Share

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

It's the 33rd annual MCLAUGHLIN GROUP Year-End Awards 2014, Part One. Here's the master of the ceremonies, John McLaughlin.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Biggest winner of 2014?

Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: Republican Party, John. They haven’t seen glory days like this since the Golden era of Harding and Coolidge, in numbers.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Mitch McConnell and the GOP are right.

But also sadly, ISIS, very brutal extremist group, very rich extremist group. Terrible tactics

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: The government of Iran because of their expansion of theological power in Iraq and beyond.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: It has to be the Republicans who came out of nowhere and won both houses of parliament. I mean, the government. It's just a huge victory for them.

MCLAUGHLIN: The envelope, please.

You like my fire, will you? Look at that outfit.

ROGAN: Pair of the jacket and the pants.

MCLAUGHLIN: There you are. That's real ambition (ph) over there.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Let's see if I can get this out now. You know this Routine, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Yes, that’s Carnac the Magnificent.

MCLAUGHLIN: Carnac the magnificent?

BUCHANAN: You give the answer and he gives you the question.

MCLAUGHLIN: Who did?

ROGAN: You can't get it out.

CLIFT: Johnny Carson.

MCLAUGHLIN: Johnny Carson.

BUCHANAN: Ed McMahon.

MCLAUGHLIN: Ed McMahon and Johnny.

BUCHANAN: A greater pair.

MCLAUGHLIN: You think it out. What do we do? We blow in it.

BUCHANAN: Blowing it, right?

MCLAUGHLIN: Then what? Then give it to McMahon.

BUCHANAN: McMahon gives the question and you give the answer.

MCLAUGHLIN: There you are.

Here we go. The biggest winner of 2014 is the United Kingdom. Last September, a referendum on independence for Scotland nearly severed Scotland from the United Kingdom. But the secession was averted. A great victory for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and former P.M. Gordon Brown, both of whom personally carried out the last minute campaign appeals to keep the union intact. The biggest winner of 2014, the U.K.

OK. Biggest loser, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Barack Hussein Obama, John, wiped out completely in the Congress, poll ratings below where they’ve been in a long, long time, and he beats out Sony.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: Bill Cosby and on the political side, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who is heading to the slammer instead of having a spot in the Republican ticket.

MCLAUGHLIN: You saw Cosby's wife and her defense of him, and repudiation of what she’s --

CLIFT: He didn't have a good year.

MCLAUGHLIN: Morton? Oh, Tom?

ROGAN: Tom?

I’m going to go with "Rolling Stone" magazine after a complete fall apart of the year.

MCLAUGHLIN: Uh-huh.

Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, it seems to me that it was a Barack Obama. I mean, he was absolutely liberated in the election. His poll numbers are down to 41 percent which is about as low as it can get. He lost traction within the government and in the country. There's just no sense of what he stands for in terms of the public program.


The biggest loser, however, is Harry Reid, the Democratic senator from Nevada, who was Senate majority leader. Reid was seen as Obama's puppet in the Senate, faithfully obedient to the White House, but at the expense of his own post as majority leader. Biggest loser, Harry Reid.

OK. Best politician, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I’m going to give it to Vladimir Putin, John. He’s playing a very weak hand. He lost in the Ukraine but recovered by grabbing the Crimea. So, playing a weak hand, I think he did the best job.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: Elizabeth Warren who has her pulse on the energy in the Democratic Party and is really connecting with Middle America, and they’re angry against the banks.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: I’m going to go with John Boehner. Unpredictable choice there, but the fact that he's kept his caucus in shape and won another major victory in the midterms.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated.

Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: I’m going to go with Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister who defeated the Congress Party for the first time really since India was formed. Took over the government in a huge way, and become a major, major international player.

MCLAUGHLIN: Best politician, a joint award. The former undersecretary of the defense, Michelle Angelique Flournoy and Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island.

They both turned President Obama's overtures to replace Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, at stage a senior appointment in the Obama administration would be toxic to a political resume.

O.K. Worse politician, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Eric Cantor, the first majority thrown out of office by some unknown. He was sitting up having breakfast at Starbucks with his fundraisers in D.C. as he was being voted out of office.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: OK. OK. Cantor was my pick, too, but a good runner up would be Ted Cruz, who really managed to alienate his Republican colleagues by opening the door for Democrats to confirm 20 odd appointments for the president. Cruz is disliked by everybody on Capitol Hill.

MCLAUGHLIN: I don’t think Cantor is all through.

Tom?

ROGAN: Francois Hollande, the president of France, who's approval ratings are floating around 10 percent now.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Hollande is my suggestion as well. He’s just lost all political traction in France.

MCLAUGHLIN: The worst politician Mark Udall, the ex-Democratic senator from Colorado, who focused so obsessively on the alleged Republican "war on women", quote-unquote. Udall was a staunch defender of Obamacare throughout the campaign. He was defeated by Republican challenger Cory Gardner, worst politician.

Okay. Most defining political moment, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Executive amnesty by Barack Obama. It's going to affect the politics of the next two years entirely in both parties, poison the well for 2015.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?


MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: I think the downing of MH17 in Ukraine which showed that the Cold War didn't really ever end.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: I would agree with Eleanor. I think what happened in Ferguson was such a traumatic event for this country and that was the most important event of the --

MCLAUGHLIN: The defining political moment was Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea. The single act ended the 20-year post-Cold War period of growing cooperation between east and west. It began a new era of rising confrontation. This is the essence a defining moment.

OK. Turncoat of the year, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Saudi Arabia throws all its OPEC partners under the bus by refusing to cut back production. Russia -- I mean, Russia is not OPEC but Venezuela and Nigeria, Iran, all the others, are having a very tough time.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: Leon Panetta, former CIA director, with his tell-all book about the inside fights of the Obama administration.

MCLAUGHLIN: Turncoat?

CLIFT: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: Douglas Carlswell and Mark Reckless, two British conservative MPs who transitioned to the U.K. independence party, which is going to cause big problems in 2015 for David Cameron.


ZUCKERMAN: Well, to my mind it was Bill Cosby, because he was an icon for America, for so long and such a hugely popular figure. And to define out that everything he stood for was just absolutely destroyed by his life pattern was just too much.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, listen to this: he comes from your district.

Turncoat of the year: Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who in a National Press Club speech, blamed Obamacare for his partner’s election trouncing. But until November, Schumer has been a staunch cheerleader for the Affordable Care Act, which he helped ramp through the Senate in 2010. Chuck Schumer, turncoat of the year.

OK. Most boring, Pat?

BUCHANAN: This is what we call the Greenspan trophy, John.

This goes this year to Harry Reid as did several years previously.

CLIFT: I give it to the two Senate leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. Boring can be beautiful. They’re having a very productive -- they had a very productive lame duck session this year. Congrats to both of them.

MCLAUGHLIN: Very insightful, Eleanor.

Tom?

ROGAN: I think it's going be Al Sharpton, just trying to repetitive and tedious.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, again, I go to Harry Reid, as the leader of the Democrats in the Senate to just about put everybody to sleep. It’s almost a miracle that he’s now going to come out as a majority leader.

MCLAUGHLIN: Most boring, the so-called GOP war on women. Democratic campaign ads hammered the theme relentlessly in the battleground states this year. To the point where even most women voters tuned them out.

OK. Most charismatic, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I think Pope Francis, John. I think he beats out Matthew McConaughey.

MCLAUGHLIN: Was that a private joke?

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN: You don't know Matthew McConaughey is?

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Put me on your list, will you?

Eleanor, go ahead.

CLIFT: OK.

I second on Pope Francis, but I also give it to Elizabeth Warren who really made an impression this year. That's right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Really?

Go ahead.

ROGAN: I’m going to go with George W. Bush, who’s taken a conciliatory line. He's said very positive things about the Clinton, which I think is good for the health of the nation as a former president.

MCLAUGHLIN: Who else has said good things --

ROGAN: Republicans.

MCLAUGHLIN: His brother.

ROGAN: His brother. That's predictable.

MCLAUGHLIN: He wants the brother to run.

ROGAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, I’m still going to go with Bill Clinton whom I find in every aspect that he participates in public life still exudes a certain kind of dynamism and magnetic appeal that is unique in American politics.

MCLAUGHLIN: Something like yourself, Mort, right?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, thank you very much. I do it on an alphabetic basis.

MCLAUGHLIN: Prince William and Kate Middleton, aka, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge. They are the most charismatic royals on the planet, breathing new life into the British monarchy. Take note.

We’ll be right back after this with more enthralling 2014 group awards.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Bummest rap, Pat?

BUCHANAN: The big lie that the police force in Ferguson, Missouri, and the town of Ferguson, are somehow some racist hell-hole because of a single episode that happened in the street.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: Bummest rap that Obama is abusing his executive order and acting like an emperor. That is except when he's in a bystander and passive and not acting like a leader. Both silly.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: Michelle Obama, who has tried to do a few things on school nutrition, which I think -- I don't see as a partisan issue. I think it's good for the health of nation. I think she gets unfairly criticized for that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that’s the bummest rap against her?

ROGAN: Yes, she’s been treated unfairly.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: The bummest rap is that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the Benghazi, Libya consulate attack.

MCLAUGHLIN: Bummest rap award goes to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s charge that the Central Intelligence Agency misled Congress and the White House about its harsh interrogation of al Qaeda detainees, whereas the president and the congressional leadership was kept fully informed.

OK. Fairest rap, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Good for you. Fairest rap is that ISIS is genuinely an evil organization, with those public beheadings of people who are innocent, aid workers and the journalist and the rest.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: Fairest rap that climate change is an existential threat and could lead to the extinction of the planet.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: That President Obama’s civilian national security advisors are not fit for duty.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Vladimir Putin who was a former head of the KGB turned out in the international dealings and his other dealings to be as toughest son of a gun as there ever was in American and world politics.

MCLAUGHLIN: The fairest rap against Obama, President Obama -- from David Krone, chief of staff, to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for failing to help the Democrats keep the Senate Majority.

Krone blames the White House for refusing to put money into Senate campaigns, from accounts control by the president. A fair rap.

OK. Best comeback, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I would say Chris Christie and Mitt Romney. Both of them are back up and being considered for possible potential presidential runs against George Bush to become the establishment candidate. Both came back.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: The city of Detroit, out of bankruptcy and now a destination for homesteaders.

MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

Mort? I mean, Tom?

ROGAN: General John Allen, former Marine general. He was treated unfairly during an investigation now cleared and now serving as the manager of the campaign against is.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: I go with Governor Christie, after the sort of whole issue with bridgegate and everything like that. I think he's come back very, very well.

MCLAUGHLIN: I give you a real comeback. The best comeback goes to Mitch McConnell. He's gone from fighting for his political life in a Republican primary last spring, to being the second-most powerful politician in Washington. Barack Obama being the first. A sweet victory for McConnell.

OK. Most original thinker, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Nigel Farage of the UKIP, John, who’s taking up the cudgels for independence of the European Union, doing a tremendous job quite frankly, bringing over to Tories a real threat to the Tory Party in Germany and Great Britain.

MCLAUGHLIN: A little obscure but well stated, Pat.

CLIFT: Pope Francis who said we're going to see our pets in heaven which is basically --

BUCHANAN: He withdrew it, Eleanor.

CLIFT: -- basically saying -- no, basically saying animals have souls which we all knew already.

MCLAUGHLIN: Souls.

CLIFT: Yes.

BUCHANAN: But they're not mortal souls, Eleanor, I’m sorry.

MCLAUGHLIN: What about sharks?

CLIFT: He's opened the door to that.

MCLAUGHLIN: What about fish?

CLIFT: I think fish -- I'd be happy with fish.

MCLAUGHLIN: Animal?

Tom?

ROGAN: Rand Paul who has made libertarianism mainstream.

MCLAUGHLIN: Interesting.

Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Elon Musk, the man who developed Tesla, who’s going to change the whole world of automobiles and automobile transaction and program.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated, Mort.

But the most original is Alex Epstein, author of the new book, "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels", fossil fuels. Epstein puts forward a moral and ethical argument for the good that fossil fuels, oil and gas, do for humanity. The book presents an entirely new take on the climate change debate, which is why Epstein gets the most original thinker award.

OK. Most stagnant, .Pat?

BUCHANAN: Bibi Netanyahu. He elevated Hamas with his war. He's broken it off with the E.U. to a degree. He alienated the United States. His government needs new elections. Palestinian talks are dead. He’s at the dead end, as Israel is right now politically.

MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that, Mort?

CLIFT: My turn.

MCLAUGHLIN: You're going to comment on that? I know, I wanted him to interject.

(LAUGHTER)

CLIFT: OK, all right. I was showing the proper respect.

MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Please continue?

CLIFT: Just double checking. OK, most stagnant thinker is Vladimir Putin who stuck in the early 20 century adventurism, destroying the economy of this country.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: Yes, Nancy Pelosi who just doesn't seem to realize that the political turns have changed.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Afton Burton, the woman who says she married Charles Manson because love conquers all.

MCLAUGHLIN: Most stagnant thinker, our collective award, to the Democratic Party, for believing the political tactics it had employed successfully in recent election would work again. Gallup now says more Americans identify as Republican than as Democrats.

You know that, Pat.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: It was Barack Obama was on television the end of the first week in Ferguson, Missouri, calling for peace in a split screen with Molotov cocktails and rocks being traded back between police and demonstrators. Unbelievable TV.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: This photo op the St. Louis Rams. Players came out in the fields with their hands up.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: I think the most photo op was the White House feed on the president’s landmark immigration address. The angle made it look like he had a crown on which I thought was amusing.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: President Obama in a floor-length, maroon Chinese attire on his visit to China.

MCLAUGHLIN: The best photo op of the year, the selfie by Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres and 11 fellow celebrities during the Oscars broadcast. In fact, it was staged by ABC to use the Samsung smartphone because Samsung paid $20 million to sponsor the Academy Awards.

You didn't know that, did you, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I didn't know they did it. I saw that whole scene though.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Enough already with that. What do you have to say, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Enough already goes to the Reverend Al Sharpton.

CLIFT: Enough already, Benghazi.

MCLAUGHLIN: Rogan?

ROGAN: Russell Brand, a British comedian who now thinks he's a political revolutionary but doesn’t have to read (INAUDIBLE).

ZUCKERMAN: I’m with Pat on Al Sharpton. We've had enough of him for long enough period of time. And I think he's doing a lot of damage to whatever coherence his country can develop in terms of race relations.

MCLAUGHLIN: And you're from New York.

ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Enough already with the jargon, the selfie -- call it a picture, a self portrait, or a head shot, or as often happens, a misframed and poorly proportional digital document. May the selfie go the way of the tweakie (ph), and the hoodie, and march quietly into oblivion. Enough already with the selfie.

OK. Worst lie, Pat?

BUCHANAN: That Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson shot down an innocent, unarmed teenager in cold blood in the streets of Ferguson. The whole grand jury testimony indicated this was nothing but a large lie.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: Worst lie: Republican campaign pledges repeated over and over and votes taken to repeal Obamacare. Not happening.

ROGAN: President Putin's assertion that Russian intelligence is not operating in Eastern Ukraine and the links of those intelligence sources (ph) to the downing of the MH17.

MCLAUGHLIN: Worst lie is IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s assertions --

BUCHANAN: Try Morton, he might have some thoughts.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, I beg your pardon. Should I finish or you go?

ZUCKERMAN: Now, you go ahead.

MCLAUGHLIN: No, I think you should go.

ZUCKERMAN: With a name like Zuckerman, I’m used to coming at the end. You go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: All right. I will.

The worst lie is IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s assertion and congressional testimony that tens of thousands of Lois Lerner’s e-mails were lost and permanently unrecoverable. Well, this month, the IRS inspector general recovered 30,000 of the supposedly lost Lerner e-mails. Worst lie.

OK. Cap -- no, we won't go that. Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: The combining and merging of cable companies will lower rates both for customers and subscribers.

MCLAUGHLIN: That’s a lie.

ZUCKERMAN: That's a lie.

MCLAUGHLIN: Wow.

OK. Capitalist of the year?

BUCHANAN: Xi Jinping of China. He's not only getting rid of corruption. China's become the largest economy in the world, according to one standard conducted by the World Bank. Amazing for China.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company.

(LAUGHTER)

MCLAUGHLIN: Tell us about it.

CLIFT: Well, they're taking --

MCLAUGHLIN: It’s huge, isn’t it?

CLIFT: It’s huge. That's its most defining character and it's taking over a lot of the space on the Internet.

MCLAUGHLIN: And it's over here.

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Right. It’s in our economy. Businessmen are united against it.

MCLAUGHLIN: Alibaba, can you improve on that?

ROGAN: Can I improve on that? I’m going to go with Uber and Lyft car-sharing services that are changing the way we use cars and allowing individuals to earn a bit of extra money on the side.

MCLAUGHLIN: And would you answer that? You use it, as I understand it. You use Uber.


MCLAUGHLIN: An Array (ph), that’s a competitor for Uber?

ROGAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, what do you think of that?

ZUCKERMAN: Let me tell you what my particular is.

(LAUGHTER)

ZUCKERMAN: The developers of fracking, of oil that has changed the entire energy situation for this country to such -- in such a dramatic way and in such a short period of time. And it’s going to make us completely independent of the oil and energy of the rest of the world.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated.

2014 capitalist of the year is Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor and economist and former Obama administration consultant. He’s gloated over what he called the stupidity of American voters. Gruber collected some $5 million in fees from government, proselytizing for Obamacare. Gruber designed the law in an incomprehensible manner, and then charged unbelievably hefty fees to explain it.

Honorable mention, Pat?

BUCHANAN: Marine Le Pen of the Front National, the National Front in France, John. And the reason I say that is because she did extraordinarily well in these parliamentary, European parliamentary elections. She’s not running first for president of France, which is part of this movement.

Nigel Farage is in, all these other populist ring-wing movements, some of which are leaning toward Putin. It is one of the most dramatic movements and it’s growing all across Europe and a lot of people think it’s unhealthy. There are some far-right groups associated with it. But it seems to me, ultimately, this is going to lead to the breakup of the Eurozone and maybe even the breakup of the European Union.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: I nominate the people who are on the frontlines fighting Ebola. Doctors Without Borders, the doctors and nurses who went over there, who put their own lives at risk in order to help the U.S. troops who went over to build facilities. There’s a lot of self-interest and national security involved on the U.S. part, because if you don’t stop it in West Africa, you’re going to have to deal with it here.

But I really commend people who go into that environment and know their lives are at risk and feel that their duty is to help their fellowmen.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well-stated, Eleanor.

Tom?

ROGAN: I’m going to go with Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the leaders of Afghanistan, who have decided to come together and try to pursue some form of political reconciliation in the country. Their promising, still low level, changes and development in governance. The Afghan national army is holding ground and there’s a credibility there that is important to build a relationship with the United States.

And if we compare it with Hamid Karzai, it’s an improvement. And it’s important, we’ve lost a lot of Americans in Afghanistan. It gives us the hope that we might be able to salvage something there.

MCLAUGHLIN: Morton?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, I would go with the Canadian government led by a couple of very mature, serious leaders who have done a marvelous job both in terms of integrating the country between the French-speaking and the English-speaking country, and to develop and continue to develop modern economy in the context of being right next door to the United States.

MCLAUGHLIN: Are they soliciting counsel from you?

ZUCKERMAN: Only on Sundays. On Sundays, after they see THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, they call me.

CLIFT: Mort is Canadian is by birth, we should point out.

BUCHANAN: Are you looking for some kind of medal from these folk up there in Canada where you were born?

ZUCKERMAN: They are really doing --

BUCHANAN: I agree with you. I know the foreign minister --

ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

ROGAN: I think going back to what you were saying, Pat, I mean, there is a -- I mean, Le Pen, there’s some really unpleasant sentiment in part of Le Pen’s movement. She’s trying to move that a little bit away, but it’s still floods (ph) with it.

But you’re right in the sense that I think it does portend the collapse of the European Union --

MCLAUGHLIN: Honorable mention goes to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the former chocolate magnate become Ukraine’s fifth president in the midst of its most severe crisis since independence from the Soviet Union 23 years ago. Poroshenko is simultaneously battling a crumbling economy and Moscow-backed Russian separatists. He’s a true patriot and Ukraine’s freedom is in his hands.

I think you would concur with me on that, wouldn’t you, Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Yes, yes, I think he’s done a terrific job.

CLIFT: What is this former chocolate magnate? Did he head up a Hershey’s --

BUCHANAN: He’s Hershey’s in Ukraine.

CLIFT: He’s Hershey’s in -- OK.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, I think the questions, how does he raise $3 billion selling chocolate.

CLIFT: Oh, I think selling chocolate is a pretty good deal.

ROGAN: There is an issue though.

MCLAUGHLIN: There is an issue?

ROGAN: There is an issue in Ukraine. The patronage politics and sort of organized crime, a lot of money floating around. It’s still a big issue in western --

BUCHANAN: And the United States ought to get in there, I think and try to end this war. People talk about putting in weapons to Ukraine. They can’t defeat Russia. You’ll have a larger war, more Ukrainians dead, Russians dead, a disaster.

I think we really ought to get in there politically and diplomatically and try to end it, to end the killing and --

CLIFT: Chocolates for peace?

BUCHANAN: Well, I mean, Poroshenko is a strong man.

MCLAUGHLIN: You think Poroshenko is able to control Putin?

BUCHANAN: No, he’s not. But I think Putin wants a deal. I think if -- I believe we ought to stop the war. I don’t see --

CLIFT: Putin is --

ROGAN: He wants to deal on his terms though.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: Well, I don’t think he wants to own the two provinces, in the Luhansk and Donetsk.

MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, Putin wants the "Stans".

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Putin is crashing and burning.

BUCHANAN: Putin is, we got Eleanor’s, he’s got enough problems on his plate.

CLIFT: Yes, that’s right.

BUCHANAN: He wants Kazakhstan, go in and invade that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tajikistan, there’s another "stan" he wants.

BUCHANAN: There’s, you know, Kurdistan, there’s Turkmenistan, there’s Uzbekistan, he wants them all?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that’s the way it looks. That’s the way it looks. He wants control and --

BUCHANAN: I do not believe that. I don’t believe it.

MCLAUGHLIN: He wants the Russia of the past, to become the Russia of today.

BUCHANAN: He wants the Russians back in Russia.

MCLAUGHLIN: Also, he has supported the "Stans".

BUCHANAN: Listen, look, I think I mean, Putin, we can -- he’s a man we can do business with, I believe.

ROGAN: But if we do business with him holding all the cards, he doesn’t want to make tough concessions.

BUCHANAN: He doesn’t have all the cards. He doesn’t have all the cards anymore.

ROGAN: But the problem is, with his political strategy, I think he becomes more dangerous because of his weakening position --

BUCHANAN: That’s what I’m afraid of.

CLIFT: I came close to naming him the biggest loser of the year.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Here it is. Person of the year, Pat?

BUCHANAN: I think Pope Francis, John. He's not only a worldwide sensation, but there could be a real split coming in the Roman Catholic Church, which was before Islam took over, the largest religion on Earth.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: California Governor Jerry Brown who was governor in the 1970s for two terms. Just won election handily to his fourth term. He's now in his 70s. He has handle the budget issues in California with great deafness and managed to preserve investments in education and social policies. So, he's beloved on left and the right.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: The unnamed clandestine service officer of the CIA treated disgustingly by the U.S. Congress but serving very honorably and courageous around the world under the surface of public awareness.

ZUCKERMAN: Vladimir Putin who's emerged as an enormously effective and powerful and tough minded player on the world scene, and at this point, has made us look very, very week.

MCLAUGHLIN: Person of the year: Pope Francis, especially now that he’s told that animals can go to heaven. And Oliver is up there waiting for me.

Next week, join us for THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP 2014 Year End Awards Part Two.

Merry Christmas. Bye-bye.

END