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The McLaughlin Group

Subject: The Ebola Epidemic, Ukraine, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Participants:
John McLaughlin, Host;
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Time: 11:30 am EDT
Date: Sunday, September 21st, 2014

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Obama Takes on Ebola.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It's spiraling out of control. It is getting worse. It's spreading faster, and exponentially. Today thousands of people in West Africa are infected. That number could rapidly grow to tens of thousands.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama launched an unprecedented plan to fight the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, now afflicting countries chiefly in West Africa. He's dispatching 3,000 American troops on a comprehensive humanitarian mission to help in containing Ebola. The price tag: Up to $1.26 billion, including $175 million already allocated.

The U.S. troops will assist in logistical, engineering and medical training, and help set up 17 field hospitals and 100 beds each. They will also establish a headquarters in the nation of Liberia to coordinate relief efforts.

But the military must also rely on its training in biowarfare to protect its personnel against Ebola. Ostensibly, U.S. troops will have no direct contact with patients suffering from Ebola.

Question: Is this a proper role for the U.S. military? And is the U.S. doing enough? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: The United States, as usual, is doing more than anyone else, John. And the reason the U.S. Army and military is doing it is because there's nobody around that can move that fast and do that much.

There is a real element of risk here, I think, if any of these American soldiers should come down with this disease and be brought home, or a number of them. You could have a hellish problem. But John, this is a very serious matter. I think the thing is it has not mutated yet to where the disease can be airborne from one person to another, and it's still - you have to exchange some kinds of fluid. And so that's one good thing about it.
But if it does mutate and this thing becomes airborne, this could be really hellish and an enormous international problem. The influenza epidemic, John, after World War I, I think it took something like 30 (million) or 40 million lives.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.

ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, the United States military is uniquely capable of dealing with this. They have the resources. They can set up military tents and hospitals. They know how to quarantine a population. So this is an appropriate use of the military. And better to send 3,000 soldiers to West Africa than having to deploy probably 200,000 National Guard in this country if that epidemic reached our shores. And it's totally possible that it can.
This is the first time this disease has had an outbreak in urban areas. There's a three-week gestation period. People get on planes. They travel. We have a global, mobile society. So the president is acting in the hope that they can still put some sort of a cap on the spread of this disease. So this is entirely appropriate and an excellent use of the U.S. military - humanitarian.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And notwithstanding that, the U.S. military is not equipped to do highly contagious - handle highly - battle highly contagious outbreaks. And that's what this is.

CLARENCE PAGE: Well, our military is equipped to handle nerve gas, viral biochemical gas and -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is biological warfare, what we have here.

MR. PAGE: Biological warfare, exactly.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They've never handled that before.

MR. PAGE: They haven't had to handle that in combat conditions. However, we are equipped for it. Like Pat said, we can respond faster.

Another problem, John, is we've seen this happen more in recent days, out in the rural areas, people panicking and saying that Ebola doesn't really exist. This is all a plot, or these health workers are bringing in the Ebola. And as a result, you've had some violent confrontations. This is the sort of thing that, as soon as we can help to restore order and contain this virus, it doesn't spread any farther geographically, the better off everybody's going to be.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it's very uplifting, I think, for some people to think that this is fine for the United States to do. But on the reality scale, these men have their lives. And if they have not handled this kind of a situation before, where you have this highly contagious disease -

MORT ZUCKERMAN: That's right. It's not only -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you think - do you think the commander in chief did the right thing to send them over there?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do, because if this particular disease spreads - and it could spread very quickly, and it could spread to this country - we would be faced with a terrible problem. You've got to get it as soon as you can, with as much as you can, in order to contain it. So this is a practical matter. It's true we are the only country who can do it. But there you are. We are the only country that could do this. But the consequences if we don't do it and it spreads would be disastrous.

(Cross talk.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on. Let's get a little deeper here.

OK, what is Ebola? It's a virus that causes viral hemorrhagic fever that damages organs in the body, often accompanied by bleeding. It is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids - perspiration, blood, mucus, saliva, urine, feces. There is no vaccination against Ebola, although drug companies are working to develop one. It can kill up to 90 percent of those who contract it and can spread panic in communities.

Ebola has spread to six countries in Africa: Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organization calculates that since December, over the last nine months, there have been over 5,000 cases and over 2,500 deaths.

President Obama has stressed that the likelihood of a U.S. Ebola outbreak is, quote-unquote, "extremely low." But that doesn't cover all of the bases, notably global security.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) It's a potential threat to global security if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic. That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is it conceivable that this Ebola outbreak could in any way affect global security? Or was that hyperbole on the part of our president? Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think in terms of the global economy and all the rest of it, it is hyperbole. But I will say this. If you get a number of American soldiers contract this disease over there and there's an outbreak there, there will be a firestorm in this country to bring the Americans home and to take care of our own people first. And I think the president will be in very serious trouble if that happens.

MS. CLIFT: But talk about hyperbole. He's already gotten the U.S. troops contracting it. The president said they're not going to come in direct contact with patients. You have to be in touch with the bodily fluid. Besides, if one or two or more got the disease, we've treated at least two people at Emory and they recovered. There's another person in a Nebraska hospital. If you can support somebody well enough -

MR. BUCHANAN: It incubates -

MS. CLIFT: - their immune system can -

MR. BUCHANAN: It incubates - for three weeks it incubates.

MS. CLIFT: I think if you're going to get worried about this, worry about hundreds of thousands of people maybe contracting this in Africa, maybe the disease being brought here. I wouldn't worry about your scenario, which ends up with Obama somehow taking the blame. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In Guinea, villagers killed eight people on an Ebola team trying to disinfect the village because they suspected them of spreading the disease. Will U.S. troops be vulnerable to this kind of attack, Mort?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, anything is possible. I don't know what the details are in terms of the terms on which they're going to go into various areas. I'm sure that they will take all the appropriate precautions, such as they know what they might be. But this is something that is just a staggering disease that has just come up and come out. So nobody knows quite how to contain it. But the fact is, to follow on what Eleanor was saying, this thing could spread here in one way or another. And if it spreads here, that would be really a disaster for this country.

MR. PAGE: Which makes it all the more important to contain it over there.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. No, you've got to contain it when you can.

MR. BUCHANAN: How can you contain it? Do they really know how to -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't know -

MR. BUCHANAN: Soldiers can't contain it. They're putting up these hospitals and these huts and the rest of it.

MS. CLIFT: They're helping them take care of people who are infected.

MR. BUCHANAN: If you've got hundreds of thousands of people carrying this around, soldiers can't stop it from spreading.

MS. CLIFT: We're not up to hundreds of thousands yet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Proper disposal of the dead who have suffered from and died from Ebola must be carefully transferred to the ground right away.

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure, because -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now, in a delay in that circumstance, the Ebola continues to be a lightning -

MR. BUCHANAN: That's probably one of the reasons it's spreading, where people are dying right in these huts that nobody else is going into.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, let's digress. Clarence, you have a new book, "Culture Warrior" - an anthology of selected columns - "Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change." I happen to have right here with me one of the advance copies of this volume, which I must tell you -

MR. PAGE: Wonderful.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - I must tell you is a terrific review of so many important issues that you have handled, and you have handled with such superb research and your great style. You've always been a great stylist.

MR. PAGE: Well, thank you, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you're a great -

MR. PAGE: Instrumental in my success, whatever modicum of success I've got here. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I particularly like Bubba's vocabulary lesson. What was that all about?

MR. PAGE: Well, I like that one too. Right after the last Democratic convention in 2012, I was talking to Michael Witmore at the Shakespeare Library here in Washington, one of the great underappreciated treasures of this town. And he's a linguist, and he was fascinated by the contrast between Obama's speaking style and Bill Clinton's style.

And I got transcripts and went through them, looking at the words, and find that Obama was primarily Romance words and Clinton was primarily Anglo-Saxon, y'all - (laughs) - the natural folksy, conversational rhythm of his and the metaphors that were used, et cetera. And so this became - leading off with Obama's quote about somebody telling him he should appoint Bill Clinton the secretary of explaining things. I explain why that characteristic is true.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I see Chris Matthews wrote the introduction to the book. And he wrote here, "In these columns, you'll get the benefit not just of what this great journalist" - do you accept that designation?

MR. PAGE: It's more than I deserve, but I will take it. (Laughter.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So far, so good with you - "this great journalist has covered, but what he's been through as a man." So you understand what that sentence means.

MR. PAGE: Indeed.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "In these columns, you'll get the benefit not just of what this great journalist has covered, but what he's been through as a man. What could be more important?" Quote: "The life of the law has not been logic," unquote. He quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes. Quote: "It has been experience," unquote.

MR. PAGE: Right. One of my favorite quotes.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So congratulations. Let's hope the volume goes well. It's a great - Buchanan, you could use it, refer back to -

MR. BUCHANAN: It inspires me to put together 50 years of editorials and columns, John. (Laughs.)

MR. PAGE: Pat's the original culture warrior. That's why I'm worried. (Laughs.)

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Right, right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, back to Ebola.

Exit question: Will the U.S. military be able to contain the Ebola outbreak? Yes or no, Pat Buchanan.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, they will not.

MS. CLIFT: A good chance, yes.

MR. PAGE: I think they will by acting now.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I think they will too, but not without an enormous cost.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think they'll bring any back here?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I can't say yes. I don't think they will, because I think they'll be very careful about it. I just don't know if they can detect it when it's in its sort of nascent phase.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard the Centers for Disease Control?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Sure.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are they on board with this?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That I don't know.

(Cross talk.)

MR. BUCHANAN: I mean, everybody's worried, but everybody's pretty much on board.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did Obama do it?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think he felt there's a real impending danger here. This thing could explode, and we've got to make an effort to contain it, even if it takes some risk.

MS. CLIFT: It's a matter of national security for this country, but it's also a humanitarian effort -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: A very good point.

MS. CLIFT: - which is what America -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a very good point.

MS. CLIFT: - is well-known to be in the lead of. And I'm proud of the fact that we've gotten into this one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Well, let's hope that the soldiers are well -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It would be a national security -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - and remain well.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It would be a national security issue even if it didn't spread to the United States but spread to other parts of the world.

MR. PAGE: That's right.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I mean, the whole balance of the world's economy and sort of the general political mood could shift if you had a giant worldwide epidemic.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why haven't our chemists and our doctors and the other close observers of this sign of the disease, why haven't they been able to break through it?

MR. PAGE: They have. They're making great advances now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Advances? People are dying from it.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, those two folks came back. They cured them, those two Americans who were over there, aid workers and medical workers.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are they saying about Obama's doing what he has just done?

MR. BUCHANAN: I think - well, they're very courageous people. They were over there, and I think they probably approve it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Would they approve of sending the Army over there?

MS. CLIFT: The countries -

MR. BUCHANAN: My guess would be yes.

MS. CLIFT: - have invited the U.S. in. This is not a hostile invasion by any means.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: And we should say something about all of the doctors - Doctors Without Borders, people going in and working -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: - at great threat to their own lives.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you mean salute them?

MS. CLIFT: Yes, we should salute them.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's salute them right now.

Do you salute the Doctors Without Borders?

MR. PAGE: (That's right ?).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you salute the doctors?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Of course.

MR. BUCHANAN: I sure do.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?

MR. PAGE: Yes. Send them -

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do.

MR. PAGE: - contributions, by the way.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, 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 at McLaughlin Group. Could anything be simpler - McLaughlin.com - or more self-improving? Right, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: Right you are.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Poroshenko's Plea.

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO: (From videotape.) "Live free or die" was one of the mottos of the American Revolutionary War. "Live free" must be the message Ukraine and America send to the world while standing together in this time of enormous challenge. (Applause.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's rare for Congress to meet in a joint session, but they did so this week for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. President Poroshenko appealed to the United States to support his country's struggle to maintain its independence from Russia by equipping Ukrainian troops.

PRESIDENT POROSHENKO: (From videotape.) They need more military equipment, both lethal and nonlethal - (applause) - urgently need. (Applause.) Please understand me correctly. Blankets, night-vision goggles, are also important, but one cannot win the war with blankets.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton signed the Budapest Memorandum, which committed America, Britain and Russia to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. So when Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea last March, it was a clear violation of that security guarantee, also signed by Russia's then-reigning President Boris Yeltsin.

PRESIDENT POROSHENKO: (From videotape.) The annexation of Crimea became one of the most cynical acts of treachery in the modern history. (Applause.) I just want to (attract ?) your attention. Ukraine, which gave up the third-largest nuclear potential in exchange for the security assurance, was stabbed in the back by one of the countries who gave her those assurances.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: As fighting spread to eastern Ukraine, President Poroshenko asked the Obama administration for military assistance to fend off Russian-backed separatists and what NATO sees as a, quote-unquote, "incursion" of Russian troops. But thus far President Obama has regarded military aid to Ukraine as too provocative to Russia. So instead the U.S. has sent $70 million in nonlethal aid, such as ready-to-eat meals, medical supplies and communications gear. Mr. Poroshenko wants more.

PRESIDENT POROSHENKO: (From videotape.) I strongly encourage the United States to give Ukraine a special security and defense status which reflects the highest level of interaction with non-NATO ally.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is President Obama likely to give President Poroshenko the special security and defense status he wants by declaring Ukraine a major non-NATO ally of the United States? Mort Zuckerman.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't think he will. I don't think this president has the - he's come to the conclusion that this - he's not going to go very far, for exactly the reason you stated. He does not want to arouse the wrath of the Russians and the Soviet Union in this particular context.

I think this is a dangerous position for us to take, because it does once again give Putin the sense that he can push us back and we will not respond in an area where he's got an interest and we have an interest.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Obama - President Obama wants to give Mr. Putin an exit ramp. Do you understand?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do understand.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's not bad as far as playing -

MR. BUCHANAN: John -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - the universal game.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's on the assumption that he's looking for an exit ramp rather than an entrance ramp.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he may be looking for an exit ramp.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And then what are we going to do? It's going to be too late at that point.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, let me defend Obama, John.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's what I'm doing.

MR. BUCHANAN: He's doing exactly the right thing. There's no amount of aid or guns you're to give Ukraine where they can defeat Russia. You give them some; you will have a war, and the Russians will win the war. The president's doing the exact right thing. This thing ought to be negotiated.

We ought not to make Ukraine a NATO ally, which means if there's a war between Russia and Ukraine, the United States is going to go to war with Russia. That's an act of insanity. And this time I think Barack Obama is showing some guts, and he's done the right thing in the Ukraine all along.

MS. CLIFT: He's pressing Russia with the sanctions, which Putin doesn't like. And right now the Russians are respecting the cease-fire with Ukraine. So I think right now the president isn't looking for something that would look like a direct provocation. And if you make Ukraine a non-NATO ally, that's - in the Russian mind, that would be the equivalent of giving them sort of an honorary membership in NATO. And I think that's probably a bridge too far right now.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the Senate doing?

MR. PAGE: That's like putting missiles in Cuba.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clarence, what's the Senate going to do? The Senate is considering a bill, the Ukraine freedom support act, co-sponsored by Senators Corker and Menendez, that would authorize $350 million in aid, including military equipment, for Ukraine. Will it pass?

MR. PAGE: The military -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. PAGE: The military equipment part is problematic, because it is provocative. And I think - I don't know if they're going to have the votes for that, because I think the administration is going to be pushing back and saying that we need to negotiate a settlement. Maybe they'll get an authorization for the weapons without us actually giving them.

MR. BUCHANAN: Obama would veto it. Obama would veto it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He would veto it?

MR. BUCHANAN: Of course he would. I mean, you're not going to - you give guns there and the Russians say, OK, they're building up their military; let's go in and take them out early, which they would do. What would we do then?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's going to give it to the Ukraine.

MR. BUCHANAN: You don't give it to -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The bill is given - is destined for the Ukraine.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, yeah, but you don't give military weapons to them. And the president would veto it.

MS. CLIFT: But there's a distinction between nonlethal military aid -

MR. BUCHANAN: Goggles.

MS. CLIFT: - and lethal. Right. Well, that's the goggles he's talking about.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Blankets. Blankets.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But, I mean, I think Obama's going to do that, but he's not going to give them any surface-to-air missiles or anything serious like that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's another bill introduced by Corker and Menendez that grants major non-NATO ally status not only to Ukraine, but also to Georgia and Moldova. Would Putin find that provocative?

MR. BUCHANAN: Sure, he would.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, on some level it is provocative.

MR. PAGE: Yeah.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But, you know, we've got to deal, at some point, with Putin, who is an expansionist, you know, very, very aggressive political leader and very, very tough-minded, as we all know. Where is he going to stop?

(Cross talk.)

MR. PAGE: He is an expansionist, because the Russian people feel expansionist themselves.

MR. BUCHANAN: John -

MR. PAGE: I mean, he's got popular support for this.

MR. BUCHANAN: What would we say if Mexico became a military ally of China?

MR. PAGE: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the Congress getting involved -

MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - the Congress getting involved in this way in the exercise of foreign policy? That's a prerogative of the president. It's not a prerogative of Congress.

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you know, Congress should advise. But this is a provocative act, and these guys are doing it because they want to look tough.

MS. CLIFT: Yeah. The thing is, Congress, judging by that standing ovation, really loves this president - the Ukrainian president. And they've just passed aid for the Syrian rebels, so they look like they're in sort of a more -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, I don't know why -

MS. CLIFT: - militaristic mind. So, I mean, this could get through Congress. And I don't know, if it got through Congress, if the president would veto it.

MR. PAGE: I think -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't know why we're getting involved with the Syrian rebels. I mean, that's not really our cup of tea.

MR. BUCHANAN: You're exactly right - exactly right.

MR. PAGE: Yes, that could be problematic too.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It is problematic.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's acts of war by the United States against countries that haven't attacked us.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Hillary Hearkens.

FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: (From videotape.) I'm back. (Cheers, applause.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Iowa's steak fry is a must-stop event for presumptive Democratic presidential candidates. It's Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry. Hillary Clinton made this a must-stop. In fact, she was the main attraction at the steak fry in Iowa, which she last visited six years ago when she ran in the Democratic presidential primary and lost to Barack Obama.

So what do the tea leaves tell us? Does this remove any doubt that Hillary misses her former residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

MS. CLINTON: (From videotape.) It is true, I am thinking about it. (Cheers, applause.) But - but for today, that is not why I'm here. I'm here for the steak.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The former first lady urged Iowans to get out the vote in the midterm elections, because Democrats stand for what the country needs.

MS. CLINTON: (From videotape.) We Democrats are for raising the minimum wage, for equal pay for equal work, for making college and technical training affordable, for growing the economy to benefit everyone. And our opponents are not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Former President Bill Clinton was also at the Harkin salute. He took the podium, lauding his Iowa friend, who is retiring after 40 years in Congress, 30 of those in the Senate.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) I'm here, more than anything else, because the shining life of Tom Harkin and Ruth proves that politics can be a noble profession, that good things can come from tough elections, that people who disagree can get together, work together, and find common ground.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is it a given that Hillary is running for president? The answer is yes. Therefore -

MR. PAGE: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Therefore, if she - let's see - the environment is shifting away. The environment is not exactly hospitable completely to Hillary. The environment is shifting in a way that is unfavorable to Democrats. Recent polls show the GOP gaining the edge on a range of issues, from immigration to foreign policy to terrorism to the economy. It'll be a tougher environment than 2008.

So what do you think? Do you think if Hillary runs it's an automatic win for her?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't. But I think - I think this. There's no question about it. She's at 60 percent, stronger than anyone right now, John. But I think she's not as good as she was eight years ago. She is older. There's no doubt about it. I don't think her record is very good. Her book really was a bore to an awful lot of people. You know, her rollout has not been good. So you take a look at all of it.
But she's so high now, I don't see anybody beating her. But also she's too close to Wall Street and the Democratic Party. Parts of it are moving left. They want fire and anger; Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and the others.

So I think she can be given a challenge by someone, but the individual has not really emerged who can challenge her.

MS. CLIFT: Well, at least three people are going to run against her in the primary; probably Bernie Sanders, Governor O'Malley, and maybe former Senator Jim Webb. But it's mostly a debating society. They're going to put her through her paces. She's so far ahead.
But she's got to come up with a credible economic vision, because all the energy in the Democratic Party is now on the progressive side. They're worried about the wealth inequity. And she's out there. This past week she's been making appearances in Washington, and she talks about the family economics and this raising the minimum wage and college loans.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.

MS. CLIFT: And she's putting that - that's popular on the campaign trail. But she's got to put it together in a way that sort of gives it some energy and some inspiration. She's not there yet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think -

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Hillary has to establish an independent profile, independent of Barack Obama, because Barack Obama is not seen by the public as that effective a president?

MR. PAGE: I'd say yes and no. But, yeah, she does have to walk that line, especially on issues like foreign policy right now. She's already coming off as more hawkish than Obama. But she can't be more hawkish than the mainstream of her own party.

I think that her best ally, actually, for once she gets the nomination would be the Republican excesses. They're bound to come at - they're already coming after her like crazy.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will she -

MR. PAGE: And that will help to galvanize the base on her side, because all she's got to do is say, hey, if I lose, look what you're going to get.

MS. CLIFT: She's -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, do you think it's possible that Hillary Clinton could select a male for her running mate?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, I think without question she will select a male. In fact, I think she would be crazy not to.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, could she select a female?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If she wants to select a female, she can select whom she wants.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Two women running the country.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. And then she'd lose the election.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Pat?

MR. BUCHANAN: It would lose the election. Mort is right on this one.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: Assuming that Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic Party for president, will Republicans put a woman on the ticket?

MR. BUCHANAN: Not necessarily so.

MS. CLIFT: I agree with Pat. Sarah Palin, cautionary tale. The Republicans would have to find a credible woman.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you think that's difficult?

MS. CLIFT: There aren't a lot of women in the Republican Party -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: - who seem to be presidential -

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.

MR. PAGE: (Inaudible) - a woman who will please the right wing, I think. But it can be done.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is yes.

Bye-bye.

END