THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
MICHAEL BARONE, TONY BLANKLEY,
PATRICK BUCHANAN, AND ELEANOR CLIFT,
TAPED FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF OCTOBER 31 TO NOVEMBER 1, 1998
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: Forget Congress; it's the governors, stupid. Election Day, November 3rd, this coming Tuesday, elections will be held for governors in 70 percent of the United States.
(Screen shows United States map that changes color according to the commentary.) Here's a map that will show the current ratio of Democratic to Republican governors. That's today, before the election. Thirty-two states now have Republicans as governors. Seventeen states have Democrats as governors. One state, Maine, has an independent governor -- no political party.
Okay, the 32 states with Republican governors: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Now, the 17 states with Democratic governors: Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Washington.
Okay. Thirty-six states this coming Tuesday will hold elections for governor. Twenty-four are Republican; 11 are Democratic. Maine's independent is also up for reelection.
Question: How many governors will Republicans gain in next Tuesday's elections, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: We will gain a net of four -- the Republicans will, John. We're going to pick up Florida. Jeb Bush is going to win very, very big. We're going to pick up Georgia. We're going to pick up Nebraska and Nevada and Hawaii. I'm afraid we're going to lose the great state of California. And it all depends on Fob James coming home in Alabama.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Buchanan says four.
Eleanor, I notice that you're wearing red -- (laughter) -- and it matches the red Republican governors.
MS. CLIFT: Right. But one of those red slivers on the left of that map called "California" is going to turn blue like your jacket, John! (Laughter.) And California is the crown jewel of the electorate and has --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me guess. I guess you're saying a pick-up of two governors by Republicans?
MS. CLIFT: Right. But they're going to lose California, which has big implications for redistricting, which has implications for the 2000 presidential race. And another thing, all of these Republican governors, they are doing well and they're going to do better because they're buoyed by the same economy that's been buoying President Clinton. They're also running like Clinton; they champion education, they run centrist governments, and they don't champion hot button issues -- social issues.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right; the sensible center.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, what do you say?
MR. BLANKLEY: I'm very conservatively coming in at a pick-up of two, but the potential could be there to pick up as many as five, and it depends how vulnerable Republicans do in South Carolina and Alabama and New Mexico. So a minimum of two, perhaps as much as five. Interestingly, the low point for Republicans was 13 after the Watergate, and the Democrats could easily get slipped to that point.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hm. Blankley says a modest two.
MR. BARONE: I think that the Republicans are going to gain a net three. And I think that it does -- I think it has great significance and warrants being at the top of this program. What's most significant here, John, they're going to end up -- even despite losing California -- be governors of 71 percent of all Americans. That's a very significant number.
Republican governors in big states like New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Texas, they have no significant opposition. And contrary to what Eleanor said, they have been governing in a way that is building consensus, but it's consensus that's moved to the right on issues: school choice in Pennsylvania, tax cutting in New York, welfare reform in Michigan and Wisconsin, tort reform in Texas. That's a significant change. Crime is down -- going down as rapidly as it went up during the years '65-'75. Welfare is going down and taxes are down. It's not just an economy that's buoying them, it's changes they made in policy.
MS. CLIFT: You know, last time I noticed, George W. Bush in Texas was running more on education, a core Democratic issue, than tort reform!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We've got to get --
MR. BARONE: He's running on education, yes; he's running on vouchers in education --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let me ask you this: Don't you think that the three seats that the Republicans will pick up will nullify the Electoral College votes of California, which will go, we all believe, Democratic in this coming election? We're projecting ahead to the year 2000.
MR. BARONE: I don't think that it's necessarily true, although -- Republicans are going to have to do something about Latino votes if they're going to carry California. But Florida, Georgia, the offset is -- you know, there is a little advantage to the Democrats in that, but it's substantially offset, basically, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, McLaughlin has to give you the answer now, and the answer -- Barone says three, Barone is right, McLaughlin says three. And on your screen you can see our individual projections here.
Now let's turn to us as a group. That is, collectively, we predict a net Republican gain of three governorships, from 32 today to 35. So, after November 3rd, the 35 Republican governors will govern over 70 percent of the 50 United States, as Mr. Barone has said. Now.
MR. BUCHANAN: Nine of the 10 largest states will be Republican.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Correct. Now, before we move on, we want to point out that Republican governors are invaluable from three different points of view. Would you name one?
MR. BLANKLEY: Their ability to control or influence reapportionment when it comes up, which will determine both congressional seats and state legislative seats for the next decade.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that big?
MR. BLANKLEY: That's very substantial. And Texas, particularly, because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're talking about redistricting, aren't you?
MR. BLANKLEY: Redistricting, absolutely. Republicans will be able to probably pick up four to eight seats in Texas alone.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eight congressional seats.
MR. BLANKLEY: Absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the manner in which the redistricting occurs.
MR. BLANKLEY: Maximizing the party's advantage within the law.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, historically has gerrymandering, if I can use that word, which is a vulgar term for redistricting --
MR. BARONE: It was named after Elbridge Gerry --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A Rhode Island politician.
MR. BARONE: Well, Massachusetts, really. He was vice president -- second vice president under James Madison.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I thought he did some politics in Rhode Island.
But continuing here, is it not true historically that Democrats have benefited by vastly more gerrymandering than the Republicans have? Is that true false?
MR. BARONE: In the 1970 and '80 cycles, the Democrats benefited tremendously. The late Congressman Phil Burton of California was a real master at redistricting things. He created --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. What is the second benefit of a Republican as governor?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I'll tell you, in the year 2000, if you've got nine of the 10 largest states under control of Republican governors, it's an enormous advantage for the Republican candidate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, because he's got all the state patronage. He's got a huge organization right there in place.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He can turn out the vote?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about money?
MR. BUCHANAN: They all get the same amount in the general election.
MS. CLIFT: It may be an advantage, but in 1980 I think there were a lot of Democratic governors; as I recall, Ronald Reagan won 49 states. So, you know, governors can't necessarily serve up the population.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What she says is true. You can have all the governors in the world, but that didn't control the election in 1996.
Let me ask you this. The question is, Jeb Bush in Florida, is he going to win with his -- matching his brother in Texas?
MR. BLANKLEY: He is going to win, and he's going to win big. He's going to be up about 16 points.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. BLANKLEY: And he may, therefore, be -- can provide some coattails.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Which one of the governors who are running or present governors or prospective governors will achieve national stardom, do you believe?
MR. BARONE: Well obviously, George --
MS. CLIFT: Oh, John, that's a soft ball. (Laughs.)
MR. BARONE: -- George W. Bush in Texas is an obvious one.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But besides him?
MR. BARONE: Besides him?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Taking him for granted.
MR. BARONE: Well, I think Jeb Bush will because he takes very interesting views on public policy --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you have got to reach beyond the Bushes.
MR. BARONE: -- but --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So both Bushes are going to win?
MR. BARONE: I think that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We all agree on that?
MR. BARONE: -- governors --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We all agree on that?
MR. BLANKLEY (?): Yes.
MR. BARONE: John, Governors, like John Engler and Tommy Thompson, have really made welfare reform happen in America.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am talking about national stardom.
MR. BARONE: That is the national stardom.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am talking about a national career.
MS. CLIFT: Well, there are only three --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shall I tell you?
MS. CLIFT: -- there are only three women governors now, and there's going to be at least one more and possibly three or four more. They are going to get some attention.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is George Pataki. True or false?
MS. CLIFT: Boy -- (laughs) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am so floored you did that. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Well, if Vice --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'll give you another name. I'll give you another name.
MS. CLIFT: -- if Vice President --
MR. BUCHANAN: A lot of what you say floors me, John. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another name?
MR. BUCHANAN: Okay.
MR. BARONE: Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A name from the past? We know him from the past, Evan Bayh --
MS. CLIFT: Well, he is not --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- carrying a great name.
MR. BUCHANAN: He is running in the Senate.
MS. CLIFT: -- he's not a governor, though. He is senator.
MR. BARONE: He is a former governor running for senator.
MR. BUCHANAN: He is going to the Senate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A former governor running for senator.
MR. BARONE: The basis of his popularity is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. I'll change that a little bit -- a former governor.
MR. BARONE: -- but on the basis of his popularity as a conservative Democrat who held down taxes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is a Jewish person running for governor?
MR. BARONE: Well, obviously in Hawaii --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Hawaii.
MR. BARONE: -- Linda Lingle, the Republican candidate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are there so few Jewish people running for governor?
MR. BARONE: I don't have an answer to that question, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have an answer? (Laughter.) Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
(Cross talk, laughter.)
MR. : John? (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the answer to that?
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't know the answer to that, John. (Laughs.)
(Cross talk, laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't know? (Laughter.)
MR. BARONE: But the fact is you have had Jewish governors elected --
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, wait a minute. There is a fellow in Ohio. Isn't the fellow from Ohio -- is the fellow in Ohio -- Fisher?
MR. BARONE: Lee Fisher, I think, is Jewish, but I am not sure.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think he is Jewish. And, look, he has got a chance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MS. CLIFT: Why is that a subject that fits -- fit for discussion? I --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I was just -- I just --
MS. CLIFT: -- (didn't quite get it ?) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- (inaudible) --
MR. BARONE: We elected Jewish governors back in 1932 --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a woman by the name of Lingle --
MR. BLANKLEY: -- in Illinois.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is going to become the new governor of Hawaii.
MS. CLIFT: Right. Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And Eleanor deferred to me that --
MR. BARONE: And the first Republican elected since 1959.
MR. BLANKLEY: A Hawaiian American princess, John.
(Laughter, cross talk.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, okay, "mclaughlin.com".
Last week's poll, the ratio of Republicans to Democrats in the Senate after this coming Tuesday's election -- get this; 60 percent say 60 or more Republicans in the Senate, making the ratio 60 Republicans, of course, and 40 Democrats.
New online question of the week coming up, "How many governors will be Republican after Tuesday's election?"; our question here today. Today, there are 32 Republican governors.
When we come back, will the Republicans's new TV commercials on Lewinsky perjury, obstruction of justice, backlash or "front lash" or no lash at all?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: "Mi casa, su casa."
The U.S. House of Representatives is made up of 435 members. Republicans number 228; Democrats, 206; independent, one. Question: How many seats will the Republicans pick up, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: We will pick up 12 and we will go to 240, John. There's a key poll out which shows if the turnout is low, around 31 percent, it's 51-41 voting pattern, pro-Republican.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Buchanan says 12. Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: Average pickup during a midseason election like this for the party out of power is generally 26 seats. The Republicans are going to do probably under 10; I'm picking six -- that's a victory for Democrats.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughing) You see where she's setting the ball?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Twenty-six, at the outer limits. Of any arithmetic on --
MS. CLIFT: Well, I give Gingrich 17.
MR. BLANKLEY: The reason that's the case is because Clinton lost his six-year election in this first -- the election in '94 -- when Republicans picked up 52 seats and took a lot off the table. I'm predicting very conservatively a seven-seat pick up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Blankley says seven; what do you say, Michael?
MR. BARONE: I say eight seats after counting it district by district, and I think if the Democrats keep having victories like Eleanor, they'll disappear as a party around 2028.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barone says eight seats, McLaughlin says 13. I'm not a wimp-out like you, Buchanan. (Laughter.) On your screen you can see our individual projections. See it? Now, as a group, that is, collectively, we predict a net Republican House gain of nine seats.
Okay, the upper chamber -- 34 seats are up this coming Tuesday; one-third of the Senate. Last week, Buchanan said Republicans will gain six seats; Clift said Republicans will gain three seats; Blankley said Republicans will gain four seats; Barone said Republicans will gain four seats; McLaughlin said Republicans will gain five seats. Pat, do you want to revise your number?
MR. BUCHANAN: Thanks for letting me take the test again, Father. (Laughter.) John, there's no doubt, I think now, we're going to lose California. I think Barbara Boxer's going to win. However, Boozman down in Arkansas, I'm going to change and pick him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Another Boozman man! (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: Another Boozman man, and I also think Inglis now has a fighting chance against the fellow we all predicted, Hollings in South Carolina. I'm way out on a limb; I'm going out a little further with seven-seat pickup.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's commendable testosterone there. (Laughter.) Buchanan goes from a six- to a seven-seat net gain for Republicans. Right on, Pat! Eleanor, do you want to revise your number?
MS. CLIFT: Well, I'm glad Pat's staying out there with all the people predicting the filibuster-proof Senate. So -- and carry on, Pat. I'm predicting two, and I think Chuck Schumer is finally going to do away with Al D'Amato in New York.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, Clift goes from a three to a two-seat net gain for Republicans. Tony, do you want to revise your number?
MR. BLANKLEY: No, I'm sticking with my four, although I'm going with Neumann in Wisconsin.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael, do you want to stay with your -- revise your number of last week?
MR. BARONE: Well usually I don't like to be wrong more than once, but I think California has got to get me down to three Republican gains.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay Barone goes from a four- to three-seat net gain for Republicans. Another whimp-out. (Laughter.)
Last week McLaughlin said Republicans will pick up five seats. McLaughlin now picks up Democrat Boxer -- picks Democrat Boxer over Republican Fong in California and Republican Ensign over Democrat Reid in Nevada. So McLaughlin stays at a five-seat net gain for Republicans.
Here are the individual predictions last week as compared to this weekend. Okay, last weekend's Group tally, that is the Group collectively, gave the Republicans a net gain of five seats. With the revisions, the Group now has scaled back its prediction to a Republican net gain of three seats. Therefore, in 1999, two months from now, the new ratio of Republicans to Democrats in the U.S. Senate will be 58 Republicans, 42 Democrats.
Issue three: October Surprise. The Republican National Committee launched an 11th hour $10 million advertising blitz this week. News reports claim that the commercials are designed to turn next Tuesday's election into a referendum on Bill Clinton. We'll see about that in a moment. But here's ad number one.
(Republican political advertisement shown.)
NARRATOR: (From videotape.) In every election there is a big question to think about. This year the question is: Should we reward Bill Clinton? Should we make the Democrats more powerful? Should we reward Democrat plans for more big government, more big spending? Should we reward their opposition to more welfare reform? And should we reward not telling the truth? That is the question of this election: Reward Bill Clinton or vote Republican.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this Republican advertising good politics?
MR. BLANKLEY: I think it's a little bit of a crap shoot, but I think probably yes; I think they're going to reinforce their base and they may appeal -- although it's not clear -- they may appeal to some potentially marginal votes. Either way, it's about a 3 or 4 percent pick-up or loss.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, do you sense this energizing the Democratic base?
MS. CLIFT: Well, the Republicans thought they could just drop this into a few specific districts --
MR. BLANKLEY: No they didn't.
MS. CLIFT: -- and excite the base. But they're going to help Democrats galvanize. And the fact that Newt Gingrich masterminds this -- his pollster, his political advisers; he's out there publicly saying the election shouldn't be about the president's behavior. He's like --
MR. BLANKLEY: The leaders of the party organize the campaign -- (laughter) --
MS. CLIFT: Wait a second! He's like -- he's like Lex Luthor --
MR. BLANKLEY: Clinton's involved in -- (laughter) --
MS. CLIFT: Wait! Let me finish! He is like Lex Luthor out there pretending he's respectable, then he's in some cave somewhere developing this strategy! (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: It is respectable for politicians to run campaigns!
MS. CLIFT: Fine! It's his campaign! That's what I'm saying!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here we go. We -- (cross talk ) -- hold on.
Pat? Pat? Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is a soft ad, but it has focused the term "big government" on the Republican base and get people thinking Clinton when they walk into the poll.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shall I tell you what's going on? The focus groups have shown that there's a lot of negative energy that doesn't know where to be put in the Republicans and in the ticket-splitters in the independent ranks. So what this does, it tells you what to do with that negative energy. You take that electrical political power and when you throw that lever, it leaves your hand and it goes right into those Republican candidates, and that is the satisfaction you get against Bill Clinton for what he's done and for the Republic, to reconstitute --
MS. CLIFT: Except --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In other words, it gives a name, a focus, and an objective to that energy.
MR. BARONE: Well, I think it also makes the sort of check-and-balance argument, which the Republicans also made in House elections in '96. People tend to want to check on one party or another in both cases. I think one thing, though; it doesn't give the Republicans any kind of leg up in 2000, when they won't have Bill Clinton to bat around anymore.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the Democrats' response. Here's the first ad of the Democrats.
ANNOUNCER FOR DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN AD: (From videotape.) This is no ordinary time. Republicans have made removing the president from office their top priority. They want to waste millions of our tax dollars on endless investigations.
Democrats believe this election is about solving our real problems: protecting Social Security, patients' rights, smaller class sizes and more teachers.
Haven't our families and our children had enough partisan investigation? Republicans: So intent on attacking the president, they've forgotten about us. Next Tuesday, vote Democratic and tell Congress we're ready to move on.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is this Democratic response to the Republican ad effective, Michael Barone?
MR. BARONE: I think it probably helps with the Democratic base and with people that have been saying this much anyway. The fact is, I don't think the production values on this ad -- or, for that matter, the Republican one -- was (sic) very clear -- are very good, and I don't think the ad was a particularly great contribution there.
MS. CLIFT: It's a gimmick. They don't have any money to have it run. They just are counting it to be shown a few places, like this. (Laughter.) That's it. It doesn't really matter.
MR. BUCHANAN: It's a blah ad. (Laughs.) This really is blah.
MS. CLIFT: It's talking points.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, of course, the president's attention was called to this, and he had comments to make about the Republican -- these Republican ads. Did you happen to see that, Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, I did.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Now here is the pilgrim on his spiritual journey.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) I think that it's fair for a person to be judged on his whole record. I've never -- I'm not trying to sugar-coat the fact that I made a mistake and that I didn't want anybody to know about it.
I hope the American people have seen in me over these last few weeks a real commitment to doing what I told them I would do from the beginning, to -- trying to atone to them for what happened and to try to redouble my efforts to be a good president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Bill Clinton's quote, unquote, "atonement" more of a political journey than a spiritual journey? In other words, do you think this is faux -- faux, F-A-U-X -- atonement? Or is it real atonement?
MR. BARONE: John, John, the fact is that there wouldn't have been any confession, much less atonement, if Monica Lewinsky had taken her dress to the cleaners. I think this is --
MS. CLIFT: You know --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, but wait a minute --
MR. BARONE: -- this is just so much --
MR. BUCHANAN: Wait a minute, John. That -- I mean, I'm sorry, but that's -- that is -- look, I don't know whether -- what his soul or heart's like.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: But that is effective in the softness of the message and in what he said.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: And also the results speak for themselves -- a budget agreement, Middle East peace, and a space shot that we should all take pleasure and pride in. It's all good for the president, for incumbents.
MR. BLANKLEY: The question was whether it was sincere or not, not whether it was effective. We understand that guile works with credulity.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I can't stare into his heart. I accept it as sincere. I think I --
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, I'm sure you as accept it as sincere --
MR. BARONE: Surprise --
MS. CLIFT: Well, and I accept you as sincere as well.
MR. BLANKLEY: I got bridges and swampland to sell you, too.
No, clearly based on his track record --
MS. CLIFT: Well, I wouldn't buy it from you, Tony! (Laughter.)
MR. BLANKLEY: Well, if the price were right, you would.
MS. CLIFT: No, I wouldn't.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Tony, with those -- with those socks on, Tony, I might not buy from you either! (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: Right!
MR. BLANKLEY: It's my Halloween socks.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can the camera see those socks? Really -- (laughs) --
(Close-up of Mr. Blankley's orange and black socks.)
MR. BUCHANAN: The camera --
MR. BLANKLEY: It's Halloween socks. (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: I'm going to move this chair a little bit here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's it going to be, trick or treat, tonight, Tony?
MR. BLANKLEY: It's going to be a trick for the Democrats and a treat for the Republicans. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that was a trick we just saw from the pilgrim?
MR. BLANKLEY: Of course. While it's possible he was telling the truth, it's unlikely, based on past record.
MR. BUCHANAN: Just let me -- look, that is very -- I mean, looking in the camera, the average guy looking at that says, "Look, the guy fouled up, but he's obviously sorry about it."
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, no one says he's not good at what he does.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well --
MS. CLIFT: No, forgive -- yeah, but forgiveness is something that people who profess to be these great religious devotees and Christians -- where is the forgiveness? It's never on this set -- among some people. (Laughter, cross talk.)
MS. CLIFT: I meant Pat -- Pat speaks from the heart on this one.
MR. BLANKLEY: Because first there must be genuine --
MR. BUCHANAN: Don't get me in trouble, Eleanor! Don't get me in trouble! (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: Right.
(Laughter, cross talk.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible due to laughter) -- not sufficiently religious on this set --
MR. BLANKLEY: Let us pray --
(Laughter, cross talk.)
MR. BARONE: Well, I mean, I didn't know there was a religious test for appearing on this program, John. (Laughter continues.)
The fact is that -- you know, I think Tony's right. The fact is that Bill Clinton is good at turning on emotions. We've also seen him on camera when he's in his mournful mood, and then he starts making jokes when he doesn't realize the camera's on him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Okay, central casting. We have the picture. We'll be right back with predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the IMF and the U.S. are going to get together a $45 billion bailout of Brazil.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Brazil?
MR. BUCHANAN: But the problem is that Cardoso down there is not going to be able to get this austerity program, with taxes and social service cuts. We're going to kick the can down the road. I think there's real problems ahead in Brazil. This ain't going to solve it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's not going to be the fire wall, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.) It's not going to be the -- no, they'll kick the can down the road. It'll wind up next year or the year after --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean they're trying to build a fire wall around Brazil to prevent the flu from reaching us.
MR. BUCHANAN: They can't -- they're going to -- they've got a deficit of 7-1/2 percent of GDP. It's gone.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: The Democrats are going to sweep all the constitutional offices in California -- attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller -- largely on the strength of getting a lopsided share of the Latino vote.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the coattails of Gray Davis?
MS. CLIFT: Lieutenant governor, too. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes?
MR. BLANKLEY: In December the congressional Republicans are going to put together -- or attempt to put together -- a much bolder legislative agenda to announce for the next Congress.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael?
MR. BARONE: Democrat Geoffrey Fieger, Dr. Kevorkian's former lawyer, will lose the governorship of Michigan by the biggest margin since Fred Green (sp) beat William Comstock in 1928.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Defeated by?
MR. BARONE: Defeated by John Engler, who will win a third term.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. The Oslo peace accord deadline will be extended two years from May '99 to May 2001. Pretty good prediction, huh, Pat? Pretty audacious.
Next week: Election Day; and the Dalai Lama comes to Washington.
Happy Halloween weekend. Trick or treat. Bye-bye.
®FC¯END REGULAR SEGMENT; BEGIN PBS SEGMENT
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four. Bulletin: Republicans mimic Democrats.
GOV. GEORGE BUSH (R-TX): (From videotape.) I've laid out a specific agenda to teach every child to read.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What Texas Governor George W. Bush, son of the former president, is talking about is education. It used to be that when a Republican candidate referred to schools, he or she was talking about prayer, not reading programs. That was then. There's a new trend. Republicans are sidelining their traditional core issues -- school prayer, lower taxes, smaller government, even abortion. Instead, their focus is on education, health care, even the environment. Republicans now sound like Democrats.
GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R-MI): (From videotape.) I've launched a reading initiative to make sure that every child in Michigan is a good reader by the time they're done with the third grade.
GOV. TOMMY THOMPSON (R-WI): (From videotape.) Wisconsin is leading the way in providing quality health care for every citizen.
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R-NY): (From videotape.) Teddy Roosevelt preserved open space at the turn of this century; we're doing it for you, the children of the next century.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Republicans are stealing pages from Bill Clinton's playbook, moving towards what some call the sensible center path, compassionate pragmatism. Is this smart politics?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's compassionate conservatism, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's what you ran on?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, that's what Bush is running on. Yes --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are you going to run on next year? Have you made up your mind yet? (Laughter.) What are you going to call it? You called it compassionate something, didn't you, the last time?
MR. BUCHANAN: Conservatism with a heart, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, that's it. Very good. Very good.
MR. BUCHANAN: All right, now look, here's what you're doing. What you have there is you have governors. They are responsible for education and issues like that, and so that's why they deal with them rather than national defense, which are Republican issues at the national level. But there's no doubt about it; both parties focus grouped the same swing voters, let's say between 40 and 60 percent. They have the same concerns; they take their base, basically they say we're going to win that, and they're reaching into the Senate which is the swing vote in election, which is natural and good politics.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think -- don't you think the parties are now quite homogenized? I mean, you've even got Democrats stealing the Republicans' wedge issues.
MR. BARONE: Well, you fight -- sure, issues that work, people steal. I think what you're seeing here, John, though, is the mood is the same -- a consensus-minded mood. The policies are different and to the right. George W. Bush is asking for faith-based institutions to provide welfare services; the Clinton administration is against it. Other governors are calling for school choice; the Clinton administration is against it. These governors got elected by narrow margins at first; they were wedge issues, very controversial. Now they have made the conservatism --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.
MR. BARONE: -- the consensus.
MR. BLANKLEY: This isn't just governors; it's happening worldwide. The left has conceded the marketplace issues to conservatism and therefore taken that fight off the table, and conservatives, whether it's in England or whether it's in governors' offices or congressional offices, are having to engage in that central issue because they've already won the other issue.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's interesting -- how do you read this?
MS. CLIFT: You guys can put the conservative label on everything, but the point is they're taking issues that women respond to and they're talking about education while Newt Gingrich brags about cutting money for building new schools.
MR. BARONE: He doesn't brag about that. That's just not true. (Laughter.)
MS. CLIFT: He bragged about killing that money.