THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: TONY BLANKLEY,
PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,
AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL
TAPED FRIDAY, JULY 31, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF AUGUST 1-2, 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 aircraft engines to appliances, GE: We bring good things to life."
Here's the host, John McLaughlin.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Immunity, Testimony, and DNA.
PLATO CACHERIS (attorney for Monica Lewinsky): (From videotape.) We, as counsel for Monica Lewinsky, have reached an agreement today that for her full and truthful testimony, she will receive transactional immunity in this case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That was Tuesday.
On Wednesday afternoon a second news bombshell burst. Clinton agreed to testify on videotape.
That evening a third bombshell went off. It was learned that Ms. Lewinsky had turned over a soiled dress that she says contains physical evidence of a sexual encounter with President Clinton. The dress is at the FBI lab for tests.
Ms. Lewinsky's dirty laundry may well prove beyond a doubt that Mr. Clinton lied under oath when he denied a sexual relationship with Lewinsky. Why? Because the biological sample may be genetically matched to presidential DNA. That's the big question. What's the answer, Mr. President?
(Beginning of videotaped sequence.)
(Cross questions from the White House press corps.)
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Everybody got a question. Let me give you the answer to all of them. (Chuckles.)
I know --
MEMBER OF THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS CORPS: You don't know the question --
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yes, I did. I heard all of you shouting about it. No one wants this to get this matter behind us more than I do, except maybe all the rest of the American people. I am looking forward to the opportunity in the next few days of testifying. I will do so completely and truthfully. I am anxious to do it. But I hope you can understand why, in the interim, I can and should have no further comment on these matters.
Thank you very much. (Cross talk from press corps.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: If the DNA on the dress does match Mr. Clinton's co-sample, what effect will the DNA proof have on his strategy and on his legal jeopardy, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, John, if that is found -- and we don't know if it's going to be -- if that is found, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, the president, will have to go in and tell Ken Starr that, A, he committed perjury; B, he perpetrated a fraud on the court in the Paula Jones case; C, Miss Jones was denied by him her constitutional right to a fair trial. In that case, he will certainly be disbarred as a lawyer. Secondly, there will be at least one count of impeachment for perjury on the part of the president of the United States.
The big, great jeopardy is, though, that this opens up the entire deposition to Ken Starr going after him on various other perjuries within that deposition, so it does not end his jeopardy, it begins it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: Well, before we go too far down Pat's impeachment alley, I would like to introduce the possibility that the dress is a ruse, that it's an attempt, probably part of a plea bargain, the plea bargain agreement between the Lewinsky team and the Starr team to put pressure on the president to, if he's lying, testify truthfully. And -- because why would they go public with this? Why don't they just keep it there, and then he walks into the grand jury, and if he's lying, they have him in big-time perjury? Why do they tip him off and then we get the results, we get the results leaked, so then he -- that informs his testimony?
So I'm a little cautious on this dress business. I want to wait and see what happens.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony Blankley, does the physical evidence, if it exists, change the game?
MR. BLANKLEY: It does change the game. I have to disagree with Eleanor that if there's a setup, it's the Clinton team setting up Starr by putting out information that will then prove not to be true.
MS. CLIFT: Another possibility.
MR. BLANKLEY: So I have my doubts about who's setting up.
But yes, of course, if it is there as hard evidence, it makes it impossible for the president to completely deny his story, and he's got to admit at least one count of perjury. And then flowing out of that are a lot of problems.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence O'Donnell?
MR. O'DONNELL: It leaves him with an "I did not inhale" defense, which is a hair-splitting defense. It leaves him saying, "I did not tell the truth on that matter in the Paula Jones deposition, but I believed it was not material, and therefore this does not constitute perjury."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there's a change in focus now, that up till now, because of Clinton's flat-out denials, and because of his character attacks, indirectly engineered or directly engineered by him, against the prosecutor and against other witnesses, that the focus has been off him, it's been on the system? Now there is a shift so that the focus is not on the system, but it's directly on the president. Do you see that occurring?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yup. It -- yeah --
MR. O'DONNELL: Absolutely, and that's the worst place it can be for the president, because there are tapes and maybe DNA evidence.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: And the clear evidence of that is that the Democrats on the Hill have shifted their focus now. Where before they were attacking Starr and reasonably having to come out and defend the president, now, with this set of information coming out, they are keeping away from Starr's -- from Clinton's defense.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I mean, I -- Clinton overruled his lawyers to go ahead and agree to testify. And he knows that he needs to go ahead and do this. And he now has a chance to end this. If he's telling --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, do you see the focus on --
MR. BUCHANAN: John -- oh, yeah, it is --
MS. CLIFT: Well, let me finish. If he's telling the truth, he's home free. If he's not, now is the time --
MR. BLANKLEY: He was always home free if he was telling the truth.
MS. CLIFT: -- now's the time to 'fess up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, it quite clear that Starr is hitting pay dirt every single day. There is no more of this constant attacks on Starr. Everybody's focused on the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit, multiple choice: Why did Miss Lewinsky save the dress? A, as a trophy -- bragging rights. B, as a romantic souvenir of the "big creep." C, as an insurance -- as insurance in case of ill treatment by Bill or Hillary or Begala or Carville or Blumenthal or Lanny Davis or any of the other operatives on the White House SWAT team. What's your answer, Patrick?
MR. BUCHANAN: A and B. (Chuckling.) I don't think she was concerned about the SWAT team at that time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, A and B. She's no enemy of the president. She was forced out by Linda Tripp. This is the '90s version, I guess, of keeping your prom night corsage! (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: First, as a relic of love. After that, as a bargaining chip.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: All of the above.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is all of the above. (Laughter.)
When we come back, what's Bill Clinton's next move?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: Clinton's next move.
Option number one: Deny all.
The main elements of the Clinton denial:
A, no sexual relationship. Under oath, on August the 17th, two weeks from Monday, Mr. Clinton must maintain that he did not have a sexual relationship with Miss Lewinsky, notwithstanding any physical evidence to the contrary, and notwithstanding any accumulation of circumstantial evidence and testimony to the contrary.
B, no cover-up. The president must also flatly deny that he and Lewinsky conspired to conceal the true facts of their illicit relationship.
Question: Assuming DNA evidence, can Clinton conceivably deny all this, Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: I don't want to always assume the DNA evidence. That's a big assumption. He's got to do -- first of all, the facts matter. I don't know what the facts are. Again, if he's telling the truth, he's fine. Otherwise, he needs to admit whatever he did and say he lied in the Paula Jones testimony, which was a civil suit; it was immaterial, he did it to protect his family, he lied for family values, and he doesn't want to lie before the grand jury. The country will forgive him for that.
MR. BUCHANAN: If -- well, we talked about this -- well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The country indicates in its polling it will forgive him for that, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, the country --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Assuming no DNA evidence, Pat, can he deny all?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, what does the -- excuse me, the country's opinion does not matter.
MS. CLIFT: Oh!
MR. BUCHANAN: He means -- look, if he goes in this time and lies, in a criminal case, and he's caught at it, he will not only lose his presidency, he will be headed for the penitentiary.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he can deny all? Let's assume DNA evidence.
MR. O'DONNELL: If there is no DNA evidence, he can deny all, as he always does in these situations.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If there is DNA evidence --
MR. O'DONNELL: If there is DNA evidence, he has to admit to sex, claim that that testimony in the Paula Jones deposition was immaterial, and then deny anything related to conspiracy or obstruction.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could he, in Barry Scheck fashion, say that the DNA evidence was tainted?
MR. BUCHANAN: What about --
MR. O'DONNELL: The constituency that followed the O.J. case, that believes O.J. is guilty, is the pro-Bill Clinton constituency. They have their own minds made up about DNA evidence already.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The dress was missing for several months, wasn't it?
MR. BLANKLEY: Apparently.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Out of circulation.
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, yes, it was in her mother's house.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he can deny everything?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think he is probably going to deny everything, whether it's effective or not.
MS. CLIFT: No, if he --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Even with the DNA evidence --
MR. BUCHANAN: John, you are overdoing the dress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute --
MR. BLANKLEY: I suspect that he is psychologically disposed to deny and deny and deny.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, Clinton option number two: Plead the Fifth.
Question: What are the political and legal consequences of taking the Fifth Amendment? Bear in mind that Starr could simply grant Mr. Clinton -- this may be news to you, Pat -- use immunity after Clinton takes the Fifth, which would force the president to testify before the grand jury, but it would not immunize him against impeachment. You know, don't you, Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: I do know that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So therefore, do you think he should take the Fifth?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, he shouldn't and he won't, for this reason: it's political death for him to do so, and he doesn't need it because even in the worst case -- even in the Nixon scenario -- he's not going to prison. He's only going to lose the office of the presidency, so there's no point in asking for it.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, what you're missing here is -- throw the dress out for the moment. The enormous corroborative evidence that exists already, the testimonial evidence that exists already that he had a sexual affair. If he goes in and lies, John, before Ken Starr, it can be proven that he lied --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- beyond a reasonable doubt, and he is gone from the presidency and he is going to prison without a pardon.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Excuse me, no --
MR. BLANKLEY: I don't think it --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor --
MS. CLIFT: Lying about a sexual tryst is not going to get this man impeached, and the obstruction --
MR. BUCHANAN: If he does it again -- if he does it again --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Eleanor finish!
MS. CLIFT: The obstruction of justice charges are falling away. The famous talking points, the smoking gun, they're not coming up as anything to worry about. Vernon Jordan and the jobs -- they're not even focusing on that anymore. The obstruction case is very weak.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: To the point that Eleanor just made, the country will apparently swallow a single perjury, but Stuart Taylor, as I've said before, has noted that there are at least, probably, a dozen perjuries in that testimony that Clinton gave before the lawyers at the Jones deposition. Do you think he can --
MR. O'DONNELL: He will claim that Kathleen Willey, that all of these things, any question in that deposition that does not have the words "Paula Jones" in it, any one of those questions was immaterial, he -- and does not carry the intent of perjury.
MR. BUCHANAN: But, John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, you think the dress is as important that --
MR. O'DONNELL: I think the dress, if it has DNA on it, is the only thing that can function as proof.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The only thing?
MR. O'DONNELL: The only thing that works as proof in this case.
MR. BLANKLEY: Oh, no.
MR. BUCHANAN: He opens up --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you talking legally, or are you talking politically?
MR. O'DONNELL: Legally. Legally.
MR. BUCHANAN: Legally, John, he opens up the entire deposition --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, question option number three: he can confess all.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: (From videotape.) He should do what he should have done six months ago -- come forward now, tell the truth, take responsibility. If he does, Ken Starr will have absolutely no support and there's no way that Congress would go forward with impeachment proceeding.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: what is the political and the legal cost of confessing all, I ask you, Lawrence O'Donnell?
MR. O'DONNELL: The political cost is whatever that poll number's going to be when the American public really is confronted with his own admission that he did these things. The American public has been swearing to us that they don't care, so we'll find out. Some drop --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think they will then have to deal with it?
MR. O'DONNELL: Absolutely. They will deal with it in a different way with an admission.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They don't want to deal with it?
MR. O'DONNELL: Yeah, and that's what's interesting about the Fifth Amendment. The public seems to be asking the president to take the Fifth Amendment --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president (sic) would like him to resolve it, on his own, which would also argue against his doing any kind of a televised public confession.
MR. O'DONNELL: Exactly.
MS. CLIFT: The country loves --
MR. BLANKLEY: The --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor.
MR. BLANKLEY: The confession scenario scenario is always used as the last resort, at which point it's too late. The confession would have worked a few months ago. I don't think it will work --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, what about the question at hand, this point that we just addressed?
MR. BUCHANAN: If he confesses, John, you know what Starr does? He doesn't care about the public. Starr says, "Thanks for admitting these perjuries; now we're going to proceed and find out about the others.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Clinton option number four. He can admit the sex and stonewall the cover-up. Current polls, notably CNN-Gallup, show that the public believes Lewinsky about the sex, but they give Clinton a credibility edge on the cover-up. See the poll, Pat? The cover-up is also his area of greatest legal and political jeopardy. Therefore, Clinton should target, or could target, his awesome persuasive powers and his 150 IQ on denying the cover-up.
Question: What are the consequences if Clinton admits the sex but he stonewalls the cover-up? Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: The cover-up is the most dangerous thing for him. That's where he has to deny and fight. I think he can admit the sex, but he can't admit the cover-up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: If we're going to believe the leaks about the dress and everything else, I'm going to believe the leaks that the obstruction-of-justice case is very weak. I think if Clinton wants to say, "I lied in a civil case that was thrown out about a matter that wasn't immaterial, I lied to protect my wife, my daughter and this woman; I'm not going to lie before the grand jury," he will get a lot of sympathy from the country, who thinks these countries should not be asked of anybody anyway and people should not be expected to answer them.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Then what Starr will do, he'd say, "Let's go through the whole deposition, and tell us where else you lied, Mr. President."
MS. CLIFT: And there's not going to be any other examples of where he lied. On personal matters of sex, that's none of Mr. Starr's business.
MR. BUCHANAN: He will open it up!
MS. CLIFT: And if he wants to -- but it's none of his business.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, hold on. What about dividing and conquering? He admits the sex and he stonewalls the cover-up.
MR. O'DONNELL: If the DNA evidence is there, that is exactly what he's going to have to do. And I think he will successfully stonewall the cover-up, either because there wasn't one or because it's incredibly difficult to prove.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He could even do it if the DNA is not conclusive.
MR. O'DONNELL: That's right. If the DNA --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because there's a mountain of evidence that he -- everybody, I think, believes that he had sex.
MR. O'DONNELL: This has to be the tightest DNA proof we have ever seen. If we're going to bring down a president with it, it better be --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit. To recap, which option will Clinton choose? One, deny all, stick to his story, some would say cover up; two, take the Fifth; three, confess all; four, admit the sex, stonewall the cover-up.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's probably going to do that. He's going to admit to something and he's going to try to stonewall the latter, John, and he'll have the "war room" go all out after Starr to try to get this thing knocked dead; and it will fail.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Again, depending on what happened, he'll either deny it all or he'll admit to something and we'll haul in Dr. Ruth to define what sex is. (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: He will first deny, he will then confess, and he will then leave.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MS. CLIFT: For Camp David, for the weekend. (Laughter.)
MR. O'DONNELL: He will tell the truth in the Starr grand jury testimony, and that truth may involve revealing a lot of untruths in the Jones deposition, but he will never say that he was in any way involved in any coverup or any conspiracy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you've hit it on the head, Lawrence. Issue three: wrap this sucker up!
REP. RICHARD A. GEPHARDT (D-MO): (From videotape.) I just hope this thing gets over with.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): (From videotape.) Wrap this sucker up!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is compelling reason for Democrats to want this thing wrapped up in fewer than three months. Gephardt, Leahy and more than 200 of their Democratic colleagues will face voters in November's congressional elections. If the Lewinsky scandal explodes within the next eight to 10 weeks, it could not come at a worse time. Democrats had hopes of retaking the House and making significant gains in the Senate. Now, they just want to avoid a worst case scenario -- a wipeout.
The president has lost his ability to govern, says one Democratic senator's senior aide. If this continues much longer, members of both parties will begin calling on him to resign for the good of the American people. Question: what's the case for resignation, Tony Blankley?
MR. BLANKLEY: I don't there's any case for it at this time, from Clinton's point of view. I think he has to play out the hand, at least until after all the information in Starr's report comes out. The resignation he can always do if he wants to, but I don't think he's going to do it until he can count the votes in the Senate.
MR. O'DONNELL: There's no chance of resignation until there is at least a vote for impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee. That's what we have to see -- the last time around, 27 to 11, there had to be a vote against the president.
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, he's got to count the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Objectively speaking, Lawrence, what's the case for resignation from, say, Clinton's personal point of view?
MR. O'DONNELL: There is none.
MR. BUCHANAN: None.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, on the assumption that all of this is eventually going to bring him a cropper, why couldn't he save himself from being tremendously bloodied up, becoming maybe a national, even an international pariah?
MR. O'DONNELL: If it comes to it, he will go out and give a Jimmy Swaggart speech. There will be tears, there will be whatever it takes and he will not resign.
MS. CLIFT: Come on!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he will be recoverable, no matter what volume of --
MS. CLIFT: What -- John!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- if there's an explosion in a cesspool --
MR. O'DONNELL: He will not be impeached and he will not resign, and he will take the job -- (inaudible due to cross talk) -- as he can have it.
MS. CLIFT: What world do you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on for a minute -- hold on.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, this is nonsense. There's no case right now for resignation, and he's not going to, but he can't give a speech and save himself. I'll tell you why he won't resign, it's because immediately after that he faces legal jeopardy.
MS. CLIFT: What world are we living in? He went up from 64 percent to 68 percent in the wake of these --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Chuckles.) It's irrelevant!
MS. CLIFT: It's not irrelevant. The country empathizes with him and --
MR. BUCHANAN: So what?
MS. CLIFT: So what? So plenty!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, exit --
MS. CLIFT: They're not going to impeach a popular president. He's not going to resign over a sexual tryst.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here's another twist on this: Can Clinton turn the November election with the ratings that she's talking about -- 68 percent like his performance -- into a referendum on his survival? Do you understand the question?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, sure he could.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, sure he could, and he will lose it!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would lose it?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure he'll lose it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MS. CLIFT: To the extend that he was on the ballot in '94, he lost. To the extent that this is a referendum on him, this time he wins.
MR. BLANKLEY: The Democrats won't let him because they won't allow it. They --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Repeat. The Democrats --
MR. BLANKLEY: The Democratic congressmen won't allow it to be a -- their elections will be a referendum on them. They will not identify with the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (To Mr. O'Donnell.) What do you think?
MR. O'DONNELL: Tony's right; no Democrat's going to run, say, "Vote for me because I like Bill Clinton."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony is right.
Issue four: Who's leaking? This week we learned a number of things: one, the love dress; two, the audiotapes of the president on Ms. Lewinsky's answering machine; three, cover-up schemes hatched by Monica and Bill, plus other details on what Lewinsky will testify to.
Question: Who's leaking this, and why? Lawrence?
MR. O'DONNELL: The first thing to understand about the leak is that it is a very friendly leak to anyone who was going to testify after that leak emerged. It is in fact a very friendly leak to the president, that the president know this dress is in federal custody. It is also -- and, in my view, most importantly -- a very helpful leak to the Secret Service agents who testified yesterday.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah --
MR. O'DONNELL: My suspicion is that these are federal law enforcement officers who are letting their brother federal law enforcement officers know: "Don't go out on a limb for this guy; we're testing a dress."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which one of you read this in exactly the opposite way, that it is a shot across the bow to the White House, that "we have more that we can give you, and if you proceed to mug or maul or turn your Rottweilers loose on our witness, we're there with reserve power to get you," like the DNA, et cetera?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but this --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about that? Does anyone read it that way? And is it coming from Cacheris? It's certainly not coming from Starr.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's not coming from Stein and Cacheris, but I think it could --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is it coming from?
MR. BUCHANAN: I've heard -- you heard rumors that maybe Monica's mother mentioned something. And I couldn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Monica's mother's lawyer?
MR. BUCHANAN: I couldn't confirm that at all, but you heard rumors about that from the Clinton team.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, the point is there --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to know whether it will have an intimidating or deterrent effect on the White House not to maul her.
MS. CLIFT: No.
Yeah, you know, the point is --
MR. BUCHANAN: It was a gun pointed at the White House, and then it was dropped, I think.
MS. CLIFT: No. The point is that there are all these joint operating agreements among these attorneys, plus the fact Monica's attorneys could pick up the phone and call Clinton's attorneys, and there's no rule against them sharing this sort of stuff. They could have done it privately. The fact that they went public is what makes me think there's some sort of deal here to tip somebody off.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Starr gets no advantage from this leak?
MR. O'DONNELL: No, it's either a ruse to trap Starr, or it's a friendly message, as you suggested, to help out Clinton. It's clearly a Clinton-friendly leak.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor's not going to like this, John, but I think the Time Magazine's persons of the year are going to be the two people that brought down Bill Clinton, that's Monica Lewinsky and that is Kenneth Starr.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I'm going to put my marker down early in the California gubernatorial race, Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis is going to be the next governor of California, and he's going to be doing a lot of campaigning with Bill Clinton at his side.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you predict this before? Gray Davis's win, or did you just predict he'd win the primary?
MR. BUCHANAN: Primary. I did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You did?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah. I think he did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. I just want to make sure I've got the score straight here. (Laughter.) Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think that soon, in a month or two, one of the big stories will be -- cover stories in the weekly magazines -- will be the new belief in telling the truth. I think Clinton inadvertently is going to create a new surge towards believing in the veracity and truth -- utility of truth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, my God -- we're going to turn morality loose in the country! What's going to happen?
MR. 0'DONNELL: When Henry Hyde begins his Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings, he will run them very fairly and he will lead a majority of Republican members in voting against impeachment.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me extend that -- there will be no impeachment hearings before January, 1999.
®FC¯END REGULAR SEGMENT
PBS SEGMENT FOLLOWS
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue five: there's spin and there's turbo-spin.
DAVID KENDALL: (From videotape.) In an effort to achieve a prompt resolution of this entire matter, the president will voluntarily provide his testimony on August 17th, 1998, to the Office of Independent Counsel, as he has on prior occasions. The president's testimony will be videotaped at the White House, with lawyers present.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that spin, or turbo-spin, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: That's as much turbo-spin, John, as the president's statement, "Geez, I'm looking forward to this testimony" --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but this --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because he said what?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, it's -- this -- I mean, Tony and I have been talking off camera. I cannot understand why this guy is going in there and testifying under oath in a criminal trial with that mess that doesn't even pass the laugh test sitting out there right now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think he -- you don't think he should testify?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think he should go to the Supreme Court and if the Supreme Court tells him to testify, don't do it and tell the Congress, "Go ahead and impeach me, I'm protecting the presidency."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would you support him in that?
MR. BUCHANAN: I would support that.
MS. CLIFT: Well that's what a constitutional lawyer would advise him and that's what a criminal lawyer would advise him. But he is doing what he thinks is politically correct for his presidency, and I think he's making the correct decision.
But what Kendall said about voluntary, that's an important point for future presidencies. It is. This president was not subpoenaed and -- (laughter). He wasn't!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Subpoenaed!! (Laughs.)
MR. BLANKLEY: He was subpoenaed! They made him answer a subpoena.
MS. CLIFT: No, he was not! He defied -- he didn't defy --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They withdrew the subpoena so that -- (laughs) --
MS. CLIFT: He didn't answer the subpoena, whatever -- however you want to phrase it. It's an important constitutional point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, I want to get this in, Eleanor. Okay, more turbo-spin. Mr. McCurry, how does the president feel about Monica Lewinsky making a deal with the independent counsel?
MICHAEL MCCURRY (White House spokesman): (From videotape.) I think that he's pleased that things are working out for her.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Chuckling) "I think he's pleased that things are working out for her."
Is that spin turbo-spin?
I ask you, Lawrence O'Donnell.
MR. O'DONNELL: That is panic spin. (Laughter.) I watched that live, and the series of questions after that were the most embarrassing series that Mike McCurry has ever faced!
And I think Tony can tell us -- once in awhile, press secretaries say things that actually only they think. I'm not sure that statement was clear --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, "turbo" is consuming your own exhausts. (Laughter.) And I think -- (laughing) -- I think in that instance that's really what Michael was doing! (Continued laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well wait a second! Wait a second! That was a --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughing) Why do you say that? You mean it's like a jet plane that it propels itself by its own exhaust?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, it's coming back and in and it gives you energy to make a bigger fool of yourself!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see mendacity there? Do you see --
MS. CLIFT: Now wait a second! Wait --
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah -- yeah, look --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, is there any effort to tell the truth anymore?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, no. Now -- yes, it's also mendacity. That's why I predicted that we're going to have this national revolt --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, are you going to predict that? You haven't predicted that yet. Are you going to predict -- save it for the prediction.
MR. BLANKLEY: There's going to be an actual revolt.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you want to say something?
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, I wanted to say, what are you expected to say, "Oh, go screw her." (Laughter.) Number one. Number two, it's an indication that the White House strategy is not going to be to trash this woman; they're not going to go after her credibility. That would be very risky. Maybe other people will do it, they're not going to do it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we had a couple of cutting remarks already from Lanny Davis.
MS. CLIFT: He's not working at the White House anymore.