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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY, PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT AND CLARENCE PAGE

TAPED: FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2003
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 18-19, 2003



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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Asian Journey.

President Bush embarked on a six-day, six-nation trip across Asia Thursday night, with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi first on his diplomatic calendar and first in his heart. For Mr. Bush, Koizumi has become the Vladimir Putin of Asia: a needed and reliable ally. Their chemistry, already high after Koizumi's unwavering support of the war in Iraq, should reach new levels of bonding at this meeting. Japan just announced it would provide a $1.5 billion grant next year to help rebuild Iraq and over the next four years a total of $5 billion.

But the $5 billion isn't all. Get this:

In an unprecedented move, Koizumi will most likely commit up to 2,000 Japanese troops to Iraq. Such a move would come despite Japan's constitution, which proclaims, "The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes."

The money and troops come as good news for President Bush and the war effort, and could spur other allies to give more generously.

Question: What does Bush need most from Koizumi now, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, he certainly needs money and support on Iraq. That's something Putin can't give him -- certainly money. But secondly, he needs help from the Japanese with regard to North Korea. Third, he needs Japanese pressure on China to convince the Chinese to revalue the renminbi, because the Chinese are stealing Japan's markets in the United States, and from the United States' standpoint, they are transferring all of our jobs, technology and wealth to China at a very rapid pace.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: North Korea says that Japan is unwelcome at the multilateral talks -- unwelcome.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's -- Bush --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So what can Japan do for the United States?

MR. BUCHANAN: Bush has got to hang tough on that, say they are in.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you had some good points there, Pat, but you didn't have the principal necessary thing that he's got to get out of Koizumi, and it relates to economics. Can you tell me what it is?

MS. CLIFT: Well, he wants Koizumi to quit monkeying around with the currency --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right!

MS. CLIFT: -- because it's damaging manufacturing exports in this country. And Japan is devaluing the yen so that they can export more here. And I don't think that the president's going to make much headway there. I think they've agreed not to talk about it, and I think Bush is so thrilled that somebody stand next to him and support Iraq that he's willing to forgive the economic picture right now. But I think the rest of the administration will be working that behind the scenes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor gave me what I wanted. Can you expand on it? Namely, the president wants the Japanese banks to stop buying the dollar --

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Yeah, that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because that's holding the value of the dollar low, and he's got to increase --

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- it's holding it high, rather, and the dollar has to come down so that the Japanese can buy our products, instead of us buying all of their products --

MR. BLANKLEY: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because we have to create jobs here.

MR. BLANKLEY: I would have said that if I'd had the time. (Laughter.)

But look, that's true. But Eleanor's right. I don't think Bush is going to push hard on that at all, because he has --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has to. If he has a jobless recovery, he'll be out of office.

MR. BLANKLEY: He's not going to have a jobless recovery. Trust me.

But look, on a larger point, this deal with Japan goes both ways. Japan has no military ally other than the United States. They don't belong to any collective treaty organization. They are very concerned about North Korea. They're somewhat concerned about China. And they value our -- their military relationship with us above all other international elements. And so although, you know, we're very grateful and I'm delighted the Japanese are doing this, they're also doing it out of expediency, because they have to maintain good relations with the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BLANKLEY: Because they are terrified about North Korea, and they're worried about China, and they don't have any other allies. They're not in SEATO. They're not in any other collective unit. They don't have any military of an offensive nature.

MR. BUCHANAN: (They have defense ?).

MR. BLANKLEY: They're only a defense force, although a pretty substantial defense force.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that the population of Japan was totally against the Iraq war, and you know that Koizumi, by sending money over there and troops over there, he's endangering his own political survival.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, he's not -- he has elections coming up in November. He's in no chance of losing. He's a very popular man. But he doesn't want to emphasize this point, and Bush isn't going to force him to emphasize it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What point is that?

MR. BLANKLEY: About the yen. He wants to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're not talking yen here. We're talking about the supplies over to Iraq.

MR. BLANKLEY: I am -- what I'm saying is that Bush is going to not press him at all on anything else. He's got what he needs, and he wants to help him win the election, although he's going to win very handsomely anyway.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are there also geostrategic considerations that makes this meeting between the president of the United States and Mr. Koizumi felicitous?

MR. PAGE: Well, certainly we want to strengthen our position in Asia right now, with North Korea being a problem and also with China sitting in its usual mysterious position over there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean by that? Why do we want to protect our position in Asia vis-a-vis China? Are we concerned about China?

MR. PAGE: Well, we -- when are we not concerned about China -- (chuckles) -- you know, within that economy and a government that big?

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Before we get in -- too much into China, we've got a wonderful issue coming up on China.

MR. PAGE: Indeed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But I want to know what -- what is the geostrategy at play here? Can you help him out?

MS. CLIFT: Yeah.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, with regard to China, John, China's surplus with the United States is approaching double that of Japan. It is $130 billion this year. It is headed for --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But are you talking about the yuan in relation to the dollar?

MR. BUCHANAN: I'm talking about the renminbi versus the dollar. The Chinese pegged it to 8.3 to the dollar in 1994.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: As our dollar goes down, the renminbi goes down as well. So they get an increased advantage.

MS. CLIFT: Look, it's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We are buying all their products, and they are buying none of our products.

MR. BUCHANAN: All our investment, all our factories, all our plants are being built -- China beats the United States as the number- one country in the world for foreign investment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Isn't it essential that at the ASEAN summit, to which the president is going, that he prevail upon these various nations to bring their currency into line, so that we will get --

MR. BUCHANAN: The Chinese are not going to do it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- so that we will have a job-full recovery instead of a jobless one?

MR. BUCHANAN: The Chinese are Hamiltonians. They are looting our factories the way --

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute.

MS. CLIFT: The Japanese are immovable when it comes to opening up their markets, and the president's going to find that out. He's counting on the Japanese to give him a job-full recovery. He won't have it. He's got to count on some other things.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know why, aside from the obvious reason that they are good merchants? What's the other reason?

MS. CLIFT: Well, they're an island nation, and they have a mentality --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, who are they competing with? Who are they competing with?

MR. PAGE: With us.

MS. CLIFT: Well, they're competing with countries that are so much bigger (than them ?) in land mass.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They're competing with China, and they don't want China to sell all of their exports to the United States --

(Cross talk.)

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me make one point.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's why they're going to put pressure --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Wait, I want to hear this.

MR. BUCHANAN: That is why Japan will help put pressure on China to revalue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exactly.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let me --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So maybe we can get a revaluation from both Japan and China.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Off mike.)

MR. BLANKLEY: We're not going to get them from either. In fact, notwithstanding it's the ASEAN meeting, this is a -- this whole trip is related to security and terrorism. There's going to be very little accomplished on the economic front, but a fair amount accomplished on the anti-terrorism front. And that's what in fact this trip is about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a crucial six days on the economic front for Bush. If it doesn't come through for him, he runs a real chance of losing the election, because it means jobs.

MS. CLIFT: Well, his father had a crucial --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, manufacturing in the United States of America is dead. It is dead.

MS. CLIFT: His father had a crucial time in Asia, you might remember. He went over there in the company of oil executives, in an attempt to get the Japanese to play ball, help him get reelected. I don't need to repeat the -- what happened when his father went over --

MR. PAGE: (Off mike.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you talking about the barfing?

MS. CLIFT: Yes, I am. (Laughs.) So I think this president is way ahead, because I'm sure he will not duplicate his father's experience.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was that barfing associated with the fact that Alan Greenspan was sitting right in front of him when he was eating that sushi?

MR. BUCHANAN: It was the prime minister who was next to him. (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: Right. Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to add to this?

MR. PAGE: Well, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You started all this.

MR. PAGE: Correct. I'm sorry about starting that, John. (Laughs.) But Tony's right, though.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, right!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, how does it feel to be outside Chicago?

MR. PAGE: Oh, outside of Chicago?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Are they still in bereavement out there?

MR. PAGE: Well, I've come right into the land of the BoSox here, which is even more depressed. So what can we say? And now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought you came here to get a little bit of jubilation in your life. What, are they in bereavement out there?

MR. PAGE: Right here in Washington, where everybody's talking about baseball -- how strange! -- but --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, what a scene! That kid's hand up there --

MR. BLANKLEY: But you were going to say -- ?

MR. PAGE: I was going to say that Tony was right -- (laughs) -- which Tony wants me to say -- (laughter) -- in that this is primarily a strategic and a counterterror trip right now, and Bush wants to enhance his position with Iraq.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MR. PAGE: And you're not going to see much progress on the trade front or economic --

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A quick yes or no answer. Will Koizumi be able to deliver on Bush on the yen, as I have described it?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, he's not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. No, he's not.

MS. CLIFT: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he's not.

MR. BLANKLEY: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he's not.

MR. PAGE: Not going to happen.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he's not.

Answer: No, he's not. Five! (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: (Well said ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back: Will China be America's number-one strategic competitor in the 21st century?

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Crouching tiger, hidden dragon. China's first astronaut, 38-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Yang Liwei, landed successfully Thursday in the grasslands of northern China near the Mongolian border after 14 orbits in space.

China is the third nation to send a man into space, 42-years after Russia put Yuri Gagarin into orbit in 1961, and the '62 orbit of the U.S.'s John Glenn. China's entrance into the world's exclusive hitherto two-member "space club" is being billed by the Chinese government as evidence of having reached world class levels equal to the United States. Nationalism and patriotism have supplanted, it seems, Marxism as the nation's new ideology.

And something else may be motivating this great breakthrough. The space program that launched Shenzhou-5 was put together, managed and implemented by China's People's Liberation Army.

CRAIG COVAULT (Aviation Week and Space Technology): (From videotape.) It's also important for them to boost the technology for military applications in space.

The Pentagon concurs: "Publicly, China opposes the militarization of space, and seeks to prevent or slow the development of anti-satellite systems, ASAT, and space-based technology. But privately, China's leaders probably view ASATs -- and offensive counterspace systems in general -- as well as space-based missile defenses, as inevitabilities."

Others feel the same way, and that track leads to a doomsday scenario.

BRUCE DEBLOIS (Council on Foreign Relations): (From videotape.) Preemptively destroying or denying an opponent's space-based assets, using space weapons to do so, is both appealing and often inevitably leads to rapid escalation into full-scale war, even triggering nuclear response.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What Mr. Deblois is referring to is, say, if China were to knock out the U.S.'s chief source of intelligence gathering and communications, i.e., satellites, it could leave military commanders with little choice but the nuclear option. "If I don't know what's going on because I've lost my eyes and ears in space, I have no choice but to hit everything with everything I have."

But before we go off half-cocked, here's what the People's Republic says it officially wants.

LIU JIEYI (director-general, Arms Control and Disarmament, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs): (From audio tape.) China, together with other countries, are promoting the idea of an internationally binding legal instrument to prevent an arms race in outer space and to prevent the weaponization of outer space.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: China's manned space launch is impressive, but does it really mean China is now on a par with the United States and Russian space programs?

Eleanor Clift?

MS. CLIFT: No. This is about prestige building. If they had just worked on putting a satellite into space, a satellite that could kill our satellites, that would be different. But this is something to give the country stature. It is not a threat.

But if 9/11 had not happened, we would probably be sitting here talking about Donald Rumsfeld's plan to militarize space, because that is part of his goal of military transformation. And his theory is we now dominate space, we own space, and we better militarize it before anybody else gets there. It's the way this administration operates; they take a threat that may materialize, and then they take steps that ensure that it will materialize. Because if we start militarizing space, we inevitably will invite the Chinese and others to compete --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, look -- look -- John, there are ASATs --

MS. CLIFT: -- and then you have an arms race, which is what the gentleman you quoted on the screen is predicting.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To his credit, Donald Rumsfeld was heading that committee which was exploring the weaponization of space by other nations, as well as our wish to do so.

Now, the person who -- or the entity that controls the weaponization of space, of course, controls the action. You can knock out the eyes and the ears of the military on the planet. But the reason why the Chinese may be headed in that direction, or taking it into consideration, is because of the shield, the anti-missile shield that this administration wants to put up.

MR. BUCHANAN: Which is based on satellite --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, what that means is -- what that means is that they have to control that situation because they have to be able to fight back.

Do you follow me?

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, here's -- John, look, there's no doubt that the American Missile Defense depends a lot on technology, satellites in space.

But the United States -- when Tony and I were in the White House -- we tested an ASAT. We took an F-15 up to the edge of space, it fires its missile and it goes and kills satellites. The Russians, back in the 1980s, had a big laser gun, they're charged particle beams. I am sure secretly the United States has all this technology. We are superior in space. If war comes, Eleanor, it's going to be used. And the thing to do is to get in there first and get the technology and get ahead of them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The trajectory of China is clear; it is determined to become the number one global power, and it is on its way. It has now gotten admittance into the WTO. It set its sights on becoming the host city of the Olympics -- it has that too. And now it wants to have men in space. And actually, they expect to have, or they want to have a permanent mission on the Moon.

Does that trouble you?

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, but not quite as much as it does you! Look -- (laughter) -- look, it's true that they have, as they ought to, as a great nation with 1.4 billion people and the resources and skills, that they are going to become the other major country on the planet over the next century. For the rest of our lives, they're going to be a major regional power. But they are striving on all fronts, whether it's bio-engineering, whether it's space, whether's economics, whether it's exporting, they're moving forward on all fronts, and we need to view them warily, but not as an enemy, yet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have final thoughts on this?

MR. PAGE: Well, you remember before 9/11, we were talking about China espionage, China security threats, et cetera. And that got moved to the back burner. This puts them in the headlines right now, but it would be a greater threat if they were doing more work, as I'm sure they are, with unmanned space technology, which really is more effective as far as defense or offense.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If the U.S. develops its missile shield, then China feels that it will be unable to threaten us with its nuclear arsenal --

MS. CLIFT: But the missile shield fails every test it gets put in.

MR. BUCHANAN: What they'll do is -- they will build offensive missiles in great number. You know, you put that shield up against China, and you give them an incentive to build a huge offensive missile force to overwhelm us.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but you talk about this shield like it's achievable. Virtually every test it has failed. I mean, continue with the R&D, but the amount of money it requires --

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, the Chinese don't --

MS. CLIFT: -- and the -- (inaudible) --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get out --

MS. CLIFT: -- imagination is far too great.

MR. BUCHANAN: It's going up in Alaska.

MS. CLIFT: Going up in Alaska.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China wants the ability to knock out our defenses in space so as to neutralize and void the impact of a military defensive shield. Do you follow me?

MR. BUCHANAN: I do. I do. But look, John, look, the Chinese would be insane to start fooling around with America's satellites because our long-range missiles, they don't -- a lot of them don't depend on that kind of stuff. And the Chinese start that, and you've got a real confrontation. They can't win it and won't be able to win it for half a century.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let me emphasize that China's official position is that it wants to prevent the weaponization of space.

Exit question: Will China be America's premier strategic competitor in the 21st century, number one. Yes or no?

MR. BUCHANAN: It -- clearly, they're going to get Eastern Siberia --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a yes?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: Yes. Eventually they're going to eat our lunch economically! (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

MR. BLANKLEY: No. Militant Islam is, and will be for the next generation or two, I think.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a no.

MR. PAGE: I think technologically, China, yes. Militant Islam is a threat, but it's low technology, it's not high technology.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So where do you come out? Is it China or Islam?

MR. PAGE: Well, if the question is high technology, I'd say China.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'd say all things considered, it's China as our principal --

MS. CLIFT: Rival.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- rival.

Issue three: White House '04. The Democratic presidential candidate road show rolled on this week, taking the stage in the vaunted battleground state of Iowa, where its Democratic caucuses are only three months away.

Here are the standings: Dean with 16 percent; Gephardt, 14; Clark, 13; Kerry, 11; Lieberman, 10; Braun, 8 -- is that an 8 over there -- 6; Sharpton, 4, Edwards, 3; Kucinich, 2; and Undecided, 12.

Question: Dean's the front runner in the polls, but what does that really mean in a caucus state like Iowa? I ask you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Caucus states are full of surprises, as our friend Pat Buchanan keeps telling us. (Laughs.) The polls can tell you about turnout in general, but caucus states, you need to have good organization. And that's something Wesley Clark --

MS. CLIFT: You've got to get --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, you're very familiar with Iowa, are not?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, I am very familiar with Iowa. I'll tell you what this poll tells you. Dean is the front runner, I think. If Dean wins Iowa and beats Gephardt, I think he wins New Hampshire and wins it. Gephardt, however, is positioned, if he can win Iowa, to be the non-Dean or anti-Dean candidate, and one of them's going to emerge. And if one of them emerges, I would bet on Gephardt at this point.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: Because Iowa's crucial.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he gets the unions.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: He's got fall-back position with the unions.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, the unions really control a lot of the action in Iowa.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it means he can lose and come back. Some candidates --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you surprised at Clark's strong showing?

MS. CLIFT: No, because he still represents the fantasy candidate. I don't think he's come down to earth yet, and people still don't know enough about him. But three candidates could come out of Iowa if they're bunched together that closely. And Gephardt is beginning to put the unions together and he could emerge close enough for number two or number one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we know enough about Clark at this point, and particularly his standing in Iowa, to say that he'd be an asset in the vice presidential position?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, we don't know enough. I think I know enough; I think he will not be an asset because he's clumsy and he's an amateur, and he makes inconsistent statements and he doesn't know domestic policy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about -- is he a control freak, too?

MR. BLANKLEY: What?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he a control freak, too?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Arnold's ally.

GOVERNOR-ELECT ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA): (From videotape.) There is no greater ally that this Golden State has in Washington than our president, my dear friend, President George W. Bush. (Cheers, applause.)

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH (From videotape.) We did have a good visit. And during that visit, I was able to reflect upon how much we have in common. We both married well. (Applause.) Some accuse us both of not being able to speak the language. (Laughter.) We both have big biceps. (Laughter.) Well, two out of three isn't bad. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is quite hardy-ha-ha, isn't it?

MR. PAGE: Oh, yes. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know, this looks like great chemistry. What does Bush have to worry about if he draws too close to Schwarzenegger?

MR. PAGE: Well, looking very pale and scrawny, for one thing. But beyond that, he has to worry about the possible revolt from the moralist right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.

MR. PAGE: In other words, those who were not too happy with Arnold, those charges about him being Governor Pinchbottom.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct. Yeah. Well, thanks for that unnecessary and offensive remark about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

MR. BLANKLEY: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But my question is, what about the social liberalism? Isn't that what he has to be concerned about, social liberalism of Arnold?

MR. PAGE: That's okay for California, but not so much for the base.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That helps to make your point, yes.

MS. CLIFT: One of the other stars in the party is Rudy Giuliani. He's also a social liberal. So's the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. So maybe the rest of the party ought to get a message (from this ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have a different question for you. What does Schwarzenegger have to worry about if he draws too close to the president?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't think he has too much unless he overpromises what he can get from the president as far as federal aid. The only aid he's going to get, if anything, is going to be immigration aid, and that will be based on a formula for Texas, Arizona, California, their burden. But he's not going to get the big bucks that he's talking about. And Schwarzenegger is a smart guy. He's already backed off those claims.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. He comes across as a populist libertarian. But if he abandons that by some measures he's taken, and then he starts to look like Bush -- you know, tax cuts for the rich -- that's his danger, don't you think?

Exit question.

MR. BLANKLEY: He's not going to cut taxes.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's not going to cut taxes --

MR. BLANKLEY: He's not going to cut taxes. (Laughter.)

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) -- the car tax.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who will be the -- I understand. We're talking about the genre, the point there.

Exit question: Who will be the next to drop out of the Democratic race? Pat? Quickly.

MR. BUCHANAN: Edwards.

MS. CLIFT: Ooh.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Edwards.

MS. CLIFT: Umm.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Think about it.

MS. CLIFT: I don't know. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?

MR. BLANKLEY: Nobody for a while, but when someone does, it will be Edwards.

MR. PAGE: I agree. Edwards has the least reason to stay in the race.

MS. CLIFT: Except he wants to be vice president. And if he does moderately well --

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, when he grows up --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the answer is --

MS. CLIFT: -- (inaudible) -- may grow up in South Carolina.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is it's too close to call.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's between Edwards and Braun. Probably Braun.

We'll be right back with predictions.

(Announcements.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: The Iraqi resistance will try a Tet-style offensive against Americans, kill as many as they can, coming up end of this year, in order to try to break the president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

MS. CLIFT: Republicans will join Democrats in chiseling away at the president's reconstruction package for Iraq to divert money to Afghanistan, where it's really needed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony. Very fast.

MR. BLANKLEY: Third quarter economic growth will be at 7 percent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good!

MR. PAGE: The Justice Department is going to find somebody in the White House spy investigation.

MS. CLIFT: Ooh.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of time. Bye-bye.

END OF REGULAR SEGMENT

MORE

PBS SEGMENT

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Smile, you're on candid camera.

TEACHER: (From videotape.) It's very helpful with children to say, "That camera is watching you," when you're walking down the hall, just to get them to straighten right up.

ACLU MEMBER: (From videotape.) This is going to change behavior of both teachers and students. They're going to become much more inhibited, and it's going to be teaching a very bad lesson; that lesson is, you live in a surveillance society; you have no privacy.

STUDENT: (From videotape.) If I act up, then they would see me and I would get in trouble.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The city of Biloxi, Mississippi, is where the first public school system in the country has installed small webcams, more than 500 of them, in every one of their classrooms, as well as school hallways, offices, libraries, cafeterias and gymnasia.

Here's how it works: The small cameras, about the size of a baseball, send a constant stream of still pictures via the Internet, but without sound. The signal can be viewed only on a monitor in the principal's office, or on the Internet through a high-security password. Pictures from the cameras can be stored and reviewed by school administrators, security personnel or law enforcement officials. Parents, students and teachers cannot see the recorded files without a court order.

Question: Is there a right of privacy in public schools?

Who wants this?

MR. PAGE: I'd be delighted to speak to this, John. As a parent of a 14-year-old, I'm normally a civil liberties absolutist, but in this case, I think the more cameras the better.

But it is ironic to me, though, that when I was a kid, we used to always hear, you know, "God is watching you, so be careful." Now the kids are hearing, "The cameras are watching you."

MR. BLANKLEY: No, I would take the exact opposite view. On the one hand, there's no right to privacy in a public place.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has that been adjudicated?

MR. BLANKLEY: A million times. But --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does the Supreme Court say?

MR. BLANKLEY: I don't know, particularly. But you don't have a right to privacy in a public place. That's standard black letter law.

On the other hand, I think this is appalling policy. And I agree 100 percent with that ACLU character that we don't want to have a 24- hour observation --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Supreme Court has ruled that locker searches and even strip searches can be carried out in schools without warrants or parental notifications; teachers can monitor behavior in restrooms or locker rooms when students are undressed. There is no right of privacy.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, with cause you can do that. This is Alcatraz! I mean, this is a maximum security prison. It is an outrage, all these little kids -- every single move they make, and things like that. Look, if they want to bust a drug ring and they've got to do something like this on a one-time, okay, with cause. But not --

MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I'm with the conservatives on this one too! (Laughter.) I think this is way overreaching. And I think what it reflects is a sense of a loss of control that parents think they have, and administrators, and it's a way to regain control. It's like when they put the webcams initially in the day care centers so the obsessive parents could screen what was going on.

MR. PAGE: You know, maybe everybody's forgotten the Columbine pictures, but they had cameras out there. We have cameras in our schools right now.

MR. BUCHANAN: What would that have done? What would that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point?

MR. PAGE: We have cameras in our schools right now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your point?

MR. PAGE: -- and it's not a big issue. I think the fact is that we are in a surveillance society and we ought to have a --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did they in any way -- did they in any way put a ceiling on the horror of Columbine?

MR. PAGE: No, but had those boys not committed suicide, they would have provided ID photos, anyway. (Inaudible.)

MR. BLANKLEY: They have 24-hour surveillance because of a horror that happens once every 20 years!

MR. BUCHANAN: I mean, this is 1980, Big Brother is watching you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it also misteach the student to expect this kind of surveillance in his --

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure it does.

MR. BLANKLEY: Of course it does.

MR. BUCHANAN: I mean, what kind of a country are we becoming, if that's what you got everywhere you go?

MS. CLIFT: Well, actually, kids today might not mind because they grow up in this television society and they watch reality TV with webcams in people's -- they may be flattered by it!

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now there you are! That's an interesting insight. Very good, Eleanor.

MR. PAGE: And they've got them at the mall, and the kids live with them --

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