John McLaughlin this weekend missed his first hosting of The McLaughlin Group in more than 34 years, since the syndicated public affairs program made its debut on Jan. 1, 1982.
“I am under the weather,” McLaughlin explained in a note that prefaced this week’s telecast. His distinct, once-bellowing voice, heard in pre-taped intros, is “weaker than usual,” McLaughlin acknowledged. “Yet my spirit is strong and my dedication to the show remains absolute!”
Stepping in as this week’s host, Pat Buchanan noted the absence of the panel’s “distinguished leader” and, speaking on behalf of himself, Eleanor Clift, Clarence Page and Tom Rogan, said, “We miss him.”
McLaughlin, 89, has moderated the weekly round-table discussion of political issues since Day 1, but has actively participated in the conversation less frequently in recent months, sometimes merely introducing the next issue. His pre-taped, admittedly “weaker” voice can be heard introducing the final issue of this week’s program, at the 21:10 mark.