updated 10/30/2004 4:32:09 PM ET 2004-10-30T20:32:09

Guest: Mort Zuckerman, G. Gordon Liddy

PAT BUCHANAN, HOST:  Tonight: tick, tick, tick.  Four days and counting, an election special.  A new terror tape: Osama bin Laden attacks the president and explains why 9/11 happened and what America must do to avoid another.  U.S. officials believe the tape is authentic.  How will this October bombshell effect the election?  Then we‘ll look at brand-new polls that just came out.  Today there are some amazing new numbers you won‘t want to miss.  Plus, both camps agree that the military vote could be critical in choosing the next commander-in-chief.  But will all the soldiers‘ votes be counted?  That and much more on this election special.

Today, Osama bin Laden had a message for Americans just four days before the election.  A new video that aired on Al Jazeera earlier today warned America to leave the Middle East alone.  It‘s the first new video of bin Laden since September 10, 2003, a year ago.  And it‘s the first time he directly claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks.

In the bin Laden tape, he says, and I quote, “Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al Qaeda.  Your security is in your own hands.  Each state that does not mess with our security has naturally guaranteed its own security.”

Joining me now, MSNBC analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona and MSNBC terrorism expert Steve Emerson.  Steve, let me talk with you.  This is an astonishing and quite riveting tape.  It is as though Tojo sent a message to FDR in 1942 saying, Here‘s why we bombed Pearl Harbor and here‘s how you can get out of the war, otherwise it‘s going get worse for you.  What is your take on—first, on why he did this?  And secondly, were you astonished that he appears to be in relatively good health?

STEVE EMERSON, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  This is the first time we actually have seen him in such good health.  And he‘s reading very calmly.  The backdrop is very nondescript, deliberately so, to avoid any kind of identification.  But understandably that he has to inject himself into the political campaign.  He has not delivered on the threats that were issued back in June, when he said the time of ticking and an attack would occur before the election if America did not change its ways.  He was not able to deliver on another terrorist attack.  This is the next best thing right now.  And he clearly is making this acutely fine tuned to the American public.  It‘s not for Europeans, it is not for the Arab public, it is for the American public.

BUCHANAN:  Exactly.  And what he is saying in there is—he says—which is—I don‘t believe for a second—he says he saw—you know, he watched the Israelis smash the buildings in Beirut 1982, when Sharon led the attack into Lebanon, and watching those buildings come down, he determined that because the Americans had given the Israelis a green light, that he was going to bring down the American towers, or the American buildings, which is nonsense, but it is clearly a message directed at an American audience and to an Arab audience and a European audience.

EMERSON:  Look, clearly, he wants to make the case that somehow it‘s American support for Israel, when in fact, if Israel existed (ph) within one inch in Tel Aviv, he‘d still have a problem.  He‘d still claim that this was a provocation to the Muslim world, No. 1.  No. 2, he  was not—al Qaeda didn‘t exist in 1982.  It didn‘t exist until 1989.  He was not even involved with the jihad movement until 1986...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

EMERSON:  ... in Afghanistan.  So clearly...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

EMERSON:  ... it‘s revisionism right now, designed to exploit what he sees in the American public, the debate now saying that somehow it‘s U.S.  involvement and support for the Middle—for Israeli that is part of the reason why there‘s a radicalization in the Muslim world.  He‘s trying to exploit that, and I think it‘s not going to work with the American public.

BUCHANAN:  Rick Francona—are you there, Rick?

COL RICK FRANCONA, U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.), MSNBC MIDDLE EAST ANALYST: 

Yes, I am, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  What is your take on this—on this tape, Rick?

FRANCONA:  Well, I think, primarily, bin Laden wanted to make sure that everybody knows that he‘s still alive, he‘s still relevant.  But along with Steve, I agree that he has really changed his tactic a little bit.  He‘s tried to do this earlier but not to this extent, and that is, wrapping his cause around the Palestinian cause.  I mean, claiming that the events of 9/11 were a direct result of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, supported by the U.S. 6th Fleet in 1982 is really a stretch.

BUCHANAN:  But here‘s what he‘s also done.  He—you‘re right, he is playing  into various Arab and Islamic causes but playing into an argument in the United States.  He also says the Americans were supporting the kings and the royal families and the military dictators and the president-for life.  If you go home and leave us alone, you‘ll be as secure as Sweden.  As you notice, we didn‘t attack Sweden.

FRANCONA:  That‘s right.  He specifically addressed the kings, the military leaders and the presidents who were not only allied with the president, the current President Bush, but also the previous President Bush.  And he said, you know, Your ties to these corrupt regimes have led to these attacks on you.

BUCHANAN:  OK, Ron Reagan‘s here with us, also.  Ron, at one point in the video...

RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Hi, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  ... bin Laden says—hi, Ron.  He says to the U.S. people, My talk is to you about the best way to avoid another disaster.  I tell you security is an important element of human life, and free people do not give up their security.  How do you think this is going to affect the election?  Now, let me give you my—my take on it initially would be this, Ron...

REAGAN:  OK.

BUCHANAN:  Clearly, Laden‘s showing he‘s alive and well and taunting us and saying, Bush did not get me, despite what he said.  But clearly, at the same time, he is insulting and challenging the president of the United States.  And if he turns this in bin Laden versus Bush, the president is going to benefit for the next three days.

REAGAN:  That‘s right.  Now, first of all, let‘s just say right off the bat that anybody who allows this to change their vote one way or the other deserves to be taken out back and hit in the head with a shovel.  But it may change people‘s minds, and I think we know how.  On the one hand, it rebounds to Bush‘s advantage because it rekindles the flame of 9/11, which many people feel was his best moment.  On the other hand, as you just said, it also reminds people that this guy that we were supposed to hunt down and smoke out and get him dead or alive and all that is still out there making videos.

Now more interesting, really, I think, than the impact on this election—which I hope is none, nil—is his motives for this.  Now, superficially, he seems to be attacking Bush.  And he may be.  We can‘t speak for his motives.  We don‘t know his mind.  On the other hand, all movements, be they nationalist, be they revolutionary or Islamist jihadist, need an enemy.  And George W. Bush is the pre-cooked enemy for Osama bin Laden.  Now, if we want to say that he‘s very clever, very Machiavellian, we will think that, in fact, he is trying to help Mr. Bush because he knows Mr. Bush is his ready-made enemy.

BUCHANAN:  All right...

REAGAN:  He is the recruiting tool, in effect...

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me take...

REAGAN:  ... for Osama bin Laden.

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me take that to Steve Emerson.  Let me take that to Steve Emerson.  He did mock and taunt the president.  He brought up the “pet goat” reading down there in Florida.  And of course, he says, The president, amazingly, was reading this story, which enabled us to get all four airliners, which is nonsense.  But the taunt in there is deliberate.

EMERSON:  Well, first of all, I‘m...

BUCHANAN:  What is he doing?

EMERSON:  I‘m struck by the fact that that is, unfortunately, a replication of American political, you know, circus, which is brought up by Michael Moore, when he alleged that George Bush sat there reading.  So he‘s taking it from what he‘s watching on the Internet, what he‘s reading on the Internet, watching on direct satellite TV.  He‘s obviously watching American politics.  He‘s an astute observer.  He thinks that George Bush is vulnerable on that issue when he‘s not.

He also said that 50,000 people could have been killed and George Bush could have saved more lives.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

EMERSON:  Obviously, that‘s not going to resonate with the American public.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

EMERSON:  My feeling is he‘s not being Machiavellian, he honestly believe that he can appeal to the American public.  He‘s 100 percent wrong on this one.

BUCHANAN:  All right.  But Rick Francona, I think Steve‘s got a good point there.  Look, I don‘t think bin Laden wrote this, I think it was written for him.  But anybody that wrote this for him and who thinks bin Laden making a case of trying to separate the American people from Bush—

I mean, they are out—I mean, they are out of whack.  They cannot believe that‘s going to be the result.  Do you think perhaps that Ron Reagan is right, that this—he knows this or they know this and they believe that the taunts will help Bush?

FRANCONA:  I don‘t know that he‘s that Machiavellian, but whoever wrote this for him—and I agree that he didn‘t write this himself—has some understanding of American politics, certainly has access to the political system and understands what‘s going on in the country in the election right now.

BUCHANAN:  All right, well, hold it.  Let‘s take a look.  John Kerry, after this happened, said today he would fight a much more effective war on terror than the president.  And tonight, President Bush responded at an Ohio rally.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  My opponent tonight continues to say things he knows are not true, accusing our military of passing up a chance to get Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora that the commander in charge of that operation, Tommy Franks, has said is simply not the case.  It‘s the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking.  It is especially shameful in the light of a new tape from America‘s enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  Now, let me go over to Steve...

REAGAN:  Pat, could I jump in there for a minute?

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Let me get in there.  Let me say why I think this will benefit the president.  You saw there the president of the United States back in his role as president, not as campaigner, and he‘s very forceful and powerful there.  And he is already...

REAGAN:  He‘s also being dishonest, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  All right.

REAGAN:  He is also being dishonest.  John Kerry has never, ever accused the troops of letting Osama bin Laden go.  He has accused the civilian leadership of not providing the sort of leadership for the troops that would have enabled them to go and get Osama bin Laden.

BUCHANAN:  Well, hold on, Ron.  I got to challenge you there...

REAGAN:  What he said is dishonest.

BUCHANAN:  Well, Ron, I got to challenge you there because what he said is we let Osama bin Laden get away in Tora Bora.  Now...

REAGAN:  Yes, that‘s right.

BUCHANAN:  ... George Bush wasn‘t running the operation in Tora Bora. 

Tommy Franks was.

REAGAN:  George Bush is the commander-in-chief.

BUCHANAN:  And Tommy Franks—but Tommy Franks was running it, and he‘s the one that says Kerry is wrong and that Kerry is slurring the troops who were fighting.

REAGAN:  Well, Tommy Franks is campaigning for George W. Bush, quite frankly.  he appears with him at campaign rallies.  George W. Bush has said a number of things and attributed remarks to John Kerry throughout this campaign, and of late especially, that John Kerry has never said.  He has said that, John Kerry says—not, I think John Kerry will do this or that, but, John Kerry says he will not defend the United States until after we‘ve been attacked and only then with the permission of our allies overseas.

Let me be clear about that.

BUCHANAN:  OK.

REAGAN:  John Kerry has never said that.  The president knows that. 

And that is a lie.

BUCHANAN:  OK, Rick Francona, Steve Emerson, thanks for joining us.  Ron Reagan, stick around because up next, I‘ll ask them if the president has the momentum he need to win on Tuesday.  We‘ll have all the latest numbers next, as well.  Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  We‘re back with our election special.  I‘m Pat Buchanan.

Four days and counting until arguably the most important election in a generation.  And on the heels of a brand-new tape from Osama bin Laden, we begin with our nightly analysis of the polls, both national and in the critical battleground states.  Still with us is Ron Reagan from Democracy Plaza.  Joining us are radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy, Mort Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of “U.S. News & World Report,” and Craig Crawford of “Congressional Quarterly.”

Let‘s start with the national picture, gentlemen, where the Reuters/Zogby poll has the race in a statistical dead heat, 47 for the president and 47 for Senator Kerry.  But latest ABC poll scores it 50 to 47 in favor of Bush.  He is up 3.  Meanwhile, Rasmussen Reports give President Bush a 2-point edge, 49 to 47.

Mort Zuckerman, let me begin by asking you what is your take on how this bin Laden tape played today and how it will play out between now and Tuesday to either candidate‘s benefit.

MORT ZUCKERMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT”:  Well, first, let me say that if anybody thinks a tape from bin Laden that comes out four days before an election isn‘t playing politics, I don‘t know what politics is.

My own feeling is that this is bound to benefit Bush.  It changes the focus of what we‘ve been talking about for the last week or so, whether it‘s the Halliburton issue or the explosives in Iraq, focuses on the strength of George Bush, which, of course, is the war against terrorism, and pits, as you pointed out before, Pat, bin Laden against George Bush.

And bin Laden‘s claims are so preposterous.  You know, it would be as if Hitler said, you know, Just give me all of Europe, and I won‘t do anything, and then he attacks Russia.  We‘re not going to turn over the entire Middle East to the allies of bin Laden, with a control of the oil, never mind that we‘re going to walk away from our moral obligation to Israel as an ally.  So the whole thing is preposterous on its face, and is bound, in my judgment, to help George Bush because this is going to be the focus over the next several days...

BUCHANAN:  All right.

ZUCKERMAN:  ... and this is Bush‘s strength.

BUCHANAN:  All right, Craig Crawford, give me your take on this.  It does blow the 300 -- the explosives issues, the Halliburton issue, all this stuff goes by the boards.  And tomorrow morning in the papers, it‘s going to be bin Laden.  It already is tonight in both campaigns.  What is your take on how this plays out through Tuesday?

CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY”:  I can well imagine an initial tick up for the president on this.  It‘s an emotional response first.  You know, you see somebody, a hated enemy, criticizing our president, insulting our president, your first impulse is to rally around that president.  And I think a lot of Americans will do that.  We‘ve seen that in the past, starting with 9/11 itself.  There is a rally effect for President Bush.  We saw it with the capture of Saddam Hussein.

But what we also see is those—those upticks slide down.  Whether there‘s enough time for it to slide down or—I think these cycles are getting so compressed that as people then start to think about it and hear some of the Democratic surrogates making the argument, Well, this shows that bin Laden‘s still out there, we haven‘t caught the man that now admits he ordered 9/11...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

CRAWFORD:  And I think Democrats will have to argue their way to some advantage on this but be very careful about it.

BUCHANAN:  All right, Gordon Liddy, what is your take on how this will play out?

G. GORDON LIDDY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  I think what we need to do, Pat, is take the bin Laden tape, in association with Assam tape which came just a few days ago...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

LIDDY:  ... also directly from al Qaeda.  And the insults are not a problem.  What they did is directly threaten the American people, and that has got to redound to the benefit of President Bush because, as you know, when they ask people, Who can best keep you safe...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

LIDDY:  ... it‘s Bush.

BUCHANAN:  But you know, al Qaeda is not stupid.  They have to know—and these people—that if you threaten the Americans and insult the president of the United States, and you‘re responsible for murdering 3,000 people, you are not going to hurt the president of the United States.  The American people will turn to him as a leader and say, The president‘s going to give our response to you.

LIDDY:  I don‘t know that they‘re that smart about American politics.  I mean, after all, these people have the Mideast mind, and that Mideast mind simply hates Israel, hates the United States, would hate both of us if either one of us no longer existed.

BUCHANAN:  All right, Craig Crawford, Mort Zuckerman, thanks for joining us.  Everyone else, stick around because up next, we‘ll take a close look at the “Hail Marys” each campaign might lob.

You‘re looking at NBC‘s new state-of-the-art election facility.  It‘s called Democracy Plaza, and it‘s got exhibits and events that are open to the public.  Find out more at democracy.msnbc.com.  Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  On Monday, “The New York Times” published the now infamous missing weapons story, a story CBS wanted to air on “60 Minutes” this Sunday, 36 hours before voting began.  President Bush had no choice but to answer Kerry‘s attacks on the missing explosives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  The senator is denigrating the action of our troops and commanders in the field without knowing the facts.  Unfortunately, that‘s part of a pattern of saying almost anything to get elected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  By Wednesday, the source, the motivation and the facts of the story were all in serious question.  Then came the news that ABC wanted to run a terror tape later in the week.  And today, you have Halliburton allegations suddenly resurfacing.  Are these legitimate stories, or have some big media become politicized surrogates of the Kerry campaign?

We‘re back with our panel, Ron Reagan, Mort Zuckerman, G. Gordon Liddy and MSNBC political analyst Flavia Colgan now joins us.

Flavia, what is your take?  It‘s hard to believe that CBS, in wanting to take that explosives story and drop it on the president‘s head 30 hours before voting, wasn‘t making a cold-blooded political decision to damage the president.  Your take?

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  No.  In fact, I was very disappointed that CBS decided to drop the Niger story, as you recall, a couple of weeks ago under the pressure of Dan Rather.

But I have to tell you—and I really think, at this stage of the campaign, with the electronic wallpaper that is so many of the ads, that a lot of this stuff isn‘t penetrating and that people are really going to make a decision based on a visceral emotional reaction.  I really think that John Kerry needs to stay focused and learn from the debates in terms of how powerful the split screen was and look like a winner, have the command of the facts and look calm and look strong.  And I think that the style is going to be just as important as the substance right now.  We have so few days left.  And really, get out the vote is the most important.

BUCHANAN:  OK, I want to talk to Mort Zuckerman.  Mort, you know, we talked earlier, and you talked about the impact of this tape.  I think it blows off the explosives story completely.  I think Halliburton disappears, virtually.  I don‘t know why anybody—I mean, maybe some people want to talk about it.  If you were—first, do you think it is unfair to say when CBS was thinking of dropping this on Sunday, they might have had a political motive in mind?  And secondly, what would you do now, if you were John Kerry, about this bin Laden tape?  Bill Clinton I‘ve got some idea of what I think he ought to do.

ZUCKERMAN:  Well, I do think that to have “60 Minutes” put out that story on Sunday night before an election on Tuesday—I‘m not going to suggest they have a political motive, but I will say to you that as a matter of news judgment and the whole idea of being fair, particularly given the sensitivity they should have after what happened with Dan Rather, really just leaves me puzzled as to their reasoning.

Now, as far as John Kerry is concerned, that‘s a whole other issue.  He‘s still got to find some way to—to, in a sense, say that his leadership versus Bush‘s leadership will have a positive impact on the war against terror, and then our—whatever it is, our relations with the rest of world...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

ZUCKERMAN:  ... whatever he is trying to accomplish, he‘s got to say that it‘s his leadership that‘ll do it.  He‘s going to have a much tougher time...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

ZUCKERMAN:  ... because this argument is now going to be on the terrain where George Bush is the strongest...

BUCHANAN:  All right, now...

ZUCKERMAN:  ... and has the most credibility.

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me throw out what I think his advisers are probably telling him tonight to do because he can‘t trump the president...

ZUCKERMAN:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  ... in a war with bin Laden, with what you just said.

ZUCKERMAN:  Right.

BUCHANAN:  Suppose he comes out and says, If I had been president of the United States, that murderer would not be sending tapes anywhere right now, he would be dead because we would have used all our energy to go after him, the man who attacked us, rather than go into Iraq.  If he said that, that‘s a very dramatic statement, of course, and it reframes the whole debate.  I think he‘s going to have to do something like that.

ZUCKERMAN:  Yes.  You know—but as George Bush has pointed out, that flies in the face of what Tommy Franks wrote in “The New York Times,” in which he said, We had plenty of troops there, we had over 100,000 Pakistani troops on one side, we didn‘t want to incur excessive casualties going into the caves and chasm of that part of the world, which we didn‘t know very well.  We did it as best we could.  It‘s a very difficult argument to get away with.  He may be able to do it.  It may be his only argument.  And therefore, it may be the one thing he does.  I think he‘s got a very, very tough case to make.  If I were he, I‘d try and stay away from it and focus on other things in terms of Iraq and try and get the argument back to Iraq, if he can.

BUCHANAN:  OK, Mort Zuckerman, thanks very much for staying with us.  We have much more with the rest of our panel when “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” (sic) returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  Could the candidates‘ last-minute star-power strategies help either one?  We‘ll talk about that next. 

But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk. 

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  I‘m here to pump you up to reelect President George W. Bush. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  Four days to go and the Terminator, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is in Ohio stumping for President Bush.  Rockers Bon Jovi are in Michigan with John Edwards.  And Senator Kerry and Bruce Springsteen pulled such a huge crowd yesterday in Wisconsin that today they hit Florida.  Tomorrow, Paul Newman comes to Cleveland for Kerry. 

So the stars are on the campaign trail.  But do they change voters‘ minds?  Our all-star panel is still here, Ron Reagan, Flavia Colgan, and G.  Gordon Liddy. 

Ron Reagan, do you think that Bruce Springsteen can out, unless you feel that Kerry did, Bruce Springsteen can bring out 80,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin?

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  I didn‘t think there were 80,000 people in there, but does it—Ron, does it translate to Kerry? 

REAGAN:  Well, I think that the brilliant thing that they did with that Bruce Springsteen-Kerry rally, which did draw like 80,000 people, is that right after Springsteen did an acoustic set, is that they got people right then and there and they led them to a voter registration booth. 

They had signs saying follow me and they led all these people en masse, anybody who was willing to go, to register them to vote right then and there.  And that‘s pretty good.  The Democrats clearly won yesterday, because really it was the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, doing acoustic sets, vs.  the Bush twins and “Gampy,” George H.W. Bush, somewhere else.  And you got to say Springsteen is going take that fight every time. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Gordon Liddy, what do you think?  Do you think the Boss trumps them all, even?

LIDDY:  Yes. 

I think, after all, that they attracted 80,000 and they registered 160,000.  And that‘s wonderful. 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Flavia, is that what happened?  Did they register them and vote the whole lot of them down there? 

REAGAN:  G. Gordon loves those dirty tricks.

(CROSSTALK)

COLGAN:  But I will tell you, Bruce Springsteen certainly did get a lot of new voters to register, and Annenberg saying 8-1 of those are Democrats. 

But I agree with Ron.  I think the most significant was that they were able to translate that in terms of taking people to the polls.  I‘m still here in Philadelphia.  And I think the rally, the sort of Willis Reed, seventh game, off the bench that Bill Clinton pulled here with 100,000 people was very significant, because he was—it wasn‘t abstract. 

He was the physical embodiment of a question that a lot of people ask themselves when they get behind that curtain, which is, am I better off today than I was four years ago?  And seeing Bill Clinton up on that stage was about more jobs.  It was about cheaper health care and lower Medicare costs.  And I think that that did translate.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me talk about, does it translate? 

Let me ask you, Gordon, because, look, when Clinton came back, I think every American wants to see.  The former president has gone through a terrific hit with that heart surgery.  He‘s got quadruple bypass.  He comes to a rally in Philadelphia.  They got 100,000 people out there.

But I‘m wondering, does that translate into votes?  The reason is, if we watch Pennsylvania, it doesn‘t seem to be getting broader for Kerry.  It‘s moving right into a the area of a dead-tie state or a state with Kerry one or two points ahead.  So I‘m wondering, again, go to Ron Reagan‘s point, whether or not they translate, these things? 

LIDDY:  I really don‘t think they do. 

I think they are good for bringing out a crowd.  I think that former President Clinton is enormously popular amongst Democrats, but they are not going to be voting for him.  They don‘t have an opportunity to vote for him.

All it‘s going to do is bring a crowd.  Then the candidate has to sell the crowd.  And whether or not the candidate has sold the crowd or not, we will not know until Tuesday. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Ron Reagan. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  There‘s no doubt they bring out the crowd, but let me ask you this.  The Boss is no doubt a big draw.  Outside of Clinton, he is about the biggest the Democrats have. 

But do you think now the bin Laden tape and the seriousness of the exchange back and forth between the president in effect speaking for America and John Kerry, do you think the stars will fade into the background now and this will—but this campaign will close on a much more serious note?  Because whatever you say about it, Bruce Springsteen is fun.  And...

REAGAN:  Yes.  Oh, absolutely. 

BUCHANAN:  And it seems like we‘re not in a fun stage right now. 

REAGAN:  Well, there are two just very different things going on there. 

Yes, the stars are fun.  And I would be interested to see if Gordo thinks that Arnold Schwarzenegger will similarly have no real effect on the outcome for people going to the polls.  But I think you have to remember about the Osama bin Laden story is that by its nature, while we‘ll talk about it for a couple of days, it really doesn‘t have legs. 

I mean, it has happened, and that is it.  There‘s no ongoing investigation.  He is not going to come out tomorrow and give us a few more words of wisdom.  We can‘t interview him.  So, that‘s over right now. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  But, Ron—or, Flavia, let me ask you, isn‘t it going to dominate the talk shows?  Let‘s take Tim Russert on Sunday.  It‘s going to be all over it.  Bob Schieffer will be all over it.  Our friends at the other networks are going to be covering this thing and asking how it affects certain people and what is he trying to do? 

This brings us down to the key issue of this campaign is, who should be conducting the war on terror? 

COLGAN:  And, Pat, I think that you had a great piece of advice for Kerry.  I‘m glad you are advising Democrats now. 

But I think it‘s a combination.  Like I was saying earlier in the show, it‘s not just what he says.  It‘s how he says it.  He has to make sure it doesn‘t seem like he‘s grabbing from the headlines or attacking Bush personally.  But I think that he can seamlessly dovetail this in to what I think has been the most argument he has made, which is one of competence and mismanagement, as opposed to getting into going into Iraq or not going into Iraq. 

And then also and just as importantly, this idea of a fantasy land, this idea that Bush, his rhetoric and reality do not match—he is telling how great things are in Iraq, but body bags are coming back.  Zarqawi is still out on the loose, even though we had a chance to get him.  We could have gotten Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora.  Fallujah, it goes on and on.  The explosives.  I think he has to bring this all together nail down mismanagement, competence and the idea that Bush does though see what is happening on the ground. 

BUCHANAN:  OK. 

There is another issue and it‘s about military voting.  A recent study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center found that 94 percent of the members of military intend to vote in the election.  And Bush is likely to get most of those votes.  He has a 69 percent favorability rating among military personnel vs. Kerry‘s 23 percent. 

And with nearly 160,000 troops fighting in the Middle East, the military vote from abroad could decide the election.  In the 2000 election, officials in Florida disqualified 1,527 votes because they lacked postmarks.  Florida, as you know, was decided by 537 votes. 

Now, let me ask you, Flavia, have they settled that problem up there in Pennsylvania where apparently the troops were saying that they had not to both get their ballots and get them back? 

COLGAN:  Well, I took major umbrage with what was essentially political posturing.  Ed Rendell is a former Reservist and certainly he has seen the burden we have had to bear in Pennsylvania.  And he more than anyone wants to make sure we‘re not undermining that which we‘re fighting for in Iraq, which is democracy. 

And voting is so important.  What happened today is that Ed Rendell went into Judge Kane, a Republican judge, former Republican secretary of state, who before had said it was not necessary to send out a second ballot, which would be confusing.  And he asked for an extension.  It is now extended to November 10.  But, again, we have to recall that Santorum and everyone is going on saying 26,000 votes are not going to be counted. 

There are only two counties that were of were in question, Venango.  And there are only three ballots that hadn‘t been returned yet.  And still Ed Rendell went in today and said even one vote being counted is not enough.  I hope this rings throughout the nation.

BUCHANAN:  OK, let me go to Gordon Liddy with this. 

Gordon, this is a very explosive issue.  Any suggestion that American guys over there and gals in Afghanistan or Iraq haven‘t been given enough time to cast their ballots and have them counted because of perhaps some political hack in the United States, that is a revolutionary issue.  What is your take?  It seems to me what Rendell is doing is the right thing, going in and getting an extension to make sure that all the troops in there who want to vote and who have cast their votes have their votes counted. 

LIDDY:  He did the right thing, but I think he yielded to political pressure to do the right thing and he did the right thing.  I don‘t think he had any choice but to do the right thing.

BUCHANAN:  Ron Reagan.

REAGAN:  You know, with all due respect to the troops—and they are doing, you know, a heroic job where they are—all votes count equally. 

And the question that this leads to is for the Republicans to suggest that there is some sort of machination going on to keep the military from voting is a little bit hypocritical, because there is an active effort on the part of Republicans to suppress the vote in various states.  There are all sorts of dirty tricks that are going to be played.  They are going to have people that they are paying to show up at polling places and discourage particularly African Americans and young people in Democratic districts in Ohio, in Florida and elsewhere, discourage them from voting. 

Everybody‘s vote counts equally, whether you are wearing a uniform or not. 

BUCHANAN:  OK, young and newly registered voters are hard to predict. 

Could they swing the election Kerry‘s way? 

We‘ll ask our experts next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  The blogging world could play a large role in next week‘s election.  Find out why when we return with MSNBC‘s blogger in chief.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  Welcome back.  I‘m Pat Buchanan. 

And more than 700,000 residents between the ages of 18 and 24 registered to vote in time for Tuesday‘s election in Michigan.  How will the youth vote and new voters impact our presidential election? 

Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst and former Howard Dean campaign manager, blogger in chief, Joe Trippi. 

All right, Joe, tell us.  Tell us, you mean—I mean, tell us how the Internet is going to impact this election and which side do you think is going to benefit most? 

JOE TRIPPI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, I think it‘s clearly already impacted the election.

But I think it may be the big surprise Wednesday when we all wake up, because I—when you look at what‘s happening out there, thousands and thousands and thousands of young people, not just in Michigan, but all over the country on campuses in just about every state have a signed up more and more voters.  And what you are seeing is that same interview that we have seen on the interview on those online polls after each debate, where Kerry won by a landslide on the Internet. 

This is their medium, this young cohorts medium.  And they talk to each other in their own language.  And there is so much energy there that I don‘t think pollsters can reach these people.  They have cell phones.  They don‘t tend to have land lines.  And I think they turned out about 33 percent in 2000.  I think we could be shocked and see a 50 percent turnout and a much—and they‘re much higher registered. 

So I think the big surprise Wednesday morning could be that it was the young generation that decided this election. 

BUCHANAN:  You think this is the hidden vote.  And you seem to be suggesting that despite the polls that show maybe Bush with a one- or two-point lead nationally and pretty good shape in the battleground states, that you could get a small tidal wave here that puts John Kerry in the White House? 

TRIPPI:  Definitely, I mean, particularly if it‘s that close. 

If we really go into the Election Day with Bush having a dead heat or Bush having a slight lead and these pollsters haven‘t reached these young folks who have their cell phones, who don‘t communicate with land lands where the pollsters can reach them, the pollsters might be able to extrapolate what their vote is going to be, 56 percent for Kerry, 44 percent for Bush.

But what they can‘t do is predict how that energy there and how much higher turnout is going to be.  And I think it could literally double in this group on Election Day.  I have never seen this energy. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Gordon, what do you think?  You have got your radio show. 

You are in touch with a lot of folks. 

LIDDY:  I sure am.  And what he is talking about are the college kids. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

LIDDY:  What he is forgetting about is that the noncollege young people are just as highly energized, and they are energized for Bush and they are going to vote. 

BUCHANAN:  You know, Ron Reagan, that‘s a point. 

There‘s a lot of working-class kids and others, quite frankly, who are not in college, who aren‘t spending a lot of time working on the Internet and the rest of it.  And many of them are very enthused about the president. 

REAGAN:  Some are and some aren‘t. 

I would suggest to you that the youth vote, generally speaking, is a Kerry vote.  And that‘s why you will see Republican operatives in polling states in crucial states challenging young people when they come to vote.  Now, fortunately, we have got a very unique situation with these bloggers. 

MSNBC is going to have citizens blogger reporters, as it were, at various polling places around the country.  And we have invited them to report on what they are seeing in the polling places.  So if these dirty tricks are taking place out there, we‘re going to know about it.  We‘re going to have people on the ground who are just ordinary citizens with access to the Internet, or Internets, if you prefer, who are going to...

(LAUGHTER)

REAGAN:  I don‘t know how many there are, but...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Let me repeat.  All right.  OK. 

We‘ll have final thoughts from our panel coming right up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BUCHANAN:  All right, let‘s get some final thoughts from our panelists. 

Let me ask you, Gordon, how do you think it is going to go this weekend up through Tuesday?  And what‘s the effect of the bin Laden tape?  I mean, do you think, as Ron Reagan said, it will fade? 

LIDDY:  No, I don‘t think it is going to fade, because I think, as you pointed out, it is going to be the subject of discussion on all the Sunday talk shows and what have you.  It is also going to be the subject of discussion in bars and everything else. 

And it is going to focus the issue right back where it belongs, and that‘s on safety and security of our people.  And that is going to benefit President Bush enormously. 

BUCHANAN:  Flavia Colgan, I‘ve got to think—I don‘t—do you disagree with that?  It sounds to me that is simply what‘s going to happen, whether we like it or not. 

COLGAN:  I think that the Osama bin Laden tape, as I mentioned earlier, can really cut both ways on that competence issue. 

And I really feel confident for a Republican incumbent to be in a dead heat in this stage, I would place my bet on a GOTV effort from the Democrats more than Republicans any day.  And I really think that those undecideds, as you‘ve seen in the polls, are breaking Kerry‘s way.  And I feel confident, as Joe Trippi said, that the people in my generation, this new batch of registrants, is going to put it over the top for Kerry.

And I sincerely hope that that is the story, because wouldn‘t it be great if my generation for the first time in this important election is able to do the thing they‘ve never been able to do, which is impact the future of this country and the jobs and foreign policy? 

(CROSSTALK) 

BUCHANAN:  Ron Reagan.

REAGAN:  Yes.  Well, the bin Laden story won‘t simply evaporate, because we‘ll keep talking about it, but, again, there will be no new news on the bin Laden story. 

Now, one other thing to consider, the weather.  In Ohio on Election Day, it‘s supposed to be stormy.  Will it be raining in the north and the east, where Kerry is strong?  Will it be raining in the south, where Mr.  Bush is strong?  This election, because Ohio is so crucial, could literally be decided by the weather. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, I think you are right. 

But I think this, Ron.  I think the president can lose Ohio and win, but I think Kerry has got to have Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.  Do you agree or disagree? 

REAGAN:  Well, that would certainly help, but Joe Trippi has been working on several scenarios where we could end up with a 269-269 tie, although I think that Kerry will win the popular vote either way. 

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

Joe Trippi.

TRIPPI:  Yes, Pat.

I think this whole Osama thing is going to be eclipsed by the really big story that is going to occur over the weekend.  And that is the vice president of the United States heading out to that previously undisclosed location formerly known as Hawaii to go out and try to swing that state. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Right.  I understand Al Gore is going to get there ahead of him. 

(LAUGHTER)

TRIPPI:  But this shows you how close this thing is going to be, that now both parties are sending out the big guns to the state of Hawaii. 

BUCHANAN:  Four electoral—four electoral votes. 

(LAUGHTER)

TRIPPI:  But that gets to you where this thing is going to go.  That‘s how tight it is going to be. 

BUCHANAN:  OK.

REAGAN:  Cheney may be planning an early retirement in Hawaii. 

(CROSSTALK)  

BUCHANAN:  OK, Gordon Liddy, Flavia Colgan, Ron Reagan, Joe Trippi, thanks for joining us for this election special, “4 Days & Counting.”

Stay tuned.  “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY” is straight ahead. 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc.  (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,