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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP

HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN

PANEL: JAY CARNEY, TIME MAGAZINE; HOLLY YEAGER, FINANCIAL TIMES; TONY BLANKLEY, THE WASHINGTON TIMES; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

TAPED: FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2005
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF JUNE 25-26, 2005

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Land Grab.

MATTHEW DERY (homeowner): (From videotape.) I don't think that the founding fathers intended that someone should be able to take my property away from me and give it to somebody else so that they can make money off it.

WESLEY HORTON (lawyer for New London, Connecticut): (From videotape.) This is a great day for the citizens of the city of New London and for all citizens around the United States who live in cities that are economically depressed and need help in coming up with better plans in order to accomplish economic revitalization. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By a 5-4 bombshell ruling this week, the Supreme Court declared that local governments can seize citizens' homes and businesses against their will. The government can even give the seized land and homes to another private party.

The case involves homeowners in Connecticut whose homes are now slated to be demolished for a development project. The precise issue is whether giving land to a private party for economic development is a, quote/unquote, "public use," which is the language of the U.S. Constitution.

The court said it was. "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long-accepted function of the government." So stated the majority: Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer and Kennedy. The four dissenters: Justices Rehnquist, O'Connor, Scalia and Thomas.

O'Connor's dissent was stinging. "Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

Question: Is Justice O'Connor on the mark, or is her language too sweeping? Jay.

MR. CARNEY: I think she's on the mark. And I generally think there is an important cause here in preserving the right of eminent domain for municipalities, counties and states. But I think that this ruling goes too far. I think that the fact that it was a 5-4 ruling with such a bitterly-divided court almost ensures that this issue will be revisited.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By whom?

MR. CARNEY: With other legislation as other municipalities try to use this to their advantage for --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will Congress visit it?

MR. CARNEY: Congress could visit it. And I think it will come back up through the courts. And I predict that in the not-too-distant future it'll return to the Supreme Court, and probably at least a more strict definition of when this is allowed will be written.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Holly Yeager, welcome.

MS. YEAGER: Thank you.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MS. YEAGER: Well, I think this is the fourth time that this court has said no to the property rights advocates. It seems to me they're pretty clear what they think. I do think I agree with Justice Kennedy, who said you have to define public use and then make sure that there's not one individual developer in this case who's going to get rich from the deal. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is the provision for that clearly stated by the court, namely, the protection of the property owner? Do they make provision for protecting him to the full extent of defining carefully what public use is?

MS. YEAGER: No, I think there's still plenty of room there about what that definition is. I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, you do?

MS. YEAGER: I mean, Stevens wrote that it is about what's good for a community, jobs, and creating a tax base. But I think there's still plenty of room between building a highway and a massive plan to redevelop a failing city.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Or an irrigation project. Well, that doesn't sound too good for the property owner, does it?

MR. BLANKLEY: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about his or her rights?

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, look, I mean, Jay is right. This is bad law. It's an abuse of the obvious meaning and historic meaning of public use. But worse than that, it's one that's going to be easily exploited, because every city council, which is in the pay of the local developers, is now going to have an open door to seek eminent domain on property they've been having their eyes on. And the poor little person who's losing their property has a right to a lawsuit to try to get back to the Supreme Court 10 years from now.

The disproportion between the interests who are going to be exploiting this law and the financial position of the people who are going to be exploited by it is appalling. And so I think it's a tragedy. I hope that Congress can revisit it, but it's going to be hard, because you can't really preempt state and local law on eminent domain because it's mostly practiced by the local governments.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you feel that way, Clarence?

MR. PAGE: I do. But I think also, though, that the court invited the states to establish limits on eminent domain if they want to. I think this is a case here where the majority felt like they did not want to legislate from the bench and decide what should be defined as a public use, what should be the limits of eminent domain. That should be a state matter.

And I think Tony's right, though, in the sense that this is ripe for abuse, the way it sits right now, that there's always a chance of developers and city council getting together saying, "Hey, we've got a great idea for the use of this neighborhood over here." So I think the states should really move right now to set some limits. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose the public-usage issue pivots on national security or local security, regional security; let's say the Baltimore Harbor, something of that nature. And, in fact, if you take that the world itself, the planet, as has been pointed out, the battlefield for terrorism is the planet -- and that is not a metaphor; it's a war on terrorism and it extends earth-wide -- what are the limits on public usage in an instance like alleged national security interests? Do you see the possible abuse there?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I think there is possible abuse there. I think there are cases where a reasonable argument could be made for eminent domain for national-security reasons. But the problem with this court decision, as we've said, is how much room there is for municipalities, localities and even the federal government to act on this decision to grab land from property owners who don't have a lot of recourse and can only fall back on the courts and wait for years and years and years for resolution.

I think if there is a move by cities to take advantage of this ruling very quickly and exploitatively, the Congress may be forced to act.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you feel that way, congressional action on this to overturn the court, Holly?

MS. YEAGER: I don't see it, given the other court rulings on property in this term.

MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I mean, and the problem is that even at the state level, the interests, the financial interests that would be supportive of a broad interpretation of public use, have their hooks pretty well into the state capitals. This is going to be a hard piece of legislation to pass in any legislature much below Congress, and maybe even in Congress.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that George Bush should say something about this, inasmuch as he's been heralding the arrival and hopefully the flourishing of the ownership society?

MR. PAGE: That's a good point. That's a good point, though. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does this fly in the face of that?

MR. PAGE: That's right. Well, this was one of those tough cases where you could go either way insofar as the rights of the property owner versus what is public use, because public use is so poorly defined here.

MR. BLANKLEY: I think this is going to be another talking point in the whole judicial-nomination process. Whether the president will personally use it, I'm sure that many people who are going to be supporting conservative judicial nominations in the coming months are going to be using this as a very kind of a common man's example of why we don't need these kind of liberal judges.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that they're both conservative positions, i.e., the communal presumption of power versus individual rights? Individual rights is clearly a conservative position, and you're echoing that. But isn't the other position also reductively conservative, too; that is --

MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, I mean, it's a Hamiltonian view of the responsibilities of government.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, which is more Reaganesque and which is more, let's say, Bush I-esque?

MR. BLANKLEY: I think this is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that too arcane for you? (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: I think the dissent is more Reaganesque and the majority is more Bush 41-esque.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Reagan would place what as paramount? Individual rights.

MR. CARNEY: Individual property rights.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Whereas Bush I would put what? The individual rights would be second to the presumptive collective good, correct?

MR. PAGE: Right, the common good, the community needs. Here you had a case where Justice Kennedy is on one side here and you've got Justice O'Connor on the other side -- independent Arizonan that O'Connor is, believing in that basic property right, whereas Kennedy coming from the West Coast, San Francisco area, more of a common-good kind of background. But they're two different brands of conservatism.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. But was it a ruling by elitists for the elite?

MS. YEAGER: O'Connor said she was trying to protect -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

MR. CARNEY: I think it was a complicated ruling. A 5-4 decision that's that bitter shows how tenuous it is.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Which side has the more merits, individual rights or government-sponsored economic development? Jay Carney.

MR. CARNEY: I think individual rights in this case.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Holly.

MS. YEAGER: I lean the other way -- government rights.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

MS. YEAGER: Yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that what you have in Great Britain?

MS. YEAGER: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: Currently, obviously individual rights, because there's no problem with economic development in America. This is a flourishing economy. There's plenty of land. Development is going on all the time. I could imagine a world in which we would be more concerned about the capacity to get economic activity. But that's not our problem. And so you have to give the tip of the hat to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence Page.

MR. PAGE: Tony and I are in unusual agreement on this, because I think individual rights should be paramount. And the court here simply didn't want to legislate a definition for the common good that they didn't see in the law.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Sandra Day O'Connor is right.

Issue Two: Iraq Backlash.

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From videotape.) This war in Iraq is a grotesque mistake. It is not making America safer, and the American people know it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eight weeks of brutal slaughter has left Iraq battered and bloodied. Fifty-nine percent of the U.S. public now oppose the war, up from 47 percent three and a half months ago. Not only is the electorate disenchanted; so are its representatives. At hearings in both the Senate and the House this week, sparks flew. (Begin videotape.)

SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY (D-MA): Secretary Rumsfeld, as you know, we are in serious trouble in Iraq, and this war has been consistently and grossly mismanaged. And we are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire. Our troops are dying. And there really is no end in sight.

You basically have mismanaged the war and created an impossible situation. In baseball, it's three strikes, you're out. What is it for the secretary of Defense?

DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, that is quite a statement. First let me say that there isn't a person at this table who agrees with you that we're in a quagmire and that there's no end in sight. The fact is, from the beginning of this we have recognized that this is a tough business, it is difficult, that it is dangerous, and that it is not predictable.

SEN. KENNEDY: There have been a series of gross errors and mistakes. Those were on your watch. Those were on your watch. Isn't it time for you to resign?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Senator, I've offered my resignation to the president twice, and he's decided that he would prefer that he not accept it. And that's his call.

(End of videotape.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says support for the war has turned in his state, the overwhelmingly red and pro- Bush South Carolina.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): (From videotape.) In the most patriotic state I can imagine, people are beginning to question. And I don't think it's a blip on the radar screen. I think we have a chronic problem on our hands.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And the military is striking a chord of realism.

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID (commander, U.S. Central Command): (From videotape.) There are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But President Bush is staying the course -- no timetables.

PRESIDENT BUSH: (From videotape.) There are not going to be any timetables. I mean, I've told this to the prime minister. We are there to complete a mission, and it's an important mission. And if that's the mission, then why would you say to the enemy, you know, "Here's the timetable; just go ahead and wait us out"?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is the president overstating what a timetable delivers to the enemy? Holly Yeager.

MS. YEAGER: I think he is. I mean, it makes sense on the president's part, on the administration's part, not to announce when troops are leaving and what flights they're headed out on. But as Lindsey Graham made clear, he does need to provide the American people with some set of accomplishments to be met and some expected time when some of those things are going to happen. I think there's not infinite patience here, and I think there's no evidence that the way we're doing it now is stemming the flow of the insurgents in Iraq.

MR. BLANKLEY: Nothing could be more incorrect and more dangerous than setting --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A timetable?

MR. BLANKLEY: -- a timetable. And worse than that, the constant calling for a timetable by the opposition in this country, both in the media and in Congress, has now created the perceived judgment in much of the world, including, I suspect, amongst our enemy --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think they needed that, to convey that?

MR. BLANKLEY: They now think that there may be one, even though the president clearly doesn't have one and won't have one. And he'll stay that course until January of 2009.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, I've got one for you right here. This is the Iraq timetable -- August the 15th, which the president referred to, seven weeks away, they have to produce a constitution in seven weeks, with the state of affairs as we've seen them over the past week; October the 15th, 16 weeks away, a referendum on that constitution; assuming it passed, December the 15th, 25 weeks away, elections for a new government.

MR. PAGE: Right. And that's --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How realistic is that?

MR. PAGE: You know something, John? After we saw how successful their election was earlier this year, I'm optimistic about them meeting those deadlines. But whether Bush sets a timetable or not, Congress has a timetable, which is next year's elections.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, they don't.

MR. PAGE: And I think we can see, by the statements coming out of Lindsey Graham and various others, that there's a great deal of concern about will things be as bad next year as they are now? (Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, hold on. Let me hear from Jay.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let's be realistic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, hold it for a minute.

MR. BLANKLEY: Let's be realistic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please.

MR. BLANKLEY: Unless the Republican Congress cuts off the appropriations, as the Democratic Congress did in 1975, Congress is not going to have any voice in this decision. And I'll bet you they're not going to cut off appropriations for soldiers --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay --

MR. PAGE: They're not going to --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on.

MR. CARNEY: No man is an island.

MR. PAGE: I'm sorry; we've got a little --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay, please.

MR. CARNEY: Look, the president's problem is not -- his problem is a credibility issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who? Who?

MR. CARNEY: The president of the United States. Tony's right; there is not -- it is militarily unwise to announce timetables.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How unwise?

MR. CARNEY: But the president -- when Donald Rumsfeld stands in front of Congress and says, "We always said it would be hard," that is simply a misrepresentation of the facts and statements on the record in which people were led to believe in this country that this would be a much easier war than it's turned out to be and where there's very much reluctance to admit how much they underestimated the power of the insurgency --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. CARNEY: -- which is why the president is speaking to the nation this coming week on Tuesday night. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The subtext of a lot of what people are saying in the administration, including the president in this last press conference, is the timetable -- the constitution, the ratification of the constitution and the election, and then we will talk about beginning the withdrawal.

MR. BLANKLEY: John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's the timetable.

MR. BLANKLEY: You --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's all there.

MR. CARNEY: But it will never be set.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's all there, and the public will demand it.

MR. BLANKLEY: No, you've been seeing the shimmer of a timetable for two and a half years now. Don't confuse a political timetable, which the president is rigorous -- he wouldn't cancel or delay the elections, and he's not going to cancel the constitution in the next election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, you're confusing my shimmer. (Laughter.)

MR. BLANKLEY: He is never going to equate a political success with a justification for leaving. He's going to leave when we've trained enough Iraqis to take care of themselves.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good. I feel much better now.

Okay, the human toll: U.S. military dead in Iraq, including suicides, 1,729; U.S. military amputeed, wounded, injured, mentally ill, all now out of Iraq, 41,450; Iraqi civilians dead, 112,000.

Exit question: What is the extent to which public opinion will determine when withdrawal begins? Is it -- multiple choice -- A, controlling? B, great? C, moderate? D, slight? E, zero? Keep those in proper sequence, Jay.

MR. CARNEY: I think it's great. I think public opinion matters a great deal. A poll tomorrow will not lead to the withdrawal of troops the next day. But over the course of months and a year or more, public opinion will have a great impact on how this -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the show of fortitude that the president is presenting is -- the radar screen is going on inside his head as to when he can get out. Is that right?

MR. CARNEY: He needs to both make his case and hope for positive developments on the ground.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because he's eyeing 2006 and the elections to the House of Representatives. And they're going to --

MR. CARNEY: He's eyeing the sustainability of a military conflict that potentially the public won't support, which affects recruitment and all sorts of other things.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Holly, quickly.

MS. YEAGER: I think it's lower. It's moderate. And it's hard for Democrats to push too hard without getting back to their normal problems on defense.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, just give me a --

MR. BLANKLEY: Somewhere between D and E under this president, between slight and zero. Under other presidents it would be great.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?

MR. PAGE: I think it's great, but it won't be obvious to us and the general public. But he's being called by people around the country who are saying, you know, "We've got a lot of injured and dead constituents coming home. We need to do something."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, it's one, two, three, great. Deal with it. (Laughter.)

Issue Three: Bush's Dick Durbin.

KARL ROVE (White House deputy chief of staff): (From videotape.) Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Karl Rove's comments this week at a Republican fund-raiser in New York City, blocks from ground zero, caused a furor, similar to the Dick Durbin Guantanamo uproar, this time with Democrats testy, not the Republicans.

Democrats immediately insisted on an apology or his resignation, with New York's two senators leading the demand.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): (From videotape.) Karl Rove took something that is virtually sacred to New Yorkers, which is what happened at 9/11, and politicized it. SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY): (From videotape.) And to have someone like Karl Rove go to New York City and say what he said is just almost unimaginable.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Rove said Democrats acted like sissies after 9/11, whereas conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and prepared for war. What proves Rove wrong?

MR. PAGE: Well, how about the congressional vote? I mean, this is gratitude for you.

MR. CARNEY: Exactly.

MR. PAGE: Democrats in Congress rose up to a man and a woman in solidarity behind Bush, solidarity they've come to regret in many cases.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they're talking about using force in Iraq.

MR. PAGE: Of course. They were responding with -- this country was unified after 9/11.

MR. BLANKLEY: He didn't --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish.

MR. PAGE: And now we see this disunity because Karl, bless his heart, just can't resist going for his base.

MR. BLANKLEY: He didn't --

MR. PAGE: He forgets about the vast majority of Americans out here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it ungrateful for Karl Rove -- excuse me; I'm trying to keep him quiet at the same time.

MR. PAGE: I can't blame you at all. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it ungrateful for the Democrats -- for the Republicans to say these things about the Democrats, in view of the Democratic support, unlimited support of the president even under the ersatz grounds of WMD?

MR. BLANKLEY: You have fallen into the same trap the Democrats fell in. He didn't say Democrats. He said liberals. And they all defensively thought it was themselves.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, is that it?

MR. PAGE: Oh, gee whiz. Where'd they get that idea? (Laughs.) MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Holly, your thoughts on that?

MR. BLANKLEY: The Democrats have been claiming they're not liberal for years.

MR. PAGE: How did people ever get that? Stop saying what Democrats say, because this is typical conservative --

MR. BLANKLEY: He said liberal and he didn't say Democrat.

MR. PAGE: -- to frame the debate in such a way to put words into liberals' and Democrats' mouths.

MR. BLANKLEY: He said liberal.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to move on. Is Rove speaking for the president?

MS. YEAGER: I think he is. I think it's what we heard in the presidential campaign, trying to separate the two parties in the war on terror.

MR. CARNEY: Of course he is. Not only is Rove speaking for the president. The White House very forcefully backed Rove, defended him, and said that he spoke accurately. They're hiding behind this notion that Rove was speaking about MoveOn.org. But clearly --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was he out of line?

MR. CARNEY: You know, it's politics. Politics ain't beanbag. I think the Democrats --

MR. PAGE: An old Chicago expression. Thank you.

MR. CARNEY: There's a little hysteria going on.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Republicans have accused the Democrats of having a vendetta against Christians. You know, that's in the same league, isn't it?

MR. BLANKLEY: No, that was one back-bencher.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Should Rove apologize? Quickly, yes or no.

MR. CARNEY: No. MS. YEAGER: No.

MR. BLANKLEY: No.

MR. PAGE: The longer Rove doesn't apologize, the more delight Democrats have, because the pressure is off Durbin now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Five no's. Karl is free.

Issue Four: Big Mac Tax.

That's what it's called -- a 2 percent tax on fast food proposed by the mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick. If approved, the 2 percent tax would be added to all items sold at fast-food establishments -- french fries, chicken nuggets, even salads. It would also make Detroit the first city in the nation to specifically target fast-food operations.

The mayor says he wants to curb obesity. In 2004, Detroit was rated the nation's fattest city. More importantly, Kilpatrick says, the city is in a $300 million deficit hole, and taxing fast food helps get out of that hole. The tax would net $17 million over one year.

Critics say the tax unfairly targets poor people, who consume fast food, and it also unfairly targets obese people. The fast-food industry isn't happy either. They say it will stunt business. Not so, says Kilpatrick. "If you've got to pay $2.03 now and you used to pay $1.99, you're not going to stop eating the Big Mac, Happy Meal, or any of that food."

Question: We tax cigarettes, which are disproportionately consumed by the poor and minorities. So why not tax fast food also?

MR. PAGE: Well, the easy answer for that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I ask you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Right. Well, the easy answer for that is, as Jack Kemp always says, if you want less of something, tax it. Cigarette taxes prove to be good for our health because they lower cigarette sales. But Detroit doesn't need the lowering of sales of anything. The city has been in economic doldrums for three decades now. And Kwame Kilpatrick likes to call himself the hip-hop mayor. He's not going to endear himself to the hip-hop crowd by taxing Big Macs.

MR. BLANKLEY: He's also inconsistent. On the one hand, he's saying, "We're going to tax fattening food" on the theory that it's not good to eat fattening food. On the next hand he says, "But it's not going to have any effect on sales," which means it's not having the nanny-state effect that it says. Now, this is wrong for three reasons. One, because it's a tax increase; two, because it's a nanny-state tax increase; and three, because it's not coming to terms with the reason for their deficit, which is a lack of economic activity, not the excessive (availability?) of taxes. So on all fronts it's a bad idea.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If overeating and obesity create debt problems for the public weal and cost problems, is it not then equitable to inflict a tax with the certain knowledge, the probable knowledge, that it will be disproportionately afflicted on the poor and the unfortunate?

MS. YEAGER: It might be equitable. I think Seattle couldn't go for a cappuccino tax. I find it hard to believe that Detroit is going to go for a fat tax.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, that means a heavier draw on Medicare and Medicaid if sickness develops from --

MR. CARNEY: But Tony's point, which I think is accurate, is that the mayor himself refutes his own logic in instituting a tax. The problem of obesity is too large to be addressed by a 2 percent tax on Big Macs.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Jay.

MR. CARNEY: The Washington Nationals will win the pennant in the National League.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Holly.

MS. YEAGER: Protectionists will complain, but the U.S. government won't stand in the way of a state-owned Chinese company buying a U.S. oil company.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.

MR. BLANKLEY: The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is effectively dead, and within a month or two everybody will have to accept that sad fact.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Watch for some more embarrassing Abu Ghraib pictures to surface soon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Turkey's bid for entrance into the European Union is dead, as is the EU constitution. Would you go along with that, Jay?

MR. CARNEY: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think the constitution is alive? MR. CARNEY: Well, I think (they'll be?) in a constitution. It'll have to be rewritten.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I'm talking about that constitution.

MR. CARNEY: Okay, I agree with you there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Turkey's bid?

MR. CARNEY: No, it's not dead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not dead? It'll come back?

MR. CARNEY: Eventually.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When will it come back?

MR. BLANKLEY: Twelfth of Never. (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY: In my lifetime.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it's dead?

MS. YEAGER: The constitution dead; Turkey, no.

MR. BLANKLEY: They're both dead.

MR. PAGE: It's going to be a while; Turkey eventually. But right now it's not the time.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Next week, will the commander-in-chief galvanize the nation in his televised Iraq speech Tuesday night? Bye bye.

END.