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‘Buchanan and Press’ for Oct. 21

Read the complete transcript to Tuesday’s show
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Guests: Molly Ivins, Laura Ingraham, Sidney Blumenthal, Vincent Gallo, Rich Lowry, Daniel Webster, Eric Dezenhall, Frank Donatelli

ANNOUNCER: The smartest hour on television, BUCHANAN & PRESS.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Tonight, the best of the best sellers. You bought their books, so we booked them for you. The nation’s hottest political writers from the very right to the very left.

PAT BUCHANAN, CO-HOST: And that Florida struggle to keep a brain-damaged woman alive has taken a dramatic turn. Florida Governor Jeb Bush has won the right to have her feeding tube reinserted.

Good evening. I’m Pat Buchanan.

PRESS: And good evening. I’m Bill Press. Thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight with “The New York Times” best-seller list and number six on the list, President Bush’s nemesis, Molly Ivins, all the way from Texas, joining us live from Seattle where it hasn’t stopped raining the past five days and her new book, “Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America”. Molly Ivins, good to have you with us. Thank you. Now...


PRESS: I’ve got to ask you Molly, first of all, you wrote this book called “Shrub”, which I read cover to cover. In “Shrub”, you warned us before he was elected that George W. Bush wasn’t up to the job. He didn’t disappoint you, did he?

IVINS: Well, in fact, Lou Dubose, my writing partner and I were tempting to begin the introduction to this new book by saying, you know, if y’all had read the first book we wrote, we wouldn’t have had to write this one. Cooler heads prevailed. It was considered a little bad mannered.

BUCHANAN: Well, Molly, now wait a minute here. This is the president of the United States who has won two wars and two years for the United States of America, who has kept us free of any terrorist attract, he and the great John Ashcroft, in the last two years, and who is supported today by the majority of the American people and has rarely fallen below 50 percent support. What do you know that the American people don’t?

IVINS: Well, it seems to me that he has taken the economy with very unadvised tax cuts and to very choppy seas. And I was one of those people who predicted that Iraq would be a short, easy war, followed by the peace from hell. You know, I never root for bad things to happen, but I’m afraid I am looking more right than wrong about that at this point. What I want to point out, though, is that this book is not about Bush. It goes to an idea that Jim Hightower and I have had for a long time. That the media in this country pay much too much attention to the Dow Jones average. All the time on television, in the newspapers, Dow Jones, Dow Jones. We came up with the idea of a Doug Jones average, Doug Jones, average American. How is old Doug doing? Is he up? Is he down? Let’s check on Doug. And this book is really about people, rather than about George W. Bush...

BUCHANAN: All right...

IVINS: ... the people in this country.

BUCHANAN: ... Molly, let me say, look, Doug Jones and we might find some agreement. I think these trade deals that the president’s father and he and Mr. Clinton wrote up and signed are responsible for deindustrializing our country and sending millions and millions of the best manufacturing jobs abroad. But the Democrats signed on to those same things up on Capitol Hill, just like they signed on to Mr. Bush’s war. Mr. Kerry did. Edwards did. Gephardt did. Clinton did. Daschle did. I mean they were all for it and it seems to me to single out Mr. Bush, who at least believed in it when they didn’t, is somewhat unfair.

IVINS: Well, you and I often come to agreement on odd points, you being a right wing populist and me being a left wing populist, and I think we are both right about the trade deals. What I have said and many of us have from the beginning was look, unless you build in protections for labor and the environment into these international trade agreements, you are going to regret it. And I think it’s come true. It’s not just that we have lost jobs during this administration. It’s really more than that, Pat. It’s across the board. It’s not-it’s people have lost their health insurance, they’re losing pensions, cost of health insurance doubled, tripled...

BUCHANAN: Why then Molly...

IVINS: ... it just is not going well.

BUCHANAN: All right. Molly, no doubt we’ve had three rocky years. They haven’t been depression years, but unemployment is at six percent, manufacturing jobs go, and people get jobs often, they don’t have the health insurance. They don’t have the pay they had and the wife’s got to leave the kids at day care and go to work herself. But at the same time, the president’s support out there in the country seems to have firmed up and, frankly, he’s rising. He is higher than Clinton was at this period, Reagan was at this period and Nixon was at this period.

IVINS: Well, now here we get into what seems to me kind of a futile discussion. If I say, OK...


IVINS: ... I have some criticisms of Bush’s policy and what they’re doing to people in this country. And you say, yes, but he is really popular, I don’t see why I should be asked to account for that. But I do think there’s an obvious explanation. We always rally around a president in a time of crisis. And since 9/11, it’s kind of been one long, continuous crisis.

PRESS: But Molly, here’s what gets me, is you’re out there Texas, now you covered George Bush when he was governor, but since he’s been president, you’re writing this kind of stuff and nobody in the national media is. They’re just giving him a free ride. Why?

IVINS: Well I know it’s difficult for people on the right to believe this, but it really does look to those of us of the liberal persuasion that the media have been incredibly kid-gloved with George W. Bush, particularly compared to this, you know, relentless pursuit of Bill Clinton for eight years. And with Bush, what’s really astonishing is you know here we are with no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons program, no Osama bin Laden, no Saddam Hussein, and you would expect or at least I would expect, more voices in the media to just be screaming about this.

PRESS: Well now there are some voices speaking out about the

president. One thing about your book, whether you like Bush or not, you’re

going to have a lot of laughs reading your book. Let me give you a

contrast. Jonathan Chait of “New Republic” starts out by saying-quote -

” “I hate President George W. Bush.” David Corn in his new book, “The Lies of George W. Bush,” starts out by saying first sentence, “President George W. Bush is a liar.” From your point of view, isn’t that language a little too harsh?

IVINS: Yes, it is. I don’t personally dislike George W. I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve known him since we were in high school. Not well, I’m not claiming we were ever friends. It’s just a long acquaintanceship and he is a perfectly applible (ph) fellow.

BUCHANAN: Do you like him?

IVINS: It’s-I think there is a difference between-and I think it’s a distinction that grown-ups should be able to make fairly easily-between thinking that somebody in power has policies that are really disastrous, that are really badly harming people in the country, and hating them personally in this visceral way that the Clinton people seemed to me to hate Clinton. And that’s not where I am with this guy at all.


BUCHANAN: ... good for you.

IVINS: I think he’s wrong on the policies.

PRESS: All right, Molly Ivins, thanks so much for joining us.

BUCHANAN: Thanks Molly.

PRESS: The book is called “Bushwhacked” and Molly, stay dry out there in Seattle. Thank you so much for joining us.

IVINS: I’ll do it. So long, y’all.

PRESS: All right. Now coming up, two more best sellers, Laura Ingraham attacks the so-called elites of Hollywood and New York. Sid Blumenthal chronicles “The Clinton Wars”, the latest and the hottest on BUCHANAN & PRESS.


PRESS: Later this week, Gail Collins, editorial page editor of “The New York Times” and one of the most powerful journalists in the country. Gail Collins, Thursday right here on BUCHANAN & PRESS.


PRESS: Welcome back to BUCHANAN & PRESS. And we continue now our battle of the best sellers with authors of two of the hottest books in the country. Laura Ingraham, author of “Shut Up & Sing,” nice talk, and Sidney Blumenthal, author of “The Clinton Wars”. There is so much we could talk about. Why people hated Bill Clinton so much and now they just shower George Bush with love.

But let’s start out, Laura, talking about the elite that you complain about. I want to read from your book description here we were given as part of our research. Quote-”The elite. They think you’re stupid. They think all freedom-loving Americans are stupid. They think patriotism is stupid. They think church going is stupid. They think flag flying is stupid. They despise families with more than two children.” Will you please name me two people in the country who believe that?


PRESS: You made that up.

LAURA INGRAHAM, AUTHOR, “SHUT UP & SING”: That’s the sentiment that Americans across the country the last couple years of doing my radio show, they really feel that way. They feel like...

PRESS: Just name two people.

INGRAHAM: One, Jessica Lange, who went over to Europe and said that she’s humiliated to be an American. Another, Madonna, who said she believed that there’s a lynch mob mentality. Another, Bill Moyers, who has a problem with people wearing flag-lapel pins...

PRESS: Bill Moyers thinks patriotism is stupid?

INGRAHAM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the literary license, which is granted to the left should also be granted to the right. The point is people in the heartland, people in the South feel like-and maybe it’s not true and maybe you can set us straight. But I actually don’t put you in the elite category. But explain to those people why they shouldn’t feel like their is under attack...


INGRAHAM: ... why their belief in the overall good intentions of this country is not under attack. They feel that way...


INGRAHAM: ... and that’s what they expressed to me.

PRESS: At least you honestly admit...


BUCHANAN: Now, let’s-let me talk to the author of “The Clinton Wars” and bring him up to date. I did think for a while there briefly when Bill Clinton was out saying well Hillary hadn’t made up her mind and they were doing all of these things, that they were taking a look at 2004. I don’t think that anymore. Do you agree that they have abandoned any thought of her running in 2004? And second part of it is, is as you’ve been something of an analyst before you went in the White House, do you think-no seriously, do you think Howard Dean really has such a strong inside track that he’s going to be very, very difficult to stop?

SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL, AUTHOR, “THE CLINTON WARS”: Two parts-first part, I think that Hillary never had any plans whatsoever to run in 2004...

BUCHANAN: Did Bill speak of it?

BLUMENTHAL: I think he hypes her and promotes her and talks about her many virtues, and the press, which wants that story very much, takes it up. But there was never any idea of her running and she’s done everything in her powers to try and kill that story.

BUCHANAN: Like going out to Iowa and hosting the state dinner out there.


BLUMENTHAL: Well, she’s been able to sell the tickets for the Democrats.


BUCHANAN: She has. She’s teasing them. OK. Now, what are your thoughts since she’s out of it and frankly, I don’t see Clark as doing that. Can-do you think Dean will win Iowa and New Hampshire, in which event I think he’s impossible to stop.

BLUMENTHAL: I think that Dean has a real strategy. And I don’t see a strategy for anyone else through this process right now. I think if Dean wins Iowa, he’s won. If Dean finishes...

BUCHANAN: If he wins Iowa, he will win New Hampshire?

BLUMENTHAL: Right. If he finished a close second in Iowa...

BUCHANAN: To Gephardt...

BLUMENTHAL: ... he’ll probably win New Hampshire...


BLUMENTHAL: ... and then he’s likely to win as well and then follow this through. I don’t see his constituency at all fading away from him and the Clark candidacy has shown that Dean’s constituency sticks with him.

PRESS: Look, you wrote a book about Hillary called “The Hillary Trap”...


PRESS: ... before this book. What’s your take on Hillary? Do you think she really wants it in 2004 and...


PRESS: ... if none of the others really start emerging she’s going to just go for it and screw the rest?

INGRAHAM: You know I used to think that there was maybe 20 percent chance that Hillary would run. But now, if it doesn’t look like Bush is super vulnerable, if it looks like he’s just vulnerable and if Howard Dean continues, and I agree with Sid, that he does have real momentum, what’s in it for Hillary to run? I think if Bush looks super vulnerable and there’s a good chance that Howard Dean could unseat George Bush, I think Hillary would smart to run because otherwise she’s be shut out for possibly eight years. Does she want to be shut out for eight years? She’d be the most interesting person to run. There’s no doubt about it.

PRESS: All right. Now let’s get to the Bush hatred. I’ve heard a lot in the last few days and I’ve heard you quoted about, you know, all these people just hate George W. Bush. I mean after eight years of venom directed at Bill and Hillary, isn’t it kind of cheeky right now to complain? I haven’t heard anybody call George W. Bush a scumbag, for example.

INGRAHAM: Have you actually heard me complain about the Bush hatred out there? Because actually I haven’t. You must have...


INGRAHAM: ... you must have misheard me. I was just talking to Sid before the show that I don’t understand why conservatives are so upset by this. I mean we were against Bill Clinton’s ideas and I think a lot of people expended a lot of emotion including myself on Bill Clinton the man. But the point is the debate is about the ideas. One side...


INGRAHAM: ... believes in one thing...


INGRAHAM: ... the other side believes in the other side. And I don’t believe Bush hatred is to sell books and that’s fine. But the conservatives did the same thing. This is a culture war and it’s serious.

BUCHANAN: All right. Let me ask you, Bush is looking-I think he’s looking pretty good now. He’s turned around-the stock market is going up. People are talking about a possible seven percent growth in the third quarter, fourth quarter. Secondly, Dean has been touched up by Lieberman and the others. A lot of quotes out there about Dean depression, all these things. Do you think Dean can “A”, unite the party, “B”, can someone who was against the war and who is pro-gay rights and these other things, do you think he can beat George Bush in 2004?

BLUMENTHAL: It’s a totally speculative question. I don’t know that...

BUCHANAN: I know...

BLUMENTHAL: ... he will be the nominee. I think that a Democratic candidate can beat Bush, that the judgment will be made about Bush, that he’s the one who’s accountable. This whole election is about him. When one Democrat is selected...


BLUMENTHAL: ... then...

BUCHANAN: Sidney, you know...

BLUMENTHAL: ... then he will emerge.

BUCHANAN: We have a brand-new game here and it’s Bush’s $170 million. If he emerges, say it’s Dean on March 1 as the candidate, you’re going to get all this negativity, all of this identification of Dean as someone who’s McGovernized. He’s going to raise all your taxes. He’s for gay marriages. He would-Saddam Hussein would be in power.

BLUMENTHAL: I have no doubt that whoever the Democratic nominee is, he’s going to be subjected to a very intense withering, negative campaign from the Republican machine.

INGRAHAM: As compared to what the Democrats have done to Bush, Sidney? I mean each side engages...

BLUMENTHAL: No one’s attacked Bush personally...

INGRAHAM: Oh come on...

BLUMENTHAL: ... no one is trying to create...

INGRAHAM: ... every other word...

BLUMENTHAL: ... pseudo scandals...

INGRAHAM: Read my book...

BLUMENTHAL: ... about his personal life.

INGRAHAM: ... every other word is Bush is a dope, Bush is a moron, Bush is a racist according to Danny Glover. I mean this is the Hollywood establishment continuing this drumbeat that’s laughed at and cheered by the political...


BUCHANAN: Laura, we have a special guest. We have a special guest for you, Laura. He’s a Hollywood movie director. Vincent Gallo, director of “Buffalo 66” and soon to be released “Brown Bunny”...


INGRAHAM: On national TV, you’re going to see me choke my old friend Pat Buchanan and you’re next.

BUCHANAN: Here is what Vincent said...


BUCHANAN: ... to the “New York Post”. “I’m seriously in love.”

Gallo gushed about the pretty blonde pundit. “I’d love to go out with her.

She’s beautiful.” Vincent, here’s Laura. Do you want to say hello?


INGRAHAM: I’m speechless.

BUCHANAN: He’s on here, I hope.



INGRAHAM: How are you?


INGRAHAM: What is this,

PRESS: This is it...

INGRAHAM: What have you resorted to? Fox is not beating you that bad, OK...


INGRAHAM: You don’t have to engage in this.

PRESS: BUCHANAN & PRESS matchmakers. Now you two...


PRESS: ... just have a nice...


PRESS: Say hello to Vincent...



GALLO: Laura, you know there was no other way I could chat with you.


INGRAHAM: What happened to the phone, the regular telephone or e-mail, OK? How did you guys pull this off? I mean Vincent, I haven’t seen any of your movies but I understand some of them are a little sketchy.


GALLO: You’re a little out of touch. You’re a little out of touch, but that’s OK.

INGRAHAM: Oh, I’m out of touch? OK.

GALLO: You’re bright and clever and good-looking.

INGRAHAM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I’m just at a loss...

PRESS: And single.

INGRAHAM: I-you know something?


INGRAHAM: I am at a loss for words. But Vincent, I’m sure your people will call my people and then I’m going to get these two after the show and their little dogs, too.


PRESS: Let me just say...


PRESS: ... this is the first time that I’ve known you maybe for eight years...

INGRAHAM: I have known you...

PRESS: ... I’ve ever seen you...

INGRAHAM: ... and I’ve known Pat...

PRESS: ... at a loss for words...

INGRAHAM: ... for 20 years.

PRESS: ... Laura Ingraham.

INGRAHAM: I am completely at a loss for words.

PRESS: All right...


BUCHANAN: Hold it...


GALLO: Forget the date for a moment. Let’s talk about Hollywood, what it’s like for me to be around Hollywood actors and filmmakers all the time talking about politics.

INGRAHAM: OK. Tell me, are they as vacuous and stupid as they seem?

GALLO: It’s unbelievable...


GALLO: ... how out of touch and how aggressive and how one-sided.


GALLO: You would think there would be somewhat a balance-a sense of balance in people’s points of view and the way they talk about things.

PRESS: Oh my...

GALLO: And it’s unbelievable. It’s uncomfortable for me because they know for many years...

BUCHANAN: Vincent...

PRESS: You know I have heard...


PRESS: ... I have heard pickup lines before, but that’s the lamest...

INGRAHAM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you are a man after my own heart, Vincent.

Once you get a haircut, we can talk.


INGRAHAM: I’m just kidding you. I’m just kidding you. But no, isn’t it not an elite echo chamber in Hollywood? I mean conservatives...


INGRAHAM: ... kind of feel like the ants at the picnic.

PRESS: Don’t worry. In the next segment...


PRESS: ... we have a special guest for Sidney.


INGRAHAM: He doesn’t need one.


BLUMENTHAL: My wife is waiting outside.


BUCHANAN: We’re going to have to say goodbye to Laura Ingraham...


BUCHANAN: ... and Vincent Gallo...

PRESS: Thank you Laura.

BUCHANAN: ... thank you both. Sidney Blumenthal, stick around because ahead...


BUCHANAN: ... a best-selling author says America is paying a heavy price for those Clinton years. That’s next on BUCHANAN & PRESS.

INGRAHAM: I give up.


BUCHANAN: Welcome back. Will the Democrats ever be able to emerge from the shadow of the Clinton presidency? We’re back with former adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, author of “The Clinton Wars,” and Rich Lowry, author of “Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years”-Bill.

PRESS: Rich, thanks for joining us. I have got to say, I want you just to be honest with us and all of our viewers.

RICH LOWRY, AUTHOR, “LEGACY”: Of course, Bill. I wouldn’t be anything but.

PRESS: I know that. If you-people are looking for a fair and honest assessment of the Clinton years, they are not going to go to an editor of “The National Review” and a book published by your Regnery Publishing, correct? This is...

LOWRY: Well no...

PRESS: ... the right-written by right-wingers for right-wingers, correct?

LOWRY: Well that’s where you’re wrong, Bill. This is a very factual book. I tried to be relentlessly factual and as fair-minded as I could because it’s very important to get what happened in the 1990’s right. And Bill Clinton was very lucky to preside over a period of prosperity just the way Warren Harding or Calvin Coolidge did, but that didn’t make him a great president.

In “Legacy”, I demonstrate how the really hard things he left undone and kicked down the road to President Bush, most importantly Afghanistan. The White House-the Clinton White House was well aware of the fact there was a nest of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. They left them mostly untouched. They didn’t even designate Afghanistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. That’s outrageous and that’s why George Bush has had so much difficult things to deal with that now the Democrats pile on and attack him for.

PRESS: Well why is it that President Clinton met with President Bush

” president-elect Bush, almost about to be sworn in, in January of 2001, and said the number one enemy of this country is Osama bin Laden. And you ought to go after him and they put a plan on Condoleezza Rice to go after Osama bin Laden, and George Bush did nothing about it, Rich Lowry...

LOWRY: Well they were Bill...

PRESS: ... nothing until 9/11.

LOWRY: The Bush White House was in the process of forging a very aggressive plan to go to into Afghanistan and take the fight to al Qaeda. But look, should they have done more in eight months? Sure. But look, at all the things that were undone and they would have to undo from the Clinton years. Clinton made it harder for the CIA to recruit agents overseas. He made it harder for the FBI to follow terrorists and foreign agents here in the U.S. Immigration policy got looser. Airport security was lax. And most importantly, nothing was done about the problem in Afghanistan that the Clinton White House was well aware of.

PRESS: I thought for sure they...


BUCHANAN: Let me bring Sidney Blumenthal back in here. Sidney, you know every — (UNINTELLIGIBLE) used to say every president gets but a single sentence in the history books. Ronald Reagan, a good sentence about him is he restored America’s moral, might and won the Cold War. What’s the short sentence, single sentence on Bill Clinton’s legacy?

BLUMENTHAL: Bill Clinton brought this country into the 21st century and created the basis for a new progressive politics and new progressive policies across the board. He understood the new global economy, and he tried to bring our people up.

BUCHANAN: That’s a long sentence, Sidney.

BLUMENTHAL: It’s a long one. I can keep going.

BUCHANAN: It’s not-well Abraham...


BUCHANAN: ... you know Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and saved the

union. George Washington, father of this country. All right, let me take

” give you an argumentative question. Warren Harding was not a bad president. Economically, the best job I think in the 20th century was from 1920 to ’23, where he took it up. He negotiated the Washington Naval Treaty, which at the time was the greatest arms agreement in history. He is remembered for two things-Teapot Dome and Ann Britain (ph) in the closet. Doesn’t Clinton face the same kind of problem with the impeachment and Monica Lewinsky?

BLUMENTHAL: I think the impeachment is always going to be seen as a controversial question and it’s going to be seen by people on either side, both sides, in very different ways, totally contrasting and polarized ways. On the one side, you’re going to have people who see it as a personal scandal. And on the other side, you’re going to see it as people who exploited what was a personal situation for a political purpose.

BUCHANAN: Was his behavior not really below the dignity of the office? And here’s a guy with tremendous talent. There isn’t any doubt about it. He was smart. He had talent. He had charisma and he had an opportunity. Didn’t he blow it with the-I mean just squalid and scandalous behavior...

BLUMENTHAL: No, I don’t believe that anything was squandered in this period. I think that there were enormous accomplishments and social gains for the American people that were made across the board, many of which are attempting-attempted to be rolled back right now by the Bush presidency...

BUCHANAN: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) great president...

PRESS: Let me go back to Rich...

BLUMENTHAL: I would put him in the category of a near great president...


BLUMENTHAL: ... a very fine president.

PRESS: Rich Lowry, here’s the thing.


PRESS: I want to give you a fair shake with the book, but here’s where I think you lose. You don’t give Bill Clinton one ounce of credit for eight years of the greatest economic growth this country has ever known. Why not?

LOWRY: That’s where you’re wrong, Bill...


LOWRY: I do give him credit...

PRESS: I read that chapter.

LOWRY: You did?


LOWRY: I do give him credit. Look, what I argue at great length, because it’s important to get right, is the 1993 economic plan was relatively minor. The economy was already growing when Bill Clinton took office. The idea that he turned around the nation’s economy with a modest income tax increase is totally false. What I give him credit for is in the mid and late ’90’s when he was reined in by Alan Greenspan and the Republican Congress...


LOWRY: Hold on...


LOWRY: ... hold on Bill...


PRESS: I got to stop you right...

LOWRY: ... let me finish the thought...

PRESS: I got to stop you right there...

LOWRY: Let me finish the thought.

PRESS: In...

LOWRY: Let me finish the thought...

PRESS: You can, but let me just...


PRESS: ... interrupt you. In 1993 he’s got-he inherits almost a $200 billion deficit and he gets-does away with it because...

LOWRY: Well...

PRESS: ... of the 1993 economic plan...

LOWRY: No, that’s false...

PRESS: ... with not one Republican vote.

LOWRY: Bill, the deficit was already declining before the 1993 economic plan passed or took effect. And that’s because the deficit follows the course of an economic-the economic cycle. So the economy was already recovering. More revenue was already coming in. The fact is after the ’93 plan passed, the CBO was still projecting that deficits were going to be $200 billion for as far as the eye can see.

Now, if I can just finish my thought when you interrupted me-in the mid and late 1990’s, Bill Clinton was hemmed in by Congress and he did get out of the way of the economy and that’s what we can ask of a president. You know he was generally free trade, a lot of deregulation. He signed a tax cut for the rich in 1997. He let Alan Greenspan stop on inflation. All those things are good. And if you, Bill, and other Clinton defenders would just say Bill Clinton got out of the way and let the economy do its thing, I would agree with you, but that’s not what you say. You make this very contentious and stilted case about the 1993 plan.

PRESS: I think it’s wrong to call him a do nothing president, which you do. Rich Lowry, thanks for joining us.

LOWRY: Thanks Bill.

PRESS: Rich’s book is called “Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years”. Sid Blumenthal, “The Clinton Wars”. Thank you both for being with us.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

BUCHANAN: Thank you.

PRESS: Coming up, the battle over removing the feeding tube from a comatose woman in Florida. Did Governor Jeb Bush intervene in time? That’s next, BUCHANAN & PRESS, MSNBC.


PRESS: Still to come on BUCHANAN & PRESS, Florida’s governor steps in to keep a severely brain damaged woman alive.

BUCHANAN: The court backs Jeb Bush’s right to intervene, but will he act in time to save Terri Schiavo? But first, Christy Musumeci has the headlines.


PRESS: Thanks, Christy. And now Florida intervenes. Late today state lawmakers OK’d legislation giving Governor Jeb Bush authority to restore the feeding tube to a woman in a coma for the last 13 years and the governor acted almost immediately. Terry Schiavo is the subject of one of the nation’s longest and most bitter legal battles over the right to die. Here now a brief look at both sides of this contentious debate.


RANDALL TERRY, SCHINDLER FAMILY SPOKESMAN: She is not in a coma. Anybody can go to and see the films of her that were smuggled out by the family because this judge doesn’t want people to see her interact with her mom. Number two, there were nearly 20 doctors whose testimony was denied in court. They wouldn’t even let it come into court who said that she could be rehabilitated, that she could learn to swallow again, that she could receive speech therapy and learn to talk again. This whole case has been a scam.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What’s important here that the country’s been in a national dialogue since the Cruzan case, the Quill (ph) case and the Supreme Court. And it’s been popularized by the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) law. What we have to do is get a patient’s rights and patient choice at the forefront of end-of-life care.


PRESS: And now we go to Florida and the senator who sponsored the bill, giving Governor Jeb Bush authority to reinsert that feeding tube in Terri Schiavo, Republican Senator Daniel Webster. Senator, thanks for joining us. I just want to ask you on a personal level, because I think this comes down to a personal decision and a family decision. If God forbid it were you, a member of your family, you made a decision to take whatever action not to keep someone artificially alive by machine, would you want the governor calling up the hospital and giving the doctor orders about what he had to do?

DANIEL WEBSTER, FLORIDA STATE SENATOR: Well, I think you have to realize there’s a problem. And the problem is there’s a woman who can smile, a woman who can respond to her mom and a woman who under current Florida law is alive. And there is a problem, and I felt like she needed to live and so I did what I felt was right, and that was guarantee her life.

BUCHANAN: Senator Webster, my congratulations. Let me ask you this, though. My understanding is that there is a quarrel within the family that her husband, who is now living with another woman, wants the tubes removed and wants her basically to die, whereas her mother and father and her brother want her to live. Is that right?

WEBSTER: That’s correct.

BUCHANAN: All right. Now...


BUCHANAN: Go ahead.

WEBSTER: Well I was just going to say, there is a controversy, but there were over facts that also were at controversy.

BUCHANAN: All right.

WEBSTER: And I think that’s why the Senate decided to err on the side of life.

BUCHANAN: Exactly. That’s what I want to get to. Erring on the side of life. I understand it is simply not an open and shut case, that she is totally comatose or brain-dead and is not really alive. That is a debatable issue, and as I understand it, you all decided that there is-if there is some doubt, we’re going to err on the side of life, and giving her another chance, correct?

WEBSTER: That’s correct. There’s a line right now in the state of Florida, just as there is in every state, that determines whether you’re alive or dead. And the legislature is the one that decided what that line would be.


WEBSTER: And in my opinion, had we not acted, that line would have moved and I wanted to keep it right where it is.

PRESS: But Senator, you aren’t the first obviously to consider this. We know over the last 13 years there have been over 20 judges and 20 different courts-maybe not 20 different courts, I’m sorry, some were appellate judges-who examined all of the medical evidence, heard the testimony of dozens of doctors and came to the conclusion that this woman was in fact brain-dead. How many hearings did you have in the legislature before you acted or did you just act on pure emotion?

WEBSTER: I think the point is that you’re thinking that the courts don’t ever err, and I will tell you there’s lots of times that they do. And in this particular case, there were a lot of facts that were unanswered. There were a lot of misgivings and we felt like we had to act. And so there was a house on fire and there were no trespassing signs outside, but the house on fire with somebody...


WEBSTER: ... in it was far more important.

PRESS: Even when the house is on fire, it seems to me it’s important to respect the Constitution. Haven’t you in fact given this governor dictatorial powers over the courts, which just throws out the window any balance of powers in the state of Florida?

WEBSTER: Absolutely not. What we were doing is maintaining where that line between life and death really is and that’s all we are doing. We were only upholding current law.

BUCHANAN: Senator Webster, it seems to me this judge was the one who was playing God and sentencing this woman to death.

WEBSTER: Well I think, again, like I said, I don’t know that the courts are always right. We certainly trust them and we believe them to be good. However, there are times when given the opportunity, the legislature has to act. In this case they did because they felt like there was a reason to act.

BUCHANAN: What was the vote in the legislature?

WEBSTER: The Senate vote was 23-15. I believe the House vote was 68-28, maybe 28.

BUCHANAN: OK. Overwhelming. OK, Senator Daniel Webster, congratulations. Thank you very much.

WEBSTER: Thanks a lot.

BUCHANAN: When we return-a critical CBS movie about former President Ronald Reagan raises storm warnings from historians and friends of the Gipper. Will it damage the Reagan legacy? That’s next on BUCHANAN & PRESS.


BUCHANAN: This week on BUCHANAN & PRESS, Sam Donaldson. From White House correspondent to TV host, Sam is known for his fearless style of questioning. We’ll talk to Sam Wednesday right here on MSNBC.


BUCHANAN: Welcome back. Will a new made for TV movie tarnish the image of Ronald Reagan or of CBS? Next month CBS airs a two-part mini series called “The Reagans”. It’s based on the life of the former president, but Reagan biographers, backers and friends say the film is not only fiction, but another example of Hollywood’s liberal elite smearing a conservative icon.

We’re joined by former Reagan aides, Eric Dezenhall and Frank Donatelli. Eric, let me start with you. During the Reagan years, he did not give speeches on Aids, but Aids funding doubled and redoubled and redoubled every year. I checked it out a couple of years ago. And yet this CBS series has the president saying, when the first lady asked him, let’s do something about Aids, he says-quote-”They that shall live in sin shall die in sin”, which was a quote that’s been made up. Is that legitimate?

ERIC DEZENHALL, FORMER REAGAN AIDE: Well, I think that the most important thing to remember is of all of the biases that Hollywood has, the most important bias with regard to this is an entertainment bias. It’s very difficult to show statistics in a movie. It’s very difficult to show Aids research or economic recovery. What it’s easy to show are things that are inflammatory. Personality ticks, fights with families, controversial things that may or may not have been said. And I think...

BUCHANAN: Even if you have to make it up?

DEZENHALL: Well yes. It’s a movie. This is what Hollywood does.

That’s their business and while liberal bias may very well be a part of it, I think it’s important not to forget that they have the most important bias, which is to entertain. And the way they entertain is rarely flattering to an individual.

PRESS: Frank, let’s slow down here maybe, go back to the beginning. I mean let’s at least acknowledge that we’re talking about a movie, none of which-none of us have seen, and none of us have read the script, correct?


PRESS: So, it’s kind of a little bit silly to get too exercised about any...


PRESS: ... at this point.

FRANK DONATELLI, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, at this point. But I do think that there are warning signals there in “The New York Times” article, which we have all read. As Pat said, look, I am in agreement that we need poetic license and you have to be able to dramatize things. That’s why “K Street” is not a very good show...


PRESS: Don’t say that. OK, go ahead.

DONATELLI: But in this case, to literally make up a quote that has no basis in fact strikes me as a triumph of political correctness. These producers obviously feel very strongly about Aids, and they wanted Reagan to speak up more about it. That’s fine. But to make up something out of whole cloth I think is not legitimate.

PRESS: But see, I’m not-I was there at that time-not here in

Washington, but in Los Angeles, when the Aids epidemic broke out. And I

remember distinctly-and I’ve double-checked the facts since I read the -

” Jim Rutenberg piece this morning. I mean it was several years before Ronald Reagan even mentioned the words Aids or did anything about it. Now, granted, it didn’t have the worldwide attention that it has today, but he was very, very slow coming to the feast. It is a legitimate criticism that not until Rock Hudson got Aids did Ronald Reagan basically come out and acknowledge its existence.

DONATELLI: OK. But what is arguably is, I heard you say earlier, that Aids was the greatest health crisis of the 1980’s. That’s just not true. I mean there are three or four other diseases-as terrible as Aids is-but there are three or four other diseases that killed many, many more Americans. On top of that, if you want to talk seriously about the Reagan legacy, the economic recovery and the fall of the Berlin Wall and making Americans feel proud again, that’s what I would hope these moviemakers would look at.

BUCHANAN: You know Eric, I was at-let me tell you, I was at Reykjavik with President Reagan. If you want to dramatize something exciting and dramatic, it’s him going down there smiling in that room and then pounding the table and coming out just in a rage that I have never seen Reagan in before. But it seems like this show, just like what they did in the Nixon show, which was phonied up in the one where Reagan was shot, where they had the Secret Service and the FBI pulling guns on each other at you know G.W. Hospital. They go overboard and they always do it from a liberal slant.

DEZENHALL: Well, that’s where the political bias comes in. I think you have two things colliding, neither of which are favorable to Reagan. One is the entertainment bias to find things that are not flattering, whether it’s him aging or his wife using astrologers, all the way to the other end of the spectrum, which is a political bias, which it comes down to something very simple. The chances that people who made this movie like this man are very, very slim. And I think that when you have the collision of a political bias with the imperative to entertain it’s unlikely that you’re going to get...


DEZENHALL: ... something good.

BUCHANAN: But you got the president ratting out Hollywood stars to HUAC, and you know Wasserman comes up to him and says, they know you’re giving names to black-listers. And the Reagan says the only Commies, I’m giving are real Commies. That didn’t happen.

DEZENHALL: Well it probably didn’t. But I think that this is what happens when a political agenda is able to get control. And I think like all of us-I mean David Brinkley once said, only an eggplant doesn’t have a political bias. And the whole expectation that you’re going to get an entertainment product that doesn’t have a political bias, while I might not be happy about it, the last thing I am is surprised.

PRESS: OK. Eric Dezenhall, Frank Donatelli, stay with us. More on this Reagan movie when we come back and ask the question, can any good perhaps come out of this new Reagan movie on CBS next month? Stay with us. BUCHANAN & PRESS, we’ll be right back.


PRESS: And we’re back on BUCHANAN & PRESS with Frank Donatelli and Eric Dezenhall, both former Reagan aides talking about the CBS miniseries about Ronald Reagan, scheduled to air on November 16 and November 18. We have just been given a statement by CBS on the Reagan miniseries.

Quote-”The miniseries is a compelling and historical account of Mr.

and Mrs. Reagan’s remarkable relationship, set against the backdrop of the

former president’s political career. The film has been meticulously

researched and offers a respectful and balanced portrayal of the Reagans” -

” so says CBS.

Eric, I want to ask you-we’ve been talking about some of the maybe negative things about Ronald Reagan portrayed in this miniseries that we’ve heard about. According to “The New York Times” the series also gives Ronald Reagan credit for winning the Cold War, says he’s a gifted politician, a highly moral man with deeply held principles. He was determined against the advice of many of his aides to go out and try to seek peace with the Soviet Union and buys his story that he had zero knowledge of any illegal deals to help the contras in Nicaragua.


PRESS: You can’t say it’s all negative, right?

DEZENHALL: And I wouldn’t say that. And I think what this comes back to is the question of what do these shows tend to accomplish? And the answer is they tend to validate existing prejudices. If it portrays Reagan as being stupid, those who already think he’s stupid will continue to. If it portrays the good sides of him, those who like him will see that. It’s just like the whole Camelot industry. The reason why Camelot exists is because the American public desperately needs it to exist and we are able to look at shows like this and find precisely what we want.

BUCHANAN: Frank Donatelli, let me ask you this, though. The actor that’s playing Reagan is the...



BUCHANAN: ... husband of Barbara (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and there are quotes in there...


BUCHANAN: ... by the actress where we need to get another look at that era and see where we jumped-lost our way or jumped the tracks and they’re talking about the thing they put on. They’re saying this is our take on this guy.

DONATELLI: Well, I guess it could have been played by Sean Penn...


DONATELLI: ... and one of the Dixie Chicks could have been Nancy.

So, it could-I guess it could have been worse.


DONATELLI: I just want to comment on what Eric said. Yes, you know, Eric, it is true that those of us old enough to have lived through the Reagan years take from this movie probably their own prejudices. But let’s also remember this. This is-Reagan is becoming an historical figure now and people young-not old enough to have experienced Ronald Reagan firsthand are going to take a lot of what they think about him from this miniseries. And if it’s biased, then that is going to affect Reagan’s legacy. So I do think that when you’re-Bill, when you’re trying to combine the historic with the popular, you do have some responsibility to be true to history.

PRESS: All right. Now, as any good can come out of it. I mean one of the facts is, I mean Ronald Reagan, there’s a tendency right now to treat him as an icon, I mean as the best president ever. I want to quote Edmund Morris, what he says about-”The New York Times” this morning about the CBS miniseries, who wrote the official biographer who wrote not the most flattering biography, says the best thing one can say about a movie of this kind, the CBS movie, is it does redress or counteract the sentiment mentalities that are being perpetrated all of the time in his name by his fanatical followers. He does not mention the name Patrick Buchanan, but he might as well have, Frank...

BUCHANAN: All right...

PRESS: ... Eric...

BUCHANAN: ... let me...

PRESS: A valid point, Eric, right?

DEZENHALL: There he goes again is all I can say. Look, a much better Ronald Reagan book, not the Edmund Morris book, but the new book out, “Reagan: A Life in Letters” by Martin Anderson, in which he chronolizes Reagan’s life by the letters he wrote over 50 years. It shows a man very involved, very, very involved...

BUCHANAN: Eric, very quickly. Look, what they did to LBJ, Oliver Stone did. He portrayed him as virtually...


BUCHANAN: ... conspiring with using CIA and all the rest of it to murder John F. Kennedy. Now, you know I wasn’t a fan of LBJ’s, but that’s a lie and there’s a lot of people-young people as Frank said, that probably believe that now because of that movie.

DEZENHALL: I think that’s probably true. The fact that is, though, is there’s not always a lot of principal in these things. Both sides of the aisle tend to project things as they would like it to be. Just that there’s not a lot of conservatives or Republicans out in Hollywood. So, I don’t think that you can say or anyone could say that exaggerating traits positive and negative is a Democratic or Republican trait. It just happens to be there’s not a lot of Republicans in Hollywood, which sets Reagan back on this score.

BUCHANAN: OK. Frank and Eric, thank you both.


DEZENHALL: Thank you.

PRESS: Thanks guys.

BUCHANAN: Tomorrow, what’s it like to cover the White House? News legend Sam Donaldson tells us.

PRESS: But up next, it’s “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews. And tonight Chris will be taking a look at the economy. Is it bouncing back fast enough to boost President Bush’s chances for reelection? Chris Matthews with “HARDBALL” coming up next.

We’ll see you back here tomorrow night on BUCHANAN & PRESS. Have a great evening. Thanks for joining us. See you later.


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