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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN PANEL: PATRICK BUCHANAN, MSNBC; ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK; MONICA CROWLEY, SYNDICATED RADIO COMMENTATOR; CLARENCE PAGE, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE TAPED: FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2008 BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF APRIL 27-28, 2008

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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Stayin' Alive.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY, Democratic presidential candidate): (From videotape.) Some people counted me out and said to drop out. But the American people -- (chorus of boos) -- well, the American people don't quit, and they deserve a president who doesn't quit either.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary's staying power has paid off. She gained a double-digit victory in Pennsylvania and she rejuvenated the possibility of the Democratic nominee and our next president being, for the first time, a woman. Hillary thanked the Pennsylvanians and awarded them her trophy.

SEN. CLINTON: (From videotape.) This is your campaign and this is your victory tonight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Barack's big bucks did not add up in Pennsylvania. He spent over three times more than Hillary did, $3.6 million versus her $1.3 million. And Hillary still zapped Barack with a 10-point margin.

SEN. CLINTON: (From videotape.) We were up against a formidable opponent who outspent us three to one. He broke every spending record in this state trying to knock us out of the race. Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas today.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hillary sees this as more than a single win. She and others see it as a momentum shift. Now she's got the big "mo."

SEN. CLINTON: (From videotape.) Today, here in Pennsylvania, you made your voices heard. And because of you, the tide is turning. (Cheers.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why has Obama's campaign lost traction? What's gone wrong? He had the money advantage. What is not working, Pat Buchanan?

MR. BUCHANAN: Two things, John. And the most important one is he has been unable to connect with middle America. And secondly, the Reverend Wright thing, the "bitter" comment about folks clutching their Bibles and their guns and their bigotry, all of these things have painted Barack Obama out of the mainstream of American politics, where he seemed to be, and something more exotic and left-wing over on the left.

Secondly, she ran a terrific campaign. As Frank Rich said, she reinvented herself as the love child of Joe Hill and Norma Rae -- you know, the gunfighter, tough babe. She ran a wonderful campaign, and she's the sentimental favorite now.

But getting back to earth, the arithmetic is very, very difficult, if not almost impossible, in terms of pledged delegates and super-delegates. She's got to win Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. And even then it's going to be an uphill climb.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What does he mean, Obama's now an exotic? That's what Buchanan said. A political exotic?

MS. CLIFT: Well, when he was winning, we said collectively he had the coolness and the steadiness of a John F. Kennedy. When he's losing, he seems effete. He seems haughty. I mean, he's the same person, but a different set of adjectives are now being attached to him. And she did transform herself into a whiskey-drinking -- (laughter) -- beer chaser.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Belly up to the bar.

MS. CLIFT: Right, exactly, exactly, which is a little bit of a stretch, but it is much better than the ice queen she was before. And she's presenting herself as the candidate for people with genuine needs, who need to look for government, whereas Obama is now looking like he's a luxury for people who don't really need government and want to entertain fantasies about a new kind of politics.

Now the pressure is on him. He's got to win. He's got to win Indiana and North Carolina. And he's got to connect better with the working-class folks. Now, the fact that he doesn't win everybody in Pennsylvania doesn't mean that he can't win them in November.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of this? Obama is an exotic luxury flower. That's what we're getting so far.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, you know, you ran that clip of Hillary Tuesday night giving the speech, where she really was at her best. She looked like a parched sponge that came in contact with water, where she was like a flower that had come back to life.

I think that, look, if she couldn't win Pennsylvania, she can't win anywhere. The state was tailor-made for her demographically. She won across the board. The stunning thing is that she cut into his core constituency -- young people. She also did very well in the Pennsylvania suburbs, which nobody expected her to do, and actually did better in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh than people expected her to do.

The problem for Obama is this was the first post-"bitter" comment election for him. And I think he's been painted, not just by the words that came out of his mouth, but also by the associations he has had over the last 20 years, as somebody who is on the far left. So it's not a question of race. It's a question of whether or not he may be too liberal for the mainstream.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can depreciate the win of Hillary by saying that it was her natural constituency. These are her people. It was an easy win. But one thing you have to take into consideration which neutralizes that, and that is that he spent three times more money.

MS. CROWLEY: That's exactly right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Three times more money.

MS. CROWLEY: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And she evaporated that and she got her 10 points. MS. CROWLEY: That's right. And she did get the 10 points. But she did refashion herself as sort of, like Eleanor said, a Crown Royal-dunking, gun-slung-over-her-shoulder, tractor-riding candidate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he's going to get off the change emphasis and that he's worked that as much as he can? What does he need to do? What's going to revitalize him?

MR. PAGE: Well, it's interesting how Hillary Clinton has reinvented herself. Barack Obama has allowed himself to be reinvented by others. Remember the old days --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where does he go for reinvention?

MR. PAGE: Well, remember the old days when we questioned whether he was black enough? (Laughs.) You know, this is like so long ago. Now he has to show how middle American he is. He has to show -- he hasn't got to put on a flag lapel him; I agree with him. That's a nice symbol. But he really needs to show that he does connect with regular working-class folks, middle American folks.

He has been tagged as what we call in Chicago a Hyde Park liberal, which is the University of Chicago community, where he and Bill Ayers, the former Weatherman, live. And that's not the community that's really emblematic of the neighborhoods of Chicago.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But remember --

MR. PAGE: So I don't think it would be that hard for him to do, but people just haven't seen that side of him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Remember that early question I think I put to you, and you took a little offense at it?

MR. PAGE: Oh, I did?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not that --

MR. PAGE: Something you said, John? I'm shocked.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're not thin-skinned. I wouldn't say that. I'm not saying that. But I said, "Is there a fad phenomenon here with Obama?"

MR. PAGE: Well --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, do you want to rethink that and readdress it here?

MR. PAGE: Well, in terms of fad, I would say that initially people -- he was a Rorschach candidate. People were seeing what they wanted to see in him. I'm fascinated by how my conservative friends are now -- Hillary's looking better to so many conservatives I know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. You're saying you have conservative friends?

MR. PAGE: I have conservative friends. You see them right here, both of them. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Hey, John, that's exactly right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's hear Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: It's hard to be the next new thing for 15 months. And as he says on the stump, babies have been born and are now walking and talking in the time that he's run for president. But he has not connected viscerally with voters on a bread-and-butter level. This is a country that's on the verge of recession; might be in recession. The Democrats are running -- this is an issue that should be made for him. And he's allowed Hillary to run away with the solutions for America.

MR. BUCHANAN: It is not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, I've got to ask you a question.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Michelle should apologize for anything she's said? Do you think Wright should try to recapture his rhetoric?

MR. BUCHANAN: Wright should stay out of it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wright is talking at the National Press Club on Monday. Is he going to --

MR. BUCHANAN: Wright should not --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he going to press the white victim --

MR. BUCHANAN: Wright should not be talking. He's not helping him at all. Michelle --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that really --

MR. BUCHANAN: Michelle's comment about never having been proud of being an American -- these add to it. Look, people talk about --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does Obama need to denounce Wright more than he has?

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, he's going to have to denounce him some more. But, look, this is not about race now. Let me say that. The race thing was decided. He does well in Philly, and there are some people that vote against him. It's good for him in the suburbs with the young people. As Clarence said, this is now social and it is cultural, and he seems not to be one of us. By that I mean middle American the way a Charlie Rangel is middle American. He seems exotic. He seems like he belongs --

MS. CLIFT: Well, I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Wright going to the Press Club is going to help Obama?

MR. PAGE: I think it -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does that really magnify the problem?

MR. PAGE: I think it's not going to hurt, because I think people need to see the other side of Reverend Wright. They've seen the sound bites.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But it keeps the focus on it. It keeps the focus on himself.

MR. PAGE: You know what --

MS. CLIFT: Well, the focus is on him anyway.

MR. PAGE: Yeah, exactly. Eleanor's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the sooner he's forgotten, the better.

MS. CLIFT: Pat and everybody else are not going to let up.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?

MR. PAGE: That's right.

MS. CLIFT: Pat and everybody else are not going to let up on Reverend Wright. And you watch him --

MR. PAGE: Fox TV every night shows him. You know, you're going to see ads in North Carolina and elsewhere. So he's out there.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This restores the -- (laughter). This brings him back.

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's reincarnated.

MS. CLIFT: Reverend Wright --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No one was talking about Wright anymore.

MS. CLIFT: Reverend Wright was one of the ministers brought to the White House when Bill Clinton was in trouble. He's now speaking out on Bill Moyers. He's a soft-spoken, educated man who fought in Vietnam and was a decorated Marine. I think we need --

MR. BUCHANAN: When they bring him back --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let her in, Pat. MS. CROWLEY: Reverend Jeremiah Wright has turned into Barack Obama's Bill Clinton; that is, somebody who ostensibly supports the candidate, and yet at every turn is doing grave damage to his candidate. I mean, I think every time Wright opens his mouth, he reminds voters that there's something jarring there. There's a disconnect between the image that they have of Obama and the reality that may be Obama.

And the bigger point for Obama, the bigger problem, is that he looks more and more like a myth. And by a myth, I mean that if he were really the savior of the Democratic Party, if he were really this messianic figure, he would have put Hillary Clinton away a long time ago and he'd be the clear nominee.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, let me get back to Reverend --

MS. CLIFT: These are two strong candidates.

MR. BUCHANAN: John -- let me get to Reverend Wright, John.

MS. CLIFT: These are two strong candidates.

The Democrats like them both.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let Pat in.

MS. CLIFT: And the fact that they haven't put each other away --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead, Pat.

MS. CLIFT: -- is not necessarily because one is the messiah and the other one is Annie Oakley.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Go ahead.

MR. BUCHANAN: The problem with Reverend Wright is, when he goes down to the Press Club, he's going to have a lot of good statements. And then they're going to show he's got his statements here and what he says, and then they're going to show "God 'blank' America" again.

MR. PAGE: They're already doing it.

MR. BUCHANAN: They'll bring all the tapes back. It regurgitates it.

MR. PAGE: It's already happening.

MR. BUCHANAN: Please go away, Reverend Wright. Leave the guy alone.

MS. CLIFT: It's already happening, right.

MR. PAGE: They're playing it over and over again. I think Sean Hannity makes it a point every night to show it again.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, Bill Ayers is on the Sean Hannity show. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Every time his name is mentioned, it gets shown again. And you know there are going to be attack ads --

MR. BUCHANAN: But why would he come back and give people --

MR. PAGE: Because he's -- MS. CLIFT: Because he is a fully rounded human being. He's not just those sound bites.

MR. BUCHANAN: This is political insanity, Eleanor, to bring this guy back and put him out front.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It really is. I agree with you.

Okay, Pennsylvania under the lens.

Well-educated and affluent, supposedly Obama's trump card: Hillary, 51 percent; Barack, 49 percent.

That's supposed to be his constituency.

MS. CLIFT: No, it's the candidate with needs. That's Hillary Clinton's constituency, and also college education makes a difference. Barack Obama does better with people with college education. She does better with the lunch-bucket folks. And Pennsylvania is the second- oldest state in the country after Florida. This was a demographic made for the Hillary voters. And this is a demographic fight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, the next breakout, please.

White Catholics: Hillary, 72 percent; Barack, 28 percent.

What about that, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Complete disaster for Barack Obama. Catholics and ethnics in the North -- and most of them are Catholic -- are the swing vote in national politics. They are the Reagan Democrats of the North. They are the reason Reagan and Nixon were carrying Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania.

His inability to break through, despite all the spending and despite the fact he seemed to be breaking through, his receding there says Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida could go to John McCain --

MS. CROWLEY: But, you know --

MR. BUCHANAN: -- very easily in a race against Barack Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to say something?

Let her in.

MS. CROWLEY: Yeah. No, Pat is absolutely right about the demographics. And it's amazing, because she didn't just win the Catholic vote by that much. She won blue-collar white voters that overlapped some, a little bit, with the Catholic vote. She also won women, union households, older voters. And I think that the case that she's starting to make to the super-delegates is, "Well, when you look at that cross-section of demographics and you look at the states that the Democratic Party is going to need in November, I'm the only one who can deliver it, not Barack Obama."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is the Jewish population on Clinton versus Obama?

MS. CROWLEY: There is an increasing sense of unease among Jewish voters in America with Barack Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: They're killing him. They're killing him with Jewish voters -- Hamas --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because of Rezko being --

MR. BUCHANAN: Not Rezko -- Farrakhan.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, Tony Rezko is a little bit a part of it. But because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking here in terms of Muslim faith, right? We're talking --

MR. BUCHANAN: You're talking Wright. You're talking Farrakhan.

MS. CLIFT: I feel like I'm sitting here at the altar of the Republican National Committee -- (laughter) -- dismantling Barack Obama piece by piece. And it's being done now. Maybe it will inoculate him. But this is the campaign that will be run against him.

But I would point out that if you're a white Catholic in Pennsylvania and you vote for Hillary doesn't mean you're necessarily a racist and you're not going to vote for Barack Obama. This is a hard decision between these two people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to continue the dismantlement. Okay, next breakout.

White women: Hillary, 68 percent; Barack, 32 percent.

Do you want to dismantle him some more, Eleanor, now? (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: No. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's your turn.

MS. CLIFT: She does well with women. He does well with young voters, the 18 to 29, and with African-Americans. His argument is that he brought -- and she too, to some extent, but mostly him -- he brought in a quarter of a million, 300,000 new voters in Pennsylvania. The suburbs have been reliably Republican. The registration has turned over. So they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, give me one more --

MS. CLIFT: -- each have strengths here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me one more breakout, please.

White men: Hillary, 56 percent; Barack, 44 percent.

What about that, Monica?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, actually, when you look even more into the internals of these polls, they broke it out by beer drinkers. They broke it out by gun owners. And a lot of those are white men that took grave offense to Barack Obama's comment about them being bitter and clinging to their guns and their religion and anti-immigrant sentiment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we want to hear another breakout? Let's go. Let's hear the next one, quickly.

Black women: Hillary, 13 percent; Barack, 87 percent.

Any surprise there?

MR. PAGE: Well, that's a no-brainer, I think, frankly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why?

MR. PAGE: What's key here is that -- well, Barack Obama is very popular among black voters. We know that. And those numbers aren't much different from --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that blacks are voting for the black Obama?

MR. PAGE: No, they're voting for the Obama who could win. You know, after he showed in Iowa and South Carolina and all that he could win, he was a viable candidate, that's when you saw black folks gravitating toward him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the black vote is with Obama in the bulk, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. PAGE: Yes, it is.

MS. CLIFT: The white women vote is with -- or the women vote overall is with Hillary.

MR. PAGE: This is a --

MS. CLIFT: Big deal. Big deal. Both of these candidates represent the aspirations, one of gender, one of race.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're trying to figure out where their strength is. We haven't said anything --

MR. BUCHANAN: Barack Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: First of all, are there any Hispanics in Pennsylvania?

MR. BUCHANAN: Six percent.

MR. PAGE: I think 6 percent, yeah. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Six percent.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, but the black folks are voting for Barack Obama because he's an African-American with a chance of winning, just like Catholics voted for Jack Kennedy because he was one of us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then, notwithstanding your slur against us, I would like to know whether there is any deviation from our thinking about where the strength of each candidate is as far as large populations and people are concerned.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the electoral case that Hillary is making is that she will carry the industrial swing states, the Ohios and Pennsylvanias.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I'm not talking geography as much as I am ethnicity and religion.

MS. CLIFT: Well, but those are the states that have the ethnicity and religion that suit the Hillary profile --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: -- whereas Obama is arguing that he will bring enough new voters into the system that he can win Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico, you know, other states.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: She can win --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about bloc, B-L-O-C, phenomenon.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you what the election is about. Whoever wins the Reagan Democrats is going to be president of the United States. Hillary's showing "I can win 'em." Barack is showing -- has not shown he can win them. Maybe he can. But McCain has reached there and he can win them. So if it's --

MR. PAGE: I have a different theory.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can he get the Reagan Democrats?

MR. PAGE: Yeah, something we're all forgetting is that if it's just Barack Obama versus John McCain without Hillary Clinton there, he gets that party infrastructure that has been supporting Hillary in states like Pennsylvania, Governor Rendell, Mayor Nutter, et cetera. I think Catholic voters, who tend to vote Democratic, I think he'll have a much better shot at them when Hillary's not in the picture.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question -- MR. PAGE: Across the country, you're going to find he's a much stronger candidate because of the changed landscape.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I feel better now.

Exit question: Has Hillary turned it around? Was Pennsylvania her Gettysburg, meaning, is there where she blunted the Obama juggernaut and the rout has now begun?

MR. BUCHANAN: She has turned the tide. The momentum is on her side. But I don't know if it's strong enough to go over that seawall of pledged delegates, which is very high.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the seawall is going to be breached by the super-delegates.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, not yet. Not yet, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're not even talking about that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the super-delegates are not going to take this away from Barack Obama if the pledged delegates give it to him. You can bet on that, or they will rip this party apart.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait till we reach the convention. It won't be a convention. It'll be war. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: She changed the narrative from "Should she get out of the race?" to "Can he close the sale?" But it's fascinating, because she was 20 points ahead in Pennsylvania. She closed it a little under 10 points. It is her best state, virtually, in the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has the rout begun?

MS. CLIFT: No, I would not go that far at all. I think Obama is still the likely candidate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the rout has begun?

MS. CROWLEY: I think there's a little bit of a reversal of fortune here for Barack Obama, and we'll know it if it's time to bring back Oprah. If you see Oprah back on the campaign trail, you'll know that Barack Obama is feeling a little bit of the heat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, the staying power for Hillary is not there to move this forward.

MR. BUCHANAN: Indiana will tell you, John.

MS. CROWLEY: You never -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Indiana is practically a dead heat now.

MR. BUCHANAN: She has to win Indiana.

MS. CROWLEY: She has to win Indiana.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Indiana is practically a dead heat.

MS. CLIFT: He has to win Indiana too. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. PAGE: Yeah, he has to as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where do you stand on this? Are you optimistic?

MR. PAGE: Well, optimistic -- I'm optimistic because I'm a journalist. Either way it's going to be a great story. (Laughs.) But I think -- I mean, you know, the only thing that's changed is perceptions. We expected Hillary to win Pennsylvania. She won Pennsylvania -- big shock. The fact is that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By 10. By 10, against his money.

MR. PAGE: It was expected to be 20 initially.

You know, I mean, Pat's right. Indiana is going to be a big test here. It's right in Obama's back yard, right next to Chicago and Illinois, as well as if Hillary Clinton has a better-than-expected showing in North Carolina, then I will say her momentum --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The question was, has the rout begun and will it endure? And the answer is, it's too close to call.

Issue Two: Big Hair Is Back.

Polygamy is the practice or condition of having more than one spouse at one time. In Texas, over 400 children have been removed from the fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints' Mormon compound. The children have been in the custody of Texas state authorities. Over 100 children have already been moved to foster care facilities. Mothers want their children where they belong, however -- the Mormon mothers -- with them.

MOTHER FROM TEXAS COMPOUND: (From videotape.) They want to come back to this. This is their home, the lifestyle that they've enjoyed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The legal counsel for the parents says this.

ATTORNEY FOR PARENTS FROM TEXAS COMPOUND: (From videotape.) I think it was patently unfair, the method by which they gathered up all these children and lumped them all together in one case.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Child Protective Service of Texas thinks otherwise.

TEXAS CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES OFFICIAL: (From videotape.) This is not about religion. This is about children, keeping children safe from abuse and neglect.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want you to give me your intuition as to whether or not these children should be removed from their mothers, number one. Number two, I want you to give me your estimate of how this story of polygamy in the United States, with all the features that we have seen, is playing internationally, particularly in Europe. Are they getting the old heehaw laugh out of this, this phenomenon within the United States, that vaunts itself on its civility, et cetera? What do you think? MR. BUCHANAN: I think this, John. If there's no really proven abuse of these girls, then I think the state has really got a real problem defending what it did, pulling these children away from their parents, who have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your gut feeling?

MR. BUCHANAN: My gut feeling is that there's a lot of phoniness in the charges here and that most of these people are very happy in this community. And as for polygamy, John, as Scalia said, once the 9th Amendment says homosexual relations between men are a constitutional right, it is very difficult to say these people can't live in the kind of voluntary relationship for adults that they're maintaining.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the state has stepped in, and I would hope they would have more social protective services as opposed to law enforcement. And if it's true that a number of these young girls are pregnant and are basically having children below age 14, I do think there is a role for the government. And they have developed this elaborate procedure -- nursing babies one and two get to see the mothers; babies under 12 months stay. But, you know, I don't feel like laughing at these women at all. I mean, I feel very empathetic for what's happening.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think this is a freak phenomenon, meaning that --

MR. PAGE: It's not as freakish as I once thought. And I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that it's damaging to the United States internationally?

MR. PAGE: I think there's a lot of other things more damaging as far as our international image is concerned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I do too. I do too.

MR. PAGE: The real issue here, John, is not marriage. The issue here is child abuse and sex with under-age females who are not of the age of consent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you take 400 out in order to prevent it from half a dozen or a dozen?

MR. PAGE: Say it again.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are you going to separate these children from their mothers? MR. PAGE: Well, the investigation needs to be done. Like Pat said, if there is abuse going on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When there is no evidence -- he says there's no evidence of abuse in the vast numbers over there.

Issue Three: Countdown to August.

That's where we are -- a four-month final countdown. It entails nine contests before the Denver convention at the end of August. Here are the last nine: May 3rd, Guam; May 6th, Indiana; May 6th, North Carolina; May 13th, West Virginia; May 20th, Kentucky; May 20th, Oregon; June 1, Puerto Rico; June 3, Montana; June 3, South Dakota.

What do you see on that calendar? I ask you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Well, I see not enough votes out there for Hillary Clinton to clinch it before it's over. If she can get a string of victories -- and I don't see a foundation for that right now -- but if she can do it, she can begin to change the minds of the super- delegates. But, you know, this is still a big if.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, she'll win Indiana -- if she can win Indiana, she'll win Kentucky. She'll win West Virginia. And they're going to move to two arguments: One, in the popular vote, if you include Florida and Michigan, she's running away with it. Secondly, she's the only one that can win the big swing states that the Democrats have to win, and Barack will lose them all.

MS. CLIFT: I appreciate your role as the Hillary Clinton communications director --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: -- but you can't just slip in Florida and Michigan. He wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what are you going to do with them? What are you going to do with them?

MS. CLIFT: What I see there is I see a lot of split decisions, and I think they're landing in the lap of the super-delegates in June, who will have to come out and make themselves -- declare themselves. And they can split too.

MS. CROWLEY: That's exactly right. What I see on that calendar is the continuing see-saw with no conclusive ending.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ah.

MS. CROWLEY: She's going to win Indiana. He'll win North Carolina. She'll win Kentucky and West Virginia. He'll win Oregon. She'll win Puerto Rico. And you're back at a draw. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Convention war -- beautiful, beautiful. What I want to know is this. Are the Democrats really being hurt as much as is alleged by the nasty -- the alleged nastiness? Or is that nastiness, as Bill Clinton said, part of the game, and it really is kind of electrifying and rejuvenating to see passion at work?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're right, John. And I think it will go away, quite frankly. It goes away very fast. Four months is an eternity.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has it made John McCain disappear right before our eyes?

MR. BUCHANAN: John McCain's having his own rough time.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is McCain?

MR. PAGE: Well, McCain just did his own compassion tour across the South, which was modestly covered, shall we say. But all the action is on --

MS. CLIFT: McCain is the default candidate. If the Democratic candidate is found wanting, he is a safe harbor. At least he looks that way today.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Obama is playing the she-is- so-nasty-we-cannot-have-a-civil-discussion card too often and that it's run out of steam?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think they're both playing it against each other, and this is a demolition derby. But I think it helps the Democrats, actually. It's a good crucible to get whoever emerges as the nominee stronger to go into the fall.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the Democratic presidential race in the convention end up at war, all-out war?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. CLIFT: No -- resolution in June.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes.

MR. PAGE: Just some hurt feelings; that's all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer: War, big-time.

Bye-bye. END.
rack Obama."

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is the Jewish population on Clinton versus Obama?

MS. CROWLEY: There is an increasing sense of unease among Jewish voters in America with Barack Obama.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why?

MR. BUCHANAN: They're killing him. They're killing him with Jewish voters -- Hamas --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because of Rezko being --

MR. BUCHANAN: Not Rezko -- Farrakhan.

MS. CROWLEY: Well, Tony Rezko is a little bit a part of it. But because --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're talking here in terms of Muslim faith, right? We're talking --

MR. BUCHANAN: You're talking Wright. You're talking Farrakhan.

MS. CLIFT: I feel like I'm sitting here at the altar of the Republican National Committee -- (laughter) -- dismantling Barack Obama piece by piece. And it's being done now. Maybe it will inoculate him. But this is the campaign that will be run against him.

But I would point out that if you're a white Catholic in Pennsylvania and you vote for Hillary doesn't mean you're necessarily a racist and you're not going to vote for Barack Obama. This is a hard decision between these two people.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have to continue the dismantlement. Okay, next breakout.

White women: Hillary, 68 percent; Barack, 32 percent.

Do you want to dismantle him some more, Eleanor, now? (Laughter.)

MS. CLIFT: No. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's your turn.

MS. CLIFT: She does well with women. He does well with young voters, the 18 to 29, and with African-Americans. His argument is that he brought -- and she too, to some extent, but mostly him -- he brought in a quarter of a million, 300,000 new voters in Pennsylvania. The suburbs have been reliably Republican. The registration has turned over. So they --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, give me one more --

MS. CLIFT: -- each have strengths here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Give me one more breakout, please.

White men: Hillary, 56 percent; Barack, 44 percent.

What about that, Monica?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, actually, when you look even more into the internals of these polls, they broke it out by beer drinkers. They broke it out by gun owners. And a lot of those are white men that took grave offense to Barack Obama's comment about them being bitter and clinging to their guns and their religion and anti-immigrant sentiment.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do we want to hear another breakout? Let's go. Let's hear the next one, quickly.

Black women: Hillary, 13 percent; Barack, 87 percent.

Any surprise there?

MR. PAGE: Well, that's a no-brainer, I think, frankly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why? Why?

MR. PAGE: What's key here is that -- well, Barack Obama is very popular among black voters. We know that. And those numbers aren't much different from --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you saying that blacks are voting for the black Obama?

MR. PAGE: No, they're voting for the Obama who could win. You know, after he showed in Iowa and South Carolina and all that he could win, he was a viable candidate, that's when you saw black folks gravitating toward him.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the black vote is with Obama in the bulk, right?

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MR. PAGE: Yes, it is.

MS. CLIFT: The white women vote is with -- or the women vote overall is with Hillary.

MR. PAGE: This is a --

MS. CLIFT: Big deal. Big deal. Both of these candidates represent the aspirations, one of gender, one of race.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're trying to figure out where their strength is. We haven't said anything --

MR. BUCHANAN: Barack Obama --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: First of all, are there any Hispanics in Pennsylvania?

MR. BUCHANAN: Six percent.

MR. PAGE: I think 6 percent, yeah. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Six percent.

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, but the black folks are voting for Barack Obama because he's an African-American with a chance of winning, just like Catholics voted for Jack Kennedy because he was one of us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, then, notwithstanding your slur against us, I would like to know whether there is any deviation from our thinking about where the strength of each candidate is as far as large populations and people are concerned.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the electoral case that Hillary is making is that she will carry the industrial swing states, the Ohios and Pennsylvanias.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I'm not talking geography as much as I am ethnicity and religion.

MS. CLIFT: Well, but those are the states that have the ethnicity and religion that suit the Hillary profile --

MR. BUCHANAN: John --

MS. CLIFT: -- whereas Obama is arguing that he will bring enough new voters into the system that he can win Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico, you know, other states.

(Cross-talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: She can win --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about bloc, B-L-O-C, phenomenon.

MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you what the election is about. Whoever wins the Reagan Democrats is going to be president of the United States. Hillary's showing "I can win 'em." Barack is showing -- has not shown he can win them. Maybe he can. But McCain has reached there and he can win them. So if it's --

MR. PAGE: I have a different theory.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Can he get the Reagan Democrats?

MR. PAGE: Yeah, something we're all forgetting is that if it's just Barack Obama versus John McCain without Hillary Clinton there, he gets that party infrastructure that has been supporting Hillary in states like Pennsylvania, Governor Rendell, Mayor Nutter, et cetera. I think Catholic voters, who tend to vote Democratic, I think he'll have a much better shot at them when Hillary's not in the picture.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question -- MR. PAGE: Across the country, you're going to find he's a much stronger candidate because of the changed landscape.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I feel better now.

Exit question: Has Hillary turned it around? Was Pennsylvania her Gettysburg, meaning, is there where she blunted the Obama juggernaut and the rout has now begun?

MR. BUCHANAN: She has turned the tide. The momentum is on her side. But I don't know if it's strong enough to go over that seawall of pledged delegates, which is very high.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the seawall is going to be breached by the super-delegates.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, not yet. Not yet, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you're not even talking about that.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the super-delegates are not going to take this away from Barack Obama if the pledged delegates give it to him. You can bet on that, or they will rip this party apart.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait till we reach the convention. It won't be a convention. It'll be war. (Laughter.)

MR. BUCHANAN: Yes. (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: She changed the narrative from "Should she get out of the race?" to "Can he close the sale?" But it's fascinating, because she was 20 points ahead in Pennsylvania. She closed it a little under 10 points. It is her best state, virtually, in the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has the rout begun?

MS. CLIFT: No, I would not go that far at all. I think Obama is still the likely candidate.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the rout has begun?

MS. CROWLEY: I think there's a little bit of a reversal of fortune here for Barack Obama, and we'll know it if it's time to bring back Oprah. If you see Oprah back on the campaign trail, you'll know that Barack Obama is feeling a little bit of the heat.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean, the staying power for Hillary is not there to move this forward.

MR. BUCHANAN: Indiana will tell you, John.

MS. CROWLEY: You never -- MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Indiana is practically a dead heat now.

MR. BUCHANAN: She has to win Indiana.

MS. CROWLEY: She has to win Indiana.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Indiana is practically a dead heat.

MS. CLIFT: He has to win Indiana too. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. PAGE: Yeah, he has to as well.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where do you stand on this? Are you optimistic?

MR. PAGE: Well, optimistic -- I'm optimistic because I'm a journalist. Either way it's going to be a great story. (Laughs.) But I think -- I mean, you know, the only thing that's changed is perceptions. We expected Hillary to win Pennsylvania. She won Pennsylvania -- big shock. The fact is that --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By 10. By 10, against his money.

MR. PAGE: It was expected to be 20 initially.

You know, I mean, Pat's right. Indiana is going to be a big test here. It's right in Obama's back yard, right next to Chicago and Illinois, as well as if Hillary Clinton has a better-than-expected showing in North Carolina, then I will say her momentum --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The question was, has the rout begun and will it endure? And the answer is, it's too close to call.

Issue Two: Big Hair Is Back.

Polygamy is the practice or condition of having more than one spouse at one time. In Texas, over 400 children have been removed from the fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints' Mormon compound. The children have been in the custody of Texas state authorities. Over 100 children have already been moved to foster care facilities. Mothers want their children where they belong, however -- the Mormon mothers -- with them.

MOTHER FROM TEXAS COMPOUND: (From videotape.) They want to come back to this. This is their home, the lifestyle that they've enjoyed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The legal counsel for the parents says this.

ATTORNEY FOR PARENTS FROM TEXAS COMPOUND: (From videotape.) I think it was patently unfair, the method by which they gathered up all these children and lumped them all together in one case.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Child Protective Service of Texas thinks otherwise.

TEXAS CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES OFFICIAL: (From videotape.) This is not about religion. This is about children, keeping children safe from abuse and neglect.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want you to give me your intuition as to whether or not these children should be removed from their mothers, number one. Number two, I want you to give me your estimate of how this story of polygamy in the United States, with all the features that we have seen, is playing internationally, particularly in Europe. Are they getting the old heehaw laugh out of this, this phenomenon within the United States, that vaunts itself on its civility, et cetera? What do you think? MR. BUCHANAN: I think this, John. If there's no really proven abuse of these girls, then I think the state has really got a real problem defending what it did, pulling these children away from their parents, who have --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's your gut feeling?

MR. BUCHANAN: My gut feeling is that there's a lot of phoniness in the charges here and that most of these people are very happy in this community. And as for polygamy, John, as Scalia said, once the 9th Amendment says homosexual relations between men are a constitutional right, it is very difficult to say these people can't live in the kind of voluntary relationship for adults that they're maintaining.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

MS. CLIFT: Well, the state has stepped in, and I would hope they would have more social protective services as opposed to law enforcement. And if it's true that a number of these young girls are pregnant and are basically having children below age 14, I do think there is a role for the government. And they have developed this elaborate procedure -- nursing babies one and two get to see the mothers; babies under 12 months stay. But, you know, I don't feel like laughing at these women at all. I mean, I feel very empathetic for what's happening.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think this is a freak phenomenon, meaning that --

MR. PAGE: It's not as freakish as I once thought. And I think --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that it's damaging to the United States internationally?

MR. PAGE: I think there's a lot of other things more damaging as far as our international image is concerned.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I do too. I do too.

MR. PAGE: The real issue here, John, is not marriage. The issue here is child abuse and sex with under-age females who are not of the age of consent.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you take 400 out in order to prevent it from half a dozen or a dozen?

MR. PAGE: Say it again.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are you going to separate these children from their mothers? MR. PAGE: Well, the investigation needs to be done. Like Pat said, if there is abuse going on --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When there is no evidence -- he says there's no evidence of abuse in the vast numbers over there.

Issue Three: Countdown to August.

That's where we are -- a four-month final countdown. It entails nine contests before the Denver convention at the end of August. Here are the last nine: May 3rd, Guam; May 6th, Indiana; May 6th, North Carolina; May 13th, West Virginia; May 20th, Kentucky; May 20th, Oregon; June 1, Puerto Rico; June 3, Montana; June 3, South Dakota.

What do you see on that calendar? I ask you, Clarence.

MR. PAGE: Well, I see not enough votes out there for Hillary Clinton to clinch it before it's over. If she can get a string of victories -- and I don't see a foundation for that right now -- but if she can do it, she can begin to change the minds of the super- delegates. But, you know, this is still a big if.

MR. BUCHANAN: John, she'll win Indiana -- if she can win Indiana, she'll win Kentucky. She'll win West Virginia. And they're going to move to two arguments: One, in the popular vote, if you include Florida and Michigan, she's running away with it. Secondly, she's the only one that can win the big swing states that the Democrats have to win, and Barack will lose them all.

MS. CLIFT: I appreciate your role as the Hillary Clinton communications director --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: -- but you can't just slip in Florida and Michigan. He wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what are you going to do with them? What are you going to do with them?

MS. CLIFT: What I see there is I see a lot of split decisions, and I think they're landing in the lap of the super-delegates in June, who will have to come out and make themselves -- declare themselves. And they can split too.

MS. CROWLEY: That's exactly right. What I see on that calendar is the continuing see-saw with no conclusive ending.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ah.

MS. CROWLEY: She's going to win Indiana. He'll win North Carolina. She'll win Kentucky and West Virginia. He'll win Oregon. She'll win Puerto Rico. And you're back at a draw. MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Convention war -- beautiful, beautiful. What I want to know is this. Are the Democrats really being hurt as much as is alleged by the nasty -- the alleged nastiness? Or is that nastiness, as Bill Clinton said, part of the game, and it really is kind of electrifying and rejuvenating to see passion at work?

MR. BUCHANAN: You're right, John. And I think it will go away, quite frankly. It goes away very fast. Four months is an eternity.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Has it made John McCain disappear right before our eyes?

MR. BUCHANAN: John McCain's having his own rough time.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where is McCain?

MR. PAGE: Well, McCain just did his own compassion tour across the South, which was modestly covered, shall we say. But all the action is on --

MS. CLIFT: McCain is the default candidate. If the Democratic candidate is found wanting, he is a safe harbor. At least he looks that way today.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think --

(Cross-talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that Obama is playing the she-is- so-nasty-we-cannot-have-a-civil-discussion card too often and that it's run out of steam?

MS. CROWLEY: Well, I think they're both playing it against each other, and this is a demolition derby. But I think it helps the Democrats, actually. It's a good crucible to get whoever emerges as the nominee stronger to go into the fall.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will the Democratic presidential race in the convention end up at war, all-out war?

MR. BUCHANAN: No.

MS. CLIFT: No -- resolution in June.

MS. CROWLEY: Yes.

MR. PAGE: Just some hurt feelings; that's all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer: War, big-time.

Bye-bye. END.