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THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP


HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN


JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,


TONY BLANKLEY, AND LAWRENCE O'DONNELL


TAPED FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1999


AIRED THE WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 27-28, 1999


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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: The soft cry of Jane Doe number five.


JUANITA BROADDRICK (nursing home operator): (From videotape.) I first pushed him away and just told him, "No" -- you know, "please don't do that." Then he tries to kiss me again. And the second time he tries to kiss me, he starts biting on my lip -- (cries) -- just a minute. (Crying.) He starts to bite on my top lip, and I try to pull away from him. And then he forces me down on the bed. And I just was very frightened. So I tried to get away from him, and then told him, "No" -- (cries) -- that I didn't want this to happen. He wouldn't listen to me.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The world finally heard Juanita Broaddrick tell her story, namely, that in 1978, in a Little Rock hotel room, Bill Clinton raped her. Listeners drew from her grim account reasons to believe her and not to believe her. The chief question raised by her story is: Why did she wait 21 years to go public?


One, Broaddrick feared for her personal safety.


MS. BROADDRICK: (From videotape.) I was afraid that I would be destroyed, like so may of the other women have been.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This fear echoes other women who had relationships with Clinton. Dallas attorney Dolly Kyle Browning, 30-year on-and-off lover and mistress of Bill Clinton, claims that she was threatened to keep quiet.


DOLLY KYLE BROWNING (attorney): (From videotape.) The bottom line, after all these calls over two or three days, whatever it was, he said, "If you cooperate with the media, we will destroy you."


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then there was Kathleen Willey, the former White House volunteer who accused Clinton of groping her and placing her hand on his privates when she visited him in the White House. When Willey's story threatened the White House, her tires were slashed, her cat was killed, and mysterious jogger asked her if she, quote, "got the message," unquote.


Then there was Elizabeth Ward Gracen, former Miss America and admitted Clinton sexual partner. After she went public with her story, her resort hotel suite in St. Maarten's was ransacked, but oddly an expensive Rolex watch and $2,000 cash in clear view were left untouched.


Then there was Monica, and we know all about how "that woman" was treated.


Question: Is this reason given by Broaddrick, namely, fear for her personal safety, credible, Pat Buchanan?


MR. BUCHANAN: John, this occurred in 1979 (sic), before Clinton was involved with anyone. I do not believe the fear of physical safety is the real reason that she didn't come forward. I think the woman probably felt a tremendous sense of guilt -- "Did I lead him on? I invited him into my room." There's a sense that if she goes up against the attorney general, they will believe him, not her, her reputation will be destroyed, her new relationship destroyed, all the rest of it. I think she just said, "I can't go through it."


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know who Norma Rogers Kelsey is? She is the contemporaneous witness who found Juanita in the hotel room. She will not talk on television because she fears for the safety of her two children. She's also moved away from where she lived. That's a physical threat.


MR. BUCHANAN: All right. The physical safety thing, I think, has come in much, much later than 1979. Clinton had not been involved with any women. Now when you hear about the cats, now when you hear about the tough guy who's going to break Sally Purdue's (sp) legs, now people can be physically afraid, but I do not believe it was physical fear back then.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, "cats"? Was there more than one cat? (Laughter.)


MR. BUCHANAN: I hope not.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: Well, and I would point out that the cat that she talked about, she had remains dug up in her yard that turned out to be a dead raccoon. I mean, a lot of the charges that you just paraded across the screen have not been proved. Ken Starr's looked at it. Nothing has been tied to the president. And I agree with everything, actually, that Pat said, that I don't think fear of physical safety is a realistic reason for her not coming forth. And she also has said that nobody asked her to lie or change a deposition in which she asserted, under oath, that there was no sexual relationship.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony.


MR. BLANKLEY: Let me point out to both Pat and Eleanor the obvious, that when you've just been violently raped by somebody, from that moment on you are going to be afraid of the violence that that person might perpetrate on you again. Now, now we know, as the public, subsequent threats against other women, but from the moment she was raped, obviously she would be afraid of him violently. He already had acted, if she is speaking correctly. She had already been violent with him once.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When you were a prosecutor in Los Angeles, did you experience conversations with rape victims?


MR. BLANKLEY: I didn't do rape cases. I did some child molesting cases, which were sex crimes but of a different nature.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wasn't that somewhat analogous?


MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, and it's always difficult. I mean, the whole question of fear from someone who has imposed their will physically on you is always a threat.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Physical damage. Physical -- fear of physical harm.


MR. O'DONNELL: Well, knowing Bill Clinton as I do, and knowing the people around him as I do, I don't think she had anything to fear physically. However, knowing Bill Clinton the way Juanita Broaddrick claims to have known Bill Clinton seems -- how could she not fear physically?


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you know, but John, look. If she had come forward and said this man, the attorney general of Arkansas, raped me in my hotel room, I think the last thing she would have to fear would be that Bill Clinton is going to come beat her up, for heaven's sake.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay.


MR. BUCHANAN: I think she just did not want to get into it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This gets into reputation, and that's reason number two: Broaddrick feared for her reputation.


JUANITA BROADDRICK: (From videotape.) I just don't think I would have been a real honorable woman back in the '70s to have been married and been having this affair. I just didn't think anyone would have believed me.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Back in the '70s, if a woman admitted that she had been raped, it was like wearing a scarlet letter, especially if the woman innocently invited the rapist to her hotel room.


Broaddrick's reputation would have suffered on other grounds, too. In '78 Broaddrick was married, in an unhappy union and at the same time, as she has declared, was having an adulterous affair with a partner, who is her husband today.


Reason three: Broaddrick feared her nursing-home business could be ruined if she were to come forward because state regulators could shut her down. Broaddrick owns and administers a very successful and lucrative nursing-home business. In Arkansas, nursing homes rely for an average of 80 percent of their revenue, on Medicare and Medicaid funding from the state government. They are also highly regulated. A phony but official report of faulty plumbing or faulty wiring could shut a facility down. Had Broaddrick charged Clinton with rape, the attorney general and soon-to-be governor could have used the government's power to put Broaddrick out of business.


Question: Are these good reasons for Broaddrick to keep quiet; be it for her reputation, be it for her livelihood? Eleanor Clift.


MS. CLIFT: If that event occurred as she describes it today -- and she believes it occurred -- I sympathize with her not coming forward because probably she would not have been believed. But there were numerous points along the way where she could have come forward in a more solicitous climate, and she chose each time not to do it. So I think the reason she finally does come forward is because she sees her story so thoroughly distorted in the media, suggesting that she had been paid off --


MR. BUCHANAN: John?


MS. CLIFT: -- suggesting that she had been driven to the hospital bloodied.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.


MS. CLIFT: She wanted to get control of her story --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.


MS. CLIFT: -- and I don't begrudge her that.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes?


MR. BUCHANAN: I think, number two, the reputation is virtually everything, maybe some about the -- her profession.


But the most critical part of her testimony, John, is when -- Lisa Myers asks her about why she didn't come forward when Kathleen Willey came forward, and she said, "I would get up in the morning and I wanted to do it, and I just wasn't brave enough." (Inaudible) -- enormously credible.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Will the court of public opinion vindicate Juanita Broaddrick, yes or no? Pat Buchanan.


MR. BUCHANAN: I think it already has; everybody believes her.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: I think that the court of public opinion believes this is her story as she tells it, but I also don't think people look at President Clinton as a violent rapist and that there is going to be an outcry demanding he leave office.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. I think that you are going to see something like a 2-1 ratio of believing her over believing the president. And the question is going to be whether the story will get covered enough, and intensely and for long enough, that you will get a high percentage of the public knowing about it. But if they do, I think they are going to break about 2-1 against the president.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?


MR. O'DONNELL: I think the polls will come out in the president's favor on this. It's really just one network that was running this, NBC. It hasn't been seen by ABC viewers, CBS -- it hasn't been seen by most people. And I don't think the story is going to have legs, so I don't think she is going to be able to impress the nation to come to her view of it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have been talking about why the gap, the 21-year gap? There remains the question of why did she come forward? When we come back, the timing. Why now?


(Announcements.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: The outing of Jane Doe number five.


MS. BROADDRICK: I just couldn't hold it in any longer. I didn't want granddaughters in Macy's when they're 21 years old who turned to me and said, "Why didn't you tell what this man did to you?"


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Actually, Juanita Broaddrick did not come forward. She was outed. She then went public to confront the outing. Rumors about Broaddrick's rape first made the rounds in 1990, when Phillip Yoakum, an Arkansas Clinton opponent, taped a conversation with Broaddrick in which they discussed the alleged rape.


Transcribed pieces of that conversation circulated and eventually made their way into the hands of attorneys for Paula Jones. Those attorneys shielded Broaddrick's identity, referring to her only as "Jane Doe number five." Broaddrick's identity remained protected until the intrusive Internet got into the act.


As early as 1996, cyberjournalist Matt Drudge posted a notice about an alleged Clinton rape in Arkansas. Broaddrick's name surfaced not long thereafter; that is, her full name, Juanita Broaddrick, and she began to endure a torrent of phone calls from tabloid reporters, legitimate news inquiries and scathing Internet commentary. Caustic web comments speculated about her motives, with people posting swill like this, quote, "Reason number one, publicity. Reasons number two, money, money, money. Tell you what -- it won't be long before she will be writing a book, coming out at talk shows, maybe even making a movie. So -- she fabricates this story," unquote.


That wasn't all. After being interviewed by FBI agents working for Ken Starr, FBI form number 302 reports were filed in the Ford Building in Washington, where members of Congress read them before the House impeachment vote. Leaks began to spring from the 302 reports. The end result: Ms. Broaddrick.


MS. BROADDRICK: All these stories are floating around; different stories of what really happened, of what people think happened, and I was tired of everybody putting their own spin on it.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is it credible that the reason why Broaddrick came forward, because she wanted to straighten out the historical record for herself, her family, especially for her grandchildren, as she says, Lawrence?


MR. O'DONNELL: I think all of her reasoning is credible. It doesn't mean it's true and it doesn't mean the basic allegation she's making is true. But it's very hard to find any cracks in her reasoning as to why she did everything she did, every step of the way -- right from the beginning, not reporting it, right up to, in effect, reporting it publicly through Lisa Myers in 1999.


MS. CLIFT: Right. And it's really a metaphor for how the media has changed. You know, when Paula Jones's story first surfaced, it was Clinton's political enemies pushing it in a rather reluctant media initially. Now the Republican House prosecutors seeded the water, saying there's this secret evidence in the Document Room and encouraging people to see it. But basically they dropped the bait, and since then it's been the media who's been after this story, trying to get it out.


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, John, what testifies to the truth of this is the reaction of the president of the United States. This is a horrible charge, and any normal man would stand up and say, "This woman is either nuts or this woman is part of some vindictive plot against me." I mean, how can you sit there and let a charge of forcible rape stand --


MR. O'DONNELL: Well, but Pat -- well --


MR. BUCHANAN: -- and have you lawyers flip out a statement?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they don't want to build the story, Pat.


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, look, if it's false, you ought to knock it down.


MS. CLIFT: Because he --


MR. O'DONNELL: But Pat, what if the president was falsely accused of rape -- a president falsely accused of rape?


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you --


MR. O'DONNELL: Should a president stand up in front of the nation and use those words and say, "I did not commit rape"?


MR. BUCHANAN: Look, this is not a floozy! This is not a floozy!


MR. O'DONNELL: I think his answer is --


MR. BUCHANAN: This is a woman -- respected woman of middle age, who's had a successful career --


MS. CLIFT: You know, Pat --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from Tony. Do you mind?


MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah, look, I mean, the problem that Clinton had is, as Newsweek, as Eleanor's magazine pointed out in this, it sounds like our Bill. I mean, in other words, he has such a track record on conduct that is at least related to this, that if he denies this happened, at a purely --


MR. O'DONNELL: Right, but because he's "our Bill," we're missing the fact --


MS. CLIFT: Yeah --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on.


MR. BLANKLEY: -- at a purely technical level, he's probably made the right decision not to condemn (Ms. Broaddrick ?).


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean in terms of pure politics?


MR. BLANKLEY: I'm sure pure politics --


MS. CLIFT: You know, actually --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to speak?


MR. O'DONNELL: My point is that what he said was exactly what he should say if he's completely guilty -- "my lawyer says." It's also exactly what he should say if he's completely innocent. He should not dignify it with a direct response from him.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MS. CLIFT: You know, actually, it doesn't sound like "our Bill," because violence has not been part of his pattern.


I just wanted to commend Pat. In a few short sentences, you referred to what feminists call the "nuts and sluts" defense; either call her a nut or -- if she's a "floozy" --


MR. BLANKLEY: What they call? What they call? What they call the nuts --


MR. BUCHANAN: If she is --


MS. CLIFT: Nobody's going to get into that, and the president is handling it exactly --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay --


MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you, if --


MS. CLIFT: Let me finish, please. The president is handling exactly right -- there is no way that these charges can be proved or disproved, and he should handle it through his lawyer and let the story die.


MR. BUCHANAN: But look, look, the president should go -- or somebody should go after this woman's credibility if she is lying about the president. I mean, if she's lying about him, then she ought to be denounced for this.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, Pat, there is no forum -- there is no forum.


MR. BUCHANAN: Have -- right. Have Kendall or these people get the evidence, dig it up, and say this is false and here's why it's false.


MS. CLIFT: Not evidence; the statute of limitations --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue three: Broaddrick -- here we go, Eleanor; we got to get out. Issue three: Broaddrick fallout.


(Begin videotape segment.)


HELEN THOMAS (UPI): Sir, what is your reaction to recent allegations by an Arkansas woman, apparently, of something she claims happened many years ago?


PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, my counsel has made a statement about the first issue, and I have nothing to add to it.


(End videotape segment.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The statement Clinton cites from his lawyer, David Kendall, reads as follows: "Any allegation that the president assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick more than 20 years ago is absolutely false. Beyond that, we're not going to comment."


Aware as we are of the president's ability to reinvent the English language -- remember "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is"? -- let's take a closer look at the language of this denial. "Any allegation that the president" -- well, there was no President Clinton in 1978. Two, "assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick" -- well, there was no Mrs. Broaddrick in 1978. Her name at that time was Juanita Hickey.


If you think this is an unfair stretch, recall Dolly Kyle Browning's words -- she being the 30-year sweetheart and on-again, off-again, Clinton mistress.


(Begin videotape segment.)


MS. BROWNING: Billy adheres to the theory that if one single word of a story isn't true, then it doesn't come up to, you know, Plato's Truth, with a capital T.


INTERVIEWER: So if one little piece of information is wrong --


MS. BROWNING: One! One! One word.


INTERVIEWER: -- it's all false?


MS. BROWNING: One word.


(End videotape segment.)


PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) I did not have sexual relations with that woman.


(Begin videotape segment.)


INTERVIEWER: He couldn't say that about you, could he?


MS. BROWNING: "I had no sexual relations with that woman" -- no, he wouldn't be able to say that, unless someone said, "Did you have sexual relations with Dolly Kyle Browning?"


INTERVIEWER: And then he could say no, because your name was different.


MS. BROWNING: Right. It's easy, really, if you just look at every word and you think about what every word means.


(End videotape segment.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Do you believe that Clinton is weaseling out of this in the Dolly Kyle parse-every-word fashion? Tony?


MR. BLANKLEY: Yes. And I'll tell you the word I think it's going to hinge on; it's going to be the word "assault." I think everything else in the end, the White House is not going to contest, but they'll contest that one word.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you did see, did you not --


MS. CLIFT: It's a pretty important word. (Laughs.)


MR. BLANKLEY: Well, but --


MS. CLIFT: That's it; that's the whole ballgame. (Laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You did see that he -- that, according to the statement, President Clinton -- he wasn't president --


MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and she wasn't Juanita Broaddrick; she was Juanita Hickey. You saw that? It's almost an exact parallel of what Dolly Kyle Browning is talking about.


MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think that's exactly right. And, John, as I say -- look, I mean, this is not -- if you are accused of being involved with someone, you could dismiss it or ignore it. But this is a horrible allegation.


MS. CLIFT: Yeah. This woman would have no claim in a court of law because too much --


MR. BUCHANAN: I know; this isn't a law court!


MS. CLIFT: -- time has past. And I don't --


MR. BLANKLEY: This is the court of public opinion.


MS. CLIFT: -- well, I don't think she --


MR. BLANKLEY: It's not the court of law.


MS. CLIFT: -- necessarily should get more credibility in the court of public opinion than she would in a court of law.


MR. O'DONNELL: None of the women who testified --


MS. CLIFT: We are never going to know what happened.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence?


MR. O'DONNELL: -- none of the women who testified against Bob Packwood had any claim in any court at any time; none of them.


MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We'll be right back with a special bulletin.


(Announcements.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Notice, the final four "McLaughlin Special Reports" in the current series, this Monday through Thursday, this coming week, March 1st through the 4th, 8:30 p.m. MSNBC; that's 8:30 p.m.


Now, a special bulletin. Here is a media advisory from Buchanan 2000 headquarters -- (laughter): "Buchanan to make major announcement in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, March 2. (To the strains of "Hail to the Chief.) Remarks to be followed by visits to Iowa, Louisiana, Alaska, North (Dakota) and South Dakota.


Pat, there are strong hints here.


MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You have heard the siren song, haven't you?


MR. BUCHANAN: Right.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You are saying "yes" to the summons?


MR. BUCHANAN: I am saying 1-800-GO-PAT-GO. (Laughs.) (Laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, look --


MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah?


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- we regard as an outrider --


MR. BUCHANAN: Right


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- a conservative outrider. You are not going to get --


MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor says "night rider."


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- you are not going to get California, you are not going to get New York, you are not going to get Florida. You probably won't get Texas, almost certainly. But you see a three-man race, don't you? You see you yourself, you see Forbes, and you see Bush surviving.


MR. BUCHANAN: John, the --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But the states you have got to get are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan.


MR. BUCHANAN: Those are for the presidential election, John. You have got to get the nomination first.


There will be a sorting-out in the first four or five primaries. You'll have two or three going into the big states. And then momentum will count for an awful lot; free media and money will count for an awful lot.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I a presuming --


MR. BUCHANAN: Then you hope you get into the final --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I am presuming the nomination, Pat. (Laughter.)


MR. BUCHANAN: It's a walk from --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to comment on this?


MR. BUCHANAN: -- it's a walk from there on out, John. (Laughter.)


MS. CLIFT: Ask Pat -- Pat is driving to --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to comment?


MR. BLANKLEY: Yeah. Yeah. I want --


MS. CLIFT: -- Alaska. (Laughs.)


MR. BLANKLEY: -- I want to make a point. I mean, Brother Buchanan has this opportunity because he is one of only -- there are two candidates, Forbes being the other one, who have actually been around the track. All the rest have either never declared yet or have never been on the track at all.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see it as a three-man --


MS. CLIFT: Lamar Alexander has been around the track --


MR. BLANKLEY: So I think that --


MS. CLIFT: -- and so has Dan Quayle.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see it as a three-man race?


MR. BLANKLEY: One of the indicators of success in the nomination process is having run before.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's suppose he gets the nomination. Isn't the battleground going to be fought in those states that I just mentioned?


MR. BUCHANAN: If he ever got the nomination, New York would be tough. The battleground would be the Middle West and the upper Middle West, Wisconsin and --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you could win the election with those electoral college votes?


MR. BUCHANAN: If you get Texas and Florida.


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


MR. O'DONNELL: Well, I sit here thinking if Pat Buchanan can run for president from that seat -- (laughter) -- shouldn't I be running for Santa Monica City Council, at least, from this seat? (More laughter.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, feel free!


MR. O'DONNELL: Okay.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just make sure you're back here on weekends, that's all.


MR. BUCHANAN: John, they can't afford to give up the income from this show. (Laughter.)


MS. CLIFT: I must say, I'm enormously fond of Pat, but not as president! (Laughs.) So we look forward to you coming back, Pat --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Shall we have a round robin on whether or not Pat's going to be back in his chair, say, May or June of the year 2000? Excuse me -- yes, the year 2000.


MR. BUCHANAN: I'll pass on that one, John. (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're going to pass?


MS. CLIFT: Pat will go to the convention. He'll do to George W. Bush did what he did to George Bush Senior; he'll bedevil him all the way! (Laughs.)


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many delegates will he bring with him?


MS. CLIFT: Oh, gosh. How many did you get last time?


MR. BUCHANAN: Two hundred.


MS. CLIFT: Two hundred. I say two hundred and six. (Laughs.)


MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)


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


MR. BLANKLEY: I think he'll be in it to the end, and it remains -- the decision is in doubt.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there something noble about Pat Buchanan doing this, or do you think he's foolhardy?


MR. O'DONNELL: I don't think he's foolhardy at all. I don't always agree with him on every policy.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that the issues that he has he speaks to better than anyone else; does he not?


MR. O'DONNELL: That's absolutely true. And I think the easiest prediction you can make is that Pat Buchanan will be in it to the end. And I agree with Eleanor, he will go with more delegates than he did last time.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I can't improve on that, Pat.


MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)


Next week, presidential lineup for 2000.


Bye-bye, and godspeed Pat~!


(Announcements.)


PBS SEGMENT


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue four: Feminists backpedal. Maybe the Clinton track record is why formerly staunch feminist defenders, like Patricia Ireland of the National Organization for Women, are now changing their tune.


PATRICIA IRELAND (President, NOW): (From videotape.) I thought the Juanita Broaddrick interview was just devastating. Kathleen Willey's charges could not be brushed off as a clumsy pass; that was a sexual touching, that was a physical assault. This is an even higher level of criminal assault, if what is being told is true. And so while he was never my dream president who I thought was going to carry us forward to equality, I did not think that his womanizing would turn out, apparently, to involve being a sexual predator.


We are not standing behind Bill Clinton and I don't think that any amount of good work on behalf of women and women's rights excuses harassment and assault.


I think that we're going to have to watch this unfold. I think that there is -- you know, there are still other shoes to be dropped, potentially.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What are other shoes to be dropped, potentially, Lawrence O'Toole -- or, Lawrence O'Donnell?


MR. O'DONNELL: Possibly -- possibly other witnesses who could be in this story who can confirm. Maybe there's maid, maybe there's janitor at the hotel who says, yeah, I saw that guy going into that room. Or, there was someone in campaign headquarters, according to this story, who put the --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Juanita.


MR. O'DONNELL: Juanita together with Clinton. You know, she called --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She called the headquarters.


MR. O'DONNELL: Headquarters. Someone at headquarters had to pass that call on to Clinton, so there are witnesses, possibly, still around in this case. And the only person who would know that those witnesses exist would be Bill Clinton, because he -- you know, he might have seen someone who saw him going in the hotel and that's why his statement might be what it is today.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think the other shoe is to drop -- by the way, did you want to make another point regarding that earlier issue?


MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I did, John. I think that, look, the Republicans and conservatives have said he should resign or be impeached and removed and we've made our statement and they ought to back off. But there's a real duty here on the part of the Democratic Senators who have kept Bill Clinton in office, who said his behavior is acceptable and were part of his staff and his Cabinet. Is this acceptable conduct in the man for whom they work? He's their president now.


MS. CLIFT: Well, we --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have a question for you.


MS. CLIFT: We still operate in a nation that's ruled by laws, and this is not a charge that can be proved or disproved, and so therefore I think it's incumbent upon us --


MR. BUCHANAN: But it's?? believed or not believed, Eleanor --


MS. CLIFT: -- not to convict someone based on allegations.


MR. BUCHANAN: We ought to go to him and ask him, Mr. President, is this a lie? If so -- (inaudible due to cross talk).


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What they have -- what they have --


(Cross talk.)


MS. CLIFT: ??


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Just a moment. What they have going for them is -- those who believe it -- is antecedent probability. And you know what that means, Tony.


MR. BLANKLEY: Yes, it's based --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's on the basis of --


MR. BLANKLEY: -- it's his prior conduct.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They also have corroborative evidence; notably, was it in 1991 when he tried to apologize and she told him to go to hell, there was a woman with her who had a direct line to -- to the conversationalists, the two of them, and -- that is, a visionary line. And then she came back and reported exactly what he had said. So that stuff is all quite strong, is it not?


MR. BLANKLEY: It's strong and believed, I believe. But it's not proof. It's not close to proof.


MR. O'DONNELL: In politics -- in politics you don't need --


MR. BLANKLEY: You don't go to the president and say, what's the -- happened?


 


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