which was fair and (just ?) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but that's not enough to do it. If we want to stop them from making missiles, we have to compensate.
MS. CLIFT: (No ?), they can't --
MR. GERGEN: No, no, no. No, John. We have had -- this has been our policy since 1994 that we, in effect, put some money over there to try to suppress their nuclear program. There is nothing new about that. The only thing (that's ?) a question in terms of the big issue, is getting the unification of Korea and making sure the Chinese agree to American troops remaining in Korea. That is absolutely critical.
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, listen, (David ?). The American troops ought to be moved out of there and get offshore --
MR. GERGEN: I don't see that; no.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, South Korea has 20 times the economy of North Korea.
MS. CLIFT: Yes, Pat Buchanan. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: All right, this is the killer question. Prepare yourself for it. Fasten your seat belts --
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm braced. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- have your confessions heard, and we'll proceed.
(To Mr. Carney.) Did you want to, by the way, greet Claire?
MR. CARNEY: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because she can see this program. (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: I'm sure she's watching.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're in China, you know. God help the Chinese!~ This program is over there. (Laughter continues.) I mean, we're all throughout Asia.
MR. CARNEY: The proof of democratization, right?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's sharply edited, John. It's edited.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (To Mr. Carney.) I mean, you're the power couple. Do you want to talk to the other power source?
MR. CARNEY: I think we ought to get back to the show.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Exit: Which Islamic country will get the bomb next? A, Iran. B, Iraq. C, Syria. D, Libya. E, other. Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Iran, if it doesn't already have one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I think Iran is the likely candidate. And you could make the case that countries get more responsible once they become nuclear powers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ooh! Love the bomb! Love the bomb! (Cross talk.)
MS. CLIFT: I don't love it. This is reality. It's reality.
MR. CARNEY: That's a Faustian --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay?
MR. CARNEY: -- a Faustian bargain, although I think it will be Iran.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it'll be Iran?
MR. GERGEN: That's all we want -- Saddam with a bomb. That would be terrific. The -- make him much more responsible. The --
MS. CLIFT: I think Saddam is in Iraq. (Chuckles.) David, Saddam is in Iraq.
MR. GERGEN: Iran. Iran's going to get it. But I think they're going to get it working with -- but I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David, take a deep breath!
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. GERGEN: No, but I think Iran's going to get the bomb, and I think they're going to get it working with Pakistan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Take a deep breath.
MR. GERGEN: Yeah. Go ahead.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Saudi Arabia. (Laughter.)
MR. GERGEN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Saudi Arabia. You heard it here first.
MR. GERGEN: John, you should cut commercial --
(Chuckles among group members.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. When we come back, Linda Tripp testifies before the grand jury on Tuesday. Will Tripp's testimony narrow Monica's deal-making wiggle room?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Political potpourri. Item: Line item veto vetoed!
SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D-WV): (From videotape.) Today the Supreme Court has spared the birthright of all Americans for yet a while longer, by striking down a colossal error made by the Congress when it passed the line item veto act.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The line item veto, terms of art -- here meaning an attempt by Congress to empower the president to delete individual items from Congress's overall budget. Unconstitutional, says the U.S. Supreme Court by a 6 to 3 ruling this week.
Question: The high court says that if the Congress wants a line item veto, Congress must amend the Constitution to do so. Therefore, on a probability scale of zero to 10, zero meaning zero probability, 10 meaning metaphysical certitude, Pat -- you studied that at Georgetown, right?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- what's the probability that the United States will convene a constitutional convention to create --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Stay with me, will you?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Continues to laugh, joined by Mr. Gergen.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to create an amendment for the line item veto? And while we're at it, the convention, the constitutional convention, can also deal with abortion, gun control, repressive taxation, excessive federal power, campaign finance reform, prayer in school, bioethics, English as an official language, a judiciary which feels free to reinterpret the Constitution as it sees fit, plus other fundamental issues of governance that radically divide America today.
MR. BUCHANAN: Throw in the ERA, John. That would be there, too. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The old ERA is still kicking around?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is -- you know, it's an absolute zero. (Laughter.) But the court -- I'll tell, you the court --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean? Our constitutional convention?
MR. BUCHANAN: You ain't -- you're not going to get that thing. Everybody would be against it, from the Birch Society --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why? Why?
MR. BUCHANAN: Because it would be a runaway constitutional convention. But let me say this: Nothing would happen --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's wrong with revisiting the Constitution?
MR. BUCHANAN: But look, you could revisit it; it won't go anywhere because three-fourths of the states would have to go along with any amendment and they're not going along with anything out of this kooky exercise you've put together.
MS. CLIFT: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, kooky exercise? It's provided for in the Constitution! (Laughter.) Namely the opportunity to refresh the Constitution!
MR. BUCHANAN: This is -- even -- (laughs). I know it is. Look, that would look like the bar scene in "Star Wars," if that thing, John -- (laughter).
MS. CLIFT: Except for the ERA that Pat threw in, the rest of it sounds like a takeover by the radical right --
MR. GERGEN: It's going to -- (inaudible due to cross talk) -- John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The radical right?!
MS. CLIFT: -- and you might as well handle the Islamic bomb, too, and hold it in Saudi Arabia.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, wait a minute, this is a right --
MR. GERGEN: Yeah --
MR. CARNEY: John, the reason why we don't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, the constitutional convention is a part of the right-wing conspiracy. That's the latest! (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.
MS. CLIFT: At the moment, yes.
MR. CARNEY: I wasn't aware the that right wing conspiracy wanted campaign finance reform. It's zero --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see any hope or any desire or any sentiment for a constitutional convention?
MR. CARNEY: Zero. Zero. Absolutely none. Zero. But there are -- there will be efforts to amend the Constitution, as we've seen in the past. You don't have to have a convention to do it.
MR. GERGEN: It'll happen about the same time the Saudis get the bomb, John. (Laughter.) This is not going to happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is zero possibility. Unfortunately, zero. I mean, I think it should be at least an open question of a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution on anything.
By the way, at McLaughlin.com this week, is the Supreme Court's line item veto decision good for America, yes or no?
Item: Starr-bursts. Three news items affecting Ken Starr this week. One: Foster notes sealed. The lawyer's notes from a conversation with late White House counsel Vincent Foster are sealed forever, so ruled the Supreme Court.
Two: Free at last. Susan McDougal was freed from prison because of health problems, but she still faces trials on embezzlement and criminal contempt.
Three: A Tripp to court -- Linda Tripp will testify before Ken Starr's Washington grand jury next Tuesday.
Question: will Linda Tripp's testimony on Tuesday narrow Monica's deal-making wiggle room, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is irrelevant. We know what she's going to say. As John Erlichman said, Monica is still the big enchilada here, John, and the key question is whether she's going to turn state's evidence or what she's going to say.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, except for --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't think you understand the question. (Cross talk.) Tripp will narrow the choices and the options of Monica in what she can say in order to get immunity because Starr, if he finds that she and Linda are materially different from each other in their testimony, she won't get immunity.
MR. BUCHANAN: Starr's got the 20 hours of tapes already! He knows what she's going to say!
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but 20 hours of tapes are two people talking and Starr has to document things elsewhere, and, you know, we still don't know what's in that whole 20 hours of tapes. Maybe we'll begin to see that, but isn't this curious timing, that suddenly Linda Tripp emerges in the middle of the president's trip to China, just in case he got interested in something else?
MR. CARNEY: I think I know why --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's part of that same conspiracy -- it's part of the same conspiracy. Isn't it part of the same conspiracy?
MR. CARNEY: I know why Starr's doing this, because the negotiations with Monica's new lawyers have not produced the kind of agreement that Starr hoped, and I think that bringing Tripp before the grand jury is a way of sending a warning signal to Monica and her new lawyers to try and to deal. I mean, I think Starr would --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it puts pressure --
MR. CARNEY: He puts pressure on Lewinsky to come to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before? Before Linda testifies on Tuesday?
MR. CARNEY: Well, both before and the actual act of her testifying.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. GERGEN: Well, first of all, I think that Linda Tripp's testimony is incredibly important. It's my understanding that the Starr people were backgrounding a long time ago it was going to happen around now. I don't think it's cooked up specially.
MS. CLIFT: I see; just coincidence.
MR. GERGEN: Well, you remember, the president also moved his trip so he could avoid Paula Jones. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Oh, well, maybe HE did it deliberately. (Laughter.)
MR. GERGEN: Well, who knows. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you got a "touche" over, kind of a nervous little laugh.
MR. GERGEN: Her nervous laugh?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Didn't you hear it? When you said that she was going and he changed his trip, he moved his trip from September to July.
MR. GERGEN: To June, that's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can you give us anything more on Starr before we shut this down?
MR. GERGEN: I think Linda Tripp is going to add to the tapes. I think that the tapes are only a piece of what she's going to say. If she's a credible witness on the events surrounding the tapes, conversations, and what led up to it and what happened to her, I think she'll be a very powerful witness.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With your far-darting eye and mind, can you tell me when Monica will appear and give grand jury testimony? When? Will it be July?
MR. GERGEN: I would assume that there's going to probably be a deal cut one way or the other in the next two or three weeks.
MR. BUCHANAN: I would bet July or August.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How far into August, so we can all plan a decent interval of repose? (Laughter.) The president is taking three weeks and maybe an additional week in Iowa (to shoot golf ?). Four weeks. He gets four weeks off, and we have to wait around to see what Ken Starr's going to do?
MR. BUCHANAN: When these guys cut the deal, this could go very, very fast. If Cacheris and -- Plato and the other fellow, Jake Stein, if they cut the deal, it will go very fast.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what's "very fast"? By the end of July?
MR. BUCHANAN: If they cut the deal, it will go right away.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, don't they need two or three weeks to prepare Monica?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think Monica's ready.
MR. GERGEN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right -- go ahead, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Washington has a scandal every August, and I imagine it will be August. It's what we'll do in August, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, even more so on the threshold of the millennium, you know, when dogs meow and cats bark.
We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions.
MR. BUCHANAN: Rubin intervenes to save the yen again.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy travels to China next year to help instruct them on how to build a legal system.
MR. CARNEY: IMF funding bill passes soon.
MR. GERGEN: Jack Quinn, former chief of staff of Al Gore, becomes next chief of staff.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I will say that the budget surplus will in FY '98 be $120 billion.
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PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
®FL¯ PBS SEGMENT
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Tell me lies. Not Christine McVie with Fleetwood Mac, but politicians in Washington State. The Washington Supreme Court now protects politicians' freedom to lie. The Washington high court struck down a law which bans political advertising that is false. The court ruled that the law, which levied a $10,000 fine for making a false statement of material fact in a political ad, was bad. "Chilling," the court called it.
Also, the majority held that the banning law -- get this -- "denigrates the electorate. It assumes the people of this state are too ignorant or disinterested to investigate, learn and determine for themselves the truth or falsity in political debate."
But there was bitter dissent. Today, the Washington State Supreme Court becomes the first court in the history of the republic to declare First Amendment protection calculated lies. Within hours of the ruling, the state dropped 10 pending cases dealing with lies in political advertising.
Question: Which way would you have voted if you were, incredibly, on the supreme court of the state of Washington? I ask you, David Gergen.
MR. GERGEN: I think the court make the right decision. The idea of the State regulating campaigns, and the oratory in campaigns, is an obnoxious idea.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If we have laws against false consumer advertising, why should we not have laws against false political advertising?
MR. GERGEN: Because I think it will chill political debate; and that's what the press is for, is to help catch those things.
MR. CARNEY: We are talking about ideas, John; we are not talking about consumer goods.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. But the public own the broadcast air(ways ?). And the broadcast air(waves ?), they are part of the public domain -- ought to be protected from falsity, (word inaudible) --
MR. CARNEY: It ought to be --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- falsification --
MR. CARNEY: It ought to be a free-for-all.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?
MR. CARNEY: There ought to be a free-for-all. And if somebody is libeled, then they can make an issue out of that.
MS. CLIFT: This doesn't cover debate language; this covers advertisements and written material. And there are different levels of scrutiny for different kinds of speech. You can go out on a street corner and yell whatever you want. But if you are going to disseminate literature -- reporters if they write things that are wrong and they do it with malice, are responsible. This ruling says you can even do it with malice, and it's okay.
MR. BUCHANAN (?): Well, I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, do you think that the public can discern between truth and falsity in political advertising?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I am not sure they can, but let me say this. Political speech is the one really unrestrained speech. What I think you ought to be allowed to do, quite frankly, is to sue for libel or slander or for damages, if someone has lied about a candidate deliberately and cost him the election.
MR. GERGEN: (Pat's ?) right.
MR. BUCHANAN: After it's over, come back and sue him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Which way would you have voted, with the court in this instance or against the court?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think I would have voted with the court.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With the court?
MS. CLIFT: No, I would have voted against the court. But I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Against the court?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. CARNEY: With.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With?
MR. GERGEN: With.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: With?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am "with" because I don't know who can actually discern responsibly --
MR. BUCHANAN: Obviously. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- whether something is a lie, more a lie or more the truth. (Laughter.) (It's ?) political advertising, and I don't want to give that to any individual or entity.
MS. CLIFT: This -- (end of audio).