The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Taped: Friday, May 9, 2014
Broadcast: Weekend of May 10-11, 2014
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Benghazi Cover-up?
Speaker of the House John Boehner named Republican Representative Trey Gowdy to chair a House select committee on Benghazi. On September 11th, 2012, four Americans -- Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, on contract to the CIA, were slain in a coordinated assault on the U.S. consulate and a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.
Ambassador Stevens is one of only seven U.S. ambassadors to die in the line of duty in the nation's 240-year history.
REPRESENTATIVE TREY GOWDY (R-SC): (From videotape.) I'm not telling you how to do your job. But I'm going to ask you some questions. And if you can't answer these questions, then I will lead you to draw whatever conclusion you want to draw about whether or not the media has provided sufficient oversight.
Can you tell me why Chris Stevens was in Benghazi the night that he was killed? Do you know? Do you know why requests for additional security were denied? Do you know why an ambassador asking for more security days and weeks before he was murdered, and those requests went unheeded? Do you know the answer to why those requests went unheeded?
Do you know why no assets were deployed during the siege? Do you know whether the president called any of our allies and said can you help; we have men under attack? Can you answer that?
Do any of you know why Susan Rice was picked? The secretary of state said she did not. She says she doesn't like Sunday talk shows. That's the only media venue she does not like, if that's true. Why was Susan Rice on the five Sunday talk shows?
Do you know the origin of this mythology that it was spawned as a spontaneous reaction to a video? Do you know where that started? Do you know how we got from no evidence of that to that being the official position of the administration?
In conclusion, Congress is supposed to provide oversight, the voters are supposed to provide oversight, and you are supposed to provide oversight. That's why you have special liberties, and that's why you have special protections.
I am not surprised that the president of the United States called this a phony scandal. I'm not surprised that Secretary Clinton asked what difference does it make. I'm not even surprised that Jay Carney said Benghazi happened a long time ago. I'm just surprised at how many people bought it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: What do you make of that series of questions that were just put here?
PAT BUCHANAN: I thought that was extraordinarily effective, John. I had not seen that before. And that is exactly what this committee has got to do -- no sound bites, but ask the tough questions and get answers. Why were these guys' requests for defense of the compound answered? Why was no help even offered or sent in an all- night attack? Why was the lies all concocted on the very night of the attack and this whole cover-up story? Why did it take months now, even after Susan Rice and the president of the United States put out this cock-and-bull story, for the Ben Rhodes memo to surface because of Judicial Watch and then raise this thing to a congressional investigation?
If the Congress -- and I've got my concerns about how well they'll do it -- if they do it as well as Trey Gowdy did what he just did, to answer questions like that, this could really benefit the country about a squalid government dereliction of duty and a squalid cover-up to follow.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Trey Gowdy has already referred to this investigation as a trial and called the administration the defendants. This is a political witch hunt. He knows the answer to those questions. There have been two congressional investigations. There's been a three-month investigation by The New York Times. Nobody has come up with malicious wrongdoing on the part of the administration.
The first question he asked -- why was Ambassador Stevens there? -- this was not a diplomatic outpost. This was a CIA outpost. And Ambassador Stevens was known as an assertive ambassador who actually didn't pay enough attention to his own personal safety. He didn't like what was going on in that consulate. They were (paying ?) people. They were interrogating people. And he was going there to basically confront what was going on.
This was a CIA operation, which is why there was so much confusion about how to respond in the hours immediately after. And if Mr. Gowdy wants to turn this into a political exercise, he's playing with the national security of the United States. And they're already fundraising on it; the Republicans are. It's a pretty shameless exercise.
SUSAN FERRECHIO: Well, both sides fundraise off stuff like this all the time. Both sides are guilty of that. Besides that, I don't think we have answers about what happened there, and we still need to have answers about how the White House responded. They've given one answer.
We see other answers by these Judicial Watch emails, that they were politicizing things. They were worried about the president's reelection and not being straight with the American people about what happened. And that is why we've now risen to this level of the select committee.
I think it's really great that you played that whole string of Trey Gowdy, because it gives people an idea of why he was picked to head this committee. Regardless of whether you think it's a good idea or a bad idea, they thought he was the most effective person, based on the fact that he is a former prosecutor.
He was a very successful prosecutor in South Carolina. And they think he can do the best job in ferreting out the answers to these questions. Be they political or not, there are important answers that we don't have. And just what you were talking about now about the CIA, I think a lot of people out there don't realize that. I think there are a lot of questions about --
MS. CLIFT: There's a reason they don't. It's the CIA.
MS. FERRECHIO: What were they doing there? I think people have a right to know; the first ambassador killed since 1979, and there are still questions about what happened.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Boehner -- you know who Boehner is.
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Oh, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Boehner thinks the White House has been holding out on Congress. Under subpoena last week, the White House disclosed 41 documents it had withheld from congressional investigators. At least one of these, an email from Ben Rhodes of the NSC, directly contradicts what congressional investigators were told. You following me on that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So this is why we are going through this investigation, which he has described as kind of an excessive, over- the-top additional investigation of that which has already been investigated. But that investigation that took place was woefully deficient because of a variety of reasons that Boehner feels and I think many people feel have not been addressed, when four of our Americans, including an ambassador, were murdered.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. And I think what triggered that as well was the discovery of memos that had not previously been made public. Nevertheless, having said that, I think it is appropriate to have this kind of thing under those circumstances.
I would also say this. Since Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state at that point, I suspect that if she wasn't running for the presidency, or they didn't think she was, this wouldn't have nearly the kind of energy. So we have to be very careful not to give this sort of a taint that does not involve politics, because I think that's a part of what's involved here. And that's the sad part of this.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: By the way --
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- Judicial Watch was the one that --
MR. BUCHANAN: Judicial Watch did it. But Mort is exactly right. This thing has really got to be done well. It's got to be tough questions and all the rest. But let me say this, Eleanor. I mean, what I just heard from you is what in heaven's name -- where is the national media? They were all over Watergate, every little aspect of it. Now The New York Times and all these major media institutions say what are we doing? Move on. Nothing to see here. What is going -- what happened to the mainstream media?
MS. CLIFT: Every media organization has investigated this to death. This animates the right wing of the Republican Party. And I would like to point out that Ambassador Stevens was not murdered. He died of smoke inhalation in the safe room in the CIA installation.
MS. FERRECHIO: I don't think that's --
MS. CLIFT: And that changes --
MS. FERRECHIO: -- (a fact ?), Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I think that is --
MS. FERRECHIO: No, I think I've heard a drastically different story from people who are also in the know about that. So I don't think it was --
MR. BUCHANAN: It was a terrorist attack, Eleanor. He was murdered in a terrorist --
MS. CLIFT: It was an opportunistic terrorist attack that --
MR. BUCHANAN: Opportunistic?
MS. CLIFT: -- grew out of that video that --
MR. BUCHANAN: The video had nothing to do with it.
MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible) -- talking about the video.
MS. CLIFT: There were -- there were demonstrations across the world --
MR. BUCHANAN: There were not in Benghazi.
MS. CLIFT: -- because of that.
MR. BUCHANAN: Not in Benghazi. There was no video related to it at all.
MS. CLIFT: It's still opportunistic, and it's still a CIA. And if you're going to put people on trial, we should put David Petraeus on trial, not Hillary Clinton.
MR. BUCHANAN: He should testify too.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: These --
MS. CLIFT: Nobody's going to answer those --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish. We're going to be returning to this subject, I'm sure, repeatedly over the next six months.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I hope not, John.
MS. CLIFT: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Is the Benghazi scandal waxing or waning? Pat Buchanan.
MR. BUCHANAN: Clearly waxing because of the Ben Rhodes memo.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: It's clearly waning, because "Obamacare" is doing better, and the Republicans need to run on something. And this is what gets their base excited.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: It's just getting fired up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree. It's not waning. It's certainly waxing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Waxing indeed.
Don't forget, the McLaughlin Group has its own website, and you can watch this program or earlier programs on the Web at any time from anywhere in the world -- McLaughlin.com. What could be easier, huh?
Issue Two: Putin's Volte-Face?
Russian President Vladimir Putin did an about-face in Ukraine this week after months of escalating tensions and bloodshed. Following a meeting with the president of Switzerland, Didier Burkhalter, in Moscow, Putin called for a halt on a separatist referendum scheduled for May 11th and tacitly endorsed Kiev's planned May 25 presidential election.
Burkhalter is also chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE. He persuaded Putin that the OSCE will pressure Ukraine to end its military push in eastern Ukraine and engage secessionist leaders in negotiations over the country's future. In turn, Putin claims to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine's border. But White House officials dispute any such withdrawal has occurred.
Why the volte-face? The explanation may lie in recent polls taken across Ukraine by the respected Pew Research Center.
Seventy-seven percent of Ukrainians want to keep their country united. Only 14 percent want to allow secession. Nine percent don't know.
When only eastern Ukrainians are polled, 70 percent say they want unity. Only 18 percent would permit secession, and 13 percent don't know. If only Ukraine's Russian speakers are polled, 58 percent want unity, 27 percent would allow secession, and 15 percent don't know. So all told, secession loses big.
These results persuaded Putin that separatist referenda, if free and fair, would backfire on Russia. Secessionist leaders in eastern Ukraine ignored Putin's call to halt the referendum and said they would go forward with the balloting on this Sunday.
Question: Is Vladimir Putin's reversal on Ukraine credible, or is it a ploy? I ask you, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think it's both, John. I think it's credible because I don't think Vladimir Putin wants to annex eastern Ukraine. That would be an economic disaster for his country because of the sanctions. It would be a political disaster because western Ukraine would be lost forever and people would be talking about bringing western Ukraine into NATO. He's got the Crimea.
I think what Putin wants to do is essentially, down the road -- and I think it's not necessarily not in our interest -- he wants to Finlandize Ukraine, make it neutral, not in NATO, decentralize the government so that eastern Ukraine can have its own self-expression, and make it politically and economically open, both to the European Union and to Russia.
And it seems to me that is the best solution for both sides. Many in Kiev won't like it. The militants in eastern Ukraine won't like it. But I think it would be best for the United States and for Russia.
MS. CLIFT: I think that's the deal that the administration is pushing and Henry Kissinger has written about, the Finlandization of Ukraine --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MS. CLIFT: -- which is open to both sides. NATO is not going to accept Ukraine. And if Ukraine were in NATO, we'd be in a terrible situation today. So I think the leaders of the West and the East both want to walk away from this confrontation. And we all assume that Putin is so shrewd, he knows exactly what he's doing. I think he's operating by the seat of his pants here --
MR. BUCHANAN: He's way out there. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: -- and he's really looking for an off ramp here.
MS. FERRECHIO: I agree with what both of you are saying, but I think the -- I wonder if you're being a little bit too optimistic -- (inaudible) -- Putin's plan. I mean, he's such an ambitious man, and he clearly has an appetite for, you know, regaining some of the territory lost when the Soviet Union fell apart. Is he really going to just -- this sounds like such a benign plan. I think he's just kind of trying to pull the wool over our eyes --
MR. BUCHANAN: Does he really want -- does he really want to annex eastern Ukraine?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just go to another issue.
MS. FERRECHIO: He -- (inaudible). (Laughs.)
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Putin's popularity -- Putin's popularity within his own country had dropped significantly.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: When this happened -- I'm serious -- when this happened, his popularity soared. There is a great impulse within the Soviet Union to be once again this kind of transnational power. And I think he (feeds to ?) that. I'm not saying it's a perfect solution to his problem, but there's no doubt but it transformed his public opinion. And you never want to underestimate --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- that sort of motivation in a politician like Putin.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Somebody else appeared on the scene. Who was that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: On this scene? For the issue of Ukraine?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)
MR. BUCHANAN: You talking the fellow from Switzerland?
MS. CLIFT: Right, Switzerland. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president of Switzerland.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he also has another title. He's head of the OSCE.
MR. BUCHANAN: OSCE, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think that is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that possible, that Putin --
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- has some of his own money --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, also --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- his $70 billion -- (inaudible)?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I think the guy -- the guy could send him a message, look, you're going to be in very tough trouble economically with sanctions. At the same time, it offers Putin somebody to talk to who is not a so-called adversary. I agree.
Putin's at 82 percent. But you've got to look down the road. If you grab eastern Ukraine, what do you get? You get these provinces that are very destitute, and then you've got the whole world against you. And so I think Putin's a very smart guy. I agree that he reacted reactively when he lost Ukraine. He grabbed Crimea and said we'll hold our naval base. Now he's out there saying I don't think I want to go any further.
MS. CLIFT: And he's talking to the --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He had different reasons for Crimea. I mean --
MR. BUCHANAN: It's the naval base, yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the OSCE?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And the access to the Mediterranean.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the OSCE -- he's the guy that got them out. I think there were eight OSCE guys locked up, four of them Germans. Merkel called him, and somehow they were let go in eastern Ukraine.
MS. CLIFT: Well, the Swiss connection also could have something to do with Mr. Putin's personal fortune.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's what I just said.
MS. CLIFT: Exactly.
MR. BUCHANAN: How are my accounts doing? (Laughs.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he hit paydirt there. (Laughter.) But I don't think that's it. I think this man made a convincing case to him this is the best way for you to handle --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think that's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- this new extension of your empire, which you -- you know, A, B, C, D and E.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Let me just make a comment about Putin's fortune, which is estimated to be no less than $50 billion and closer to $70 billion.
MS. FERRECHIO: Right.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: At that point it doesn't make a difference whether he's --
MR. BUCHANAN: He's the richest man in the world. He's got --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He wants to preserve his power and his place more than anything else. And I think this is partly what this is about.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think he was impressed with this is very careful footing that you must --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- (inaudible) --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I agree with that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- and slow the process down. And he may
have changed his mind.
Issue Three: Student Loan Blues.
SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): (From videotape.) With interest rates low, homeowners have been refinancing their mortgages. But the federal government does not let people holding student loans refinance down to the low interest rates available. This bill would say, yes, they can refinance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced her bank on students' emergency loan refinancing act this week, co- sponsored by 23 Senate Democrats, including a bevy of Democratic incumbents up for reelection come November.
Warren's bill would allow the 40 million Americans with student loans to refinance to the low 3.86 percent rate available to new borrowers. Current U.S. student loan indebtedness stands at $1.2 trillion, higher than overall consumer credit-card debt.
The burgeoning debt load is driven by historically high college tuition costs, as well as looser lending standards, which permit students to use loan funds for living expenses and foreign vacation travel to exotic locales like Thailand and Indonesia, not to mention spring break in Cancun. The average student graduates college today with $29,000 in student loan debt.
Warren's legislation would cost taxpayers $50 billion, a sum she proposes to make up by imposing a surtax on people whose incomes exceed $1 million annually, the so-called Buffett rule tax, first proposed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
Here's Senator Warren's new book, "A Fighting Chance," Elizabeth Warren; just came out, just in advance of Hillary's book, I guess.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think so.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does that say anything?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think Hillary's book will sell more copies.
MS. FERRECHIO: They can put Hillary's book right on top of -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Some very fetching pictures inside, and --
MS. CLIFT: She's the real deal. She's the real deal, and she comes from lower --
MS. FERRECHIO: Cherokee Nation. (Laughs.) She's the real deal.
MS. CLIFT: Well, she comes from the lower middle class. She was told, from the time she was a child, that --
MS. FERRECHIO: (Is she sure ?)?
MS. CLIFT: -- she inherited Cherokee blood --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)
MS. CLIFT: -- if that's what you want to giggle about.
MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible.) (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible) -- American Indian.
MS. CLIFT: She is the scourge of American banks, because, look, anybody who's sitting on a 6 percent interest loan of any kind feels that they should have the right to renegotiate. And she's putting forward the fact that people saddled with student debt should be able to do this.
It's terrific public policy. It'll never get 60 votes in today's Senate. But she's going to be around for a while, and we're going to continue to hear from her. I don't believe she's going to run for president if Hillary runs, but she's got the makings of a strong public-policy leader for many years to come.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I'm glad to see the Washington Examiner is ahead of the action. "What if she runs?" And that was done about a week ago --
MS. FERRECHIO: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in advance of --
MS. FERRECHIO: I don't think she will run if Hillary Clinton indicates she's going to run. I think that there's an agreement that nobody will get in the way of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to make a bet on that?
MS. FERRECHIO: Secretary Clinton. Yes, I would bet that that's --
MR. BUCHANAN: I think she would hurt herself if she ran against Hillary, as a woman running against --
MS. FERRECHIO: She'd be ostracized.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we're talking now two years before the event.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I'm talking two years from now. She's making a mistake --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- if she runs against Hillary. If Hillary drops out, she'll get in.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: She's been giving -- she's going around --
MR. BUCHANAN: She would be splitting the women's vote --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- giving interviews on the book all over the country.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but --
MR. BUCHANAN: She's going to raise her profile --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You get the picture?
MR. BUCHANAN: She's going to raise her profile and not run.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is Elizabeth Warren destined to be a major player in American politics in the years to come?
MR. BUCHANAN: Her profile's going to be raised; but a major player, no.
MS. CLIFT: She's going to do like Colin Powell. She's going to sell a lot of books, but in the end she's not going to run for president.
MS. FERRECHIO: I agree with that. I don't think she's going to be -- go beyond where she is right now, unless she's appointed to something in a Democratic administration after -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)
MS. FERRECHIO: I think it's very possible.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I think she'll be a major player -- not a major, major player, OK, but she's --
MS. FERRECHIO: She might be -- (inaudible).
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- certainly going to have a higher profile, and deserves it. She's a very intelligent woman, dealing with a lot of issues that I think affect a lot of people. This particular recommendation that she has, however, is going to cost billions of dollars every year. It's not just one year. It's going to cost billions of dollars a year at a time when we can't afford it. That's a big problem.
MS. FERRECHIO: And it also does nothing to underscore the underlying problem with higher education, which is, you know, the rising tuition costs, and kids are leaving college and can't find work. And they're not paying off these loans, no matter what the interest rate is.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) -- billions to the banks, but the billions should be paid by people who got overpriced student loans?
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor --
MS. CLIFT: That doesn't make sense.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- 9 percent of students --
MR. BUCHANAN: Nine percent of students default on their loans --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- within two years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very (tender ?) topic too, isn't it?
MR. BUCHANAN: It's a lot of money to be losing. Right, Mort?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Four: Tease the Ones You Love.
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): (From videotape.) Here's the attitude. Oh, don't make me do this. Oh, this is too hard.
SPEAKER BOEHNER: (From videotape.) You tease the ones you love, all right? But some people misunderstood what I had to say, and I wanted to make sure that members understood that the biggest impediment we have in moving immigration reform is that the American people don't trust the president to enforce or implement the law that we may or may not pass.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two weeks ago, in an appearance before a Rotary Club, House Speaker John Boehner mocked fellow Republican representatives who are reluctant to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Later, Speaker Boehner appeared before the House Republican caucus, and behind closed doors reiterated a key point he made earlier in the year; namely, President Obama enforces the nation's laws selectively, from the Affordable Care Act to the Justice Department's latest proposal to free federal inmates convicted of unlawful possession of firearms before their sentences are complete.
All of this is selective enforcement, and it has undermined confidence that the president will enforce new immigration laws, notably employer verification of job applicants' immigration status and enforcement of security along our borders.
November's midterm election is six months from now, with 435 House seats in play. What role is this election playing in the timing of the House immigration debate? Bear in mind, the Senate passed its immigration overhaul nearly one year ago. Susan Ferrechio.
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, it's interesting that there's even discussion of immigration reform. Usually in an election year, forget it. That's too big an issue; they'll just hold off.
The feeling amongst many Republicans in the House -- because it all rests on the House, as you say -- is that let's wait until we potentially gain control of the Senate. They're about six seats away. The polls look good for them. Why do it now when it would be politically dangerous for them, potentially. So that's the overwhelming feeling.
And I think John Boehner, the speaker, is getting a lot of question -- pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and business groups to do something. The video where you showed him sort of mocking his rank and file, it's sort of Boehner caught in the middle. They want to do something. They may get a border-security thing over the finish line this year. But it's really tough in an election year. They'll get a lot of resistance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, I think we know there's a huge vote that is at stake here, and it's primarily the Hispanic vote. And everybody's worried about how that's going to play out, including the Republicans, who are going to face a lot of them during the election.
MR. BUCHANAN: But the real vote that's a problem for Boehner and McCarthy is if they move ahead with immigration reform, the leadership, they will cease to be the leadership.
MS. CLIFT: Well, Boehner may be looking at the end of his speakership regardless. There could be a coup from the right.
MR. BUCHANAN: Cantor's not.
MS. FERRECHIO: Yeah, I agree with Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I think there are still two slender chances left. Once the primary season is over, you could have a vote before August. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking women on the Republican side --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: -- said she expected a vote. The right, of course, immediately jumped on her.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: And then, in a lame-duck session, when people, in a sense, have less to lose, it could happen. So it's not dead yet.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's not overlook the possibility that the Senate may change hands in November.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but then you have to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, Hillary's view. In April last month, Nova, a 19-year-old undocumented immigrant from Croatia, choked up when she asked Hillary Clinton about a path to citizenship.
(Begin videotaped segment.)
NOVA BAJAMONTI (undocumented immigrant): What do we need to do to put this in priority when it comes to Congress?
HILLARY CLINTON: I'm a huge supporter of immigration reform and a path to citizenship and, you know, will continue to advocate for that.
(End videotaped segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Will immigration reform have to wait until the next presidency, two and a half years away? I ask you again, Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: Well, that's an interesting question. I think if Republicans take control of the Senate, there may be an opportunity there for Republicans to try to control what the bill looks like rather than waiting for yet another potential Democratic president. They may feel they're in better position to do this in the next year.
So I don't think it necessarily has to do that. I kind of get the feeling that it's talked about so much, it's bubbled up so many times, that we might see it sooner than that. But I think, at the very latest, after 2016 elections --
MS. CLIFT: Well, Jeb Bush --
MS. CLIFT: Jeb Bush --
MS. FERRECHIO: These things take a lot of time. Sometimes it comes around and around.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MS. FERRECHIO: It takes several --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If the GOP takes over the Senate, it won't have to wait for two and a half years.
MS. FERRECHIO: I don't think so. I think that they'll feel like, look, we can control what's in there a lot better.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Cameron's Tory Party will run third in the parliamentary elections in Europe.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: The real scandal is the backup in care at the VA. And the White House is going to urgently intervene.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: That's good. Do you think Shinseki will resign?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you got a prediction?
MS. FERRECHIO: Yes, I do. I think Democrats will participate in the Benghazi subcommittee.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think the negotiations with the nuclear-weapons capability on Iran is going to become a huge political issue in this country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The U.S. housing market, which has been flat now for months, will not make a full recovery from the bursting of the bubble until 2019, five years from now, and 10 years after the peak of the economic crisis.
Joyful, loving Mother's Day weekend to you all. Bye-bye.
(C) 2014 Federal News Service