The McLaughlin Group

Issues: Obama-Merkel Meeting; Obama Visits Egypt; Scott Walker, Possible GOP Presidential Candidate; Obama Seeks Authorization for Military Force

John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, February 13, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of February 13-15, 2015

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

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: Russia and Ukraine.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Instead of withdrawing from eastern Ukraine, Russian forces continue to operate there, training separatists and helping to coordinate attacks. Instead of withdrawing its arms, Russia has sent in more tanks and armored personnel carriers and heavy artillery. With Russian support, the separatists have seized more territory and shelled civilian areas, destroyed villages and driven more Ukrainians from their homes. These are the facts.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama met at the White House this week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The crisis in Ukraine was at the top of the agenda. Russia has stepped up its military support for rebels in Eastern Ukraine, who are fighting the government in Kiev. Hundreds of civilians have been killed. But following her meeting with President Obama, Chancellor Merkel jetted off to Minsk, Belarus, and there, things seem to improve. In Minsk, the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia agreed to a ceasefire agreement designed to end the bloodshed.

Here’s Russian President Vladimir Putin.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are calling on both sides to exercise restraint and to do everything to ensure the withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons happens without bloodshed and casualties, which nobody wants. We have agreed with President Poroshenko of Ukraine that we will give the order, which I am ready to do, to our military to observe what is happening on the frontline.


MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Europe’s future tied to Ukraine?

Pat Buchanan?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: Well, in a way perhaps. But, John, this is a good deal in the sense that the alternative is atrocious. You got peace. The Americans were about to send in weapons, which would have expanded the war. And if that happened, you got more Ukrainian dead, civilians, soldiers, rebels. And at the end of that, you’d have a bankrupt, bleeding, broken Ukraine, part of it truncated. And quite frankly, a basket case in the dependency of Europe.

So, I think -- I mean, we’ve got to be skeptical about this deal. I really congratulate Merkel for this because, again, the alternative is a war. I don’t think it does anyone any good and no one wants it.


ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, the European leaders are clearly alarmed, or Merkel and Hollande would not have, you know, flown to Belarus and gone to these marathon sessions. And apparently, in one of them, of Mr. Tough Guy, Putin, actually broke a pencil in half, displaying his frustration.

But I think, Putin has played this rather smartly because the separatist forces have gained over 200 miles in recent weeks because they disobeyed the last ceasefire. So, he’s gotten more ground. He’s avoided sanctions. He’s avoided the U.S. so far, putting in any military equipment to aid Ukraine. So, he’s in a pretty good position. But I don’t think he can afford to go any further.

And with oil at $50 a barrel, he’s had his financial support knocked out from beneath him. So, he needs -- he needs to stop here as well. So, I agree with Pat. It’s a good deal. Let’s hope it holds.

MCLAUGHLIN: Merkel says that there are significant problems in implementing this. What are they?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: The problems in implementing it, it is that in the previous Minsk agreement, which happened in September 2014, the Russians then went and breached everything already. And the difficulty you face on the ground is whatever President Putin says, he knows that he holds the strategic initiative. He knows Europe doesn’t have the stomach for the fight.

To be fair, I think, Pat, in some sense, I think, you know, the arms option that you put arms in there would have given him a pretext to storm through. The problem is, I think, we have to be dramatically escalating our financial sanctions on Russia, locking Russian finance out of both the United States and Western Europe, which would be painful, because if you see what they’re doing at the moment in Debaltseve, which is a city on a two intersections. It’s a -- your viewers, John, can go and look online on Google Maps, two highways. There’s a reason they want to seize that, because they want to cut out that arc of Southeastern Ukraine.

But short of using those weapons, if you are willing to put much tougher economic sanctions in, combining with the oil price issue that Eleanor mentions, and the fiscal degradation we’ve seen in Russia, I think you could compel a change.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you think he’s exhausted this issue?

MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: I think he’s put himself into a very different light through all of Europe. I think this was the worst example, it seems to me, of his, shall we say, strategic tactics, call it what you will. I think he just exposed himself in a way that I don’t think he has done before. So, he, at my judgment, has lost a great deal of prestige and earned that loss. You know, there is a great, sort of, sacrifice. But I think in terms of getting financial help now from Europe, it’s going to be a very, very different story for him.

MCLAUGHLIN: Here’s a quick one for Buchanan. The agreement also calls for establishment of a 50-kilometer buffer zone between the Ukrainian government forces and the Russian separatists. Would that be easy to easy?

BUCHANAN: It might be difficult, but it’s a right thing to do, John.

Let me just say what I fear more than anything. It’s not who’s flag flies over Luhansk and Donetsk. I think in the long term, the 20th century, it is vital that we not drive Russia out in toward China and that we try to bring it back into the West, despite the problems we got with Putin. American presidents have dealt with tougher communist leaders and Vladimir Putin and we ended the Cold War peacefully.

That’s my concern, is can you bring Putin and Russian back into the West? And, frankly, if you got to make some concessions to do it, I’m for it.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. European leaders worry that the crisis could endanger the very future of Europe.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): If we give up this principle of territorial integrity of countries, then we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of Europe that we’ve been able to achieve. This is not just any old point, it’s an essential, a crucial point, and we have to stand by it.


MCLAUGHLIN: What do make of the chancellor’s words, Eleanor?

CLIFT: Well, I think Europe is united, and Europe is united with the American administration and what Putin would like to do is drive a wedge. And I think the moment they’re going to back off from any stronger sanctions, see if the ceasefire holds. And I think, again, I hate to see it, I agree with Pat, you got to give Putin some maneuvering room so you don’t trap him.

But she’s right. I mean, this is a biggest challenge to European solidarity really since the end of the Cold War. It’s a serious business.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you’re in agreement with Pat on this.

CLIFT: Yes, I am.

MCLAUGHLIN: Was that difficult for you?


CLIFT: I’m going to go to confession afterwards.


CLIFT: And I’m not even Catholic.


MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: I think her point is absolutely valid. The inviolability of territory in Europe is a longstanding principle. They’ve had enough problems over God knows how many centuries when European countries were fighting with each other. This was something that they would have felt and backed up very, very strongly.

And Putin got himself way out over this boundary I think and would have in my judgment, created a huge imbalance in his relationship and Soviet’s relationships with Europe. And when he is in a position where his finances are just about falling apart, that is something he couldn’t afford.

MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly, Pat.

BUCHANAN: There’s a problem with that. Look, we tore Kosovo away from Serbia. So, we did that.

Secondly, when the Soviet Union broke up, 15 new countries, many of these countries had groups of Russians in there whose allegiance and loyalty is to Moscow and we got to deal with that problem. I agree.

We don’t want to see --


BUCHANAN: We don’t want to see this Sudetenland situation but, you’re going to have to deal with that problem.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK. Losing Egypt.


MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Putin was a busy man this week, from Minsk, he flew to Cairo, where he was greeted by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt. President Putin presented Mr. al-Sisi with a gift, a Kalashnikov rifle.

The two leaders then talked about the ways to strengthen trade. Notably, Russian help in developing Egypt’s first nuclear power plant or nuclear electricity. This is a big deal.

While the U.S. government provides Egypt with around $1.5 billion annual aid, President Sisi harbors lingering anger about the previous suspension of U.S. aid in the aftermath of his coup against former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. President Putin wants to take advantage of that anger and of Egypt’s key strategic position in the world. Its Suez Canal offers the western gateway to Asia.

There’s history here. In the days of the Soviet Union, Russia used Egypt to stymie American policy in the Middle East. So, now, Russian engineers will deliver nuclear power to a key nation that used to be a key American ally, Egypt.


MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How much should we worry about Russia’s increasingly close relationship with Egypt?

Tom Rogan?

ROGAN: I think not a huge amount. We have to be cautious, though. I mean, Russia does not have the potential to give Egypt ultimately what it wants. Al-Sisi wants to attract foreign direct investment. Yes, the Russians can provide nuclear power, which is a play towards what’s happening with Iran. It’s a signal from Egyptians that if Iran goes nuclear, we will as well.

I think the broader issue, though, is that in all of these relationship, especially actually Egyptian relationship, the problem that we have is that as much as al-Sisi has become this great figurehead, someone who is mentioned positively in the West, the repression of both political prisoners at the secular level and elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, mean that in the longer term, the explosion of Salafi jihadism in Egypt is going to continue. So, we have to have a pragmatic relationship, by (INAUDIBLE), but we also have to have a tough relationship when we say that, you know, this --

MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Isn’t it particularly painful for us to hear how Egypt is moving into the lap of Russia?

BUCHANAN: No, I’ll tell you why.

MCLAUGHLIN: I’ll tell you why, I’ll tell you why, because we have pumped billions and billions of dollars into Egypt and release --


BUCHANAN: Richard Nixon pulled Egypt of the Soviet bloc. It’s not a problem for this reason, in the Middle East, our enemies are al Qaeda and ISIS, so are Russia’s enemies, al Qaeda and ISIS. We are allies in the war against Islamic terrorism, John. This is why we’ve got difficulties in the Ukraine and other places. We have to manage this relationship because in the larger context, I believe that Russia is by and large a greater force for stability and anti-Islamic radicalism, than it is on the other side.


ZUCKERMAN: And so, I might add is Sisi. Sisi was one of the few leaders in that part of the world who is willing to send troops against the radicals, OK? So, he is one of the he is somebody whom as you say, we have to find a way to keep him with us.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, I’m going to turn to you. But I want to point that now, with the introduction of atomic power into Egypt, we have the possibility of the bomb. You know that.


MCLAUGHLIN: They do not have nuclear power now.

CLIFT: Right, yes. Well, there’s a big difference between nuclear power for peaceful use and what you’re talking about. And I don’t think Egypt is going its way --

MCLAUGHLIN: They’re going to be in the arms of Russia.

CLIFT: No, and Putin can’t deliver. He can barely pay his bills at home. This is a symbolic --

MCLAUGHLIN: Don’t underestimate Putin.

CLIFT: This is a symbolic -- this is a symbolic visit to show that he’s not completely friendless on the world stage. And, frankly, al-Sisi is an old style military dictator and there’s been some tension with the administration, should we pour billions in, are we going to keep supporting them? But they kind of held back some Apache helicopters just to show them that they don’t get everything they want.

MCLAUGHLIN: I want to point out however that it was dumb on our Department of State, or whoever puts out the money, to have reduced the burst of what we are giving to Egypt, to make it therefore more attractive, they’re also doing a deal with Russia. Do you understand?


MCLAUGHLIN: You look at what Obama (ph) gave them out last year. We gave pittance compared to what they were getting.

ROGAN: The big issue we have is that -- and no one wants to really face this -- is that in the longer term, the only real -- the only way that you are going to be able to address Salafi radicalism in the Middle East is through political reform, economic opportunity, and as much as I do have a lot of sympathy for Sisi, some of the things he’s doing against Hamas, some of the comments he’s coming out, he is not the beacon for development in the Middle East because young Sunni men who are in jail, because he’s put them in jail for their political beliefs are driven further into extremism.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, I’m surprised you’re saying that, because you’re usual knowledge of strategic positioning. What is the strategic position of --

ROGAN: Egypt?

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, of Egypt?

ROGAN: It’s profoundly important.


ROGAN: Because of its access as we say, the Suez Canal.

MCLAUGHLIN: And then what? And then what?

BUCHANAN: It’s the Arab state of them all. It’s got 1/4 of the Arab population.

ROGAN: Right, what else?


MCLAUGHLIN: He’s snatching -- he’s snatching --

BUCHANAN: Sisi -- Tom is right. Tom is right. We got a develop world. Sisi cut the pieces in the Muslim -- put a sentence on all these Muslim Brotherhood guys to death. He shot guys. He got thousands of jail. And if we were supposed to stand for democracy --


ZUCKERMAN: Excuse me --

MCLAUGHLIN: Further down where you got the Saudis on one side, you got Djibouti on the other.


BUCHANAN: Red Sea and Yemen.

MCLAUGHLIN: We got Yemen down there, don’t we?


ROGAN: Let Mort jump in.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, I want to hear from you.

ZUCKERMAN: Look, there are two countries here that are really critical to us. One of them is Saudi Arabia and the other is Egypt. And both of the leaders of these countries are frankly against the radicals, not for the radicals, in that part of the world.

CLIFT: Yes, but they see the radicals --

ZUCKERMAN: I’m not going to go there, OK? There’s Abdel Fattah (ph), he has been much more constructive in terms of dealing with the radical elements in that part of the world. Al-Sisi.

BUCHANAN: Constructive?

ZUCKERMAN: Yes, Sisi has been.

BUCHANAN: Bam, bam, bam. He overthrew him and shot a lot of them.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Wisconsin’s Governor Walker.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We need leaders in American who understand, who ultimately understand the measure of success in government. It’s not how many people are dependent on the government. The measure of success in government is how many people are no longer dependent on the government.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addressed Iowa’s Conservative Freedom Summit, as it’s called in late January. Governor Walker has been called boring, and uncharismatic. But some say he might well be the next Republican president of the United States. And Republican primary voters are taking positive notice. In fact, Governor Walker brought down the house in Iowa, when he hinted a run for president.

WALKER: We need that kind of leadership going forward. I’m pleased to be here in Iowa today. I’m going to come back many more times in the future. I’m hopeful --

MCLAUGHLIN: But who is Scott Walker? Well, he’s 47 years old. He’s married to Tonette Walker and has two children. Today, he’s in his second term as governor. He attended Milwaukee’s Marquette University, but withdrew a year before graduation and then taking a sales job with IBM before working for the American Red Cross.

At the age of 25, Mr. Walker was elected to the Wisconsin state assembly. His political career grew over the next 20 years. Today, Governor Walker is best known for his union law reforms. Four years ago, his changes to Wisconsin’s collective bargaining laws led to a fierce political showdown, which culminated in a recall election that Governor Walker won.

And while these reforms earned the governor the enduring hatred of liberals across the country, today, he’s leading prospective Republican presidential polls in Iowa, and is surging in New Hampshire, where he’ll visit next month.

And another sign he’s thinking about running for president, Mr. Walker visited London this week to buffer his foreign policy credentials.


MCLAUGHIN: Question, clairvoyance time, what are Scott Walker’s chances of winning the GOP nomination? I ask you, who wants it? Tom?

CLIFT: Twenty percent.

ROGAN: Yes, I would say about 35 percent.

CLIFT: Right.

BUCHANAN: No, I think it’s -- right now, Walker is in the league among the -- in the bracket of folks who are anti-establishment or non-establishment candidates. Whereas Bush is only the establishment out there.

Right now, John, he’s got his real hour and the whole country is looking at him. He’s running good in the polls. But we’re way, way far out and he’s really going to -- they’re going to give him a real vetting.

CLIFT: Well, he won three elections in a blue state by basically going after the unions and public employees. And he survived.

And so, to win three elections in a blue state if you’re a red Republican is a significant accomplishment. And so, that gets him into the primary race.

His trip to London did not -- shows that he’s really not ready for prime time.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, come, come, come.

CLIFT: He was asked a couple of questions and he kind of dodged them, and then he was asked about evolution, he said I’m going to punt on that. And the audience actually laughed out loud. So, he didn’t go over there and do himself any good. But it’s early, it’s early. And he’s a new face. So, there’s some interest in him.

MCLAUGHLIN: You picked out the two big tizzies (ph). Is that the plural?


MCLAUGHLIN: The two big tizzies (ph) of Walker in London. Do you think that’s fair to him?

CLIFT: Yes, I do think it’s fair.



MCLAUGHLIN: He was at King’s College, was he not?

ROGAN: No, he was at Chatham House.

But I’d say two things. The British establishment, both right and left, love to hate Republicans. They think all Republicans are stupid and not well-read. And they love Hillary Clinton. And the bias in the media is profound.

But Eleanor has a point in the sense he was asked about foreign policy, he was asked about evolution, he should have answered those questions in some way. And it makes, it is not, if you’re trying to be the leader for the most powerful nation of earth, you’re trying to shrug that off.

BUCHANAN: He’s got to get up to speed very, very fast, because he’s out-front right now and he did handle himself well at all. He was very callow and young when he was in London.

MCLAUGHLIN: The poll NH1/Reach. That’s the poll. The poll of 1,012 likely voters by NH1/Reach has Walker with 21 percent, Bush 14 percent, a 7 percent lead. What do you think?

BUCHANAN: Is that New Hampshire?

MCLAUGHLIN: That is New Hampshire, right.

BUCHANAN: Yes, if Walker can emerge as the conservative choice, if you will, against the establishment candidate, he can beat Bush in New Hampshire. But he’s going to have some real challengers for being the conservative voice.

ROGAN: He did talk about trade in London.

MCLAUGHLIN: A Bloomberg poll of GOP voters taken last weekend, you know, all GOP, showed Bush was 60 percent, Rand Paul with 13 percent, Walker with 12 percent, not bad, and Christie was 10 percent. That puts Walker solidly in the running, does it not?

ROGAN: Yes, it does, but as everyone --

CLIFT: It’s ridiculously early, all of these polls.

ROGAN: It’s very early. He has potential.

MCLAUGHLIN: But you hear a poll you don’t like, oh, it’s very early, very early.

CLIFT: It’s early factually.

ZUCKERMAN: I will say that he’s done better at this stage of his career than a lo of people expected. I personally do not think he’s got the slightest chance of winning the Republican nomination.

CLIFT: He’s benefited from being underestimated all his life. But now, it’s crunch time. He’s got to deliver.

BUCHANAN: Take your poll, John. Take your poll and add, like Rand Paul, add those to Walker and then you add Christie to Bush and you can see the strength of the establishment and the strength of the populist side. Whoever emerges on that side and the establishment --


CLIFT: And the money race, the money race. Jeb Bush had a fundraiser this week, $100,000 a head.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: The Obama Doctrine.


OBAMA: Today, my administration submitted a draft resolution to Congress, to authorize the use of force against ISIL.

MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama has sent a draft AUMF, or authorization for military force, to Congress. The target of this authorization, the Islamic State otherwise known as ISIL or ISIS, that has seized a large swath of Iraq and Syria, and has raised its flag elsewhere.

But the president emphasized that this authorization won’t mean another American ground war.

OBAMA: The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria. It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq. I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolong ground war in the Middle East. That’s not in our national security interest and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL. Local forces on the ground who know their countries best are best positioned to take the ground fight to ISIL and that’s what they’re doing.

MCLAUGHLIN: Seems clear cut. Not so fast. President Obama did leave himself some wiggle room. Here’s what he has to say about using ground forces for, quote-unquote, "unforeseen circumstances".

OBAMA: For example, if we had actionable intelligence about a gathering of ISIL leaders and our partners didn’t have the capacity to get them, I would be prepared to order our Special Forces to take action because I will not allow this terrorist to have a safe haven.

MCLAUGHLIN: That’s not all. Through the consternation of some national security officials, President Obama has put a limit on this authorization of force.

OBAMA: And limits this authorization to three years. I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.


MCLAUGHLIN: The cut-off date of three years will encourage ISIS to play for time and to try to run out the clock, combined with the restrictions on U.S. use of ground forces, it tells them to lay low until after the end of President Obama’s term of office. This is what I read here from someone who objects to the president’s plan.

What do you say about that?

ROGAN: It sounds similar to something I -- I think that that’s true. I think the difficulty is, for military commanders who are planning the long game is that you need to know there’s going to be confidence there. You do not want to break an operational tempo in the long term future. It is anathema to military strategy.

It’s -- you know, if it’s the administration, so I’m not surprised. But it is a real problem because you need to show that you are consistently ready to destroy this group, that you’re not caveating on Special Forces, that you’re not tying commanders’ hands.

The president is the commander-in-chief, but there are too many bureaucratic obstacles in the AUMF as it stands at the moment. Nevertheless, I think it’s a good steep in the right direction, that which going to Congress.


MCLAUGHLIN: Why this is a good step in the right direction?

ROGAN: Because Congress getting behind a strategy with a national authority of the United States punctures the psychological --

MCLAUGHLIN: There are other ways to get that.

ROGAN: Yes, but you need to puncture, you need to --

CLIFT: Congress has the right to declare war and it’s extraordinary that a president is going to Congress and volunteering to tie the hands of the executive.

Basically, what he’s doing is updating the 2001, post-2001 9/11 attacks. There were two resolutions. One, he wants to repeal, he wants to keep in place the resolution that says the executive has the power to go off after al Qaeda and all its forms.

This resolution would not tie his hands substantially at all, and the Republicans --


CLIFT: -- Republicans says he’s not going far enough. And the Democrats say they’ll get something. They’ll thread the needle. They get something. It’s the right thing to do.

BUCHANAN: Look, what he’s saying in effect is, I’m not sending an army back into Iraq and I’m not sending one into Syria -- and he’s not. As for the three years, you’re going to have a new president.

CLIFT: Right.

BUCHANAN: But what he does say and I think is accurate is, look, the United States, it’s not our job to go win this war for the Arabs. When it comes to it, it’s got to be the Sunni Arabs that take out the Sunni radicals themselves.

MCLAUGHLIN: He’s trying to tie the hands of the next U.S. president. As written in the authorization, it prevents the next president from using ground troops without a new congressional authorization. This is an attempt by the Obama administration to impose its anti-war ideology on the next president.

Do you believe that?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think there’s some truth to that.

I have to say, I think this, if you have the serious members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on both the Republican and on the Democratic side, both saying that this policy makes no sense, in part for that one critical area --

BUCHANAN: Let them rewrite it. Let them rewrite the military authorization.

CLIFT: Yes, they’re going to debate, and rewrite.

BUCHANAN: We got the debate going. That’s what we want.

ZUCKERMAN: I’m happy to have something going.

CLIFT: Right.


MCLAUGHLIN: Prediction, Pat?

BUCHANAN: The next Scott Walker who will suddenly rise to real fame and be looked at as the populist candidate will be Marco Rubio.


CLIFT: Next week’s White House summit on conquering violent extremism will reveal that Americans have more to worry about from extremist attacks from their fellow Americans than from many overseas jihads.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort? Excuse me, Tom?

ROGAN: I’m going to do it converse to Eleanor’s. I think next week’s summit which should be called a summit on Salafi jihadism, but whatever, show that the threat post by extremist groups around the world, especially on that side, is massive.


ZUCKERMAN: The Soviet Union, Russia, is going to have to go into the financial markets to raise money because of the collapse of their revenues from energy, and they’re going to get $20 billion from the Chinese.

MCLAUGHLIN: I predict NBC News anchorman Brian Williams will be back in his after his six-month suspension. Without Williams, NBC’s rating will take a hit, and the network will need him to anchor the "Nightly News". Williams will have ample time for a persuasive mea culpa and for treatment of what may be mythomania, that will restore a balanced view of his journalistic career.

The group joins me in this word of condolence to the loved ones of 48-year veteran of CBS News, Bob Simon, who died on Wednesday in a Manhattan car crash. He travelled the world covering stories from war to music (ph), and forged a reputation for objectivity and decency. In decades of distinguish journalism, Simon earned 27 Emmys and four Peabody Awards. He was 73. May he rest in peace.